Blogging, Breast cancer, Chronic Illness, Chronic Pain

Squatting With a Notebook

September 6, 2018  2:00 pm.

I am milking time before cruising to my next appointment, so let’s contemplate. Napkins are classically renown for recording enlightened, ingenious, seriously spontaneous ideas. Yet, most of mine end up in the garbage anyway. Actually, that’s where much of my writing has gone. So, I get a cheap notebook. Do you write in a composition book? Do you write in a notebook? A journal? I don’t know what a composition book is for exactly. The name of it makes it sound like whatever I write in it should be carefully composed, put together, presented. None of that elegance is going to happen right now.  Between the chronic string of car problems (the latest are outlined in my last post) and the season of back-to-school, I am compelled to pause and catch up on things that may be more fleeting. So, I bought a composition book for $.56. A notebook would have cost $1.56 and a journal costs about $5.60. Guess which one I chose for a day for introspection. Sitting in the sunny driver’s seat, parked with a notebook. A large discount store parking lot is not romantic and either is a composition book, yet I don’t care. People get out of their vehicles, free to breathe in sunny, breezy, Wisconsin September air. I can find romance in that.

Wouldn’t you know it?… Wendy just sat for half an hour parked with the headlights on! (Just a reminder: I am Wendy. If I talk in third person, then it takes some of the sting out of being reprimanded by myself.) Lucky for me, I was able to get the car started because Mike had left a jump-starter charged and in the back seat. Yes, we have that bad of luck with cars that we (Mike) has the foresight to have a charged jump-starter as well as a tire pump in the back seat.  The battery isn’t good to begin with. I let the romance of sunshine get to my head and forgot about the headlights. The jump starter worked smoothly and I am feeling so smart for starting my own car. Now the yellow check engine light is on.

September 7 2018 2:00 p.m.

Today I am back at the ‘large discount store’, awaiting a new car battery. I chose a battery with a good amount of cold cranking amps. I don’t know what that is, but I know that it means I will be able to get the car started.  The fine staff member informed me that I must wait 45 minutes to get the car in and yet  another 25 minutes for the installation itself. Really?! I suggest 15 minutes tops, but he came back with up to 25 minutes. To put a battery in a car. What the heck? I am only letting them do it because they don’t charge for it and there’s corrosion on the battery. I am not being suckered into wandering the store during the mandatory wait time so that they can take more of my money.  I just want it finished in an hour and then to pick up my son from school. The auto technician has the key. It is getting uncomfortably warm in here and I can’t roll the window down. Maybe there’s a bench outside the front of the store where I can loiter and write.

There is a bench. I think it is meant for employees, but nobody else is here. I sit with my  blubbery tummy in front of me. It’s very distracting. It’s not as if the rest of me is toned, but my belly- I can feel it move when I walk. I don’t know if it’s my reward for surviving cancer treatment and cancer or what. This sitting spot is a little bit out of the way and the parking lot next to it is, I always assumed, for employees. Overweight shoppers going to and fro in front of me. Am I assuming and making judgments about the customers? That maybe they’re parking over here to get more walking in? Perhaps they park here because they are non-conformists and prefer to separate themselves from the majority? Perhaps they feel their car is safer away from the busier lot? Now, here comes a lady pushing a man in a wheelchair. In his wheelchair basket is a mum to celebrate autumn and laundry detergent. No, I don’t mean that he is celebrating laundry detergent. But, who’s to say? He nor the lady are overweight. An average-sized lady with an averaged-sized, school-aged girl are just walking past. What is going on?! None of these people parking by the employee bench appear to be employees. Who are the people that park in this cove?

An employee is squatted on a nearby curb, tapping her phone with the fingers on the same casual hand with which she cradles her cigarette. Perhaps I took her spot on the bench. What is up with the lady on the bench writing in a notebook (or is it a composition book)? Does she come to this store for writing inspiration? That could be. This stores attracts herds of people, and brings in all kinds of which to observe. For all we know, that lady on the bench isn’t even a customer. Who’s to say? For all we know, she has quit smoking and is hanging out here simply to get second-hand smoke. All of the people by by this side lot are mysteries.

2:42 p.m.

A-ha! Another employee with a cigarette strolled by. No, I have no desire to smoke or for him to come back with the stinky, pukey air.

The lady on the bench has no boobs. I wonder if she tapes them down or if she’s had a bi-lateral mastectomy. There’s no way to tell. Coincidentally, (?), a lady wearing flip flops and a shirt with the “Hope” ribbon for a breast cancer cure strolls in front of the no boob bench lady. There’s always a good chance that someone will pass by her sporting an anti-breast cancer shirt. They are all of the rage these days. Are they supposed to raise awareness about breast cancer? Or, is it just a statement that “I like pink and also hate breast cancer”. Fucking cancer.

2:51 p.m.

They have 20 minutes to get my car battery done. Maybe I will go shop for fish, eggs, butter and yogurt. If my car isn’t in the shop yet, I will return this composition book and pen to the car. I don’t want people to think I have a special relationship with it. I am not a spy. It’s not like I sneakily carry around the book, peering from under the brim of my Green Bay Packers and record my observations everywhere I go….

2:58 pm.

A-ha! The car is not in the lot! Although I can’t see that it’s in the shop, I will assume that it is. I am giving them 15 minutes or less. I’ll just squat here on a curb without a cigarette, looking suspicious because I don’t have a cigarette.


Just paid and checked out. The technician had pulled the car up by my sitting curb. Curbside service. Now that is service I can smile about! The Honda started right up and the check engine is off for now. Life, it’s chronic.

My coeditor: I read the text to her and she keeps her comments to herself.