A Day in the Life
As I float up from the deep well of sleep. With my eyes still closed I can tell that it is too light. A split-second of terror before I remember that it’s Saturday. Blessed, glorious Saturday. I open my eyes and stare at the still-bare wall. I should hang something there. But the walls are cement, and hanging stuff’s a pain. I yawn, stretch, and turn off the sound machine. It’s on full-blast, drowning out the rockin’ beer-and-pizza party that was still going on last night in the apartment below me when I finally went to bed a little after 1am. I have to turn off the machine before I take out the ear plugs, or it sound hurts my early-morning ears.
I roll over and enjoy the knowledge that I don’t have to get up if I don’t want to. I DO want to get up, but that’s not the point. I make a note that I should wash the sheets in this week’s load of laundry.
An hour later I’m on my way to Blain’s Farm and Fleet. In that hour I’ve eaten breakfast (my last container of greek yogurt, thereby making today’s grocery run more or less a necessity), checked email, started the laundry, and narrowly escaped a nasty fall down my icy-slick stairs. I listen to Rascal Flatts croon about Mayberry as I drive north, past the magical divide between DeKalb and Sycamore, where BFF is located.
[Editor’s Note: it is, no doubt, NOT a coincidence that my favorite store’s initials are BFF. Really? How could that not be significant?]
I need a broom. I’ve lived in the US for 8 months now. I really need a broom. I could get a broom at Wal-Mart, probably, but it’s a good excuse to go to BFF. I see a dad and two kids while I mosey down the aisles. All three are wearing cowboy boots. I refrain, with some difficulty, from approaching them for a picture. While there I also discover a delightfully inexpensive solution to my electrical outlet problem. A $0.39 adapter that will allow me to plug a grounded plug into an ungrounded outlet. God bless you, BFF! I bought three.
Next I headed to the fancy-pants grocery store here, Hyvee. I was there once before. On my very first day in DeKalb, in fact. I was trying to get to Wal-Mart, but got lost and eventually ended up there. I got what I needed, but I hadn’t been back because Wal-Mart is cheaper. But this week a co-worker told me their produce is really good, so I decide to try again.
The produce section IS impressive. Lots of selection, including organic, some local, and the prices seemed to be about the same as Wally World. But the excitement of the day comes in my discovery of the WHOLE FOOD SECTION. To my great delight, they carry lots of hard-to-find, usually healthier-for-you items, like organic stuff, glutten free products, grains and flours that are less known in the Midwest, like rye, quinoa, semolina, etc. And perhaps MOST exciting, you can buy spices there in bulk! Ironically, this is exciting for me because I always wish I could buy LESS than the whole container of a spice. I learned a few years ago that spices lose their flavor with time, and there are only a few that I use enough to merit a whole jar. I gaze. I marvel. I help a lady look for the taco seasoning container. I buy some cayenne pepper. And finally, reluctantly, I move on.
Back home, I switch the laundry in the basement and then lug my grocery treasures…and my broom…up to my third floor apartment. On my first trip in, I realize that I have forgotten to return my RedBox movie during my errands. Dangit. I unload everything and check email. A message from my car insurance. Awesome. My next six months is due at the end of the month. Just in time to swallow up a good chunk of my tax return. I chat with the nice rep lady, who finds me an extra $18 discount while I wash apples and pears and grapes. Not a lot, but I’d rather have $18 than give it to them, I suppose.
After making another trip to the basement to collect my now-clean-and-dry clothes, I decide it’s time to sweep. I free my new broom from its plastic wrapping (why is it necessary to wrap a broom, I ask you? For the love of Pete, people, stop packaging our world to death!) and move my bed away from the wall.
Gray dust monsters, grown from their bunny childhoods on a healthy diet of my hair and DeKalb’s dust, swirl around my new broom, daring us to trap them. I sweep and sweep and sweep. This apartment is much smaller than my last, but it’s still a lot of hardwood floor to sweep. Eventually I have corralled the dust monsters into a pile, roughly the size of my head. It’s gross. I decide the broom was a good idea.
Laundry is folded and put away, floors are clean…er. Bed is remade, and ready- as it happens- for me to jump in for a nap. No ear plugs or sound machines needed this time. Probably because the frat boys downstairs are still sleeping off last night’s revelries. I ponder, not for the first time this weekend, how much I would love to not share walls with college students. I sleep.
After the nap I reheat some chicken enchiladas (my most successful cooking experiment in awhile) and settle in on the couch to watch a movie I borrowed from the library called The Children of Huang Shi. It’s based on a true story of a British man who went to China in 1937 during the unofficial war between Japan and China. He ends up taking about 60 orphan boys on a 700 mile trip to safety, escaping both the Japanese army (who would like to kill them) and the Chinese, communist army (who would like to force them to be soldiers). It’s a sad and stirring movie. I cry and laugh, and look forward to the time when I will not be watching movies alone more often than not.
And that brings us up to the present. I felt the writing itch. Decided to write a post. I look at the mess of my kitchen table/desk, and think I should prune that a bit. I think happily that tomorrow is Sunday, and after the spiritual food of the church service, I will hopefully get to have some social and physical food at lunch with some friends somewhere. It hasn’t been a particularly thrilling day, but it’s been good. I am thankful.
Leslie grew up on a small farm in rural Ohio. She has tried her hand at many different jobs, including grocery store cashier, bank teller, factory worker, records clerk, professional house cleaner, secretary, and, most recently, English teacher. She has lived in Germany, Russia, Argentina, China, and Ecuador. Currently she currently resides in Illinois, but she is trying to weasel her way back to her home state to be closer to family. Leslie’s relationship with God has been the single most important part of her life since she was 11. You can read more of Leslie’s writing on her blog.