My friend John and I have a new tag line that we now use to end pretty much any conversation where we find ourselves complaining or making note of some dire situation. The tag line: “end times”. I’m not sure how it started. Perhaps it was a discussion about the economy, oil prices, world food crises, Iraq, or any number of depressing topics, which he probably ended with the cynical speculation that we were indeed approaching the end of days. But now, we use “end times” at the end of conversations ranging from the oppressive layer of smoke that has been covering California for the past week to the price of avocados at the grocery store to Alaska’s diarrhea. “End times” pretty much explains everything that is wrong in the world and in our lives.
Behind our cynical laughter is some real fear. These are scary times. The economy scares the shit out of me. I’m a single middle-aged woman with no safety net. If I lose my job, I’m pretty well screwed. When I was young and unfettered couch surfing while between jobs or places to live was an option. But at my age with three cats and a rabbit? And the potential impact of the oil crisis also frightens me. With the exception of my hellish 20’s, I have done alright for myself financially, or at least well enough to take care of my attachment to comfort and privacy. I drive alone close to 80 miles each day round trip. That cannot be sustained. I’ll have to be making more effort to get work via public transit, or gasp! share a ride with someone. And while I am nowhere as gloom and doom as the boyfriend (don’t get him started – if I have to listen to another lecture about peak oil . . . ), I am truly worried.
So, how am I spending my end times? By obsessively chronicling my cat’s food intake and poo output, of course. As I explained in the last post, Alaska was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Medication alone has not seemed to help him, so we’re going the diet route. It’s been almost a week since he’s been doing the duck diet, with mixed results. He was doing OK, except we had a minor set back when I decided to supplement his wet and dry “prescription” food with some raw duck gizzards. I figured, hey, it’s duck. It’s on his diet, right? Well, he loved them. Scarfed them right now. Oh what a happy boy he was. But, the next day? Ah geez, not pretty, not pretty at all. But, every last gory detail his going into his spreadsheet – what he ate, what he pooed, his mood, his appetite, and whether or not he got his subQ fluids. No more hemming and hawing when the vet asks me how many days out of the week did he have runny stools. Oh no. I’ve got a spreadsheet. And a damn fine one it is.
The other thing I’ve been doing is spending a lot of time in Asian grocery stores. This week alone, I’ve been to 99 Ranch twice, plus a Japanese grocery story with a Japanese dollar store next store. I can’t explain the draw for me. I’m not a cook, so I don’t go to look for Asian cooking ingredients (though it was the first place I thought of when I wanted to find duck parts to supplement Alaska’s diet). I have no idea what is in 3/4s of those packages, and while I am intrigued, I don’t want to buy something if I have no idea what it is. So, mostly I look. I mean, they have a whole aisle for nothing but fish balls! Fish balls! Little fish balls, big fish balls, green fish balls. And then there are the tanks of fish. Those make me sad, actually. Such big fish in such small tanks. But, if you wish, not only can you buy fresh fish there, they will fry it up for you for no additional cost.
Who knows, maybe going to Asian grocery stores is my cheapo way to travel these days. Why go to Asia when you can just travel a few miles and you can get a good glimpse of how another culture lives by going to their grocery stores. Or maybe there is a fear of losing everything I ever knew of my own culture, so I’m trying to distance myself from it. Or maybe I’m just bored.
I’m taking the week after the Fourth of July off from work. No plans, really. Do some rabbit repairs and then rabbit proofing around the house. Maybe take in the US Junior Women’s Sailing Championship to watch my nieces compete. Perhaps have the brother and his family over for dinner. My brother actually visiting me? Oh my, that truly is a sign of the end times!