Dispatches from the Front

Here are some bits and pieces – none of them are meaty enough to make an entire entry, but throw them in together - baby, you got a stew goin’!

Please tell me you get the reference.


One of the trainees in class smells like incense.  Specifically, Nag Champa.  The fact that a behavioral health practitioner smells like a head shop is amusing to me.  Especially given this person's specialty - substance use disorders.
I flew back to Richmond late Sunday night.  Laaaaaate.  I got to the hotel around 1AM.  The front desk clerk was a slight, young African man named Patric.  I took a chance, based on his accent and name, and asked him, “D’ou venez-vous, Patric?” (it means, “Where are you from?”).  Without skipping a beat, or even blinking, he answered in perfect French that he was from the Congo.

I don’t even know that he immediately realized we had started speaking French, but then he asked me where I had learned to speak it, and we went back and forth between English and French for the rest of the conversation.  He also speaks Spanish.  I was impressed.   I was equally impressed at how much I was able to pull out of my brain at that hour, both in terms of speech and comprehension.

I tell people that every time I get to practice French, I get to deduct a little more off my tuition.  That joke never gets old.  The other standard joke is that I majored in Journalism, and although I didn’t go into the field, I did meet my husband, so I have my MRS.

Actually, I had a couple of really good encounters on my journey.  I got a chair massage at the airport before my flight.  It’s kind of an act of futility, in that I get my knots slightly unkinked, then I go through the process of folding myself into an airplane seat, craning my neck to read, or crossword, or whatever it is that I’m doing to kill the next few minutes or hours.  And I throw my heavy bag over a shoulder, and I pull my rolling computer bag down from the overhead bin, and I squeeze my way off the plane and through a crowded terminal.  I realize that it’s two very different ends of the spectrum.  And yet, I get my damn chair massages when I travel, because I can.  Dammit.

Now, typically, I go to the Massage Bar at the B terminal because it’s quieter.  And given that I was flying out of B, that would have been the obvious choice.  But they were booked solid, so I schlepped to the C Terminal, and after waiting anxiously, I got paired with Harry.   I explained what the issue is, and he asked a few questions, and he worked the living hell out of my knots under my shoulder blades, and we talked.  And I ended up getting a card for his private practice.  Which – get this – the airport massage people encourage, because – it’s not direct competition and builds some loyalty.  Boom!  I had never asked any of the masseurs/masseuses,  because I assumed it was either creepy or verboten.  It is neither.  Harry used to live in Decatur.  He shushed some girls who were making a lot of noise in front of the massage place.  He found the massive knot under my right scapula and attacked it with extreme prejudice.  Hellz yeah.

The second nice thing was picking up my car.  I’m typically a Hertz person, because I got in the habit of that at my last company.  But they close at the Richmond Airport at 11:45 PM, and my flight landed at just after midnight.  So I went with National, because they stayed open til 1AM.  The guy at the kiosk was super nice, and asked if I’d be interested in an SUV.  I said I had no strong preference, and he said that he had a Ford Fiesta.  He said it apologetically, and I said, “That’ll be great”.  I actually love Ford Fiestas.  They are essentially the exact same thing as a Mazda 2, and had I not needed a car that would fit my tall husband and assorted tall friends, I would have gone with it in a heartbeat.  So you know, don’t apologize for a Ford Fiesta.  Apologize for a Crown Vic, or a Chevy Spark.

In fact, this Fiesta has some party lights in it.  There are some purple accent lights under the dash and in the cupholder console.  Funky!  Now, true – there’s no Sirius XM, but I think I’ll be OK.  Anyway, Kiosk Guy appreciated my friendly, laidback demeanor. And I appreciate the low-mileage Purple Haze Party Car.

So, I didn’t sleep Sunday last night.  Something about the pressure of needing to fall asleep, knowing I would only get about 5 hours, best case scenario, plus being too lazy to hook up my CPAP at 1:50 AM, and so on.  I had a long elaborate dream in which I was retelling a long, elaborate dream to my mother.  I think.  My sister was there, and some blue and white decorative plates,  Sharpie drawings of a cat and a rabbit.  Piper went missing, there was a parking deck, lots of mud, kids hiding,  clues written in margins of magazines, and lunch meat.  It was sort of a partial defrag of my brain, and I have no idea what it meant, but I woke up repeatedly feeling anxious and frustrated, and at one point I woke up and my heart was racing.

Last night, after some mindless internet time and a really weird episode of Bachelor in Paradise, I hooked up to my machine, shut down for the night, and I was out.  I don’t remember tossing or turning or anything.  I woke up with my mask ripped off, and I felt totally rested and a few minutes before my alarm.  I haven’t slept that well in ages.  And since there wasn’t any Benadryl involved, I don’t have that funky hangoverish feeling.

I ended up getting some groceries last night for my room, and more specifically, to make breakfasts and lunches.  Breakfast is included at my hotel (Hilton Garden Inn) and I plan to enjoy that, particularly over the weekend, because they have an omelet station.  But during the week, I’m using them for water, utensils, a bowl and a half cup of Honey Nut Cheerios.  I’m pairing said cereal with yogurt (Banana Crème Pie) and powdered peanut butter.  This, I have decided, is a better choice than the protein bars I’ve been eating – they are basically glorified, fortified candy bars, so… no.  Done.  Because that made me crave sugar, and I caved, and I put on a few pounds.  Gotta get that scale moving down, not up.

Lunch, well – that’s simple.  I need to eat something lower calorie than Cracker Barrel, or whatever.  But really, Cracker Barrel.  It’s my guilty pleasure and it’s RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from my temporary office.  But man cannot live on grilled chicken tenderloins and carrots alone.  So I bought some bread, turkey, cheese and pop chips. 

And that leaves me with some options for dinner, snacks while I watch Bachelor in Paradise in the hotel, and so on.  I did come to a decision on Halo Top.  It is causing me to behave in an unhealthy way –  I’m binge eating it because it’s low-calorie.  Not because I need or want it.  I would rather eat a controlled portion of something else that is full calorie rather than sacrificing quality for quantity.

And occasionally, quality AND quantity.

It’s all about balance, y’all.

Stew on that!




Christopher said…
I...think I want my money back.
I'm kidding. I love the joke that you get to deduct a little off your tuition every time you speak French. And also in awe that you speak enough French to carry on a conversation.
A professor from Kenya visited the library where I work once. I did some quick study before his arrival and when introduced said hello and asked him how he was doing in Swahili. He got very excited and started talking to me in Swahili and I had to apologize and explain that was all I knew. It's all I can manage in French and about half a dozen other languages too, but at least I can do a little to make strangers feel welcome.