Abandonment Issues

On February 13, 2006 by Eden M. Kennedy

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.



51 Responses to “Abandonment Issues”

  • I’ve shaved my wool coat before. It worked wonders.

  • And how about the letter or symbol on the front of his apron, un-subtly implying that the Little Italian isn’t so “little” after all?

  • I had someone in my Chaucer class in college who called him “Chasser.” Also a ridiculous roommate who thought the craft store Michael’s was called Michelle’s. We often go to Michelle’s now when we need art supplies.

  • Mrs. Kennedy, I wish I knew how to quit you!

  • Damn, styro beat me to the obligatory “I just can’t quit you, Garrison Keillor!” rejoinder.

    Also, are there any herbal potions/sexual favors/other inducements that you can recommend to compel one’s husband to greet potentially annoying/embarrasing habits with gushing expressions of love? Not for me, of course, but for this other girl I know…

  • Aw, a fellow friend who’s internal heater is broken. One time I touched the back of my friend’s neck: he jumped into the air and yelled, “WOMAN! The DEAD retain heat better than you do!” It’s a gift we have. :)

  • I’m feeling a little nostalgic for unloved but hope-it-finds-a-better-home clothing that I secretly adored but that my husband badgered me endlessly to get rid of. This is the same husband who has several shirts that no longer have collars because they are so old they have. worn. away. Ahhh, the irony.

  • I think I’d like a little Italian in me for Valentine’s Day.

    Aw, who am I kidding? I’d like a BIG Italian in me for Valentine’s Day.

  • Wait. Is Franco married? You know, I really think I might need to marry Franco. I think we might actually be Soul Mates, me and Franco.

  • The little Italian! There he is!

    Now whenever I’m petting my dog I will see him.

  • i have a little italian in me. huhuhuhuh. huhuhuhuhuh. oh, sorry. that was my son making fun of the wording because, you know, everything is DIRTY. (and yes, i laughed.)

  • You know, they make actual devices to shave the pills off of sweaters. I have no idea where you can buy them, but I know my mother has one. And has given me one in the past, which I then lost track of.

  • Nice posting. And Garrison…he’s going into a sort of naughty stage, I think. Very into fart humor lately. I heard his whole Brokebutt skit and liked it, but then again I’ve been told I’m somewhat juvenile.

    And I bought a sweater at the Camarillo Outlets that lasted about three weeks before the sleeve separated from the body of the sweater. I don’t believe it pilled in that 3 wks, though.

  • I think you buy the little pill shaver devices from those catalogs that sell nose hair clippers and toilet seat warmers and stuff.

  • those little pill shavers never worked for me. a friend of mine uses a (new) disposable razor and says it works just fine, but i’ve never had the guts to try it.

  • Have you seen the “Brokeback to the Future” little film? It’s an amazing tribute to the fact that editing can make nearly any message appear from nearly any footage.

  • I love this post. Is this the week for brilliant writing? I’m kind of confused about that sweater though. That was a zipper sweater! Those are awesome. A good zip up sweater is might hard to find. I hope it has a good home now.

  • First the candlesticks made out of flatware, and now all this…I love Jack.

    And flashing words? How do you make the flashing words? On second thought, better not tell me, or half my posts would be filled with flashing words instead of italics.

  • I feel like I’ve just spent an afternoon in an unattractive, pilly sweater, owned by the fabu Mrs. Kennedy. I WAS THERE, MAN!

  • they sell those shavers in Hold Everything, or the Container Store– I forget which. For some reason they are made out of bakelite and look like they JUST emerged from your grandmother’s giant beige purse. My friend Lauren swears they work but I have never had the patience to actually sit down and shave a sweater with an implement. Unfortunately, I DO seem to have the patience to pick off the pills one by one, usually when i am in public somewhere. What to do with the resulting handful of natty fluff??

  • i am done with the keillor – he can stay on writer’s almanac, but i’m sick to death of APHC.

  • the little italian with the gigantic dangling T (for what? tortellini? tiramisu? a little taste of italian testosterone???) lovelovelove it!

    i also love your honey’s solution for recycling really-too-shabby-to-wear-but-i-can’t-bring-myself-to-toss-’em-out clothes. i have a closet full of such items and have been desperate-yet-loath- to get rid of ‘em. think anyone would notice if i tried that handy little tree-stake trick in stamford or greenwich, ct? how ’bout manhattan?

    by the by… hope katie is well and happily watching the westminster dog show! : D

  • I saw the guys who do South Park trying to explain the joke alorithm once on a talk show. They were explaining why the extra long puke scene in Team America was funny. Same with the Austin Powers’ taking a leak scene in the first movie. It’s a widely recognized phenomenon.

    I can’t stand listening to the lip smacking loud breather, Garrison Keilor. I can’t even hear what he has to say through all the breathy spittle sounds. Maybe if I listened longer, it would get funny, but I don’t think the algorithm works that way.

  • DO NOT SHAVE YOUR SWEATERS, if only to save yourself from accidentally shaving off half of your fingernail, which I once did, and my finger has never been the same.

  • Oh. My. God. I am laughing so hard, my boss just called from the other side of the wall to ask me what was so funny!!

  • …and a family of moth’s have a new home….

    Think of it like Book Crossing only for nappy wool.

  • after reading this post, i couldn’t and wouldn’t ever think of quitting you.

  • Your old-school HTML wizardry is blowing my mind. Blinking text is the shit.

    -the patriarch

  • 2 peckered goat?! LOL

  • Marvelous post, Mrs. K. Mar. Ve. Lous.

    I KNOW with that word thing. Go-thee Street in Chicago is my favorite destination. Then, of course, there’s the Regina, Paulina and Lunt of my favorite local joke.

  • Tank ju for sveater. It wery varm.

  • Man, I love that post. Really, I do.

  • So funny to hear the blown transformer story from another side…My nephew works on State St. at an accounting office. He went outside to his car, heard a noise in the power lines, looked up to see sparks flying and the transformer blow UP pow! and stuff come shooting off and set the car next to his on FIRE! and the car burned DOWN and it was one of his clients. His car was okay though. How crazy.

  • I have a friend who says “it’s hotter than a two peckered Billy goat”. Makes me laugh.

  • Okay, that picture? YOU TOOK THAT PICTURE ON THE ROAD? that is totally freaking amazing.

    And garrison keillor rocks my socks a little bit.

  • At a local diner, I overheard a fellow southern-Illinoisian say, “I ain’t gon eat no possom, them greasy, grinnin’ sunsabitches!” This, of course, wasn’t so much a turn-of-phrase as it was a testament to the fact that oppossums have fatty muscle tissue and they smile too much.

    But it was colorful. And a little worrisome. Much like the hot, two-peckered goat.

    Poor thing.

  • This post has a little bit for everyone!

  • Summer, possums are minions of Satan. That’s why they don’t taste good.

    I guess eating candy bars just before lunch isn’t such great nutrition. But, Mrs. Kennedy, be glad that you CAN eat candy bars EVER and not have to worry about accumulating tonnage on your ass.

    You’re always cold? I’m always hot. Somewhere, someone is numb.

  • Awesome. After reading this post, I am overcome by the urge to jettison some now-unfavored clothing in a place where I can casually monitor how long it takes for someone to appropriate it. Maybe I will do a study, leave different pieces of clothing, see which are in hottest demand. I can make a spreadsheet!
    It will be quite an undertaking, but you make time for the important things

  • I have contractor bags full of clothes to donate. I need someone to come, and gently FPRCE me to actually put them in the car and take them to the SA. I just can’t seem to part with them. I don’t even know what is in all those bags anymore, except it is either too big for me, too small for the kids, and not nice enough to give to someone I already know.

    It could be OCD, and then I would have a perfectly good excuse, right??

  • I was AT the Prairie Home Companion show in Miami. He lied, it was not sunny and warm. Still, very funny. He wears red tennis shoes and moves around quite a lot, in case anyone thought he just sits on a chair, like I imagined.

  • Oh. Uh. That was -your- sweater?

  • I can’t believe I missed that part of Prairie Home Companion. Garrison Keillor moves around? I pictured him sitting on a chair, too.

  • I have several sweaters like that, the oldest of which dates back 15 years to my sophomore year of college and I can’t bear to part with them.

    Also, you eat two candy bars before lunch and I recently made models of the human reproductive system out of candy and also marvelled that my husband didn’t think I’m some kind of freak. It must be true love.

  • There must be something wrong with my eyes because I don’t see any blinking text. What are you people talking about?!

    I like to think that someone else walking down your street, thinking how chilly they were, saw your sweater hanging there. Stopped, glanced around, took it off the tree, glanced around again, then put it on. Maybe they had a little kid with them whose eyes were big as saucers at the thought of sweaters growing on trees. Nice!

  • Blinking text don’t work in Explorer unless you pay Bill Gates 5 dollars. Use Firefox to view the magic.

    -the patriarch

  • Summer, I never ate a possum (or it’s irish cousin) but frequently had Maid-Rites and pulley bones.

    Word. (from formerly on the west side of the The Rend)

  • I adored the “little Italian” picture–I remember that Finslippy post as well. Now it will always have a visual for me.
    Oh, and as for de-pilling sweaters, I tried the “disposable razor” trick, and managed to catch a bit of my sweater in the blades and tear a hole in it. So beware.

  • Don’t de-pill your sweaters. How will they ever learn?

  • Um, I am a proud owner of The Hat and I wear it with both of my fussy,org t-shirts. just so you know.

  • oh! my. the mention of the Camarillo outlets was maybe the nicest surprise. I was raised in Cam and having since moved away the end of ’96, my heart warms over whenever I see my little city’s name somewhere “big.”