Friday, 20 April 2012
ONE LITTLE TWO LITTLE THREE LITTLE BRAIN CELLS
It’s 5:00 a.m. when I first wake up and stagger out to the kitchen on numb feet to take my supplements and choke down a glass of orange juice. The juice is mixed with Spirolina, stinks of swamp water and is a vile hue of forest green. I hold my breath and get it down. Then I mess about on the computer, reading about supplements and finally go out to the balcony to watch the sun come up. At 7:00 my eyes are heavy again and I crawl back under the covers until 9:30.
Some days, the energy doesn’t come. Today is one of them. It’s as if I’m an hour glass – and the minute I’m upright is the minute the glass is turned - all the sand runs out immediately. But I persevere – shower, get dressed, slap on a wig. I wait to feel peppy. It doesn’t happen. Most of the day, I sit on the couch thinking about things I ought to do, could do, and staring vaguely into space. And then my eyes get heavy again. Wendy drops by to see Heather and me and my eyes begin to close, my head drops back and suddenly, although I’m still sitting upright, I’m asleep – right in the middle of a conversation.
By 5:30 in the afternoon, I’m finally awake. That is to say, a level or so farther from actual unconsciousness. When Heather goes out for the evening, I decide that I must rescue myself from this festival of lethargy. I have been so cared for and assisted that it’s been months since I even grocery shopped by myself. Months since I carried anything up and down the stairs. Wendy and Heather have a way of quietly & unobtrusively pre-empting my efforts to carry on as if nothing has changed. I love them for it but I hate to feel like a burden and I figure it’s high time I proved to myself that I am perfectly capable.
Um. It may be Heather and Wendy have been more accurately observing me than I have, myself.
Because here comes Linda’s Big Launch into Self-Reliance:
I find an appropriate sweater, my keys, my purse and put my tiny shopping list in my purse. Call the taxi, and get down three flights of stairs without mishap. The driver is a local guy who has often driven me to treatment, so we have a pleasant chat on the way. Upon arrival, the fare is $5.40 and I want to give him a $2.00 tip. Usually, I would take the $10 in my wallet and find the small change and ask for $3.00 back. But do I do that? No. For some reason, I give him $12.75 and ask for $3.00 back. He’s a good guy, that driver…and we end up laughing, trying to figure out what the hell I’m trying to do. He straightens it out and hands me back the correct change.
Onward through the “do not enter” doors, which have just opened automatically for someone else. Okay. Closer to the ATM anyway. I grab my cash and walk away leaving my shopping bag next to it. Back for the shopping bag. Next step: get a cart. I’m good. I’m good. Just little goofs. Finally, steadied by holding the cart handle, I pull out my list and survey the store. I feel ridiculously confident and happy to be doing a chore by myself. Look Ma! No hands!
Or no feet. Mostly, I stick to the list. I push the cart slowly and only knock into three display stands and miscalculate one corner turn. Still good. Nothing crashes to the ground. The last purchases are a bouquet of mixed cut flowers and a dozen pink roses. I do not embarrass myself in front of the nice young man at the cash.
It’s a lovely cool night. Outside I find a seat on a stack of bags of gardening soil and wait for my taxi. I put the bag and flowers down and settle in watching the sky turn from glowing deep indigo to blue black. It’s half an hour, then 45 minutes, then an hour. Usually I’d call the cab company, but clearly, if they had an available cab, it would have come. Why piss of the dispatcher for nothing? Besides, it’s fun to watch the people come and go. The air feels good. I’m actually awake and out in the world all on my own.
The cab does finally arrive but as we pull up to my door and I reach for my bag, I realize I’ve left the flowers on the stack of potting soil bags. I’m damn well NOT giving up those roses. So we turn around, the cabbie betting that in Spryfield I’ll be damn lucky if they’re still there. I pretty much know they’ll be there. I have no idea why I know that, but I’m right. I grab the bouquets, jump back in – and when we arrive back, I do the same bizarre financial calculation I did with the first cab. And this driver, who doesn’t know me from Adam, ends up laughing like hell, explaining what I’ve done – corrects my mistake and hands me the right amount of change. I must have angels.
It’s almost over. I lug the stuff upstairs without tripping. The dying bouquet has to be prepared for the compost, and I carefully cut the ends of the new flowers. Meanwhile, I’m cleaning the vase by running very hot water into it. The glass is too hot to touch, so I switch to cold, somehow forgetting momentarily that glass subjected to extreme changes in temperature will break. The bottom of the vase pops out clean.
Now, here I sit. The groceries are packed away. The roses and mixed flowers are in vases. All is well. So…what’s the score?
Two Oops!- Forgot- that’s.
Three display near-misses.
One bad corner turn.
One broken vase.
Extra cab fare.
And the discovery that at the moment, a calculator is not optional.
But it’s 10:54 p.m. and I’m awake now! And mercy of mercies - the brain cells that are delighted & amused by the ridiculous are still alive and well.