CHEAP EATS There's this thing in sports and therefore maybe life where you're supposed to "act like you've been there before." But how are you supposed to act like you've been there before if you've never been there? What if every single thing is news to you?
You strike out the big hitter, score a touchdown. Or let's say you're not into sports, so you, I don't know, close the deal, or achieve the ... thing. What do people do in life? Or what do you do if you're me and the whole world is suddenly one big end zone? How am I supposed to not jump around and make a fool of myself, for example, while buying my first bra? At the tender age of 43.
Act like you've been here before, said the voice in my head. I'd never been to San Mateo, let alone Lula Lu Petite Lingerie shop.
"Do you know what size you are?" asked a voice outside my head. The only other customer had left and my tiny friend Sockywonk, the famous Godzilla artist, was already in the other fitting room, trying stuff on, so finally our friendly salesgirlperson could turn her attention to me.
I peed my pants.
Unfazed, Ms. Lula Lu whipped out her cloth tape measure. "Hold your arms out like this," she said, making like an airplane.
I asked if I could do Superman instead because airplanes wig me out.
"Like this," she said. The airplane. I closed my eyes and tried to think of it as doing Jesus, and that was a little better. Jesus being fitted for a bra ... eerie look on His face, like He knows what's being foreshadowed, oh shit.
Forty inches, that's the circumference of My chest. The cup size, well, I don't think there are enough As in the alphabet to describe my cup size. But I do have boobs, I swear.
And so does Sockywonk, and they're beautiful, I've seen them. She can't keep her hands off them, not even in restaurants. I don't blame her.
Chemo starts tomorrow, and then, down the road, she loses one. She told me over noodles at Pho Little Saigon 3, across the street, that she's not going to go for no chest reconstruction surgery. So this bra she's deciding on in the next fitting room might be the last nonmastectomy one she ever buys.
The food was great! For some crazy reason it was Sockywonk's first time eating Vietnamese. Barbecued chicken over rice vermicelli ($5.95) and a seafood combo soup with egg noodles ($5.95). We shared and slurped and swirled and it was my way of returning the favor, firstswise. Lula Lu being her idea.
Pho Little Saigon 3. You can't miss it. It's the only place in San Mateo that isn't a sushi place.
When Sockywonk first found out about the cancer was around when I found out I was a witch, so naturally I promised to use all my spells and powers on her behalf, which means basically that I will write like I write and try to make her laugh and want to eat food. Those are my powers, and I think she might need them because chemo ain't funny, or appetizing.
I love all my friends, and they're just going to have to get used to that. But I feel like I have extra chambers in my heart right now for Sockywonk, and not just because she wanted to take me bra shopping after coming down with breast cancer. And not just because she's a freaky and freakin' amazing painter of monsterish beauty. And not just because she showed me her boobs, either, although of course that helped. It's all of the above, plus she invited me last summer to that rooftop paella party I wrote about, which kind of kick-started me socially at a time when I needed a kick.
I met some of my other new friends, like Orange Pop 2, on that same roof, and these are Sockywonk's people and they're lively, weird, rockingly good-cooking folks. And she knows but I want her cancer to know too that it ain't just chemo: we're all coming after it with everything we've got. And I don't mean good vibes and health food, either.
I mean, yeah, good vibes and health food — but I also mean beers and guitar solos and horn sections. Fresh eggs. Funky restaurant reviews.