Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Dear Vincent, You are not the only person I write letters to.

Dear Vincent,

You are not the only person I write letters to. Everything I buy comes wrapped in plastic, and sometimes at night, I hide spoons and forks and knives inside my freezer so I do not have to wash them.

Love, Erica.

Dear My Cool Friend Fern,

I am sitting in a bathtub without water and brushing my teeth without water and now without hands, and I am remembering when you used to have your office on top of the washing machine in the upstairs bathroom in Saint Henri. A couple months ago, I started to make homemade clay toothpaste because a right bottom molar hurt and I can only afford the dentist in India. The toothpaste is in a jar and looks like a pile of dark brown shit, and an excess of baking soda causes my tongue to burn. This morning I cannot cope with the burning and the brown specks that end up everywhere, and so I am using the last of my Arm and Hammer, and the bristles in my toothbrush go every which way and the pink plastic on the back of the head is coming off since I often stick my toothbrush in my mouth and bite down on it, hard. This morning the crisis centre counsellor said to try and relax and think more positively and maybe try some activities to make me feel good and that she had to hang up, but she wished me a good day. My right knee is kind of swollen which makes it uncomfortable to kneel, and my bathtub is not embarrassing but it could be more immaculate considering that I am becoming an almost famous cleaning lady.

Love, Erica.

Fern wrote back with the suggestion that I set an alarm on my phone five times a day to remind me that nobody is coming to save me. On Thursday, July 26, 2018, five times per day, my phone emphatically reminded me that,

There is no prize.
You don’t need saving.
Fuck most of it.

There is no prize.

The next day was Friday, July 27, 2018, some kind of full moon and lunar eclipse, and I walked five km with a swollen knee all the way to the second floor of the Greyhound Bus Station to see my doctor. On my i-phone, I’d prepared a less emphatic list about my swollen knee, my borderline personality disorder, my lifelong toenail fungus, the occasional hemorrhoid, and the inflamed mole just above my sacrum which could have cancer but is more likely just inflamed due to rolling around on my floor and rubbing coconut oil into it too aggressively.

“Dr. Hamel n’est pas ici aujourd’hui,” said the receptionist.
Turns out I was an entire month too early.  Dr. Hamel was on vacation, like pretty much everyone else in the city, and once again my life proved itself to be one futile endeavour to another. I melted down hard as I hid behind the curtain in the photo booth in the bus station lobby downstairs. Sobbing, I wacked my face over and over again, where last week’s black eye was only just starting to fade.  I did not pay five dollars to take four tiny photos of my tragic and swollen and vaguely bruised face. The photos are digital and in colour, and thus not as charming as they used to be.
Fuck all of it, I thought. Someone can fucking come and save me. I don’t need the Instagram points, or any of the points. 
And I wandered south of the bus station where people and police frolicked in les Jardins Gamelins, and I scanned the scene for some dead beat who might have opioids.
“Où est le fentanyl?” I imagined calling out deliriously. Where the fuck are all the drugs?
Back at the bus station, I stood in front of the Enterprise rent-a-car booth where all the employees also seemed to be on vacation. In fact, I am not an excellent driver. In fact, I am terrible.
"What happened?" asked some middle-aged man, broad and balding and perplexed. "Why a woman so beautiful so sad?"
As though when I am slightly older, and slightly uglier, I will have every reason to be miserable.
My phone rang, and my friend with a regal name and a relatively sane balance between beautiful dreams and wise pragmatism called and invited me over to her semi-fancy loft in the Old Port. Travelling farmers from Airbnb were coming to rent for the weekend. With noticeable vigour, I scrubbed my friend’s dishes and stove top, plus the ledge where all the spice bottles vomit paprika and curry dust. Then my friend with a regal name and a relatively sane balance between beautiful dreams and wise pragmatism took me out for sushi, and she drove me all the way home, and she fucking saved my life.

Dear Sorrowful Simon, (not to be confused with Simon the Hermit who jumped off Le Tadoussac to his death on January 4, 2015)
Last Saturday, after some plans fell through, I walked all the way to Verdun without my phone. My goal was to swim, though I had zero opposition to  dying at any point along the journey. But the more people I passed, couples in particular, the more I didn’t need my lives to be theirs, or my life to be over. I was not suddenly fueled with the will to live, but I had the vague sense that my life was just as dull and just as pleasant as everyone else’s. When I got to Verdun, I swam up the weak rapids and coasted back down three times. Some old couple stood in the middle of the river and yelled back and forth to each other, even though their faces were less than a foot apart.
“Il y a une autre nageuse,” the man exclaimed excitedly.
Out of the water, I walked along the shoreline in my red polyester two-pieced speedo. The bathing suit chafed my inner thighs since despite extensive exercise and frequently flakey lunches, I do not have a thigh gap. Oh well, what the hell. And I climbed up the riverbank, and came upon some strangers’ wedding party where everyone looked hot and overdressed, anxious to get the pictures over with, and possibly also envious of my shoelessness and red bathing suit.  And as I felt the grass beneath my feet, it seemed perfectly valid to take the metro home, and eat a cheeseburger while reading a novel about rich families in New England.
Love, Erica.
And the same red bathing suit crashes a wedding in India.
Arombol Beach, Goa

Dear Vincent,
On my way to see you on Monday, July 30, 2018, a man rushed by me on Beaubien Street, and the man was carrying a sandwich in a plastic triangular box, and it’s possible the sandwich was made with a croissant, but it didn’t not look particularly delicious. To drink, the man had some Gingerale, and as he charged around me on the sidewalk he said,
“Ready to buy a lake house and get out of here.
Work, work, work, work, work, work, work.
I have everything except sanctity.”

Everything except sanctity and a lake house.
Wishing you and all of us, sanctity and a lake house.
Love, Erica.

Dear Tim Ferris,
When I imagine going on your podcast due to some brilliant Oprah Project I finally pulled off, and you ask me, “If you could put anything on a billboard and have millions or even billions of people see it, what would it say?” in fact, I have two answers. In fact, I cannot decide.
The first billboard says,
“Your life is of supreme importance. May you be free of your pain.”
And another one says,
“This is your strange and beautiful life. You can do all sorts of interesting shit. But you don’t have to. Your life does not need to be a spectacular TED talk.”
Sometimes your podcasts make me very tired, but I’d love to see you optimize menstruation.
Love, Erica.

This is your strange and beautiful life.

Dear Vincent,
Last November, soon after my 32nd birthday, I was considering my life goals and potential Oprah Projects, and I wrote this sentence:

Two things I really believe in are
Deep Cleans and Mondays without Vincent.

I always remember this sentence.
Love, Erica.

Interlude from the Self-Mutilating Parrot Family:

The Self-Mutilating Parrot family has guests. Grandmother, Aunt, and the Aunt's daughter, the Blonde Cousin from Australia. Soon it will be the Blonde Cousin’s fifth birthday. Over a breakfast of toast and butter and jam, her mother remarked, wow, that went so fast, and the two of them played a game in the hammock where the Blonde Cousin wrapped herself in the fabric and then emerged out of the crack, as though the hammock were a vagina, or a caesarean incision, and as though the Blonde Cousin were a baby being born. “Mama,” the Blonde Cousin said as she emerged, and her mother said, “You wouldn’t just come out and say that. It took you two years to say Mama. Before that it was always, Dada, Dada, Dada, and I felt so inadequate.”

In case you missed the very old news, the Self-Mutilating Parrot is spending its last days at Oka, and I wish the bird deep sanctity.

Dear Vincent,

What a thrill to run into you on Rue Beaubien, somewhere between St André and St Hubert. You were carrying a paper bag from Jean Coutu, and what a coincidence, I was headed there to, all set to buy deodorant and cinnamon gum so I could carcinogenically freshen up for Butt Club. (For those who wonder, Butt Club equals  a Democratic and sometimes Diplomatic Butt Exercise class in the park, and as fate would have it, it is the most famous poorly attended event I have ever invented, and truly the joy of my life.) Also, I needed to buy rubber gloves for the newest cleaner of my Deep Cleans empire. “Oh,” I said, when I saw you. “I am going there too.” Afterwards, I was rather proud of my very reasonable composure. Kindly, you smiled kindly.  I hope you liked my shirt.

Love, Erica.

It is approximately the one-year anniversary of Mondays without Vincent on the Internet. This is one of my most favourite un-famous things I have ever come up with. Send your emails to Vincent or Erica at the secret address ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com. Your life is of supreme importance. May you be free of your pain. Love, Erica. 

Two things I really believe in are, Deep Cleans and Mondays without Vincent.

Follow Erica J. Schmidt on Facebook

Exuberant Bodhisattva on Facebook
Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go

Bodhisattva Business Ventures:

Deep Cleans by Erica J. Schmidt (@deepcleanswitherica)

Instagram: @deepcleanswitherica

No comments:

Post a Comment