Thursday, May 13, 2010
Co-Pilots (Three's A Crowd)
I treat my friends poorly. I ignore their phone calls. I flake on long standing plans. I drink all their beer. I offer advice unasked for, often on subjects I know little about. As a result, my social pool is now very shallow. I'm down to a few stalwarts: hearty, stubborn folk who insist on tolerating me.
There are drawbacks: I occasionally experience bouts of loneliness. This is equal to isolation, which I treasure, but on those rare days I actually want to socialize, my isolation gains a negative quality and morphs into loneliness. This generally passes quickly.
There's upside: I see my people once every six weeks or so, and in between, blessed silence. I rarely have to mingle, tell new people about myself, discuss my career, elaborate upon my taste in automobiles, or recite lists of my favorite musical acts. It's just my familiars, all inside jokes and hangovers.
This has all changed since I moved out of Chicago. After getting bent over and roughly fucked by Barrington Lakes (What do you mean I can't get that studio apartment even with a co-signer? Fuck you!) I found myself with nowhere to call home. Since then, I've been riding the couches and recliners of friends and relatives. I romanticize this by telling myself I am experiencing a modern nomadic lifestyle. I can pay long outstanding debts. I can save that rent expenditure. These aspects are fantastic.
My grandmother died several years ago. She was cremated. When my father died, the funeral home was given her ashes and instructed to place them with Dad's remains in his casket. They forgot. They kept her on a basement shelf. I never knew. Then, Uncle Richard died. He was cremated. When the funeral home called to inform my sister Anita that his remains were ready to be picked up, they casually mentioned that Grandmother was still there. Anita was upset. She claimed possession of both Grandma and Richard. We kept them in the closet in our apartment. I agreed to take them before we moved out.
End Important Tangent!
On moving day, I rented a storage locker and carefully stacked my worldly possessions (mostly chess sets and horror novels) within it. Everything was stored away except the remains of my grandmother and uncle. I couldn't bear to put them in a storage locker. That was one indignity too many.
Ever since then, I've had two corpses riding shotgun in my Nissan. We go everywhere together. Technically, I'm still alone most of the time, but now I have people to talk to anytime I feel lonely. Grandmother could best be described as a stern school teacher / grammar nazi. Every year at Christmas she gifted me classic literature. Off the top of my head, I know I got volumes of Shakespeare, Dickens, Hemingway, and O.Henry from her. My uncle was a gay mailman. No elaboration necessary, I trust.
If I'm hungry, I have a Lunchtime Decisions Council. Truth be told, their suggestions are fairly useless. Grandma is always suggesting non-drive thru fare like roast duck, quail, rabbit fricassée, and root vegetables I've never heard of. (and I know my produce, folks) Uncle Richard suggests salad. Every time.
When traveling for work, I bring them into my motel room. When I complain that it's difficult to masturbate to weight loss infomercials at three in the morning, they don't say anything. Maybe they never had that problem.
I've been trying to get them to sing along with me during long drives, but we simply don't share any taste in music. They appreciate the occasional Mozart or Beethoven, but Tchaikovsky is too bombastic. Uncle Richard will occasionally throw in a cannon boom on 1812 Overture, but that's about it. Grandma insists on opera, and I just can't go there. The rock and pop are met with stony silence. Rap leads them to rattle their urns in protest. Fortunately, the urns are tightly packaged, wrapped in paper and foam within sturdy cardboard boxes, so the only sound is a light swishing.
Sometimes I want to brag about all this, because I think it's both cool and interesting, but it seems wrong to do so out loud. Maybe a little weird. Instead, I wrote this blog.
One day, I hope to give them their proper due, either burial or mausoleum. Right now, that's an expenditure beyond my means. Until then, I'll never leave my windows down or my doors unlocked, and they're just going to have to get used to techno and gyro sauce. 5:45 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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