Mermaid and I go on a road trip to the Ventura Flea Market and then to Ojai, both about a 90-minute drive north of Venice Beach. Being of the eco-friendly nature, she drives a hybrid. Being of the collecting treasures kind, said hybrid is already stacked with former flea market finds: fabrics, blankets, baskets, wall hangings, knickknacks, burlap bags, canvas, metal wheel frame, and so on.
“Um, where are you going to put anything else?” I ask her.
“Oh, the trunk is almost empty,” she replies.
I ask her why she’s storing these treasures in the car. She tells me that she’s doing a show in early December, and it’s easier to leave them in the car than to haul them into the house and back out again. So add “efficient” to “eco-friendly.”
Anyway, the other day I’d told her about my adrenal dysfunction “due to years of stress in real estate and then more different stress in leaving real estate.” She throws her hands in the air and says, “Do you want to come with me to see my herbologist? He’s a trip, but he’s good. He knows his stuff.”
Because Mermaid is efficient, we are killing two birds with one road trip —though I don’t believing in killing birds, unless they are fowl, in which case hatchet at ‘em, but only if they were let run free with the wind until they were captured and slaughtered; we’re going to the flea market and then to the mad scientist.
The Ventura Flea Market is filled with all manner of must-haves: antiques, housewares, furniture, knickknacks, crafts, toys (you get the idea) but only a must-have if I had a place to put such pleasurable procurements. Alas, I live in the closet/tent, so the only things I look at are clothes. I could be buying Christmas presents, but the only person I’d buy for here is Mermaid, and it might be hard to hide her gift under her nose. I buy a wool sweater hoodie for Stanimal (real name: Stan), who is our housemate until the end of the year. (More on him shortly. Hopefully, he doesn’t read this and find out what his Christmas present is. Stanimal, if you did read this, act surprised.)
I buy a large bag of Kettle Corn and stuff my face while I wait for Mermaid at the gate. She strides by with a cart full of goodies.
I hop up, “Oh my God, where are you going to put all of that?”
“Trunk. I know. I’m not allowed to go to flea markets for a while. I’ve already taken a load to the car, and I’ve got another one waiting. But they were such a good deal—$20 for all of this!”
“How could you not buy it? Really.”
She trudges back to the car, her blonde curly tresses cascading out from under her trademark market sunhat as I skip along behind, hand in Kettle Corn bag.
“I’d offer to help, but it’s hard to put popcorn in my mouth and hold this massive bag and help. Want some?”
She doesn’t like sweet popcorn. There’s enough popcorn here to feed a small family. I resolve to eat it all myself.
She manages to manoeuvre everything into every orifice of the car and though there’s no visibility and a framed wall hanging protrudes between us, I don’t have to run beside the car to get to our next destination, which is the herbologist in Ojai.
The herbologist, Dr. D, who looks like he should be a Dimitri in his white lab coat and Einstein hair, is a brute of a man. He’s Russian built and Yugoslavian accented. Mermaid is unpacking a bag of groceries and supplement containers on the counter, and I’m sitting and looking around at the compact space devoid of much more than natural health pamphlets.
Dr. D is on the other side of the counter waving a thin, metal wand with wire circle at the end and telling Mermaid about his lawyer and his (lawyer’s) Russian wife who “charges him [her husband] a hundred dollars for a blow job.”
I blink a few times, and he directs the next statement my way, “Oh yes, his wife. She has a fortune by now. The man is crazy about her. Never marry a Russian woman; beautiful, but …” He waves his hands and rolls his eyes dramatically.
Then he’s holding Mermaid’s hand and waving his magic wand over each item she’s brought. He tells her which things she should continue with and which things she shouldn’t and then he says to me, “And you, you need this. The wand tells me.”
I pop up and go to the counter, “What? What do I need?” It’s a magic wand, after all.
“Glucosamine,” he says.
“I have a hip issue,” I tell him. “But I thought it was psychosomatic: fear of moving forward.”
“No,” he says definitively, “it’s soft tissue. Okay, sit.”
I go back and sit down where I was, and then I lean forward to pay more attention and to get a better look at what Mermaid has displayed on the counter.
He tells her which doses, and she gives him a vine giftwrapped chocolate bar. He tests the chocolate bar and says she can have chocolate, and she tells him, “This is for you.”
And I say, “Can I have chocolate?” and his wand says, “Yes.”
“I should check the popcorn,” I say, and Mermaid hands me the car keys.
I run out to the car and grab the bag. I open it and stuff a few mouthfuls in even though he could say I’ll grow a third ear eating this stuff. I’m still going to finish this bag—waste not, want not. I rush back in with the half empty bag and its debris on my bosom. He raises an eyebrow.
But now he’s busy telling Mermaid, “You’re too nice. Men like bitches. You need to learn this. One hundred dollars for a blowjob. His wife.” I’m wondering what part of the conversation I missed.
I add, “We’re giving her homework. To get out of her comfort zone. Flirting—or something.”
Mermaid is laughing because of course this whole affair is ridiculous and yet it all makes so much sense.
When it’s my turn, all I have is what’s left of the bag of popcorn and a guilty grin. “What’s wrong with me, Doc?”
He holds my hand and waves the wand over the popcorn, “Bad for you. Ten max.”
“Ten handfuls?” I ask hopefully.
“I’m eating it anyway.” I’m pretty sure he just wants me to leave the rest of the bag with him.
Then he waves the wand over a diagram of the human spine and jots down notes on the chart. “Thyroid problems.”
“What? How did you do that?” Um, hello, I had blood work done back in Canada that confirmed this.
Next, he goes over a chart of food. “No eggs.”
“Really? I love eggs.” I pout.
“No yolks. You can have the white part.”
“The yolk is the only reason to eat an egg, Doc. That’s the best part.”
But he’s focussed on the chart, “Everything else is okay. Pork, butter, cream. You need more protein.”
A light bulb goes on, “Hey, my blood test said I’m too low in cholesterol.” Go figure.
He nods. “Of course. You like bacon?”
I cock my head to the side in exaggeration, “I could live on bacon!”
“You need cholesterol to make [the hormones] that keep the thyroid healthy.” Well, shit, um, okay.
He tells me, “The age of your hair is 53, it should be 33.”
“And it’s falling out!” I sound enthusiastic, but really I’m just thrilled something makes sense for my follicular failure.
“We need to fix up your hormones.” He prescribes DHEA and Pregnenelone. “But only for one month. Your hair will stop falling.”
He doesn’t sell the stuff, which makes his predictions and prescriptions more fathomable, which is good because I’m highly easy to sell shit to, especially when it comes to keeping my mane. My hair is my thing. It’s the one thing God could really teach me a vanity lesson with. (Dear Lord, please don’t teach me another vanity lesson—[See “Memoir”]—in Jesus’s name. Amen.)
I ask Dr. D, “What about circulation? My feet are cold like 24-7-365.”
He scratches on the prescription pad, “Port.” Then he waves the wand until it tells him the minimum: 1.5 glasses a day (!) and the maximum: 4 glasses a day (!!). I’d sleep all day.
“Woohoo! I like this guy!”
He’s still holding my hand and asks, “How old are you?”
He counts with the wand, “One, two, three, four. You have four years to have children.”
“But what if I don’t want them?”
“Then you have four years to not want them before you can’t have them.”
“Oh.” Suddenly, I’m unsure if I don’t want them, though this could be the old “don’t take my choices away” reverse-psychology thing. I only think of what this really means later on the drive home: (peri-?)menopause. Ugh.
The session is $45 each.
Mermaid gives Dr. D a big hug and says, “We’ll see you in six weeks.”
Off we go, and we’re hardly out the door when I tell Mermaid, “Well, that was worth the price of admission.”
“Oh, he’s a trip, alright.”
When we get home, I Google all the items he’s prescribed for me (minus the Port) prefaced with “natural food sources of.” None of the items can be had either at all or in adequate amounts from food. Damn it. I’m not a supplement fan. I research each item and its uses, and I discover that—indeed—I have all the symptoms (as noted above) plus “low tolerance for alcohol” and “low sex drive”—low sex drive? Oh my God. That is so true. Perhaps it’s been so easy to remain celibate because my body has been in a steady stasis of frigidity—and not just my feet. What the hell is going to happen if I get all horny? And intoxicated? My stance has been no dating, no flings, no friends with benefits, no boinking in any way. It’s been easy not being easy. This has been convenient, if uncomplicated, because I’ve been committed to finishing the editing of my memoir. All I can hope is that these supplements don’t kick in until that task is done.
Which brings me back to Stanimal. The other tenant in the house is Stan. Brand name: Stanimal Pride. This lion is a cub at 25-years young, but what a pretty kitty he is. Stanimal is a fitness model/trainer/morsel-of-delish-dish. He just placed in the Top 3 in the USA Finals in MuscleMania World, Model America, held last week in Las Vegas. He looks like a young Hugh Jackman. He’s also very sweet, smart, centered, committed and loyal (he was with his last girlfriend for 7 years) and speaks four languages. I joke with him, “Why aren’t you 45?” And he laughs, because it is in jest (I’m partial to slightly older men, it’s that take care of me thing), and he has nothing to worry about with this cougar. (He has nothing to worry about, nothing to worry about, nothing to worry …)
What of the other fellows I’ve met? Only a couple stay in contact, the rest have moved on. Will supplements make me more open-minded even if not open-legged? I’m enjoying my freedom and really, when I am ready to bed a man, I imagine myself to be interested in long-term potential, which means going the old-fashioned route of actually getting to know him first.
Mermaid assures me, “You’re in the wrong town for that.”
I assure myself, “I’m okay with that.”
What have I (re)learned?
1. Stress causes lack of sex, from both psychological and physiological indicators.
2. Sex is a stress reliever.
3. This is a vicious cycle, whichever way it’s going.
1. Get Stellas groove back!
2. Pass the pork.
3. Write new dealbreaker/dealmaker list ay-sap before pork effect kicks in.
Quick as ever update: I finished this round of book edits! –Bring on the Port and pork(ing)! (Some restrictions apply.)