Dear Diary,

I’m new to Substack, and it feels a little bit like high school all over again. I’m already stressing about Chemistry. The cool kids are in one corner pegging their jeans, the jocks are in the other, flexing. The smarties are all bent over their books, and the nerds are taping their glasses. And I’m over here on the sidelines, waving my hand tentatively, smiling weirdly, and asking, “Where do I go for second period?”

And then Liz Gilbert strolls down the senior hall like the valedictorian/basketball star/Prom Queen that she is, and no one notices me lurking strangely in the corner because they’re all swept away by her wittiness, her wisdom, and her sunshine smile. She waves her royal hand and tries to acknowledge all those who have gathered to greet her. But my gawd, there are just so many

Me? I’m still here, trying desperately to get my locker open. Do you see me sweating? Because I’m definitely sweating.

I just learned how to navigate WordPress, and now I’ve got a whole new platform to learn. I love learning in general, but at my age, new technology just feels daunting. If I don’t master Notes, will I ever succeed? Should I have a podcast? What about visuals? How do I get more people to see what I write when Liz Gilbert’s aura is rendering them temporarily blind? I mean, I’ve been trying to get people to see what I write for thirty years now. Am I going to have to take a trip around the world? What will my journey be called?

Maybe Sweat. Sit. Sleep.

Substack, it’s not you, it’s me. It’s definitely me. You’re a beautiful platform with so much potential. I am just overwhelmed and incredibly distracted by shiny, new things. 

The technology knowledge I have to ingest to be successful here is butting up to all the 70s and 80s song lyrics in my brain, and there’s only so much room left in my cerebral cortex. Something’s gotta give. And it’s not going to be Toto or Journey. That I know for sure. “As soon as forever is through, I’ll be over you…” is etched in my brain like an unfortunate tramp stamp.

And that aforementioned brain of mine. Oy vey. It’s been working against me lately. I can still write some words here and there, but speaking them has become a whole new challenge.

Is it menopause? Is it aging? Is it Gabapentin? Is it being gay?

I don’t know. They’re all relatively new to me. It’s anyone’s guess.

A few days ago, I was playing pickleball with Ed, Chip, and Julie. It was just the four of us; no one watching, no one waiting, no one wandering by. Without any hesitation whatsoever, I yelled, “Good shot, Debbie!” We all stopped playing and looked around for Debbie. But there was no Debbie. There was just Ed, Chip, and Julie.

Later that week, I called Sissy a bear in a china shop. “Is that like a horse in the hospital?” Julie laughed.

I mean, I know it’s a bull. We all know it’s a BULL. Where did the bear come from? Was he hanging out with Debbie?

My life has become an elaborate game of charades. When I can’t remember the word for… say… a chair, I gesture wildly while I say something like, “You know! The sitty thing with legs!” Is it wrong to make up words to help describe a common word in a moment of need? I don’t think so. Sitty is a very descriptive word.

I go from room to room in our rig, and the minute I’m in another room, I’ve forgotten why I’m there. I know that happens to people fairly often, but our rig only has two rooms. Two. And they’re separated by three steps. It’s basically one room, with half of it slightly raised. It takes approximately eight steps to get from one end of the rig to the other. Judge if you must.

When my brain glitches, I tend to blame the Gabapentin. “GABAPENTIN!” I yell loudly. “IT’S THE GABAPENTIN!”

My friends have started calling me Gabi.

Julie and I were watching a TV show the other night, and there was a calm, controlled service dog on screen. “That’s how a service dog is supposed to ask,” I said. “Ask for what?” Julie said. “What does he need?”

“Act!” I yelled. “That’s how a service dog is supposed to ACT!”

“Okay, Gabi.”

As a little sidebar, let’s talk for just a second about how service dogs act. They do not act like our dogs. When we enter a hotel, Sissy is pulling and slobbering and breathing so heavily, she sounds like a choking pig, slipping in her own spit and about to stroke out. Ruby, on the other hand, is circling her leash wildly around our legs, looking for something to squeeze under so she doesn’t have to see or make eye contact with any other living creature.

Upon entrance, most hotel employees do not believe our dogs are service dogs, regardless of what we might say.

I mean, I know that our dogs are technically not service dogs, but the fees hotels charge for regular old pets are outrageous. Sissy and Ruby have never peed, pooped, or spilled anything on a hotel floor. I can guarantee you my four kids did all three things. On every trip. Multiple times. They’d spill sticky, red fruit punch on every available surface, including their clothes and pillows. They’d drop snacks everywhere and before I could pick them up, they’d smoosh them deep into the carpet fibers in some sort of elaborate toddler Riverdance.

The dogs bark once in a while when they hear hallway noises. The kids screamed and cried and fought with each other for no reason at all. At all hours of the day. If you do the math on all the hotel rule violations, the dogs are definitely emerging as the Best Guest forerunners, service dogs or not.

Debbie will concur. 

This, my friends, is my brain on Gabapentin. Or menopause. Or homosexuality. Maybe a combo of all three. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride.



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