There has been no food in my fridge for four days except a cold (and now soggy) batch of nachos, which has been slowing diminishing day by day as I nibble on it.
It takes me almost an hour to pick out a small basket of groceries at the neighborhood supermarket. It’s weird to buy things that only I will use. How much olive oil does one adult human use per month? Why don’t I already know the answer to this question?
Finally, I am finished: I have a plan of what to make for dinner, for breakfasts this week, for dinner tomorrow. I am tired, not used to waking up early, or the dark of the shorter days here, restarting my job andtrying to remember to say my name when I answer the phone instead of “Yeah?” Not used to walking more than 20 feet from my bunk to the back deck of the boat to get to work.
At lunch, I work on my computer in a cafe. Sitting back down after pacing around the restaurant, getting a glass of water as an excuse to shake some thoughts loose, the man sitting next to me says something I don’t understand. He has a thick European accent. (Has a man with a thick European accent ever tried to talk to me in a crowded cafe before? Did I mention I live in the city now?)
“I’m sorry?” I ask.
He repeats himself: “You look serious.” Stops. Looks at me intently.
“Serious?” I ask, pausing, giving him a minute to finish his sentence.
“Serious,” he just says, and I realize that's it.
“Well, yeah, I like to think that I am,” I say, and I go back to work.
I’m standing in line at the grocery store thinking about this serious conversation at lunch because the guy standing behind me is asking where I’m from (women, start talking to me in public), right as I’m starting to check out. Actually, he asks where I'm right as my credit card gets declined. I’m sorry, I say to the cashier and excuse me, I say to him, and I try the card again, and it doesn’t work again. Excuse me, I say to the cashier, and Sorry, to the man, going over to the ATM to try to withdraw cash to cover my groceries while they stand there and look at me. My phone rings -- it's a robot from my bank, asking me if I have been making approved purchases. I apologize again to the teller, attempt to answer the bank's questions by by pressing keys on my phone screen, and tell the man that I am from Sitka.
“Oh!” he says. “I hear it is the most beautiful place!”
I succeed in telling the bank that it is really me trying to buy this food for myself after four days, and the robot says everything is fixed. But my card is declined again.
“Sorry,” I say to the cashier. “Thanks,” I say to the man behind me. “Yes, it’s very nice.”
“So you don’t want anything?” the cashier looks at me, my eggs and apples and butter and carrots at her fingertips.
“Well,” I just say, holding up my credit card.
“Oh, that’s too bad,” the man behind me says.
“Sometimes that just happens,” the cashier says.
“Yeah,” I say, and I leave.
I eat cold nachos for dinner again.