Note: This post was written LAST week. Saturday morning, actually. I tell you this because today it’s sunny, dry, and hot and the remnants of Isaac have passed. Not that this matters, but that’s just how honest I am. I would never lie about the weather. That’s, you know, like a SIN … or something.
What was Hurricane Isaac has reached Edwardsville. It’s dark and ominous outside where my bike is locked to a light pole. I’m sitting in Panera Bread with a mug of decaffeinated coffee. I know I’ll be rained on this morning, but I’m semi-prepared; I have an extra set of clothes. Also, I brought the lids to my kitty litter container panniers. So while I might get soaked down to my skivvies, the laptop, phone, iPod, clothes, and backpack will be dry.
I’m drinking “decaf” because earlier this summer I realized I was drinking more coffee than ever. Each day I held my hand up in front of my face and watched it vibrate. My mind raced. I jumped over cars. Not really on that last one, but I felt like I could. Caffeine is a socially accepted drug. It’s mostly harmless, of course, but I realized that I’d probably be better off without it.
So here I am, like a newborn baby: drug and alcohol free. No smoky, no drinky, no caffeiney. And yes that does include a ban on all caffeinated soda. Boring, right?
There’s nothing better, some would say, than a roaring drug habit to fuel my need for writing topics. You know, interesting stuff. Last night I could have been out on the streets of St. Louis selling myself to score some crack, but I was in bed at 8:30 reading Junie B. Jones to Ainsley. I can’t remember the title, but it’s a Halloween story where Junie dresses up like Squirty the Clown.
After I don’t know how many chapters, Ainsley left and came back with a handful of stuffed animals and her blankey/pillow combo. I grabbed a plush dog named “Delgado” by the back of the neck and made it talk and move around for a few minutes before Ainsley told me to stop. She wanted to play by herself. Offended, I said fine. I thought I was hilarious with that dog; Chloe would make me animate her toys for hours. I remember I could do it while napping on the floor. Something like the following was was common when she was around the age of four.
“Daddy! Wake up!”
“Huh? Oh, sorry. (in a high-pitched voice) Why yes Chloe I would love to come over for dinner, but what about Moo Cow, can she come too?”
I get a kick out of asking the girls “Who PLAYS better, mommy or daddy?” With no hesitation: “Daddy!” I got all warm and fuzzy inside and that just made me want to “play” even better. Yes, my talking animals were a hit.
Since they’re 7 and 12, my puppeteering days are pretty much over. This morning that fact is making me sad and teary. Right here in Panera I’m going to cry. There’s nothing better, nothing harder, than having kids to raise. But then they grow up.
Ainsley wants to live at home with us forever. I told her that’s fine and I would love that. I also mentioned that she’d probably change her mind when she’s fifteen. She didn’t believe that for a second. She then asked how old I’d be. I guess she was thinking that since I’m so damn old I’m not going to be around very long for her to live with anyway.
I brought extra clothes because I might bike over to The Y to exercise. Some say exercise is like a drug. I’m one of those people, but the hardest part is the crossover moment between “not exercising” and “exercising.” It’s the getting started part that kills me. Once I leave here, the deciding factor will be the direction I point my bike. If I head towards home, I’m screwed and I won’t make it to the gym. If I point my front wheel towards the gym and start pedaling I’ll reach the safe drug and my self-esteem will tick upwards.
We live two miles from one YMCA and four miles from another, larger, nicer one. On Thursday I biked to the nice one and realized when I rolled up to the bike rack that my back tire was flat. I dug a piece of brown glass from the rubber. I momentarily thought about just forgetting the whole damn plan to exercise. “I should just go home and take a nap; nothing’s going right today!” But I stayed.
Then I walked the bike a mile and a half to Target. I went in and looked around for 20 minutes until the next bus came along. The bus was crowded and the girl next to me smelled like salmon, but I didn’t mind. Not that I like the smell of salmon; I don’t. Even when I used to eat meat, I didn’t like salmon. I guess I was simply in a high mood where salmon people can’t bring me down. I love seeing the bus crowded, but that’s for political reasons I won’t go into today. I heard a guy behind me talking to his little boy. He said “A guy kissing his son is the only time it’s right for two males to kiss. But a guy kissing another guy–I’m not having it.” It’s always interesting on the bus.
Well, the sun is peaking out and ducking in–over and over–so I’m going to unchain my bike, hammer the pedals, and see where I end up.