Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Five Food Groups


Three of the five daily food groups - just purchased to stave off methadone treatments.

It was scary. I woke up this morning, rain falling from the sky on the sidewalks of New York, happy to stumble into my kitchen to make my pot of espresso and just watch the soft gray sky from my window as I sipped my cappuccino in the darkened apartment. Then...it happened. I discovered I was out of coffee! This can't be happening. This is how I felt.



I donned my new rubber rain boots, rain coat and went down four flights of stairs to get coffee. I walked to the front door of the building and realized I had forgotten my umbrella. It was pouring. I hiked back up four flights of stairs and got my umbrella. Then I went down four flights of stairs and to EAT - a block away. I picked up a buttery, still warm croissant for my efforts and then went to pay and I asked for a cup of their darkest roast coffee. The man at the checkout told me it was self-serve "down there" as he pointed to my left. I stumbled, like a rabid animal, to that part of the store, the lack of caffeine beginning to adversely affect my ability to navigate. I saw something that looked like a pot with coffee in it but no cups. However, there were cups above, in long tubes of plastic. I began to pull them down, tearing at the plastic to get it open. How could it be so hard to get a cup of coffee?

A very nice older woman next to me, slightly around a wall, tapped me cautiously on the shoulder to let me in on a secret. "Here are the cups," she said. "And the coffee." I was a little embarrassed by my ravenous display. I said, "Go ahead," because clearly she was there for coffee too. She was very clear, "Oh, no, you go ahead. Here are the lids, there is the cream, and here is your bag." She was going to see me through this whole endeavor. I was not alone in the world. I found my way back to the check out and paid, trying to cover my inability to communicate at this point. I sort of grunted, I guess.

I went home, up the four flights of stairs and into my apartment and enjoyed my coffee and my croissant. My mind clicked into gear and I wrote and worked for my clients. But, alas, as the middle of the afternoon approached, I needed more coffee and, now, believe it or not, chocolate. I just move through the day from one addiction to the next. And, you guessed it, I was also out of chocolate. And, wine. And bread. I was out of four of the five food groups!!!

Coffee
Wine
Chocolate
Bread
Cheese - I had this one.

So I once again donned my rainboots, my rain coat and my umbrella this time and went to forage for my sustenance. I did it in 20 minutes, harvesting from store to store....one for the chocolate, one for the coffee, one for the wine, another for the bread. Now I am safe in the belly of my drug den, with my cappuccino and chocolate. Wine is waiting for later in the evening when I will have it with bread and cheese. Life can be so harsh and so good - all at the same time.

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