REGARDING MY RECENT SPENDING SPREE
…which may not be over….
Beginning November 12th, I purchased the following from www.ebay.com :
A portable table for a laptop
A cheap pair of speakers for my MP3 player
A USB-powered desk lamp
A small “boom box”
Three music CD’s
A cordless phone
A 2G flash drive
I also purchased a large quantity of AAA batteries from www.batteries.com. I bought a cordless phone from www.amazon.com, the cordless phone I bought from ebay being a “mistake,” and I bought another flash drive from Amazon Marketplace.
I even bid on Thanksgiving Day, yesterday. I was so intent on getting the item that I set my watch alarm for 12:45PM to remind me to rush to the computer so that I could “watch” myself win the auction. Glued to the computer monitor, I refreshed the display every two minutes to see if someone else had bid, counting down the minutes and calling them out to my friend Joshua in Philly, on the other end of the phone, and finally the seconds….
I won. I was the only bidder. I heard Joshua sigh. “So what was it this time?” he asked.
“Huh? What kind of bag?”
“A bag bag. For, like, you know, going to the gym, or a carry-on bag. Brand new.”
“What did your therapist have to say about all this?”
Goldie is my new therapist. She works out of her home in Cambridge. I have to walk some damned wheelchair-unfriendly sidewalks to get there (yes, this does occur to me) in the dark and I’m afraid of getting mugged or knifed. But once I get inside her cozy office I forget about the slippery brick sidewalks laden with wet, brown leaves and the permanent stink of sewage I have to walk through at Harvard’s Holyoke Gate and try to concentrate on this thing called therapy. Dr. R let me get away with changing the subject of conversation at least three times a minute, neatly avoiding uncomfortable topics, but Goldie isn’t going to let me get by so easily. She has “theories” about things. Once, she had a fake spider-web on her front door as a Halloween decoration. When I told her it scared me, she took it down.
I switched the cordless phone to my other ear. “Wait a sec. I gotta log into Paypal.” My Paypal password is/was a combination of numbers and someone’s middle name. “Joshua, you and I both know why I’m spending like I’ve got a million bucks.”
“I hit the lottery.” I clicked on “PAY” without checking to see what I was paying for. “No, really. It’s the Cube Dude.”
“Isn’t it time for you to take your meds?” He knew I was right.
“I miss him like crazy.”
“I know you do.”
QB was everywhere. He was in the bathroom blocking the entrance when I wanted to take a piss. He was lying in front of the refrigerator. He lay beside me at the computer. He barked his fool head off at the janitor guys when they came to the little room next door to get the trash. His scent, his fur, his toys, were everywhere, but he was gone. I was spending money to fill the emptiness that his absence brought on. I felt tremendously foolish just then, Thanksgiving Day, sitting barefoot at my computer, mouse in hand, fighting tears.
“Yeah, I’ll get my meds.”
Later that day I stepped on a sliver of broken glass. I swore, and took it out of my foot, then I remembered when I broke a glass beer mug and QB tried to eat the pieces. A frantic trip to the vet had followed. Then there was the time he ate a huge piece of cloth and threw it up two or three weeks later. Or the time he ate chocolate, poisonous to dogs, and I had to call veterinary Poison Control. Or the time he ate crayons, aluminum foil, a mechanical pencil, god-knows-what-else.
If you were to come over to my apartment today, Friday the 24th, you’d see all kinds of boxes and bubble wrap strewn on the floor, countertops, and tables in the kitchen and living room. You’d see gadgets of all kinds. You’d see dishes in the sink, books everywhere, coffee mugs, junk mail, Sudoku books, stray pennies, stuffed animals, but you wouldn’t see QB. You wouldn’t hear him bark excitedly, feel the umpf when he jumps on you, scratch the super-soft fur on the back of his head where his magic stripe is, or have your Kleenex swiped, shredded, and eaten by the smartest dog on the planet. Instead, you will notice the absence, an absence like a cancer; it grows and devours, it poisons, it asks for more; it is a black hole, the more you put into it, the emptier it grows; the sickness grows, and grows. No amount of spending, no buying–there is nothing, nothing I can buy, no “thing” that will cure it, and if you dig under the layers of selfishness to my true heart, you’ll see that I knew this all along.