As a testament to how thorough my last Lenten Promise failed, I give a rundown of one week’s sodas:
Diet Soda # 1 – Purchased at Bella Roma, the superior, but further away, take-out spot. Had to dodge Robert Poole kids having snowball fights at the bus stop to make to Bella Roma. (What’s with all the mean “Goddamn punk kids” looks, Hampden residents? Could kids possibly do something MORE wholesome than have a snowball fight?) Counter Guy immediately asks if I want a Greek salad. I quite often want a Greek salad but not today. Feel immense pleasure at having attained regular status at local eatery.
Diet Soda # 2 – Guzzled down at desk as displacement activity for editing item about a teenager who died in a car accident.
Diet Soda #3 – Sipping customary afternoon combo of soda and Lay’s Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffled Potato Chips. Have convinced myself that the texture of the sweet bubbles and the salty ridges of the chips are Pavlovian catalyst for my creative process. It’s like a really, really low-rent version of sparkling dessert wine and a fine English cheddar.
Diet Soda #4 – Once a month I crash through the door of Angelo’s (inferior but closer take-out spot) screaming, “GIVE ME A LARGE DIET SODA, CHEESEBURGER AND FRIES AND NO ONE GETS HURT.” They throw a styrofoam bucket of soda at me (My favorite way to drink soda – fountain soda in an Earth-killing cup with lots of ice) which I cling to and suck like an angry baby. A counter lady drops the fries at my table and I slather them with cheap, thin ketchup. By the time the burger itself arrives, I have begun to calm down, like the Hulk coming out of a rage.
Diet Soda #5 – Motherfucking phone company.
Diet Soda #6 – Drunk whilst watching Wife Swap in bathrobe and socks.
Diet Soda #7 – Drunk whilst housecleaning and eating bacon.
Diet Soda #8 – To stave off depression of forthcoming $320 physical therapy bill for ankle sprained during improv performance. (Fell off the stage; am gifted physical comedienne.)
Diet Soda #9 – Very exciting: first soda purchased from new machine in office break room. The soda is brash and young, much like a fine French vin de primeur with hints of oak and corn syrup.
Diet Soda #10 – In mall food court, panicking over possibility of having committed fraud at upscale retailer. I bought a coat on an online final sale for $99 but it was too big. When I returned it to the store, dissembling that I had no receipt, I was refunded the full price, $325. Thrilled at first-ever profitable mall visit; terrified of judgment of God and man. $225 would nearly offset my physical therapy bill, but Sister Catherine would be so disappointed in me.
Diet Soda #11 – Purchased to make it seem like I was not coming into the Royal Farms solely for the purpose of purchasing deodorant at 1pm. I was just thirsty, and stopped in for a drink, and then happened to notice that deodorant was for sale and casually asked the clerk to retrieve the item for me from the shelf behind the counter. If you’ve never noticed it, convenience stores keep the deodorant behind the counter along with cigarettes and meth-ingredient cold pills because it’s a commonly shoplifted item. Because even the homeless don’t like spending half a day with B.O., although I apparently can live with it.