The Time Has Come
My beloved Alpine Snickerdoodle Dagmar and I used to make it a point to go out to eat together (or with friends) once a week. We’ve found that we really need the time together just to sit and talk, with no TV burbling in front of us, no computer sitting in the other room calling out, “You know you have e-mail… There’s work to be done…” So for the past few years we’ve made it a habit to get out at least once a week where we can talk sans distractions. We rarely went anywhere fancy — usually Green Gables (a local restaurant, the kind where a little old lady with a cigarette in her mouth would pad over with a plate of liver ‘n onions and meatloaf, “There you go honey,”) or Da Kao, a Vietnamese place a few blocks away where two people can still eat for fourteen bucks…
But when I quit my job to start HippieBoy Design (“Now offering print design and video compositing as well as phantastic photography and affordable web design!”) money got even tighter than it was before — and lack of bread was the main reason I quit my job in the first place — so our dining experiences turned from an hour’s conversation over a plate of The Daily Special at the diner to an occasional five-dollar footlong from Subway, shared off a paper plate in front of the TV. Then those fell by the wayside as well…
Dagmar’s a wonderful cook, and I’m not afraid to eat my own cooking, but we both missed going out every now and then.
So Friday we went with some friends to a local pizza place. We had a great time! I found that I’ve been so isolated the past few months working at home with no transportation that being around a crowd of lively people was slightly unnerving. Dagmar told me I looked like a prairie dog sticking his head out of his hole watching a herd of bison go past. “You couldn’t keep still,” she said, “you had to see everting dat vas going on!” Regardless, we really enjoyed being out, being with friends, money be damned.
Then we went on to a local comedy club hosted by a friend of ours (he actually introduced Dagmar and I nearly a decade ago). As a professional comedian himself he MC’d the show… It was really fun! Money be damned.
After that we stopped in a local watering hole, the Chesterfield, and watched Roger and the Rockers play for an hour or so. I guess three members of the band are in the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (which is a surprisingly talented organization, actually). I do know that I enjoyed listening to them — I always like hearing Curt play bass. Money be damned.
So now we’re poor, but reasonably happy, in a mild, Midwestern sort of way. (Except that my beloved Austrian Pookiebear Dagmar has had a migraine the last day and a half. Poor girl!)
A Time of Reconciliation
For the last several years we’ve had friends involved in an ongoing feud. Not just a mild sniping or dirty looks kind of feud, but an active, old-fashioned Hatfield vs. McCoy type feud. Dirty tricks, hateful words, barely contained anger.
Normally this sort of thing wouldn’t bother me a whole lot — I’m not one to stick my nose into other people’s business (unless, of course, I want to) — but this feud has affected three families for years, to the extent where when Dagmar and I would run into our friends all we could talk about was the feud. Nothing else. (A typical conversation in the grocery store might be, “Oh, hey! I haven’t seen you in months. How’s your wife? How are the kids doing?” with the answer being, “You’ll never guess what so-and-so did last week!”) It was so bad that one of my friends wouldn’t even go to a funeral because he thought he might run into the other end of the feud…
But the first words of apology and reconciliation were spoken yesterday!
I’m happy that my friends can get their lives back in order and quit focusing all their energies on hatred and anxiety!
Sadly, we seem to have another set of friends who are on the verge of falling into this same sort of feud… I hope the season of understanding and reconciliation lasts a little while longer.
Yay! March is Here! It’s Spring!
Life in the ‘Hood SUX
I still can’t believe our airline designation here in Sioux City is “SUX.” Whaddaya wanna guess was the subject of the first joke the comedian told last Friday…?
We got home about midnight Friday night and promptly settled in for the night. Dagmar put on her comfy nightshirt (the one with the little kitties on it) and wandered off to bed, rubbing her eyes. I made some popcorn and made myself a nest on the couch in front of the TV and prepared to sleep through a rerun of Star Trek: The Next Generation that I’d recorded. About the time we all got settled — the dog on her little bed next to Dagmar, the cat snoozing on my feet on the couch — Dagmar hissed, “Vhat was dat?”
“What was what?” I hissed back. When someone hisses at you, there’s generally a reason, so I always hiss back. It seems polite, somehow.
“Someone’s pounding at the back door!”
Hmmm… That’s unusual. The back door in question leads from our kitchen through a very small porch (full of junk at the moment) to the alley. We have no yard to the south or east of our house, so the door really does open right into the alley… We locked the door years and years ago and haven’t ever used it. I tried to get it open a few summers back for some reason, but it’s stuck shut. Needless to say, visitors rarely knock at our back door — especially at about one-thirty in the morning.
I heaved my flabby carcass off the couch, thoroughly confusing the cat who had up to that moment been happily sleeping on my feet, and went to the front door, thinking to ease the door open and peek around the corner of the house to see what was going on… But I’d forgotten about the three or four inches of snow that had fallen during the night. Back inside trots the hippie. Shoes on feet, I tried again.
I eased the front door open, not difficult to do as the porch door is broken and swings freely on its hinges, and peeked around the corner.
Sure enough, there was a large man in the alley, beating drunkenly on our door. As I watched he paused, took a step backwards, then tripped in slow motion over something invisible and feel backwards gracefully into the snow. He lay (lie? layed? lied?) there for a moment, then struggled back to his feet. I could see several other “snow angels” in the alley where he’d evidently already fallen. He stared doggedly at the door and was getting set to start pounding again.
“Can I help you?” I called.
He tried to stop in mid-pound, which only resulted in his slumping bodily against the door. He looked up the alley, pushed himself off the door frame, and staggered back a step or two. “Can I help you?” I repeated.
“Oh!” he said. “Yeah. I’m just, um, tryin’ to get into my house, but someone changed the goddam lock and my goddam roommate won’t open the goddam door.” The whole time he spoke these words he was again falling in slow motion, gradually twisting around to face me while simultaneously slumping to the ground. I walked up the alley to help him to his feet. As I got closer I could see that he wasn’t wearing anything but tennis shoes, blue jeans, and a T-shirt that looked like he may have been ill already that evening. Thankfully he rolled over on his hands and knees and started to right himself before I was close enough to feel obligated to help.
“I’m sorry,” I said to him, “but this is my house.”
“Yeah,” he answered, waving at my back door, “thish is my house.”
“No, this is MY house.”
“Whaaa?” He looked up and down the alley. “Your house?”
“Where do you live?” I asked. “Do you need help getting home?”
“I thought I lived goddam here,” he said, weaving badly enough I thought he was gonna fall over yet again. “Where’s goddam Tomás? I live with goddam Tomássssh.”
“I think he lives in that house,” said a voice behind me. I nearly jumped out of my skin — I hadn’t heard Dagmar come up behind me. “A man named Tomás lives over there,” she pointed to a house two doors down. “Do you live there?”
“I’m gonna go that way,” the man said, pointing south. “I think I live that way.” He then started off up the street, headed east…
Thirty seconds later I was on the phone. “Nine-one-one, what’s your emergency?” said the tinny voice.
“No emergency,” I said. “But a drunk guy was pounding on our side door. He didn’t cause any harm, but he’s gonna freeze to death out there…”
Fifteen minutes later a police cruiser drove slowly past our house. I hope they found the guy. I hope they just took him home.