What I've eaten today: A few sips of water and watered-down grape juice. A bowl of applesauce, brought to my bed by Jojo the cavalry-sitter. Half a Starbucks strawberry-banana smoothie, that tasted too warm to soothe. Ten or so Mickey-D fries with ketchup and a few much more refreshing sips of iced tea. A turtle sundae at Margie's Candies because I had to give the girls this experience and was feeling much better, thank you. More iced tea from the Italian café on Damen, a guilt purchase since both girls needed to use the bathroom within five minutes of each other.
Now that I am feeling much better, I am actually feeling MUCH better because a brush with danger can heighten the senses, but evading more than one bullet can send you on a gratitude trip through circles of gladness.
"You're doing Matrix kind of bullet dodging," says Jojo.
You'd think yesterday was enough.
I did nothing, of course, about my hinky feeling caused by the girl coming out of the fitness center locker room wearing wintery clothes and carrying no bag. Just grabbed my purse out of an unlocked locker and went home. The credit card company called a couple hours later to ask if I had spent $800 at Best Buy or $70 on cigarettes at the gas station this morning.
The lucky part? The girl took only one card, the one I never use, so the company knew to call right away. She left my drivers license and another credit card. "Long blonde hair and a long sleeved sweatshirt?" asked the police officer on my porch an hour later, who had already checked the gas station video.
Could have been so much worse. It was all over in a couple of hours - card cancelled, fitness center alerted, police on the chase. The story was almost an afterthought when I told Kerry and Pam a few hours later at The Violet Hour. There were so many other things to talk about - our kids, summer books, old and new work gossip, and of course, the incredible setting for our conversation - behind an unmarked door, down a pitch dark corridor, beyond a tall velvet curtain, a stylin' cocktail bar with clusters of high-backed seats - backs so tall, that you feel enclosed in a tiny private compartment, huddled over your candles.
But the main point was the drinks - oh these drinks. Complexity, depth, fragrance and so delicious. I had a "Hush and Wonder" with Matusalem Rum, lime and grapefruit bitters and an edge rubbed with violet. Preceded by a Pisco punch we shared out of white ceramic punch bowl - felt very Dickens - and followed by some kind of muddled blackberry concoction that was one past my limit.
"Dear God, it's eleven o'clock!" we laughed and went on talking, although talking doesn't quite capture the speed and volume and staccato rhythm of our bursting out ideas and sudden important memories recalled with near violence. God, you can't take me anywhere. I point fingers at my dear friends and make inaccurate personal pronouncements, vehemently argue points I've barely considered, and make up shit that I try to dress in authority while getting slurrier and sloppier by the minute.
Didn't notice my keys were missing til we stood to leave. Didn't really mind, I was feeling so good. We stepped out into the fresh summer air, walked down to my car, found a ticket but no keys, went back to the bar to leave my phone number, then hugged goodbye after a cabbie said he'd take my unstolen credit card. It's a very, very good thing I did lose my keys because if I had not, I may have spent a few idiotic moments actually contemplating driving home.
I woke after five hours of sleep with the words "Get 'er done," in my head but even with all that intention, little got done today (no daycamp) but the minimum of parenting and retrieval of the car I left in Wicker Park last night.
First things first: dry heaves in the bathroom followed by cool tile next to my cheek. The funny thing was that the usual self-loathing that follows a night of my stupidity went missing this morning - another bullet dodged, probably because I've been administering the world's greatest anti-depressent this summer - a daily walk or swim. I could tell myself, "this is temporary," "I love my liver," "the girls are fine," and "babysitter's coming soon" and I believed it all.
When Jojo, the girls and I finally made it back to Damen Avenue around 6:00, I was just happy to find my car unstolen, unsmashed and boot free. That was happiness enough, and the girls were all buckled in, ready to go home but a niggling thought had me ask Jojo for five more minutes. I walked up the sidewalk toward the stoop where I had sat last night after searching fruitlessly for the unmarked entrance to the bar. My cell had had a text from Pam with the magic words "it's behind a white unmarked door w/a black painting" and now I had a feeling I may have put down my keys as I read it.
The stoop was in front of Psycho Baby which had their closed sign hanging. I knocked anyway and the woman who kindly unlocked the door answered my question with "Are you Cindy?"
HOORAY and NO WAY!!
A woman at a store across the street had found them, then brought them over to Psycho Baby when they opened this morning. Gratitude. No one deserves such luck, but don't we all?