As I was purchasing some Vitamin Water at 7-11 yesterday, a woman asked me if it was okay to drink. I need that shit, but all of it tastes, you know, like medicine. You look like someone I can trust to tell me the truth. What flavor do you have? The woman looked a little strung-out, the way I feel most of the time. Her Big Gulp shook in her hands, so much that some of it had spilled on the counter near my array of items, selected in a rush because I have not worked up the nerve to endure the grocery store in some time. The Vitamin Water I favor is Revive, a purple concoction tasting vaguely of grapes. I told her and she said, Rhubarb water in a horrified voice that made me laugh. I assured her that I was the last person to be touching a vegetable much less drinking water flavored with those vile little things. Truth is, the woman was right to ask me. I hate drinking water, loathe it. I force it down as if it were gin, sip after small sip, making faces and telling myself it's good for me, an elixir for eternal youth. I have to take so many things I hate, she said. I don't want to hate one more thing.
Earlier in the day, I saw another woman in line ordering ice-cream and water. She had two small children, was exceptionally beautiful, perfectly groomed, well-dressed, and had an aura of calmness that seemed impossible. I was mesmerized by how placid she stayed when one of her boys threw his water on the floor, saying that it was too cold. I don't like it and you can't make me drink cold water, never ever ever ever, he said. She asked the woman at the counter if she had any warm water. The woman, not young, pretty, or rich, looked as if she wanted to smack her, but regained composure and got a cup of it from the sink. When it was my turn, she asked me what I wanted, and I ordered yogurt. The woman offered me some free water for waiting so long behind the mother and children. I wanted to say no, but I took it and forced some of it down. Like so many things that are given freely, like advice and love, it was hard to accept at first, but I did and was thankful for it.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I drink to find other people less boring." Christopher Hitchens
Drinking short story collection suggestion: Days Mary Robinson
Benedictions and Maledictions
One of my most wonderful students, Sharon Laurents, died yesterday after a long battle with leukemia. Rest in peace, dear Sharon! Many condolences to her family and friends.
On a side note, dear readers, I ask you for civility to others in your comments. I am loathe to monitor comments because I believe that the board tends to right itself. There is room enough for everyone on the board! Please be as kind as possible. Unlike Rodney King, I will not ask why we can't just get along -- I only ask that everyone is treated with kindness, respect, or plenty of space.
Also, Baby Grouchie left the house for the first time in many years to revisit the toy store where he lived before me. He will write about this experience later this week in a piece he has tenatively titled, "Grouchie Leaves Home For the First Time in Some Time in Mommy's Car Snowflake and Was Very Very Afraid But Did Not Cry."