Do I Work Here?

Oof! Wearing my blue vest and blue shirt to Sam’s club might have been a mistake. I’ve already helped five customers and I’ve only been here 15 minutes. The plus side is that I can totally wing it. I am so amused to think that these people I’ve interacted with think I work here. One lady was looking at clothing and asked about another size availability. Without batting an eye, I told her that the best sizes and selection are kept over at Target. She laughed and smiled. She thinks I work here though. .

The Banana Apple Rule

Despite what I’ve been eating, I still weigh about 148 lbs. There’s a ‘but’ here.

I can’t tell y’all how many times I’ve stepped on the scale lately, expecting to be over 150.

I think back to when I had the vision of what I’d look like. I didn’t expect a huge abdominal scar. But I love that it’s there. Really.

I’ve worked really hard since surgery to change my body. It’s working. My muscle mass is increasing. That creates the issue of burning more calories at rest than I previously did. I was wrong about needing to incorporate more weight training into my routine. Wrong seems to surround me when I think about what I thought I knew. I’m so grateful that I can do pushups again. Before my surgery, they were like meditation to me.

Now that I have a Fitbit, I know how easy it is to surpass 20,000 steps just on a normal day, one without a “walk.” I was fat with the same amount of activity. For years. That tells you how many bad choices I was making with the foods I was eating. It’s the fundamental truth of losing weight. Generally speaking, it’s the only reason you’re not where you want to be.

Fitbit watches are great for metrics. I thought I wouldn’t find it interesting. I was wrong, as usual. I got the 3-month trial premium plan. It tells me my heart rate, O2 level, sleep patterns, snoring, and of course steps. The threshold is 10,000 steps. It’s obvious that I will always go over 20,000 if I’m working. If I take a long walk through the streets around me, I can hit 30,000, or 50,000.

The Banana Apple Rule has helped me. If I go into a store, even an inconvenience store, and there are apples or bananas, I buy one and eat it. It’s a bit simplistic, but it works. It might not stop me from eating a bag of something stupid; it reminds me of why making different choices is a necessity.

When I lost all the weight, I didn’t change anything except what I ate.

Now that I’ve eclipsed a year of different choices, I feel humbled. No matter what else has happened to me, I can’t resist running up the stairs or wanting to hurdle over the side as I go down them, wondering if I might float.

When I think about where I was thirteen months ago, I float.

Thanksgiving is approaching. I thank the universe every night that I’m still here. I’ll make a lot of dumb choices because I’m human. But I’ll also make a lot of moments better because I’m still alive and being me.

Love, X
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Taste Torture Love

During the cheesecake fiasco at Whole Foods the other day, I bought a reasonably-priced jug of protein powder. I should have known!

Anything reasonably priced at Whole Foods is 100% a mistake. Trust me.

It’s like buying your auto insurance from a guy named Honest Pete. You just don’t do it.

This brand is plant-based. Today, I made ten servings of it. The label said “French Vanilla.” The flavor is so opposite the label that I decided it is a new form of reverse marketing.

I made mine with skim milk. When I took the first gulp, the truth is that I thought it tasted like a chalky fart.

Yes, you read that right.

You know how you drive past a weird part of town and realize that the municipal wastewater treatment plant must be nearby? It was exactly like that but without the nostalgia. You have to drive a mile to rid the smell from the interior of your car.

The grit and residue left in my teeth was remarkable. Had someone thrown an urn of ashes in my face, I wouldn’t have noticed, probably even if threw the actual metal urn in my face, too. I decided that it reminded me of a mix of flatulence, diet tonic water, black licorice, and the tears of Tibetan monks.

As I stood there drinking it, I read the label. I couldn’t find “bile” anywhere in the list.

By the time I finished the serving?

I realized that it tastes so terrible that I LOVE it.

Just ignore me if I swallow and shiver as I imbibe it. I wouldn’t be surprised if I grow horns or an extra ear after drinking this stuff.

It’s rancid. I’ll buy it again if I catch it “on sale” at Whole Foods. Or possibly in their dumpster. Yes, I’m conflicted!

Love, X

Honk In Morse Code

I went to the grocery store after work. Yes, despite the glamour of my storytelling, I sometimes visit one. I do like some aspects of Walmart+ and delivery but there are times when going inside yields interesting interactions. I had my fill of Walmart yesterday, after having to go there for cheesecakes. Whole Foods dropped the ball in that department. Cheesecake is no laughing matter, as the Great Cheesecake Skirmish of 2016 proves.

Today, I shopped and then realized I left my wallet in the car. That led me to entertain the Salvation Army greeter twice before entering the store.

Before I got there, though, I was turning right. The car in front of me zipped away incredibly fast. I looked – no traffic turning toward me. As I turned, a truck came around through the yellow light going really fast. As expected, a horn blared at me, loud and long, like a mother-in-law complaining about the gravy. I turned into the grocery store parking lot. The truck was turning there, too, but was detained by oncoming traffic. As I exited my car, I noted that the truck was pulling into a nearby spot.

Before I thought about it too much, I approached the older man and said, “Hello, sorry about not seeing you coming from the other direction. If you’d hit me, I’d have done at least $4 damage to your truck with my little car.”

I pointed toward my car as I spoke.

He laughed. “I was a little enthusiastic with the horn! Sorry about that.”

“No need to be sorry. You could do it in Morse code next time, though, to confuse everyone who wasn’t in the Navy or has a ham operator license.” I grinned.

He laughed again. That was two laughs in ten seconds.

“Do you like that car?” He said. “It seems small.”

“Yes, I do like it, and especially the $150 payments. And it is so small that I have to get out just to change my mind.”

That brought out the third laugh from him. “I needed a laugh! This morning was the worst.”

Because I had to go for laugh number four: “The worst? The worst is realizing that it’s your wife’s birthday at 9:02 p.m.”

He did laugh. “Have a good day,” he said as he walked toward the store.

“Honk if you need me,” I quipped as a parting shot. He grinned and shook his head.

To the rest of you, honk if you need me. You’ll know it’s me when you see the weirdest sky blue Spark with a front license plate that reads “Divine” on it.

If you do honk, could you do it in Morse code? Thanks!

Love, X

P.S. I added the chicken for extra protein.
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Get To Know Me

“It must be tough to convince someone who has been struck by lightning to stop playing the lottery.”

I saw this on the internet today.

It resonates with me because I say a version of it a LOT.

A couple of wild, improbable things happened to me when I was younger.

Those events help make me who I am. And people often forget it when they see me or think about my motivation in life.

I’m not sure how I put my head back together after either event.

But don’t come at me with “THAT’S not likely to happen” arguments.

If you get struck by lightning once in life, it makes you cautious. If you get struck twice, it makes you careless.

That’s a grain of truth that might help you to understand me.

Love, X

A Prank Tells Me I’m Being Me Again

Y’all?

If you have a front license plate – or a holder, you might want to check your vehicles!

When I took off the flimsy license plate from the front of my attractive clown car, I had a flash of inspiration. I was going to paint it and decorate it. Of course.

I realized that I should revive an old trick of mine: secretly put NEW plates on other people’s vehicles.

And so, today, I put one of my special creations on someone’s vehicle.

Today’s proudly asked: “AM I CUTE??? CALL XXX-XXX-XXX.”

I’m laughing even as I type this.

I love you all and one of you needs to walk around to the front of your vehicle. Or don’t. Just expect a confusing phone call from a stranger, and/or a potential love interest if they think you are cute.

Love, X

P.S. All of you are cute!

I Paid It Forward

Hey guys, I probably changed a couple of people’s lives tonight. Really.

Recently, someone surprised me with a kindness. It gave me a little breathing room. I can’t think about it without feeling like I owe the universe a big hug.

Because I had already worn myself out exercising, I left the apartment to visit my local inconvenience store. Today was a light day: I had 20,000 steps without taking a “walk.” I don’t get bored, but I do miss the interaction with people sometimes. This evening was one of those times. As I stood near the case of odd corndogs and snacks, a pretty young lady stood at the counter, vainly attempting to get her visa card to work. The clerk was showing her a video of his puppy. It was apparent that both of them were doing the dance of interest, even as the young lady became frustrated. “Try the card again,” the clerk told her. She tried twice more to prepay $10 in gas.

I interrupted them both and said, “Ma’am, I’ll pay for your $10 in gas. In fact, let’s make it $20 if your car holds it. We’ve all been there.” She looked at me in wide-eyed surprise. I pointed at the clerk, “He would want me to.” The clerk smiled a huge smile, realizing that I had shifted my surprise act of generosity to him.

The young lady almost started crying. “That is so nice of you!” I thought she was going to hug me. “Yes, my car will hold $20 of gas. It’s basically on empty.”

I thought of all the times I was poor or needed help. Her wide-eyed features and noticeable relief and gratitude rendered me a bit floorless.

“Then have a great night and pay it forward. It’s really okay.” I smiled at her. She smiled at me, then smiled at the clerk, who watched it unfold. It’s hard to describe how beautiful that smile was, as she reacted to a total stranger giving her such a gesture.

When she exited, the clerk shook my hand and introduced himself. “Ryan,” he said. “That was really cool of you.”

I introduced myself too and then showed him my ID. People often don’t believe my name is X. “Whoa, that’s cool!”

I told him, “You ought to ask her out. She already thinks I paid for her gas because you’re a nice guy. You’re halfway there.”

He smiled, “Yeah, I’ve been wanting to ask her out for quite a while.”

Y’all know me, so you know I couldn’t leave it there.

“Then ask her out,” I said. “It’s obvious she likes you. I’m 54. I’m telling you that you should take 100% of the shots you want when you’re young. The worst that could happen is she’ll say no. The best is that you will have a great story to tell about how you got the nerve to ask her out. Me.”

The clerk said, “That’s some wisdom right there. Thank you.”

We both laughed as I grabbed my bag of Cheetos Puffs and left.

As I started the car, I decided to forget the rules of life and social etiquette. I rolled down my window (yes, my car has actual rollers) and drove over near the white car at the gas pumps. The young lady looked over at me.

“I know this is awkward, but the clerk likes you and has wanted to ask you out for quite a while. He’s a great guy. Have a great night, young lady.”

She smiled so big that I thought her face might shatter. “Thanks! And thank you.”

I drove away, glad that I’d decided to leave the apartment for a dumb snack. And ignored the ridiculous social expectations of perhaps going too far. I can thank Lexapro for making me more “me.” Where life and love are concerned, there is no step too far.

I was glad I’d been able to help someone randomly.

I was glad that someone had helped me to be able to.

And that it was likely that the clerk and the young lady with the defunct visa card might be able to overcome the ridiculous shyness and distance that so often separates people who are interested in one another. There is no reason for such attraction not to find purchase in people’s lives.

Somehow, I think they will.

And I love that I might be at the nexus of their story, however it unfolds.

More than that, though, I would love for them both to take a risk and find out how their mutual interest might blossom.

What a life.

Thank you, universe, and thank you, kind souls who made it possible.

I’ll say a little prayer for love, for kindness, and for humanity.

And for Ryan and the nameless pretty young lady who needed a little bit of help tonight.

Love, X

Cat Mitten Life

I don’t want to live in a world where someone doesn’t invent cat mittens or broccoli-flavored chocolate. Enough with the conventional, as if we all enjoy the same level of normalcy. Without the zany, my life would be miserable. And stop arguing about the ‘best’ foods. There’s no such thing. We are all individuals and taste is wildly subjective, as is taste in hair, purses, clothing, cars, furniture, music, and lovers.

Can we instead talk about the things and people each of us loves, in our own way, and the people that light us up?

And while we’re at it, buy each other some cat mittens.

Living seriously is something that we can all agree is for the birds, the kind that swoops down and releases upon our heads.

Love, X
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