“You cannot smoke for two hours,” Jessica slaps my emotional crutch out from under me. “They’ll smell it on you and turn you away with their cruel glances of judgment.”
I suppose I deserve this. Having endured two months of a big gay morbidity curse with all of its adjacent toxic trappings, Jessica is seeing my shuffle-footed decline with something of an intervention in mind. We’re headed to the granola Mecca of cleansed innards, Whole Foods Market, to engage in a little bit of spirited fish-out-of-watering; the idea is that maybe – just maybe – some consumerist convalescence of the homeopathic variety might better serve the six bones remaining in my body than, say, another vodka gimlet with a narcotic rim. I doubt it. They don’t even carry the Weekly here anymore.
“But do they have organic drugs?” I reject health. “I mean, one Vicodin and two Xanax look a lot like the sort of fallacy – phallus-y? – with which I like to engage my mouth. Plus, I don’t like to chew. I swallow.”
Jessica rams me with a tall skinny shopping carriage, because even the shopping carriages are healthy here. Inside, a glorious scene of soft-lit productive goodness unfolds, one full of people who look like their brains are manufactured by Apple and their ears are miniature iPods. Nobody, I should note, appears drunk. There are hippies. John Mayer may or may not appear at any given moment and declare my body a wonderland. A tofu crumble could shoot out unexpectedly from a free-range plastic bag and pierce my eye, and what will I do then? So. Many. Issues. Right. Now.
“The first thing you need is red lentils,” Jessica trips over my breakdown but doesn’t lose her balance. “They look like little pills.”
Jessica’s plan is to school me on the sort of cooking craft that makes your cheating husband begrudgingly tumble back into bed before midnight. She says that it’s all about engaging my deep-seated Donna Reed fantasy, one that she shouldn’t even know about without actually climbing up my ass and digging just to the left of my liver.
“I need something to make Alan happy,” I codepend. “In our last telephonic telegram he cryptically announced that he felt ‘like George Washington in 1776.’ ‘Was he cute then?’ I blonded. ‘It was the worst year of his life,’ he ominously omnibused.”
“Just be a geisha for three days, that’ll unnerve him,” Jessica’s feet bind. “Say yes to everything, do the back-rubbing, giggle. Here, write ‘geisha’ on your hand.”
“I already do that!” I curtsy-bow.
“Well, this will do the trick,” Jessica’s aphrodisiacal wink makes me nervous as she loads beans into a sack.
The trick? Basically, take two cups of red lentils, cooked, some super-organic transparently stovetopped white onions covered in cumin and ginger root and gingerly bathe them in coconut milk. Voilà, love potion! We’re both cumin coconut milk? Food is disgusting.
Shopping, however, is fun, especially if you just close your eyes, throw back your head and throw money everywhere. But my closed-eye incognito eating disorder rehab (fat suit!) is momentarily unmasked when I run into superfabulous art couple Drew and Brigan. At least one of them paints pictures of very sad things, and at least both of them used to drink with me in the heyday of Will’s Pub.
“I haven’t seen you in so long!” Brigan makes me a sad thing while wrapping her perfect arms around my fourth bone. It’s almost like we’re in a bar! I need a drink.
But the closest I’ll come to a cocktail is a carriage-push down the supplement aisle, where if I squint really hard I can imagine myself an Oscars-week Reese Witherspoon out for her next ass-cheek B-12 injection bender. Of course, there are enough pill versions, sublingual liquid versions, powder versions, bloody inhalant versions to send a WPRK afternoon personality into a homeopathological seizure, but in the absence of syringes woven out of Costa Rican hemp, there will be nothing that I can simply shove into my ass and call my own. Why is being good so hard?
“Here’s something for you, Tinsley Mortimer,” Jessica references my favorite worthless socialite virtually unknown to anybody without a Barney’s account and a New York subscription. “Dr. Praeger’s spinach pancakes! At just 80 calories, they’re like the new crack!”
“But I like the old crack!” I Lizzie Grubman, wheeling my carriage into a crowd of crazy-haired ladies with shawls and beading fixations.
Tempers, clearly, are flaring so Jessica wisely points me in the direction of all kinds of excretion: ear candles, nose pots, singing bowls, armpit crystals.
“Do they have anything like a sink-snake for your intestines?” I bind up on the inside. “Something I can just shove up there and wiggle around for clarity?”
“It’s called the Master Cleanse,” her eyes light up.
I need a Master Cleanse. More than that, though, I need to acknowledge that despite all noble attempts (the soup will later come out lovely, although without causing any of the promised bumping of dirties), I’m not cut out for this sort of socially conscious interaction. I want out.
In front of me in the checkout line, one dreaded hippie details his flu woes to another dreaded hippie-with-flu working the register, and I can’t help but long for the sort of pickling that preserves me from such pedestrian ailments. Just give me one drink and I’ll be better than both of them.
Oh, and a firstname.lastname@example.org