To oil the hinges,
Or to fix
The window panes…”
“Looks like you’ve got a bit of a project going on?” It was the neighbor I talk to. I still don’t know his name after fifteen years.
“Yes we do! I managed to pull off a miracle, and we are getting some much-needed home repair.”
“You guys are buying? The folks before you were renting, and they were a nice old couple, Russians, but they shared a connection with the house next to yours, and two or three times a week there would be cops or ambulances out front. One night one tried to run the other over with his car…”
I was risking running late for work, but I put groceries down and chatted for a bit. After fifteen years, I might as well be neighborly…
“You’d think they would have stayed in school long enough to be able to read the instructions on their clothing labels. Hat placement befuddles, and he just can’t figure out WHERE THE PANTS ARE SUPPOSED TO GO!”
I was referring to the group of ne’er-do-wells rolling past the front of the Waterfront Store. My trainee giggled.”Aah, they must be The Biebers.”
Ten years ago today I went on my first and only Craigslist date.
For the longest time we told the kids we “met at the mall.” Which is true, but we met at the mall after lonely hearts ads were answered on CL. May Day was full of protest; crowds marched the streets, the black-hooded dingleberries played on the freeway, people were maced, I believe. I didn’t know and didn’t care. My new friend and I were looking for a safe-feeling place to get to know each other. We cared not what the rest of the world was up to. Make love, not war! was the theme of the day.
That tryst turned into one of the most intense relationships of my life. I’ve never cried harder than when I was told it was ending, though ending the relationship was the right thing to do. I grew up a lot during that relationship, and I hope someday I can share that level of intimacy with someone else. I’ve considered her one of the true great loves of my life. You know who you are.
This was brought back with such force in part because of TriMet. They rerouted the #15 NW 23rd Ave bus, it temporarily stops where I get off downtown. As I headed to the Flower Shop, I saw the #15 and hopped on. I was curious.
“Have you been on this route long?” I asked the driver.
“About three days.”
“Is there still a market behind Montgomery Park?”
“I don’t recall seeing one.”
“Next to the car wash?”
He remained quiet, so I decided to ride along and see for myself.
“Can I have a cup of water?” She was 22. I would find out later when looking up her mugshot.
“No,” said Festus. He was the lunch person, and had been having a rough couple hours.
“I’ll show you my boobs for a cup of ice water.” She smiled at me.
“Go get a cup of water.” I shot a look at Festus that said, “I’ll handle this one…”
“Thank you!” She went to the soda fountain, asked which cup, etc… Festus went over in an attempt to be civil and pointed to the cups and water dispenser. She took the cup and went over by the door, talking to herself. She danced around, talking colorful nonsense. Customers came and went, giving her wary glances.
Festus left, and she smiled at me. “Can I have a muffin? I’ll show you my muffin for a muffin?” She leaned back against the Dasani cooler and lifted her shirt, pulled her sweats out, exposing a neatly trimmed bush. She pulled her vulva to and fro, covering up when a young woman entered the store.
There was a bag of Little Debbie’s donuts, expired by a month. I popped it open and bit into one. It was as fresh as brand new. (How do they do that?) “Would you like a donut?” I handed her the bag. She accepted, and it was gone in five minutes.
She made eyes with me, smiling, flirting. She explained how she arrived from California a few days ago, and her friends had ditched her in Gresham, and somehow she had ended up in downtown Portland without shoes. “Do you sell shoes? Socks?”
She removed the wet socks. Her sweatpants were wet to the knees, so she took those off as well, leaving a skirt-like garment that resembled the loincloth worn by Ron Ely’s Tarzan. She flitted and danced some more. I was drawing a crowd of homeless guys standing outside the store, watching through the window.
Eventually she put her pants on and got on the MAX. As she was leaving, she kissed me on the lips and thanked me for putting up with her, and for the donuts.
I tucked another $2 into her shirt pocket. “You still haven’t shown me your boobs,” I reminded her.
“Oh!” She unbuttoned her shirt, cupped one breast, then the other.
As she lifted her shirt, Little Buddy walked in. “Oh my heavens!” he exclaimed and turned to leave. “I see you’re busy.”
“Not any more,” I said as she ran to board the MAX. She blew kisses and smiles as the train pulled out and turned around the bend.
A $2 bag of Little Debbie’s donuts is one of the store’s best values. Some days more than others.
They say your favorite type of music is what you were listening to the first time you got high or got laid. If that were the case, I’d be all Beatles and all Supertramp, all the time. (Hi, Fido!) Since I didn’t get high on a regular basis until about seventeen, I had room to grow, musically and otherwise.I was an atypical ’70s teenager. With the exception of a couple songs, I hated Ted Nugent, and disliked Led Zeppelin until Physical Graffiti came out. I preferred The Rolling Stones to The Beatles, and Wings over both. Once I heard Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd, I veered in the direction of heavy metal and space rock. I listened to more Steely Dan than any of them.
But I also had an affinity for 1970s soul music…
This week’s mantra: I love my job. I love my job…With the change of seasons and spring in the air, so comes the twists and turmoil of workplace blues. I think I will do a bit of ponderous bitching, so’s I don’t take it out on you, the customer.
Because these turmoils come from within.
Festus got rehired, fired, and rehired, all over the weekend. We did not get to that point without lots of drama and some hurt feelings. I am over being butt-hurt, but I haven’t stopped bitching yet…
I had three days off last weekend, in which time almost all of the women in my life ignored me. Coincidence? I think not! It was a grand conspiracy to keep me from two of life’s favorite things.
Or maybe not.
I tried calling Meg after finishing laundry Friday morning. Get the responsibilities out of the way, so the fun can begin. Starting early, I was at the laundromat by 10 AM. Had the joint to myself, in more ways than one, and finished about 1 PM. I sat in my chair for a second, and awoke at 2:45. Shit, I must hurry if I want to get Meg’s errands ran by 4 PM. I called, but she didn’t answer. I tried two more times. Oh well. Maybe she fell asleep.
I’d been spending time with Stevie, mostly when her son was at school. We all got along great; her son loved when I brought Angel over for a puff and a laugh. I envied his experiencing puberty living in a downtown apartment, explaining to Stevie that country raised Jesus-freaks are just as susceptible to life’s misfortunes as street rats from the urban core, while typically growing up with a more open mind.
This was subject to debate, as was most everything with Stevie.
If this were autumn, we’d be calling the weather Indian Summer, so I guess we’re on the cusp of Cowboy Springtime. The days have been sunny, the nights cold and clear. The young girls are sporting sundresses. Young boys are sporting other things because of such. I watched two teenage boys and a girl share two seats on the MAX. I thought they were going to do it right there, then the girl made a joke about an open sore and it was like an ejection seat. They spoke of condoms after that.
The lovely ladies of the ’80s era were out in force. (I saw fetish gear in the store NOT close to Club Sesso.) Even co-workers who don’t usually drink were out tearing it up, looking for a little ‘strange’ on a cool almost-spring night.
My friend Stevie has been hanging around. Nothing is going on, but it has the feeling it could. Her son has a robust social life, with many activities keeping him away from home. I’m still in a weird place about Rain, and not looking to complicate things. So I be careful what I say and keep my hands to myself.
But, but. But it’s been three months. My brokenhearted martyrdom of celibacy feels more pointless every day. To quote Van Halen, “Everybody wants some. I want some too!”
I’ve been having a good time. Last week’s road trip, then workplace-shuffling have me floating on a never-ending space-cruise. Running errands for Meg. Tell me where to go and when to be there. I’ve been going up to Stevie’s for smoke breaks. It keeps her in weed and calm. When I told Meg about it, she reacted like a raging ’60s housewife. She ranted for a minute, then said, “Why do I mind, anyway?”
I was charmed.
So, when I was all devil-and-angel at Stevie’s, thinking naughty thoughts while peacocking over Meg’s sudden jealousy, my phone goes off. It’s Rain. “Where are you? At your little frenn’s house?…”
I was ready for a walk. “Where are you? I could meet you at Pioneer Square?”
“Meet me at Starbucks on 4th.” Done. I got right there, and of course Rain was nowhere to be seen. I’d pulled out my phone and was dialing when I saw her walking toward me. I had to laugh. “What’s so funny, Redman?”
“We should coordinate more often.” She was wearing my favorite little red dress. I was wearing the infamous red shirt. We were dressed like teammates.
We walked and talked. Saw Festus, who got a hug. (From Rain, not from me.) I saw a Green Line approaching. “Want to get on?”
“You want me to come over? I suppose we could. I could get some clothes.” She looked at me sideways. “Or something.” She started to grin, and I felt all funny down there. We got on the train. I folded her coat and set it on my lap. She rested her head and slept while we rode. Every couple stops she’d stir, I’d give a reassuring shoulder stroke and she’d drift back off. I started nudging about two stops from home, and we were off the train and walking.
We stopped at the Kwik-E-Mart, where Rain had bought doggie bones for my blind mutt. At home, I entered first. When more motion was detected, Doggie was up and at the door. Her tail was straight out and NOT wagging. Then she caught Rain’s sexy scent of cigarettes and perfume, and that tail was moving like a blind man’s cane during the 100-yard-dash at the Special Olympics. The Bone of Bribery insured that the dog would not give a shit about me for months, once she realizes Rain isn’t behind me.
We retreated to my room, locking the door. She removed the red dress, the thigh-high boots too. I pulled slippers from under the bed. I smoked a joint while she smoked a cigarette. She wanted to “show me something on my phone.” I watched as she flipped through the apps, glancing at pictures and phone messages. She wasn’t particularly nosy, but she saw enough to know I didn’t have anything else going on at the moment. We e-mailed pictures to each other, she made a surreptitious home movie of me reclining next to a devil’s trident, smoking with my reading glasses on. She showed it to me. “Don’t think I didn’t think about you. I knew where you would be, and what you would be doing. I thought of you every time someone blew their nose…”
“Aww, it’s cold and flu season. You must have been thinking of me all the time.”
“You know it,” she said.
We talked, honestly but not too seriously. She confessed things I may or may not have known. I played close to the vest, but at one point, as she leaned over my bed, using it as a table to scratch her lottery ticket, I said “I have missed the view.” I stood behind her as she swayed her hips back and forth. I rubbed her back, kissed her neck, and whispered a provocative question into her ear.
“What time is it?” she asked.
“Ten o’clock. We got about an hour.”
“So I been here for six hours and you just now hitting on me?”
“Oh, uh, yes.” She gave me that smile, and we were like newlyweds. I could remember few times as passionate as that hour. We took a couple minutes too long. The last train had left the neighborhood. So I rode with her on the bus back to Old Town. Our arrival was met with a police barricade; some drunken jackass had broken INTO to the county courthouse, bus service disrupted. Since I only had two buses left to get home on, I asked Rain for a pass walking her all the way across downtown. She was cool with it.
As soon as I was rolling, I texted her. “Thank you for a most excellent evening. I’ve missed you.”
“Back at ya, Outie.”
I felt better about things, and not just because I got laid. It was an honest, uncomplicated encounter, and we parted without acrimony or uncertainty. I will likely keep on the hunt, but following my gut. I’ve showed restraint, and for once it seems like I’m getting results. I’m being treated the way I want.
And I’ve reconnected, albeit at a distance, with Rain. I love her and miss her, even if I can’t handle always being around her. If I can’t have my version of a dutiful house-mouse, I can at least have an old friend who probably knows me better than anyone these days, and will still come crawl into bed with me once in a while just because she misses me.
She STILL didn’t take any clothes with her…
“Smiles everyone, smiles!”
Easier said than done when you get to be my age.
My dad had most of his teeth when he passed away at 83. Sure there were gaps, and some looked like stalactites/stalagmites. He had one that looked like a modern day cupholder. But they were his, the old coot.
We couldn’t say as much for mom. She had a full set of uppers and lowers, all store-bought. I never felt a weirdness or stigma to that, only sadness that she couldn’t appreciate steak. (She insisted on having it burnt brown clear through, and everyone knows you cannot enjoy a steak like that, let alone chew it with false teeth.) She had an odd-looking blue toothbrush, with a rubber tip shaped like a Hershey’s Kiss on the flip-side of the bristles. I had no qualms asking what those funnel-and-hose contraptions in the bathroom closet were, (douche-bag and enema bag; I knew what the enema bag was) but to this day I have no idea what those Hershey Kiss-shaped knobs are for.
But I guess I’m gonna find out…
Was it an excellent way to spend the day, road-tripping to the beach for dinner? Or, was it a horrible case of captivity torture akin to a Greyhound bus ride to Salem? It depends on who is telling the story.
Meg called the other day. Her old boyfriend from North Dakota was visiting, and wanted to rent a car to drive to the beach. For some reason neither of their credit cards were okay with the rental company, so would I like to go to the beach? Think about it…
I ran into Angel shortly after. She said, “Hey, I need an excuse to get out of work Friday. Whatcha got?”
“Want to go to the beach with me? Or would your new sweetheart bristle at the thought of you running off in a hot car with a strange dude?”
“I was thinking more like a flu symptom, actually.” She smiled weakly.
“Undercooked chicken. And you really should have put it in the fridge after dinner.”
“What does that do?”
“Nasty diarrhea that no one wants to hear about. My bro-in-law used it all the time. Don’t use it too often, or they’ll tell you to learn how to cook a fucking chicken…”
“I’mma blow up my booty with that tonight. Thank you, sir!” She waltzed off to work.
I watched her go. And decided a trip to the beach sounded like a lot of fun…