Like Abdomen Pain for Chocolate

Greetings from my couch! Here I lie supine, heating pad on my abdomen, Motrin bottle at arm’s length, realizing I have used the word “supine” for the first time in my life and finding it sort of freeing. It must be IUD placement week, baby! That’s right, as of this past Monday I am the proud owner of a cute new uterus piercing, one that my doctor and friends described as, “Oh, it hurts.” The pain has been manageable and mostly comes in waves, but today has been a little on the bad side, so here we are. I can best sum up this experience in three stages: 1) The time I spent looking at a puppy Instagram account immediately before the IUD procedure 2)  The time during the IUD procedure when I cursed at my doctor a lot and she said “I told you this would hurt!” and I said “I know—but then it did.” 3) And the time after the IUD procedure when I laid in bed, having decided to start The Crown on Netflix, thinking the pilot was pretty good so far, then hitting that scene where King George sings Christmas carols with the village children and he’s wearing the paper crown and I cried SO hard that I had to stop and take a nap. WOW, a case of the Mondays indeed! I am relieved for it to be over though, as this has been a nagging to-do since before I even got to Los Angeles. The to-do even more nagging, of course, in that it was time-sensitive (running out of pills!), health-sensitive (my blood pressure!), and insurance sensitive (hey, quitting a job rids you of your insurance coverage, did you know that?). This is all to say, I do expect you to be very impressed with my ability to figure all this out, create an action plan, and then see the plan through, even though the plan was painful.

What comes after dinner? In a perfect world, more dinner!

Aside from that, this week has also welcomed a new tradition in our home, one that I hope grows into an infamous and hilarious legend far into our twilight years. It’s the chocolate drawer! That’s a drawer for all your chocolate. The concept was first introduced to me in an interview with Kumail Nanjiani in which he said he keeps a drawer filled with chocolate in his kitchen. It’s pretty self-explanatory. I don’t know why I became so transfixed with the idea, especially as I don’t have a sweet tooth (What comes after dinner? In a perfect world, more dinner! In college I used to eat a bowl of cereal for dessert, which I thought was a very moderate take on the contemporary dessert concept, though you must bear in mind that this was usually after a dinner of french fries and mayonnaise. One time my friend Casey made me a salad, which still remains one of the kindest and most condescending things anyone has ever done for me.). But to me, the chocolate drawer seemed like the most harmless indulgence, a nice collection of not-expensive things that’s always there if you need a morsel of something sweet. I talked for weeks about the chocolate drawer like it was an expensive car or a house in the hills, wistfully looking into the future and declaring that some day, I would deserve to have a drawer filled with chocolate bars. Finally, in a moment of weakness (or perhaps great bravery) I selected the first bar for my collection: dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt. It was under 2 dollars. And since that day, the drawer has grown into 6 bars of varying styles and flavors, and we have more or less behaved ourselves, though my unofficial mantra has become “Don’t forget—the point of the chocolate drawer is to have chocolate—” and then Tony says, “in the drawer,” before grumbling a little and wrapping up the rest of the bar in foil. I also want to add that if you any issues, objections, or general annoyances with this frivolous story about all the chocolate I own, then I implore you to recall that I’m in pain! I have no job! Let me have something! Thank you.

Dramatization of me eating my first salad in college (courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK)

Aside from the aforementioned topics (my uterus, chocolate) I can honestly say that all sights are set on getting to Ohio for Christmas. That isn’t necessarily commentary on getting out of Los Angeles; rather, my brain and my body just know that it’s time to travel and go do Christmas. It makes even less sense this year, seeing as I will be on a break from nothing and I will not have really earned it. But it’s hard to ignore that big blocked off amount of time in your head, the same amount of time that you’ve observed every year of your life. Also, and if I may rail for a few lines, airfare was outrageous. OUT. rage. ous. Searching for tickets, even months ago, was panic inducing. It seemed hopeless. Members of our Chicago/LA Facebook group are arranging CAR POOLS back to the midwest because it’s so expensive to fly. Please keep in mind that I am a person who had to work up weeks of courage to purchase a bar of chocolate, for fear it was not a necessary enough purchase. Then the plane tickets!!!! I will not divulge what we ended up paying but know that a) I ended up finding a decent-enough deal that kind of hurts but is not impossible and b) I cobbled together this deal by taking a red eye AND talking my brother into picking us up in Columbus, which is not at all where I should be landing, based on where my family lives. But do you see what I mean? This year is not merely rolling my hungover self up to O’Hare and being on a cheap flight for 45 minutes. The stakes are higher! The prices are higher!  But the good news is I now have a longer fight in which to make up a story about what I’m doing in Los Angeles.

In conclusion, we’re almost there, everybody. You’ve all earned your chocolate drawers this year, even if it might not feel like it.

(Oh, and “Cat Person” is a work of fiction. Please. Repeat that to yourself over and over again, ask yourself if you would have the same emotional reaction to a similar piece of fiction written by a man, then remind yourself again that it’s fiction. Then, go read other works of fiction. Fiction is the one where it’s not a think piece on Thought Catalog or Uplift or Manipulate or wherever else you find your opinions on the internet.)