Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Son of a Preacher Man

I come from Preacher people. Actually, I should say Spiritual people, as my ancient ancestors were servants of the elder gods. But since my great grandfather's time, there have been missionaries and priests in every generation. Being raised in a preacher family meant growing up with certain beliefs and ways of doing things. Of course, it also meant to rebel, I really had to embrace a wicked sense of humor and do some really outrageous things to make a statement. Unfortunately, try as I might, there are still some remnants of my upbringing that I can't seem to overcome, like my sense of helpfulness...

For example, at work, I was asked to precept two new workers. I could've pointed out my contract and say, "Hell No! I am not contracted to teach any newbies!". But before I could, I heard my self say to the big boss lady, "Sure". Curse my inherited sense of courtesy! The boss lady quickly disappeared before I could rectify the situation. She did leave me the new fella to show the ropes and how we do things for the clients. Lucky for me, he was a transfer from a sister facility, and only required 12 hours of orientation. I'm sure with his pasty white complexion and glasses, he'd be a hit with the Harry Potter crowd--if Harry Potter somehow merged with portly Neville and gained Hermione's know it all attitude. Thankfully, I don't have to don't have to worry about him moving in on my territory. I've seen All About Eve, and you can be sure that I won't let some scheming schmuck try to take over my position.

The second new worker requires four weeks of orientation, as she is new to the business. A petite, shy Asian girl. Truthfully, I felt somewhat unqualified to teach her what I do in the business. I even talked to the boss lady about my concerns, but she told me to go ahead and teach the new girl the basics of how to please the clients and make money. So, now I find myself watching what I do, trying to somehow teach this new worker how to navigate in this fickle and at times hazardous business, dealing with all sorts of people. With her demure personality and delicate Asian features, I'm sure she'll be a great hit with some of the clientele. I just have to make sure that underneath this fragile lotus is a crouching tiger.

Speaking of delicate Asians, I recently took the Shorts out to evening in downtown Houston, to see a performance by the New York Chinese ballet company. It's one of the cultural performances and activities so prevalent in Houston. I had to bite my lower lip to keep from giggling as the Shorts said some of the most naughty things at the show. During a solo performance, as the ballerina did acrobatic flips and leaps and twirls, the Shorts dared me to shout at her, "Show us your tiny feet!'' Of course, I wouldn't, as it was wrong; funny, but wrong.

Dusty Springfield: Son of a Preacher Man

Dusty Springfield

Thursday, October 25, 2007

They're Here

Among the many things that've kept me occupied the last few weeks, I finally made a trip home and back yesterday. After working 13 hours, I got a 2 hour nap before I spent 7 hours on the road--would've been 8 hours, but I was so tired that I stopped off to sleep at a friend's place. Why the long journey home and back? Well, to pick up the Shorts, of course. Yes, my friends, the Freakin Green Elf Shorts are now in my possession.

It actually arrived about 19 days ago at my home, but I'm currently working 4 hours away on an assignment. Since it was my day off, I went to pay my rent and pick up my mail. I was handed the package containing the Shorts by the asst. mgr. She informed me that the manager had taken some sick leave which, coincidentally, began the day the Shorts arrived.

After a long drive, I spent the night at my friend's place, sleeping on her guest bed...with the Shorts next to me. Nothing untoward happened--at least I don't remember anything. Of course, I slept all day and before I could post the good news of the Shorts debut in Texas, I was whisked away to a social gathering, lured by the promise of free food and booze. Now, I'm back, slightly inebriated, ready to fall asleep as I must work all this weekend. Rest assured, my friends, that I'll post some pics in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I shall do my best to entertain the Shorts, and give them a tour of the sights and thrills of this part of the world.

My friend wanted to know what I had in the package, but I did not feel like telling her about the Shorts. I'd like to think that I was protecting her from some monstrous horror--or perhaps I may have wanted to keep her as a friend ;) I may have somewhat left out parts of the truth when I laughed and told her that it was care package from the Queen of England--and what a surprise I got from handling those wonderful gifts IDV sent to accompany the Shorts. I have built a somewhat semi-respectable reputation, and I'd like to keep it intact. I'm not sure what it could be, but I feel so filthy and depraved when I touch these velvety, shiny Shorts. It makes me feel so dirty, but it's the good kind of dirty...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A time to mourn

It's been quite an eventful week, and I still have a few more things to do before the weekend is out. Some of these events have been enjoyable, others not so much. Still, I'm here, and that's the important thing.

Sunday started off with going to a funeral. Yes, I went to a funeral. Now, I did not know the gentleman who passed away, but he was a good friend of my best friend. I went to pay my respects, but more importantly, to support my friend. As I sat there, looking at all those strangers, it struck me how oddly sad but comforting to see these tear stained faces. At times, I heard the odd but somewhat fitting laughter when mourners spoke of an amusing memory involving the rested. I did my best to remain silent and supportive throughout the service.

At the reception, I was not really hungry and neither was my friend. Something about seeing a dead body didn't really make me think of of food. The widow greeted us and implored us to go ahead and eat. Looking at the interesting mix of soul food, Vietnamese, Thai, and Tex Mex cuisine, I could not help but grab a plate and started to pile on the tasty morsels on my plate. This seemed to please the grieving widow--and I thought it was important that I show her my condolences by eating fried chicken on top of spicy papaya. I do enjoy eating food, and I rarely turn down a free meal.

The funeral itself was a nice event--if a funeral could be labeled as a nice event. I have been to several, and while they all are important and sombre events, I cannot help but compare them to the first ever funeral I attended when I was only 5. That funeral is probably the best, um, most memorable ever. It was my great aunt's funeral, a wonderful widow, who's only child was a spoiled wayward daughter. My cousin was a terrible child to her mother. As an adult, she still lived with her mother, but she often stole from her--money, jewelry, and other valuables. She used these items to disappear for weeks to go on alcohol and drug binges, often hanging out with a shady crowd. Still, her mother forgave her. A few times, my mom accompanied my aunt to the county jail to bail out wayward daughter and attend the court hearings. It made my mom and the rest of us so angry to see wayward daughter take advantage of her mom; still, who could argue against the love of a parent for a child? even an ungrateful one?

My aunt died shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her daughter, on her drug spree, had disappeared for about 3 weeks. My family made arrangements for the funeral, and it was decided that my aunt would be buried on the family grave site. I remember the white casket, sitting on the straps, was at my eye level as I was at the front of the crowd of mourners. The priest was saying a prayer, family and friends were crying, when out of the blue, I hear this gut wrenching scream like and animal fighting against the onslaught of vicious predator.

Somehow, during times of extreme stress, I can see things happening in slow motion, just as it did that day. I turn to see this crazed looking woman-wild hair undone, clothing filthy, no shoes--come flying out of the crowd and land on the casket! Being eye level with the casket, I saw the coffin start to sway, the straps underneath started to buckle. I looked into the face of this crazy, screaming person, and all I could see was tears of running mascara and an open mouth sending out guttural cries of pain and despair. I was startled when my mom called out my cousin's name. I did not recognize wayward daughter at all!

Then the coffin started to shake! The support straps gave way and the coffin with my cousin on the top plunged into the grave! Amids screams from the mourners and the discombobulated priest, mom issued orders that were quickly carried out by the others. My uncles and cousins jumped into the grave to pull wayward daughter out of the hole. Wayward daughter's hands ripped open the coffin as four of my big male relatives tried to pry her out of the hole. From my front row seat, I looked down and saw the casket open, my aunt's head had turned to the right, her well coiffed hair had come undone, covering part of her face. It took another relative to be able to pull out wayward daughter from the hole, and carry her screaming and fighting to the outside of the mourning (and shocked) crowd. My mom then went into the grave and straightened out my aunt's head on the pillow. Mom then took off her pair of mother of pearl combs and fixed aunty's hair, securing aunty's hair with the pair of shiny, beautiful combs before she closed the casket.

Mom was helped out of the grave by other relatives and proceeded to where the other relatives were holding wayward daughter and berating her for her carelessness. My other aunts and uncles were calling her ungrateful and what a horrible child she was to a loving, caring parent. My mother told her angry relatives to cease the accusations. There was all ready enough sorrow in the family. What's done is done. We needed to help each other through this terrible time. She took wayward daughter's hand and led the group back to the open grave. I was on the lookout for my cousin to plunge back into the grave--and so were the dirt stained relatives that had formed a cocoon around my mother and cousin. My cousin was sobbing uncontrollably, her head resting on my mother's shoulder; my mother also had dirt stains on her, but she held on to my cousin as the flustered priest resumed the service.

When they started to shovel dirt on my aunt's coffin, my cousin let out another heart rendering scream. Still, she did not throw herself into the grave. The rest of the day was not as eventful. The reception was demure, but whispers of shock at the events at the grave site were heard occasionally. My mom spent most of the evening with wayward daughter in a different room of the house. Since then, I've always unintentionally used that memorable funeral to gauge the drama level at all other funerals. None come even close.

A few years after, wayward cousin found Jesus. (Is it just me, or does Jesus seem to be missing a lot? Is he like the Where's Waldo of the religious figures?) Anyway, she even undertook several missions to sub Sahara Africa. Eventually, she married another missionary, founded a church in California, and have ministered to the homeless and wayward since. I guess my aunt always knew that deep down, her wayward daughter was a good person after all. She just needed time and guidance and love to help her find her way. It was not until my aunt's passing that we ever able to understand what my aunt had seen in her wayward daughter. I think mom was the first to realize this.

Often, there are times when my older siblings do things that piss me off, or they complain to mom that I'm too stubborn or spoiled. My mom's usual reply is, "When you have children, you'll understand". I don't have any children, so I guess I don't understand her sometimes. But I do has a small idea of what it means to be loved a parent, and how we all need to feel loved.

As I sat there eating my pad Thai, I saw my friend hugging grieving widow. I looked around the room and thought, though this funeral may not have the high drama of my aunt's funeral, there is the same presence of love. And when it comes to funerals and human relations, love is really all that matters.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Say You Will

I was looking for some papers in my shoe boxes files when I came across some old fotos of when I used to live in Atlanta. I sat down and thought about how incredible life was over a decade ago, when I lived in Atlanta, not even old enough to buy beer.

It was first time I ever lived on my own in the big city, and Atlanta left quite an impression on me; it set a high standard that I've used to compare other cities. It spoiled me in that I thought all clubs close at 4am, downtown was trendy and hip, and the trains were clean and efficient. I didn't have any family near me as the closest relatives were (and still are) on the West Coast--and it was fantastic! I did, however, have a great group of friends. One in particular was my closest and most exciting at the time. I shall call her Dee.

I first met Dee at work, when she gave me a ride home after we were done for the day. Dee was only a few years older than I; in fact, she's the one who usually got us the alcohol on our group outings. A true Southern belle, she was not only beautiful and smart, she had a fiery spirit and a wicked sense of humor that endeared her to me. When I met her, she was dating men. Within a month, she decided to try dating women. Though I was not a novice (nor an expert) on human relations when I first moved to Atlanta, hanging out with Dee left me feeling like I had lost my virginity all over again.

With so much freedom for the first time, I was reckless and having Dee around made life exciting. She took me to my first hip bar in midtown. I remember thinking, man, these are some totally hot babes in this joint! I was loving it. I fondly recall within the first 5 minutes of walking in the door, this short, sexy brunette with a bob strutted over to me and said, "Hi, I want to take you home and f*ck you til I pass out from exhaustion and gravity is the only thing keeping my ankles behind my ears! Wanna go home with me?"

Well, if I was cool, I'd've taken that drunk strumpet's offer and banged her like a drum in a marching band competition! Alas, I was so young and naive and could only respond with, "I'm here with somebody," nodding towards Dee, who was taking in the situation with a wicked smile.

Drunk strumpet looked Dee up and down before turning to me to say, "She can come, too."

"Honey, that's something I intend on doing, over and over again!", replied Dee.

At this point, my jaw dropped open and drunk strumpet took it as an invitation to probe my mouth with her tongue like a miner digging for gold. Then two women, one portly and the other tall, moved in and tried to remove drunk strumpet from her oral exploration of my mouth. They apologized profusely, saying that their friend, drunk strumpet, had too much to drink and wasn't normally so forward. Drunk strumpet then cupped my crotch and said,"You taste delicious!", before her friends hauled her out the door. Thus, the tone was set for my adventures with Dee.

Over the the next few months, Dee and I started to do more daring and exciting things. We started a friendly competition to see who could pick up the most babes; then it somehow involved picking up the same babes, but that's another story. A few times, we hung out with Dee's drug dealing gay brother and his court of queens and jesters. I found myself in the underground club scene, dancing all hours of the night and running from the cops when they raided house parties or raves in unoccupied office buildings and warehouses. I remember reading the society pages to plan which parties to crash, and getting dressed up to mingle among the self important, using fake names and pedigree. I also remember calling in at work with a family death so we could drive down to Florida for Spring Break and use fake identities to party with the college kids. I had told my boss that my grandmother has passed away--I just didn't tell her that Grandmother passed away long before I was born ;)

Dee eventually settled down with a woman, a sexy accountant with long, beautiful legs. They met at the Pride Parade--the first one I had ever attended. Dee decided to go back to school and become a chef. She all ready cooked great Southern cuisine, but she wanted to become a pastry chef. Eventually, life began to draw us into separate directions. I decided that maybe I should try a career change and go to college as well. Long before I left Atlanta, though, Dee and I were sitting on the rooftop of her 8 story building, drinking tequila sunrises, after a long night of club hopping, waiting for the sun to come up. We talked about the future, which was something we rarely did as we were live in the moment kind of people then. That was an omen I did not recognize of how we were becoming mature, more responsible adults.

Dee said she wanted to have children. I asked her what the sexy accountant thought about kids. Dee said they both discussed it, and it was something they both wanted in ten years or so. I suppose it's only natural for some women to want children. She also said that they wanted me to be the father. I did not hesitate to say yes; though, I could blame it on the alcohol, I really did mean it. Dee was that important to me. She still is. In some ways, I guess I was in love with her, a strange kind of love, but love nonetheless. It's getting close to that time when I promised Dee that I would do my part to help her have kids. The only thing is, time has made me a little unsure. I don't doubt Dee's parenting skills; she would make a fantastic parent. I don't doubt that I want to make her happy; I intend to do what I can to make her dreams come true. What I do doubt is my ability to cope with not being a father but rather a sperm donor.

I still will give Dee what she wants if she asks for it. It's just going to be really hard to think that I will not have the usual dad responsibilities. As much as I enjoy identifying myself as a modern, independent man, I guess I'm also a little bit old fashioned when it comes to having kids. I haven't spoken to Dee in months. In fact, we usually communicate with the a couple of emails, the birthday and holiday cards, and the rare phone calls when we actually manage to sit down and chat for hours. It's those few phone calls that let me know that we still have that connection, as we are able to pick up our conversation where we last left it and talk about everything and nothing at all.

Dee is still with sexy accountant. Though, she has yet to mention kids at all this year. She's busy with her catering company, and life's great. I confess that a part of me hopes that she's forgotten about our conversation and she won't ask me about our arrangement. I doubt it, though. At the time, we talked about doing it naturally, but I'm not sure if that's the right way to go. While I would still do Dee in a NY minute, I do have concerns about how her partner would feel about all of this, even if we all have a significant history. I guess I'll just cross that bridge when I come to it.

I had forgotten the papers I was looking for in the first place. I still haven't found them. I'd like to think that maybe by finding those pics, the universe is trying to tell me something: Get rid of the damn shoe boxes and get a real file cabinet, you bastard!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bad Girls

Recently, I was at a fair, when a woman sitting in a bench caught my eye. Actually, it was what she was doing that caught my attention. She was sitting with her left leg crossed over her right, her high heel shoe dangling dangerously on the tips of her toes. Had we been cats, she may have well been calling out, rubbing up against furniture, and assuming the mating position signifying estrus; and like any good tomcat, I'd've been all over her like Angelina Jolie and Portia de Rossi in a scissors position (or maybe Oprah and Rosie O'Donnell).

Feeling reckless (and slightly under the influence of alcohol), I approached her and asked if anyone else was sitting there. Ten minutes of introductions and small talk began a night full of fun. We played games at the booths, danced to live music, ate various foods and noting how good, hot, and tasty those treats were while licking our lips slowly and moaning approval. I've hung out with her a few times since, and it's been fantastic!

Though, the truth is, the more I know about her, the more excited and scared I become. She's very flirty (advertises her wares proudly), which is fun. She's free spirited (a lush prone to table dancing and intimacy in public places). And she's open to new experiences (kinky and no stranger to mind altering recreation). She's also a smoker, which is kind cool to look at from afar, and truthfully, it doesn't bother me when I'm around her. It's only when I'm home that I notice that awful stench of smoke on my clothes that bothers me.

I know that it's all fun and games now, and no plans on anything more than that. Still, she takes an awful lot of risks. And as much as I relish enacting the Kama Sutra, I'm not really the type to film myself doing these poses. The only people who should be putting out sex tapes are porn stars. I enjoy the thrills, but I know that playing with fire can cause serious burns. So why am doing this? I can't help but be attracted to her. I've always had a thing for bad girls--independent, fearless, and fun.

My friends don't like her, as they think she's a whore. I've had to set them straight and let them know in no uncertain terms that she is NOT a whore. How dare they make such an offensive assumption! I've never had to pay for it as it's been given to me freely. A tramp? Maybe, but not a whore!

Monday, October 8, 2007


Yesterday, I went to meet a friend for dinner. She was going to church first, and I figured, well, the church is on the way to her house, so why not stop by there? Being a semi-practicing Catholic, my friend goes to mass regularly. As I had not visited the Lord's home in a while, I thought, I'll just drop in and say "Howdy, Jesus, how's it hanging?"

"I love what you've done with the place. Are those stained glass windows?"

"Wine and crackers? Why, yes, please. It'll go great with these loaves and fish. You made the wine yourself? No, really? It's fantastic! Mmmm...why a sip of that and I feel like I can walk on water!"

"Judas? Well, I know, I know! I shouldn't judge, but I don't care if he is Mediterranean! That kiss on the side of my cheek when he greeted me, I swear I felt his tongue lick the side of my face! For a second there, I thought he was going to rim out my earhole! Oh, and have you checked out how he pimped out his ride? Where ever did he get the money to put silver plated rims on his chariot?"

"As always, you're such an amazing host, always sacrificing yourself for others; I love your dinners! Truly, you are heaven sent!"

Since going to mass was important to my friend, it was, therefore, important to me to at least show her my support. The church was packed, and it was standing room only. I did not yet see my friend, but that was okay. I would call her after the service.

I had almost forgotten how beautiful the inside of Catholic churches are--with the many statues of the baby and crucified Jesus, the Virgin, and various Apostles and angels and religious figures. Then there is the sweet, subtle intoxicating scent of burning incense. A soft light emanates from the many burning candles throughout the church. Of course, there is the beautiful iconography of stained glass windows telling the stories that have guided (at times, been misinterpreted to mislead) the faithful.

Now, I'm not a Catholic; but I'm not a Protestant either in the truest sense anymore--though I was born and raised Congregationalist, the religion of the American Thanksgiving Pilgrims, who fled religious persecution from those spotted dick eating Englishmen. I did however, go to Catholic school before middle school, and I do remember my Hail Mary, the Rosary, and the rituals associated with mass. I can genuflect and Sign with the best of them. I also remember the terror of those mean teaching nuns. Unlike Maria or Sister Mary Clarence, these nuns didn't sing and dance. The only sound heard consistently in the halls was the echoes of yard sticks smacking down hard on the open palms of children as punishment--for the many offenses often made unintentionally.

As I looked around this crowded church, I realized how lax the dress code had become. Growing up, going to church (any church) meant I had to wear a pressed shirt, a tie, trousers and polished shoes. These people around me were decked out in Bermuda shorts, sandals, and halter tops. I fit right in this crowd, and no, it wasn't because I was wearing shorts, sandals, and a halter top! I was wearing a t shirt, my Levi's, and running shoes. If my mother had been there to see me, she would've been horrified at way I was dressed. Mom would've probably pulled out a switch and start spanking me, but luckily, she's getting on in years and I would've simply run out of the reach of the cursed, stinging branch.

The lax in dress code, however, did not signal the lack of Roman Catholic zeal. I listened to the sermon, and as it was the day to remember human dignity, the topic, of course, was abortion. Abortion, said the priest, was as wrong and evil as stem cell research. Abortion, he said, has killed millions of children and ruined many lives. Stem cell research is against the laws of God. The more he preached, the angrier I got, and I remembered why I broke away from secular religion so long ago when I was in high school. Isn't it funny how churches fight to defend zygotes, proclaiming life is precious, and yet they have done nothing to end the death penalty? If all life is precious, why aren't the churches mobilizing to put an end to state sanctioned murder? And if protecting the life of children is so important, then why the hell has the Church destroyed these children by feeding them to pedophile priests that the Church still protects to this day?!

As these angry thoughts swirled in my head, I looked around the packed church and thought, My God, so many of these people are children. How many of them are buying into this crap?! I felt as if I was about to lose my composure and speak up, so I thought about leaving, as the church is no place to start an argument. Rather, it's a place where the faithful seek refuge and solace. I was about to walk out that door in huff when I remembered why I had come in the first place: My friend was there, and I was here to meet her.

The thought of my friend made me realize something. Though she goes to mass regularly and has an alter of the Virgin at her home, my friend has been there for others the Church would've had her shun. She was with another friend who had an abortion--the one who had the abortion told us, not my Catholic friend. She volunteers at an AIDS/HIV center, helping out mostly gay men. She has supported many of our mutual GLBT friends over the years. While it may seem that this Catholic girl is breaking the Church's laws, in reality, she is keeping the most important law of all: The Golden Rule, do unto others and you would have them do unto you. All man made Church laws are null and void when faced with the teachings of Christ.

I've sometimes wondered why my friend still goes to mass when she obviously does not listen to what her priest is telling her to think and do. Then I realized, that perhaps, it wasn't so much as the need to feel a sense of belonging among like minded worshipers. Rather, she needed a place to be close to God, a place she identifies as a refuge from worldly life, to contemplate her existence, to reevaluate her choices, to just be near something so much greater than she or the entire world.

As the service let out, the priest was in front of the church steps, saying good bye to the flock. I swear, when I shook his hand, he did a quick look down on me for a crotch check before he looked into my eyes and said good bye; then he did another crotch check! Now, some of you doubting Thomases are thinking, why in the world would a priest want to check out someone who's obviously been out of puberty years ago and shaving facial hair? Trust me, it happened. And just because I was a wearing white t shirt that clung to my chest, showing off my nipples and wearing no underwear under my skin tight Levis showcasing my bulge does not mean that I was asking to be oogled or seeking attention! I'm a human being, dammit! Treat me with some respect! I am not some whore!

As I was heading for the parking lot, I heard my friend calling my name before I could even reach the phone. She looked surprised and happy to see me, and I was really glad that I had decided to come to church to see her. We met up with her other family and had a last supper of sorts at an incredible Thai restaurant. Her relatives were heading out of town the next day, and I was smart enough to avoid the cilantro in the delicious Thai food I ate. As I sat there, eating and laughing, I thought to myself, it's always an interesting experience whenever I visit God's house. I never know what happens next, but that's the mystery of life.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Moving On Up

I've only been at work for over a month and so far, things have been going great. Better than great, actually. I've gotten some word from upper management that my clients have been raving about my work, how fully satisfied they've been after I'm through with them. Even the regular staff has been praising me with my efforts to jump right into the thick of things and make people happy. My contract is up for review in two months, and the facility is all ready trying to pressure me to sign on permanently. I'm not sure if I'm ready for that kind of commitment, but I do know that my bargaining power just increased exponentially.

Of course, all this success has not gone unnoticed. While most of my coworkers have appreciated my efforts and assistance in taking on one or more of the particular clients, there is one other worker who somehow felt threatened by my presence. In an effort to make me look bad, she tried to pick at my work and question everything I did; unfortunately for her, she came off as a total female dog in front of the clients and upper management. Today, I found out that they had let her go due to poor job performance and client dissatisfaction. Guess who just got a bigger spot at work? Yup, I got her old spot at work in addition to taking on her duties--with increased compensation, of course. See, sometimes, it pays off to play nice with others.

Now, with the new responsibilities, I'm faced with the challenges of pleasing more clients-all with their own particular tastes and needs. I think I'm up for the job. I look forward to trying out new ideas and being flexible to meet the client's needs. I want their satisfaction guaranteed, one by one or in groups of their choosing. I aim to please and ensure that the client is serviced thoroughly and will always come back for more professional, pleasurable experiences.

Friday, October 5, 2007

You better work

Yesterday, I was called in to work early; seems things got really busy as one of the employees had a run in with a big wig. Literally, a plus size client in a wig tripped and fell on my short, petite coworker, K. The client was okay, as K had broken the client's fall. Luckily, the wig, though disheveled, was still in one piece and a quick comb through ensured that it was still fashionable and returned to it's rightful place, perched upon the pleasantly plump client's head.

Unfortunately, K's right hand was sprained (or so the ER doctor diagnosed). Now, poor K has to learn how to use her left hand when she goes home and reaches for the little man in the boat for some Southern Comfort and tender loving. K and her vertically challenged husband live on a sailboat, and they enjoy drinking Southern Comfort--and hot monkey love on the deck, or so K told us one morning.

The boss had taken over some of K's responsibilities, and she quickly (and happily) turned them over to me as soon as I clocked in to work. No problem, I luv overtime :) Things were quite chaotic for the first few hours, but calmed down by lunch time. During our lunch break, another coworker, P, was telling us about her recent adventures on vacation in Paris--where Euro Disney is located.

P ranted and raved about the dining, the shopping, and the sight seeing; oddly, she didn't go to Disneyland Paris, but she met many Europeans and enjoyed their offerings. While she didn't ride the roller coaster at Euro Disney, she did brag about getting a mouthful and being stuffed daily with good looking European treats, be they French, Belgian, Danish, or even Polish origins. P loves her breakfast and snacks. The rest of the gang made plans to go out for dinner and drinks after work. Since P started earlier, she clocked out and said she would meet us there.

So fast forward to dinner, and we got a table by the window, with a lovely view of the bay (and the parking lot). We had not been there for a few minutes, when we heard gasps and my waitress's eyes were drawn to the parking lot. We all turned and looked. Strutting out of her tank size SUV, with dark shades and stiletto heels, was P, decked out in what I would later learn was a Jean Paul Gaultier original, yellow dress. The rest of the evening was littered with compliments on P's dress, on how fabulous she looked. When P was in the restroom, the ladies would start bitching about how that tramp P manage to be so skinny while stuffing her face full of food. Conspiracy theories abound, from P having a tape worm or anorexia; my favorite being that P was a crack whore.

Later on, we decided to go dancing; now, I'm not on top of fashion, and I don't know the difference between gold and canary and champagne--colors, not objects. To me, P was wearing a yellow dress, one that had a hood. And being tall and slim with the hood on her head, she looked like a gigantic Chiquita banana...a sexy, chic banana. Perhaps it was the alcohol in me, but when I was walking behind P towards the club, my first thought was, I hope we don't get attacked by a roaming troop of hungry baboons. Because if we did, I would've left the others to fend for themselves while I ran away, screaming like a Japanese teenage girl at a Justin Timberlake concert.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

eX Files

Two days ago, I ran into an ex-girlfriend's cousin where I work. Small world. Yesterday, the ex called me at work for what turned out to be a very awkward 15 minutes conversation. Those 15 minutes felt more like 15 hours. It seems that her cousin had informed her of my current location. I've not seen nor spoken to her in 5 years; but the turbulent emotions stirred by the sound of her voice were as fresh as the day those wounds were torn deep into my heart.

6 years ago, when we first met, it was nothing but total reckless bliss those first few months. She seemed so adventurous, always doing things to stand out, and I blindly followed. There was something irresistibly attractive about a daring woman, seemingly spontaneous and unafraid of the consequences. It was just so exciting to be with her, and I truly believed that we were happy. Life seemed so fantastic those first few months, everything so new and fun.

Six months later, I started to get an uneasy sense of where our relationship was going. It seemed the more I learned about the mystery of this woman, the more I felt like I did not know her at all. What I mistook for adventure and spunk was a desperate need for attention. She wanted to be an actress, and that should've been my first clue as to who she really was. I started to notice that she craved constant praise, even when she did nothing. When she did not get what she wanted, she would throw tantrums or whine endlessly, wallowing in self pity, complaining to anyone within an earshot of how unfair she was being treated. I found myself starting to give her the cold shoulder, avoiding going out to places with her, which only made her mad and lash out.

I found myself somewhat confused and upset at her actions. When things were great for me at work or I accomplished a goal, she never acknowledged my success. Often, she would use my good news as an opportunity to make the conversation all about her problems, and somehow, she would drop little condescending remarks about how pedestrian my work was; her life, she would declare, was somehow more fabulous than mine. Never mind the fact that she had moved in with me because she was evicted from her apt and I was the only source of income between the two of us.

Things only got worse. She started criticizing my friends. She was particularly rude to my female friends, who I've known far longer than she. We started arguing, as I had given up trying to talk sense with her. I was tired of always apologizing for her mistakes, for being the only one compromising while she just took and took everything I offered. As I hated arguing, I would often walk out of the apt and stay away til I cooled off. Several times, I would return to find the apt in shambles. She would've broken dishes, tipped over furniture, and somehow managed to cut herself. Like a fool, I would try to make things up, falling into her damsel in distress trap over and over until things came to a head.

The final straw was when we had our last big fight. I was going to my friend's birthday, solo, as my ex did not want to go. She pleaded for me to stay, but I said, no. This friend is one I've known since grade school, and I would not miss her birthday just because my ex did not like her. I came home in good spirits after a great party, but that feeling quickly left when I got home. The apt was in terrible shape, holes bashed in the walls, posters torn down, furniture ripped. What made me angry was that she had gone through my personal foto albums and torn out the faces of my friends from the pictures. She wasn't home, and I'm glad she wasn't. In fact, she didn't come back for three days. By then, I had packed my stuff, cleaned up the apt as much as I could, gave notice of my month to month lease, and moved out.

Later that week, I heard from friends that she was arrested when she tried to break into our former apt. She didn't know that I had moved out and the locks had been changed. Then I heard she took off with another actor from her class and went out to California to make it big. That was the last I heard of her. I spent some months drowning myself in work to forget her and the mess of a relationship we had. Now, here she was on the other end of the line. I wanted to hang up, but my hand was frozen, holding that telephone receiver tight. Small talk and fake pleasantries about the weather and howdy do faded in the first ten minutes.

The last five minutes, was an uncomfortable silence that ended when she remarked, "We were good together, what happened?".

I hesitated, but finally, I replied, "Things just weren't meant to be."

She was quiet, then asked, "Maybe we can be friends?"

I heard the pleading in her voice, and the feeling of utter disgust overwhelmed me, reminding me of how much I hated her pleas, and I answered, "No, I don't think that would work for me. I don't think I ever want to hear from you again. I wish you the best," and I hung up.

Suddenly, this feeling of relief washed over me, and I finally realized why I was so upset at hearing her voice. I wasn't angry at her and what she had done; well, not really. I was angry at myself for putting up with such a horrible situation for a long time. I was angry at myself for being stupid, for being ignorant, and for fooling myself into thinking that I was in love, and whatever happened was my fault for not trying hard enough.

Later on, her cousin chatted with me during lunch, and revealed what had happened to my ex after she left for California. The actor she ran off with dumped her, and she started going out with another man, who not only did drugs with her, but would not tolerate her tantrums. More than once she was beaten, but by then, the need for drugs had consumed her. She was later arrested for prostitution and somehow, like other convicts, found Jesus (Why is Jesus always found in jail? Is he an inmate or a prison guard?). Apparently, she wound up in rehab and was putting her life back together.

I was not looking to forgive her; rather, I was just going to forget about her. I realized that, instead, I had to forgive myself for all the mistakes I've done. I'm only human after all; and I learned so much from that experience. Whatever happens now, I know that life goes on, and that we live and learn. Life is too short to be wasted on anger or sorrow, and every day I'm alive is an opportunity to live life to the fullest, doing the things that make me happy, thankful that I'm still here.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Of friends and lovers

One of my best friends is dating an idiot, and I don't think she knows. This guy is a big talker, brags about his Master's Degree, and thinks he's so charming. Unfortunately, he comes off more as a jackass than a prince. Today at brunch, he launched into a speech about how American troops were better prepared for the war in the Middle East desert because of Bosnia.

When I asked him to elaborate, he said, "Well, you know how hot it gets in Bosnia."

To which I asked, "How hot does Bosnia get?",

and he answered, "It's really hot there; don't you know that all those African countries are hot?"

It was at this point that I almost choked on a roll, trying to stifle laughter. My friend, blissfully unaware of her date's answers, was talking on her cellphone with a coworker. I guess people with a Master's Degree don't watch the news or know how to read a map. It's quite disturbing to learn that he is looking to get a teaching job. The scarier news is that with his Masters Degree in Physical Education, he'll double as both the P.E. and history/geography teacher. What a sad state of affairs for the all ready declining American education system.

Growing up, I've always been fortunate to have made friends with some great people. Now, when I say friend, in this context, I mean friend, not do buddy*, a friend of a different sort. Over the years, my best friends and I've been able to meet each other's significant other (or at least significant at that moment). The ones who lasted (or at the very least, were worthwhile) understood the golden law of relationships: Never come between a man (or woman) and his (or her) friends--unless mutually agreed upon by all parties, but that's another discussion entirely.

Of course, it also means that because we love our friends, we sometimes have to accept their choice of significant others--even if he turns out to be a significant idiot. This may require a therapy of drugs and alcohol, which is more enjoyable and less expensive than an actual therapist.

*do buddy: a southern US term for consenting adults often engaged in repeated, physical adult relations without social or marital obligations; aka a "friend with benefits".