30 March, 2011
Palm Poem #6
Some days I give into the darkness. Some days I reflect what I hate the most. Some days I fail to live up to my own expectations. (They are higher than yours for me.) Some days I think about using more !!!!!!!! Some days I am afraid of my exuberance. Some days my skin is too thin. Some days other people's feeling are too loud. Some days I wonder if people feel anything at all. Some days I think I never feel enough.
Someday none of it will matter.
Someday I may figure it all out. If I am lucky.
28 March, 2011
24 March, 2011
20 March, 2011
turned my blood to Kentucky Bourbon. The fights in the parking lot
are the same fights we have had for 406 – no a thousand –
15 March, 2011
I'm sure there's a story behind the barcalounger in the waiting room. Once upon a time, it was surely a statement of some kind, or a response to repeated offhand criticisms. Something like "Gee Mel, for as long as you make me wait everytime I gotta come here to get the rig looked at, you oughta at least have comfortable chairs." Everyone chuckles. The joke comes up again. And again. Then finally, sick of the joke... or maybe somebody brought it up on a particularly bad day ... Mel says "To hell with it! You wanna be comfy? You think we take too long? Well here's a nice soft chair for you to take a nap in. You want a bedtime story too? A blankie? How about your Mama's tit to help you sleep?"
Bet that solved the problem.
Or maybe it's something else entirely.
14 March, 2011
The world is wobbling on it's axis and the religiholics
09 March, 2011
I figured that two out of three wasn't bad and reminded myself that the trick to heavy lifting is to bend at the knees.
Killing time a Waffle House off the turnpike – one of the few places that would let me get away with sitting and drinking the same cup of coffee for several hours at a time – I found the job listing in the classifieds section of one of the free weekly advertising papers from the news stand machines in front of the library. Someone had left behind at the table. None of the jobs were circled and it didn't look like any of the pages were missing; I guess they didn't find what they were looking for amongst the listings for day labor, temporary light industrial work, and advertisements trying to sell the financial freedom of truck driving.
To be honest, I was in no position to be particular. I was living in a friend's laundry room and I hadn't paid rent in more than three months. Paul was only charging me $80 a month; it was a pity price, and really I was there to supplement his preference for expensive beer. He'd had people living in his backroom ever since he moved into the small house on the back of Linn Street. It was one of those streets that, if you didn't know it was already there, you probably wouldn't find it. And Blighton, Ohio, is not that big of a town. It bragged 35 varieties of churches (one Catholic), a brand new high school that was still not quite paid for, and a geographical proximity to the birthplace of a United States President. There were no bars in town, or in the entire township, since it had been dry since ten years before Prohibition and the Baptists made sure it stayed that way.
Blighton was my hometown. Once I graduated high school, the first thing I did was get the fuck out, swearing that I would never return; but of course, whenever you qualify any statement with “never” you exponentially increase the chances that you will return. I hated it. How could I not hate it? The default position, right? When life kicks you in the balls one too many times, that's the thing you do. Go home. My family didn't live there anymore. Mom sold the house two years after the old man died and moved into a Condo closer to civilization, where she was five minutes from a mega-grocery store and closer to the church she switched to in order to get away from being Blighton's new Poor Grieving Widow. Blighton is That Kind of Town. The Kind that Never Forgets. The Kind That Never Lets You Forget. The day after I showed up back in town I ran into twenty people I went to high school with. Half of them recognized me. I'd been gone for six years – a hard six. College a failure, marriage a failure. I was living in my car and in the downtown Cincinnati library until I was arrested for vagrancy and booted. Bunch of unsympathetic bastards. There is no mercy – or damned little of it. Plenty of judgment. The arresting officer, who was a rookie probably not much older than me, kept giving me these disgusted looks. They put me in the drunk tank for good measure, even though I wasn't really drunk. The judge asked why I didn't have a job; I told her I'd be happy to take hers if she was offering.
Once it became clear that I didn't have any money for bail or fines – and because it was my first offense – the judge let me go. I couldn't afford to get my car out of the impound lot, and pretty much everything I owned – what little I owned, was in the trunk. They know how to take everything and somehow make you feel like it's your fault.
The decision to go back to Blighton was mostly strategic. I needed to get out of the city for a while, and I figured that newbie cop would be looking for me in all my regular hangouts. I was standing outside the downtown courthouse, trying to figure out exactly how I was going to get somewhere safe, when I ran into Paul. He was downtown that day fighting a ticket. He lost, but that didn't matter so much. The act of fighting the speeding ticket was more important to him than the outcome. He had even bragged to me that he acted as his own attorney. I told him the situation, and he offered to rent his laundry room to me – as long as I got a job soon. Fine by me, I said. It beat calling my mom and trying to explain the situation to her.
Paul didn't exactly get on me finding work, but he did occasionally highlight his growing concern in various ways. Sometimes he would complain about the fridge being empty or the coffee being almost gone. Once he bitched about the hot water being gone, so I started showering after he did. Sometimes I scrounged the couch cushions for change so I could go buy a cup of coffee – though that meant walking almost a mile.
And then Paul's phone rang. I didn't even know he had phone. It was my mom.
“Jarvis, how long have you been living there?”
“How did you KNOW I was living here?”
“I ran into Steven Caldwell's mom; she said she saw you walking down Main Street.”
“So how long have you been living there?”
“Why is your car in the impound lot downtown?”
“How'd you know about that?”
“They sent a letter. Apparently you still use me as your home address.”
“Why is your car in the impound lot?”
“Haven't been able to get it out.”
“Aren't you working?”
“It's difficult at the moment; they have my only means of transportation.”
“How long have you been back?”
“And you didn't feel the need to call your mother?”
“I only call when I have important updates.”
There was silence on the other end of the phone for a few seconds. She was getting upset. Shit. No surprise there. I was the son that made her cry. My younger brother was in college in Illinois and quickly becoming an academic start. My older sister was married and living in Florida. My older brother was also married and living across the river in a new money section of Northern Kentucky. Everyone was settled. Except me. She offered to drive out to Blighton and take me downtown to get my car out. I wanted to say no; but if they sent a letter, chances were they would auction it or scrap it otherwise. And I wasn't earning money sleeping on the cot in Paul's laundry room to get it out. I agreed and suffered the hour and forty minute drive downtown. She kept prodding for information, but I gave her very little. If she had known everything she thought she wanted to know, she would have been horrified on top of being worried. I let her strong arm me into going to her place for dinner, but only with the stipulation that she not call my brother or invite the family... I was trying to keep my exposure to a minimum. I let her cook me liver and onions – I was the only other person in the family besides her who liked it – and slept in her guest bed that night. The following morning we went out to breakfast (she paid, gave me $200 and made me promise to call. She also cornered me into coming over for dinner with my brother Ed and his family. I promised, but I didn't tell her when. Then I drove back to Blighton, where Paul was ecstatic that I had my car because it meant I might actually have a job.
I didn't even ask her how she'd gotten Paul's number.
So I paid him a little rent money, which lightened his mood for a few weeks, and I spent my days trying to figure something out. At least I had my clothes and books again.