“People are strange when you’re a stranger
faces look ugly when you’re alone
Women seem wicked when you’re unwanted
Streets are uneven when you’re down”
“People are Strange” The Doors
For the last few days while my mind has been in overdrive, I’ve been telling myself to cut myself a little slack. “Take a fucking day off, would you?” Yesterday was the same thing. Minutes after I wake up I’m walking around raving. I catch myself, “Get off the fucking clock! There is no schedule. It’s Sunday, This is the perfect time. All you have to do is chill out and watch football. It starts at one.” Somehow that turned into I have to get all kinds of shit done before one. What? What do I have to get done? Nothing. I’m getting nothing done anyway. I’m just spinning my wheels. I’ve been up for half an hour and I haven’t even started the coffee yet. That’s usually automatic. I’ve attempted three times but somehow I forget during the 15 foot walk into the kitchen. Finally I get it started, but now I’m behind schedule, right? What fucking schedule? Did I pencil in this walk around and yell at the walls time? How do I forget coffee? I’ve been drinking coffee every morning forever.
So, yeah, I get a cup, sit down, turn on the computer, relax, read some fucking blogs. Okay, I got it sorted. Open the reader, cool a lot of people posted. “Fuck! The lentils. I haven’t even started.” (Like I’m going to starve to death) That was another ordeal. Put the pot on the burner, walk away. I don’t know how long. What I did? “Fuckin’ lentils” Okay, three more trips to the kitchen. Got it! Turn on the burner. “Set the timer. That’s the only thing you have to do. Set that timer.” Good, remembered. Now I’m really behind schedule. “What fucking schedule? Give it a rest!” Alright, sit down, drink your coffee, read some blogs. Click, open a post. Full cup of coffee, ice cold! Back to the kitchen, dump it down the sink. Take a couple steps. Wait a minute, maybe, just maybe, I don’t need any coffee today. Dumped the pot down the drain. Smartest thing I’ve done all day.
Still going. Same fucking thing all morning. Finally, ate the lentils, same thing, apple, apple, apple, orange, orange, orange… Banana… Could you hurry up and do this? Hurry up and do what? Every time I sit back down, the first post I opened hours ago is still open. I haven’t read it. What have I been doing? I haven’t done anything else. What the fuck have I been doing? I woke up 7 hours ago. I don’t know. I read a couple. I forget. Now it’s the strawberries. I got to eat them. No I don’t. I had plenty of food. I like them but I can eat them whenever. Sit back down. It’s fucking noon. I gotta read all these blogs and all this other shit I added to the list because football starts in an hour. Why? I got all day to do this and if I don’t, it doesn’t matter. I read ’em. Took less than an hour. But somehow that turned into I also have to write a post. No! I don’t! About what? Supposed to be taking the fucking day off.
Now I’m serious, “Sit down and shut the fuck up! Sit. Down. And. Shut. The. Fuck. Up!” I did it. I did it. Lying in bed. Calmed myself down, game started. I am really fucking relaxed. Like, oddly relaxed. I feel good. Really good. It’s Sunday. I’m in bed watching football. Patriots win, that’s good. Tampa’s playing next. I still like Brady. I don’t care if he went to another team.
Pops into my head, “I haven’t checked the mail in a few days.” I don’t like to check the mail on the weekend because if I get something I have to act on, I can’t because it’s the weekend. I will just stress until Monday. I don’t know, I got a minute. Just fucking do it. Easy enough. I’ve taken care of everything this month. Go downstairs. Fuck! Housing? I just did that. It’s jammed into the top of the box. What the hell? Fucking postman! Better not rip. Probably nothing. Back upstairs, open it.
Termination Notice! The fuck? My renewal paperwork is overdue? No it isn’t! I remember clearly. It was the end of August. I got it in the mail, saw the due date, thought, no problem I have more than two weeks. Not for me. If I put it aside for one day I will stress about it for one day. I was sitting right there, I had plenty of time. It’s easy. Do it right now. I did it, double checked it, put it in the envelope, double checked, “No Postage Necessary.” Okay, I have stamps, don’t need one. Walk to the mailbox at the store next door, drop it in, done. Less than an hour. Nothing to worry about. Until, Termination Notice?! I only have until Friday! Instant worst case scenario. That’s not enough time! I don’t have the paperwork to send because I already sent it. I’m gonna end up homeless because something got lost in the mail? Can’t do anything now, it’s Sunday. Already lost a day.
Settle the fuck down! Voicemail, email, text my case manager. Did all the right things. Still fuckin’ freakin’. Wait a minute. Calm down. Something happened but I do have time. Alright, I haven’t had to do this in a long time but it worked before. Write it down. That’ easy. Where the fuck is my pen? I got fucking ten pens. I don’t go anywhere. How the fuck did I lose ten pens? I’m fucking screaming cause I can’t find a pen. Found one. Got paper. What am I worried about? Okay. Why do I think that is going to happen? Okay. All of that is very unlikely. Okay. What is more likely in reality? Okay, read it, it makes sense, nothing to worry about. Tampa wins, Brady threw 5 touchdowns. I text my mom and N___ “I think Brady is gonna repeat.” Write a blog. Go to bed.
Woke up this morning, running fast. Not worried. I get a text from my case manager a few minutes before she usually starts working. See? Already started. It was a mix-up, they have my paper work, solved before 9:30am. See? Nothing to worry about. So why now does my anxiety kick in? No problem, relax. I can’t take the first breath. Now I’m giving myself about having anxiety.
Noontime. I crawl into bed, put the blanket over. Come on. How long am I going to do this? I’m giving up for the rest of the day? Get all depressed and shit? Fuck that. Look how nice it is outside the window. The whole idea was to get outside as much as possible. I broke the cat shit scoop. I think they are less than a dollar at Walmart. Okay, take your ass to Walmart. Outside, feeling better already. You know what? I’m going in Panera. I don’t like it. It’s over priced and the people who get paid to make sandwiches all day, have apparently never seen a sandwich before.
I get there and I held the door for this kid because he wearing the uniform but he didn’t look like he knew if he was going in or not. He looked like he might be a little slow. He said “Thank you” and sounded a little slow. I told him to come on in. For some reason it’s an airlock entrance so I opened the second door and let him walk through. “Whoa, lot of people.”
I got my shit, I’m sitting there eating, looking around, wondering who else goes there at noon on Monday. I figured it would be people on their lunch break but it was mostly couples. Only a couple other people sitting alone. I don’t know, I start freaking out for no reason. just want to get up and go home. “Just fucking calm down, alright? Relax.” I guess it worked. I didn’t notice someone else sat down in front of me. She looking at her phone. The fuck? Everyone I’ve seen today has been staring at their phone. I have my phone but I haven’t looked at it since I left my house. Next, another broad is sitting with her and the are both staring at there phones. Ignoring each other.
See, the problem is one of the books I started listening to a while ago, the guy was talking about ways to distract yourself from anxiety. One of them was, have an erotic fantasy. I can do that. I have erotic fantasies all the time. I wasn’t feeling good on the walk but I kept getting spontaneous smiles from people who weren’t on their phones. I got a boost but what is going to happen when I’m walking on the sidewalk. But it was unusual because I don’t know if it is everywhere but people around here go to great lengths not to make eye contact.
Whatever, I was having some fantasies about a few women who walked in after me. Not only erotic but in general. There was a nice looking woman waiting for food in my eyesight. She was younger, but close to my age. She had a little girl with her and you could tell it was definitely her daughter, about 4. She smiled at me and I smiled back. I wondered if I walked over to fill my drink and I wanted to talk to her? What would I do? Would I make her daughter laugh first and say, you have a lovely daughter? Enjoy it, my daughter was her age yesterday and now she has her license. I don’t know, I’m just thinking. I don’t really want to meet someone with a young kid. I have my own daughter and I don’t want anyone to meet her. I didnt want her to have a bunch of “aunts” when she was growing up.
Then the girl with the phone? What if I just sat down across from her and said something stupid? The phone seems to say, I don’t want to be bothered, stay the fuck away from me. But I don’t know. I didn’t grow up with cell phones. Still, it’s noon at Monday. I’m just having fantasies. Another good looking woman walked by with a half smile at me so I did but she went around the corner. Then I thought, I don’t even know if these women are married or have boyfriends or what. Why am I having all these imaginations?
What the hell, I’ll just refill my drink and get out of here. I put my cup under the black tea spout and a woman squeezed close to me an reached for the Plum Ginger Hibiscus some shit. I said, oh, excuse me and took a half step. She said, it’s fine, I just wanted to get in there. Whatever I could have just stood there but I looked up and said, Oh, I wanted that but it has sugar in it. (I lied, it’s clearly labeled) She said, Oh, no! It’s unsweetened, you should try it’s fantastic. I said, I know, I had it before, that’s why I almost got it. (lied again) Something, something. That was it, but still pretty good considering most people around here would rather die in their sleep than acknowledge you exist.
I’m telling you. I walk past someone going the other direction on the way to the store. Hey, how you doin’. No response. Sometimes I get a grunt. A grunt. Once in a while someone shocks me and says, good,how are you. I’m speechless. I mean. It’s not like I’m going to stop you in your tracks and have a conversation. It’s obvious I”m still walking. It’s just what people do. I don’t care how you are doing. I don’t know you.
I walked out of Panera and saw the woman who made me think, I don’t know if someone is married. I looked to the side and saw she is 10 million dollar rock on her ring finger happily married. Ha ha.
I don’t know. I’m on my way to Walmart to get something to scoop up my cat’s shit, I think I will just continue. The place empty except the pet section. Like 50 people. Not really. But I’m still having fantasies. I found what I needed. They were 99 cents. I got three because I had three singles in my pocket. Smartest thing I did today.
I hate the self checkout. There were two lanes with live people so I got in the line. She surprised me by saying something. I told her I got in her lane because people are more fun to talk to than machines plus I want to keep you in a job. Something, something. Three? Your cat must shit a lot. Pretty funny. She could have been my age but she looked like she was seventy. Weird though, two people in the same day said more than the minimum possible?
I feel better than sitting home but nothing to do but go back. I got down by Panera and the woman with the young daughter was leaving. I looked up and her face was turned towards me and she was smiling, her foot in the air turned a little toward me and she stopped for the tiniest fraction of a second and her foot went down and she kept walking straight. Was I supposed to stop? There wasn’t time to stop. She was past me.
Maybe, earlier I should have told her she had a lovely daughter.