Consider me a matzoh ball, momentarily bobbing to the surface to say hello and remind you I'm here. Never fear, I am indeed, alive. Questionably so, but no matter.
Forgive the metaphor. My brain is fried. And frankly, I'm lacking in proper nutrition these days, which I suspect is beginning to affect my sanity.
I am currently making chicken soup as a preemptive strike against whatever cold or flu is lurking in the corner, waiting for my immune system to fall asleep on the job. Also, to remind myself that I can actually cook, though the amount of time I just spent debating how many parsnips to put in and whether they should go in NOW or after the chicken is cooked, was laughable. I'm moving slowly these days. It's like I'm learning to walk again.
Let me give you a peek into a day in the (eating) life of Mouse:
7am: Wake up. Weep silently into the pillow. Shower, dress in whatever is closest, and leave the house. BIG coffee. Cliff bar on subway.
8am: Get to school (as in, the middle school I'm working at as part of my field placement for grad school). Wonder at the energy and sheer volume pre-teens have at 8 in the morning. How do they do it? Can I bottle it? Do they think I'm deaf? Am I going deaf? Am I already done with that cup of coffee?
10am: Snacktime. Our school has transformed school breakfast into snack time so as to get rid of the stigma of partaking in a free meal program and to stave off that teenage brand of midmorning hunger-induced spaciness/temper tantrum. Usually consists of a variety of cereal and milk, a cheese stick, sliced apples, a muffin, or some weird cardboardy bagel-ball stuffed with cream cheese. And juice. I steal the cheese stick and leave the rest for my cohorts.
12pm: When I first started working at this school, I didn't venture further than the local Subway. Everything was unfamiliar and alien--the neighborhood, the building, the job, the people, and Subway provided consistency and predictability, if lacking in taste. But now, slightly more comfortable, I've discovered the corner bodega where I can get a delicious turkey and cheese sandwich (on whole wheat, with lettuce, tomato, mustard and mayonnaise, please) for $2.50. TWO FIFTY. Spanish Harlem, I love you.
Come back to school. Dispense counseling in between bites and killer Connect-4 moves. Give my chips to a kid who refuses to eat the school lunch. How can I blame him.
Caffeine in the form of diet coke.
4pm: Run from school to rehearsal. On the way, if there's any possibility, grab a water and a snack. Soy chips. Lunch leftovers. an apple. Coffee....
7pm: Dinner break. 45 minutes and limited options. Our cast has been bouncing between Chipotle, Chickpea, and NY Burger Company. But we usually come back to Chipotle. Why? Because, I'll be honest, it's delicious. I know, I know, it's owned by McDonalds. But it's not expensive. It's super fast. And their chicken tastes pleasantly like bacon. But mostly we go because they serve beer. And after hours of tech and a hundred thousand costume changes, and constant script revisions, and climbing on furniture in heels, BOY OH BOY do we need a beer. Oh, and more coffee.
12am: Leave theater. Crawl home. Munch on some of the real food I have in my fridge. Thanks to our saintly mother, I have two turkey meatloafs, a brisket, potatoes, and some other fixins. This has been my saving grace. A moment of sanity and nurturing at the end of the day (or, beginning of the next). And while the deli on the corner is great for a cheap lunch, nothing beats a homemade meatloaf sandwich in the middle of a chaotic, exhausting day. Thank you, Mom.
As of this very day, the last of my midterms will be turned in, and as of Thursday, the show will be officially up and running. Which means things will be ever so slightly calmer. I am sprinting to the finish line, visions of a quiet Sunday afternoon, a chicken braising in the kitchen, my feet resting in the Boyfriend's lap, and NPR on the radio, dancing in my head.
I don't mean to complain. Life is very full. In a lot of wonderful ways. I'd just love one good night's sleep, after a dinner. Made in my kitchen. Eaten at my table. At a reasonable hour. With a glass of wine.
Some day. I have faith. In the meantime, soup will do.
P.S. Soup turned out bland. Moral of the story? Sometimes it's better to let someone else cook. And while they do that, grab yourself a nap.