I go to my mom’s with a car full of groceries packed in plastic bags. When I get there I notice it doesn’t smell as bad like cigarettes as it usually does. It’s just sort of an undertone, and I wonder if maybe she really did quit smoking this time, if things really can change, and if they can, if change really matters at this point.
I unpack the groceries and throw the plastic bags in the garbage. Usually they get shoved into a hole cut out of a cardboard box filled with other plastic bags, but it’s been raining all day and the bags are wet. Best not to tempt the mold to grow. My mom makes herself a salad, and I make my way to the laundry room down the hallway, the basket full of clothes making an impression on my hip. I remember when the skin stretched tight around my hipbones. How when I’d lie down I could see my tuft of pubic hair because the horizon of my belly sat lower than the bony mounds, my underpants hanging on them like shirts on a hook.
It is not that way anymore. All I’ve had to eat today is some ciabatta bread soaked in butter, but on my way home I’ll roll through the Burger King drive-thru and get two meals’ worth of food I’ll still be able to smell on my fingers when I pass out watching The Office. I’ll ask for water but get soda instead, which will sit in the cupholder of my car until I can be fucked to throw it away.
Could be weeks.
I spend a good half hour telling my mom about my first ever writing job. How I’m pumping out generic articles about places I can’t afford to travel to for a content mill. How I’ve spent the past week moving from the couch to the bedroom and back to the couch again crafting tightly structured paragraphs about quaint towns in the Catskills, black sand beaches in Iceland, haunted houses in the United States, all the wonderful things you can do in Idaho- desperately trying to figure out how to say the same thing over and over without sounding repetitive. How I’m required to find a way to say something without actually saying anything at all, embed links to other generic articles that don’t say anything at all to bring more traffic to a blog filled with articles that have been written a hundred times already by other content mills. How I’m not supposed to write in the second person even though it’s an effective way to communicate. People like to be told what to do, even if they say they don’t. We’re all looking for guidance.
In one hundred words or less, I will tell you that you should go to these places because they are more beautiful and wonderful and magical than I could ever express to you in a generic blog article constructed for the sole purpose of generating ad revenue for a company that does not care if the information provided to you is 100% accurate, grammatically sound, or interesting at all. (69 words)
I guzzle down a Sam Adams seasonal Oktoberfest and calm down a bit while the softener seeps into the fabric. My mom tells me about her childhood daydream of growing up to be a hermit. She has a cave that sits high upon a clifftop, overlooking a vast expanse of diverse forest. It goes on for miles, and every day she leaves her cave to look out at it- dressed in a robe, long staff in hand, gray beard down to her bellybutton. She says it sounds like she had a god complex. I say we all do, in one way or another.
Sarah calls and we chat for over an hour. By this point I’m on my third beer. Even though it’s a Wednesday, I’m in search of a buzz. I’d rather be high, but my edibles are sitting at home on the desk and this is all I’ve got. We talk about her new relationship, how to foster genuine team member engagement in a corporate setting, celebrity birthdays, the feeling of the open road. The conversation flows like it usually does, and it’s like she’s right there in front of me. It will be awhile before we see each other in the flesh, but the phone call is enough to remind me we’ll be friends no matter where we live.
On two pieces of computer paper I write out my agenda for the following day. 5:30- wake up, drink coffee, browse internet, pay bills. 6:30- write personal blog, drink more coffee, contemplate big life things with big dick energy. The list goes on, written in size 48 font in black sharpie. I fold and put away half the laundry, walk Bubba, and make my way home after rolling through the Burger King drive-thru and getting two meals’ worth of food I can still smell on my fingers the next morning when I wake up at 5:30 and sit down an hour later to write a personal blog about nothing in particular.