Early September 2013
I packed up a fraction of my things, stowed them in my falling-apart car, drove north from the land of cotton and forced my way into the home of two childhood friends where I took up residence and, as people who know would not be surprised to learn, started cleaning.
I'm closer with one of friends than I am the other. You can interpret that however you like.
For the purposes of this blog, we'll call the one I'm close with The Electrician. The other we'll call Uncle Si. Except he doesn't carry around a Tupperware tumbler of sweet tea. He totes a mason jar of Hawaiian Punch.
To each his red-mustachioed own. He's not a bad guy. In fact, he's a good guy. We are just so bloody different.
There is no mistaking the fact that I am the interloper here. I get that. I'm also very aware of the fact that I am not the first. The jury is still out on whether I will be the last.
Fifteen minutes after I pushed my way into their lives, The Electrician was laid off from his job. For about five weeks he rested up and contemplated things. He helped me adjust to my new surroundings by insisting that I take an interest in something instead of dwelling on the people and the life I left behind. Funny how pushing people out of your vagina forms this bond that is damned difficult to ignore. Nevertheless, carefully applied cold compresses and a working knowledge of the DVR go a long way. The Electrician's solution to my (and most) problems took the form of some 269 television programs.
I am digressing. But mark my words - The Electrician's vast viewing history and his almost superhuman interest in television and film (okay, movies) will likely be the centerpiece of future posts.
Now the Electrician is a good union man. He believes in the power of Brotherhood. It's something about him that I find very appealing.
So when his layoff happened, he warned me what might happen next. It was possible that he would have to go out of town for work. I'd be lying to you if I said I understood the gravity of this concerning both living situations - the one inside my head and the one outside of it.
It happened sooner than I expected. About six weeks after I moved in, The Electrician went on the road leaving me and Uncle Si to make do with our own two, disparate selves.
We're friendly enough, but the fact that I open the blinds and do girly things like bring home rescued houseplants irritate him. Outside my earshot, he gives The Electrician the old WTF, dude?
And who can blame him?
I, on the other hand, get a little testy when someone helps themselves to my ice cream and, what's more, does so directly from the container. Ditto when they replace the tiny remainder back in the freezer for me to find. A disgusting surprise.
And while I'm at it, I could live without the hockers in the sink, as well.
Naturally, The Electrician hears it from me too. The purloined ice cream. The toxic conditions of the bathroom. The Sloppy Joe skillet left in a dishpan of water that resembles something from an environmental documentary. We are on Day Three of that epic soak, I tell you. So far I've resisted the urge to set it on fire, but restraint can't be counted on for too long. I am, after all, me.
Intellectually I know it's not his fault the way things have turned out. Just like much of my situation is out of my control, so too is his. Trouble is, my intellect is no match for my ability to get riled up.
Even though he believes, without reservation, in supporting his Brothers and being the best in his trade, The Electrician is a practical man. He's out risking his acorns in the frigid temps for nothing more complicated than a paycheck and benefits. He's the classic worker with his eye on retirement. Goodness knows he's more intelligent than I am in that regard. He's got a plan for retirement. Meanwhile I'm in reverse.
Retirement? I used to joke about having to work until I drop. Now I realize I won't even be allowed to die. I'm going to be kept on life support so ghouls can harvest any useful organs to settle my debts.
Early January 2014
I think we're coming to the crisis, such as it is. The Electrician and I are looking for a place of our own, which has, of course, also proven to be a challenge. Questions of where exactly and if it's even a good idea to commit to a lease together have arisen. We may be irresponsible and impetuous but you can't accuse us of believing in fairy tales either.
Knowing that's a minefield and having the wherewithal to keep the fuck out of it also seems to be proving a challenge. For purposes both practical and so impractical, right now we need each other.
I suppose if life consisted of unicorns blasting rainbows from their backsides, I'd have nothing to write about. I'm too lazy to make things up.
Which brings me back to Uncle Si. I'm sure he'll be happy to have his situation back to what it was before I horned my way in. I can't be easy to live with, obviously. Look how quickly I made The Electrician prefer to be a weekend visitor in his own home. And he was getting laid.
Change is coming.
When I do go, I'll thank Uncle Si, with his own 1.75 gallon of Turkey Hill ice cream and a big hug. Because the truth is, when I needed a place to go, he agreed to give me one.
As long as I kept those blinds shut.