Monday, March 4, 2024

Don't Worry Baby, Everything Will Work Out Fine

"This is what I need to get."

"Yes you do!"

"I've never seen a more perfect vehicle for you.  Even the stickers."

"You should leave an offer on the windshield right now."

Those were the responses I got to the VW camper pic I sent around to friends when I went to breakfast yesterday.  This was kind of what I had in mind when I retired, but Covid hit at the same time and the price of campers of any kind skyrocketed.  If you have never watched online videos of camper life. . . well, you could pretty much do that with any kind of camping vehicle forever (link).  It seems a very romantic life, especially when you are sitting in the comfort of your own home watching the videos.  

Still, a small camper like this one has its own appeal.  

It began to rain just as I stepped into my favorite breakfast restaurant.  I took a seat at the counter and ordered a real heart-clogger.  I go to this place once every couple weeks and now the waitresses have come to recognize me.  There are a lot of them.  It is a busy place on a Saturday or Sunday morning.  

"Where's your partner in crime?"  

I guess they really have been paying attention.  I've gone a couple times with Tennessee during the week when it isn't so busy.  

Just as my waitress finished taking my order, the entire wait and cooking staff broke out into what was seemingly a spontaneous a capella  performance.  It was short lived, and then they all were laughing.  

"Wow.  That was pretty good."

"We're trying to get the boss to let us form a singing group."

"I think the customers would enjoy that."

"Looks like a lot of rain." 


I watch the waitresses.  They are the kind of working girls I grew up with.  In youth, they are pretty and handsome as is the rule.  There are boys and parties and shopping with friends.  But then there are children and maybe a marriage, and there is always the work, and year by year their smiles grow harder and their jawlines begin to soften as their waistlines start to thicken.  Older cars and recapped tires, apartments or sometimes moving back in with relatives.  There's Gladys, all made up, eyes still bright.  She's forty now and she has settled into life.  She's a favorite with the working men sitting at the counter.  She enjoys the attention.  Most of the girls have tattoos now, a growing number of messy ink stains on arms which are visible and maybe elsewhere, too.  Juanita has added a few in the time I have been coming here.  She's gaining weight now which is showing in her upper arms.  They are all sweet but repetitiveness of their lives visibly weighs on them.  Some add blue or pink highlights to their hair.  At slow times, they stand in groups and talk in low voices.  I look past them to the men working the kitchen, cooks and dishwashers.  They hustle and talk trash to the girls.  The last orders are in by two.  By three they've bussed the last of the dishes, cleaned the tables and counters, and are ready to go home.  

It's the world I grew up in, the one I tried to leave.  Now I live among women who can stay on a Stair Master for half an hour with barely a sweat before they step onto the gym floor, who get beauty treatments and botox and have hair, jewelry, and clothing from the pages of Vogue.  Their bellies are flat and their jawlines are sharp and their husbands are builders or developers or attorneys and doctors.  They drive new BMWs and Benzs and spend months of the year at their beach condos and mountain homes.  They live in big houses with clinical interiors.  It is only the passing years that begins to bring them sorrow and therapists.  

That, at least, is what ran through my mind as Juanita chatted me up.  I might have thought about the lives of men as well, but I didn't want to.  I was focussed on what was standing right in front of me.  

My conservative friend has two sons who graduated from Ivy League schools and one who is a senior at Vanderbilt.  His older sons already have bright futures after joining the corporate culture.  Like their father.  He and I could not be less likely friends, but I enjoy his company above almost any.  He was one of my first corporate buddies when I moved to this little enclaved village.  I watched him climb the corporate ladder.  Like most of my conservative friends, he can be liberal about some things, but never about money.  They all believe they worked hard for it.  

"Yea, like Manny at the Coca-Cola bottling plant where I used to work.  You don't work hard.  You couldn't stand it."

Such comments never faze them.  If one of them were to win the lottery, they would just think it the wisdom of the cosmos favoring them over those with less moxie.  The cosmos is just until a democrat gets in.  To the man, they all hated the best president in my lifetime.  

Well. . . I've gone far afield from my contemplation of the Vanogon.  But you see, if I had money, I would have one.  Not that one, but a nice one.  My friends on both sides of the ideological fence can't seem to understand why I don't just get one.  WTF?  But I'm cutting expenses left and right now, everything from cable to car washes.  

I wanted to watch "The Bear," a series that can be streamed on Hulu.  People tell me it is the best show on t.v.  But Hulu is $18/month, and that is the only show they own that I want to watch.  So last night I signed up for the 30 free trial, same as I did with Paramount in order to watch the Super Bowl.  I will binge it for the next few weeks, then cancel my subscription.  I'm still the same hillbilly who used to steal cable.  Yea. . . I did that.  

The morning is thick with fog.  The sun is not predicted to show itself today.  Monday of the new month.  The yardmen must be paid.  The maids come tomorrow.  You see what I'm saying?  A foot in both worlds.  I'm sure it is the root of many of my. . . sorrows.  

I heard a song the other day that wasn't one I would recommend, but the lyrics were poignant.  

"I'd rather live in solitude than spend another lonely night with you."

To hell with that.  Let's just wrap ourselves up in the old adolescent dream.  I'm a sucker for it.  

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