19 January 2006

Imagine Carl from Caddyshack as darker, stockier and a tow-truck driver. That was who came this morning when I called Triple A because I had a flat tire.

"Oh, man," he said as he pulled up. "Everyone at work is going to be lonely for Sue, wondering where Sue is, thinking 'Sue is walking on the beach instead of coming to work.' They’re going to miss you."

Mind you, I have never seen this person before. But he has my name on his manifest and now apparently has license to imagine my whole life history.

He opined on what caused my flat tire.

"It could be anything, you know? A piece of metal, a nail, maybe you hit the curb."

"Yeah," I agreed. "It could be almost anything."

"I’m not done yet," he said, mad that I had interrupted his list. "It could be a hundred things. Maybe it was a leprechaun who didn’t like you parking near his lawn. Or a gremlin who thought your silver car was a spaceship and wanted it to fly instead of drive."

He said this all as if those were perfectly reasonable, though rare, reasons someone's tire might get popped.

For some odd reason he demanded to flip through my owner's manual - with his heavy work gloves on - to find the page where it showed how you jack up the car. After this laborious and long process - it really took a while, and my owner's manual will never be quite the same between the wrinkles and the grease - he made me read the steps of changing a tire to him while he changed the tire. Before I had the third step read, he was done, so the whole exercise was kind of moot.

"I'll bet you have seen some weird stuff, being a tow-truck driver," I said, hoping to hear at least one story that I could amaze my friends with - someone with a trunk full of chimpanzees, or a headless horse, or a wrecked car full of clowns - something.

"Oh no," he replied. "It's all normal to me."


18 January 2006

True Romance

My parents had their 60 year wedding anniversary today. That is not a typo. Sixty.

They celebrated by going out to barbecue chicken wings at KFC. That's my folks - not fancy, but they enjoy themselves. (The chicken wing thing is supposed to be a secret, so don't tell them that I told you).

They eloped in 1946, just after my dad came home from three years in the Army in Europe during World War II. He was, and is, tough - at 87 he could probably STILL kick some Nazi butt.

They met before the war - my mom must have been 15 - and married within 8 months of his return. And they are still married.

How do they do it? I dunno - you're asking someone who isn’t exactly stellar at relationships.

And if you ask them, they won’t be able to tell you, either. I think they got in the habit of being married and never got out of it.

The only time I think they - by which I mean my mom - considered calling it quits was for a few months in the 70s when everyone was all of a sudden getting divorced, my mom was going through menopause, and everything seemed like it was going to hell. It was a weird, bad time for almost everyone.

In spite of all that, she stuck it out. So did Dad. And now, a mere 30 years later, they still share the same roof, though not the same bed.

"We visit," Mom explains, though she knows it squeams me out to hear it. "Not exactly wearing a path in the carpet, but we have our times."

Dad is skinny and legally blind, but still walks the dog a mile-and-a-half every day. Mom is fat and can barely walk, but hobbles around with a cane enough to keep the house tidy and food on the table, especially since she recently discovered - and is delighted by - microwave meals.

Their one hobby is to argue like maniacs, point by point, so having them tell you a five-minute story can take half an hour with all the disagreements, corrections, backtracking and explanations.

They roll their eyes behind each others backs, toss their hands up in the air, mutter under their breath as the other leaves the room.

But somehow it still works.

If I had one observation about their relationship, it would be that they always, always put the other person first. I don’t know if modern psychologists would agree that is the most self-actualized thing to do, but then again, most marriage counselors haven’t been married for 60 years, either.

I'm immensely proud of them for sticking it out, having six kids, eight grandkids and thirteen great-grandkids so far. God bless them!

17 January 2006

Pickup line

I was walking the dog down the Avenue, the nearest big street by my house, after work, in the dark.

This guy yelled something about "dog" to me and I made the mistake of thinking it was the same guy I had had an inane conversation about dogs with a few nights before, so I slowed up. Wrong.

This dog guy was extremely drunk and weaving.

"I just been at the Bikini Bar drinking and looking at women..." he said.

"Yes, I can tell - your face is all covered with glitter," I said helpfully.

I tried to sidestep him but he was just drunk enough to completely block my path and fall into step with me.

"Are you married?" he asked.

"Yes!" I chirped, lying my ass off.

"Happily?" he asked, weaving and slurring, yet hopeful.

"AB-solutely," I grinned, jamming my left hand in my pocket, hoping he hadn't noticed the lack of diamond thereupon.

"I never been married," he said. "I'm a virgin."

"I kind of doubt that, considering the glitter and all," I said.

"I can't remember where I parked my car," he said. "I been there all afternoon."

"Well, sir," I said. "I think under the circumstances, you might want to call a taxi. You don't want to get a DUI."

"Hell no," he said. "I already got SEVEN of those."

I cut off down a side street, trying to get away as fast as possible.

"Hey," he said. "You're cute!"

Ah, my little glitter man. You really know how to talk to a lady.
Back to top