I slapped on the visor and apron with uncertainty. Already I had worked the season opener for the local college team, now my volunteering efforts were geared towards opening day for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The USF game was its own special nightmare – scorching day, no breeze, collapsing bodies – but otherwise, sales at the Second Time Arounders Marching Band tiki bar boomed. I think it was because we were by the boat.
This time around, we were placed in a beer corner with not a lot of space to move between the six of us. Before I had finished dumping ice onto the premium beers it was go time! Customers lining up for all things frosty and salty. I did as trained – smiled as I took the order, if it involved alcohol I asked for ID, held the ID up to confirm face and date, then processed the sale with a cheerful “Enjoy the game!” to send their happy selves off.
And then, he came. A large, burly man dressed in Buccaneer regalia, beads dangling proudly from his neck. His face was cute, chubby, and pinked at the cheeks. He ordered two beers and a water. I asked for his photo ID. His chubby face became firm. He flared his arms, “Are you fucking serious?”
“Yes,” I calmly replied.
“I’m 54 years old! I could be your goddamn father!”
“I’m sorry sir,” I calmly explain, “I can’t sell you those drinks without an ID.”
I watched as he stepped backwards, almost into the couple behind him, then flare his nostrils and widen his chest. I swear he was going to rush the stand, but then he yelled, “Let’s settle this right now.”
My eyes followed his left hand waiving over someone. I’m thinking it’s his wife or somebody holding his ID. A dark blue suit with TPD on the lapel and a gun at the waist appeared instead.
Never in the history of me has a cop being waived my direction ever worked out in my favor. I’m flushed, I feel my heart start to race, and an “Oh SHIT” mantra starts looping in my head, all the while thinking, he called the cops on me, he called the cops on me…
The large man details the situation above and then tells the cop “She shouldn’t ID me.” Wow! I wish I had that kind of social authority! Being above the law, being able to tell a cop what should and should not happen to him during his good time at a privately-owned stadium.
The policeman looked at me, at him, then replied, “It’s her discretion whether she sells you alcohol or not.”
WHAAAT! He’s on MY side?
Never in the history of me has a cop agreed with me, even off-duty. I felt redeemed. And even though he was pouty after the fact, I still sold the big guy a water.
I don’t care how mouthy you are. Rule #1 in retail: get the sale.
I wasn’t worried about him, I was worried about the cop. He was worried about his beer, I was worried I was ending up in handcuffs. This is our world – a bunch of unnecessary worries. If I’m lucky in this lifetime, I shouldn’t feel threatened by the appearance of law enforcement anymore.
I’ve slept on this and still felt compelled to write, because it’s such a phenomenal experience. When you look a certain way, or hang out in a certain crowd, the labels and assumptions abound. Negative labels and assumptions unfortunately carry on with you despite social improvements. So when I describe this simple scenario, I wonder if you’re reading it as someone who’s been negatively labeled all their life, or if you’re wondering why the cop agreeing with me is such a monumental deal. It is a big deal. It signifies the necessary shift in the social wind. Not everyone who looks like me needs to be disciplined by the police. Moreover, people who look like me aren’t easily threatened by the gesticulations of the Great White Male, as was my friend’s mistake.
Progress report on my awesome ‘do. I’ve got about an inch and change of growth since the buzz down. The curls are coming in really tight, yet still distinct – soft, wispy curls along the temples, thick twists cover the rest. There’s still the weird patch of hair that grows longer than the rest of the head.
Dear Person Who Self-Deprecates When Attention Is Drawn To You:
Hi. I’m noticing what you’re doing and it’s annoying the hell out of me. First of all, you look old enough to be my mother, and that’s not an insult, that’s a demographic detail. Second of all, we’re in the same room together, about to face the same challenges. While I sit here in tune to what’s happening, you’re sitting behind me, disturbing the persons to your left and right, saying, “I hope [he] knows how stupid I am” and “They better have someone who knows what they’re doing with me.” Do you even understand that what you’re doing is completely self-absorbed? Your pretend self-flagellation is actually a form of grandstanding that you probably inherited from a lifetime of leeching off of the kindness and patience of others. Shut the fuck up you stupid leech; you’re here to do a job. If you feel you can’t handle it, there’s the door. We’ve got this covered.
The Chick Wondering How You And She Are The Same Pay Grade
Dear Person Who Self-Deprecates As A Form Of Emceeing:
Hi. You’re not a comic. If you were a comic, and this was a comedic venue, you’d so not be making me laugh. Self-deprecation is a source of humor only when you realize the joke is supposed to be on you. But if your job is to warm up the mic, try not to spend those moments between performers – who may be nervous or amped or prepared – to talk about how much of a talentless waste-of-space you are. When you do that, you diminish the starlight of the talent approaching the microphone after your sad tale. It’s like watching someone murder a puppy between sets: not only is it senseless, but it doesn’t fit the grand ideal of uplifting artists and showcasing their artistry. Get it together, or get another project.
The Chick Waiting For Her Turn On The Stage
Dear Person Who Self-Deprecates In Order To Get My Personal Attention:
Hi. You done fucked up. I don’t do pity. I don’t do the pat on the backs and “there, there” acts. You’re phony and I smelled your phony the moment I saw your pinched shoulders and wavering eyes. You want to absorb my energy, I see it in your wringing hands. Are you actually telling me about your life problems without me even knowing you? Who am I, Barbara Walters? And don’t you DARE call me Oprah, or you will know my wrath. Get away. Grow up. Instead of coming to me about what you’re going to do, come to me about what you’ve already done, maybe then I can at least advise you. But your self-inflicted humility is not my charge, buddy. You’re an adult now. And if you’re an adult using lines like, “I can’t deal with adulting,” stay the hell away from me. I’ve got a life; get yours.
Niece #2 graduated yesterday, with much relief and gratitude. She’s my namesake and shares my spirit. For her graduation package, I added an impromptu poem. It literally roused me from deep sleep days before mailing her gifts, the words, “Go on little princess, put on your crown…”
Attached is the modified version. The original you’ll have to pry from my niece’s hands. 🙂 And remember, be polite and cite!
Today the lake water has taken on a pumice hue. Ripples close in like busy worker ants towards the inlet, dumping froth along the coastline. Bitter, the air, the overnight drop in temperature simultaneously welcome and abhored. This morning instead of sipping a cup of coffee I puff on my glass bowl. There’s much work to do, but a cold front means stiff joints and I simply cannot lift couches and move TV stands without healing smoke to start.
A commotion across the room distracts me from the lake. The grey flannel blanket undulates madly, then melts into the mattress. I return to nature-gazing with a smile on my face, thinking of the fiery Ace of Wands Spirit played the other day. Lust; Fire; Passion. Through the Two of Swords Spirit told me, ‘turn that big brain of yours off and let love happen!’ Oh that it is, for sure. I did pull the Princess of Swords. Unfinished struggles. Uncertain proceedings. It was a message about my health. Yes, I nod as I inhale, we’re gonna be experts in self-care this year.
There’s furniture to get rid of, boxes to pack. Walls to paint back to standard white. There wasn’t much hung for decoration until just this past year. Four years at this address, but I only felt like nesting once I had a relationship…oh I get it now. The Ace of Wands had always been in play. Good one, Spirit!
Down to two plates, two bowls, two glasses. Two houses will condense to one, and hearts will grow three-fold. Goodbye Southside, hello Suburbia!
Time to wake the sleeping beast…
Three yellow butterflies fluttered before me, playfully twisting in the warm morning gust accentuating this morning’s walk. Sweat curtained my face way before hitting the mile marker; what is this?? This time last year, a decent chill to temper the swamp, but in 2015, I still have boob sweat!
Walk is over and it’s time to get into General Schwarzkopf mode: we have a two-month campaign to complete. The objective – merge two houses into one!
This is monumental on both fronts. For BF, he’s taken on a commitment which will dynamically shift his lifestyle, all aspects for the better. This will be his first domestic relationship.
For me, it’s a tier short of a miracle. It’s been five years since my divorce. In that grief state, I started to believe I’d end up like my mother – alone, resentful, unfulfilled – so I slowly slipped into that persona. What I couldn’t emote I expressed in written word, and there was much power in releasing that…wrong persona…through art, allowing room for love. Which is why I am so thankful, ever grateful, that BF agreed to living together! And it wasn’t a negotiation, really, it was just a known. Kinda like the night I returned from Oklahoma last summer, sitting on his lap while we smoked on the balcony, he casually mentioning, “I told my friends you’re my girlfriend,” and me responding, “Yeah, I told my friends you’re my boyfriend.” This is simply the most logical, cogent trajectory. And frankly, my heart needs this.
So between my place and his, I’ll be a busy ass bee until the end of January. No time for composing or sharing art, there’s opportunity for that later. For now, I am working on a very delicate, very personal masterpiece: a home.
She approached with heavy Megan Fox-style panting, not a single wiggle to her lean profile, pushing a three-wheeled exercise stroller with two well-behaved younguns strapped in for the ride. Her smile fanned the driveway, holding my gaze, interrupting the fill of my bike tires prior to an inaugural ride. Her skin, a scintillating coat of sweat which made me consider, if I was to bite her right now, she’d taste like crispy salted caramel. She’s still smiling and I’m still checking her out. The left brain asks, “What does she want??” The right brain predicts, “My money says she’s a nanny!”
Caramel approached with the pram. She sexily exhaled as she pointed out the deflated front tire, and could I help her air it up? I scowl inside: she’s pulling the Hot Damsel In Distress on meeeeee? That’s my move! At least she’s close enough for me to admire her toned thighs and sculpted calves. Shoving kids on a run does wonders for the human form! Alas, no ass. That’s Jenga. Right brain concedes to left.
The way the tire pump latches is too bulky for the small tire space, plus the receiver is funnily angled. Not gonna ruin my equipment for a hot chick, so had to send Salted Caramel on her way. Graciously she thanked me, waving as she bounced off.
I can get used to the suburbs.
We’re two weeks out, and muscle memory has kicked the door down. I’m able to walk a mile with the Bobster and push two miles on the bike before my legs tire. At peak performance I was burning up cardio machines and playing in bike lanes for ten miles on average. We’re getting there people! Santiago’s Manolin springing forward.
That takes care of the physical development, but how about this big brain? The apathy I shared in my fisherman’s post has tempered a bit. Every day I sit at my laptop and excrete the garbage getting in the way of genuine reflection. In reflection lies the idea, strong enough to stir tangible thoughts and visceral reactions into typed or written form. Just like thigh muscles, brain muscle memory is quite possible; the gift isn’t lost it’s just not exercised enough. Finally, a pay off. I really like the idea presented in my documentary post! Needs rewriting, yes, needs more carrots or potatoes, maybe even some Texas Pete’s. I’ll keep adapting it; you’re welcome to offer suggestions as I clean up. So there’s good news; the creative cauldron is ready to cook in!
Spiritually I’m indulging on companionship and doing it healthily. It’s…nice…different in a good way…this pseudo-domestication that is cohabitation. Something about sharing a nap or a homecooked meal keeps the crazy kitties at bay, or at least, bothering someone else for now. Major Lazer was onto something when he produced “Lean On” wasn’t he?
My friends and I believe I met an angel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Here’s the story…
We’re at the Center of The Universe! The festival, that is, although the psilocybin and cannabinoids and diazapam coursing through my body makes me feel as if I’m standing on the sun. Arms swinging gaily, feet bee-bopping as my team travels towards the main stage, I am feeling rather…superior.
Riding the wave of musical enlightenment, I spy from the corner of my eye a herd of blue boxes. I stop walking and proclaim, “Necesito mear!” which means,I need to pee. My girls round the bend and lean against a poster-bedecked wall while I experience the rare joy of no line for the port-o-potties!
I exit the pee terminal and locate the wash stand. Now this is cool; a foot pump to deliver the water, a touch-less soap dispenser, ahh hands-free technology! Fulfilled by this first world wonder, I then open my backpack to search for hand lotion. The bag’s darkness mixed with my intoxication fills me with desperation. As the harried search continues, I notice a group of festival-goers carrying on in laughter and play. Without looking up, I feel one of them drifting over.
“You’re just digging away in that bag!” he comments merrily. I offer an apprehensive look. His hands are behind his back.
Suspicious, I declare in my head space, “Go ahead and try me buddy, I’m fucking Wonder Womanright now!”
The jovial stranger, taller than I, lowers his shoulders so we’re face to face. In a contented voice he says, “I want to give you something.” His hands flutter from behind his back to his temple, removes blue eyeglasses without lenses, then waves them towards me.
I smile and refuse politely; in turn, he’s sweetly adamant. I shake my head as I take him in: wide smile, dark blue fitted ball cap matching his eyes, endowed with a Bruce Campbell chin. His body is immaculately sculpted. Madre de Dios…this dude is HAWT!
Inside I feel a wash of achievement: it’s now natural for me to notice a person’s energy before I notice his facade.
“Sweetie, I don’t want your glasses,” I insist.
He gestures towards me, “Take them!”
“But I already have glasses.”
“You’ll look great in them…”
“But I need glasses to see,” I explain, “there’s no lenses; how am I gonna see?” I smile smugly, then squeeze my eyes shut, remembering to hydrate my contact lenses.
When I flutter them back open, he’s wearing the saddest look of dejection! I kick myself internally: aww dammit, I did that thing again where I say something that makes sense to me, but comes off dickish to them! Puppy eyed, tail tucked, he starts back-stepping towards his friends. “Come here,” I sigh, widening my harpy wings to encourage him back so I that can deliver an apologetic hug. “Come, come,” I insist.
His smile beams to the moon and back. His huge arms wrap around my tiny torso, then I feel, undeniably, the purest form of authentic happiness pierce my cynical skin and invade my corroded heart. Time splinters in fractals, gravity is no more, our bodies rock in synergy. I tighten my hold as if we’ve known each other for lifetimes.
Forever returns to right now. We pull apart.
I’m relieved to find my demonstration of loving kindness has restored his playfulness. He reaches out his hand. “High five!”
I extend my hand to flatten against his.
“Now stick out your thumb,” he instructs.
I flex my thumb outwards. He does the same.
“Now bring it in…”
I wrap my thumb around his hand. He does the same.
His face touches mine. “Hand hug!”
I smile. He smiles. Tears fall like cleansing waters.