“Your diet Cokes froze and burst all over the porch,” mom told me frantically after I picked up the phone. “I put you some fresh ones out.”
“It’s okay,” I replied. “I am not drinking them anymore.”
“What?!?!” mom asked sounding so worried. “You always get your Cokes. You’ve been getting those Cokes for probably a year now.”
“Y’all are treating me like a little kid about them,” I replied. “It is embarrassing. I am thirty seven years old. I don’t want to be treated like that and I don’t want to drink them anymore. It is a hassle I don’t need.”
“You’re going to get a terrible lack of caffeine headache,” mom said, warning me.
“I’ll take some Tylenol and aspirin,” I replied.
“Don’t do this to me,” mom said, sounding so flustered. “I am going to worry to death about you. You love those Cokes and I enjoy getting them and giving them to you. I don’t have much of a life and looking after you gives me something to do.”
I felt terrible. I knew this would happen. It would send mom into a tailspin. One thing about my mom is she does things out of love and concern, and it all ties into her mental illness exacerbating it all. Dad does things out of a sense of responsibility and duty. They both have two completely different modus operandi.
“Come get your Cokes,” mom pleaded. “I will bring you three more at lunch when I buy your groceries. We just won’t tell your father.”
I gave in. I drove over to find mom in her nightgown standing at the backdoor with a plastic bag of diet Cokes. I brought them home and began drinking them. I do love them. I don’t have many comforts in my austere life and they are a joy to drink. My obsessive compulsive nature, like mom, loves rituals, and this is one ritual I enjoy. Well, so much for my protest. I always was a softie for mom.
A Glutton for Punishment…
I woke up at 5:30 AM wide awake. I cooked a simple breakfast of four scrambled eggs (two were for Maggie) and some toast. I was sitting in the den watching The Death and Destruction Channel (weather channel) and made the mistake of saying the word “walk”. I had set forth a chain of events that would lead me to walking Maggie in 23 degree cold. Maggie immediately went over to the piano to sit and watch the leash.
“Come on girl,” I said after getting dressed and out of my sleeping gear. “Let’s take you for a walk.”
Maggie wiggled so wildly and excitedly that it was hard to get her leash on. I’ve heard dogs take on the personalities of their owners and I believe it now. Maggie is about these walks as I am about my diet Cokes, the Internet or my cigarettes. We are obsessed. We both love rituals.
We didn’t walk for long as I froze my skinny ass off. We walked for an hour around the neighborhood stopping at every little interesting object or smell. Despite the cold, I actually enjoyed today’s walk. The breaking of dawn. The magical hour happening. The numerous school buses loaded with kids passing by. A felt part of a bigger picture this morning; a far cry from the little world I am usually ensconced in that is my Internet command center. I promised Maggie to take her for the full six miles tomorrow. Maybe when the day has grown longer and warmed up some. She will be at the piano waiting impatiently as always.