I usually, for instance, get up at just before five in the morning. Unless I get to bed after 11 p.m., which like clockwork leads me to sleep in until about seven in the morning. I never skip breakfast, enjoy a nice, hot brush-and-soap shave every three days, bathe every day. And I cannot function without that first cup of stevia-laced black coffee and a cigarette - though, in late 2009, I did finally give up caffeine after nine in the morning.
But perhaps the best example of my habitual nature?
I now consume the same things for breakfast for months, sometimes years, at a time - cage-free eggs and turkey bacon, egg white omelets, oatmeal, or, sometimes, just fresh fruit and yogurt. For the rest of the day, most meals are simple and routine, kept mainly to what my body needs to sustain itself - lots of beans, baked yams, fresh greens, whole grains, and, yes, probably four to five times the amount of soy protein than your average American eats in a week.
When I was in my early 20s, I was, in all honesty, a fat fucking slob. At my peak weight, a year or so after going cold turkey from my teenage hard drug habits, I weighed 285 pounds. A decade later I weigh two-thirds of that.
I never went on a diet. I just changed what I liked to eat. And over time, the weight fell off.
And not a month goes by without running into or hearing from somebody who remembers how big I used to be and commenting about the weight loss. Not as bad as it was a few years ago, but, yeah...
It gets annoying.
Here's the funny thing: most days, in terms of bulk, I suck down at least twice the bulk weight of what I did when I was younger. For dinner tonight I sucked down two bowls of salad, a rather large baked sweet potato, and a pint of Greek-strained yogurt.
Over the course of a mere five years, I lost an average of about an inch and a half off my waistline per year. As I was introduced to new ways of looking at the world - spiritually as well as intellectually - my tastes changed. If soda made me feel sluggish, for example, why should I consume it? If eating at a McDonalds or Wendys gave me the shits and sent me running to the john fifteen minutes after eating at a corporate enterprise model I feel exploits of the poor, why eat in such places?
As my tastes changed, my daily habits changed.
I don't drink soft drinks or anything carbonated beyond beer, avoid high fructose corn syrup like a hypochondriac avoids the leper colony, and while I do eat meat, it's almost always poultry.
I do occasionally partake of pork and wild game, but I haven't eaten beef in a decade. Hell, I don't think I've even been in a hamburger-filled fast food joint in a decade, but I do eat out at times. Those meals, too, are habitual - there are people in this town who have a better idea what I'll order for lunch next week than I do.
And yes, I smoke a pack a day. And I do have a taste for Irish whiskey, and bourbon usually leaves me in a state where I'll choke-slam an overgrown fratboy seven years my junior into the asphalt for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Hey, everybody needs a few unhealthy vices.
Ya know, writing this, I suddenly realize why I've slept with so many vegetarians and women recovering from eating disorders - my refrigerator usually looks like a hippie culinary commune exploded in there...
* * * *
"You DO intimidate people, dude."
"Chica, that's horseshit. I'm just another old guy in this town..."
In Oxford Fucking Ohio, the median age of all residents, is 21.
You're only young by local standards if you're not old enough to legally drink. Anything past 30? You might as well wear your Dr. Scholls and Snuggie of a muu-muu to the drug store, because the "Middle-Aged" in this town look at you like you're there for hemorrhoid cream and Viagra.
"What's so intimidating? I was listening to music, window was rolled down, and -"
"That... rap music you listen to? The gangsta rap...? Um, yeah. You live in Oxford, not fucking Compton."
"Well, yeah. And not 'gangsta,' just whatever was on the iPod. Heavy beat shit. MC Eiht, CunninLynguists, Beatnuts, Stoupe, some Ramallah Underground I think... Anyway, these chicks at the light next to me in a BIG hunking Daddy's Little Princess SUV LOCKED their doors when I looked their way -- "
Silence on the other end of the line.
And then a sigh.
"Where do you live?"
"And do [Local U] students listen to that stuff? Or dress all, like, white guy Black Panther? Or NOT smile?"
"Yeah, dude. You're in the Bubble. Entitled kids probably, yeah, thought you're a Townie rapist ready to carjack Daddy's old Hummer or whatever."
"So listening to rap makes me intimidating?... Wait... Did you just say Townie paist carjacker...? Because I listen to - "
"No... but the whole package? I dunno... if I didn't know you, I'd be fucking scared of you... Especially with that beard..."
"What's wrong with the beard? Grew it out for Manuary."
"Nothing... you just look... you know... like a scary Townie."
Sometimes, it's good to chat with a female alum - one of the chill ones - who understands the what actually goes through the minds of Local U. students better than I do.
This is clearly one of those times. I did not grow up like the vast majority of those who squat in this lovely town for four years out of their lives, in search of a degree.
But, well, at least I still have some street cred.
* * * *
I'm not a snow kinda guy.
I don't fucking ski, I outgrew making snowmen when my balls dropped, and more often than not, when it snows, I'll be driving through it.
It's not ALL snow. Nothing personal or discriminatory against the whole specie of water. I love Colorado snowstorms - awesome powdery stuff that, in all honesty, I could spend days hiking, driving, or camping in. Or even the snowfall around Chicago.
No, I reserve my prejudices solely for the slushy, half-sleet, half-powder East Coast snows like the ones we get here in southern Ohio.
And this winter, we've gotten a lot of the white shit dumped on us this winter.
Does wonders for my arthritis, my bad knee, and the ol' bad hip. Makes me feel as if I'm 31 going on 90.
Call me cranky, but does anybody know any libraries in Arizona or New Mexico that may be hiring?
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