Errands Day

I took the day off work today to vote and run some errands I’ve been putting off for a really long time, because I hate leaving the house. I find that almost anything that can be done out in the physical world can be done much more quickly and accurately online. But sometimes you have to go do things out there. With people. Today was one of those days.

First, I had to go to the post office to mail some hair to Florida. That went smoothly enough.

Then, I went to do early voting. When I registered to vote here in Albuquerque, I got my voter registration card, and my name on it was spelled “Elizabeht Urello.” For those of you not familiar with the most familiar of names, mine is typically spelled “Elizabeth.” Now, granted, sometimes it’s spelled “Elisabeth,” for people whose parents intended to name them Elizabeth, but messed it up because they’re stupid. But it’s rarely if ever spelled “Elizabeht.” I forgot that my voter registration said this until the nice old lady at the counter (“Oh, you were born 1981? That’s the year I got married the first time!”) handed me my ballot and I saw it misspelled on there. I asked her if it would cause any problems and she squinted at it. “It should have a…G?” she asked.

I mean…is Elizabeth just a really, really uncommon name in New Mexico? Why is this so hard?

She said that it wouldn’t really matter, because the city had me down as “Elizabeht,” so at this point, that might as well be my name.

I voted according to the dictates of my liberal guilt, and then, unburdened, I headed over to Verizon to buy a new iPhone 6. My Sprint contract was up a few months ago, and Sprint doesn’t work at all in the Southwest, so I’d been meaning to switch to Verizon, which also has terrible coverage here but ever so slightly better than any other carrier. Also I have dropped my iPhone from a great height approximately several thousand times over the past year, and it is now so cracked and shattered that you can see the metal bits underneath. It looks like this:

arnold-terminator-face1

I put off replacing it for this long, because (see above) I don’t like to leave the house and talk to people. But today, I was determined. Well, it turned out I needed to have all kinds of information with me that I didn’t have, and also no brick-and-mortar shops in Albuquerque have the 6 or will have it until at the very least mid-November.

But did you know you can do all that shit online? Including port your phone number over? Even if you’re changing contracts? I did not know this. Or I never would have put on pants and dragged myself to an actual, physical store, like I was someone’s grandma who got married the first time in 1981, and then had an incredibly awkward and halting conversation with a teenage boy who looked like he wanted to die even more than I did.

The whole thing took five seconds online once I got home, and my phone should ship before too long, I’m told (vaguely, which probably means I’ll get it sometime next year, but that’s ok, as long as I don’t have to talk to anyone again).

The next errand on my list was to finally get this pair of jeans hemmed that I’ve been avoiding having hemmed since about a million years ago. You can see a picture of me in them, not hemmed, in this post from last APRIL, and they weren’t new then, so that’s how long I let these things go. When I got to the tailor’s, they were closed, and there was a sign on the door saying that due to a death in the family, they would not reopen until November 3rd.

Now, of course, nothing but sympathies to the family, really. But given the starting date of the sign, they closed the business down for two full weeks?! I love my family as much as the next hermit, but life goes the fuck on. This is a capitalist society! Who shuts down for two weeks because someone kicks it?

Having failed in 2/3 of my errands today, I had one more thing I needed to get. There’s a certain type of facial moisturizer I use. It’s not anything special. It’s fragrance free and non-comodogenic of course, but it’s not made of unicorn tears or anything. The last time I tried to buy it on Amazon, I would have had to pay for shipping unless I wanted some Costco-style family pack of 400 moisturizers, and since I’m not planning on going into business as an esthetician any time soon, I didn’t find that offer attractive. So off I went to Target to buy this stuff from an actual store.

Guess where this is going? On the shelves were every kind of moisturizer known to man, and an empty hole where my moisturizer should have been. It was sold out, because that’s the best moisturizer and the only kind anybody ever uses, and yet, Target had apparently failed to restock it. So that the trip to Target wouldn’t feel like a total waste of time, I went to buy a small saucepan to heat soup in, because the only kind I have are great big ones that I don’t like to wash. They didn’t have any. Then, I figured, well, maybe I can get a 100% cotton blanket here. Nope!

So I came home and bought everything online.

This post is addressed to everyone who makes fun of me for never leaving the house, and for people who question the ethics of buying goods and services online instead of supporting local industry. I try sometimes, I really do, but every time I leave the house, it’s just one big, long parade of wasted time and uncomfortable interactions. I’m not doing it anymore.

I just need to find a tailor I can mail my pants to, and then I’ll be all set.

ETA: To make myself feel better about the whole day, I stopped off at Whole Foods on the way home and bought some really expensive dried kiwi slices. I just had one, and they’re disgusting.

Soylent – Day Seven

And so my week of public Soylent consumption has come to an end. I have one packet of Soylent left, actually, because I did not end up drinking an entire pitcher every day, but once that’s gone, it’s back to normal food until my resupply ships.

I have been very surprised that this worked out so well for me. I was dubious this would be a real solution to my food problem, but it truly seems to have worked. I wasn’t hungry this week, I was able to work out normally and focus mentally, I did not lose any weight. This Soylent was version 1.0; I hear that 1.1 fixes the gas issue and also has less sweetener, which I’m looking forward to. But there’s also some discussion that it’s less filling. We’ll see. I guess I can always bulk it up with almond milk or something.

Over the long term, I’ll probably eat dinner a couple of times a week in addition to Soylent. One thing I have noticed is that at the end of the day, I do feel the need to have some sort of consumable bookend along with the evening’s activity. I’ve been having a glass (or two or three) of wine. Previously, I had stopped having so much wine in the evenings, and that was very healthy and mature and boring of me, and it’s not great to go back to making it a regular thing, so I’ll have to figure out some other way to get that feeling of conclusion. (Warning: if you’re thinking of suggesting herbal tea, just get the fuck off this blog and don’t ever come back, seriously.)

Four people have told me that they have ordered some Soylent to try this out! I’m pleased to have inspired people, but please don’t blame me when you find it disgusting and/or believe it causes all sorts of intestinal issues for you. My solutions to the complications of modern life aren’t for everybody — if you read between the lines of my blogging over the past week, you’ll also have noted that the only time I left the house was to run to the grocery store on Thursday. My life works for me, but obviously I do not have a future as an aspirational lifestyle blogger. (Speaking of, my apologies for the lack of photos of Soylent in an elegant, unsmudged wine glass, surrounded by flowers and stacks of old books and candles and casually draped necklaces on a mirrored tabletop.)

I appreciate you all joining me on this journey. I will let you know how 1.1 works out, and if you try Soylent (or have some other food replacement system that works well for you), let me know!

Soylent – Day Six

My burrito last night was tasty, but it did not usher in an overwhelming desire to eat the world, which I was a bit afraid it would. I am fine today having my Soylent. And this is something else that Soylent might end up being helpful for…

**DISCLAIMER: If you have or have ever had any kind of ED, please don’t listen to this or take some dumb blogger’s uninformed advice on anything, you shouldn’t be reading this anyway, and you should not experiment with meal replacement unless you are working with an MD who knows your history.**

I think Soylent might be a good tool for people with binge eating disorder, which I suspect many people have, and I also think that it’s basically the same thing in the brain as alcoholism or any other type of addiction (except way more stigmatized because although people with BED don’t hurt anyone but themselves and people with alcoholism usually hurt everyone they know, still, people with BED are often less physically attractive and that’s all we care about), but the problem with BED is that you can’t simply stop eating food the way you can stop drinking, so you’re just triggering yourself over and over again forever, and who could possibly fight that successfully? But I can see a total meal replacement like this being a really valuable tool in repairing a disordered relationship with food, or possibly freeing people from it altogether.

Obviously, a lot of the problems that people have with food are made worse by decision fatigue and the limits of willpower. And this certainly applies to dieting, which all us fat, sedentary Americans are constantly trying to do. If you want to lose weight, you really have to make that your main focus in life. It requires being completely obsessive about your food, thinking about it all the time, planning it, leaving nothing to chance, and for the time you’re working on losing weight, your entire world must revolve around your eating habits, because that’s how hard it is to force weight off the human body. And then you have to keep it off.

Most people aren’t dull enough to channel all of their willpower and concentration into their diet; they have more important shit to be focusing on, like building their careers, raising their children, creating art, or just fucking around online. Dieting is boring, self-absorbed, and time-consuming, and naturally, for anyone with an unhealthy relationship to food (which is basically all of us to some degree), it also exacerbates a lot of problems. Something like Soylent would remove all personal battling from dieting or from just nourishing yourself in a balanced way without descending into obsessive behaviors and binge-and-starve cycles, and could therefore be a very good thing for a lot of people.

Or maybe it would make everything worse, I don’t know.

Anyway, it was an absolutely deliciously beautiful fall day in Albuquerque today — warm and breezy and sunny, with crisp good-smelling air. So naturally, I spent the entire day inside reading, although I did open a few windows.

And this is the other thing about Soylent that I love: I’ve always found it much easier to only eat once a day when I’m in a physical job like waiting tables that doesn’t take much mental concentration. I don’t think my body needs food as much as my brain does — it’s easy to go for a long run on an empty stomach, but try and read an article when you’re hungry? Not happening. With sedentary jobs that require a lot of intellectual effort, I fade out pretty quickly if I get hungry, but at the same time, I don’t want to be eating a lot because I’m not actually burning any calories. But Soylent is great, because you can just sip it while you’re working, and you never get foggy-headed, and you never have to break your concentration to get up and fix yourself some food and try to hit the right balance between not getting hungry again in an hour and at the same time not eating so much that you just want to go to sleep.

God, have I mentioned what an absolute pill eating is? Why doesn’t everyone hate it as much as I do? I’ll never get it.

Soylent – Day Five

Today, let’s talk about nature. One of the objections I frequently see to Soylent and any sort of processed food replacement is that it isn’t “natural.” People seem to be operating under the delusion that nature is benevolent. It is, of course, crazy to ascribe human characteristics to nature, but still, I am pretty sure that nature actively loathes us.

I am a 33-year-old single childless woman who works in tech. From nature’s perspective, I am a horrifying abberation, and an inexcusable failure on its part.

I have no idea why anybody in this day and age fetishizes what is natural, especially women. Obviously, if you are a woman, nature fucking hates your ass. It wants you to carry and spew forth a never-ending stream of babies and then die, bitch! Think about prolapsed uteruses. You are so badly evolved that your actual internal organs can FALL DOWN INSIDE YOUR BODY because if you live past sixty, nature is done with you! And let’s not even get into obstetric fistulas. Or, for that matter, what a total fail our knees and lower backs are for what they’re supposed to be doing. If our bodies had been designed by a company, that company would not only be bankrupt now, but it would be forever regarded as a cautionary tale of extreme hubris combined with shoddy engineering and poor R&D.

Male or female, nature’s interests are diametrically opposed to our own. Consider how expensive we are to nature! Germs and bugs proliferate for nothing, and they do so much good work. We cost a shit ton compared, and we do absolutely nothing. I guess our bodies decomposing is a little bit helpful to the ecosystem? But not remotely worth the outlay in resources to fatten our corpses. And that’s even before you look into how we’ve actively gone about destroying everything at a rate that could teach The Nothing a thing or two.

Every single good thing in my life is a product of how man has suppressed and triumphed over nature. If it were strictly up to nature, I would currently be an oven covered in sucking mouths of varying ages, spending every single last second of my time and energy oscillating between finding food and eating food all the damn day long. Because let’s be real, nothing about our lives is even the slightest bit natural, no matter how many ineffective cleaning products you buy, or how much chia you eat. The fact that we’ve managed to take an entire planet that doesn’t need us at all and is in many cases actively opposed to our interests and bend it to our will is really impressive!

Granted, yes, we are clearly destroying it for human life, but we have had a good run! All things must end. It’s ok to celebrate our accomplishments, even if the finale is going to be rather messy. And then the planet can repair itself once we’re gone, like a host after its drunken, destructive party guests finally leave at daybreak. The planet will take a good long nap on the couch, and then it will start to clean up, and it will realize it never ever wants to have people over again, and then it will go have a giant greasy breakfast at a diner and spend all day watching crappy reality TV while it absorbs its lesson. Don’t you worry about the planet.

Anyway, Soylent is still working great for me. I went on my usual run today, followed by tread-desking, and it was no problem. I’ve felt focused and alert at work, today and all week. I’m more exhausted in the evenings (and therefore watching more Netflix) than usual, but I think that’s the time of year. I’m pretty sure I haven’t lost any weight, and I’m actually needing less Soylent as the days go by — I’m not finishing the whole pitcher most days. I haven’t had the “trying to fall asleep while starving” issue that I usually do (I’m really bad at timing dinner close enough to bedtime to not get hungry again right when I’m lying down), and I haven’t ever been uncomfortably full, either. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a week where I wasn’t bouncing from starving to stuffed most days.

Tonight, I am going to have a burrito and some wine, because it’s Friday. This will be my first solid food all week, and while I think it will be pleasant, I am not dying for it and have not been obsessing about what I will have, the way you would a “cheat meal” when dieting.

Right now, I’m mainly bummed that I only have two days’ worth of Soylent left, and my reorder can take 1-2 weeks to ship. I do not want to go back to food. I’m dreading the old struggle that will resume come Monday morning.

Soylent – Day Four

I spent all day working from bed today, because my lower back was actually really jacked up. I feel much better after a day resting it; plus, I realized the ibuprofen I’d been dosing myself with since Saturday actually expired in 2011, so that explains a lot. Anyway, because I barely moved today, I didn’t really need to drink a lot of Soylent.

But this evening, I had to do two things that usually I have to do a lot more frequently and that typically really annoy me: clean up the kitchen and go to the grocery store. Cleaning up the kitchen involved washing four Soylent glasses, four coffee mugs, and a whiskey glass. That’s it. That was all.

I had to go to the grocery store to get salad greens for the bunny (sadly, she will not be converted to a Soylent lifestyle). I kind of expected that when I went to the store and was surrounded by food, I’d go crazy wanting everything. But you know what? None of it was particularly appealing. It just seemed…unnecessary.

I am hoping that I do not lose weight on Soylent, although I can stand to lose fifteen pounds or so, for sure. But I want this to be a viable meal replacement, and if I’m not maintaining my body weight, then it won’t work over the long-term.

I do think, though, that going on Soylent could be a useful tool if you’re trying to diet. I’m an emotional eater and pretty aware of it, but when I get really hungry and stressed and tired, I crave crappy food, as quickly as possible. I thought that this was purely an emotional thing, because even if I ate something healthy instead, I’d still feel a powerful compulsion to eat a bunch of garbage. But that’s not happening to me this week — I’ve gotten overly hungry, but after having some Soylent, I didn’t still feel the urge to binge on pizza or whatever. So maybe it really wasn’t my emotional eating at all; maybe I was just missing some vitamin or something.

Or maybe it’s just easier to make one choice rather than a never-ending series of choices.

I felt like a superhero walking around the grocery store. So many endless and seemingly inescapable decisions and considerations that suddenly just didn’t apply to me at all! I bought salad stuff and ibuprofen and wine and sashayed out of the store.

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. One unpleasant thing I’ve noticed about Soylent (other than the gas, which is gradually getting better) is that after drinking a lot of it, I have a persistent sour taste in the back of my mouth. Also, I think something in the Soylent is dehydrating, because I have to drink more water than I normally would, and in fact, I’m probably not drinking enough. I went on the Soylent forums and there’s a lot of discussion about this, and other side effects, and there are DIY alternatives being sold that some people say are better.

But none of these things are bothersome enough to me to overrule the great benefit of not having to worry about food at all.

So I’ve gone ahead and ordered a month’s supply. Right now, Soylent is slightly over $250/month, which a lot of people are saying is too expensive, but I spend probably around $150 per week to feed myself with “real” food. I know, I know, you feed a family of four on $50, but I buy mostly prepared foods and takeout. That shit’s expensive. So for me, Soylent will actually free up a good chunk of income that I was otherwise straight up eating. So that’s another benefit.

Also, honestly? I feel pretty great.

…I’ll try to be more critical and less servicey in tomorrow’s update, promise.

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