training for a big fight.

The other night at dinner I tried to take a lady’s order. I said, “Would you like to order dinner?” and she said, “I would, but no one has asked me yet.” I said, “The special tonight is dill encrusted halibut with wild rice and broccoli and cauliflower.” She stared at me and I said, “Would you like the special?” She said, “I don’t know what the special is!” I told her what the special was again. I told her about the other menu items but she was equally astonished by everything. I eventually talked her into ordering the special.

Later I asked her if she wanted more coffee. “What did I order?” she grabbed my arm and begged me to tell her, and the circumstances forced me to answer back “the special,” all cryptically like some horror film villain.

I brought out the special and set it in front of her sharp yet uncomprehending eyes.

“What is this?” she said. And I explained to her that it was dill encrusted halibut with wild rice and vegetables. I pointed to each food item, apologetically. She looked at the food like it was a pile of calculators.

“Does it not look good?” her dinner companion said.

“Would you like something else?” I asked. We all just wanted to be helpful.

“I don’t know what it is!” the woman said, and kind of snotty this time, like it was my fault. Like she was mad at me for bringing her a plate of calculators for dinner.

I told her all about halibut, that it’s a kind of fish. Again I asked her if she wanted something else.

“I just don’t know what this food is,” She said again. “I’ve just never seen anything like it before.”

And this is what it is to be old, everyone. The world stops making sense. You’re lonely and scared and no one can help you. Dementia isn’t a river in Egypt. It’s a thing, and it’s waiting for you.

Lately, every morning when I open my eyes I think, “I hate my life.” I know, that’s not ideal, and I’m not trying to upset everybody, but there it is. Every day I try to get fired, but I make every light. There’s always a parking spot. It’s like God wants it this way for me. The residents are always ordering dessert at lunchtime, and I think that’s wrong. But Tony Robbins says it’s fine to hate your life as long as you’re working toward something better, so let’s say I’m doing that and nobody worry about me.

I joined a mixed martial arts gym and I spend a lot of time pretending that I’m Hilary Swank from Million Dollar Baby, training for a big fight. In class we pummel bags with our fists. I try to get angry and imagine the bag is the face of my enemy, but there’s nobody I’m mad at. I’m not mad at my ex boyfriend. I just want to rewire his brain or bring his mother back to life. It sucks that my job sucks, but that’s a thing, not a person, and whose fault is a shitty job, the sun? Fuck the sun, I fucking hate it too, long live the fucking beast.

Remember when I sent some of you postcards? That was fun. I made it a permanent thing. Check out the free letter  section.

I’m going to Detroit this weekend, hide the fine china! JK I know you don’t have any, you’re Detroit.

7 thoughts on “training for a big fight.

  1. Have you seen the Kaufman film “Synechdoche, New York?” I think it’s a great film but one of the most interesting parts is near the end when the main character is an old man. He’s walking through the streets of his city and all around him insane, random things are happening– people having sex, cars on fire, strange freakshow people, people talking nonsense, etc.– and it’s like a picture of what the world feels like to old people. It’s really good.

  2. it’s one of my favorites. that movie reminds you of everything because it encapsulates the human experience like whoa. I want to write the same book but different.

  3. Rewire it to what? Being a shitty incompetent person that can’t make anything out of the easiest life know to man? On a serious note: be patient with those old people, regardless of how much it requires; I know what it feels like to completely helpless, confused and alone, even if you don’t. . .
    And tell your mother I said said hi, and that I love her.

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