Click here, then read.
When a single girl has been under the weather for as long as I’ve been—first with an upper respiratory infection and then Allergic Conjunctivitis (basically just the tiniest of flying monkeys poking your eyeball with a thousand splendid needles)—she runs out of food.
That’s what happened to me. When I first noticed my health slipping, my larder was already low: one banana, one pear, five slices of bread, no soup. I had a bunch of eggs. I ate so many eggs while I was sick that I can’t bring myself to look at one now. I also remember sometime during the haze of decongestants, expectorants and my general sleepiness, walking outside to get my mail. Not having showered for three days, a patch over one eye, and in the same pajamas I’d been wearing for God knows how long, I ran into my neighbor Steve and his dog Max.
“Arg,” I said.
“What’s wrong with you?” Steve said.
“I’m sick,” I croaked. “You have any chiggen nuggle soup?”
“Yeah,” he said. “Watch Max.” He went in to get me a couple cans while I patted Max’s head.
“Gurgle,” I said when he returned. I dragged my Yoda-self back into my house.
Now—about two weeks after that whole mess started—I’m feeling 90%. Yesterday was my own personal “coming out day”, the recovering debutante: I would clean myself up, go out into the world, eat a hotdog with the King of Hotdogs, return to my gym…and buy groceries.
I wanted to look extra-pretty since I’d been extra-ugly for so long, so instead of wearing my eye patch under my glasses, I put my contacts in for the first time in weeks. My one infected eye didn’t complain, so off I jaunted.
First, I went to see my old friend the Hotdog King, a.k.a. Pittsburgh Willy. We are both on the mend from various ailments. We commiserated on the patio of his restaurant for awhile before Willy started his usual line of questioning: “Why are you single? Pretty girl like you? Smart and financially secure, great sense of humor, warm and kind. I can figure most people out, but I don’t get you.”
As I ate my nummy hotdog (with mustard and onions and jalapenos, my first real sustenance in days), I considered Willy’s questions. Why am I single? “I like to sleep alone,” I said. “I like the quiet. I like my own patterns and schedule.” As always, bad memories of not being single started seeping in. “I don’t like to wonder, when it comes to a man. I don’t like to be messed with.” I finished my hotdog along with my story: “If I could find a man with his own interests who wouldn’t mind having his own wing in a large house, who would meet me in the kitchen for meals and to share news, who would cuddle with me on the couch at night to watch a program, and who would sleep peacefully with me in a very large bed, then I would consider a mate.”
“I hope you find him,” said Willy.
In good spirits, I left the hot dog restaurant and walked back to my carriage. “Giddy up,” I said to my car, and we went foraging for bird seed and cat food at the pet store. My right eye began to feel slightly irritated, like the tiny winged monkeys were sitting behind my contact and sucking on it. I wished I had some eye drops, but didn't.
I sucked up whatever the monkeys were doing and worked out at my gym, and then finally the crowning glory: grocery shopping. I usually end up shopping for food wearing tight sweaty workout clothes and dirty sneakers; it’s just the way my schedule happens.
As I walked into my farmer market store, all the tiny monkeys in my right eye started stabbing my contact from behind. I could hear their faint chattering: Get this out of here! We no like!
I tried to fight with them for about three minutes, standing in front of the pumpkin display bawling from one eye…this eye about to erupt. I felt like the mother of me—suddenly and quickly having to make a major health decision for my child, which in this case was my eye—so I stepped into an empty aisle, stuck my finger in there, and removed my right contact. Ahhhhhhhhh, sweet pain release. The monkeys went back to wherever they stay when they’re not bothering me.
I had never removed a contact in a store before, and I didn’t know what to do with it, so I simply flicked it away. Goodbye, pain-maker. Not sure where it landed.
And then commenced the one-eyed grocery shopping. What looked good out of my left eye? I found myself veering left which is why I now have more eggs. I know my store so well that I just patted my way around to find the bulk bins, the bananas, the bread. I couldn’t read what kind of turkey lunchmeat was on display, so now I have an array—one of each. Soon my kitties and I will know what “southern fried turkey” tastes like, as I discovered when I got home. We’re used to low-sodium.
I had to drive home with one contact in, the other one plastered on your next can of organic gluten-free soup. I was worried about backing up, not seeing how close or far people might be, if I would recognize landmarks on my way to my house. But I did fine, because I do it all the time. I have my habits and my routes; I always know where I’m going. One-eyed or not, I could drive my way back home. My right eye helped a little bit, at least letting me know it was still daytime and I did not have to turn on my lights.
I hauled my purchases out of the car: two forty-pound bags of birdseed, all my own lovely food…then my purse, my gym bag, the squeaky stuffed animal I bought for neighbor Steve’s dog. Before I did anything else, I went out back and tossed the squeaky toy over the fence, a surprise for Max. I like doing that.
I like doing a lot of nice things. But I guess I like doing them alone.