I am not a plastic set of neural pathways anymore.

[NB: This has been lingering in my drafts for a while now; enjoy with caution.]

So, I wanted to go to the grocery store the other day. And it turns into this big process, right? Back in Austin, my hometown, we have a ban on plastic bags at grocery stores

—well, at any stores, really, and for a while there at the beginning it was NO BAGS AT ALL, so if you forgot your bag and you were at like, HomeDepot, you’d be standing there in the checkout line, after you’ve paid your $68 for, like, three lightbulbs, a decorative plant, a garden hoe, and a package of drywall screws—

and you’re not even sure if you need drywall screws? like, last time you tried to hang anything in that house it was super easy to find a stud—

in fact the people who lived there before you did the minimal cleaning possible when they moved out so there are still all these nails and screws in the walls like everywhere anyway, and while you’re thankful for the nails

—and you’re even thankful for the VCR you found at the back of the top shelf of the hall closet, even if you are still a little confused about why there were so many loose socks up there with it — I mean there were only three, but, like, why are three random, mismatched — and clearly worn — socks on the top shelf of a hall closet anyway? And why would they be next to a VCR?—

and so anyway, you’re at HomeDepot, wondering if you even need these screws that you just paid — really $7 for screws? — for because there are still nails and holes all over most of the viable spots on the walls anyway, but whatever, you got the screws, and now that you’ve paid, you’re just standing there and the cashier gives you that look—

that

“Um, did you forget your bag?”

look.

And it’s not a judgey look, because she’s new to this too, we all are (the ban just went into effect like a month ago); and so it’s really more like shared embarrassment than anything else, and you’re standing there and she’s standing there, and she’s got to move you along because there’s a line of people forming behind you, and the next person, the guy directly behind you has his bag, his “I’m Not A Plastic Bag” bag, and it’s just hanging there against his thigh, thrust into the world — into this silent discourse — by his jutted hip and tiny shorts

(because HomeDepot daddies are totally a thing and you can totally see his bulge — his massive bulge — and if he weren’t busy looking annoyed with you and you weren’t busy fumbling over a forgotten bag then you’d totally scam on him in the checkout lane and maybe even invite him for a peak-and-tug at the urinals, I mean, come on, it’s like gay heritage to jackoff next to someone at HomeDepot — your gay ancestors did not not install a urinal separator for you to not peak-and-tug this compact little pocket bear — but not now because he’s clearly got his Austin Single Use Bag Ban Eco-Conscious Reusable Bag bag and you’re still fumbling),

and that little Pocket Bear has — along with his fucking bag — a bunch of wood planks (because maybe he’s building a dog house, aww… or more likely a St. Andrew’s Cross?), so the cashier’s going to have to come out from behind the counter and scan all of his wood (hehe) with her scanner-gun but she can’t do anything while you’re gawky flabby body is still standing there, blocking the line, dumbfoundedly staring at everyone’s crotch, trying to figure out out to hold three lightbulbs, a decorative plant, a garden hoe, and one astoundingly overpriced package of drywall screws without a goddamn bag.

And after one or two of those experiences, you learn not to forget your bags, right?

 

So you want to go to the grocery store but first you need to find your bags,

even if here in San Diego you don’t even really need the bags because for some reason Southern California hasn’t caught on to the Bag Ban aesthetic anyway, but so then it’s even more important for you — personally — to remember to bring your own “Reduce! Reuse! Recycle!” and “I Used To Be A Tire!” grocery bags so now you can be the haughty one in line at the store, totally self-righteous because you know how much water it takes to make a plastic bag and come on! This state is in its worst drought in centuries and how dare anyone waste water to make plastic bags! California is *SERIOUSLY* the worst.

So you stumble around the house, trying to remember if you put your bags in the kitchen closet or the hall closet

and you’re standing there with a stupid look on your face, with your eyes skittering from one closet to the other—

And it’s even more stupid because you’re half naked at the time, confused as shit that you’ve just checked both places where the bags should be and they aren’t in either place.

(And why are you half naked? Well, you’re half naked because your scatterbrained batshit mind has to do whatever you’re thinking about doing as soon as you think about it, and while you were digging around in your underwear drawer,

you were thinking that — hell, you might as well wear your new sexy jockstrap to go grocery shopping– because who knows? This is supposed to be a slutty town, right? Surely you can get a wink and *dloop-be-doop* Grindr “‘sup?” from the hottie in the bulk foods aisle, right?

And so you were digging through your underwear drawer looking for a sexy a jock to wear while you buy your bananas and brussels sprouts (REALLY? That word is spelled ‘brussels sprouts’? brusselS sprouts???) and toilet paper and nutritional yeast and shit like that, hoping it’ll get you at least a wink because you’re hard up–

it’s been literally months since you’ve put your dick in anything beyond a sad old sock–

and that makes you remember that hot little Pocket Bear in HomeDepot and jesus christ could his junk have really been as big as that? But nah, you couldn’t even do a parking-lot smile at him because you were embarrassed as fuck when you had to put the drywall screws in your mouth because you forgot your fucking stupid Reusable Shopping Bags and

oh! shit! don’t forget the bags this time.)

Where. did. you. put. those. bags?

And you just want to go grocery shopping, right?

 

So there I am, in the middle of my living room, jockstrap in one hand, scarf in the other (because SoCal is cold as fuck, yo. Why didn’t anyone tell me it’s fucking cold here?), and I finally remember that the bags are In My Fucking Car because that’s Where They Should Be So I Always Have Them When I Need Them.

 

And I sigh and I get dressed, and I get everything together, and I’m ready to head out, finally, ready to cross that threshold between front door and outside, and I’m standing there with the door open, holding it open with my foot, actually, because it’s heavy as fuck and it automatically locks whenever it slams closed, and I’m standing there, and I’m holding the door open, and I’m checking to make sure I have everything– doing “tickets, money, passport?” from AbFab, really, because I always do AbFab whenever I leave the house–

tickets, money, passport? tickets, money, passport?, tickets, money, passport?

but because I’ve been doing AbFab for so long now, I’ve basically stopped hearing what I’m even saying, but yeah, I pat my pockets and I’ve got my money and, well, no, I don’t have tickets or a passport but that’s because I’m not going anywhere that would require tickets or a passport, but I’ve done the check and I’ve got my money and my sexy jockstrap is just peaking over the waistline of my jeans, and my sweater is cute as fuck and it doesn’t emphasize my moobs at all, and I’ve got my scarf on, and my reusable bags are in the car and everything is good to go and I am finally 100% Ready to buy my groceries in the sexiest and least embarrassing and most self righteous way possible, so I finally step out of the doorway and I let my goddamn heavy as fuck auto-locking door close behind me and it’s in that moment that I realize that I have not yet thought to ask myself Where are my fucking keys?

Long story short, I think I’m developing memory problems in my middle age.