In other exciting news, I went grocery shopping recently.
I filled my cart with everything healthy and organic you can imagine: potatoes grown from compost, lovingly smothered wild turkey (apparently, the trauma of any other kind of killing makes the meat gamy), apples untouched by man.
My total bill shot well past my budget for the week, but I prided myself on eating in a manner so back to the earth that I might as well have been snorfling around in the dirt on my naked hands and knees, rooting for grubs and tubers.
I loaded the many bags of groceries into my car and drove directly across the parking lot to an Arby's, where I proceeded to eat as many battered fingers as a chicken could possibly have on its hand. This I chased with a bucket of curly fry.
The singular "fry" is accurate here because that's what it was: a giant, coiled Gordian knot that lifted whole from its carton and settled directly into my unhinged jaws.
It tasted a bit like cigarettes and the salt from a sweaty forearm, and I realized suddenly that I might be eating myself to death.
Every human body probably has its unique limit of unhealthy food it can contain in one life time.
It's not: Will Arby's kill me?
It's: After a certain number of Arby's, I will be dead.
I want to know what that number is, so I can flirt around it, get near enough to the fire to get a bit of a dirty thrill.
I'll stop at the 99th donut if I know that the 100th will kill me.
I'm a pathetic person, I thought, as I ate. A winded sack of monosodium glutamate and aimless yearning.
You see those movies where eating is a sensual, joyous experience. The act of it lifts the spirit.
What kind of food was this, then, here in my mouth, when eating it convicted me in the heart that I've lived a life of worthless things?
Such a classic middle American turmoil to flounder in: a car full of the freshest, healthiest food money can buy, a slight burn of guilt over a fast food indulgence, a dark country road to park along, a sky of brilliant stars overhead and nothing but my uneasy sense that everything is wrong to keep me company.
There's no denying it now, I suppose. I can fit snugly into a folder labeled "mid-life crisis" and be filed away in a drawer alphabetized according to cliche: sports car, toupee, interest in karaoke, rickets.
It reminds of a black man I once knew, who, with seething anger, described to me what it was like to walk into a room full of white people and have preconceived notions thrust upon him about how he should dress, or the kind of music he should enjoy. No one said anything aloud, but he could feel the box dropping around him through their eyes.
I studied the fury in his face and thought, is there anything in my life that makes me that passionately angry? I bought a Lego set recently and it was missing all the little figures. That definitely bothered me, but he was talking about racism. It's not the same.
Yes, I am writing about black people again. I have been writing Gweenbrick for over three years now, and its getting to the point where I can't remember what things I have written or what stupid jokes I have already made. It's all a trivial blur, with a sense that I may have been a lot more fun in the early days. Like when people who used to know me encounter me now; they still tweak my breasts or poke my belly, but they can't shake the feeling that my giggle used to bubble out of me with more authenticity.
I sat in my car and continued to eat.
What did you hope to be by now, I asked of the chicken fingers and the bits of curly fry hiding under the inside corners of the paper bag.
What did you expect to be, giant glass bottle of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar, besides the key ingredient in a more holistic douche?
Food, mute whore that it is, gave no answers.
It communicates all that it needs to by its very presence, sitting there greasy in the darkness and urging eat me, eat me to death without using a single word.