Thursday, August 5, 2010

Steel Bars

I've wondered sometimes if I have a proclivity for crime. I think the answer is probably yes.

The only thing that keeps me from committing a crime is that it would have to be "worth the risk", and I'm not sure that involves any upstanding moral concept at all.

I really can't image shoplifting something because if I got caught, how humiliating! Petty theft is just so not me. (Grand larceny? Maybe.) Nor could I hit somebody over the head to take their money. Oh I might hit somebody over the head if it was a misbehaving husband but that's totally different.

Quite a few years ago, there was a computer generated error on my paycheck and I received a check for $178,216.22 for two weeks work. I thought it was hysterically funny and called my daughter and told her to grab our passports and meet me at the Pan Am counter at the San Francisco airport.

I finally told her I was kidding and she was a bit disappointed. I also showed the check to all my co-workers before I took it in to the president of the company and asked if I had been given a nice raise or if this was a bonus for the impromptu lap dance I had given him at the Christmas party.

Now, if that check was for $3 or $4 million dollars, and I thought I could get out of the country before the error was discovered, I might have gone for it. (Remember this was about 25 years ago when 3 or 4 mil was worth 3 or 4 mil.) As it is, it simply wasn't enough money to take and run with. I have expensive tastes.

When I was in my 20's, I was propositioned by an airline pilot who wanted to "have a friend" in San Francisco when he came through town. I was highly insulted when he said he would pay my rent for the privilege. Excuse me, my rent? Now, if he had offered to buy me a house, a car, a racehorse, and a boat, who knows! (I'm kidding about the boat. I hate boats.)

I did egg a man's house one night but that was deserved and involved a little too much tequila.

So sometimes, I have to ask myself if the price is right, would I?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Tragic Death of Le Petit Poisson

My daughter called yesterday in tears. Her beloved goldfish (Le Petit Poisson) had died unexpectedly in his fishbowl at the tender age of not very old.

She had been afraid to name him (or her, as the case may be) because she had lost so many goldfish in the past.

Le Petit Poisson, however, was not just an ordinary goldfish. He was a gift from a good friend for Persian New Years and he had qualities not normally attributed to goldfish.

When anyone approached his bowl, he came up to the top of the water and tried his best to communicate. He actually jumped up out of the water to say hello! My daughter and her husband hired “fish sitters” for Le Petit Poisson when they traveled. He was a happy and loving fish; everyone said so! Le Petit Poisson even knew how to smile and I'm sure you will agree, that is rare in a goldfish! I fully understood my daughter's unhappiness over losing him.

Ten years ago, my husband and I had a marvelous sixty-gallon tank of freshwater fish. There were about thirty inhabitants of the aquarium. Two fish stood out: Snow and Jake. We got Snow from Lucky Goldfish in Oakland and she was a gorgeous large white molly. Jake was obtained some time later from Petco in Alameda.

Snow, from the time we brought her home, was a very depressed girl fish. She hung around at the bottom of the tank and looked near death for the first two weeks we had her. She put on weight even though she seemed to stop eating, and was letting herself go. There was nothing we could do to help her. Jasmine (one of our other female fish) used to go by and bite Snow every chance she got. The largest male fish (Lester) in the tank who impregnated at least half of the females, completely ignored Snow. Millie and Annette seemed to be smirking at Snow most of the time. Delilah used to nip at Snow every time she passed her. In other words, she was not the most popular girl in the school. (By the way, each and every one of those fish had a name.)

When we brought home Jake (a very small black molly male fish), everything changed. Jake, was a natural leader. He quickly became leader of the tank. Nobody messed with Jake. He was small, wiry, and probably quite intelligent for a fish. Jake had charisma. Simple as that.

He made it his mission in life to pursue and win the affections of the shy and reclusive Snow. She lost a little weight, got off of the bottom of the tank and started getting some exercise. Snow also began to fix herself up a bit an behaved like a much perkier fish than she had been before. The spunky little Jake became her constant companion and she was no longer a girl on life support!

I had a difficult time leaving for work in the morning because I wanted to see what was going to happen next.

When my husband and I decided it was time to clean the aquarium, neither Jake nor Snow lived through the experience. At least they died together. We were heartbroken. Alex asked me in a hushed tone if he should flush them down the toilet. Men can be absurd. I found a little wooden box and placed them side by side on some seaweed and we buried them in the garden. I used sticks to make a little cross as a marker for their grave. I really have no idea if they were Christian fish or not, but it was the best I could do.

About two years later, when a severe sickness swept the aquarium, we lost them all. I can’t imagine ever going though such a terrible period again.

In any case, Le Petit Poisson gave so much pleasure to so many people. I’m so sorry he (or she) is gone.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Alex

When Alex was in the Middle East at the beginning of the Iraq War, he had a dear soldier friend named Sandi.

Sandi hung out with Alex all the time. She told him all of her personal problems, (she was breaking up with her boyfriend and needed a new place to live when she came back to the States). He was just her "go to" guy.

Sandi was kind of a groupie to Alex. Not only did Alex "mentor" Sandi, but he also "mentioned" her often in his emails and phone calls.

First thing you should know about me is that I am not the jealous type. Since their deployment was coming to an end, I told Alex to invite Sandi to come and stay with us when they got back since we have this big old house and plenty of room.

Further, it would give him someone he could talk to and share his recent experiences with. Sandi would have a place to stay until she found her own apartment, and that would be nice. I stopped hearing about Sandi. Maybe Alex had just mentored out or something.

I met Sandi at Alex's Air Force retirement party last year. She was a very cute big girl, and I really can't judge how she dressed in real life because she was in uniform. I love men and women in uniform.

This was not Alex's first "kinda" girlfriend. A few years earlier, there was Bernice.

Bernice was also a big girl. (As Alex always says, “Ain’t nothing wrong with a big Papago woman”.) Okay, Bernice was not a Papago woman, but she was not petite. Before you think I'm being critical of Papago women, I assure you I am not. They are beautiful women but they tend to run to well over six feet tall and weigh in between 200 and 250 pounds on average.

Bernice worked with Alex for a number of years and apparently developed a rather close personal relationship with him. I think Alex was somewhat flattered and slightly unsure about how he should behave with her. Alex asked me if I would mind if he helped Bernice move into her new house and I told him “of course not, Honey. Help your friend." I tend to not be the jealous type as I said before.

At my request, Alex brought Bernice home for dinner several weeks after helping her move into her new home. He asked me if I would help her find a dress for the company Christmas Party. I said sure.

I thought, "Well, hell’s bells! Why not fix her up a little bit?" I’m sorry, but for my husband to have a “girlfriend” who is not nearly as stylish as me is just ridiculous!

I fed Bernice and Alex dinner and then we hit the stores. There are several stores near us that cater to the “fuller-figured woman” and at about a size eighteen, Bernice qualified as fuller-figured. As we approached one of the stores, Bernice stopped in her tracks and said, “Let’s go to Forever 21.” (Now this gal was pushing 40, if she was a day! But okay, why not?) I think "Forever 21" caters to the 17 to 22 year old crowd of girls with little taste and less money, but then I can be a little prejudiced when it comes to polyester.

By this time, Alex had the good grace to begin to look slightly uncomfortable. His girlfriend had been giving him “meaningful glances” and trying to share some "inside" jokes with him all evening. His eyes kept darting nervously between Bernice and me.

Bernice found a couple of very skimpy “cocktail” dresses in size “Large” and repaired to the dressing rooms. She came out, poured, stuffed, and oozing out of a dress and said to Alex (not me) “What do you think?”

Alex looked like he wanted the ground to swallow him up. He replied to Bernice, “That’s fine." "Honey", (me, Honey, not her) "What do you think?”

I said diplomatically, “Bernice, that color is lovely on you, but I think it’s pulling a little bit at the seams.”

Bernice shot me a furious look and said, “Well, Alex if you like it, this is the one I’m getting.” I smiled and nodded at them both and waved my hand slightly indicating approval or something.

Bernice went to change back into her regular clothes and Alex looked at the floor. He simply would not look up at me. Bernice paid for her purchases and we drove her home.

Oh Alex.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mean Woman Blues

I've had my share of "boyfriends".

There was one "boyfriend" I should have left in the bin. His name was Arturo and he seemed fine, at first anyway.

He was not a big guy, just about 5'8" tall and he was nice enough looking. We dated on and off over a period of about 5 years although I never considered it a serious relationship. Arturo was a psychologist and a few years older than I.

It never occurred to me that he was taking our relationship very seriously. Arturo knew I dated other men. He frequently volunteered to watch my kids while I went out on dates. He also insisted on giving me a credit card of his (and making me a co-signer). Arturo would make plans to take the kids somewhere great almost every weekend. How could I say no?

What a nice guy, huh? Well, maybe not. Slowly, over time, he began spending more and more time at my place, until the point came that he had just about moved in. I wasn't comfortable with this closer relationship, because Arturo was beginning to creep me out. He was very controlling in his constant "helping" me. Slowly, but surely, I was being placed in this guy's debt, literally and figuratively.

In order to free myself from his attentions, I began to take advantage of everything he offered and carry it to the extreme. I maxed out his credit card on shoes, bags, and luxury items for me. I constantly told him about my other boyfriends. I picked fights with him over stupid things. I thought he would just leave, but then another idea got into my head. I began to realize I was playing with fire and he just might kill me.

Arturo began to hint about violent things he had done in the past. I was smart enough to realize this twisted relationship was doing a lot of harm to both of us. I called another boyfriend of mine, a cop named Johnny, and told him that I was afraid.

Johnny told me not to worry and the he would come over that evening and have a talk with Arturo. I was in such a state of nerves that I could not stop shaking. Johnny pointed out to Arturo that he had to leave and not come back. Arturo looked at me and asked if this was true, and I told him "yes".

Arturo did leave, and besides calling me every 15 minutes for the next two months and hanging up when I answered the phone, he didn't bother me again. It's been over 20 years since I've heard from him or thought about him. Then today, the phone has rung about 15 times and nobody is there.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

So Much More than a Hardware Store

This has to be the creepiest place in town and that is saying something since we also have a Vampire bar.

It's dirty, dusty, and every inch of space is packed full of weird "stuff" including garden gnomes. Please tell me none of you have garden gnomes.

The aisles are very narrow and poorly lighted. I think I was molested in the aisles once, but as dark as it was, who really knows for sure.

Some of the aisles lead to rickety staircases. God help anyone who climbs them. Also, some of the aisles are so narrow that nobody but Jayne with her size four ass could fit to walk through them.

If I'm ever in there when we have an earthquake, I'll be dead and so will anyone else who can't get out. I'm pretty sure the people who work here are on the peculiar side, and that's not just because it's all a family who look very much alike in the wrong way if you get my drift. You would have to be strange to surround yourself with this stuff every day. Even the concept of a hardware store is difficult for me to understand. (How can they fill a store with stuff that I don't know what any of it is?)

There are jumbled masses of clutter everywhere you look. The store hires people who patrol the aisles because they know that no customer can find anything in here. Plus, after 7 or 8 hours of being lost, someone has to help you find your way out of the maze.

I am sure a lot of unsolved murders have happened in this store. Why my husband drags me in here in the first place I don't know. I feel creepy crawlies all over me from the time I walk in. And I see a lot of weird lights and it's not just the haphazard Christmas lights they have strung here and there throughout the store that are up year round. I mean, who does that?

Is it any wonder I'd rather go shopping someplace that I can admire things like this?

Give me an Asian woman in a hot dress any day of the week. I'll buy her antiques, her dresses, and her shoes. I'll also buy her paintings and not mind the price.