H-2-Oh no you did-n’t!

The most peculiar thing happened to me in the grocery store this evening. Earlier in the night, during my consuming 3 hour shift at work, I pondered if drinking soda water had the same effects as “flat” water for a bodies digestion and hydration process. While there was no clear cut answer from the front of house staff at the Briar Street Theatre, we assumed no. With the bottom line being “you can never go wrong with regular old water” I decided I hadn’t had enough to meet my daily quota.

I know that when I haven’t drank enough water and am too lazy to refill the brita the easiest thing to do is to stop at the grocery on the way home and purchase a bottle. It was a good enough excuse to buy some fresh strawberries too, since a box can’t seem to stay in my fridge for more than 24 hours. When I finally found myself in the water aisle I was taken back by all the shiny choices. Deciding between tall and slim or short and robust, blue label, white label, basically everything that doesn’t truly matter. Then I realized I should be focusing on price. Finally narrowed it down to two – the 2 for $1 generic brand (cheap! but it’d be heavier to carry home) or the $1.69 bottle that looks like a robot and is made from plants.

Frugality is a virtue. Just as I went to pick the last 2-fer bottles off the top shelf a gentleman reached over and grabbed them and walked off without a hint of hesitation. THAT BASTARD!

I didn’t know what to do. I literally felt like I had been robbed, yet I had no case. I stood, in shock, playing out that scenario in my head “Excuse me sir, I was just about to grab those, they belong to me” “Bitch you crazy?” So those are my words, probably not his, but the sentiment would be there, I’m sure. I started laughing amidst the valley of the financially glorified natural resource. What could I do? I was the one who had to stop and deliberate over the choice for bottled water.

In the light of things, this incident could not be more insignificant. To the light-less dwellers such as myself it seemed like a life lesson in action: My biggest fear has come true – I made mistakes and am now behind on my rent. It was my fault and I thought I would be able to catch up before any harm or foul could occur, however I was betting on the one thing a person should never bet on: expectation. January was ill-welcomed in my book as it came with the news of them suspending my unemployment and missing 3 weeks of payment to now finding out that my coveted tax return to get me out of debt (and into a new hair cut) turned into a $15 federal return and a $300 debt to the state.


I told somebody the other day it seemed like “Jesus said unto them ‘thou mayest collect their dues in the first quarter. Not so fast McGuire…'” Being completely enveloped in the thought that $2000 would right all that is wronged in Duffy land, I feel like I’ve abandoned the growth I’ve made over the past few years. Yes, this is the situation I’ve never wanted to face (again). Yes, this is scary knowing if I were to get evicted, I’d be homeless (again) and have to start over (again). However, at this moment, I don’t care.

I lost my sale water to hesitation whilst looking for the shiniest, newest, most attractive offer. What I didn’t look for was the substance. BECAUSE IT WAS ALL THE SAME. It doesn’t matter what it comes in, when it’s exactly the same as the other ‘less appealing’ containers. Isn’t that relatable somehow? My life will be the same if I get evicted and move or if I chose to move to Boston, San Diego or back to New York to escape my unemployment woes here in Chicago. It’s all the same! It’s only different if I take what I’ve learned from the past and apply it to the present.

First Step – Admitting I made a mistake: I MADE A MISTAKE! Second Step – Amending what is possible: I called the landlord. Third Step – Acceptance: What is is.

I miss life, I miss the feeling I had when I felt completely unattached. Possessions were things that aided and comforted me as I navigated new waters. Now it’s turned into a weight that has me anchored to Chicago, Uptown, Winona Street, Apartment 608. What can I do – throw it all away? Run away? No. That’s not the answer and that’s not what I need.

I need to stop the hesitation. I need to stop subscribing to what’s on the outside. I need to re-connect with the substance. My father would have given you the shirt of his back, if you needed it. My mother would not wince once at being ostracized for standing up for own her moral beliefs. These are the qualities I was raised to live by and these are the qualities I struggle to uphold when competing against the standing state of selfish survival. When I balance these qualities with the intrinsic need to do right, that is when I feel at peace, not when I have a 42″ flat screen TV and a fancy name brand wardrobe to parade in front of a bunch of under valued, over priced treasure obsessed with the plastic that holds it hostage.

So I bought a $1.69 bottle of water, a box of strawberries and I walked home, feeling a little defeated. Had he not wanted the same bottle I was eye-ing there would have been no value added and I wouldn’t have thought about the decision, or the 5 minutes I spent in the water aisle. I walked into my heated apartment, sat at my computer and logged onto the internet. Ate strawberries, drank water and thanked the Universe for keeping me in a warm home, with food in my belly and now calm in my heart for one more night. Tomorrow when I wake up – the job search continues. Tonight, I’ll enjoy sleeping and knowing that I have everything I need in life today, in the form of peace of mind.

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