I texted Fannie with the idea.
If I had to measure her BAL based just on her response, I'd put her at .0688. She could probably safely operate a motor vehicle, but she was being pretty reckless with her thumb strokes, between the exclamation points and tapping out the lyrics to the school song.
This affirmative was coming from a girl who refused to join our face painted posse, which hit every game home and away in the early-to-mid 1990s.
"Something about the gym makes me have to poop," she would say.
My excitement for that plan waned as suddenly and mysteriously as it had earlier waxed.
I wake relatively early, coaxed vertical by my bladder alarm clock. During the week I use it as a backup, but on weekends this oblong urine satchel is the only thing standing between me and voluntary muscle atrophy.
Chuck has just returned from a photo walk. I'm desperate for him to play an episode of "The Sopranos." There is nothing more deliciously glutenous than getting sucked into a mafia marathon on a sunny day. Alas, he's put the discs to bed for the morning and then, after a bit of chit-chat, he puts himself to bed, too. I go to Barnes & Noble with designs on the cookbook "The Urban Vegan."
I'm reluctant to share this with the world, lest I jinx myself. But I have this thing, this weird luck, this stars aligning and spiritual symmetry thing going on with the parking lot at the mall. I always, always get a super choice spot right outside of the bookstore. Always. I finally told Chuck about it a few weeks ago and I've continued to have good fortune in this respect so I'm assuming this is just the way it is. That my connection to these four rows is strong and unflappable. Today, on a high-traffic Saturday, I parked in the front row.
I'm sharing a slim subcategory of the cookbooks section with an older woman, 65-70. She's flipping through a vegan cookbook and looks friendly so I take this time to pass along some sage advice.
"Are you looking for a vegan cookbook?" I ask.
"Yes," she says.
I point at a copy of "Veganomicon" that is leaning against the shelf.
"That's the best of the best."
"Really?" she asks. "But does it have weird ingredients in it? Like weird spices and stuff?"
"Nah," I say. "It's pretty normal. It's got a great recipe for Sloppy Joes made with lentils."
I leave her alone to peruse the book without feeling pressured by my creepy expectant look. If I don't check myself I'll watch her flip pages and ask "So you gonna buy it? Huh huh huh?" Probably get her phone number so I can check in with her a few weeks later.
The book has been moved when I return, but not purchased. I wonder if I've completely lost my grasp of where lentils fall on the spectrum of weird or not weird ingredients. Did I scare her away?
I wander around the mall, bored by the way that everything looks the same and bored by the way that I continue to browse here knowing that. At Old Navy an employee's chipper "Can I help you find anything?" reminds me of an idea I had years ago: color-coded lanyards indicating a shopper's interest in being approached by sales clerks. Green=Yes! Please. Red=I guess if I can't find where the cardigans are in this store, I probably don't deserve to own one.
They sell Homerun pizzas at Target.
Back at home I have an overwhelming urge to throw away everything. EVERYTHING! We aren't stuff people, so why do we have so much stuff? I dust. Move furniture. Sweep. Find a corn chip under the couch in a nest of what I don't want to admit is probably leftover cat hair.
"I'm not bringing anything new into this house," I tell myself. "For every new thing I bring into this house, I'm getting rid of two old things."
Markers. Wires. Old cameras. Subscription cards from magazines. Boxes.
Dinner is Black Bean and Hominy Stew.
When Chuck goes to work I read Don Delillo. Then I get sucked into a "Cake Boss" marathon. "Cake Boss" is like "LA Ink" with fondant. Instead of giving me a deep down crave for dessert, it sort of turns me off food. A cake shaped like a toilet. A cake shaped like a snow globe. A cake shaped like a story book or a hot air balloon. Visually interesting, yes. But you never see the recipient's eyes roll back into her head with the first forkful. No one leans over the cake, obsessively pinching at bits of frosting. I get the feeling these cakes are pretty but dull-tasting. At the very least, dry.
I flip through a cookbook. I browse Netflix. I finish Delillo. I drink a San Pellegrino Lemonata. I eat cheese and crackers, giggling to myself when I set the smoked cheddar on the cover of the vegan cookbook. I monkey around with a few words. I go to bed and and start reading "Blood, Bones and Butter," setting it aside when I realize I've just been dreaming with my eyes open.