I was gnawing my way through a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos last night, when my hand closed around something that wasn't right at all. I pulled my cheese-covered appendage from the depths of the bag, and what was lying in my palm but a rectangular, thumb-sized chunk of concentrated nacho cheeseyness. I hold in my hands something worth more than gold-I hold the power to turn mere water into savory, nacho-y soup of the Gods! I can rub the cheese hunk onto the other chips to impart more sacred cheese powder onto their bumpy tortilla flesh! I can run down the street, showing it to strangers! Or, I could call corporate and tell them that an unprocessed lump of cheese powder hindered my enjoyment of the Doritos, for I'd simply become too excited to eat any more of them, and get a free bag. Hmmmm...Nah, they'd probably want me to send in the cheese hunk, but I've got it vacuum sealed for posterity. I might make it part of the unruly collection on my computer desk, next to the Star Trek stuff. It would be cool to do sidewalk-chalk drawings, yes, out of nacho cheese. Feed the birds and all that. Do birds like nacho cheese? Tell me, ladies and gentlemen, what would you do if you had your own personal cheese hunk?
Ah well, on to business. With all this weird weather and global warming and kudzu, I knew it would happen one day. Johnson City has been invaded by Triffids. They're all over town; there's even one sprouting up in my back yard. I'll get a picture for proof soon, but they're spreading, and I don't know how long they'll wait until they strike. Too bad I don't have a marine biologist around, or we might just survive the onslaught (a high five for anyone who gets the reference!). I wish we could have been invaded by something a little cooler...does that sound vain? I mean, as Twilight Zone as this place is, why couldn't we have gotten aliens or big subterranean worms or even killer bees? We got Triffids. What do they do? They wiggle for a bit, make strange ferret sounds, trip people or tie them with vines, and shoot poison dart thorn thingies. Well, I guess that is pretty cool. I wish I shot poison dart thorn thingies, but I don't, and that is one of the banes of my existence. Oh, and they do hold the power of allergens. What wheezy, hay-feverish scallywag could be immune to Triffid pollen? No one, that's who. I get itchy thinking about it. Space hives...cool.
These are the things that keep me up at night. I can’t help but let my mind wander. I worry about the oddest things. Like the other night, I was asking myself if I'd like to go get more milk at 3:30am. Couldn’t I live without milk for another 6 or 7 hours? Or was it simply for my peace of mind, knowing that there will be milk in the fridge when I stumble through the house to make my coffee? This triggered a whole onslaught: Can I use the soymilk? Yes, but that's mainly for use in things; not as a beverage unto itself, though a glass of soymilk can be enjoyable sometimes. It's darn good in tea. Who am I trying to convince? I want some bumper stickers. Should I brew some tea? Why is it so cold in here?? Where is the stepstool? Who put the bomp in the bomp shoo bomp shoo bomp? Will I ever get done unpacking? Who moved my cheese? Where is the phone? How much change is in my mug? What should I have for dinner tomorrow? What was that noise? Ahh! A triffid!
What truly gets me late at night, though, are memories, like the one about my favorite Ninja Turtle, Raphael. I got to meet him after I had my appendix taken out. It's actually a heart-wrenching story; I had to have an emergency appendectomy, and before that I had had my heart set on meeting him at Wal-Mart; I had it scribbled on my little calendar, and I had a countdown going with my parents. I got released on the day, and mom and dad went ahead and took me, not realizing the enormity of the occasion. I was in a lot of pain, and my staples were really bothering me, so it was uncomfortable for me to stand and walk. We get there, and the line is almost out the door. At that point, I collapsed onto a stack of 25-lb bags of dog food, and began to weep. Not in the wahh I can't get what I want way, but in the heartbroken little girl way, because I knew I couldn't stand in that line, and I wouldn't get to meet one of my heroes. My parents felt bad, through my tears I heard my dad say to my mom, "we shouldn't have brought her," and mom agreed; and that made me cry harder. One of Raphael's bodyguards saw me, and came over and asked my parents what was wrong. All I could do was show her my well-loved Raphael TMNT trading card, and cry. Mom and dad explained my situation, and she told us to hang on a minute. Then, a Wal-Mart manager and two more bodyguards came over, and escorted me over to the ropes. I saw him. Raphael. Big as life, and every bit as cool as I ever could imagine. The bodyguards picked me up and lifted me over the barrier. I was trembling and excited; tear streaked, and he turned to me, and waved that glorious green three fingered hand. I shyly held out my card, and he signed it and gave it back to me. He hugged me gently, and the bodyguards picked me back up and the manager escorted us out. My parents thanking him the whole way. I hugged him at the door, and thanked him very much. I still have that card, it's in a zip lock baggie in my shoebox of not-so-secret stuff. I get it out every now and again and look at it, and smile at the kindness of strangers, and men in foam turtle shells and green tights.