Thursday, August 27, 2009

Soul Radiation in the Dead of Night

Here are some cat tails.

I'm delighted at the prospect of tomorrow night. The girls will be in Dubuque at a football game, leaving me blissfully alone in my apartment. My detailed plan includes an evening of running, heating something up and eating it without really paying that much attention to what it actually is, doing some superficial cleaning and then reading my book and listening to a DVD full of new music a friend of mine recently gave me. So it is now that I'm old and boring...

I remember other Friday nights in different places that weren't the least bit boring. For a while I lived on 24th and Harrison Street in San Francisco in an apartment overcrowded with Europeans all living here illegally. I slept on a mattress on the floor in a room I shared with an English girl named Susan. We worked together and I was desperate for a cheap temporary place to stay. We didn't know each other very well. She was really pretty, but also a little distant. She came and went with different men. One night I woke up to her and one of these men sitting naked on her mattress on the floor, snorting lines of coke from a mirror. I pretended to be asleep, because I had no idea what I'd say to them. The year was 1986, so I'm guessing it was a pretty typical experience back then.

I used to work almost every Friday night at Great Midwestern through most of the 90's. Toward the end of my marriage, while I was marking time waiting to be able to move out of my house, I tried to make sure I got home long after my ex went to sleep. It was so much better than trying to avoid each other at home when the girls weren't awake. I usually hung out in the closed coffee shop/ice cream place reading books and listening to music. Every once in a while, one of the college students who worked there would talk me into going out with them. Going to the bars always seemed like traveling to a foreign country after hanging out with my young daughters all day.

I spent a Friday evening in 1999 trying to keep my daughter from pulling an IV out of her arm. She had been unconscious for a couple of days. The IV was pumping three different kinds of antibiotics into her body, just to make sure at least one of them worked. Without them she would be dead. The doctors told me it could be at least three days until we knew if she would be okay and able to respond to anything. I kept trying to calmly talk to her while holding her arms down. "You have to just leave it alone, sweetie. I know it feels weird, but you can't pull it out. It's helping you get better. I'm sorry. I love you," I said. I had been saying something similar to that on and off since they set us up in our room.

"I love you too, Mommy," she responded. It was the first thing she had said to me since before she was in the hospital.

When I lived in Los Angeles in 1988, I worked in the juniors department at the Glendale Galleria and sold overpriced clothes to young, D-list starlets. I used to have to take the bus home. Apparently, Friday nights were full moon nights for public transportation. (actually, noon on Sunday was probably a full moon experience on most LA buses too) One night I sat next to a tired looking woman wearing nursing whites. Directly across from us, a man in his twenties scooched to the edge of his seat and leaned over, "Hey, are you a nurse?" he asked the tired woman. She wisely ignored him and stared intently out the window. "HEY!" he yelled. "I SAID, are you a NURSE?!" he asked again. He was ignored again. "Well, if you are a nurse, can I have a shot? No. If you're a nurse, can I have an enema?" He continued to ask for an enema with the persistence of a two year old until the tired woman and I both reached our stop in Eagle Rock.

So it is now that I am old and boring... There are so many other Friday nights from other lifetimes, that have made me extremely happy about that.


laura b. said...

Yeah, I think at some point feeling old and boring might be a relief. Um...don't think you are quite there yet though.

Remiman said...

Old?~~ Boring?
I don't think so!

Tara said...

When you described heating up something in the microwave, I suddenly got the craving for refried beans and tamales.

Tonight I'm going with some friends to a new, organic-type of restaurant called The Treehugger's Cafe. I checked out their menu and I plan on having their dandelion soup with a side of sweet potato fries. Then we're off to the movies to see "Julie and Julia".

Have a great weekend!

Pamela said...

A full full life.
I rode the bus once in LA. It was enough.

David in DC said...

Speaking of microwaving, Monkeyboy has a new favorite channel on YouTube. It's called "Is it a good idea to microwave a _______?"

It rarely is. But there are lots of fun 'splosions and stuff. If you get a minute, check it out tonight. Some of it is laugh-out-loud funny.

AlienCG said...

My Friday nights used to be about live bands and late-night fun. Now I can't stay up late enough to see midnight.

Ananda girl said...

I used to spend my summers in EAgle Rock... my folks went to school there. Small world.

Nice slices of life. The one about your daughter pulled hard at my heart. How scary. How wonderful that it all came out alright.

booda baby said...

Oooooh, Churlita!! THIS was wonderful!! (And not just because it's so familiar, either. Wonderfully written!)

All the Fridays before earn us these ones.