AM I CRAZY?
Not so fast on the response.
It’s a question I have asked myself many times over the course of my life.
Was I crazy not to go to college? I would say definitively yes.
Was I crazy to keep forgiving my parents for unacceptable behavior at times over the years? Hindsight – says no. Now that they are gone, I am at peace with the way I handled many things.
This is like my own self-generated private Jeopardy game. And only I have the answers. Watch out Amy Schneider I’m on your heels, gurl.
Was I crazy to sleep with all the people I did? No. I will never get another chance. Nor will I ever have the energy again.
I can carry this on for pages, but you will all likely unsubscribe. Suffice to say, if nothing else, I am a self-examined soul.
But lately, say the last two weeks, I have started to question my approach to our family’s life. An approach that I spearhead for the most part.
An approach that is defined by the fact we are hiding out in a canyon in Beverly Hills. See no one. Go nowhere except the grocery store. And pretty much one grocery store. Not one of the biggies like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or Ralph’s. But a small store in Brentwood, I used to go to with my grandmother. Which happens to be one of the best stores on the planet. And that is not being hyperbolic.
Or I am so deprived of stimulation, seeing Lady Fingers on a grocery shelf sends my summersaulting into a happy place.
I also go to a place called The Brentwood Country Mart, which really deserves a whole blog for itself. We don’t go often but once a week. And if it’s not crowded, we will get something to go and eat outside.
I’ve been going to the Brentwood Country Mart since I was a baby. It’s one of the few places that has retained its authenticity for 60 years.
I have one story that from there. It’s not a place with a lot going on, outside of shopping and eating.
You know I am short on content when I have to dig back into the first three years of my life.
When I was three, my mother and my half-sister Linda and I went to the Brentwood Country Mart. According to my mother it was the only place my parents would take me. My father believed kids should be seen and not heard and seen as little as possible. So, this was pre dragging kids, with fifty toys and sucky cups to amuse them wherever you went. I got to go to Brentwood Country Mart for an early lunch and then home.
This particular day (Jesus I hope you are not expecting a big story here) involved carrot juice. My mother was an early adaptor to health food. Until later in her life when she threw in the towel and existed primarliy on sweets. At this stage she adored carrot juice.
I hated the stuff. I hate all vegetable juices. I hate green juice. I hate smoothies. I’m a chewer – always have been. Even at three. I want to chew my meals until I can no longer do so.
But mom was insistent I drink carrot juice. And since these were the days when we were seen and not heard, even a big mouth like me knew I had no right to question her authority. Many years would pass before kids took over the family. These were the father knows best days and when mom said you drink carrot juice, you drank the damn carrot juice until you gagged and even then you keep going.
It’s so weird the things you remember. I don’t’ remember what I ate yesterday. But I remember the cups they served the carrot juice in. Some of you will remember these too. They were little paper cones, like ice cream cones that slid into metal holders. They are now considered “vintage.”
No question they were ecologically friendly, but not spill friendly. As the top of the cup was heavy and the bottom of the holder didn’t always support it when it was packed with carrot juice. I think. Or I am crazy. But this is a 60-year-old memory. Which means a certain amount of crazy can seep in.
This particular day, mom plunked two paper cones of carrot juice in front of each of us.
Linda is older than I am, and I looked up to her so much. She was an eight-year-old goddess to me. And mom adored her.
Linda, like mom loved carrot juice. She got that puppy and threw it back like John Wayne at the bar with a double scotch.
I on the other hand stared mine down. Like John Wayne and the villain about to shoot it out.
I don’t exactly remember how it happened, I suppose I reached for it and my little three-year-old fingers were not very agile. Perhaps the top heavy cup was sitting on a part of the picnic table that had a ridge. According to my mother ( we discussed this day for decades to come) I did it on purpose. In order not to have to drink the devil juice.
I question that theory. Despite the fact I was only three, I was nobody’s fool. But the cup tipped over and the gross orange liquid spilled all over the table.
I won’t say I was unhappy at the sight of the empty white paper cone. Linda licking her lips hoping for another cup sat quietly. She was a suck down and a suck up that day. I sat with that look of a kid who knows they were either just spared a terrible event, or a terrible event was coming.
Mom yelled at me. She told me I did it intentionally. She sang Linda’s carrot juice praises so the whole Country Mart could hear.
After she cleaned it up, finished berating me and glorifying Linda, she went and got me another one and sat there as I choked it down.
Despite this inverted Proustian memory, I still adore The Brentwood Country Mart and always have. FYI they no longer serve carrot juice.
What was my point? My life. My life is usually my point.
My life, by my own choice and that of my family is we do nothing, but market, iced coffee, UPS when needed and Brentwood Country Mart, but only once a week.
I’m fine with this life, fine as one can be, until I look at Instagram, which I need to stop doing.
Totally off topic, not that I actually have a topic… when your phone says, “Your phone usage is up 18% this week”. Is that up 18% from the previous week when your usage was up 15%? Meaning your usage in two weeks is 33% higher.
Asking for a friend.
When I am on Instagram all I see is people living their best lives. In Mexico. Packed into the Dallas football stadium. Which to me is hell, pandemic or not, I feel about football the way I feel about carrot juice. Others are in Aspen skiing. They are indoors in restaurants. At the airport going somewhere – they are living and I am hiding from COVID. And I start to question it. Am I crazy and everybody else is sane?
Should I just throw caution to the wind, and live. Honestly, I was living more last year than I am this year with three doses of the vaccine swirling through my system.
So, I walk around thinking I am crazy, questioning myself. Until I talk to someone, or many someones as was the case yesterday. Every single person I was in touch with was sick. EVERY ONE. And they had all gone out, done things, done things I don’t do. And they got sick, Some have been really sick.
I had to get one friend an infusion a few weeks ago. I know people with long haul covid who are really suffering months after they supposedly recovered. Vertigo. Exhaustion. No taste or smell still. Horrible headaches. Foggy brain.
Before I sat down to write this, I read an article about a female screenwriter who killed herself because her long haul COVID was so unbearable she preferred to die than live with it.
Then I think I am not so crazy. Then I think I am sane and everyone else is crazy.
Which is pretty much how I have gone through my entire life.
Am I crazy or are they crazy? It started with my parents. They totally tilted more towards crazy than I did. But that took years of therapy for me to accept.
But this whole thing just feels endless. Endless if you try your hardest not to get sick.
I wrote to my friend Sheldon this am. I have two friends I talk to the most. My friend Sheldon and my friend Blair. We deep dive.
Today I texted Sheldon “I am so sick of this.” Then went on for paragraphs why I was so sick of it. He told me walks help.
But I take long walks each day.
He then did what good friends do, he listened and told me about someone he knew who didn’t’ leave their house and got it.
And that made me feel not so crazy. Sheldon and I help each other not feel crazy. And I am forever grateful to him for that. I think I do the same for him.
So, I guess at the end of this day, that is like day 654 of identical days, I am not crazy as I don’t want to get COVID. And I don’t’ want my family to get it. And I don’t’ want long haul COVID or a blood clot or the other after effects. I am not crazy.
I also did not spill that carrot juice on purpose. At least I don’t think I did. If I did, that was crazy as my mom was as determined as I was in the world, and in those days she had the power and the money to buy another and make me down it and I should have known that.
I guess I answered my own question. Thank you for listening.