Addiction Story #3, Lily of the Valley: I Thought I Could Power Through Work without a Snack

Alice Garbarini Hurley
7 min readFeb 2, 2021

That pregnant pause, full and round — that moment, so familiar, wading in fear and anxiety, first self-taught 39 years ago as a college junior. That impulsive second when I decide I have to soften the real, hard edges of work with a snack before I can take it on, see it through. Here is #3, Lily of the Valley, in my flower-titled sugar addiction series.

I don’t see a snack on the desk of Mary Richards, do you? (“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” originally aired from September 1970 to March 1977. I remember those Saturday nights!)

Darn it all. I thought I could finish that cool article pitch I’ve put off. I finally started writing it this morning. I thought I could click the blue SEND rectangle before noon. But now I can’t, because I am stopping in this moment to understand my eating addiction.

Shortly after 11, I said to Dan, still sporting his navy plaid bathrobe, “Groundhog Day” starting its constant February 2 family loop, I wish I could have a big giant snack now.

He didn’t answer. Not sure he heard me.

IDK why, but soon after I started writing the pitch, I saw a vision of a bright yellow plastic party bowl of chips — a bowl to get lost in, rather than face work. Work is adulting. Work can be hard. Snacking means parties. Fortunately, there were and are no chips (or dip) in the house at the moment.

Even after I got the article idea from a scouting email I’d sent to my sister-in-law, Martha, in Maine, it took me more than a week — almost two — to get around to following her lead and phoning Alicia. She is the girlfriend of Martha’s son, Stuart, and a remarkable young oyster farmer in her own right.

On Friday, I finally removed myself from a writing perch on the green living room sofa and showed up at the desk in my sunroom office, seven steps away, to call and interview Alicia.

See my old, beloved wood desk, a nicked castoff from the Hearst Building, destined for nowhere, given to me one lucky day when I worked there? I love its worn spool legs — oh, how many stockinged legs in pumps must have brushed against them since the 1940s. Note the drawer pulls that look like drop earrings.

I thought I could maybe, possibly, actually take a shower this morning, instead of at 5 p.m. Pull on tights, tie a wrap dress, even add a swingy gold chain, so I could feel mod and stylish…

Alice Garbarini Hurley

Magazine maven, craft coffee lover, legal guardian. Passionate about fashion and lipstick — though it may not look that way when I dash to the supermarket.