I feel bad nicknaming the man in the deli “Dead Eye Joe.” The first time I saw him, his eyes were dark, like there was no reason to live any longer. I know how that feels. I know it in my bones, actually, because I don’t particularly want to live anymore myself. However, perhaps just like Joe, something will put the light back in my eyes. I fantasize about being the reason the light is back in his eyes. I know. It’s cheap. Fantasies are a dime a dozen and the sky’s my limit. Still, it’d be nice to mean something to… well, anyone.
I suppose I will grow to mean something to my new friend, Raymond, a homeless chap that I’ve run into two days in a row at the water front. I gave him $20 the first time for food and such, but when he asked me for another $10 yesterday, I decided I would just do what he needs: bring him food to eat.
It’s not that difficult of a decision; I made a giant vat of macaroni & cheese some four days ago and it’s only half-eaten. In the name of food safety, I shall abscond with it and deliver it to Raymond. I also found premium Bologna for all of $2.50 at the premium grocery store, so I’ll be making him a few sandwiches. And, he actually mentioned wanting vegetables, so when I cut up my giant broccoli for lunch, I will be sure to save some for him. I found some cans of mixed vegetables, as well, so I will be sure to take those with me, too.
God tells me Raymond will die this winter. I’ve thought about offering him a room. I’ve even spoken to God about it already. He told me that the poor man wouldn’t be able to help himself and something would surely go missing. I wish that wasn’t the case, but why should I antagonize my parents with that kind of crap in their own final days? It’s their house until they pass it on to me, after all. Once that happens, then I don’t care. I will invite the Raymonds of the world in and help them back on their feet.
But don’t you confuse me for no Christian, y’hear? That man was wrong. Christ. His teachings allow for psychopaths to exploit the rest of the gentile population with extreme ease, which makes me wonder if a psychopath changed the text on translation at all. That’s why I’ve been reading the Quran to see what the difference is for myself.
Being a Christian is not something I’d ever want to be. I might someday come around to Islam, though. Christians thump a book they don’t even read with kenning at other people to show exactly how awesome they are and how awesome the other person is not. I see your awesome and I offer you my condolences, Christians and Catholics alike. The God I speak to on a daily basis does not condone that behavior. I am thankful, too, because it’s the reason I never even read the book until last year.
I don’t think I read exactly what anyone else reads, either. I think it’s a code to crack with a message from a spaceling to all Earthlings, honestly. Even the Quran reads like that to me. It’s a contract between us and a Judge. Hence, there will be a day of Judgment. I hear it’s come and gone already, but nobody is the wiser. I wonder why not, though. Could it be that no one is listening hard enough?
Oh, you want to hear more about Joe… I suppose I could oblige you. I’ve formerly called him Bandanna Man and, once or twice, Sir Deli Man. He’s of average height, it would seem, with grey eyes and a bristly-looking mustache. He wears a black and white bandanna every day, keeping his long hair up and out of the food he works with on a daily basis. His hair is a medium dark brown… not chestnut, perhaps one or two shades darker, but also not black. He wears a black ball cap at work, so it’s easy to tell it’s not black.
I’ve seen him around the deli for over half a year now. The first few times I ever saw him, he looked ever so sad. Maybe sad’s not the word, but it’s the word I’m going to use. Maybe depleted is more the word. Maybe he just left a narcissistic bitch at the altar and decided he had given enough of himself to everyone but himself.
Or I could be projecting.
I’ve seen him move from station to station, actually. I presume that means getting promotions, but I have no real idea. If so, congratulations are in order. You are ever so diligent, deli man. I like that kind of thing. You might wonder who I am at this point, though, and maybe I should oblige you and tell you. I’m the girl you paid a nice compliment to on a day I was feeling like I’d made all sorts of bad decisions. I bought this choker at Hot Topic and put it on after cutting my hair off and dyeing it black. You gave me one of the two compliments I’d gotten all year, actually. You delivered it deadpan, of course, but it made me notice you. Well, to be fair, I’d already known you existed, but it got my attention.
My hair changes like the seasons change, except far more often, honestly, so I wouldn’t be all that surprised if you’re sitting around trying to figure out where “choker girl” went. Well, I’m “around.” I go to the store damn near every day, honestly, because I have nothing better to do than try to eat myself well again. I nearly died a few years ago from malnutrition and starvation on a stupid quest to get skinny, but as it turns out, God values my life more than a small waistline. I appreciate it, too.
You also saw me just yesterday in a Wonder Woman t-shirt, but I won’t say any more. That choker broke within 30 minutes of that compliment you gave me, so I modified it when it became clear I couldn’t exchange it for a new one at Hot Topic. I stopped going to the mall after that, too, because I don’t really want cheap junk. I want things that will last me a lifetime so I don’t have to keep replacing them. SO… I modified the choker with an earring I lost the mate to ages ago in an act of carelessness. You might have suspected it was me already, but you might not, too, I suppose. Depends on if you think Choker Girl is hot or not. And yes, there were other reasons I would have stood out, but for the sake of trying to remain semi-anonymous in the future, I don’t think I should say what it is.
One of the mean voices in my head called you frumpy. I don’t like the word frumpy, it implies that being human isn’t alright. You just is. And, honestly, I’m glad you’re healing and the light is coming back into your eyes.
You would be right to think I was studying you. It’s interesting, how you talk yourself up and start to glow between one day and the next. That’s my narrative, anyway; you are healing yourself day by day. I tell myself there are a thousand reasons that could be happening just so my hopes don’t go way up just to fall and be dashed. [Wide Away by Katy Perry is a suitable description here.] I love dat dress, lemme tell you. I could totes be Katy Perry for Halloween, I suppose. Hmm…
I daydream of having really impossible conversations with him. Of course, the voices in my head that like to spell out sabotage say plenty of stupid things. They think if I declare I’m celibate until I’m married and that I want to get married that he’ll just pack up and run the other direction. Methinks in this case, they are projecting. It’s the voice of the man I proposed to on Valentine’s day 2021, of course, the one who did just that. He can’t stand to think that he’s lost out on me. Except he decided this, right? I waited until June and still didn’t hear back from him, which can mean only one thing: he’s too much a momma’s boy to actually want to be married. Still suckling from mom’s teat, some thirty five years after birth. Shameful, indeed.
Either that or he was dating a stripper named Candy Cane.
You know, neither explanation is a very good explanation, not after asking me previously if I wanted children and all that. What, so I was dying and you fucked some other bitch instead of me? Grats to you. I’d rather date Joe (who is no longer dead eyed) and move right along.
“But Joe’s not HOT!” says one voice in my head.
“Really? I’m pretty sure having a temperature is a bad thing these days, with the ‘Rona and all.”
“But… but…” Just shut up already. I got this.
To all the Joes out there:
You are a magnificent beast. You woke up every day of your life and you slayed it, whether it was a cockroach or a dragon is of no great import. You still lived that day, even if you didn’t want to be alive, and I commend you for all your efforts. I hope you find a reason to live inside of yourself, because at the end of every day, the only person you truly have to live with is already with you all day long. You. And maybe it’s cute and romantic to think of someone attractive giving you a reason to live by constantly checking you out like nearly every day… *ahem*. But it’s not really that romantic to be codependent, and I know that from experience with a codependent husband in my past. In fact, it was so unsexy, I divorced him.
Anyway, you fight the good fight. You try, every day. I see it. I know you work hard, too. I never see you on your phone at work, unlike other losers you work with that might be “hotter” and totally what the voices in my head hone in on as “the one!” There is no “the one,” children. There is only partnership. And you know what? I’ve never found a real partner. Not even once in my life.
So, Joes of the world, if you’re already in relationships, ask yourself if you’re an equal partner. If the woman (or man) you are with will not share partnership, leave. Get out! They don’t love you. They’re not considering you, your thoughts, and your feelings appropriately. If you are not stepping up to partnership, then the inverse applies to you. LEAVE. Find the person you can share with. Find someone who doesn’t have to have everything their way. The people who get everything they want are generally lacking in the inner beauty department and they’re just not worth it. They need to spend time alone, thinking about how they can improve themselves and that inner beauty.
And specifically, to the Wegmans “Joe:” I think we like you. I do mean we, as in multiple mes. I’m a bit insane. Just a touch. But, you know, that just means I’m never boring. I hope to run into you at Perkins some day. Or even just the parking lot of your workplace… but, it’s probably never happening. I’m okay with that, too. I’ll just keep doing the me show until some dude that’s worthwhile shows up.
Anyway, white isn’t really your color. It’s not not your color, but you know. The blindingly white bandanna is a bit distracting. Especially since your work shirts are a cooler white. Just a thought.
And as for that frumpy shit? Me, too. So what? Shut up, stupid boy in my head who can’t accept defeat. You’re still making your mommy do your laundry, I just know it. You oughtta be ashamed of yourself! I’ve been doing my own laundry since I was eleven years old. I’ve also been cooking for myself just as long. It’s funny, it’s easier to get better at something you do all the time. Imagine that.
Let’s see… the boy in my head? Frumpy, too. He can’t accept that, either. I’ve cursed him to a lifetime of misery ahead. How? Oh, the cravings he has. See, I live with my parents and one of them eats nothing but sugar and chocolate… so, I constantly see sugar and chocolate. I’m doing pretty good at avoiding them myself, but I don’t think Mr. Not-So-Willpower is doing as well as I am. I mean, there’s a zucchini bread cake in the kitchen. It’s covered in chocolate frosting. I’m allergic to chocolate, so I’m doing my best to avoid it completely. As for Brit Boy, I can’t say he’s doing as well as I am. Every time I see that cake, I hear something about wanting to eat it.
The fun thing about “telepathy” (aka total insanity) is understanding that maintaining my sanity is the most important thing. How does one do that? Well, one reasons out which voice is her own voice and tries to listen to only that voice, ostracizing all other voices, especially potently negative ones, in order to maintain at least an illusion of sanity.
And lots of coffee. That’s important to me, as well.
However, the voices in my head… they know things I can’t possibly know. I’ve challenged them many times and one of them tries to sell me tall tales every day, pretending he’s not the douche bag that turned me down, now that he’s in love with me for being completely fucking awesome. (Where was the love when I asked for it? Oh yeah, in Candy Cane’s loins. Sorry, but I won’t be forgiving you any time soon, boy.)
Now, it’s possible that my responses are very soft in the back of his mind, so soft he doesn’t even realize it’s there. So soft, he doesn’t even realize that the chocolate and sugar cravings are coming from me as I pass these confectionery wonders that my parents create. (I wonder if they’re any good, specifically.)
If this is true… I’ve been talking to “Joe” in the back of his mind already. It might express as a daydream when he’s in the flow or being completely mindful with whatever it is he’s doing. I certainly “know” what he daydreams about. (Steak and broccoli, you know.) I kind of hope so. He seems… nice. Fun. Challenging. Romantic. Interesting.
You know, I’d take someone interesting over classically handsome any day of the week. You know why? Because we’re gonna have a blast together, that’s why. I need dancing in my life, yo. I need origami flowers and… steak dinners at home and… hugs and kisses and… all manner of thing that people who lack that inner beauty will never cultivate. They have no incentive; they can get whatever girl or guy they want, no matter what. Good for them!
I am one of those rare gems with both inner and outer beauty, I hope, and therefore, I will express my wish now to The Universe(TM):
I want a man who is tender, loving, and sweet. He cares about what I’m thinking about, but doesn’t hound me for the information. He asks and he waits. I want a man who thinks up funny things or at least laughs at my jokes (and sometimes my non-jokes that are just autistic remarks.) I want a man who is creative and has a great vocabulary and isn’t afraid to use it on me, and if I ask him what a word means he either knows or he looks it up to tell me exactly what the dictionary says. I want a man who looks into my eyes instead of his cell phone. I want a man who can smile even when life sucks. Who knows how to make a plan A and a plan B and even if both fall apart, do his best with the shit show he’s got on his hands. I want a man who doesn’t bitch, moan, and whine about how shitty work is and instead quits that fucking job he hates and finds a new one he doesn’t hate. I want a man who knows he always has options. I want a man… no, need a man… who is loyal and steadfast and all about me… because that’s who I’m gonna be. Loyal, steadfast, and all about him. I want a man who is my partner and if he sees a problem, he talks to me about it and we come up with a solution together. He doesn’t decide my solution for me. And, if I’m having trouble executing the solution, he holds my hands through it instead of doing it for me as if I’m some princess stuck in a drafty castle that needs rescuing. I need a man who uses his lips to tell me exactly how much he feels inside when they touch my lips. I need a man who knows how to caress gently instead of man-handle me, pretending that’s the utmost of ecstasy and joy. I need a man who isn’t afraid of himself or really anyone else, especially not me, because he knows we are equals. Different, but equal. No matter how many talents I have, no matter how pretty I am (or not), we are equal. We each have a vote in our relationship and they are equal, period. There is no “I get my way or I walk!” syndrome here. (I do have deal breakers, but that’s different. I’m sure you do, too, and I want to know what they are up front so we can make an intelligent decision on whether or not we wish to spend the rest of our lives together.) The man I’m looking for has poise. He is calm and steady. He doesn’t freak out over an explosion of meal worms from the garbage can, knowing bugs just happen in summer. He just takes care of it when I fall down on the job myself, or we do it together. Together is better, usually. I also want him to be able to keep a secret long enough to surprise me. My ex-husband was awful at that. He told me once what his parents got me for Christmas, months in advance. I didn’t believe him, so I was still surprised, but… you know. It would have been better if I had no idea, if you ask me. I need a man who knows what the word integrity means because so many people lack it these days. They’ll say whatever you want to hear and never deliver. I like follow-through, it’s the hallmark of a real man. I like a man who can tackle projects and get things done, even if there are delays and issues and it drags out a little. I need a man who can read this whole paragraph without whining about how long it is, too. It’s still the same topic, children. I need someone who is worth their salt, which is a phrase that I made up, as far as I can tell, but let me explain it to you who have no idea what that means… I mean, you made it this far and I’m proud of you, so here’s a treat! To be worth your salt means to honor the resources you take up just to live. It’s like saying worth your weight in gold, but it’s far more than that… To be worth the salt that you moved from the Himalayas or the ocean or the sea to your table is something more intrinsically valuable to society than gold. I can get by without a speck of gold in my life, but I cannot get by without a speck of salt. To be worth your salt is to live in the moment and do your best daily. I try to be worth my salt, but for the last year and a half, I feel that I’ve fallen down on the job. I need some sort of grey-eyed angel to bring me back from the dead, yo. Or someone completely ordinary in appearance but so deep on the inside that they have multiple icebergs to discover and chart. So deep on the inside that they don’t even live within their body other than to eat and sleep and work to earn money to eat and sleep. Instead, they live in thoughts and in the moment, perceiving everything without and internalizing it in real-time. That is enlightenment, you know. And I need a man who is going to step up with me to feed the homeless instead of turning his nose up and saying he can’t do that because they’re homeless and they’re not really human beings. I made a six figure income and I never did that, but it came close and I’m glad God rescued me. I would not have liked myself if he did not do that. Thank you, God, you are… well… a god-send! Anyway… it’s time to start making food for my parents, so I can raid the fridge of everything that’s getting old and take it to Raymond! (And sneak in some fresh food for him, too, of course.) I still haven’t figured out the logistics of taking food to a homeless man, but I am positive I want to put a real metal fork in his hand for the first time in a long time. If he’s ever coming back from where he’s gone mentally, that is the very first step. And, just to say Fuck You to all the losers out there, I plan to turn my house into a halfway house for the homeless once my parents are gone. I am sure I can help at least a dozen people get back on their feet in the rest of my lifetime. What have you done yourself?