It's like this. I know without question that I'll feel instantly better if I go out, but the effort to actually leave the house seems overwhelming. Generally, I don't overcome it. Generally, I stay inside in my freezing apartment wearing whatever I slept in, mired in loneliness, watching as carefree groups of people walk by, coatless, on what is literally the sunny side of the street. The side I don't live on. I am always more cheerful when it gets dark, but by then the weekend is wasted.
Sundays are my nemesis.
Today, I triumphed. After several hours of internal negotiation, to wit:
Go buy the pears.
I'll do it later.
Go buy the pears.
It doesn't matter. I don't even want to go to the potluck.
Seriously. Go buy the pears.
I actually do.
I take a shower. I put on clothes with identifiable structure. I walk to the store on the sunny side of the street. It is at least 75 degrees out, but it takes me two blocks to be warm enough to take off my down jacket. I am a lizard person; the north-facing apartment was an error in judgement. By the time I reach Whole Foods, only four blocks from home, I feel like a normal person. It is that easy. It is also that difficult.
I stand in the arctic chill of the produce section, happy again to have the jacket, and cautiously sample a sliver of a bright yellow apple. I distrust yellow apples, associating them with the mealy disappointment of the inaccurately named Golden Delicious, but this one, fresh from some new genetic experiment, it is better than I expected, cold and crisp and sweet. I put four in my basket. 80s nostalgia music is playing over the speakers. It is designed to appeal to my exact demographic, white, middle-aged mother of two doing the week's shopping, though I am single and buying only fruit, had I made other choices that would, perhaps, be me. Which is to say, at least they got the age right.
On the other side of the apple tower, adjacent to the bundled herbs, two boys wait for their father in a shopping cart. One of them is in the seat, the other in the cart itself. They are school-aged, very nearly too big to fit at all. There will be very little room for groceries. The older one in the cart already has a lapful of vegetables. The younger one, legs dangling from the seat, is singing along. "Our house. In the middle of our street..." He is inaudible to me, but his mouth is forming the words unmistakably. He is about five years old. And though there are many obvious and banal reasons for him to know this song, it strikes me in that moment as astonishing that a boy born in 2011 would casually join in on the chorus of a song written when I was twelve. I am entirely delighted.
The Comice pears I came to buy are on sale for just a dollar a pound. I need two. I choose five.
Just leave the house.
You need only leave the house.