Part One is HERE.
Having dropped all prescribed meds, now, my thinking is crystal-clear. The sense of emergency is back, eating my food, ruining perfectly healthy conversations.
But I’m not losing sight.
The only thing I might regret, I’m thinking, is having flushed all my Adderall. This is while I’m scrubbing someone’s day-old sprayed diarrhea off the toilet bowl of my local chain bookstore in my best skirt. That was not the extended release formula, that eases you into a calm wakefulness until bedtime. That was old-style flavor, the pill that makes you giddy and grits your teeth, makes you ok to put off things you really wanted to do because you know you can do them later, you’re never going to sleep again. At least, initially.
I’m wondering why it is the closing crew thought this would be easier to take care of in the morning. I’m wondering if the lady that missed the bull’s eye, was she thinking maybe she’d catch cooties from the public toilet if she leaned down to wipe up her own shit? But really, mainly what I’m thinking is, I’ve got to get out of here.
Looking down into the toilet, the other thing it’s reminding me of, other than my job in general, is those pills. In the headiness of my grand statement about The Way I’m Going to Live My Life, I failed to consider what I could make on the streets with them.
As opposed to, say, $7 an hour.
I’m thinking about going back to that doctor, paying for the office visit as, say, an investment.
And seeing as I don’t have any health insurance to stop me, I’m thinking how many doctors could I visit before it stops being profitable.
I’m thinking all this and the manager pokes her head in, and with her ex-grade-school teacher pretend-friendly voice, she singsongs: “How clean are you trying to get it in there? You’re almost missing the morning meeting!”
Not the one about the frequent-buyer discount cards?
My best skirt, it’s got a wet spot on it now that’s seeping through to my skin. I’m not sure where it came from.
“You haven’t even wiped down the sink area yet,” she’s saying, and I can hear her breath coming out in little grunts as she stoops to pick up stray paper towels.
I’m still weighing the meeting versus the crusty diarrhea when I remember all the Paxil and Prozac and Celexa piled up in my cabinets.
These doctors, they’re like little prostitutes. That first impression, it’s all they need. They just match it up to whatever the sales rep told them, and bam, the fifteen minute session’s over and your pocket’s empty. It’s all about that first meeting, because after that, you’re too numb to complain. Some of these drugs, they’ll tell you in the research, they might even increase the instance of suicide. All of a sudden, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal after all, pulling that trigger.
People get so lost in life. Like all of us here at the bookstore. In school or suddenly finished with school, we’ve discovered we like to read and we’ve discovered we need an income, and here’s this no-brainer: work in a bookstore. It’s low-key, buys you a little time to start your own novel or work on your paintings, or figure out how you’re going to find a real wage but without selling your soul, and on top of everything, you can hang around with people who like books, you can read books, you can discuss books with customers, recommend your favorites, Your Life and Books. So you start your job and you find out it’s like shelving at WalMart, it’s like dusting at WalMart, it’s like cleaning the toilets at WalMart. Your boss used to be the boss at WalMart. No one wants you chatting on the clock when you could be looking busy, it needs to be clear to everyone who’s a customer and who’s a friend of yours that came in to say hello, and there is certainly not ever a time when you might be leaned up against the help-desk waiting to help someone, and reading a book.
Lit. class, it leads you to think certain things about life. The workplace quickly puts an end to all that. So it’s no real task to understand that plenty of people, not just those of us who grew up in the foster system, are cramming themselves into a ball on that couch with a broken facial expression and a broken method of self-expression, waiting for someone to explain to them why they failed The Test, after studying so hard. And then they’re handed some pills, pills which clear up nothing.
After all the different doctors, all with the same solution-style for any problem, I’ve got a good half a year’s supply of apathy and cobwebs for your head in my cabinet.
My boss, she’s making huffy, stamping noises while she squeaks cleaner liquid around the mirror. God forbid these people be forced to behold their beauty through a few smudges, it’d be almost like zits.
My boss, she doesn’t just toss the used paper towels into the trash can, she smacks the little flippy lid around so I can hear it rock and know she’s angry.
I’m thinking, you probably can’t get much for Celexa and Prozac and Paxil on the streets these days, seeing as the companies are so eager to pass them out. But that’s not to say they don’t have their uses.
I’ve taken my little name tag off now, and I’m scraping at a stubborn spot, and she says, “Whenever you’re done doing whatever it is you’re doing, you can come to the meeting.”
I continue scraping at the shit stain. What do these people eat? I don’t hear any slammy noises, so my guess is she’s waiting for me right there, and I don’t have to peek around the corner to know she’s got her arms folded across her chest and a squeezed-up smile on her face like your teacher’s when you’re fucking up a presentation in front of Important People.
The problem with my boss is, she could really use some Prozac. At this stage, with her anxiety levels, she might need a cocktail of some sort, two nice, calming, anti-unhappy pills. Maybe three.
She’s just so unhappy.
Finally, I just start unraveling the toilet paper. Fuck this place. I stuff as much as I can into the toilet and lift my foot up to flush. As I walk out of the stall, I don’t wash my hands. I grab hers, instead, and open the door. “Let’s get to that meeting,” I say.