Friday, June 23, 2023

The Storm

O.K.  Yesterday was a shit-show.  I had taken two Advil PMs the night before.  I should never take two.  One knocks me out fine.  When I got up in the morning, my entire body was buzzing.  My head was muzzy.  After writing, I went back to bed.  I got up at noon and ate and then went back to bed.  I slept until I had to drag myself from the bed to get ready for my beauty appointment.  I could have slept more.  

To wit: I should probably just have skipped posting in the morning.  There was a reason I took two Advil PMs.  And it wasn't good. 

So getting beautified was my entire day.  I drove to the beauty parlor under clear skies, but just as I sat in the beauty chair, a storm like you couldn't believe came blowing in at fifty miles per hour.  The lights flickered and went out.  They came back on and then went out again.  We looked out the giant plate glass window.  The rain was coming sideways, the parking lot filling up with water.  It was turning out to be a hell of a day.  

The little Russian Jew was undeterred.  The foils were going on.  We talked.  This was going to take hours.  There was much to do.  She's an artist.  This is as close as I get to a tattoo.  I just trust her to do something good.  And it isn't permanent.  I'll always be back in six weeks.  

She is not all the things I make fun of, but many.  Chakras.  Auras.  Witchy things.  Therapists.  So I tried out some of my crackpot theories on her.  She had just gotten back from a cruise with her friend.  It was an adults only cruise.  She came back tan with many tales of flirtation.  Her friend is beautiful, she says, and is divorcing a very famous English soccer.

"She says he is as famous as Beckham."  She tells me his name.  "Do you know who he is?"


"Neither do I, so I tell her I know who Beckham is, but I have never heard of him.  He is no Beckham.  Still, he makes twenty million dollars a year."

But they haven't been married so very long. . . only three years.  

"Short term marriage.  She won't get so much.  She needs to stick it out for seven," I said with very little knowledge other than my own divorce experience.  

"He's a Narcissist," she says.  

Oooo.  There is one of those terms that have gained so much popularity with the Oprah crowd.  I hadn't actually heard it used for awhile. 

"What is a Narcissist?" I ask disingenuously.  

She explains.  

"How does that relate to gaslighting?"

"Gaslighting is one of the things a Narcissist does."

She told me that she would never be gaslighted and why.  

"I'll bet you couldn't be hypnotized, either.  Some people can't be."

"Everybody is a Narcissist to some degree," she says.  "That's why there are all the selfies.  There are many degrees.  But yea. . . we all have some of it."

"Not me," I grin.  She laughs.  

"That's why you are sitting here getting foil in your hair.  It is why people get botox and surgeries.  I make a living off of Narcissists."

She is very interested in hypnotism.  She has been talking about taking courses for years.  When I mention "mentalism," she practically pees.  

"What is that?"

I explained.  Oh, boy. . . she was excited.  She was ready to become a mentalist, so I texted her the cover of the best book on it.  She, however, isn't really a reader.  

"Don't they have stuff about it on YouTube?"

"You mean Mentalism for Idiots?"

"I love those guides.  I have them.  Judaism for Idiots.  It was good, easy. . . just the main stuff."

She is determined now to be a YouTube Mentalist.  She grew up a Jew in a rough part of Russia, so, I said, "You are already part mentalist.  You've had to learn to read people to survive."  

She'll be pulling rabbits out of hats next time I go to the parlor.  

The entire time, my phone was blowing up.  

"Who's that?" 

"Oh. . . a woman I know wants to see before and after photos of my day at the salon." 

The phone rang.  WTF?  It was my boy Tennessee.  I explained and regaled her with gymroid tales.  

"Look at you," she said.  "Women texting, friends calling, you going out. . . you've got quite the life."

"You bet.  I eat dinner alone every night, make cocktails, and watch t.v.  I'm a fucking party boy, I am."

"Well, that's what you choose, then."

"I guess.  I don't know if I am ready for something new.  The flame hasn't gone out on the old torch yet.  I don't have confidence that anyone will get me, you know?  I'm a bit. . . different."

"Maybe you need somebody who isn't like you, somebody who is the opposite of you.  Maybe you need somebody who is stable.  It seems like your last relationship was all drama."

"Maybe. I don't know.  I'm probably not fit company for anyone now.  Why don't you ever hook me up with your Russian friends?"

"You don't have enough money."  

Well. . . there is that.  But by and large, women have always had more money than I, or at least come from it.  

The foils were out, my hair was washed and the cutting was done.  She had another client waiting, so I gave her money and she gave me a hug.  The storm had passed.  

When I got to my car, I took my "after" picture.  My phone dinged.  Surprise!  It was something unexpected.  The after picture looked surprisingly good.  "Handsome devil," I thought.  I'd send her the photo and fill her up with desire.  Ha!  I looked at the photo again.  O.K.  It wasn't all that, but it was as good as I was going to look.  More and more, that isn't saying so very much.  

I called Tennessee back.  It was a drive time call for sure, but he had stories to tell.  He wanted to chat.  I told him I'd been foiled.  He guffawed.  He told me about going to the YMCA in the small town where he was building houses.  

"You would have loved it," he said.  "It was something out of Deliverance."

"I'm sure all the boys thought you were gay."  

"Yea, they were all giving me the hairy eyeball.  But dude, there was this girl. . . ."

Tennessee lived in Thailand twice.  He was a cage fighter there.  He doesn't really care what the hillbilly boys think.  But he does look gay.  He still models from time to time.  A little metro.  But the girls do like him, and he relishes the attention.  

"OK, man, I just pulled into my mama's driveway.  I gotta go."

I was almost to my mother's house by then.  Mama's Boys, I guess.  

My mother had been outside cleaning up the tree branches and debris from the storm.  Now her back was killing her.  

"Christ, mom. . . why do you do that?  You shouldn't be doing all that.  Let the yardmen clean it up.  That's what I do.  That's why we pay them."

My mother is not as lazy as I.  

Back home, I got pinged.  

"What's for dinner tonight?"

My friend, newly single, was out again with her friend.  Having not been single for a long while, god knows what trouble she is looking for.  She is very, very pretty.  She'll find it, whatever kind she wants.  Her Ph.D. will be of no use to her in this.  

She sends a picture of her and her friend from a bar.  

Me?  Oh. . . I had a takeout chicken dinner from El Pollo.  

"I want to go to El Pollo," she writes.

She has never heard of El Pollo, I am certain.  It is a one off Peruvian chicken place that was bought out by Mexicans.  

It is raining again, so I eat inside.  It is later than usual.  No Campari.  Later, after dinner, the rain has stopped.  I pour a whiskey and light a cheroot that I am determined to eschew, and sit on the deck looking into the damp, dark sky.  I'm looking.  I'm reflecting.  I think there may still be people who love me.  Maybe I have to think that, but the thought warms me.  

And so, as the story goes, almost. . . the storm had passed. . . . 

As I write this now, it is storming once again.  I have a movie date this afternoon.  What fortuitous or ominous things lie upon the horizon?  

As always. . . you'll be the first to know.  

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