“10,000 knives when all you need is a spoon”

Yes, that was indeed a (cheesy) spoonie reference to Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic” in which she laments, “it’s like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife”.  And yes, I know that I’m dating myself just by making that reference.  But hey–for those of you familiar with the song, wasn’t it a cool reference?  Did you see what I did there?

I mean, I think it’s totally funny (sorry for getting that song stuck in your head, by the way), but then, I’m a little loopy and spent.  Not in a bad way–actually, in a very good way–but I’m still spent.  And it’s been this way for the past three nights running.  At least it’s better tonight than last night!

Speaking of last night, I wrote the following, after getting home from the office…and the grocery store….

It’s early, but I’m home.  My to-do list for the day was a force to be reckoned with, but it wasn’t insurmountable.  And yet, half of it will have to wait until tomorrow.  Or even Thursday, since I will be out of the office tomorrow, which significantly cuts down on what I can accomplish.  But my brain has thrown its hands in the air and said, “that’s it; I’m done.”

And with that, it promptly rolled over onto its back like a fat beetle with its legs wiggling helplessly in the air.

Interestingly enough, my body rhythms don’t match those of my brain.  My body is still going, still working off of the adrenaline and cortisol it has so eagerly produced throughout the day.  My body still feels ready and raring to go.  Go where?  What can my body do without the proper control from my brain?

A whole lotta nothing, that’s what.  Of course, I didn’t realize this, so what do I do?  Why, go grocery shopping with my partner, of course!  What else is there to do?  What could be easier and more mundane to do than that?  It’s an everyday thing, right?  (/sarcasm)


Yeah, well, what I thought would be a simple and straightforward errand turned out to be a nightmare.  Yes, even going into the one grocery store that my system will tolerate.

Ugh.  I’m already frustrated by not having accomplished as much on my to-do list as I had wanted to.  I had tried to push harder, but I lost the ability to think.  First, my higher reasoning left me. I  couldn’t work on my four-month-long take-home exam anymore.  I’m putting the finishing touches on it and I was hoping to submit it by the end of the day today, but I wanted to review it with my partner first, which was a good thing, because with his help, I found a lot of revisions I had to make.  Of course, this drew out the process longer, so it became an arduous task fairly quickly.  And I’m disappointed in my almost-30-pound weight gain, which is a sure sign that my thyroid autoimmunity has probably taken hold, becoming full-blown Hashimoto’s Disease.

So now I’m both frustrated and worried.  Stopping at the grocery store, I hoped, would provide me with an opportunity to make better food choices, at least.  It might even help my brain last longer and be more productive.  And I needed to make the stop tonight, so that I could bring the new food with me tomorrow.  I didn’t want to put it off another day.

Usually, my partner does the grocery shopping, because it gets overwhelming for me.  Tonight, though, I figured I’d better go in with him, because he’d ask me which variety of deli meat I wanted, and I didn’t know what to tell him.  So this was a decision that required my physical presence–as in, in the store.

But I can handle this.  It’s a cool store.  Laid back.  Friendly.  Not busy.  Fairly small and simple, just the kind of place I can deal with and not even feel exhausted afterward.

Yeah…no.  Not tonight.  Not even that cool store; I couldn’t do it.

Going inside, I knew I was on thin cognitive ice, but at first, I was OK.  We would get this over with.  It would be a short trip, a simple project.  We’d go in with a short list of specific items to get, and we’d come out with our purchases in 10 minutes and get home.

It turns out that I didn’t even have 10 minutes in me.  And we were there for longer than 10 minutes.  I pushed myself to at least 20, although I don’t know exactly how long it actually was; it was somewhere in that neighborhood.

I looked for healthy, organic low-carb snacks, drinks, and some meat.  I found them; that’s not the issue.  The problem was, there were too many choices, and not enough choices, all at the same time.  My partner thought he’d make ground beef, spaghetti style.  So we looked for a sauce.

Suddenly, I realized that my ability to make decisions had also gone out the window.  Nothing looked right.  None of the available choices jumped out and said, “pick me!”  My partner kept suggesting different varieties.  Pretty soon, I was ready to simply grab anything, just to get done with shopping and get home, whether or not it was an ideal selection.

My partner kept asking me questions like, “this sauce?”

No.  I’m not sure I trust that brand.  They teamed up with one of the huge conglomerates we’ve been avoiding for the past 15 years, so I didn’t want to give in and support them tonight.  OK, so we can eliminate that row.

“Well, I got this one last time,” he says, picking up another brand.  “But that’s the one I used when you said the meat tasted like it might’ve been starting to turn, so you’ll probably want to make a different choice.”

Yeah, I did.  That meat was too vinegar-y.  But what else to choose??

I mumbled, “I liked what you made last night.”

He said, “oh, that was just leftovers from the night before.”  (And the night before was the instance in which I had thought the meat had started going bad.)

My brain froze.  For Windows users, it’s the all-too-dreaded hour-glass icon; for Mac users, it’s a spinning color-wheel.  “What??”  How could I like and dislike the same dish?

That took my very last cognitive spoon.

I finally said, “fine; get that one.  I gotta get outta here.”

And I made a beeline for the door, leaving my partner holding the basket of groceries at the checkout.

He probably didn’t like it, but he understood.  I simply had the sudden, overwhelming urge to leave.  I had spent my last burst of mental energy.  I’m just half-surprised, half-ashamed that that’s all it took.  Making a decision about spaghetti sauce.  Running that one last seemingly-simple errand on the way home from the office.  And it was only about 6.30-7pm!  We’ve left the office as late as 1.15am before (although extremely rare) and less-rarely at 10.15pm.  So this was practically early yet.

I hung out in the truck, per usual, and he came out with the bag of groceries a few minutes later.  I apologized.  He understood.  I’m pretty sure he’s not fond of various aspects of my brain function, but he understands that that’s the way it is, and luckily, he can take over when I run out of steam and do the things that I can no longer do.

So yeah, sometimes I feel like I’m holding a fistful of useless knives, when all I really want is one more spoon. 🙂


  1. Great post.

    Evening grocery shopping often seems to be the tipping point for me too – maybe if I go out when already hungry, there are so many choices, I may have only partially planned what I need to buy so feel like I need to be inventing meal ideas on the fly. Your description of brain crash over one jar of sauce is spot on! If that happens to me I may stay in the store and take ages, agonising over every choice or feeling confused, or just come home with some very odd items having grabbed a few random things and left in a hurry! (Like the time I did the family food shop and came home with one dinner option and about 6 brands of potato chips/crisps because I couldn’t remember which ones family members liked/make a choice!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! I’ve done that, too 😊 It’s interesting how overwhelming grocery stores can be. I didn’t even consciously realize that until much more recently, either reading someone’s blog or reading someone’s conversation on Facebook or Twitter. Then I had one of those light-bulb realization moments, where something clicked and I said, “a-ha! Yes, me too!” Lol! I love learning from the community; it’s been so much more productive than several years of therapy for me 😊❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. i loved going to restaurants with my gf. and i could usually handle all the stress of it until the very last stretch, when everything was already paid and they were on the way back. id often bolt for the outside and the car “i will be outside, ok? take your time.” sure, i could stay. but i would (almost– im not really a rocker) almost be rocking back and forth at that point, completely stressed. so instead id excuse myself.

    oh boy, did she ever hate that. it was lose-lose situation. stay, and act like prick while stressed out– not having a full-fledged sh**-fest, but constantly venting steam and stress (even quietly) in a way that would surely annoy us both. leave, and she thinks im a prick even though im not there to act like one. funny thing is, it wasnt every single time and though she understood many things, this was just a huge pet peeve for her– me trying to cope with restaurants, after making it through 99% of the thing alright. its not that i didnt enjoy it– it was just quite challenging, particularly towards the last stretch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww, that’s a tough situation when our own self-preservation strategies aren’t fully accepted by the ones who are closest to us. Here’s to brighter skies 💐💞

      Liked by 1 person

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