Friday, December 8, 2023

Red and Minah

Holy smokes, kids. . . these things seem to work.  "Seem" is not a strong word, I know, not a good selling point, but I am not trying to sell them.  I'm just saying.  I took a few of these last night before bed.  I took nothing else, just the Moon Drops.  I put some Sleepy Time Massage Cream that smells of lavender on my temples, too.  I've also bought a couple of new pillows.  I believe I slept without moving.  Was it the Moon Drops?  Was it the lavender?  Was it the new pillows?  I can't say.  The combo, though, seemed to work, and I have no gummy/Advil PM/Xanax hangover this morning.  

Moon Drops promote a restful sleep by responding to the complexities of sleeplessness. Our homeopathic sleep formulation helps quiet persistent thoughts, eases emotional stress, tones digestion, reduces sensitivity to noise and light, and soothes over-stimulated nerves. Moon Drops help you adapt to changes in sleep schedules due to travel or when going through life transitions. This natural sleep aid is non-habit forming and has no side effects. These vanilla lozenges are vegan and gluten-free.

Oh, but wait. . . there is more to the story.  I bought a new air purifier, too.  I did my research and bought the one almost all reviews I read picked as the best, the PuroAir HEPA 14.  It was delivered yesterday.  Maybe the clean air had a hand in my night of rest, too.  

So. . . "these things seem to work."  

I'm on a new path now.  Last night was my last night of. . . whatever.  I'm going back to a hippie health routine, slowly whittling my way toward a Dry January.  Maybe.  Sky said she hated me last Dry January.  That is not exactly what she said, but it was something like that.  I get it.  Non-drinkers are a pain in the ass.  They are losers holding onto some pathetic lifeline of hope.  

"Do you want to come to a meeting?"

Maybe it won't be Dry.  Maybe it will be Dry When Alone.  That would be most of the time anyway.  Yes, maybe that would be "the thing."  I'll think it over.  I still have time.  

I was waiting on Red to show up in the late afternoon.  Old Reliable.  We had not gotten together the night before as was the plan.  I was fighting a cold, and I was terrified, too.  When I read her text messages, it seemed to me she was going out of her way to see me.  She had a friend along.  I thought, "Now I know her friend is not dying to meet me," so the night got shelved.  But Red, being a sport, said she would stop by on her way back to Miami.  At 3:30 she said, "In an hour."  

That meant I was going to miss the big Turkey Fry up in Factory City.  I had gotten a 11th hour invitation.

"Did I already invite you?"


The old Factory Gang is breaking up into fragments now.  It is not the same group that it has been for so long, but I would have gone nonetheless.  But Red was coming at 4:30.  She said she was eating with her mother, so it was not going to be a dinner.  I hadn't eaten much all day, so. . . what to do?  I decided to make a quick run to Chicken Guy to get a sandwich.  Oh. . . I knew this was wrong, but those ten thousand calorie sandwiches are really good and I didn't have time to make a meal.  Within minutes, I was sitting on the deck with a chicken sandwich and a beer. 

At 5:30, Red texted, "We're half an hour away, O.K.?"

They weren't.  I poured a scotch.  

It was good and dark when they showed up.  Red walked in.  

"Hello, honey."

She seemed to be alone.  In a moment, though, her friend walked in.  What did they want to drink?  I opened a bottle of wine.  

We sat in the small t.v. room.  Fuck, I thought, why'd I open a bottle of red, thinking of how other evenings had gone.  

"Do you have a bathroom?"

"Uh, yea. . . but the door doesn't have a handle."

Red laughed.  I hadn't fixed it since the last time she was here.  I had tried, and I thought I had, but the glass knob came off when I had guests another evening.  I need to buy some new screws.  

"What's your friend's name again?  I can never remember names."


Minah turned out to be a hoot.  She and Red began telling me exotic tales of adventure and daring.  I cannot share them with you, however, for I have only met Minah once and haven't gained her permission to make up shit about her.  Here's one I can tell, though.  They were going to stay at Red's ex-boyfriend's place.  They were going to drive his Range Rover up the state.  

"When I got there, he told me he had sold it.  What am I supposed to drive, I said.  We ended up renting a car.  What we didn't realize was that it was electric.  We were in the middle of bum fuck nowhere and the battery needed to be charged.  We ended up at some place called Camping World in the middle of the night.  Have you ever been to Camping World?  Holy shit.  It took an hour to charge the battery, then we couldn't figure out how to get the charging thing off."

"It took an hour to charge it?"


"What the fuck?  Why would people want an electric car?"

I went into my tirade against EVs, saying for the millionth time they were a marketing scam, that they were worse for the environment than gas vehicles, invoking the Second Law of Thermodynamics, etc.  Then Minah explained to me that they had highways in California that charged your car as you drove.  They were powered by solar panels.  Was she shitting me?  I hadn't heard of this before.  

"Well. . . I mean if that's the case. . . ."  

Talk turned to me.  What had I been doing.  Oh. . . you know. . . since I retired. . . ."

"When did you retire?" Minah asked.  

"Uh. . . ."

"What did you do?"

As it turned out, her mother was an administrator at Yale and then worked at Penn State.  Now she's working at a private school here in the Sunny South.

"She wasn't thrilled when I went to beauty school," Minah confessed.  

"Why don't you ever come see me?" Red asked.  

"I don't go anywhere.  But I watched this thing on YouTube. . . "

She interrupted me with a guffaw.  

"Holy shit. . . you sound like my dad!"

Yea, yea, yea. . . I hear this shit all the time.  The scotch reminds you of  your grandfather and YouTube. . . 

"But, you know. . . if you know how to find things. . . great documentaries. . . ."

Who cares?  Whatever.  

So I launched into my Wabi Sabi lecture.  I told them there would be an exam later that night.  Oh, they said, you must have been a great teacher.  Oh, yea. . . I had them squirming.  

We sat in close quarters in the dim room and drank.  These were wild girls, though, Minah just touching thirty, and their stories were much different than mine.  

"Oh, my life is tame. . . I'm a romantic," I said.  "I'm a cuddler, a lover.  Girls like you scare me.  I just want to snuggle on the couch, drink wine, and watch Wabi Sabi with My Own True Love." 

The hours passed.  They had a long drive ahead of them.  Maybe the battery was charged enough to make it all the way without stopping.  

"We were supposed to meet a dj friend at a club tonight.  That's not going to happen now."

"I really had a good time," Minah said as we hugged goodbye.  

"Oh. . . I'll bet. . . Wabi Sabi and all."

"No, I'm not kidding.  Ask Red.  If I wasn't having a good time, I would have been out on your deck vaping."

"She would have," said Red.  

Red was adamant.  "You have to come see me.  Promise.  You have to."

"Yea, sure," I said.  

"I have a bedroom all ready for you," she said.  She has a nice place beachside south of L.A.  

"You know. . . you terrify me."

When they were gone, I poured the evening's last drink.  I checked my messages.  The woman who has now asked me out, softly, had sent me a funny message.  There were raucous things from the gymroids.  Q had queried me about the evening and a set of lyrics that had nothing to do with that as far as I could tell.  The turkey fry was surely coming to an end, and Travis might be nearly home after a day trip to the museums of Boston.  

And me?  Oh. . . my night would be Moon Drops and lavender, new pillows and clean air.  I'm a soft and silly homeboy, don't you know.  

Just got a text from Red.  They spent an hour charging the EV on the way south.  Ho!

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