Ham on rye

In the lobby at the recreational cannabis dispensary they were putting up a Christmas tree, and in the shop where a sign says Enter Here and Pay Here everyone looked confused, and I asked about the CBD vs. THC combination, what’s the meaning there?—and she said the CBD helps with anxiety, for calming, then mumbled something about the THC I didn’t understand. I was interested in microdosing, doing research for my mom who was coming from Germany next month, has problems with arthritis and sleeping. I’d sworn off pot but this was different, more R&D, philanthropic.

And though it was only 5 mg because I’m sensitive to cannabis and haven’t had it in a while it hit me harder than expected in the kitchen grating the ginger, mincing garlic, chopping onion: my vision started to bend and I had to put the knife down and sit outside on a rock with the dog, and settle down.

And once again, I blipped outside of myself and saw my skin so pale, exposed in the sun: and with the trees ripped out of the neighbor’s yard and the softly falling leaves I imagined my own death so palpable, I could feel what it would be like in that last moment, what I’d think: I saw Dawn and the kids and thought of my writing and what I’d make of it, and it was too much to bear…and then I saw my dad in his final moments sobbing, full of regret, missing our kids’ lives…and there was nothing I could say or do, I felt it myself, too…and then I had to go back inside and check on the chili.

For a time I dozed on the couch, then looked up Hot Toddy Recipe on the internet. It explicitly said not to drink hot toddies if you’re sick, or with OTC medicine…but I was set on both, all of the above…and at the bottom of the website was a picture of the author, her curly hair and dog both looking so young and happy. I closed the phone and slammed it down, disgusted by these well put-together, lifestyle blogs. If Bukowski had been alive with all this blogging that’s how I wanted to sound, like him, warts and all.

In the morning I felt the same as I did the night before. I was set on cooking again, this time a curry, but didn’t have the energy to make myself breakfast so I went to the store and then the ale house, for eggs and a thick slice of ham and hash browns, a beer, determined to sleep when I got home, to take another cup of NyQuil…and at the bar I finished a poem on my phone and posted it, and when I got home I felt like I needed to do something, so I folded the kids’ laundry, and got sentimental holding their clothes up, thinking they’re still kids, for a bit.

Then I got in bed and dozed, closed all the shades, took a hot bath, came downstairs and made the curry, wrote, played Jackie Wilson, took more NyQuil, went to bed. There was a lot to celebrate in my life but a lot missing, some kind of final reconciliation before settling up at the end.

Categories: Memoir, parenting, writing

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

18 replies

  1. Well, you fitted a lot into that day, despite feeling so dazed! I love your drifting through mortality, through thoughts of the kids and what we leave behind and what we regret. Can’t help think of all that as our own days melt away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lynn wanted to tell you I loved the ending to your “water” piece just now, the Them etc. thanks for picking this one up and commenting. Funny day. Enjoy your week! It’s that day they sell poppies for the vets in the UK isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Bill. Glad you liked the story. Yes, it was Remembrance Day on Sunday and an especially big event this year as it was the centenary of the end of the First World War. And yes, you’re right, the money from the sale of poppies goes to support army veterans, which is a good thing as I’m afraid so many come home with mental health/substance abuse problems. Several rough sleepers I’ve spoken to were soldiers – can’t imagine what those experiences do to a person. Enjoy your week too


  2. I believe I’m now convinced not to dabble. I think my brain would melt after all these years. Not that I could (legally) if I wanted to; there are no outlets near me and the ones that exist elsewhere can’t keep up with demand. I’m going to try meditating instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If Bukowski had lived into the Age of Smartphones, I could see him, hammering away with his thumbs on an iPhone in some lowlife bar, doing a sorta anti-lifestyle blog.
    I’m trying to get used to more tumeric, etc. in South Indian-style foods, supposed to be helpful with arthritis and mood.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes on the turmeric: load it up with a bunch of cilantro, if you can find ‘em in your new hood! Amen to burning out the badness with spice and herbs.


      • It’s a heavily German/Polish town, but more diverse than people think. Fair number of Hmong and enough people from India/Pakistan to support a couple of markets. I like coriander, but cannot seem to warm up to cilantro.

        Liked by 1 person

      • People have a love-hate thing with cilantro. I think for some, it tastes distinctly metallic or like aluminum. Good you can find the turmeric though, that’s money. Hell on the Tupperware and the countertops in terms of stains, but well worth it in my book!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A lot to celebrate but a lot missing sounds pretty normal to me. It perfectly encapsulates the human condition. Okay, as Bukowski said in a poem, scramble two.

    I’m sorry to see weed legalized. It’s a mistake.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have to agree with your comment. The ads showing young women looking perfectly content with “just one puff” is dark. To Ross’s point, try meditation.


  5. So interesting that 5 mg did that to you. I’ve tried as much as 15 mg at once with chocolate edibles and hardly a tingle. That said, I couldn’t concentrate on anything though … Hmmm.

    Those thoughts about last moments occur to us a lot more as we get older. I’m hoping to set it up so I can be moved out to the yard, under the many trees, at checkout time. 🌲🌳☀️✨

    Liked by 1 person

  6. always some gained, some lost. some here, some wishing for what’s not. the 5 mg’s probably magnified all the math involved in that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The things that keep existential dread at bay don’t work so well as the decades mount. Sex, drugs, rock and roll.
    Can’t say anything about the key image of your Dad. But that’s it, for sure. The Pink Opaque.

    Liked by 1 person

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