Any weight I lost by staying up late moving construction debris from one corner to another came roaring back over the holidays.
Thanksgiving was followed by a trip to Mexico. Once back in NYC for Christmas, I noticed the gut that I'd developed. Gut protruded violently during photo-taking and mocked me in the mornings when I tried to get dressed. Gut came with a friend. His name was Bloat.
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With weight gain came depression - and extreme laziness. I found myself using any excuse not to go to the gym. I feared that the same people who would cruise me when I looked
"He looks like death."
"Avert your eyes."
With my immune system on vacation, I found myself taking the train to work (two stops) to avoid the cold, which was probably where I caught something. Or maybe I caught it from that coworker who doesn't cover her mouth when she coughs?
I have this naïve mentality where I think that drugs are a waste of money and that I can cure myself by overdosing on vitamins. You know, instead of eating right and getting exercise to boost my immune system naturally.
But for some reason, I didn't do this fast enough. The next day, it got a little worse, and all the Airborne in the world wasn't going to help.
A coworker called me and said I sounded like shit. She recommended Mucinex, and all I could think of was how I hate their commercials. The angel brought me one of the pills and I put it in my mouth the way a starving Ethiopian might devour a grain of rice.
David and Craig came over for drinks that night and then we went out to Klee for dinner. At Klee, I felt fat, ugly and old. When David came back from the bathroom and told me that he spotted Ethan Hawke in the back, I stayed in my seat. I just knew better than to go see for myself.
"How was dinner, Ethan?"
"I caught some fat cow in a sweater staring at me on the way to the bathroom."
Once home, I decided to sleep downstairs on the couch to avoid getting Larry sick, even though he has the immune system of a shark.
The next morning, I slept until 11:00. It took me two hours to get out of the house and leave for Astoria.
After running some errands for my mother (cold cuts, an eggplant, and a frying pan), I headed to the basement.
It was 3:00 by the time I started grouting the seven mosaics that I had been working on for the last two weeks. It was a mess, even with gloves on, and it was only after finishing that I noticed that one of them developed two cracks in the stained glass, forcing me to disassemble two of the four sides by prying off all the pieces.
I left everything in Astoria and went home, defeated and sick.
On the way, I made a beeline for Rite Aid in Chelsea, where I snatched a bottle of Mucinex off the shelf. In the vitamin aisle, I encountered a crazy woman who asked me to read the expiration date on the bottle she was holding. This was her excuse to tell me about the time she got some expired prescription medication from this store.
"The pills were so big that I couldn't take them, and it was a good thing I didn't, because they exploded in the bag."
To this I said, "Wow. That's crazy," but I was thinking, Pills explode? They sell pills in bags now? Are they in little ziplock bags? Did you forget your medication today, crazy chatty lady with the severely wrinkled brow and frightening witch hair?
She turned to face the shelf, squinting her eyes to read another bottle, so I made a break for it and sprinted to the checkout.
At home, I ripped open the bottle and took a pill. Four hours later, I looked at the bottle. "Take one or two pills every twelve hours." Since I'd only taken one, I popped the second.
The next morning, I woke up on the couch. Larry went to visit his mother in Long Beach. I stayed home, to avoid getting her sick.
At 11:30, I popped two Mucinex and plopped in front of the computer, where I began to feel guilty about staying home. I thought that I might try to get some things done, but I
About ten minutes later, I fully understood how people get hooked on prescription drugs.
I now felt the urge to do things that I had previously been too lazy to even think about.
I gleefully tore through the seven boxes of clothes that had been laying around for months. I decided that if it was ugly, dated, or didn't quite fit (see "gut" for more information), it had to go. I went into the closet and found more clothes to toss. "Where did this come from?" I said to a burgundy shirt, cringing and tossing it onto the floor.
Soon, a large pile of Ugly had grown in the corner. There wasn't a single thing in that pile that I remembered wearing in the last 12 months, so that made it easy.
I emptied the bookcase. I started shredding the piles of junk mail that had been accumulating. I jammed the paper shredder. I turned it over and fixed it, cursing American Express for sending me junk mail that can't be shredded without first opening the envelope. I went downstairs and cleaned the kitchen. I loaded the dishwasher. I cleaned the living room. I threw out the garbage.
I had boundless energy. It wasn't a jolt of energy, but a steady current, like how you feel after a good workout. Sort of invigorated, but you didn't have to embarrass yourself on the treadmill for 45 minutes.
I felt like Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream, cleaning her apartment all hopped up on her diet pills.
It's only a matter of time before Mucinex replaces Vicodin amongst the Hollywood elite.