"i want you so bad, it's driving me mad, it's driving me...mad..."
Five minutes to midnight. I figure I can make it to blockbuster before it closes. Rent some piece of crap to which I can fall asleep. I had a good two hours' sleep last night. Finished up a web site. So, I step outside. Nice quiet evening. The block is dark. As I'm getting into my Camry, I see some men walking down the street. Silhouetted against the light of the tennis club down the block. They seem to be heading for the black SUV parked on the street. But suddenly, there are too many of them. Maybe eight. They don't get in the car. They keep moving. And against the light, I see the unmistakable silhouettes of men with rifles.
I... I wish I were.. what? Braver? What the hell are these guys doing? Are they about to break into someone's house? Are they coming for me? I get in my car and drive off. In the rearview I can see them. Rifles raised. I stop at the light. Should I circle the block and check them out? Should I call someone? No cell phone. No balls. If they're coming for me, what do I have? What do I have that's illegal? Do they want me because I get junk mail for someone with a Persian name? The latest was addressed to Niplofar F. Dean. Whoever the hell that is.
I've wasted too much time. It's three minutes to midnight. I head for Pavilions. A Kirin and a pack of Turtles. Beer and chocolate. That's how I deal with stress. I get back in the car. Instead of going to my street, I turn a block early, so I can circle back around the house. As I approach Cahuenga, I see four cop cars parked on the corner. Lights out. I turn up my street. A couple of doors down from me, there are cops all over the lawn. And a guy in a tee shirt and shorts. Arms behind his back, being held by cops. Must be a break-in. Jack's house. The old guy with Alzheimer's. Jesus. just what he needs.
I pull into the driveway and get out. As I look down the block, I see my neighbor Kay talking to a young cop. My neighbor Kay who no longer speaks to me. Who avoids me. She's in her blue terrycloth robe. Shaking her head, quietly talking to a flattop cop. I hesitate. I can't hear anything they're saying. After a couple of minutes, I walk up to them. I say "hi" to Kay. I ask if everything is okay. Kay nods. The cop looks at me. "Break-in?" I ask. Kay turns to me. "Jack's nephew."
Oh. Remember the asshole from the yard sale? Jack's nephew. A guy who lost his job because of his drinking and got kicked out of his apartment. The family, who wanted nothing to do with him, suggested he move in with Jack. The eighty year old guy with Alzheimer's. Perfect. The nephew who was arrested for getting into a fight at the local pre-school. That guy.
Apparently he had been arguing with Jack all night and had finally started shoving him around, slamming him into the wall and choking him. An eighty year old guy on a lot of meds. Fair fight. Anyway, the cop wants to know what I know. I relate my little bit. I tell him about how he was such an asshole at the yard sale, and how Jack had gone to bail him out.
The cop listens and nods. "So, he's been kind of a knucklehead you're saying?"
"That's a polite way of saying it."
"Well. sir, I can't really say the words I want to say."
A problem we all have, officer.
Kay and I leave. She tells me this started four hours ago. Jack came over and interrupted her dinner. "He doesn't need this."
I offer my help. I tell her to tell Jack that if I can help, I will. She says she'll tell him. Are we friends again? We'll see.
I can't help but think about the time I drove into my driveway and saw the two of them standing on the curb. She's kind of the neighborhood busybody. (That's a polite way of saying it.) Out on the curb picking up every leaf. On her cell calling the cops about the parents of the pre-schoolers parking illegally. We live near the tennis court. And every once in a while, a tennis ball winds up in my yard. Usually a good one, with a lot of bounce. So, I pull into my driveway. And out of the sky, a tennis ball appears and whacks the woman on the head. The two of them jump, and I have to stop myself from laughing.
But that's cruel.
Meanwhile, I agree to partner with the fave client on a side project. Work my ass off to get this thing designed and photographed. A product from which a certain percentage will go to the American Red Cross to help the New York mess. But it looks like capitalism, and it looks like we're cashing in on the tragedy. We make up a hundred or so real-looking samples to send to the press and to retailers. Lots of spraymounting and re-mounting. And assembling press kits and taking shots. A solid week over twelve to twenty hour days. And then fave client and her mother split for a vacation/rest in florida. Before the press kits go out. Before everything is finished. I understand they need the break. But this is really bad timng.
But everything goes smoothly. I go into the office one day and put my factory training to good use. We pump out sixty kits just in time for the UPS guy.
But in the meantime, I'm on the phone with fave and her mom hourly. They're making sure everything goes well. Lots of calls. Lots of chat. I'm waiting for fave to write a bunch of copy for a ton of new products. Lots of stuff going on.
She calls late one night. One a.m. her time. A little smashed. (very) And she has a theory about business. She goes on. Her two new friends (who seem to be a bartender and a maid) have put the notion of corporate loyalty into her head. We talk on. And as it gets personal and quieter, I tell her that "I actually miss you." Cleverly toning it down. "Actually." A bit of humor. An out, in case it seems too personal.
And I don't hear from her at all the next day. Lesson learned? If I ever want to get rid of this woman, all I have to do is show some affection. But I don't want to get rid of her... and I can't help the other...
The day after she left, I got a call around midnight. I answered and all I could hear was a bad dance club band and a woman talking incredibly loud and fast. I figured it must be fave client. I say her name several times. I scream it into the phone. A tiny voice in her purse. I figure she must have accidentally hit my number on the auto-dial. I scream her name several more times. No reply. So, I listen for about fifteen minutes. On the speakerphone. I leave to go to the john at one point, and the line is dead when I come back.
Turns out it wasn't her.
Another client loves the re-do of his site which I 24/7'ed all weekend and Monday. Good.
Going to Guadalajara to see the daughter. she needs q-tips. and parental love. it was her birthday saturday. she's dyed her hair brown so the mexican men will stop hitting on her and harassing her. mostly, she says, it's the cops. and, of course, there's a police station around the corner. madrefuckers. mess with my kid. she says she can live anywhere now that she's been through this. and she still has a couple of months to go... why do our kids have to learn these kinds of lessons? nick lowe was on NPR wishng that it would never be necessary to have to sing "what's so funny 'bout peace love and understanding" again. But here we are.
my illusion of happiness will be back. fave client came back tonight. we do have fun together. and she did say that even if the product doesn't fly, working together has been really fun. and it has.
let go. let god.
ooops. showing my roots. or my anti-roots.