cleaning up

I’m still here. And no, I haven’t taken to my bed after the Yank’s latest debacle at the hands of the Red Sox. Not me. I don’t take this sweep too seriously right now. There’s not much to read into the tea leaves of the sweep when half the starting pitching staff is on the DL and known Red Sox killer Hidecki Matsui is keeping them company. I feel for the poor overworked bullpen with a pitching staff that can barely go past five innings. But Chen Ming Wang, the closest thing we have to a savior, rises again tonight, and I expect good things to start rolling around. Nothing lasts forever. Arod’s superhuman homerun hitting won’t either, but underneath even that is an relentless offense full of contact hitters that keeps coming back. So I expect to be cheering well into October. I always do.

There are some things that do make me want to take to my bed, Victorian style, on my pretend fainting couch (I’ve always coveted one of those). As mentioned, the sight of the kiddo in her little pigtails, which she insists on now because “they make me look like a puppy.” If she could, she’d have us serve all meals and drinks from a feeding bowl too. But we don’t do that. Goddamn, though…what is it that I’m feeding her that makes her so tall and her feet so long; that slims her face out? She looks like…a tweener, zipping around, getting her clothes dirty while playing with “the sisters” next door. She climbs trees now. My baby. It’s not fair.

The thing that most calls me to the bed is my detox. No, it’s not what you’re thinking. After a half a lifetime under the buzzed influence of caffeine which did nothing for my insomnia or anxiety issues, I’ve decided to pull the plug on my Diet Coke drip line, or, “Jane”, as Pentyne slyly calls it. If I do this, I’m reasoning, then I won’t crave the sweets so much and reel throughout the day from the dramatic sugar spikes and lows. But that’s another story. Down the road. Baby steps.

I’ve danced this gig before, later feeling clearer, lighter, better. But I can’t promise I won’t need to do it again. Somewhere I’ll be at some function, probably a family one, where all there is is “Jane”, and one little sip of carmelized, carbonated goodness, and I’ll be in the arms of the red and white bottle again. Because certain pleasures in life are even better mixed with a slurry of guilt and subjugated desire let loose from its tether.

Like many addicts, I blame not myself for my ways. I blame my mother. Of course I do! It was she, she who planted the seeds with her little six packs of Pepsi (another of what would become just one more thing that we don’t agree on…I’m a Coke girl all the way.). A bottle here, a bottle there, discovered strung along the house on a counter, or by her bed, or sometimes by the bathtub. Like all things that belonged to my mother, things over which hung the invisible sign “patties off“, I coveted it. Things like the half a Hershey bar she’d shared with me and then set upon the top of a bookcase before putting me down for my nap when I was four. My first act of larceny. The chocolate covered cherries she kept locked in her closet; the ones that I didn’t even particularly care for, that my brother and I delighted in plundering, once we figured out how to immaculately fix the lock so it cooperated. And the Fashion-Two-Twenty cosmetics in their lilac colored makeup case that looked like Barbie’s, all in stacked, tiered trays in tapered bottles. Leg makeup! Nude Foundation! Cotton candy colored lipstick! Which, my mother, with her perfect skin and unlined face, never wore. I took the Sarah Coventry jewelry, and the Avon too. My mother never really wore those either. The nurse’s uniforms, with their deep, functional pockets, were the best…powdered latex gloves, little scissors, alcohol swabs, bandaids, maybe a coughdrop. Her smells.

I never really did anything with this stuff, beyond hiding it. Well, except the leg makeup. I did try out the leg makeup. My legs looked like orange cheetos with tiny reddish dots the size of pin pricks where my pores were. Freaky.

She always found her stuff, under a bed or a dresser, stuffed in a closet. I knew she would. It didn’t stop me. I certainly didn’t need any of that stuff, or even want it for itself. It was just….hers. Some piece of her that I sort of needed around like a talisman, since she was always seemed busy working or sleeping off her shift. And yet, when confronted, I could never just tell her that. I know it drove her positively crazy, but I couldn’t do anything beyond either lying repeatedly through my teeth even in the face of damning evidence, or giving her a confused shrug.

I couldn’t give her the soda back though. Not really. I’d try to be merciful and refill what I’d siphoned with water; maybe toss in a pinch of sugar when the brew was looking flat. She never did say anything about the soda. I don’t remember a single time. If I could, I’d buy her a Coke now, in a sort of conciliatory gesture rooted in solidarity, but she doesn’t really drink it anymore.

I certainly don’t tolerate people swiping stuff from me in my life now; in fact, one of my mantras to my own kiddo is “stop touching my stuff” at least eleventeen times a day. In vain. But a part of me is convinced that some larceny is more about the need for psychological compensation and less about material gain.

I look around at my stuff and wonder what will become the kiddo’s heart’s desire. What about me and my stuff will leave tea leaves for her to read and then ponder someday, if I’m lucky, in some Proustian way?

I have words for her though: lay off the stupid Diet Coke. It’s baaaaaaaaad.

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8 Responses to “cleaning up”


  1. 1 Betty Lou April 25, 2007 at 12:43 am

    I love you beyond measure my fellow addict. Your words could not ring truer – it is all stuff I’ve felt and done. Save for the baseball addiction. I don’t get that. But the lust for- in my case it was my brother’s things- were insatiable. I would gladly risk swats and grounding from my mother and an all out pummel from my brother to have his stuff. I’d seek something out, take it, hide it, then ask him casually if I could barrow it. Like any of his hand held games, or his Garfield comic books, or his flash light. “Andy, could I barrow your red flashlight? I dropped something behind the couch and I can’t see it…” He would grumblingly agree and go to get it and it wouldn’t be there and then he’d come after me.

    My mom did have a few of the miniature avon lipstick samples that I coveted but dared not take. But my favorite of all was her chap-stick style perfume stick that was honeysuckle-scented. It was heaven.

    Do you really think I’d feel better, healthier if I laid off the 3-5 cans of DC a day? Huh… fizzies for thought. Oh, but how could I do it??? I’m too weak.

  2. 2 petitmuse April 25, 2007 at 1:46 am

    i remember the honeysuckled perfume in a stick! my mom had a freaking avon warehouse! but never used any of it.

    yes, yes i do think you’d feel healthier, fresher, etc if you forsaked the DC. really, the only time i feel good is the first glass. the rest is just maintaining, being in a buzzed out state for the rest of the day.

    i think you should quit in solidarity. yes i do.

  3. 3 Betty Lou April 25, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Where’s my other post? I wrote you back and it’s not here.
    I’m 20 hours and counting into my life without dc.
    I do fear that I’m going to replace one addiction with another… how bad is iced tea for me? I do enjoy water, but I like my drinkie drinks too.

    my sweet bubbles, how do I love thee, let me count the ways~
    it’s been grand but it’s time to say good-bye.

  4. 4 Betty Lou April 28, 2007 at 1:52 am

    Ok, so do I have to give it up completely??? None at all??
    I’ve not had a single sip since the 24th, and I really, really want to have one. I won’t finish it. I swear…
    Do you think it’s possible to have dc in moderation?? Loving you from afar,
    Bubble-less in NC

  5. 5 petitmuse April 28, 2007 at 3:32 am

    I allow myself a cup in the beginning, to help with the headaches. I can’t do moderation though. After a couple of days, I just give it up. And yes, I drink tea…iced chai or green tea. But not nearly as much as I did Diet Coke, so it’s an improvement.

  6. 6 petitmuse April 28, 2007 at 3:33 am

    so, do you feel better at all, by the way? If you feel really crappy, that’s just your body ridding itself of toxins. It gets better.

  7. 7 Doktor Holocaust April 29, 2007 at 3:56 am

    diet coke? there isn;’t even any sugar in that. it’s Aspartame, non-nutritive, passes out in the same chemical state it was when ingested. Having lived with a dietician has taught me things.

    I’ve long since abandoned diet coke, diet pepsi, etc. I’ve moved up to Jones and IBC cream sodas, premium stuff sold in glass bottles for higher prices, because I prefer cream soda to cola and the expense keeps me from going through very much of it.

    as for addictions… i have an astray full of butts and two coffeemugs next to me. I wept at a certain hospital scene in “Thank you for smoking.” I know addiction, and I embrace it wholeheartedly.

  8. 8 petitmuse May 1, 2007 at 4:51 am

    diet coke is bad. that is all.


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