I have tried so hard to drink diet soda, but I hate them. I hate that chemical, foreign aftertaste. A moment ago, filled with wanton abandon, I crawled into my car and headed south to my father's pharmacy on a quest for real sugar, carbonation, and lots of caffeine. Screw this diet, I thought. I have lost thirty freakin' pounds! Luckily, my father was off with what I presume to be his mistress or mister as my ex-wife would always accuse so I didn't get berated when I walked out of the store with five six packs of regular Classic Coca-Cola.
I arrived home and stuffed the cans in my refrigerator. Then began that all too familiar ritual of filling a large glass full of ice cubes, the crack and fizz of opening a Coca-Cola, and the pop and crackle of the cubes as that warm cola is poured over ice. I sat in my lazy boy lounger with remote in one hand and glass of cold coke in the other. That first drink was heavenly and as thirst quenching as if I were parched after a leisurely trod through the Sahara.
My neighbor, Ed, showed up earlier in the day. He wanted to see the house so I showed him around. I had just cooked a large pan of lasagna and it was sitting on the stove top. I could almost see Ed lick his lips as he passed by the stove for me to show him the laundry room. The house smelled like some Italian villa in Sicily. Joyce soon knocked on the door and I had a house full of neighbors. I am not used to neighbors being so neighborly. My neighbors at my late grandmother's house didn't speak or visit for the two years I lived there after my bout with homelessness. It feels good, but it is scary at the same time for a person with social anxiety. I am just exhausted after our friendly visits and exchanges. My therapist keeps telling me that these are exactly the types of situations I need to place myself within for practice in overcoming my anxieties. It is kind of like telling a blind man to walk across six lanes of traffic in downtown Manhattan. It is that damn scary!