After The Lunch Rush / 2 May 2001

I’m alone during the day, or maybe I’m Crazy Cat Lady during the day (it seems like becoming Crazy Cat Lady is one of the top ten fears of young American women today, if I may extrapolate from my admittedly limited sampling of the demo), and when I’m out running errands, especially at 10:30AM or 3:10PM, when working people are definitely at work, then it’s with a bunch of other individuals out in the world on their own, all old and infirm, moving very slowly with the help of elaborate chrome devices, and I move slowly, too, and the clerks are bored in a numb, happy sort of way. Our chatter is idle and the words squat in the air like dead smoke, mingling only by accident, “it’s like summah outside today.”

I’m unshaven and uncombed and my t-shirt, advertising a rock band, is from 1991, and I’m at the laundromat reading a comic book and stuffing the clean, unfolded clothes back into a duffel bag and I’m at the grocery store, ambling, staring at the dairy products for probably an unseemly amount of time, and I pay with the five-dollar bill that was rejected by the laundromat’s coin machine and so maybe they think I’m a grad student, I’m holed up at home, working on my dissertation, a little something I like to call “Physiology and biochemistry of sulfur and selenium volatilization and the production of antimicrobial agents by marine and estuarine bacteria.”

I like things to be orderly. For seven years I ate at Bob’s Big Boy. I would go at 2:30, after the lunch rush. I ate a chocolate shake and four, five, six, seven cups of coffee, with lots of sugar. And there’s lots of sugar in that chocolate shake. It’s a thick shake. In a silver goblet. I would get a rush from all this sugar, and I would get so many ideas! I would write them on these napkins. It was like I had a desk with paper. All I had to do was remember to bring my pen, but a waitress would give me one if I remembered to return it at the end of my stay. I got a lot of ideas at Bob’s.

—David Lynch

Alexis comes home in a coat and skirt and starts working two pots on the stove without even taking off her shoes. It’s unbelievable. She pours and cuts and speaks with casual precision and the momentum of her day is palpable and I don’t think our timing equilibrates until late in the evening when she’s sleepy and dragged down to my level. Every night I have to re-learn how to make words connect and sometimes it doesn’t happen until it’s too late.

Joshua Green Allen

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