1/24/2015

The morning at Kroger

Going to bed early has mostly meant waking up in the middle of the night. I woke up needing a glass of water around 3:00 am and after nearly three hours of trying to get back to my dreams, I gave up. 

It wasn't all lying there, though. I tried to read, but I was in no mood to read a fictional account of a constitutional convention on Mars. I upgraded one of the games I quit playing a month ago, and so I ran around the subways of Seoul for a while until I got bored. 

I had gone to bed at 10 or so. I had gone out to meet up with some friends, but then went home. I had thought I would make music, but the fire wasn't in me like I had hoped it would be. So, I thought more about work and about my week and how much I miss my children, and then I went to bed. 

2015 is shaping up to be another year of challenges. I am trying to stay cheery as I go through my work week, a phrase that has elongated beyond the strict definition. I have no idea how people are able to leave work at an assigned time every day. That has almost never been my dynamic save for a brief time in the late 1990's when I worked for a publishing company in Georgetown.

I am not complaining at all, because I have the best job I could have at this time and I'm determined to do it better than ever. It's 7:30 in the morning on a Saturday and there's something I need to write. Maybe that's why I can't sleep.

At around 6:20, I decided I was far too hungry to go running so I opted to go to Kroger. I really wanted a vegetarian sausage sandwich but I didn't have the ingredients. I really wanted a cup of tea, but all I had was decaf and that just seemed cruel. So, I decided I knew what I wanted. 

Mind you, the decision about how to actually get those things took at least twenty minutes to make. I don't venture out much anymore, and the trek to Kroger is not in my routine. I shop at three other grocery stores which are closer to my house, and my mind struggled to accept the possibility of going to one that might have better deals. 

But which Kroger? My community is blessed with three within a short stretch of a major highway, and two are easy to get to. However, my logic pathway kept trying to throw up obstacles. Why not wait until the Food Lion opens at 7:00? Do you really want to drive on these slick streets in the dark? Maybe you should try sleeping again. 

No. I was going to Kroger. 

So, I did. Or at least, I got in the car, and my mind tried to fight me again. 

Do you know how ridiculous it is to be going somewhere at this hour? Are you some kind of a freak? 

Well, yes, but I'm a freak who wanted a nice breakfast, and I wanted to make it myself, so off I went. 

On the way, I listened to the BBC, which I always forget is available on the radio here. The host was talking about delivering a bride to the wrong wedding as a way of kicking off a discussion off wedding crashing, which was a trending topic at the moment. 

My mind drifted to the future in which I'll resume getting paid to attend the weddings of fantastically wealthy people. Or at least, people who want everyone to think they're fantastically wealthy. I don't look forward to the work because I'm not fantastically wealthy, but I have to do it to help support my children. When the weddings are done, I'm usually fantastically happy because I love being around people when they're joyful. 

My own joy comes when I'm able to feel connected to the world in some way, when I'm able to experience a new thought, when I'm in touch with something beautiful and sublime. 

These moments are rare, though, because so much of my time, and most people's time, is wrapped up in the mundane. That seems to be the way of it, and it seems that banality is something that must be warded off, like those creeping thoughts that tried to stop me from going to Kroger. It's the same thought that convinces me I'm not wanted at the party I've been invited to. The same thought makes me think I'm the worst person in the world, untalented and unworthy.

And maybe I am. But, sometimes there are times when I am able to just dismiss the thought and do what I need to do anyway. The result of this mundane bravery the moment is a cup of tea that tastes like I'm in England. It's the same brand of teabag that Henry's mother buys.  I also have the same brand of vegetarian sausage she gets from Tesco and enough food to get me through the rest of the week. 

Being in that Kroger was a vacation for me. I got out of the ordinary, escaped my insomniac's bed, and got to watch the workers stock the shelves for the day's commerce. I wanted to talk to every single one of them, wanted to know who they were. I felt connected to something, even if I was only just an anonymous customer. 

When I got out of the store, the sky was beginning to lighten and I was transported back to the parking lot at Luton airport in July 2013, on my way home after a week's trip to see Henry. I have no idea when I'll see him again, but I don't have to dwell on it. 

I can choose to spend a morning at Kroger any time I want to.