I had a bad day and all I could think of was cookies. As I drove my dented piece of shit car down Geary Boulevard, the gas light flickered. Fuck! I always run out of gas when I’m in a bad mood. I didn’t care. So be it if my car puttered out of gas on one of the city’s most bustling thoroughfares. I had my heart set on a box of cookies.
When people have a bad day, I imagine them taking care of themselves. Going out to their favorite restaurant. Having a glass of wine. Taking a soothing bubble bath. I think of junk food and today, I had a box of orange-melange Pimm’s cookies on my mind.
The out of gas light continued to flicker as I pulled up to one of the parking spots behind Cala Foods in Laurel Heights. I got out of the car and headed inside. I knew exactly what I wanted; I was on a mission. Almost 8pm, the deli attendant was saran-wrapping bowls of macaroni salad, chicken salad, pasta salad. I passed the deli counter and hurriedly walked down the aisle of refrigerated items (Better Than Mom’s Homemade Pickles, Philadelphia Cream Cheese, and chilled Heineken Beer) in search of snacks. There, in the middle of the aisle was my oblong box of orange-melange Pimm’s cookies. I smiled and tore into one side to start snacking. Hmmm, cookies.
I already knew I was going to finish the whole box right then and there. That’s the kind of extreme behavior I’m known for. I strolled leisurely through the store as I continued to feed. Other junk food started calling to me: Fritos, Wasabi Peas, Cheddar Cheese Corn Puffs.
After the sugar high from the Pimm’s cookies, I seemed to crave salt. Lots of it. I grabbed a canister of my favorite Ranch-flavored Pringles.
I was just about done with my whole box of cookies as I made my way to the register. Stuffing the last cookie in my mouth, I handed the cashier an empty box of cookies and the Pringles. “Did you just eat all of these while you were in the store?” He looked at me shocked. I nodded, still munching away on the last cookie.
I paid for my two snack items—one of which was safely ground up in my tummy, the other in my hand. I got to my car, opened up the Pringles, and ate them all. One sitting. Right there in my driver seat, just crunched them down one after the other.
Bad day = binge night. Lovely.
The binging reminds me of living in Lincoln Park, Chicago with a White Hen convenience store across the street. Always snacking in the middle of the night (2, 3, 4am-ish), the attendant once asked me if I was pregnant. I had eating issues back then. I don’t anymore…or maybe I still do—residually—and when I have a bad day, I revert. To the binging. To the comfort food.