Yesterday, being a week into my second vaccine injection, I took a step toward whatever normalcy is going to look like in the coming months. The sun was shining and it was nearly hot, somewhere in the mid-80s. The day began as usual, coffee and "papers," writing, then stretching before the gym. After my workout, I took a walk that led me down the Boulevard. I decided to stop in a shoe store that sells crazy expensive shoes like Mephisto. I asked if they had Birkenstock Arizonas in my size. Indeed they did.
"I'll be back," I said.
At home, I made lunch, a wonderful Greek salad and added garbanzo beans, but oops--I was out of Feta cheese. I dumped a can of chicken on top. Salt, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Healthy. Yes, I was going to get healthy. I would lose weight and become svelte like a sea otter (having given up on becoming ropey or rangy) and begin practicing yoga again. I would align myself with the sun and the moon and the stars. The wind would guide me. Salt water would run through my veins. At night, I would drink herbal teas and rich chais. I would wear sandalwood beads and get a twine ankle bracelet (anklet?). Maybe I wold get a convertible or perhaps another Jeep. There was a fishing pole in the garage. I wanted to get into nature. Fuck yea, baby. It was time to live.
After lunch and a shower, I put on a pair of jeans and one of my finest black t-shirts. O.K. I've worn nothing but t-shirts all year, but the jeans felt weird. They didn't expand at the waistline the way my China pants do. They felt heavy. I'd have to get used to clothing again. It was just another step toward normalcy.
I went back to the Boulevard and parked at the far northern end. I wouldn't mind the stroll. Back at the shoe store, the clerk was ready for me. He brought me two pairs of Birkenstocks in my size, one dark one light. It was summer for god's sake. I chose the lighter color. Stepping out of the store, sandals in hand, I was on my way to being a hippie again, or at least a Bobo (link). Yes, Bobo is correct. I was on my way to Williams and Sonoma. Making my way through the crowded sidewalk tables and around groups of strolling shoppers felt strange, for this past year, I have walked on the other side of the street bordering the park to avoid them. Now, with my vaccine superpowers, however. . . .
Stepping into Williams and Sonoma felt strange. I haven't often gone to the store without a girlfriend with whom I might buy pots and pans and expensive knives and tablecloths of outrageous prices. I made my way to the glassware. All I wanted was good, heavy whiskey glasses, but I was disappointed. Still, I needed something, so I chose two that were the plainest and least expensive on the shelves.
"Are you a rewards member," the clerk asked me. I didn't know. I could have been. I think Ili was. But I didn't remember ever signing up for anything here, so I just said no. It made no difference. I was only spending ten dollars.
Back on the sidewalk, two big bags in my hand, I was a thing to be desired, a real and true shopper doing his part to keep the economy rolling.
My next stop was on the other side of town. I was going to what used to be called "The Health Food Store." Yes, it was where you bought health food, not that poison they sold in grocery stores. Long before everyone began buying organic, you could get it here, little malformed pieces of fruit and vegetables that seemed stunted in growth. The store was cavernous, the shelves filled with strange brands of snacks and weird peanut butters you had to stir, and other nut butters too. Long shelves were stocked with every vitamin and mineral ever named and jars of herbs and spices recommended by holistic homeopaths. There were ear candles and crystals and vegetarian recipes and books on astrology. Before this all became mainstream, going to "The Health Food Store" was an adventure into the unknown.
O.K. So I am a little bit like that. Have you heard of the healing powers of honey? Not just to eat, but to put on wounds? Weird, right? You might remember that my surgeon was against antibiotics and told me not to use any antibiotic creams or ointments. He hadn't said anything, however, about honey. But it seemed weird to put honey on a wound. It sounded scary.
I Googled it. Indeed, WebMd and the Mayo both had pages on using honey on wounds. WTF? The recommended honey is called Maluka. Apparently it has different powers than other honeys. In fact, there is a product called Medihoney that is sold commercially (link). Amazon sells it, and I read that CVC drugstores sell it, too. Again. . . WTF? I figured that if anybody in town sold it, it would be "The Health Food Store."
In fact, they didn't. They used to, but they hadn't had it in for months. They were going to try to get it back in stock, they said. They DID have Maluka honey. I told the lady who was helping me, "You know, when I Googled it, I found a page asking, 'Is Maluka honey a scam?' You know what it said? It said, well. . . there is more Maluka sold than is produced." I looked at her and grinned. She grinned back and bobbed her head up and down. "I am told that all of our products are carefully researched and screened," she told me. "Oh. . . I have no doubt," I said picturing the team of scientist in the back of the store hared at work. But I'd come across town, and I wasn't going to leave empty handed.
I bought a very expensive CBD oil to soothe my hippie soul. Bobo, I mean.
O.K. Maybe CVC had Medihoney. I doubted it, though. I seriously doubted it, but I made my way to the nearest one without hope. Now where would they put such a thing. They didn't have a cult homeopathic medicine aisle that I could find, so I wandered around the shelves until I saw one that said dressings for wounds. Next to it was the usual antibiotic creams and ointments, and. . . fuck me, if they didn't have a Maluka Honey Bandage. It was CVCs own brand! CVC makes a fucking honey bandage. My knees gave a little. WTF, WTF? I looked around me. Yes, there were some pretty "special" people shopping here. CVC is cashing in. I almost asked the pharmacist if they sold healing crystals, but there was a line and I didn't wish to wait.
It was mid-afternoon. The sun was shining and the air was more than warm and the university jazz station was playing Billy Holiday singing a song about the cold snow and blowing wind. Why, I wondered, would they play this in the middle of summer. Then I remembered it was early February. Yup. The dead of winter.
Even though I was entering my hippie health period, I pulled into the liquor store to get a bottle of scotch. I was out, and even though. . . you know. . . you need a bottle in the house. You can't just not have it or you go nuts, right. Yes, a backup bottle in case a friend dropped by. And I might have one before I put on the kettle for tea. But yoga and tea and CDB oil and Birkenstocks were my thing. Clear eyes, youthful skin, a body like a well-toned seal. . . .
It was early, but I was on her side of town, so I decided to stop by my mother's house and argue with her about the senate hearings. No, that is not what I thought, but it is what happened. She's great. She teaches me things. Like if your only source of information is Fox News and nothing else. Then you can have an opinion. And she has learned to argue like a Fox huckster, too. If I say Trump is bad, she says, what about Biden?
"He's going to let tens of thousands of them across the border!"
"Tens of thousands of who?"
"That caravan that is headed our way."
"You mean they are in the country now?"
"No, they are getting ready to. They are on their way. You haven't seen them?"
"But I thought we were talking about Trump? What does that have to do with Trump's culpability?"
Classic Fox move.
When I go home, the sun was still out and I had bags full of Bobo stuff, and I felt like celebrating. I decided to make a margarita, a very cold one. I sat on the deck with the cat and drank it as the walkers paraded by. Speaking of the cat, I got quite a surprise two nights ago. I went out to look for the faeries and sat down with my cheroot and scotch to peer into the darkness. I was surprised by the cat who I don't usually see at night, but there she was by the tree. She reached up with her front paws so that I thought she was going to scratch to pare her nails. Rather, she made a leap and scurried up the tree. Holy shit, I think she might be sleeping in the crook of the branches at night like a leopard or a lion! Do cats do that? She didn't come down the entire time I sat there. I began to wonder--was that actually my cat, or was it some other. I couldn't really tell in the dark. I am going to have to Google cats sleeping in trees today.
When my margarita was done, oh so quickly, I decided to make another. And as I sipped at this one, determined to go more slowly, I thought, "You know what would be good? A big plate of nachos would be good." I still have money on my Uber Eats account from when I had my accident and the members of my department gave me an account with a bunch of money in it. Fuck yea, I thought. Nachos.
I pulled up the app and scrolled through the restaurants. I looked at menus. I ordered tacos and nachos from a place that looked intriguing. Within twenty minutes, they were at my door.
You can't eat tacos and nachos without something to drink, so I poured a beer. Those tacos and nachos were great, too. I ate them while watching the news which began to repeat itself in short order and the pundits began to say what all the pundits had said before, so I turned it off and switched over to YouTube to watch some art documentaries. I poured a scotch and watched a long doc on William Eggleston. I've been intrigued by him for a long time, but as I watched the doc which had no narration and just followed Eggleston around recording what he did and said, I decided he was an alcoholic on the spectrum. He claims to be a genius which became less evident as the doc went on, but I began to realize that the power of his pictures is that it gives us a glimpse into the mind of someone who can't recognize social cues, somewhere between autism and Asperbergers. I've tried to copy his photos on my own and found it terribly difficult. Now, I think I know why.
The doc was over an hour and a half long. I don't know how many times I poured more scotch, but when it was over at nine, I was no longer able to keep my eyes open. Early as it was, it was time for bed.
I think I am paying for the tequila and the beer and the tacos and nachos and the scotch this morning. I never made the tea, didn't take the CDB oil, didn't use the honey patches.
I will begin my hippie ways today, though. Yes. My life will be sweetness and light and Birkenstocks and tea and strange but healthful elixirs as the vaccine continues to do its work. Soon, you see, I will be the Man from Krypton.