Decision on a Sunday

Decisions. Corona Extra or a Bloody Mary? I think there might be prescription-strength pain killers on the property somewhere as well, but there’s no gratification in that. Honestly, I don’t understand people who become addicted to those things. One can’t sit in a bar swilling a speckled egg, leering at people or criticizing their choice of hair/wig/clothing/personal hygiene. You swallow and then you’re done, and you probably did that in the bathroom pretending that this was not, in fact, your 4th today. A Corona is good, it lasts for more than 3 seconds (in my case, anyway) and even if I’m sitting at home alone with it I at least pretend that I’m sitting in a public space holding it at face level, elbow bent, while I leer at people and/or criticize their choice of hair/wig… etc. I feel that I’m safe from the threat of alcoholism because even if I’m drinking alone I do so wishing that I were with other people. Plus the fact that I can’t usually drink more than a couple and after a few days even that gets old.

But, why drink at all? Some people don’t need to ask that question. I ask why? They ask, why not? I have recently been accused of being like a 5-year-old with all my questions. I know the answer, though, because it’s my question. (Don’t try to make sense of that sentence.) I drink because today is Sunday and Sundays suck. Other Christians might call that blasphemy, saying such a thing about the Sabbath. I say that Saturday was the original Sabbath so get over it. Why do Sundays suck? (Again with the questions!) Let’s take today as an example.

I woke up at about the time I would normally get to work, a little earlier. I have slept late so therefore I feel like crap. Sleeping late does not make me feel good. Naps do, but that comes later. This morning I got up and did my morning routine, fed my screaming princess of a cat and gave the dog his morning treat (a Bar-S brand wiener). Then I went to breakfast with my roommate – who has asked that I not use his name, for whatever reason. After that I went into town. Living in Elgin makes you say things like “I went into town”. One problem was, though, that I had previously thrown my schedule off. Last Friday I was feeling rather drained so I stopped at Barnes & Noble on my way home and I picked up a book that I had ordered. They had called me and threatened to return it, which could only mean that they had my email address incorrect because I never received an email letting me know that it had arrived. I’m used to this. It’s not a difficult email address; it is my name run all together then arroba1 then “”. The lady who helped me noticed right away that the email they had used wasn’t correct and she noticed right away why. It’s a common mistake, really, but one that I don’t understand. People are okay writing the name Ernie, but I spell it with an ‘a’, so they have to write Earnie. Some part of that confuses them and they write Earine. Even when I spell it 3 letters at a time they get flustered right after the ‘r’. I can usually tell by the look on their face that they’ve typed my name incorrectly, but this time it slipped past me. I don’t have much problem with the Painter part of it. When somebody asks my last name I say Painter and they ask me to spell it (because it sounds so tricky) and I say "Painter, like one who paints" and I usually don’t have to spell it. Earnie is too tricky, though.

So, I bought my book, sat down in the café and had a cup of coffee.

That’s the problem; I bought my book on Friday. I’m supposed to buy my book on Saturday or Sunday. I don’t think that I’m really obsessive. I tend to think that most people who label themselves as obsessive/compulsive are just trying to call attention to themselves. I can leave the house with a burner on the stove set on high and not think anything of it. I don’t go back three times and check every possible problem. I push the button at the crosswalk three times, but I strongly feel that everybody does this. However, weekends are delicate and this caused a disturbance. I should have gone to a freestanding Starbucks and bought my coffee, but I was afraid B&N would send my book back, even though they clearly stated in the voice mail that they would hold it for another week. Actually, I think I was just trying to reassure myself that I’m not obsessive and that I should kill 2 birds with one stone on a Friday evening while I was already in town; drink coffee and pick up the book. But, that meant that on Saturday morning I didn’t have anything to do. I usually go to work on Saturdays, but I’ve decided not to do that for a while. Oh sure, there’s loads of housework to do, but if I’m not at work then I’m supposed to go to Barnes and Noble and buy a mystery novel that I read that weekend.

Which brings up another point: I read mystery novels. When I tell people that I don’t watch TV I get the feeling that they think I say that just to make myself feel superior. On the contrary, I would like to be able to enjoy TV. I listen to people at work talk about their favorite show that they all watched last night – except for the one person who dvr’d it so she has to walk away before she finds out what happened, except that she never walks away and if she hears what happened it’s her own fault. I envy how much they enjoy the shows and how much they enjoy talking about them the next day. It’s kind of like olives. I want to like olives. I have tried very hard to like them. I have been able to make myself like broccoli; it stands to reason that I should be able to make myself like olives. I sit there with my mind wide open, knowing that what I’m about to put in my mouth will be different but that I’m going to allow myself to enjoy it, regardless of my previous experience. Then, when it’s in my mouth I begin to gag and I have to spit it out. Along the same lines I have sat down in front of the television and began watching a show… but I can’t do it. I think it’s the commercials. I bought the first season of True Blood on dvd, and when I’ve intoxicated myself I am able to watch an episode of that here and there. Mystery novels don’t have commercials. Mysteries don’t make me feel like I’m a walking donkey’s petunia simply because I’m going bald and not doing anything about it. Agatha Christie never told me to tell my doctor what to prescribe me or made me feel uncool if I hadn’t purchase a new shirt in the last 30 minutes. I don’t like commercials, so I read. I read other things besides mysteries, but weekends are for taking it easy and who wants to work at thinking about a book. Weekends are for mystery novels, Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, Susan Wittig Albert. Life needs to end up with a happy ending without having to work too hard. I’m supposed to lie on my sofa and read while my cats sleep, contented just to have me in the room, even if the ungrateful hags don’t snuggle or let me pet them.

So, Saturday I was forced to help my roommate with something or other, I washed a load of laundry that’s still sitting in the laundry basked – as it should be – and then we went to dinner at Hyde Park Bar & Grill because Roommate was craving their fries. Not a lot of reading of mystery novels happened, though I couldn’t tell you exactly all that did happen. I thought about packing, but that didn’t take up much time being that I didn’t actually pack anything or even take the boxes out of my car. (I’m moving in a little over a month. A different story for a different time.) I did, however, think about buying sauce pans and pots for my kitchen, and silverware. I had decided that I could do that on Sunday morning, which is exactly what I did right after I left breakfast this morning. (I didn’t have coffee at breakfast, by the way.) I drove directly to Austin and checked a couple of department stores and discount stores, pricing pans. (They don’t sell sauce pans by themselves very much and when they do they’re, like, $30 or $40 apiece. WTH??) When I was in the second store, Target, I had the first breakdown. I started thinking of couples that I know and it made me very, very sad to be moving out all by myself. I’m adult enough to know that this was a coffee deficiency because I do not know a couple who lives in resplendent married bliss in which they go together to pick out cooking implements and flatware. Most people I know bicker about such things so I should feel lucky (and I do) to be able to make the decisions by myself. But, bickering is fun, too, if it’s done in the right way. And coming home to somebody who is glad to see you is fun… or it seems like it ought to be. I’m not certain that I’ve ever really experienced that.

So, crying bitter tears into my coffee (there’s a Starbucks inside of this Target) I considered calling my sister. I didn’t call because I knew that the caffeine would change my personality completely in a few minutes, which should be a glaring red light that there’s a problem, but I’ve ignored bigger problems than that. I got up and went to the kitchen department and priced sauce pans, which they didn’t sell separately. The flatware was basically the same as the previous store. I was feeling better (caffeine kicked in) so I took myself to Ross and looked for the same things. They had next to no flatware and while they sold sauce pans, the cheapest thing they had was $30.00. And that’s the Ross discount price. The original was probably twice that. What the hell, people? It’s just a sauce pan! It doesn’t have to be made out of the same material that we make rockets and space shuttles out of. From there I went to the pet store and bought Roommate’s cat a scratching block.

When I got back to Elgin I decided that I was probably going to need to cook dinner, so I stopped by the store. This is when the 2nd breakdown started. I’m not certain what triggered it. I was feeling groovy when I was picking out tomatillos, but somewhere around the tortillas I started to crash. It wasn’t as dramatic as before, and I already knew what the issue was. I needed a nap. So, I went straight home, plopped the grocery bags on the kitchen counter and walked, accompanied by the dog, outside to my room (did I mention that I’m moving? Do I need to explain why?) and laid down to read. I read 5 words and then closed my eyes. An hour later life was better.

I thought some more about packing, and I really should start that. I washed a few more clothes. I cleaned the kitchen, played with the new kitten, which Roommate assures me is not going to live in the house, and then I took myself outside to my bedroom again and finished my mystery novel. This was not the novel that I had purchased on Friday. I just happened to have an extra one so this was the weekend I was supposed to get back on track, except that I bought another book on Friday instead of Saturday or Sunday. If I had bought the book on an actual weekend day then things would have been better. I would have purchased a book on the weekend and I would have read a book on the weekend. The fact that it wasn’t the same book wasn’t as important as the fact that I had made the purchase on a weekend. I honestly considered taking the book back to Barnes & Noble and returning it, asking them to hold onto it for a week for me. I could have said that I was tight on money and couldn’t really afford the extra $6 during that particular biweekly time span. I wouldn’t have minded them thinking that I was strapped for money, but I didn’t take it back mostly because I didn’t want to get the look. You know the look. That look that says “Yes, we’ll do what you’re asking us to do but I’m not going to make eye contact with you ever again”. I don’t like getting the look. It makes an otherwise cheerful trip to the bookstore a little uncomfortable and that person doesn’t forget and the look continues for months. I used to work at a bookstore; I know. They don’t forget. I worked at a grocery store as well, and I thought that I had seen every facet of humanity, but there is something about a bookstore that attracts mentally unstable people. I mean, people who are literally institutionalized or who have to be on medication or they won’t realize that they’ve soiled their pants. People who don’t bathe for weeks and yet walk and talk as if they were Vanderbilts. I like to think that I’m not among these people because I recognize that my actions would make others uncomfortable and I refraine from them. Does thinking about killing somebody make a person a murderer? Not legally, anyway.

After I read my book I got up and made another tiny cup of a much milder coffee which I drank while I savored the book that I had just read. I savored the book and I savored the freedom I have to read it. I love reading a book on a weekend; it’s just perfect. But, soon the coffee was finished and it dawned on me that tomorrow is Monday and anxiety began to clutch my chest. I decided that I wasn’t going to cook dinner after all. I deboned the chicken and put the ingredients in the fridge and I’ll make the green enchiladas tomorrow. That made me feel a little better. I could fold laundry, I could build a box up and put some stuff into it, but that wouldn’t really fix the anxiety. From what I understand my sister used to curl up into a fetal position at about this time on Sundays and my brother used to have to medicate himself – maybe he still does.

This is why Sundays suck; I have far too many melt-downs. A friend at work feels that Sundays suck because she always needs a hair of the dog that bit her. In reality, Mondays aren’t generally that torturous for me. They used to be, but work has gotten much better in the last year. That’s a year of things not being crazy and work not being hell; it seems like I would settle down. And, the anxiety is not a conscious decision. Even if I don’t think about work the tightening of the chest is still there. Honestly, working on the weekend helps diminish it, but that’s not healthy at all. So, it’s back to my decision: Corona Extra or Bloody Mary.

I feel that a Corona Extra with a lime would be appropriate.

e A r n i e


1. @