Jun 17 2010

All About Me, chapter 3

Published by at 10:34 am under All About Me



So, I don’t want to bore you with all the details of my trip out to the airport. It wasn’t all that exciting really. Of course, the whole time, as you can imagine, I’m thinking about Alisa Cooper, and how I got to come up with a real cool opening line when I see her at the reception. I mean, she’ll be busy with all that reception stuff – no, I don’t really know what that means, either – but I would need to make sure that when I do get a chance to say something that it’s more profound than “Hey, how you doing?” Of course, then it occurred to me that I could even mess that up. I mean, what if I totally freeze, like I saw this guy do on television once. This guy; like there was only one, right? It seems half the sitcoms play out that scenario, right? Well, they wouldn’t do that if it didn’t happen all the time in real life, right? I mean what is art but an imitation of life, right? Or, is it the other way around? Is life an imitation of art? I mean, maybe all these weird things happen to people because they saw them on television and it kind of created this self-fulfilling prophecy thing. Then I’d really be doomed, considering all the television I’ve watched. Maybe I gotta watch different material, or something. I mean, cause I’ve seen the geek freeze like a million times when trying to talk to the girl. And, I mean a million times.


I don’t know. Maybe it’s too late. Maybe it’s already programmed into my being or something. That would be great, wouldn’t it? Then I’d look like a total dork, for sure, and Mustafa would end up riding off into the sunset with Alisa Cooper. Who am I kidding anyway? They’ve probably been an item since she joined the organization. In fact, she probably joined simply so she could get closer to this Mustafa guy. I haven’t got a chance, really.


I was really beginning to hate Mustafa, you know. So, then I started imaging all these weird accidents and things that might happen to him. Just by chance of course, I wouldn’t do anything to him. I haven’t the guts to tell you the truth. I wouldn’t want to be involved or anything, just an accident or something to knock him out of the competition, so that I’d have a shot at dating Alisa Cooper.


Then it occurred to me that if something did happen, like a really horrible accident or something, then Alisa Cooper might be so overcome with grief that she wouldn’t want to do anything that would diminish her recollection of him or anything and she’d keep herself chaste or whatever for the honor of his memory.


So, then I figured that maybe he could just get sick or injured, but nothing too serious, something that would just sideline him or something. But, I decide that that wouldn’t work out either, cause then I figured, Alisa Cooper being the compassionate type and all, that, even if she wasn’t interested in him, she end up feeling compelled to nurse him back to health, and then, for all that, they’d create this special healer – patient bond, and I’d be sunk again.


I just couldn’t win with this guy. He was really starting to get on my nerves.


Anyway, that was more or less what I ended up doing for most of the trip out to the Cincinnati Airport, which is where the speaker was supposed to be landing. By the way, the truth is, it’s kind of a ridiculous name for the airport, if you want to know the truth. It’s not even in Cincinnati, really. Actually, it’s not even in the same state. That’s a bit crazy if you ask me. I mean, if you’re going to build an airport and call it the Greater Cincinnati Airport, you’d at least think that they’d put it in the same state as the city it’s named after. But, no, you got to cross the whole Ohio River, go through a border crossing and customs and stuff, and drive through half the state of Kentucky before you even get there. That’s like building a monument for some crazy war and calling it a Peace Memorial, or getting married so you can date other people, or having a coup, and calling the deposed leader, the Former President For Life or, building a dressing room for strippers, or … Well, you get the point, I guess. I mean, I understand the current fashion of stripping our language of any real meaning – I mean didn’t someone once say that language prevents communication, – but, I don’t know, it seems the whole Cincinnati Airport thing might be taking things a bit too far, if you ask me.


Anyway, I left really early, because I was worried about getting there on time, considering the distance and all, and the fact that my car isn’t exactly straight off the lot, if you know what I mean. It’s still a pretty cool car, though. I got a ’92 Chevy Cavalier with over 250,000 miles on it. It gets really good gas mileage downhill. I don’t know what color you’d call the car now, though. It’s pretty rusted out, with a lot of Bondo, duct tape and a few other unidentifiable things holding it together. I’m afraid to wash it, to tell you the truth. I think it used to be red once, but that was long before I bought it. It only cost me $480, which I figured was a pretty good deal, even though it takes like three hours to warm up and there’s this really lousy smell when you run the heater. I mean, that is, when it works. Which fortunately, because I’m sensitive to smells, isn’t too often. The roof leaks a lot too, but only when the top is up. It’s a convertible, you see, which really attracted me. I thought would be a fun and all to drive around with the top down.


Except that I forgot that I live in Ohio, and twelve months out of the year it’s either raining or snowing. Actually, that’s not entirely true, and the day I bought the car, it was a nice sunny day, so the top was down. The guy I bought it from was pretty cool, but he was in a hurry and didn’t think to explain anything to me, and I didn’t think to ask. That night it started raining and I spent three hours trying to figure out how to close the top. By the time I did get it closed, the seat cushions had floated into the trunk. It took me three weeks to dry the car out. It still has this musty smell to it that never seems to go away. When the heater’s running, the two smells kind of compete with each other. It’s hard to tell which smell is worse, really.


I have three different air fresheners hanging from the rear view mirror, all of them made in China by the way, but they don’t seem to help too much. That is unless you stick your nose right next to them and inhale deeply. The last time I did that at a traffic light, some cop on a motorcycle gave me a weird look and pulled me over. He didn’t give me a ticket or anything, but he told me never to do anything like that again, or he’d cite me just for being weird. Even if he was a Class – A Jerk about it, I don’t need something like that on my record. I have enough trouble as it is. So, I no longer sniff my air fresheners in public.


Then I started thinking about the smell, and that I had to pick up this special speaker with this whole medley of smells going on in the car. I started worrying about whether this woman would notice the smell, and if it would bother her. Of course, considering she’s some Palestinian refugee, or whatever, I figured it wouldn’t matter too much. She’s probably had to deal with a lot worse smells all that time living in a bombed out building, without electricity or indoor plumbing or anything. I mean, I started thinking that my car would probably smell good to her, comparatively. Well, maybe not.


Then I started thinking about this poor old woman growing up without a decent home or anything, and how horrible it must be really. Of course, I actually know a lot of people who like to go without electricity and indoor plumbing sometimes. Well, not a lot of people, really. Maybe just a few. Actually, the truth is, just this one crazy old couple, which lived way out in the Pennsylvania woods. Bobby, my mom, and I used to go camping near their log cabin every summer. We would rough it for one week out of the year, with just a tent and a backpack. Bobby would say that it was nice to get away from the corporate wilderness, once in awhile, just to remind you of who you were. I never really know what she means when she says stuff like that. I don’t think my mom grew up in the outback or anything. I mean, as far as I know, she grew up in some apartment in the suburbs of Cleveland. Well in any case, I liked going on these trips a lot – even though we didn’t have any television for a week. I brought my Game Boy and a case of batteries to keep me busy during any lulls in our outdoor adventure. There were a lot actually. It could get so quiet out there, that sometimes you could hear yourself think. Something I try and avoid as much as possible, as I’ve mentioned. It could get quite scary sometimes, but I survived. We used to go out there every year, till I was about fifteen.


I’m not exactly sure why we stopped going, to tell you the truth. We had a lot of fun, really. My mom would have made a great boy scout, except of course, that she wasn’t a boy. I think they have rules about stuff like that. I don’t know much about it. I only got as far as Weebloes, myself. Our pack leader got arrested for child molestation and that kind of ended any chance of me ever participating in any type of group youth organization ever again. Leon, my dad, cried for three weeks over that incident. He would just look at me and then burst into tears. And I wasn’t even involved. In fact, nobody I even knew was ever involved. I later heard that our pack leader’s ex had simply made up the accusations. Something about her trying to get custody of their kids. If it was true, then it seems like it was a pretty low thing to do, if you ask me. But, you never know. Some people simply go crazy and forget to be human sometimes. Or, maybe they forget to not be human. I don’t know. They get desperate and do really stupid and evil things, anyway.


Later they might regret it, but they’ll never do anything about it, except maybe feel guilty. I once saw this guy on television talking about how everyone really likes to feel guilty, because they think that the guilty feelings they feel absolves them of their sins. Like, if they feel bad about it, then it means they’re really not such bad people. I don’t know. Seems pretty backwards, if you ask me. I feel guilty all the time and I don’t like it at all. It feels like crap, actually. And I don’t even know why I feel guilty. I never seem to have enough guts to do anything to feel guilty about, really. Just once, I’d like to finally do something that’s worth feeling guilty about. You know what I mean?


Anyway, this couple out in the woods seemed to manage just fine out there with no electricity or plumbing. I guess they were a pretty weird couple though. They said their names were Adam and Eve. To me it seems like a helluva coincidence for a couple with names like that to get together, right? I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’d have thought that if I were named Adam, I wouldn’t even think about hooking up with a girl named Eve. That would be too weird, right? I mean, I’d at least make her change her name, or I’d change mine, or something. It’s just too weird.


Anyway, even though they were a little weird, they were a really cool couple – grungy, but cool. This guy, Adam, could hunt and fish better than Daniel Boone. He even tried to teach me to shoot and hunt. I did okay, I guess. I mean, I’m an okay shot, but when we were hunting, I keep getting distracted all the time. Like I said, I’ve got this A.D.D. thing going. It was the same thing with fishing; I even lost my pole once. I had waded into this stream about halfway up to my neck, and I saw this crazy log floating downstream. I swear it looked like this huge alligator or something. I mean, I know there aren’t too many alligators in Pennsylvania, but I don’t know. I thought maybe it was one of those pet alligators that some kid in Brooklyn flushed down their toilet or something. I mean, you never know. It could have found its way from New York, right? But, then, in another moment, it looked like something else. So. I got kind of curious about it. The truth is, I don’t know what happened to my pole. The next thing I know, it’s no longer in my hands. My mom was pretty upset, to tell you the truth. It was this expensive Sage Graphite III RPL Fly Rod, with an Orvis reel. It was Bobby’s favorite, actually. She didn’t even really buy the story about the alligator so much. I don’t think she ever got over it, really.


Now that I think about it, I must’ve been fifteen when that happened.


I think it was about the same time that Adam and Eve got raided by the Feds. I’m sure you heard about it. It was on both CNN and FOX and everything. I’m not sure really what it was all about. He was wanted by the cops for like a zillion years. I’m not sure, but I think he was involved in some sort of radical stuff back in the sixties, or something. I guess that’s why he was living in a log cabin in the middle of the Pennsylvania woods, without electricity and stuff.


Then again, the cops couldn’t have been looking too hard. I mean, it sure took them a long time to find him. I mean, we knew where he was, and visited him every year. It wasn’t like he was on some deserted island or something. I think that was also the same time those guys from the ATF or the FBI or whatever initials they were using that week, came to our home late one night to talk to Bobby. They were all decked out in these super dark suits that absorbed light or something and these crazy ear pieces with a wire running into their pocket like they were plugged into the Matrix or something. They spent over three hours talking to her in her office. At least they didn’t take her to a little room in the basement of some government dungeon or something. I don’t know much about it, to tell you the truth, except that for three months afterwards, Leon kept fretting that someone was following him or hiding in the bushes or something. I don’t think my dad ever met Adam or Eve. Though I think he would have gotten along with Eve pretty much. Except that Eve was a lot less nervous, even with her being a fugitive and all.


Eve had this organic vegetable and herb garden. She was always cooking and cleaning, fidgeting over this and that. Eve really did remind me a lot of Leon, to tell you the truth. Like I said, I don’t think the two of them ever met though. Leon said that he couldn’t survive without all his creams and cosmetics and stuff. My dad can’t stand to be filthy or dirty or anything. He’s always in the bathroom freshening up. He spends a lot of time in the bathroom. Except, I don’t really notice that much of a difference between when he goes in and when he comes out. Okay, maybe they’re not so much alike, after all. I don’t think he’d survive too long as a fugitive, or a refugee either, if you know what I mean. Not unless the U.N. has a special camps for divas.


Anyway, before they were busted, my mom and me would stop by and visit Adam and Eve a couple of times almost every day while we were camping. As you can imagine, my mom got a long great with Adam. They would sit and drink and smoke cigars just like they were old army buddies or something. I don’t know from where my mom knew them, but I always got a kick out of visiting them. Their place always smelled really good too, like fresh cut pine, or something. Nothing like the stupid little “Made in China” cutouts of pine trees hanging from my mirror.


So like I said, I was thinking about this poor Palestinian refugee woman, and everything. Then, suddenly I realized that I would be picking up this poor Palestinian refugee from the airport. And then I thought that picking up some poor Palestinian woman from the airport might be a bit controversial, especially with me parading around with this crazy sign with her name on it, broadcasting to the world that I was associating with some Palestinian woman. Suddenly, I started to picture those guys in the dark suits and wires climbing out their ears dragging me off to a little room to ask me a few questions. I mean, picking up strange refugees at an airport has got to be more suspicious than sniffing car air fresheners at a traffic light, right?


Then I thought, that maybe it would be a good thing if I did get arrested. Then maybe Alisa Cooper would come and visit me in jail, and we can start one of those prison romances or something. She’d feel responsible and use all her resources to fight for my freedom and she’d write me everyday promising to wait for me until I’m free. Then again, by that time, Mustafa would have his car fixed and she’d get him to bring her to visit me in prison, and then they’d end up spending all this time together and by the time I got out they’d be married with a hundred kids already. Oh man, I did not want to get busted before I even get a chance to ask Alisa Cooper out on a date. That would be horrible.  I worried about it the rest of the way to the airport.

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