I am sick but I am less sick than I was and I have read all of my library books and I need more books in which to sickly wallow and they must be actual books as I find that words on any sort of electronic screen are not wallow-conducive.
Also middle punctuation is strangely superfluous today and run-on sentences are trampling amuck.
Whatever . . . I will go to the library.
I would like to go to the library all by myself because I am sick and being sick makes me selfish and desirous of quiet and also incredibly attuned to and annoyed by the noises the people in my family make when they breathe and walk and raise their eyebrows this last sound being reminiscent of a loose-tined rake dragged over cool empty sidewalk.
That shit is fucking annoying.
So I would like to go the library all by myself but then Maj spots me and wants to come along except she hasn’t eaten dinner yet and what’s for dinner anyway and no one has made a plan for dinner it turns out and so then Mark is all filled with genius about how he’ll come to the library with us and then we’ll stop for Mexican food on the way home except did I mention about how I am not hungry I so think I did and about how I am still sick I am pretty sure I mentioned that as well and so there is just not much in this world that sounds better than watching and listening to you two idiots slobber and teeth-gnash through chips and burritos so yeah bring that shit on because that sounds motherfucking fabulous and so I sigh heavily and say, “Fine.”
At the library I try to find something that will make me laugh but not that many people make me laugh with their words and the people who do make me laugh with their words tend to be unprolific in the extreme and in possibly not unrelated news prone to long bouts of depression and incapacitating mental illness and life would be much simpler if I was the sort to find humor in the written thoughts of people who smile easily while showing all their teeth but as I have always found wide-smilers to be an insipid bunch life for tight-lipped me continues to be the opposite of simple which is complicated.
Alright I will check out this book called i am neurotic (and so are you) because it appears to be just a collection of random small neurotic thoughts and behaviors collected and presented in near comic-book form and Maj might find it interesting to see that other people share some of her quirky thoughts and that there is actually humor to be found in the quirkiness and also possibly a sense of belonging to be gained from the realization that an awful lot of people think an awful lot of weird shit and it’s no big deal as long as you don’t let it rule your life and oh enough with the coughing already I am so tired of coughing oooh excellent I have a forgotten Smartie-candy/cough-suppressant in my pocket let me just pop that in my mouth wait what color was it pink or white or yellow the flavors are all subtly different but if you don’t look at the color first it is difficult to discern which flavor you are eating and now that it is in my mouth I am growing increasingly annoyed at not knowing its color why did I do that I always check the color first what the fuck ok no big deal I will just take it out of my mouth for a moment and check the color white I thought so I like the white ones they taste mainly of sugar.
Let me just sweep into my arms this whole section of New Selections from the shelf by the front of the library and I am ready to go I’ll just use the automated machine to check-out because the fewer people in my day the better and yes that is a thing people say smart people anyway.
“Yes, babe. Of course you can use my library card. Here.”
Bet you a bazillion dollars he is going to comment loudly on the fines I have accumulated on that card a trazillion dollars a quadrapillion dollars no way he does not announce to the entire library that . . .
“Kris, you owe $6.60 cents on this card. How is that even possible? I thought we were trying to teach the girls to be responsible with their library accounts, and here you are with fines.”
“I’m surprised they even let you check out books on this card when your account is delinquent and you have shown yourself to be so irresponsible.”
Asshole who did not actually hesitate to use said card to check out materials and where’s your library card anyway?
He hands the card back, his eyebrows raised in twin arcs of judgmental high.
So then we go to the Mexican place and I decide to bring in the maybe-funny book about being neurotic because it will distract me from the chewing and the eating and the chomping and the lip-smacking and the general disgusting cacophony that is burrito consumption and this way I can imagine I am in some better place filled with the musings of slightly crazy people about germs and phobias and obsessions and compulsions and this better place does not smell of bleach and hot sauce and hand sanitizer although actually I bet the place these people would congregate in real life would indeed smell of bleach and hand sanitizer but at least there would be no hot sauce and also no icky stained posters of beaches on the walls yes fine give me a little dollop of sanitizer no point in letting the posters contaminate me with their spills of whatever that is dripping from the sand and yes fine also I am sick but I am not touching your food so relax for goodness sake.
Please chew with your mouth closed please hey there is a story in here about a woman who needs to know what color Smartie candy she is eating and gets all obsessive if she has forgotten to check the color before putting it in her mouth and and so she takes it out of her mouth and . . .
I finish the book just as Maj and Mark are finishing eating it’s a very short book and I mention that Maj might like to read it and she wrinkles her nose doubtfully which sounds to me like the noise of tinfoil being chewed and that sends a shiver of revulsion up my spine and I resolve to never speak to this older daughter of mine again ever and then we are driving home and I figure as long as I am giving Maj the silent treatment I may as well toss Mark into the silent stew as well and so I sulk and do not speak on the ride home and the two of them could not possibly give less of a shit about my harsh and vehement censure of their completely unacceptable behavior which is really rather stunning and so I break my silence to announce that they are both utmostly annoying and as if to prove my point their enjoyment of the ride home continues unabated.
I am sick and weak and so I cave, “Maj, you really would get a kick out of this book,” and I hold it out to her as we are walking up to the house.
She cringes away from my offering, “Mother, that book is covered with your germs. No way am I reading that book unless it has been sanitized and decontaminated.”
Ok that’s rather fucking awesome because she doesn’t even know what the book is about and she is speaking as though she is a contributor to its contents, “Babe, what do you want me to do, cleanse every page with sanitizer? I think the library would frown on that.”
Mark is all helpfulness as he turns the key in the door, “She could microwave the book.”
I turn to him, “Seriously? She wants me to rub hand-sanitizer on all the pages. You want me to microwave the book. The book will be ruined. You can’t microwave a book.”
Mark shrugs, a sound that echoes in my head like the ping of a smoke detector endeavoring to inform its sleeping household of low-battery status, “I’m sure you can microwave a book. Besides, if it gets ruined, you’ll just have to pay to replace it. It’s not like you don’t already owe the library money, right?”
I walk ahead of both of them and into the kitchen to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Maj and Mark follow me into the kitchen, their eyebrows raised high in sidewalk-scraping incredulity. I glare at them, “What? I am hungry now.”
Maj washes and sanitizes her hands and starts carefully flipping through the first pages of the book I suggested she read, resting the book on the counter and using the barest brush of a single fingertip to turn the pages, “Mother, this book isn’t funny at all.”
She reads a bit more and then looks up, “No. This book is like listening to you speak. You know I rarely find you amusing.”
So then I go back to that thing where I am no longer talking to her ever and I take my library books and my sandwich and I wallow for a bit. I maybe get some jelly on the inside cover of Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending and no way the library doesn’t notice that let me just rub at the jelly with my sleeve and a little bit of spit and ok no that is not better at all and that is definitely going to be a fine.