i'm staring at 32 fluid ounces of cranberry juice. making sure this is actual cranberry juice and not some sort of cocktail blend that adds sugars and good-tasting things that make it actually palatable. no. i want the most dry, bitter, unenhanced, possibly disgusting jug of cranberry juice available. this, my friends, is not your ocean spray.
about 30 feet away, a woman is literally moaning. deep guteral satisfied moans. she sounds like a barn. when i peek around the soy puffs, or whatever the hell is framing the most natural, pure, unmolested form of cranberry juice i can find, i see her hugging a marked-down box of hamburger helper. she either really, really likes hamburger helper [and who doesn't!] or she is wasted. and at 11:15 p.m. on a saturday, hair like that and those party shoes, i'm guessing it is the latter.
man, does it look fun.
man, is this cranberry juice going to be gross.
that girl, teetering around neighing, is blissfully unaware that sometime in the next seven years -- maybe tomorrow, maybe four years from now -- there is a chance that things are going to start to fall apart. enjoy that hamburger helper before it kills you, missy.
for me, it is the urinary tract infections. all of the things i like to do tend to exacerbate them. it seems that just one out of ten times i drink excessively, i elude a two-day hangover or fire pee. after those rare outings, it is like the sweet gentle paw of the magic booze hound has blessed me. then, last week i didn't do any of the things i like to do and got one anyway. this means, i got one from just living my plain old sober and simple life. i probably caught it from knitting.
am i going to have to cut out caffeine? spicy foods? liquids? pants? ugh.
and while i like to get all dramatic and wimpy about my fragile wiring, it seems like everyone i know has something. we are allergy wheezing, migrane seering, diabetes poking, nasal bleeding sinus infectioned, infertility researching, prozac popping insomniacs, wrapped in ace bandages. i'm assuming this applies to the general population and not just the people i know, as we do not seem to be trudging through toxic waste or a pet cemetary.
it's cruel: as soon as we reach an age where we can afford to do the things we like, what we like sends us screaming to urgent care. or the dentist. i forgot to mention that my teeth break.
is there anyone out there over the age of 30 who doesn't have anything? who can drink, type, binge on gluten, run without stress fractures and snort pollen off a strangers abs with nary a phlegmy nasal drool? because that sounds nice. ...
i do a lap around the outside of the grocery store to see if anything else picques my tastebuds and run into danger ranger again. she is with a friend, pushing a car filled with pizza, chips and orange juice. by now she is growling over a chocolate bar, all scoliosis and tongue dripping, teeth bared, claws extended. maybe she does have a thing afterall.
the cashier scans my cranberry juice: $6.75.
he looks at the juice, confused. looks at the screen, looks at me.
"this better be the best-tasting cranberry juice ever, huh?" he says.
"i hope not," i say.