Usually D. brings a spread, Boston lettuce and crackers and summer sausage and two kinds of cheese, grapes, apples. But he sat this one out with his hip, so we all brought our own, J. and his PB&J, T. with a profusion of little plastic containers, P. and a Subway sandwich in a plastic bag, me and the rest of my soup. J. brought cookies made by his daughters and a plastic bin of supplementary store-bought ones. I ate tons of them, my hand going all automatic and hungry.

I ate and read the weekend arts section, amazed to discover J.D. Salinger preferred the Whopper to any other fast food burger, put How I Ended This Summer, an Arctic thriller, on my movie-watching list: a merciless contemplation of the fragile human psyche under siege with a running time of more than two hours, only showing at Lincoln Square? Sign me up!

I washed the breakfast dishes while my chowder reheated in the microwave. It was the first efficiency of the snow day, unless you count reading the paper while simultaneously petting the cat and drinking coffee.

Rushing back from my meeting with S. to heat up the lunch I brought on Tuesday, K. called, I was just assuming for another one of our You there? I’m here. Great. Hi. You’re there. Okay, great. twinversations, but no! News! So I huddled out in the hallway with my phone being all omgzomgomgmg even though I was way hungry from the afternoon’s skewing time. When I finally ate in my cloffice I ate fast, soup from one of these flat plastic dishes, poured out at a corner, done waiting, too famished even to wait for a spoon.

I ate a bowl of chowder standing up in the kitchen, listening to some fast fast fiddle music, wondering how to speed up the part of me that works, the part of my brain that will cannibalize the things that matter if I don’t set it gnawing on some problem or other, been a shadow for months. Gonna just bang this out today, gonna do it right now. Oh, you same old tune how are you. Shake shake. Where’s my reset button? I can so hear my dad talking: It’s easier to do yourself into feeling better than to feel yourself into doing better. True story. Just three pages to go, really.

Hello reheated plastic dish, hello bamboo spoon. Hello Stanley Bostich stapler #B2200, hello Swingline Work Essentials three-hole punch, hand scissors with your brand rubbed off, hello. Hello black plastic desk phone from 1976, hello Iomega backup drive, HP LaserJet 1022, even you, big ol’ Dell monitor, hello. Hello red towel on the back of my door, hello wire bi-level file sorter, hello. Hello little quavery shock, tiny shining awe, hello. Missed you guys, much as I denied it. Hello hello hello.

I sat at the end of the couch again and ate quinoa chowder again and stared at my refrigerator door again. I love this Anne Carson poem, hanging there under a tight silver pin. If that’s what you came for then I didn’t send for you.

I was giddy with the challenge of climbing home from C.’s place, snow drifts standing between me and my front door, it was all so hard, so worth it. I heated up a bowl of chowder and ate and was glad I’d doubled the spinach and cut the water by a cup. Sometimes things take a little shifting around, some trying.

Nothing but the news round these parts today: G. asked me to let her know when I was done using the microwave so she could heat up her lunch; after 3.5 minutes my chowder was hot at the edges but cold in the middle, lukewarm when I stirred it all together; J. called me on the phone and we chit-chatted for a few minutes, the call was dropped; my brain shut like a vault; I took a few minutes to review the notes I made this morning.

You’d think at some point after years and years of every-week-for-45-minutes-on-the-UWS I’d eventually stop making the same mistakes over and over again. Why all this repetition, life! It’s all so predictable: I’ll fail to cut the spinach into small enough pieces that I can eat my quinoa chowder without flailing soup all over myself and my keyboard.