Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Catching up, yeah, sorry 'bout that.

Yikes, has it been a month?

Well, I'm glad to say I'm still on my trend of "being less psycho." I just got off the phone with that ol' bag from the transmission shop and I was nice even though I wanted to have a little fit. Seriously, I've come to expect the whole "needing to talk to a guy" from the old jerks who don't know any better, but this is a woman (supposedly) running a damn transmission shop... Anyway... I was decent about it and didn't say "Bitchy ol' crow" 'til after I hung up the phone.

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Clay and I had a great weekend with a borrowed Ford; some cars "got soul," this car "has a soul." The Thunderbird knows me by my Indian name, "Flirts With Old Dudes." For all those years my folks were not about to let me drive that car, I was stunned when Jerry told me to "come on out and pick it up." Stunned, I tell ya; I could've just planted a big ol' smooch on him... I took the Limo out there Friday after work to make the switch and I can't help but wonder if Jerry has any idea just how much he blessed my little heart by trusting me with the Thunderbird, by not worrying about it, by just squeezin' my shoulder and tellin' me to "go have fun."

We took it to dinner (at The Minuteman, where we could park it right by the door) Friday night, more fun with that later... I followed the Hearse to the Mounds Car Show on Saturday where The T-Bird won a nice little trophy for third in the class. I know there might be some folks who'd be disappointed with a third, but hey, I'm talkin' about a car that My Dad always said was "just not a show-quality car." The Fall Duck-Nic was also great fun, and even though I'd hoped for more sunshine, I did get some great pictures and I was really glad my folks stopped by to see us too!

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I'm typing at work, if ya didn't already know.

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That crow from the transmission shop just called back again and wanted to know "if any of the guys were back in here yet." Once I finally managed to convince her that I was still by myself, it turned out she wanted to know where to find parts that she already knew we didn't have anyway.

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It's not that I'm a horrible bitch, I can be decent to almost anybody, I'm just not putting forth the effort to be friendly to people who aren't friendly back. Sorry.

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Back a few years, before I was writing here, I had an interesting experience at "The Dirty W@l-Mart." (That's what we've come to call the one at Admiral & Memorial, because it always has a strange smell.) I think it was around 2003 or 2004, I remember having margarita mixer and grenadine in my shopping cart, so I'm sure I was getting ready for a Speedway awards banquet of some type. I stepped around the end of an aisle and felt something a half a second before I locked eyes with Andy, my highschool boyfriend and prom date. I have no idea how to put it into words, other than I felt something, felt him before I saw him. I had a friend around that time who claimed that was "demon involvement," but then again, that friend also said I was a "dirty liberal" because I listen to "so much NPR," so whatever. I think it was emotional involvement; I was eighteen when Andy and I split, and eighteen-year-old-me was probably a freakin' psycho, 'cause she just didn't take it well. Late-twenties-me was less crazy and more glad to see a familiar face from the past, and kind enough not to pick on him for buying bacon and tampons.

Andy and I, as adults who got back in touch in the middle of The Dirty W@l-Mart, are pretty good friends now who can talk about everything from cars and music to dating and emotions; good friends who know that each of us lives in a different world when it comes to relationships, and that's alright for each of us. Each of us cares about what happens to the other, but we both know that we'd probably never make it if we tried to "be together."

That's not "Demon Involvement."

Now, as for what I felt Friday Night at the pizza place, well, I'm still up in the air about that.

Running into people from your past can be so odd, and it's not always like the night that guy I used to know cornered me under the pressbox and threatened to kill me... A time or two in Skiatook, I've locked eyes and exchanged smiles with a girl I'm just sure sat beside me in art class in junior high; just sure, but just not sure enough to be sure it's her, and neither one of us ever managed to say anything, it was always just a fast little "silent hi" kinda smile, so I'm still not sure if it was really her or not. I swapped that kind of smile with a waitress in a little diner one night and she came back over to ask if she knew me from somewhere; sure enough, I used to go to church with her and her sister.

Because it's never good to engage people who look angry, I try not to just let myself slouch into that look of hostility that sometimes seems to sneak in alongside generalized boredom. I try to always be ready to at least look inquisitively into the eyes of others; I figure that if I can't muster "instantly friendly," I can at least avoid "instantly hostile." It's probably sick how much I worry about that -- like the night I ran into Stacey at the hockey game; I spotted her as my eyes drifted through the crowd right when I was about to nod off -- boy, was I ever glad I got to talk to her so I could tell her just how bored I was and that I was glad she woke me up.

I know that I couldn't have looked bored or angry or hostile at that moment, because I'd just pulled the first slice of pizza onto my plate and was about to stick my fork into the first bite of cheesy, meaty, magical goodness. Mmmmm, the "Hall Of Fame," Pepperoni, Salami, Polish Sausage, and Bacon -- it ordinarily comes with Jalapeno Peppers too, but we order it without 'em, and add on Canadian Bacon instead. The Minuteman does not use a timed conveyor belt like lots of pizza places do, they use a real oven and keep an eye on each pizza, cutting the edges in and popping the bubbles out of the crust until it looks just perfect to take out and slice. It is perfect, The Minuteman makes the perfect pizza every time, and we're to the point that we just don't eat pizza from anywhere else unless we're just too sick or tired to leave the house.

When I met her eyes, I'm sure I ended up with something between "inquisitive" and "blank stare" just due to the conflict between being calm and happy and the fiery flash of a million emotions and little pains coming back to me all at once.

Sittin' in the greatest pizza place I know of, about to take a bite of an awesome pizza, with the second coolest car my folks ever sold off parked right by the door, with the keys in my purse, you can bet I was a happy girl; but...

In that moment, I figured out how to put "that feeling" into words. When I "felt" Andy before I saw him, it was a surprise like when the doorbell rings unexpectedly (with the living room perfectly neat and the bathroom completely spotless). What I felt when I locked eyes with Dave's sister was like the feeling of having someone straighten out an old metal coat hanger, heat it over a campfire, and shoot it through me like an arrow, diagonally from one collarbone to the other hip.

She didn't recognize me. Not even second look. Not a clue.

It's probably best that she didn't try to talk to me; if she'd tried to feign friendly with me, I might've caused a scene.

Seven years, four months, and a few days since I last kissed her brother and listened to him drive off down the hill. Seven years, four months, and a few days since I fought rush-hour traffic to get to where he was, or where his body was...

Seven years, four months, and a few less days since I got tired of saying "not yet," so I stood up for myself and said "no."

Seven years and a few months or so since I learned the hard way that "We want to help you" didn't mean help with bills or someone to talk to; but something more like "We're waiting to get our hands on some stuff."

But I'm not going into that here, and it's probably a good thing I didn't end up going into it in the middle of the pizza place.

Boy am I ever thankful for how far I've come in seven years or so, thankful for Love, thankful for kindness, thankful for real friends who couldn't put a dollar amount on a friendship if they tried...

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