I’m vertical and taking nourishment

Adrian was totally on to me.  An attractive, slender blonde of average height, her face was very familiar, but I couldn’t remember her name (turned out I didn’t yet know it) and could not recall any conversations we had had.  But I did recognize her and she clearly knew me.  I was having a tough morning and she knew it – she had obviously been checking me out when she was next up in the line.  When she moved in front of me, she immediately asked me my stock question, “What’s been a highlight of your day?” with a really compassionate look.  Oh, Lord, it’s that obvious that I’m in bad shape.

“You know about my question.”

“I’ve been reading your blog –  I really like it.”

I have two responses: “Nice – she’s reading the blog.  That feels good.” And “Oh shit – if she’s reading the blog, she knows just how bad my days can get.  I feel very exposed.”  There followed a brief, intense wrestling match between these two voices.  I chose a few years ago to be a spokesman around bipolar disorder, to write and teach about it – to make it my personal mission. I chose to write a personal blog.  I chose to out myself around bipolar disorder in the blog – even though coworkers and customers would be reading it.  Oh, but right in this moment I’m not sure I can bear the openness.

Audrey has bought two little 89 cent chocolates – my fav’s, though I’m off sugar.  Her brief (10 items?) transaction is over and she leaves the chocolates on the counter after putting the rest of the stuff in her bag.  “Do you want a chocolate or a hug?”  Even if I was still doing sugar, it would have been an easy choice.  “I’ll take a hug.” I indicated to the next customer – who had heard the whole conversation – that I would be just a moment and Audrey and I met at the foot of the counter.  There was no ambivalence on my part in that hug – it just felt great, better even than chocolate.

I love these little chocolates, but even this chocoholic can recognize when love is a sweeter option.

I love these little chocolates, but even this chocoholic can recognize when love is a sweeter option.

As Audrey left, I continued to feel great – great about the hug, great about the blog, great about the life path I have chosen: to live a relatively public life, to offer my life for teaching about cashiering, about bipolar disorder, about life.

I was a little dizzy through this next customer.  The guy after her, when I asked him my stock question, answered “I’m vertical and taking nourishment.”  I had heard this somewhat clever answer before, but never had it meant so much to me.

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9 thoughts on “I’m vertical and taking nourishment

  1. Always so sweet to read your blogs and poetry, Majo. I love this idea. It’s so engaging and relatable. So much love in the world. Thank you for reminding us of it. I’ll take a hug over chocolate any day too :-).

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    • Thanks Karen. Much like a hug, this blog is so much sweeter when it’s shared. The comments here really make it spring to life – whether they are from strangers or from friends like you and Andy and Debbie and Christina below.

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    • Andy and Debbie – thanks for the encouragement. It helps keep my motivation high for this project. Makes me willing to stay up latish tonight to word process the notes I took at work today. I love this blog – and the community that is springing up around it.

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  2. Ah, there you are. That moment has really stuck with me. I look forward to the next time I see you in the checkout line. My regular hours are W/Th/Sat 10-6. My half-hour lunch break, pretty predictably, is 1:45-2:15. Join me for lunch sometime!

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  3. My hours are different this week (worked Tuesday, don’t work on Saturday) because I’m traveling out of town tomorrow, to see my son/daughter-in-law/18 month old granddaughter. Next week I return to my regular hours.

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