We didn’t have a TV growing up and, as a result, I've read loads of spy novels and murder mysteries and seen way too many movies about conspiracy theories. It’s gotten to he point that my dreams are filled with me being attacked by men in black and having to fight them off with my surprisingly good karate skills before running and hiding until I can take the bad guys down with my homemade contraptions a la MacGyver.
With that as a background you can understand why, when I took the dog for a walk yesterday, I saw this van and know they were up to no good.
I know the FBI or the CIA or some nefarious bad guys were in the van plotting a murder or a robbery or kidnapping
I know this because there was no sign of anyone about until I pulled out my phone to snap a picture and suddenly then that guy appeared from the back in his hastily applied bright orange jacket. I know this because my very brief search of the name of the company – one page of Google - turned up nothing. I know this because the Mayor of Our Street, who questions each and every city worker who has the bad luck to be assigned a project on our street, was nowhere to be found so they must have given her warning to steer clear.
Now, whom they were watching? I’m unclear. They were parked across from The Dentist’s house. Maybe he’s been putting listening devices in fillings and knows too much. Maybe they’ve cottoned onto his massive gun collection and they know he’s planning a covert operation to take-over the government. Or maybe it had nothing to do with The Dentist or the government and they members of the mob and were trying to kidnap the former senator that is rumored to live just down the street.
All I know is that when I made my way back around to the truck, the agent was outside the van again and made a point of smiling and waving at me in an innocent non-villain way. Unnerved, I let my guard down for a moment and waved back and almost bumped into his buddy coming from the direction of our house dressed in an ill-fitting vest and carrying suspicious looking tools. Meaning maybe it’s us that are the focus of the investigation. Tigger the Dog did just murder a chipmunk and I mentioned it here. Perhaps they think that chipmunk is code for a hit man spy and they’ve come to see what we know.
OR MAYBE, we’ve joked about our dead next door neighbors enough for it to reach the red flag stage where they send someone out to investigate and they’ve set up a sting to catch The Handyman guy that Husband is sure has killed the neighbors. Though why The Handyman would kill the neighbors and then pick up their mail everyday and do their yard work, I don’t know. Husband is sure they’re dead. I’m sure they’re in their house in Bali living the life. But maybe I’m wrong and they have The Handyman under surveillance until they can find where he hid the bodies...
It’s possible that this post won’t even go out. That they’ll cotton onto my suspicions and shut it down and put up a ‘Sorry, we’re experiencing technical difficulties’ sign or perhaps a picture of an innocent looking kitty cat or flowers or something. Or maybe it’s me! Maybe they’re coming to get me.
Maybe I was abandoned as a child and raised in a secret location where I was taught all manor of ancient weaponry and killing skills and then hypnotized to live a normal life until the secret phrase is whispered to me. Then I travel incognito to wherever they send me, dispatch whomever they needed dead and then return home non-the wiser. It would explain all my weird bruises and strange soreness and my need to nap endlessly and my very violent dreams. It would explain why I walk into a room and can’t remember why I’m there – because the hypnosis is causing gaps in my memory!
The van is the government trying to see what I’ll do next. They’re trying to gather evidence to take down the cult. Or they are the ones controlling me, sending the secret phrase to me in the call of the Owl. Now that I know, now that you know, they’ll have to shut me down. It’s very possible that this will be my last post. If you don’t hear from me again, check under the sixth step on the stairs to the attic. Everything is written down; names, dates, money exchanges, bad guy names...
Remember me well.
This is a short babble because I’m off to get my boob squished. Joy.
Yesterday a girlfriend and I caught a movie and then went to the mall to kill time before a 6pm dinner date with my Husband. The mall we went to is a fancy indoor one with two floors of shiny white walls and floors and high-end stores with lots pretty window displays. On a Tuesday afternoon, it was filled with young mothers and ladies who lunch sales people on break and lots of people interested in an iWatch.
My friend and I spent a about an hour wandering about the mall chatting and then about two hours sitting and people watching while we drank coffee and we solved the world’s problems. During that time we saw several die jobs, one transvestite, many, many bad clothing choices and a lot of mall walking elderly men and women getting their exercise. At 6pm, when we met Husband for dinner he asked us what kind of cars they had in the mall on show. Cars? What cars? We’d not seen one car on display. Weird couples, horribly tight clothing, cutie babies, funny toddlers but not one car. We told Husband that they must have been in transition because we’d not seen one.
After dinner, Husband talked me into walking around the mall to digest dinner, which I knew full well meant walk to the Apple store to look at a damn iWatch. The things I do for him. My girl friend went home and Husband and I went back into the mall where we saw not one, not two, not three but EIGHT CARS on display inside.
Eight freakin’ cars that didn’t register as information we needed to retain in our brains. Eight freakin’ cars that Husband could classify by make and model just by spotting the tail lights reflected in a store front window yet we never saw in the three hours we wandered the mall. He was horrified. We notice everything, how could we not have noticed eight shiny cars?
To which my girl friend responded: We’re just not built that way. A great purse, shoes or transvestite, we notice. Cars, not so much.
Word, girl friend. Word.
And on that note, I'm off to let a woman put my boob between two metal plates and squish it flat. Hope your day starts with a slightly less excitement than that...
Saturday night we went drinking in Nash Vegas - a strip of neon lights and bars and plaid and cowboy boots and drunk bridesmaids and bachelor parties and bad decisions here in Nashville. According to our observations, you can’t be male and drink in Nash Vegas unless you’re wearing plaid and you can’t be female unless you have short shorts and cowboy boots on. We did not get the memo. We were all fully clothed, bootless and hatless.
I’ve not gone drinking since I was … um… since I was not in my forties. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had drinks in my forties and I’ve had way too much to drink in my forties but I’ve just not set out to drink in ages.
It was not smart.
I thought I was being smart. I ate before drinking. I only drank cider and I drank it slowly. I limited myself to one in each bar/restaurant/dive we went which meant I was at a total of four for the night. Which was not awful. I should have been fine.
But our waitress in the first place we went to was fantastic. My awkward ordering um, “enthusiasm” that usually just tends to make the wait staff annoyed, amused her. She found all of us ladies entertaining. She didn’t snort with laughter when we asked her to join us. She did not give us a fake number when she told us to let her know where we went next. AND she actually showed up and was still highly entertained by us all. But then, she did a thing a person in their twenties does that a person in her forties should have refused: she bought a round of shots for the table. And I did a thing that a person in her forties who doesn’t drink much and had already had four ciders should not do. I drank that sucker.
That shot killed me.
To start off, it was Petron. Tequila and I have not been friends since before my legal drinking days when a group of us polished off a bottle and then added stupid on top of it. On the way home from that debacle, my poor friend had to keep pulling me up off the street by my belt loops. I woke up the next morning with shredded jeans and bruises all over my body from where it hit the ground each time a belt loop broke. Not awesome.
I didn’t know the shot was tequila until it was half way down my throat. I know it’s a been a long while since I’ve been drinking but I do remember that spitting the shot out is an unacceptable response so down it went. And down it stayed – for a while.
Conversations in bars are very different than conversations at parties. At parties, you can get deep and personal with life stories with one person in a corner and that informs the evening. Folks around you will either join in or choose to not step into the mire and muck and carry on elsewhere. In bars, it’s a free for all of muck followed by loud screaming and then into mire in just seconds. At one point, pre-Petron, we had an intense conversation with the best man of this guy -
Best man was drinking Bud Lite, standing on the edge of the bachelor party cluster that raged on next to him. He caught me taking the picture of the groom’s shirt and joined our tiny huddle of reason in the very crowded plaid filled bar. Best Man/Bud Lite guy has been friends with the groom since kindergarten and had gone all out to show him a good time - renting a house in Nashville, dressing the groom in a candy bikini and generally partying hard for the weekend. And yet, Best Man/Bud Lite guy told us in a deep moment in the swirling chaos around us, that he was engaged and couldn’t wait to spend his life with his lady. Lovely moment followed by some gyrating by his friends and some overly served ladies.
See, bars mean I can have a conversation that doesn’t ever get finished with a new friend about being a dominatrix followed by a moment sandwiched in between two people in love terrified to make the next step. Both of them telling me their feelings as I ping-pong back in and forth, listening to their sweet nothings about each other in either ear. Both of them couching their trepidation of a commitment to each other with the distraction that was my girl friends and me and the absolute bedlam of the crazy mating dance in the bar.
And then the Patron kicked in and now I had these shared feelings and deep moments with people happening in between giant waves of a roller coaster ride. My reaction time was in slow motion, tracers and Bionic Man sound effects and everything. My limbs were liquid at the joints and rubbery in between. My head became heavy and I had a hard time keeping it looking up and steady. This is the point in my twenties that I would have solved the unsteadiness with more booze. But in my forties, I’m smarter. Not smart enough to have not taken the shot but smart enough to text Husband for a ride and put down the drink and make my way to meet him. Not smart enough to drink loads of water when I got home but smart enough to make it to the bathroom each time my body decided it didn’t want the Petron in there anymore.
Someone told me once that you never really grow-up. You just start to make better choices. And, they said, that every choice comes with the option to regret the decision or to learn and grow from the decision.
I’m still feeling rough. I never want to see or smell tequila again but I don’t regret the night. Two days later, I don’t regret the choices I made or the stories I shared. Which is a very nice change than the shame and remorse I would feel in my twenties where everything I did or said was replayed in my head for months after the fact. No regrets at all. I made some fabulous and interesting new friends. I had some fantastic laughs. I have some fantastic stories that may one day be a blog post or a play or a smile when I’m eighty. If I ever make it to see eighty, that is. I’m pretty sure if I try to put Petron in me one more time, my stomach is just going to quit on me.
Yup. No regrets.
Now, please hide all liquor from me for the foreseeable future. We are currently not friends.
Living with Husband is not boring. And not just because we’re here, in Nashville, where thunderstorms and tornado sirens have made the last week entertaining. Or because I saw a Red-bellied Snake and Common Five-lined Skink and an Owl yesterday that made life exciting. But rather because, at any moment, something may come out of Husband's mouth that needs an explanation or at least proof of accuracy.
I know some of this is because he’s Scottish and their slang is a whole kettle of crazy terms. When we were first remodeling our house, I’d have to look up the names he shouted at me to verify they weren’t made up and to get an exact definition of what a “Numpty” was and how being called a “Muppet” was insulting. After I stopped laughing that is. Hard to take an angry man covered in paint calling you a plushy puppet very seriously.
Then Husband would tell these stories that sounded like pure bullshit. I mean, I have a tendency to exaggerate even the simplest story but his stories sounded like Hollywood’s version of anyone’s truth. We’re ten years into marriage and I still am shocked by some of the things he tells me. I’m still running to the Internet to confirm or deny or define whatever he’s saying.
Take for example this story: In India monkeys are sacred and they cannot be killed. Now, “mobs of marauding monkeys have been wreaking havoc on residents, killing at least one” so they have taken to hiring guard monkeys to keep the other monkeys from causing trouble, disturbing the guests and guard the athletes at the Indian Games!
He told me this a while back and it was so freaking preposterous, I denied its accuracy and didn’t even bother to check the facts. And then we were at dinner with friends last weekend and the topic of killer monkeys came up. How it came up, I do not remember. But there we were, in the restaurant listening to Husband tell the killer monkeys in India story. Every single one of us at the table challenged the accuracy of the tale – pun intended – and he pulled out the old Wikipedia and “proof” that he was speaking the truth.
Now my friend's husband joked Husband probably wrote the Wikipedia entry but I know he’s not conniving enough to bother with that. Why should he when stories like this exist? (I’d like to note that I can no longer find the Wikipedia entry he showed us. I honestly didn't try very hard. I kept getting distracted by these other stories that verify Husband’s version – here and here and here. Nuts.)
Victorious, Husband went off to the bathroom and I changed the subject to other annoying things he does. Like when he makes himself breakfast and leaves the pan and the spatula for the invisible fairies to clean.
Then I mentioned the spatula that we had was given to me by my mother and that I’d like to get another but the store was out of business and Husband came back from the bathroom and told us that that wasn’t called a spatula and what followed was more internet fact checking and conferring with the waiter – who by this time had classified me as crazy – and everyone stopped me before I started asking random diners what the thing was called.
Days later and we’re still talking about it. General consensus is that the thing on the left is called a spatula in Britain and a spreader thing here and the thing on the right is called a fish slice or flipper in Britain and mostly a spatula here.
Either way, I'm the one washing the dang thing every day.
So there you have it, killer monkeys and a fish slice. Eleven years into this relationship and I’m still not bored. Flabbergasted, shocked, frustrated, exhausted… yes, but not bored.
For as long as I can remember, I have been trying hard to be one thing, have one career path, be one type of person. It has not gone well. In fact, it’s gone about as well as trying to have hair like everyone else’s has gone – which is to say, it's been a total disaster.
See, I was in my forties before I realized that I was never going to have thick straight hair that blew gently in the breeze and always looked good in a ponytail. That is forty-plus years of hairstyle attempts that did nothing for my hair and even less for my self-esteem. Years of hair straightening, curling, shaving, hats and I still look like Kid n Play.
And it’s only now that I’ve realized that I’ve been doing the same thing with my “career,” my life plan: trying to fit into someone else’s mold of what success should be.
Not just one thing makes me happy so why should I do just one thing?
And sometimes after a period of time that one thing makes me so dang unhappy I never want to see it again.
Like Oreo cookies. Sometimes Oreo cookies are the best things ever. Every lick, every bite fills me with joy and the day seems brighter. There will be months when all I do is eat Oreo cookies. I’ll sneak them for breakfast. I’ll wait till Husband makes his daily trip to the DIY store and shove two in my mouth. I’ll eat them while I’m waiting for dinner to cook. And then suddenly, without warning, the worst thing I could put in my mouth is an Oreo cookie.
My “career” has been like that. For years, theatre was all I lived and breathed. If I wasn’t on stage, I was working backstage or prepping perform or teaching theatre or directing theatre. And in my spare time, I went and saw theatre and friends in theatre and watched documentaries about theatre. Now, the thought of sitting in an audience is torture. Even more unappealing - getting my ass up on that stage and playing at being someone else for two-plus hours and for months at a time.
What to do instead?
Well, that’s where I’m stuck. That’s where I’ve been stuck for years. That’s why I gravitate back to the stage where my angsty uncertainty is embraced – or ignored. That’s why, as I sit here totally blurry-eyed having just taken the trash out and missed getting into a conversation with the Mayor of Our Street, I have no clue what I should do next.
Except, that is, to open the pack of Oreo cookies I’ve got stashed in the cupboard and ignore the problem.
Yeah, I’m going to do that!
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me