Kicking the Habit

I just returned from a jaunt round to my local shop to buy essential supplies.  By “essential supplies”, I mean of course coke.  No, I’m not talking about some clandestine meet by the baked goods section where I pay some dude for a bag of something I shouldn’t.  I’m talking about the liquid stuff.  My name is Jodie, and I’m a coke-aholic. 

One thing I always have in my fridge is coke.  It may be bare of all else, but there will always be a bottle of the hard stuff.  Today, I bought two bottles of Pepsi Max, on offer two for £2.50.  Diet Coke was on offer too; two for £3.00.  So  I saved myself 50p.  Every penny counts when you have very little. 

I arrived home, poured myself a glass (well, half a glass.  I’ll pour more when it’s chilled).  Then I laughed at myself.  I’d walked to the shop, probably only a three-minute walk from my house, and bought drink.  On the table at home was the shopping list I’d made earlier: bread, cheese, beans, red onion, peppers, Quorn (I’m not a veggie, it’s just cheaper than chicken), sausage, bacon, pasta, pasta sauce, tomato puree, soy sauce and Branston fruity sauce (I had it at a friend’s the other day and it’s yummy).  So here I was with something to drink, but the prospect of what to have for dinner lay ahead of me, my stomach rumbling at the thought of food. 

I have lost count of the times I’ve walked to the shop and returned with coke, maybe milk, usually chocolate.  But little in the way of proper food.  As Roz, Frasier’s producer in the hit TV show, said about her impending unplanned pregnancy, “Milk is a staple.  I let a staple go bad.  Good mothers don’t let staples go bad!”

I could just as easily say, “Food is a staple.  I don’t buy staples.  Good mothers buy staples for their kids!”  I am of child-bearing age (or possibly even heading towards the end of my child-bearing abilities) but how could I expect to look after someone else when I can barely take care of myself?  I mean, I make sure I have coke when I need it.  So I guess when a baby needed milk I’d could manage to make sure it didn’t go thirsty. 

Before you guys start to get worried, I’m not having a baby.  I’m just theorising.  At a time in my life when my friends have kids, are thinking about having more, my brother, Baz and his girlfriend, Emma are having their first, I am nowhere near the right time in my life to have children.  One of my friends recently told me she’d capped her age limit for a second child at 36 (she’s 34).  I’ll be 34 exactly 5 months today.  Doesn’t leave much time for having one baby, let alone any more. 

I know it’s acceptable for women to have babies into their 40s these days, especially when they’ve been working towards a career, or been trying for a long time.  It’s far less acceptable, although it does happen, for women to have babies in one hand, and a Zimmer frame in the other.  We all remember the woman from a few years ago, a child psychologist of all things, who with her slightly younger husband of 60 years, had a baby at the age of 62.  At a time when they should have been sailing around the world on cruises and entering their garden into the village’s Best Garden competition (sorry, am I being stereotypical?) they decided to travel to the Soviet Union for fertility treatment.  They believed they were doing nothing wrong; they were both fit and healthy and were confident they could meet the child’s needs, including having younger friends to act as surrogates should something happen to them.  Interestingly I couldn’t find out on Google how young JJ, who would be six years old now, and his 68-year-old mother and 66-year-old father are doing. 

At my current age of 33, I’m lucky to be blessed with a near-silent biological clock.  I know it’s always there, but I can barely hear it ticking.  Maybe because my mind has actually done something sensible for once and accepted the fact that there is currently no way for me to have a baby, therefore it’s keeping quiet, giving me time to focus on other things, like a career (or in fact, what the hell to do with my life).  For this I am grateful.  I am desperate to be loved, I admit that, but I’m not desperate for a child, like other single women my age, although I definitely want to be a mother, one day, when the time is right. 

So back to the Coke addiction.  When I’m doing something in life that perhaps I shouldn’t be, I tend to justify it by saying it could be a hell of a lot worse.  Like when I moved to London just after turning 19 (“I could have been a gymslip mum”) or when I bought a car on HP with my boyfriend two months after we met (“I could be a druggie you know”).  So I know it’s bad to drink so much of the stuff, but it could be cigarettes, drugs, alcohol…

As for the not-buying-sensible-food-at-the-shop, I’m actually managing to not spend much money and I’m living on a diet of what-can-I-use-up-out-of-the-fridge/cupboard.  Tonight it will be rice, with red onion, Chinese Winter Mushrooms and some leftover chunks of sausage from yesterday’s pesto, sausage & bacon pasta.  So see, I am doing something right.  I can cook for myself.  Almost every lunchtime and every dinner time I’ll either stir fry or cook pasta.  Note I didn’t say freezer above; I have nothing in there apart from frozen bread.  At least when I do have kids, they’ll grow up on rice and stir fries more than fish fingers and oven chips.  Maybe it’ll take having kids for me to give up the fizzy, the way some people can only quit smoking when their first child comes along.  For now, it’s the only dependence I have, with the exception of buying cheap, second-hand books.  I guess time will tell what long-term (if any, I hope) affects I’ll suffer from it, but for now, I’ll be grateful that I’m not throwing my money, and my life, down the drain of substance abuse.  For me, and my future offspring.

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