Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Ice Cream Truck

Where to begin describing the best wedding ever? With the ice cream truck? A boy falling into a pond? My high date? A stalker? Lawn games? Those would be good spots, since we missed the actual ceremony.

When I picked up N. at his place he was dressed elegantly in a lavender button down, perfectly punctual, plus he brought a card. As we sat in the car and I wrote my part, he gazed into my eyes.

"Are you high?"

Giggles. N. can pull this off well but his eyes were red, as in bright red. Plus, he was falling for a guy he'd recently met. falling hard and it all sounded good. Nonetheless he made a smashing date. We had a lovely, wonderful conversation in the car, but I missed a turn and had to route us back to the 405. Not fun, and this meant we'd not make the ceremony.

I don't know why this happens. I remain perplexed. Am I an idiot? If I have something, like a date, or a good friend's wedding, hypothetically, I will leave each thing to the last minute. I mean, why didn't I bring a card? Why didn't I leave earlier??? Still, I managed to put my dress on the right way. I don't believe my bra was showing. And I wasn't on any drugs. What more do you people want?

We get to Sauvie Island where a school bus picks us up from a lot and drives us a mile to the ceremony. Sauvie Island is green, green, green and lovely and we are going to a herbery where there is lavender sprouting like grass. I feel like I'm in the French countryside or Tuscany and maybe I am. Immediately, I love our driver who says, "What's the name of that guy who brings everyone in a limo?'

"A chauffeur?" I ask.

"Yeah," he says. "I'm that."

N. asks if we can blame it on the driver that we are so late and he refuses and laughs, making eye contact in the rearview mirror. Amazing. Riding s school bus as a kid? Sucky as all get out. Riding a school bus as an adult? The best fucking thing ever. We run into an old friend from grad school and it's all very fun. Plus, we are not the only assholes arriving late. We have company. Which means we can be late together and that's better.

Once we are on the bus I test N., "What did I say about the Deet?"

N. replies quickly and with proper calmness, "You have some in your purse but if anyone asks, you ran out. It's just for us."

"Good boy."

I had been to Strawberry Island (as my dad re-named it) and almost had my face eaten off by misquitoes a few weeks ago. It wasn't happening again. Not on my watch.

At the wedding I cry - real, fat tears - when i hear the bride's father's toast and some others. I don't know why. N. is just about the best date ever, how will I live without him? We mill, chat with old grad school friends of mine, a lot of people I like but haven't seen in years. Really, L.'s friends, and she has a lot of friends and it is all very sweet.

However! Sometimes friends have spawn and you never know what they will be like...

N. and I sit at a table with a lovely couple and their son. Just then we hear the ice cream truck and see it approaching in the distance. There's nothing left to do except flip off our shoes and run at full speed. This is as instinctual as flight or fright or freeze. Ice cream truck = run. I get a rocket pop, which tastes like ice with food coloring, and N. gets something. We sit with the same family. Then we get our food cart food, our dinner, and then we decide, it is time for another sweet course. We return to the table, and this time I mean business. I have a chocolate magic shell type thing on a stick - and that is when sthe boy remarks:

"You already had dessert."

N. and I are silent, but I swear I have chocolate on my face and am still holding my ice cream.

"That's your second dessert."

I put a finger to my lips and tell him, "Shhh."

He tells us, "You can have one sweet a day."

I don't have the heart to tell him that just that morning I had a chocolate croissant so technically this is my third sweet on this day. I want to explain that hey, as an adult, you can totally pig out. I fear this might push him over the edge.


At the end of the night, after I whup N.'s tush at a game of throwing hackeysack like items into a weird board with cut-out holes (this is the best humans can do? And yet, it is fun.) We decide to head home.

Somehow i find myself running, in heels, for a school bus. N. has gone ahead and asked the driver to wait for "My lady." And so, when I finally make it, it's packed and the driver is so amused by us..."Had to wait for My lady." And we take silly pictures with my antiquated phone that somehow seem to get my eyes and eyebrows but all of N.'s face but you can still tell we look so happy and silly and this is so not like the school bus of our childhoods.

And we get to the car, and people want to go out with us. Suddenly we are popular. But N. and I like to go to sleep early and so much has happened for one day. And between his lurv and my friend, T. visiting from Seattle (she has brought a Brazilian jewish man she met dancing 2 weeks ago), I feel like love is possible. It may not be urban legend. N.'s broken his streak and T. found someone to like, and somewhere there might be a non-gay man who has a lovely personality and who is dancing at some wedding some place some where in some country on some planet.


That night I dream that I'm a school bus driver but the bus is double in height and it's scary crazy, I'm really scared, it's treacherous, but I'm doing it and turning corner, I'm figuring it out and I just keep going.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One Bloody Manicure & One Glow-in-the-Dark Pedicure Please

Three days before L.'s wedding she invites me to join her for a manicure and pedicure. I haven't known her to be the type of girl to do this, but it's her wedding and there are 200 people invited. They probably want to see some good nails. I am getting excited about this wedding for a few reasons: 1) L. is a lovely friend and I really, really like her fiance, 2) there will be local food carts, & 3) there will be lawn games.

Leaving things to the last minute, L. googles the nearest nail place. I understand her dilemma, this is what I do too when I'm stressed, I "forget" about things and somehow that creates more stress. I wish I had checked in with her earlier to offer (my friend) services. But alas, here we are...and what a place it is. I won't name it because I really don't want to disparage a business on-line and I liked the woman who (I think) owns it.

Upon entering, I had some doubts. I would remember this moment later. There was nothing particularly wrong with the decor but not that much "right" about it either. Yellow walls. Babysitter ad stuck with a tack. And children, countless small children (more on that later).

We are told in broken English that someone will be with us in a minute and that it'll be $30. Fine. After selecting our polish, we are seated for pedicures. Everything looks clean and THE MAN attending to me, is nice. He has terrible skin and that makes me sad. I hope he's gay because a straight man doing ladies nails? With bad skin? Is just too sad for words. My pedicure is fine, aside from the tickling of the bottom of my rancid feet. But as I look at L., her face is grimacing and I switch to look at her toes and one is bleeding as the persistent lady works at it with a pointed instrument.

"Tell her she's hurting you!" I instruct L.
But she is too polite. I think she does tell her but alas the lady doesn't speak English and soon enough it's over.

My torture, on the other hand, has just begun. I always choose light, pale pinks, beiges, and whites, thinking them classy and on the stubs of my nails, appropriate. This time, it being summer and my wearing silver strappy sandals to the wedding, I go with metallic silver nail polish. IT LOOKED GOOD IN THE BOTTLE! I swear.

This is when I notice that L. and I are the only white people here, and that's cool, but I have to wonder that because of my pale skin, might I not require a um different aesthetic? Like I might not be able to pull off silver? But whatever, it's on my toes and there is no going back. This is when I begin to really take note of the small children running around like college students on Spring Break. There are the two sisters, one of whom's a baby and they are cute, loud, curly-haired and fighting. Then there's the owner's son who is a touch older and interested in the two girls. His mother yells stuff at him in another language and then looks to me for support and the man does my nails.

"I know. I know." I nod and repeat this with a what-can-you-do shrug. But I don't know, I don't have kids and I'm not sure I want them anymore. If it means tantrums over a wheeled ottoman like what's happening now. The two sisters are fighting over who gets to roll themselves on it. i understand. it looks fun. But now there is crying and the Baby Mama next to me who appears white but maybe isn't, is yelling about hitting them, smacking them, and having them wish they were never born.

Okay. Not the time to call Child Protective Services but disturbing. Still, the owner makes eye contact with me, a strange mask affixed to her mouth, the little girls continue to fight over the ottoman-ride and a new person walks in. So far a man selling chicken and turkey (if i overheard this right) has walked in and now there are two girls with 'tude. There is some miscommunication between the owner and the girls. They just immediately do not like each other and it's like a terrible car crash: I don't want to look but I can't turn away.

The girl with 'tude struts to a high chair and places her toes in the empty tiny tub. The princess awaiting her pedicure, but oops she drops a bottle of polish, it falls to the floor and with a loud crash it breaks into a million pieces. The owner rolls her eyes, snaps at the man doing my nails - he's on Coat Four and it's so thick I fear it will never dry - but he pops up and cleans the mess. The girl gets up and leaves. Apparently, her job here is done.

Just when I think this must be the best manicure/pedicure story ever...I spy out of the corner of my eye the strangest thing. The two girls, the may be sisters have stopped fighting and seemed to have "worked it out" in that the tiny baby type is belly down on the ottoman with her knees bent up. Her sister is standing behind her, holding onto her ankles and steering her, and thereby the ottoman across the salon. The baby being steered has the oddest expression: like, whoa, isn't life grand, isn't it just the best?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

To Ponder

"Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Don't worry about appearing sentimental. Worry about being unavailable; worry about being absent or fraudulent. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you're a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act-truth is always subversive."
-Anne Lammott in "Bird for Bird"

"You can't bullshit a bullshiter."
-My Dad

Friday, July 9, 2010

Splinters, Mosquito Bites, Weddings & a Mustache: Summer is Here

1) Removed one bastard of a splinter from my palm yesterday. Enjoyed the excavation process with a pointy Tweezerman tweezers.
2) Am getting 3-6 bites during DAYlight hours and Tabor. WHy? I know not. My sweet blood.
3) One wedding next week: L & B. Excited. Get to wear bridesmaid dress from B.H.'s wedding - she was right, I would wear it again and I still love the color.
4) If I don't put sunscreen above my lip I get massive amounts of freckles that even connect together and look like a mustache of freckles. Believe me, I've been applying sunscreen like mad. A single girl does not need a mustache.

In other thrilling news...2 or 3 bits.

Got an email from my old doorman in NYC. Doorman makes it sound like a fancy building, and such a person was wearing long, white gloves and a black suit. Not so much. It was more like my apartment bldg was a block or two from The Projects and there was a little house (or hut) outside my building where the doorman/security guard sat and often fell asleep.

One guy in particular I really liked. He had grown up in the neighborhood, was 10-15 years older than me. We had long, heartfelt talks about he and his wife. She had left him and I thought it temporary. They had been together for many years, like since high school. I said stupid, cavalier things like:" I'm sure she'll be back", and "It's temporary." Fast forward: I get an email this week. He found a greeting card I gave him before leaving the city 4 years ago. He tells me he and his wife are friends, but they never did get back together. He's wondering how I like Oregon and if, ever, I'll be back in NYC.

So strange to have him reach out at just the time I'm planning to go back.


And randomly, ran into some neighbors at Tabor in the morning. A. likes to listen to the lady, P., play her flute. We can hear her inside her lovely house. It's the one down the block with a million wind chimes, and totally gardened-out front yard. WIth everything in bloom like it seems to be now, the music wafting outside, the sun...Portland shines.

Ran into her and her husband (?) and long story short she tells me that another neighborhood couple is actually a woman and a man who was once a a woman, or who has transgendered. She explains that as neighbors they "saw" the change or the before and after. I find this fascinating. One, I really like this couple - both parties are awesome, and how often does that happen? And two it gives me pause. Since I have often thought they have a cool, equal, even fun looking relationship, with a dog, and a kid and an artsy house, and lots of friends and an exuberant outlook on life, since I've had these thoughts but in actuality the "man" really grew up as a girl and a woman...

Well, it sunk in that perhaps my expectations are set too high for your average male.

That said, I still want one. I joined a dating site.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Young 48!

July 4th and this town is dead. The way I like it. I've done all the important things one should do on a national holiday. Took advantage of free parking on the west side. Ate an amazing ginger molasses cookie at Lovejoy Bakers, dipped in Rostretto Roasters coffee (of course). Shopped, perused, and generally wandered Powell's. I exercised while watching Analyze This and reading 50more pages of that aforementioned hedgehog book.

Let's face it: I'm a little blue and I'm a lot tired. Last night A. got scared at the sound of fireworks and hopped into bed with me. Truth be told, it was cozy having her and it felt nice to be needed. It's been a little quiet since my parents left. Dare I say it? I miss them. Those crazy, freakish people I call "my parents." Also, it is not sunny here. Overcast, gray sky, June gloom but it's July! July! We ordered at least 2 months of sunshine. And where is it?

I'm tired of lousy dates. I'm tired of this streak. I'm ready to move my ass to NYC.

FYI: I had a phone conversation with the guy my dad pimped me out to last week. Turns out he is 48 years old. Remember, I'm 35. "A young 48," he said. And I give him props: he was honest and exuberant. My rule has always been about 10 years in either direction with exceptions given to any man exceptionally attractive and/or good looking. I have depth!

But cause for perhaps more concern, I don't know yet - he also told me healed a person of cancer. My immediate reaction was, "How did you do that?" But just then a potential customer walked into his store, I assumed and he said, "I'd love to tell you that story some time."

Hmmm. I'd love to hear it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

In Love with a Narrator

I'm reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and came upon a passage I wanted to share. It's from the POV of Paloma, a 12 year old prodigy who realizes far too much for her age:

"Apparently, now and again adults take the time to sit down and contemplate what a disaster their life is. They complain without understanding, and like flies constantly banging against the same old windowpane, they buzz around, suffer, waste away, get depressed then wonder how they got caught up in this spiral that is taking them where they don't want to go."

And later...

"People aim for the stars, and they end up like goldfish in a bowl. I wonder if it wouldn't be simpler just to teach children right from the start that life is absurd. That might deprive you of a few good moments in your childhood but it would save you a considerable amount of time as an adult-..."

To some that might seem depressing, but to me, as a reader, I find it uplifting. I'm only 50 pages into the novel and know just a bit from having also read the jacket copy. According to that inside flap, she will meet another person in the apartment building (another narrator) and then a Japanese man, a new tenant too. The three are kindred souls. What I imagine and predict is that through these connections, Paloma will have a renewed faith in adults, and further, in life. That her quote above reflects her lack of understanding others and being understood and isolation in her emotions. Not to say that what she writes is untrue at all - but that through humor, love, relationships, maybe we become less like flies stuck at windows, reach stars, and escape the goldfish bowl.

Just a theory.