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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Stream of Consciousness Dining

Out for dinner on Friday night.  I came here because I haven't been out but one time (except for music night) since P tried to kill himself on the 12th of January.  I'm tired of being alone every night at dinner.  Well, there was that one night when Bob came over to eat some of the shrimp creole I cooked for two days.

I'm tired of eating cottage cheese and fruit or a bowl of cereal instead of sitting down to a hot meal. I don't count the time I grilled a salmon filet and sat on the sofa and shared it with Honey.  

Why do I need to rationalize this?  There is no need for me to make up excuses for coming out to dinner.  

Dining alone is easier for me than it was when I was young and self-conscious.  I'd still rather have a dinner partner, but this will have to do.  I wanted to sit at the bar but when I arrived, the place was already bursting at the seams, and it's as loud as a football game.  I wanted a table for one, but all the tables for one have been pushed together for a "large party at eight."  

Everyone is shouting.  I hear a word here and there but for the most part it's a cacophony of voices, deep and shrill, male and female.  There's a not unpleasant isolation in the middle of all this racket.  In a perverse way, this chaos, a thing I generally try to avoid, is soothing.  The anonymity in the middle of it is welcome.

After bringing my Scotch, the server checked back right away to see if I wanted to order my dinner.  She wanted to tell me about tonight's special, some kind if tricked up fish dish.  

"I just want to have my drink and do a little writing."

I'm every server's nightmare, an old woman alone at a table for four who has whipped out her iPad and started writing and does not appear to be in any hurry at all - on Friday night.  If some if those fuckers at the bar will either leave or take a table, I can move in there.

In the meantime, here I sit, my fingers dancing on this wonderful little touch screen, sipping McCallan and unconcerned about the seating arrangements.  I thought about writing a steam of consciousness poem about dining alone, and maybe that's what this will be in the end.

I would just love it if I could make the server think I'm a restaurant critic!  Not sure how to do that without telling an outright lie, but it would be fun to see what happened.

I've been reading poems on Tumblr by a girl (or woman) who calls herself Inkedskin.  The works are almost all stream of consciousness, and they are raw and honest and almost burn the page. She writes of cutting herself and of feeling left out and of being anxious and fearful, of her alcoholic father.  I have no idea how old she is, but she is a student.  I look forward to reading her pieces even though every one of them is disturbing.  I admire her guts and grit, her willingness to lay her soul out there for everyone to see.  I wish I had that kind of grit when I was young.

I'm also reading poems written by my wonderful friend and mentor, Rosemary Daniell.  I have all of her books and read from her work often.  She has endured the agony of living with loved ones who suffer from mental illness and the anguish it engenders.  As much as Inkedskin's poems rip into me, Rosemary's are more personal and speak to my situation in words that echo the aching in my own heart.  They tear into the very core of my own personal hell, and they inspire me to be a better writer.  Rosemary is the woman who convinced me that I can call myself a writer and a poet.  She has nurtured my talent for years and is one of the Angels in my life.

The thing with Parrish is weighing on me, and I spend a great deal of time writing about it and thinking about it.  One reason for coming out tonight was to get away from that, and here I am writing about it.  I need to stop.  I need to look around and write about some of these people, how they look, how they carry themselves, the expressions in their faces.

All I can really see from here, though, is the two fish in the tank.  They look like Jack Dempseys, but they are orange.  They float around in the tank, appear oblivious to the noise.  I feel sorry for them, but I wonder if there is any real reason to feel sorry for a couple of fish who have a clean house and get fed and are not at the mercy of a single predator.  They have no responsibilities, no problems, no worries at all, so maybe it's not such a bad life.  

I just looked up and saw a woman who looks remarkably like an unpleasant woman I knew in Macon.  It's not her, though, thank God.  How awful would it be for me to come out to escape my quotidian life and run into some bitch from Macon?  I might have to stab myself in the throat with a fork.  

I'm grateful every day of my life that I no longer live in Macon.  I never felt at home in there, never, even though I had Clint for a posse all those years.  I don't do small talk and that's all those people do, with a few exceptions, of course.  

Shut up, cj.  Shut up and eat your fried shrimp salad.

I just saw a waitress twirl her hair with her finger.  Really glad she didn't bring my food, which is very tasty

© 2014 cj Schlottman  

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