Disclaimer: This is just me practicing my light fictional writing. I really don’t have a second husband named Bob. Anyway, please enjoy:
My Diet Diary – Day 1
Wednesday, 0800 Hrs.
I’m a nurse, and I’m on duty some crazy hours. This week I worked twelve-hour shifts on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, so I have today off.
Today seems like an ideal time to start my new diet. I should exercise; walk around the block a couple of times—that sort of thing. A “new me” sounds great. However, driving over to I-Hop for pancakes, bacon, and hash-browns sounds pretty good, too.
I-Hop it is.
I eat a heavy breakfast, so I know that I’m going to have to eat light for the rest of the day. I should exercise, too, I remind myself. As I start my car in the I-Hop parking lot, I remember that I need to renew my driver’s license, since mine expires today. If I let it expire, I not only have to re-take the written and driving tests, I have to risk driving on an expired license until I get another weekday off.
I take out my old license and look at the picture and the recorded weight. I look ten years younger in the photo that is four years old. And, I grasp, I’ve gained a lot of weight since my last renewal. A lot. Unless I want to start buying clothes at the tent and awning store, I need to double down.
It seems crazy that I could be THIS HUNGRY after that big breakfast. I mean, it’s been over four hours, so some-kinda-hungry seems appropriate, but I’m ravenous. Crap. I must have eaten 700 calories this morning. If I eat that many calories every four hours … I try to do the math. My brain hurts.
I fix myself a bowl of chilli. Surely this is good for my diet.
When I’m finished with the soup, I walk into the kitchen to put my bowl and spoon in the dishwasher. I pass a piece of coconut cream pie that’s sitting on the counter. I resist, feeling superior and smug. I stumbled a little this morning, but now I’m obviously resetting my metabolism and my attitude. I am in control. A svelte new me should appear in the mirror soon.
Changing my metabolism takes a toll on my usual sunny disposition.
As I fork pie into the garbage disposal, my husband, Bob, comes home from work early and enters the kitchen. “What are you doing?”
“What does it look like I’m doing?” I snap. I flip a switch and a grinding noise ensues. The racket is darned near as irritating as my spouse.
“Did the pie go sour? I saw you eat two pieces yesterday—”
I quell a brief fantasy of sending Bob down the disposal and point my fork at his chest. “I’m starting a diet, and the least you can do is support me. We need to get all the junk-food crap out of this joint.”
He takes a step back. “Well, sure Hon. Tell me what I can do to help.” Bob has good instincts.
I get to the DMV ninety minutes before they close. A young blonde in her 30’s tells me that I don’t have proper identification.
Dammit. I work day and night and pay enormous taxes so these government workers can have their cushy day jobs. Blondey has probably never worked a weekend or holiday in her life. Besides that, I’d given up pie for the new me.
“But I HAVE a government ID,” I protest. “I have my old driver’s license issued by you guys. See, here’s my pic—” My headache returns.
“This is the list of acceptable forms of identification,” she says patiently and hands me a card with two columns of choices. “You’ll need one from column A,” she points with her red ballpoint pen, “and one from column B.”
I think I hear my disposal.
I scrutinize the list, and land upon “Passport” in column A and “Bank statement with current address” in column B. I can go home and quickly locate these things, I’m pretty sure. Maybe I can even make it back here before closing.
I literally run to my car and know that this will be my exercise for the day. I’m proud, knowing that I’m staying on track for a new me despite harsh constraints from my government. I feel frazzled and smug at the same time.
I’m hungry again and I feel somehow guilty for my hunger. I push the feelings to the back of my mind as I drive. I hope my metabolism changes soon and this feeling of wanting to come up for air (or a hamburger) isn’t a new way of life. The tent and awning option is looking better and better.
I run into the DMV like I’m in front of the bulls at Pamplona. Miraculously, there are no other people in line, and Blondey is still working. “Here’s your precious column A form,” I say as I slap down my passport and try to catch my breath, “and a second ID from column B.” I manage to flip the corner of my bank statement so it makes a little snapping noise as it lands on the counter. I can hear the tone in my voice and I know I’m stepping a little over the line, but there was the pie and all.
“Thank you,” Blondey says softly. She clearly does not mean it. Matter of fact, I’m pretty sure she makes her voice soft on purpose, to underscore how shrill mine is at the moment. Then she folds her hands in front of her on the counter and looks me in the eyes for three full seconds. Let me tell you, that’s an eternity when one is being chastised with silence.
“I’m sorry,” I say. “I’m starting a new diet today, and I’m just not myself. I think my blood-sugar is low, and that’s no excuse, but it’s a reason and I’m sorry.” I realize I’m babbling.
Blondey draws the shades and switches a sign in the window from “Open” to “Closed.” I fill out the appropriate form as she stays late and gets computerized camera equipment ready for my new picture.
“I’ve lost 96 pounds in the last two years,” she says matter-of-factly.
“On purpose?!” I am dumbfounded. How many pieces of coconut cream pie did she forego?
She smiles. “Yes. On purpose. My daughter was born with Cerebral Palsy, and I figure I need to stick around and help her and not die early.”
I SERIOUSLY consider throwing myself into my garbage disposal. “She’s lucky she has you,” I manage.
“Thank you,” she says softly but sincerely this time.
“How? How did you do it? ‘Cause I didn’t eat too healthy this morning.” Or for the last four years.
“Turns out, doing one really big thing right helps me do other big things right,” she says. “I cut out sugar and artificial sweeteners. I mean, it isn’t my religion or anything. I still eat a piece of bread once in a while. But no candy, sweet tea … none of that.”
“Well, that’s a big thing.”
“Right. And it helps me with everything else. Another big thing is walking. I put my baby in a stroller and we walk a mile or so every night. Rain or shine.”
My 50-foot run through the parking lot seems trivial—making me feel even more petty.
Blondey motions for me to sit on a stool for my new driver’s license photo. “We ask you to NOT smile now for your photograph.”
“You’ll have to stop by next Wednesday and tell me how your first week of dieting went.”
“I will,” I say, and I mean it.
I eat a hard-boiled egg and some carrot sticks to tide me over until supper. I wonder what Blondey’s real name is, and how severely her daughter is affected by CP. I will find out when I stop in at the DMV next week. Two pounds lighter, dammit.
After supper, I ask Bob if he wants to go for a walk. “Maybe about a mile,” I say.
“Sure,” he says. Have I mentioned that Bob has good instincts?