"Pedicure Skin Take-Out"
Koala, uninvited, sat down across from me. "You do know," he said as he ordered a creamy pineapple smoothie, "that this process upon which we've embarked is all about the emotional journey, not just the physical one." Uh-huh, I thought, easy for him to say since he'd finished the fast days earlier and was indulging himself in all sorts of things, like the decadent creamy pineapple smoothie that he began to loudly slurp in front of me. I'd ordered a wheat grass juice what seemed like an hour ago, and the waitstaff were doing their best to ignore my pleas to just BRING the juice to ME. "Ex-cuse me, Helen Keller," I said to the world's most inattentive staff, "can I please have my one ounce of lawn product before I go to my yoga session?" Not quite sated, not at all, I again made the Herculean effort of 90 minutes of yoga. And meditation.
In a sullen mood, I went for a long walk on the beach. I passed rotting washed-up seaweed that I considered wolfing, dogs that I imagined grilled, and finally a wrinkled old Thai local. I was delicately negotiating a creaky, soft, and dangerously supple wooden bridge when he decided to strike up a conversation. "Look!!" he said in as much English as he evidently knew. "Look!" he said again, and then a third time. Avoiding the pothole in the middle of (loose definition of) the footbridge, I looked in the direction he was pointing. Sure enough, the gestures he was making of giant jaws opening and clamping shut made sense: there were crocodiles in this fetid little pond extending from the sea. "Dear God, " I repeated over and over, quite sincerely mind you, "dear God." The little wrinkled man continued to chat, incessantly I might add, and in Thai (which I clearly don't understand) while I very gingerly stepped on boards that bent with every new step I took. The family of crocs looked on, with interest, it seemed; they appeared to be as hungry as I was. A wave of relief washed over me as I successfully crossed the bridge back to the beach and the ocean.
As it was time for my scheduled psyllium-bentonite-clay drink, I headed back to the restaurant of the resort. A sign along the way was advertising "Pedicure Skin Take-Out"; I shuddered at the thought. Skin take-out just did not sound appealing, regardless the intention of the advertisement and regardless my appetite. Back at the ranch, and still in a foul mood, I received my mug of gruel while the other fasters ooh-ed and ahh-ed over a resident cat. If you're familiar with how I feel about cats and if you combine my hunger-induced irritation, you'll perhaps understand my next comment. To stir things up at this predominantly Buddhist resort, I shooed the kitty away, knowing it would bring alarm to everyone around me. "What, you don't like cats?" said an English woman. "Of course I do," I said as if on cue, and I paused for effect, "but I like them better with ketchup." Angry and presumably deeply hurt, she walked off.
I sat alone on the beach (this was an act of servitude, believe me) and continued to read "1984", which really didn't help my mood. In the early chapters, the main character goes on and on and on about "runny pinkish meat stew" that he is forced to eat. Oh yeah? Forced? To me, that runny proletariat-served pinkish stew had two things going for it: one, it was not a psyllium-clay-bentonite drink, and two, it was served in a timely manner.
I am now half-finished with my seven-day fast. Although I am promised that "day four is a breakthrough in your energy levels and your consciousness," I am thinking of literally nothing other than the cross-section of a medium-rare cheeseburger, topped with cheddar and a thick slab of bacon. The bun would be grilled with garlic butter, the waitstaff would bring me extra bacon. Would anyone like to join me at Chumley's the very INSTANT that I return?