Sunday, January 6, 2013

to a land of cucumber and honey, where Billy never dies

You know how sometimes you have one of those days, even though it's not even Monday, and you've been so sick and overwhelmed by holidays for what feels like an eternity that you work yourself into a frenzy about your lack of personal productivity and the only cure is dinner? The perfect food balanced between good taste--for comfort, and good nutrition--for your health. So you offer to make dinner for your trusty sidekick, even though you worked 9 hours and your cough sounds like you've been bottling your water near a fracking site. Meatloaf? you suggest. Comforting. You can squeeze a lot of vegetables in there too. At a lukewarm response you offer to cook to your sidekick's desire! whatever you'd like! Waffles, he says. Eggs and waffles.

You decide not to pitch a fit in the middle of the produce. You grab cucumbers, tomatoes, and the most robust of the wilting celery. Suffering from produce related mania, your mind is racing: you're going to poach some chicken! You're going to make lunch to take to work again, y'know, those pretty salads in a jar everyone likes to look at, you don't even have to tell them you found it on Tumblr and not on Pinterest! You're going to get your life back on track, man! go to the gym, get out of debt, and uniformly fold your towels, all because of these vegetables.

But by the time you return home you are blinded by half used containers of Cool Whip shoved in the back of the fridge, the crust in the corners of the stove, the particular droop of the house plants, and the new knowledge that champagne wet confetti will stain a wood floor. That tantrum you were about to throw in the grocery store begins a surface boil. All you can think about is that summer you were unemployed and obsessed with The Pioneer Woman, and how tidy and shiny your kitchen was, and how you always danced at noontime, and picked fresh wild raspberries while writing poetry and reading Jhumpa Lahiri, and your hair was always braided, and at least if you weren't actually doing yoga, you were usually thinking about trying to start doing yoga. Is it impossible to have a wage earning job and to live the pleasantest life? Must these pursuits be discordant, forever at odds? Can't your egg and waffle loving sidekick appreciate a less independent woman who prefers picking raspberries over paying bills?

Eggs and waffles, goddamn it. After you clean last week's uneaten vegetables out of the fridge, you set to work on this gourmet masterpiece of gently scrambled eggs and 8-grain frozen waffles. You try to maintain sanity. You try to remind yourself that this mood will pass just as the holidays have and your sickness will, and you start to make lists of all the things to do, scribbling like Patrick Bateman on every page of your mental notebook. The frenzy will not subside. You are feeling unpleasantly out of control, and unable to focus on rinsing vegetables for tomorrow's valiant return of salad in a jar, because those fresh cucumbers you have been looking forward to (as an excuse to eat spinach veggie dip by the cucumber slice) are actually ZUCCHINI, and it's fine you know, it's FINE, but treacherous zucchini isn't what you wanted and now you're going to have to eat celery too and force yourself to be happy about it, because this is what living the pleasantest life is all about, isn't it, peeling and eating vegetables and being happy about it.

And just when you think you maybe went and overcompensated with a celery stalk too many, you open your dedicated container lid drawer to find an amusing quantity of mouse shit.

Which then allows this to become the story of why I ate veggie corn dog minis and three shots of honey whiskey for dinner.

But the truth is that some days you really have to let go. It's not until you say "fuck it, I quit," and mean it, that you realize the pilot episode of Battlestar Galactica is airing on BBC America, and there's nothing so cathartic as crying while a schoolteacher gets sworn in to a job she didn't ask for, didn't want, but will rise to, even if it kills her, again.