Far North of Normal

August 17, 2015 at 10:10 am (Cosmic Encounters, Sweet sticky things, Waxing Nostalgic)

Ragweed“You’re off Saturday? Would it be cool if I spent the night Friday night?”

When a lovely lady asks me this, I’m usually tripping all over myself saying yes. And when the lovely lady is a relative, you try extra hard to say yes with as much enthusiasm as possible. (Authentic, of course.) But when “no” is a better answer, or “a qualified yes” perhaps, well… That’s when proper word usage is important.

You see, TJ called not only in the middle of bug extermination week; Saturday was the fifth anniversary of the day Rain and I first hooked up…

Growing up, I was on the family fringe. Too weird for the normal family, and too responsible for the drugged-out/don’t-give-a-fuck side. After age fourteen I renounced religion, which helped in some of those circles. I had a couple cousins that understood me, but mostly I hung with my sister and her brood.

My older brother was The Good Example. Put himself through college, good Mormon boy. (Even though mom raised him that way, she saw herself as a failure because she couldn’t convert him to Jehovah’s Witness. Relax Mom, the Mormons will do enough damage.) He was 25 years older than me, and when I was born he guessed he’d better catch up with Mom. Five months after I was born, TJ came along.

I connected with TJ. At age five, on my last trip to California, we conspired to get into five-year-old mischief that resulted in spankings. During dreadfully long road trips (back then) to Idaho, we would meet behind the shed at my Uncle’s house and share the filthiest jokes we’d heard. By age twelve our paths stopped crossing. My brother, ever the protective Papa Bear, may have had something to do with it. He weren’t dumb. That much mischievous brain power could have conquered the world. Or at least North Korea.

Without even trying.

A few years back TJ and I regained contact. I guess Big Brother, after reading a few blogposts, decided I wouldn’t lead his daughter straight to the penitentiary doors, and gave her my email address. When she asked, “Would you mind if I read your stuff?” I was overjoyed that she’d want to do so, and honored that she was respectful enough to ask first. When she blew through PDX a couple years back, and walked into the store, I knew that smile immediately. Sorry hon, that don’t change that much in thirty years.

When TJ asked to spend the night, it WOULD HAVE BEEN A NO-BRAINER, except we’ve been battling bedbugs and ants. Much like herpes, (ahem, so I hear, ahem…) you may be able to hide it, but if they catch it they will figure out where it came from, so honesty is the best policy.

“What kinda bugs you got, Charlie? Bedbugs? Fleas?” She was playful about it.

“Figure on everything but cockroaches. We had to draw the line somewhere.” I went on to suggest the tent-in-the-yard outside my window, or disposable clothes from the Goodwill bins.

“We’ll see how it goes.”

I felt horrible. I wanted her to feel as welcome as a daughter, or at least an old girlfriend, but didn’t want to send her home with critters, so I let it be her decision. When she had to return home two days early, I was bummed. Saturday was going to be our TriMet $5 all-day passport-to-adventure tour of Portland Fucking Oregon. I was going to take her down Hawthorne, wander Saturday Market, laugh at Pearl snobs, introduce her to Crazy Catwoman Carol. These things can wait, they will be there next time.

I owe TJ one more apology. This is a big one. I feel I’ve been keeping a big dirty secret, and it will snowball even more out of proportion if I don’t get ahead of it. So here I go, gettin’ my knees dirty and everything:

I am sorry, TJ, but I haven’t read your book yet. I have started a couple times, but distractions pop up, work happens, I have a woman in my room 24/7 watching BET, you need a couple more excuses? This is what I got: I haven’t read ANY books in a couple years. I have your book (in a bug-free Ziploc baggie) in my work bag, and it has logged thousands of miles on the bus. It has been riding with me every day since I got it back from my sister. Who loved it, by the way.

You can’t have my copy, but you can buy one here.

Saturday was a lovely day, as was Sunday. Rain was charmed that I would remember the date and time of our first rendezvous, and more charmed when I took her out to dinner. We fixed the Blu-Ray player together, and watched a double-feature of The Wizard of Oz and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. (Slept through Wizard. We both passed out during the tornado and awoke to the end-of-movie extras.) Before we fell asleep last night, Rain kissed me and said, “You know Charlie, that was a pretty sweet weekend.”

Indeed it was. And now it’s back to work, full-time plus. Even though I’ll be busy, I need to find some time to get some reading done…

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