Thursday, February 16, 2023

Colleagues and Cats

I slept like the devil last night.  That's a saying.  I think it means I slept long and hard, but that makes little sense, doesn't it?  Does the devil sleep well?  Maybe I have it wrong.  

So I Googled it, and sure as shittin' I do.  The saying is "sleep with the devil."  One sleeps "like a rock."  

Well, I'll have it my way.  I slept like the devil.  Ten hours.  Not a bad thought, not a disturbing dream.  

I got up in the morning to a cloudy day that would turn bright and sunny, but I wasn't sure that I would.  Something felt off.  I was lazy, or so it seemed, and I couldn't motivate myself to "get going" as the hillbilly relatives like to say.  So I dawdled.  I had thoughts of going to the gym to ride the exercise bike and to stretch, but the day was wearing on and I was still in what passes for my pajamas.  I decided to scan the film I had developed the day before and then to mix up some color film processing chemicals.  And when that was done, I decided I would develop the color 4x5 negatives I had taken on my photo safari.  

I got a text.  It was from my Tennessee boyfriend.  He was at the gym. 

"Where are you?" 

I wrote back that I was cooking up film.  He said that the pretty woman I was introduced to the day before was asking about me.  

"Ha!" I replied.  I thought that was pretty noncommittal.  

The next text was a photo of her on her knees on an exercise mat smiling impishly.  I thought that, too, was pretty noncommittal.  I would, however, allow it to make me happy-ish.  

The scanning, the developing, the drying of the negatives, the hopes and dreams of wonderful photography. . . . 

This is what happens all the time.  I was talking to the motel owner and not paying close attention to what I was doing.  I shot the same piece of film twice.  It would have been such a nice photo, too.  Ah. . . well. . . selavy.  

I decided to cook some of the scans up in Photoshop.  The day wore on.  

Another text came in.  There was going to be a popup happy hour in the factory town.  I had been inside on a gorgeous day.  I thought a beer would be nice.  I took a shower and went to seem my mother early.  

"I'm going to meet the kids for happy hour," I told her.  

I was on the train at 4:09.  

I sent this photo to the text group. 

"Does this mean you are coming to happy hour?"

When I got there, five of my former female colleagues were sitting at an outdoor bar looking inward.  I did that on purpose for fun--"former female colleagues."  I amuse myself.  I had limped half a mile from the train to get there and now there was no place to sit.  I ordered a "Three Daughters" pale ale because my new old friend likes it.  It is brewed in her own hometown.  

"Do you have any other Daughters?" I asked the bartender as that company makes more than one beer.   But it made my former female colleagues laugh.  My proclivities are well known.  

"That's like telling your friends on a road trip, 'You want to check out the high school. . . you know. . . just to see what it looks like?"

"I thought you weren't allowed to be within 500 feet of a school?" one of my former female colleagues joked.  

I enjoy playing with their progressive sensibilities, and can because they all know I haven't had a date in this decade.  They know I'm shy and that is why I present my impish persona.  At least that's what I think. 

One of the former female colleagues asked, "Are you enemies with Zane?" Zane was another floor boss who got in trouble and lost the foreman's job.  He went back to working on the floor.  We had been friends and allies and a good negotiating team prior to the advent of the union.  We got salaries improved by quite a bit and were heroes for it.  After he lost the foreman's job, however, and after the union was voted in, I didn't see him much.  

"I don't think so.  Why?"

"Your name came up in a meeting and he called you a son of a bitch."

"Well," I laughed, "I guess I am now."

"I don't know how he meant it.  I mean, it could have been like, "that son of a bitch" in a good way, you know, how old men call each other son of a bitch."  

"She just called you an old man," said another former female colleague.  

"Hey. . . " I started. 

"I said Zane was an old man. . . ." 


I took the floor and began telling unknown bawdy stories of factory life and politics, things that are shocking in today's environment.  Of course, I was the hero, but they already knew that.  I was having fun.  I was on top of my game.  I can do that.  I like to do that.  I just don't get to do that any longer.  

Then there was an explosion and the lights went out.  Everyone jumped.  

"I'm going to guess that my tab just got wiped out," I grinned.  I ordered a short gin and tonic and paid the new bartender cash.  The day was ending and I had to get back to the train station.  I looked at the timetable on my phone.  

"O.K., kids, I have to do the old Super Bowl Shuffle."  

Hugs all around.  

When I got to the station, I took a phone snap and sent it to the group with the waving hand emoji.  Only it wasn't the waving hand emoji,  It was the clapping emoji.  I searched and searched but couldn't find the right one.  One of the former female colleagues sent the waving emoji to me.  Then my replacement at the factory who was at home wrote, "It's nice to see that the factory still provides tech support to seniors."  Fucker.  

I had to confess, however, that it was not enough.  "I have to wait another half hour for the last train.  I was looking at the "a.m." schedule rather than the "p.m." schedule.  

As a result, I didn't get home until well past dark.  When I pulled into the driveway, much to my surprise, the cat was lying on top of the covered grill.  She had waited for me to come home to get her dinner.  

"You. . . you are a crazy cat," I said as she circled my feet.  Colleagues and cats.  This is as good as it gets most days.  

I warmed up some grilled chicken from the night before and heated up some beans.  I poured a glass of Chardonnay.  It was late to be eating, and I just picked at the food as I watched some camera porn on YouTube.  I checked my email and texts one last time and headed off to bed.  

Tonight some gymroids are meeting up for a little belated birthday celebration.  Early, in my honor.  Ha.  Perhaps social interaction is what helps me sleep "like the devil."  Perhaps it will be true again tonight.  

But now I must get started.  Having slept so late, the day is moving on without me.  I must get to the gym and make some more pictures today.  Gotta keep moving, I think.  

Just keep moving on that painful, broken knee.  

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