at last you get to know

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I know the moment you read "gluten free" on a label you automatically assume there's gluten in it anyway. Of course you do. It just means they are not charging you for the gluten in it. Of course. Right? Sure. Of course that's immediately what you think when you read that. Absolutely.

That's what I think when I see that on a box of cookies. First thing.

Back in late February, Tony took me off all grain. Not just wheat. Not just bread grains. Corn, rice, pasta, risotto, all of it, not even a flimsy tortilla to wrap something with. This was drastic. But I lost 17 pounds in just a few weeks, eating nothing but high fat everything. In other words, that was all inflammation. Well, there seems to have been one highly unwanted side effect of doing this extremely healthy diet modification.

Now, whenever I eat any bread, I am barfing my toes up inside two hours. Exactly four times since late February I have found myself too starving to proceed with whatever I'm doing out in the world and grabbed a bite, inclusive of whatever wheat comes with it—once it was just a damn old fashioned doughnut; once it was a cheeseburger; once it was half a ham and cheese on baguette; and once it was toast with my bacon and eggs—and ended up quickly in an epic barfathon until everything remotely considered contents of my stomach had been purged. Loud groaning and panting between hurls. Tears, snot, saliva, gastric juices streaming out my face into the waste basket. I clutch the waste basket to me while on the john because this usually causes my bowels to turn to water at the very same time.

Isn't that alluring? So ladylike.

Even so, when it ebbs long enough for me to get up off the john, I still keep my barf bucket with me because it comes back if any tiny lump or iota is left inside. Prostrate with disbelief, suddenly, on the matter of bulimia, I can no longer believe anyone actually does this on purpose. No. Way.

The rest of the time I'm eating things like hunks of dry salami with cheese on them. Cottage cheese with salsa on it. Spicy soups. Chicken. Steak. Bacon. Yogurt. Gobs of cream cheese and butter thrown in wherever feasible. No stomach upset. Everything goes down and stays down. Any motherfucking wheat and I am swiftly the most wretched old broad in Northern California. Bar none.

So this is not a gluten intolerance. This seems to be about a toxin I'd developed a tolerance for and lost when I stopped eating it long enough. No? Doesn't that sound like the most rational way to think of this situation? If you have a better idea please let me know, but until then I think I'm just going to have to run for potato chips or a candy bar or a quart of milk when I get too starving to press on with my worldly affairs mid-worldly affairs. I think this even means I am going to have to avoid restaurants from now on.

I think they are purposely trying to kill us.


I mean, yes, yes, it would probably all be a lot better if I'd think to eat before I leave the house for parts north or south, but you don't know, you don't have the first part of a clue how completely oblivious my body and brain have always been to the matter of food... until... until it's time to knock down a cow and cut steaks from it on the spot. Tougher customers than you have tried to get me on some sort of schedule for this kind of thing since I was a toddler. Not happening.

I eat when I'm hungry. I don't notice I'm hungry until I'm almost too hungry to do anything about it but cram in whatever's closest. I don't have this problem when I have a man. I worry about his stomach for him, and mine ends up getting taken care of that way too. That is also the only time my brain registers that an alarm has gone off, and what that signifies, in the morning. I will leap out of bed and be making coffee and packing him a lunch before I even know I'm outta bed. As soon as he drives off, I drop.

I think my mother programmed this behavior into my synapses when I was a baby. That's the only reasonable scenario, because I, no kidding, not even exaggerating an iota, almost never even realize the alarm is going off as I somehow extinguish the noise. Rarely I will remember my brain registering the fact that it was the alarm going off, but as it was happening I was completely confused about why that should be happening—no idea what an alarm would be doing ringing—sometimes not even knowing what an alarm clock is—and am back sound asleep with my finger between the clapper and the bell before another thought can bounce off the inside of my skull.

For however hard/impossible it is to get me asleep, it's mega-worse waking me up. Almost every day of my entire life my brain was not fully kicked into gear for a good two hours after I'd technically gotten up. Many days it's four hours. I'm this bumbling thing. Not as horrifically dangerous a klutz as BB2, but damn entertaining anyway. 86 loved to stop back home after he'd gotten all his crews going, bring me some coffee and watch me bumping into walls and stumbling all over my words. See, all that fixing him a lunch bag and bringing him his coffee while he was doing his morning ablutions earlier was just me functioning in my sleep. He knew to just smile and make sweet noises to me because if he said anything it got me mixed up. If he needed to say anything serious to me, it had to wait until after he'd gotten the crews going and come back to get me going.

I'd left a lot of boyfriends for bad behavior in the morning. No springing out of bed to greet the day. No liveliness. No even remotely negative gesture, let alone words. Love is totally jake. Softness. Murmurs. No Type A'n' out on me. It's not pretty when they fuck up. It makes me cry. It makes the world come to an end. After my brain is back in gear is plenty soon enough for any of that.

But by myself, I don't know any of this eating and sleeping and bodily functioning stuff at all until the signals are so loud they might scare the neighbors. When I'm concentrating on my writing or something I'm studying, really wrapped up in something, I don't even know I have to pee until I am almost wetting myself... yelling, running down the hall toward the toilet while I'm pulling down my pants.

Basically, I'm trying to say my brain is not wired to my body the way most people's are. It's almost like an alien invader slipped in through my ear before my mother even got me home from the hospital.

And, now, I guess we have to add barfing from wheat poisoning to this appalling litany of freaky shit.