It started with other people drinking before the sun was over the yardarm. Or maybe it started when Mr. H and I almost threw up on the plane. Turbulence. I don’t know.
At some point, I was asked if “THEY” were “satisfied” with the “progress” that the parasite has made. “No, of course not,” I replied. “I am having a weak and reedy child, sunken of chest. THEY feel I will have to heave a sturdy rock at its hideous visage shortly after birth.” Then there was a discussion of a custom closet system, not my first choice for conversation. “Did you MEASURE?” “No, of course not,” I replied. “Why would I measure to ensure custom results?”
Then there was the problem of more drinking and gross sexual harassment of a waitress and food covered in sauerkraut. I think that was supposed to be delicious. But again with the almost throwing up business. My primary tormentor wolfed down a plate of German potato salad and told a tale of meddling, which stemmed from describing a problem with her inability to gain satisfaction from the help file in Excel. “You have to know how to look things up!” Yes, yes you do. “I was in the checkout the other day, and there was this young kid doing the ringing, and he didn’t know what a Belgian Endive was. So I said ‘Look under witloof.'”
“Witloof?” I asked.
“Yes, it’s the Dutch word.”
“And this would help a checker in an American supermarket?”
“Well, I’ve seen it called that before. At Kroger!”
“Were you at Kroger?”
“What were you doing with an endive, anyway?” I was suspicious, as it took this person nearly fifty years to try asparagus.
“It wasn’t mine, the lady in front of me had it.”
“So you injected yourself into someone else’s transaction and offered a bizarre foreign word to be helpful?”
“Well, she thought it was some kind of celery. So I said to try looking under Belgian Endive. And he still couldn’t find it, so I said he should try Endive Comma Belgian.”
“If you had been quiet, he would have entered it under either celery or general merchandise, and you would been able to leave two minutes sooner.”
“But that would screw up their inventory!”
It has taken me days to get over this trip. You really can’t go home again. Not without getting bombed back to one’s emotional stone age. There’s the judgment, the paranoia, the incoherent ranting about Big Pharma and how money will be worthless, the revisionist history of wrongs committed in childhood, and the great sucking need for connection that I don’t know how to answer. What does anyone want from me? What do I want from anyone? If someone likes me, is that enough reason to give my time to that person? What if you also owe that person $10,000 that you aren’t really good for? What if you are having a child, and someone assumes he or she will be a part of that child’s life, and all you can think of is how much you hope you don’t do to that child what was done to you? And the very prospect of repeating history keeps you up nights, in a soppy swamp.