MIMI Smartypants in Chicago, Illinois

Box of Munchkins

I went out drinking last night, and while it was fun and social and a nice change of pace from my evening routine of wholesome dinner, playing on the rug, and Elmo's World, I was out of practice for a drinking session, and I am paying for it today. I am paying for it with the currency of emotion, since I feel guilty that L.T. had Nora duty while I was out swilling beer, and I am paying for it with the currency of my entire brain. Instead of handing that bartender $2.25 (over and over and over again), I should have just busted out the skull saw and given him my brain. My hangover does not involve pain or angst, but it does involve me feeling slow and stupid. This fake footnote will only be relevant to those who also watch Sesame Street , either because they have children, are children, or just enjoy lying on the couch and learning about the alphabet. Nora is in love with Elmo, with his high-pitched voice and his third-person dissociative disorder, so I see a lot of his "world." And Mimi has a question, fooooooooor you! (A shiny nickel to the other Elmo-watching parents who guffawed at my Elmo in-joke!) Why does Elmo's world thwart him so? That drawer always gives him trouble, as does the TV and the computer. Presumably he invented his own world, possibly with that same crayon we see in the opening sequence, and it makes no sense to invent a difficult world for yourself! Unless Elmo is trying to impart some Buddhist-style wisdom about illusion and suffering?

So, I am stupid today because of beer. And I am unable to eat. This morning I was not at all interested in breakfast things, but then at the El stop I veered into Dunkin' Donuts as if on autopilot. I normally do not patronize this sugar-purveyor because I despise folksy vernacular involving apostrophes. (The preceding may be the greatest sentence I have ever written.) I got coffee, which is weird, because I almost never drink coffee, and something called a "coffee roll," which I think I picked because the name sounded kind of grown-up and east-coasty. Plus its spiral shape seemed like it would be good to meditate on. Plus it saved me the trouble of making a decision on doughnut flavors. Because I am stupid today. And I cannot make those decisions.

You can't make this shit up: there was a short line at the doughnut shop, and I was in line behind a midget, who got hot chocolate and a BOX OF MUNCHKINS. (I could say more, but instead I will leave that fat, juicy carcass of a joke lying there in the middle of our textual road.) Being near a midget did nothing to clear my head or make my hung-over morning any less surreal. I have always been freaked out by the wee...and the retarded. That freakoutedness may escalate soon, since (as Louisa and I discussed last night over the many beers) it is hard to tell just who is retarded these days, what with all the hipsters wearing their super-thick nerd glasses and their high-water pants and their ill-fitting polyester shirts. Everyone's retarded! It's like a Gap ad! Everyone in retard clothes!

After my coffee and coffee roll were purchased and I was back on my train, I discovered that I could no longer eat. It wasn't that I felt sick, but that I just could not eat. Like trying to eat on acid. Who can eat while on acid? No one. You are just too aware of your tongue and teeth and the process of chewing and swallowing, and it seems like an impossible task, this eating of food, so creepily biomechanical and pointless, making the food all go away and go inside you, and digestion and enzymes and... THIS WAY LIES MADNESS! A friend of mine once was tripping in our college cafeteria -- mistakenly thinking he could eat -- and he had Jell-O on his plate, and when someone bumped the table, he pointed and shrieked, "It moved!" That still makes me laugh when I think about it. Watch it wiggle, see it jiggle, hear it tell you to kill the president.

I do not often purchase hot beverages to go, and that may be why I am out of touch with coffee-lid technology. On the train I noticed that the coffee-lid inventors have invented a new lid, the un-snappily named "Lift 'n' Lock" (again with the goddamn apostrophes!), and while it may keep your coffee hot longer, it sure is over-designed. All these little bits to poke. And lift. And lock. At least it gives you something to do while you are not eating your coffee roll. I looked out the window and tried to make my brain work. I noticed that the sky was cloudless and bright fucking blue. My immediate association was September 11, 2001, since the same sky was in place that day, and, oh, hello, Crushing Depression The Day After Drinking. There you are. I've missed you. Brain, feel free to go back to not working if that's the sort of crap you are going to come up with.


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