OK, for real, I was fully expecting at least one of the three possible freelance checks to arrive today (Monday). Which meant one main thing to me: I could at last buy CIGARETTES!
When I woke up Sunday, I had no beer and only 7 cigs to last me 'til Monday. With that in mind, I did only productive things all day -- finally doing my own taxes (as opposed to begging my mom for help with them) and walking them to the mailbox down the street so they'd go out by deadline Monday; washing all dishes; hand-washing bras and shirts; finally reading the Stieg Larsson book that's been hanging around for two weeks. Since the majority of the day/night, after the stress of the taxes, was spent in bed reading (rather than on the Internet, which always gets me hyped up), I didn't really crave cigs THAT much and so was able to ration without going absolutely nuts. Plus, I had the end in sight: Monday, and the mail with check(s) would come, and then all would be well.
I woke up Monday at 9:30 a.m. with 2 cigs and a huge knot in my stomach. I had one of the cigs after breakfast while waiting for a phone interview at 10 a.m. The sick stomach was not only nerves about the lack of cigs and the impending interview but also nerves that my phone service might have been cut off over the weekend for overdue payment. (I'd gotten 3 or 4 reminder-calls from the company in the past week. I had no idea when they'd finally pull the plug. Just my luck that it would be before the phone interview! And how would I explain THAT to the interviewer?) 10 a.m. on the dot: Nothing. 10:01,10:02,10:03--RINNGGGGGGGG! WHEW! :)
When the interview was over @ 10:30, I showered and dressed, in anticipation of finding checks in my mailbox and immediately going to the bank to get cash and then going to the store. By then it was 11 a.m. The mail here usually comes anywhere between 11 and 11:45. I didn't want to go down right at 11, since if the mailbox were empty, I'd be upset, even if it was empty only because it was too early. Wait. Wait. Wait. Finally at 11:26 I couldn't stand it any more. I had to check. When I went down the stairs, the USPS car was parked in the parking lot, with the mailman in it. I went to my mailbox: NOTHING.
I felt sick to my stomach as I trudged back upstairs. I sat on my bed pondering the one last cigarette: What in the world to do? Call my mother and ask to borrow $10? No way in hell. After her huge nice gesture of buying me groceries and lending me rent money last week, there was NO WAY I could ask for anything else from her so soon. (I think I need to wait another year or so before I dare ask for another favor.) Pawn something? The only thing of value I have to pawn is my dead aunt's diamond ring that my mother had given me. Huh? I was REALLY considering pawning an heirloom ring just to get cigarettes??
After even briefly considering pawning the ring, I got very mad at myself and started working desperately to get into a non-addict frame of mind: "If the checks aren't here today, they'll be here tomorrow. Just one more day. Just stay in bed again and read. Lie there and watch TV. Don't get on the Internet. Be calm. You've got food to eat. You don't need cigarettes. Didn't you feel better health-wise when you got up today after not drinking or smoking much the day before? Yes, you did. It's better for you not to smoke. Maybe this'll be the impetus to stop smoking for good since you'll know you can go without. You didn't have that many yesterday anyway. Remember that time in 1992 when you didn't smoke for 2 days? That wasn't so horrible. Think of all the money you'll save. Deep breaths. Come on, now. Be cool. You're just going to read a lot today, that's all. Read and eat. It'll be fine."
One last flicker of hope: Had the mailman been sitting there PRE-mail or POST-mail? PRE or POST? PRE or POST???!!!!!!!! I sat there staring at the clock. When should I go back down and check one last time? And what about the one last cigarette? Should I save it for some point in the next 24 hours or just go ahead and have it now, and then be completely cold turkey 'til Tuesday? I smoked it and then sat and watched and watched the clock.
At 11:42 a.m., I ventured back out. The mailman was still there; out of car this time, and from the second floor I could hear him clanking around the group mailboxes. (That's a good sign. That's a good sign. That's a good sign.) I stood leaning over the railing, waiting for him to leave... Clank, clank, clank. Clank. I smiled and awkwardly nodded "Hi" to various neighbors coming in and out of their apartments while I was leaning over the railing. (Some said "Hi" back, some just looked at me funny for standing there.) Mr. Postman finished up and got in his car. And then sat there fiddling with his...GPS, I think it was. OK, I'm not going down to check until he leaves. Sit. Sit. Sit. (Leave please, mister. Leave, leave. LEAVE GODDAMMIT!)
He finally pulled off. I went down. Absolutely sick to my stomach. Opened the box... Checks. Plural CHECKS. THREE CHECKS. THREE CHECKS FOR A TOTAL OF $1600. $1600 meaning only two things: Bank and smokes, bank and smokes, bank and smokes.
All the way to the bank, still not allowing myself to relax, a drumbeat of unnecessary nutty: "What if the two dollar bills that I saved for my bus fare on this happy day are counterfeit and they won't go through the fare machine? What if the bank is closed for some random holiday? What if the teller won't give me any cash back from my deposit and I can't buy anything 'til Tuesday?"
Um, the bus took my dollars, the bank gave me cash. :) What a day, what a stupid 12-hour day in the fuckin' life:
I am completely drained, both emotionally and psychically. All over a $6 pack of smokes! As of 11 a.m. this morning, I did not have $6 to my name. How Dully Precarious. (The evil twin of Truly Scrumptious.)