Last Thursday Jack called me at work and asked me if I wanted to meet him for lunch downtown.
I asked him what time it was right then.
“Eleven fifteen,” he said.
I asked him what time he wanted to meet. He said noon.
“Noon!” I exclaimed. “Well, I guess I’d better stop eating these candy bars, then.”
For some reason lately I’ve been making a point to admit things that I might normally try to hide (e.g., Normal Adults Are Not Supposed To Eat Three Candy Bars Right Before Lunch), because I seem to have realized that there’s really no point in trying to examine my behavior through someone else’s eyes and adjust my admissions accordingly. So now, when I admit having done something that might fall on the spectrum somewhere between slightly unusual and flat-out unnatural, Jack says, with real feeling, “God, I love you. I do.” And then he just sits there and looks amazed. You’d think this relationship would be all out of surprises after going on eleven years now, but apparently not. The secret to longevity seems to be this: let the truth slip gradually, ladies and gentleman.
So, he came to pick me up at the office and there I was, throwing away bite-size candy bar wrappers while wearing two t-shirts and a sweater.
“You’re not going to need that sweater,” he said. We were going to a sidewalk lunch place.
“But I’m cold!” I said. I’m cold a lot of the time. I should probably be wearing The Hat.
“It’s hotter than a two-peckered goat out there.” He said it in this colorful but slightly condescending way he has of implying that reality will forever remain just beyond my grasp.
This is where I sighed and tried to look aggrieved. Because he is so bossy.
We walked outside and, well, it was rather warm. It’s been perfect here, actually, just like spring, the jasmine is blooming and it smells like high-end bubble bath everywhere you go.
“That sweater belongs in the garbage.” He was going to continue berating me until I did something drastic, this was clear.
And my sweater did deserve to be set on fire, I admit it. I bought it at one of the medium-high-end outlet stores down in Camarillo where I saw Kelsey Grammar that one time buying bargain socks at Barney’s. So it was a high-priced, half-price cardigan with a zipper that never worked properly and sleeves that pilled up about ten minutes after I first put it on. But I paid $50.00 for it! So I would wear it no matter how shoddy it looked! Because I am the child of Depression Babies and insist on making do as a point of pride, even when it’s hotter than a quadruped with two penises and I have another, nicer, sweater at home that I could be wearing instead.
“I can’t throw this in the trash! I’ll give it to The Salvation Army,” I said.
To paraphrase the next thirty seconds of discussion: What was my plan, then? To take it home and let it sit in a bag on the floor for two months until I finally made a donations run? And then The Salvation Army would probably throw it in the trash, too.
However, Jack deferred to my persistent and perhaps neurotic need to recycle and took my sweater and hung it on a tall stake that was supporting a youngish palm tree, hung it in a way that said, “I found this on the sidewalk and hung it up here for you to see if it’s yours and you dropped it, but if it’s owner doesn’t take it then it’s totally up for grabs”:
And then we went to lunch.
An hour and one terrible bowl of chicken chili later (if you go to Barcliff & Bair on State, don’t order the chicken chili, they don’t soak the beans enough and your body will be working for days to properly digest them) I walked back by the palm tree and the sweater was still there. I felt like I should take it, but I didn’t because I was equally curious to see how long it would last there.
I walked by again two hours later on my way to the ATM because I’d given Jack all the money in my wallet to give to Franco for his haircut (Jack stepped into the door, handed Franco $30, and said, “Thanks, you were great.” This remark seems to accompany the exchange of money with Jack pretty regularly. It’s one of those jokes that is funny at first, and then isn’t the next fifteen times, and then gets funny again for some reason. If anyone knows of an algorithm to explain this phenomenon, I would be interested in taking a look at it.)
So, I walked by the palm tree on the way to the ATM to get cash so I could pay to get my car out of the parking garage and the sweater was gone. It kind of bummed me out that someone would just help themselves to it, but at the same time I hope it enjoys a new life on the back of someone who needs it and/or can get all those pills off the sleeves. A razor might work for that. I’ve never tried that, though. I’ve never tried shaving my sweaters.
I’M NOT DONE YET! Then I drove up to Chaucer’s bookstore because I’d been in the children’s section with Jackson over the weekend and accidentally left the valentines we’d picked out for his classmates over by the rack of Berenstain Bear books. One of the clerks found them for me and put them behind the front counter. I used to work at Chaucer’s and once I heard a customer call it “chow-ser’s.” So occasionally I say to Jack, Let’s go to Chow-ser’s! And he gets that look on his face like he loves me so much because I’ve said something asinine that amuses me and me alone.
But when I got to Chow-ser’s at three in the afternoon they were closed due to a “blown transformer,” according to a sign taped to the door. So I got back in my car and drove out of the lot and that’s when I saw the truck! THE TRUCK!! The. Truck. The truck that I had tried to tell Alice about when I met her at BlogHer, about how I wanted to take a picture of this truck because it reminded me of one of the first posts I ever read on her blog:
Alice just looked at me with polite interest as I excitedly tried to describe this truck with the “little Italian” on it, and though my enthusiasm must have frightened her somewhat she made a successful effort not to show it, and for that I thank her. And now my excitement is somewhat vindicated. I mean, the whole thing is kind of stupid. I’m way too into this blog thing. If I’m going to risk my life, driving forty miles an hour, trying to steer while taking a picture of a gleefully stereotypical depiction of a member of a once oppressed and still occasionally vilified miniority.
So did anyone else hear that bit of Prairie Home Companion the weekend before last when they were in Miami and did a parody of Brokeback Mountain and called it Brokebutt Mountain, and made the two main guys in it George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow. Nice work, Garrison Keillor, I had just about quit you but you drew me back with your somewhat homophobic but well-targeted satire. God I love you. I do.