It was a Hot and Heavy Night

It was a hot and heavy night,
that August in Pensacola
I walked out to my car,
the Hershey’s milk bar becoming
putty in my hand,
my adrenal glands working overtime
while I no longer have to.

The brightness and cold of the store
always gave me a headache.
My hands tingle with the thaw,
and I feel a certain sort of
exhilaration and joy.
The night is heavy with humidity,
but I’m as light as warm air rising
above a cooling cake.

Drug pushers in the back,
candy pushers up front—
that is work life at Walgreens.
No longer do I have to smell the smelly,
nor see the hairy underbelly
of Pensacola society,
jiggling in and out,
or running with scissors,
or whatever else they can stuff in their pants.

No more saying, “Be well,” to every customer,
even if they’re just getting a pack of cigs.
No more walking into the restroom,
finding used pregnancy tests
on the filthy floor,
or profiling Sudafed users,
or just plain winos.

No more working with nutjobs
who punch out the eyes of managers
in pictures hanging in the office hall
with a ballpoint pen.
No more threats on my life
via telephone.
The creep show must go on,
but I no longer have to be there.

I am no longer a Wag hag
sans the Wag swag.
I feel free as an eagle,
for I just quit this drag,
without even having to say a word.

Nutritional Standard of Living


So, I’ve decided to go back over my New Year’s resolutions.  I am excelling with the writing business, but not so much with the weight.  Everything else, I’m doing fair to middling (as the saying goes) on.  I realize this is okay, because I am going to reevaluate myself at the end of every month.

I could just focus on one resolution per month, but no.  I’m ready to make the weight thing happen.  Now that I’ll be working at a natural food co-op (several years ago, when I did the bulk of my shopping there, I was seventy pounds lighter), I’ll be surrounded by healthier (or less bad) options.  The free membership and employee discount will make it all that much easier.  I am very much looking forward to starting this lifestyle.

I believe our surroundings play a huge role in many of the choices we make, though I am not using that as an excuse.  When I worked at the drugstore, I was always tantalized by all the new junk food products that would come out (stay away from Girl Scout Samoa candy bars).  The generous employee discount combined with the sale prices made the sweet temptations all that much greater to resist.  Half the battle is not bringing it home; the other half is not working at a place where we were rewarded for pushing candy on people (where “Thank you and be well” had to be said to every customer, even if they were buying a pack of smokes; that would just come across as sarcastic to me).

My job at the drugstore made me sick, not well.  I worked the overnight shift for over a year.  Eighty hours in eight days, then six days off.  I did that right up to my third trimester, until I couldn’t anymore.  I had only refrained from requesting days because I knew once I changed over, I would have to deal with the brass and I’d be more pressured to say “Welcome to Walgreens” to every customer that came in the door and ask every customer we checked out to buy a suggestive sale item or donate one to the USO (even if they came in everyday and everyday, they said no).  Here is a cute little story I wrote about my time there:

The stress of it wasn’t worth what I was getting paid, and “I can do better” became my new mantra.  I knew if I just applied myself, I could bust out of retail jail.  I haven’t yet, but I do see an end to my tenure in this line of work.  I’ll feel more assured once I get back in school, but at least I’ll be working in an environment in which I have a strong interest in the product and/or service, and where the bosses seem easygoing and fair.

I believe I’ll actually learn something worthwhile.  I haven’t learned anything worthwhile in a job so long, if ever.  I want to acquire mad skills.  I want a job in which the description requires me to use my mind and talents, not just be a yes person.  My new boss told me he didn’t like yes people–he said it might get you ahead in the short-term, but not the long term.  He also said he knew we were there because we needed money.  I won’t have to suck up or pretend with him that I want to make a career in the company.  When I start working there, if I stay for more than the money, fine, but right now, I’m there to do a job.  That’s all they expect.  Such a refreshing change from working for a corporation.  I just want to be able to be myself.

I look forward to this new chapter of my life.  I look forward to elevating my nutritional standard of living.  I no longer see this culinary journey I am about to embark on as limiting myself, but rather opening myself up to new things.  I want to be strong and healthy and energetic for me, first and foremost (everything we want, we have to want it for ourselves first), but also for my daughter.  I want to be able to run and jump and play with her in the park.  I want to have the energy to put verve into our other time together, as well.  I want to be able to teach her how to prepare wholesome foods from scratch.  I want to make the stories I read to her come alive.  I want to be all I can be for her.

I went swimming tonight, and got winded quicker.  I’ve been trying outrun (or outswim) my fork (it’s not how much I eat, but what) for months, and one can only swim so much.  It’s like you can only cut back (budget) so much before you realize you just have to make more money.

When I was seventy pounds lighter, I never exercised, but was strict with my diet.  I drank only water, for one thing.  I’m still working my way up on those eight glasses a day.  I’ve realized if you drink other things, it just takes the place of some of the water you drink.  A Mexican Coca Cola and a chocolate something (be it a baked good or candy bar) has been my beer and cigarette for a long time.  I’m not ready to go cold turkey, but I am ready to cut back so much, I get detox headaches.

Oh, well, that’s what coffee is for.