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I always know that I’m feeling better when I’m in the mood to “howdy-up.” Howdy-up was a term taught to me by my father during the handful of summers I spent with him and my grandmother in the humid backwoods of Western North Carolina. To “howdy-up,” is to chat someone up, invoke easy, southern conversation about the weather or the ripeness of Georgia peaches, or how nice that breeze when you’re sitting on the porch looking at the Irises bloom with a glass of cold, mint tea in your hand. You can howdy-up anyone, anywhere and it’s considered rude to not arrive to a party in time to howdy-up before dinner.

So today, and yesterday, I found myself howdying-up folks in that easy, southern style given to me by my father. Chase (hubby-slash-love gun) and I went to dinner at the Ginger Rose, a mediocre Japanese/Chinese/Vietnamese fusion restaurant on State Street. It was date night. We were excited to talk. Just talk, like old friends, like lovers,

The Avengers vol. 2, #11 (Sept. 1997), showing...

The Avengers vol. 2, #11 (Sept. 1997), showing the Heroes Reborn Avengers. Cover art by Michael Ryan and Sal Regla. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

like people who weren’t going through a massive vision quest of benzodiazepine detox and the weight it carries. We sat next to some folks who were jaunty, buzzing that happy buzz that pulls you in immediately. We howdy’d-up. We talked about the relative joy of the Lover sushi roll versus the Kiss sushi roll. We talked about the movie The Avengers, which the man had seen seven times and was certain was a parable of our times. We talked about how all the herbs brought into the states are irradiated and how Monsanto wants to rule the world with it’s genetically modified seeds. The man and woman were bright and full of sun and our “howdy-up” was a mutual joy, two streams hitting chat-happy at the same speed.

Today, I howdy’d-up the fiftyish man bagging my food at Harmon’s, a local grocery store. I’d bought Pirate Bootie, two pie crusts and a single, excessively ripe peach. “I’ll put this in the pie crusts,” he said. “We don’t want to bruise that baby.” I smiled. I told him that my son loves peaches and just about any round fruit that he can get his hands on. “Not slices,” I said, “Not cubes or anything peeled. He wants the whole thing and he wants to mash his face into it.” The man smiled, said it was good my son liked fruit. We smiled, looked each other in the eye and nodded as I left. A good “howdy-up.”

All this means that I’m feeling better. I have something to give, which is a delight in the face of this epic benzodiazepine detox that I’m on. I’ll roller coaster through happy “howdy-up” times and times where I curl in, unable to offer a smile or a even a glance. But the howdy-up times are coming more. This is a good sign. I’ll take that humid southern breeze and it’s howdying-up with mint tea anytime. It’s easeful. It’s breezy. And in the face of detoxing off of something that has the potential to shrink your brain, breezy feels mighty nice.