I would have traveled around in my happy little Saturn until the end of its days, had the brain surgeon not rear-ended me that fateful rainy day. People always say that everything is bigger in Texas, and it's kind of true. While the rest of the nation downsizes their cars in an attempt to fight rising fuel prices, and to attempt "environmental responsibility" Texas forges on with innumerable gigantic vehicles all over the place. I wasn't hit by a gigantic vehicle, I was hit by a Lexus. A Lexus with a license plate that says "BRAIN." I'd seen this car before, and I have seen it since. Turns out its driver is, not surprisingly, a brain surgeon. Turns out that he also "didn't expect me to turn right away" (into my driveway with my blinker on for a MORE than adequate time beforehand).
In the end, my car was totaled and I had to get another one. I ended up with a 1994 Isuzu Rodeo, which I've enjoyed because it is my first "big car." Also because it's called a Rodeo. Doesn't that sound like a rollicking good time? I sure had a good time at only rodeo I've attended (at the Angola Prison). This car has served me very well, even though I have suffered through a broken air conditioner for nearly two years. I've always thought that my Texas experience would be much better with air conditioning in the car. A friend of a friend at work (whose name is Lovemore which I think is wonderful! But once when we couldn't remember what it was I suggested "Lovegood?" which Drake promptly corrected "LoveWELL, Alta.") anyway, Lovemore fixed my AC! I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's ice-cold, but it is certainly pleasant.
So now I'm waiting in the Lobby of the Pear Tree Inn in San Antonio. Drake and I had to extend our weekend after the car overheated Saturday night. It went like this:
I was shopping, and it wouldn't start. I had noticed that the oil light went on on my way to the shopping center, so I thought I'd set out to find some oil. I looked around the parking lot and ascertained that there was no gas station in the vicinity. As I was glancing around the parking lot, I noticed two men sitting in a truck with sunglasses on. They were slightly conspicuous... windows down, both in shades, sitting facing forward absolutely silent. I walked slowly by the passenger side window, and peered in to see if they seemed friendly one glanced over after I lingered slightly over-long-- "Hi m'aam" and faced forward again. I noticed they were cops, so I asked "Excuse me, do either of you know where I might get a quart of oil?" they looked at each other quietly and I could tell they were communicating with their eyes as to whether or not to talk to me. Finally the driver (he had lots of tattoos) turned to me and said "You're in luck, m'aam because I happen to know a very nice irishman who can help you." This response was enough to encourage me. I felt assured that even if my car didn't start that night, I would at least come away with a good story.
By the way, I never saw these men. That's what I'm supposed to say. They were on some sort of stake out. I thought that seemed like a fun adventure, and I did feel like I was a part of it. They got out of the car to help me out, and to wait for the irishman who was coming over with the oil. I got to hear all kinds of cop-talk about "perps" and such. They were pretty fun, and though I felt like I was unfairly taking them from their stake-out, I was very glad for their help. The irishman was a security officer from Ireland, a great guy and we talked a bit about my irish heritage and about NYC, where he lived for 10 years as an actor. One of the cops bet him that my car would need 6 quarts of oil with the caveat that they would not be "betting in shillings and tuppence like last time."
So here we sit. Apparently, timing belts and thermostats and water pumps can't be found on Sundays, so we extended our trip. Fortunately, the car will be ready at 5pm, which will be just in time for horrible traffic all the way back to Dallas. We will be stopping in West for Kolaches, but other than that who knows what will happen. Drake saw a tumbleweed on the way down here. I'm hoping for a sighting.
I think Drake knows that I mean well. One time, he came home from work--REALLY tired. The kind of tired where you can barely keep your eyes open to brush your teeth. I wasn't tired, hadn't worked as long a day as he had, and I felt kind of guilty about it, frankly. Being the good and sweet wife that I am, I thought I'd try to cheer him. I am nothing if not a purveyor of good cheer! However....all I could see was that it was my perfect opportunity to pants him. I am constantly trying to accomplish this, the perfect pants-ing, and he knows it and thereby is always on guard. Before the perfect pants-ing, I was always trying to stick my finger in my mouth whenever he yawned, or to do the whole "oh! you spilled something on your shirt!" then hit his nose with my finger... OR the *point* "what's that?" and then when he looks steal a particularly crispy french fry or other such delectable morsel from his plate (I still do this one. He is a patient, patient man.)
In any case, I saw my moment and I approached. "Oh, my poor Drake, you had such a long day" I say... then promptly and TOTALLY unexpectedly making my move. Naturally, being the victor in this situation I was filled with glee! What a perfect pants-ing! He never saw it coming! Drake was not as gleeful. Actually, he didn't even laugh. He turned to face me toothbrush hanging from his mouth agog. stone cold. He waited while I (writhing in mirth) calmed myself and said "I just came home from a 12 hour day and I'm exhausted. What could possibly make you think that I would think it was appropriate or funny to pants me."
This is the fundamental difference between us. It serves no reasonable purpose to ask why I think things are funny or appropriate. This is not a matter of reason. This is a matter of the heart. Of my romantic, butcher-florist loving, perfect-opportunity-for-pantsing-seeking heart.
We are beginning to understand one another, my Drake and I. He understands to look the other way when I point at something over his shoulder, but that if he eats one of MY fries, I'll probably cry. And he understands that sometimes, I've got to pants him at inappropriate moments because they are the perfect moments. Never in public though. girl-scouts honor (I was never a girl-scout, but I am honorable) Also never wet willies. never wet.
My Drake came home yesterday from far-away North Dakota! I stopped at the Tom Thumb (I still find it funny that there is a very respectable grocery store named "Tom Thumb." What is it with these Southerners and their "Piggly-Wigglies" and "Tom Thumbs?" Where I'm from we have the Price Chopper. Now that's a grocery store. The Price SLAYER!! the Price DESTROYER!! that's what I'm talkin about. We don't buy our groceries from friendly little fairy-tale characters and wood nymphs! We buy them from vicious murderers of prices.... ARGH!!)
So anyway I stopped on the way to the airport at the "Thumbellina" for to get my love a red red rose. It was late-ish, so they called some guy over from the Meat Department to help me in the floral department. I was apprehensive until I met him and, of course, immediately perceived his fabulousness. His fabulousness in spite of his blood-smeared smock. We first determined whether I wanted it tight or loose, which I only found hilarious in retrospect, though he seemed immediately aware of having mis-spoken and quickly pointed out a tight rose versus a loose one. I am, in fact, blissfully unaware of most sexual innuendo unless it is followed by a nudging elbow to the ribs accompanied by raised eye-brows and a sly "ehh? ehhhh.....?" That or a "that's what she said."
We went on to choose a "ribbon treatment" even though I thought it wasn't necessary. He showed me his method for tissue wrapping single flowers and bunches (still blood-smeared, mind you) and pushed me towards a complimentary accent ribbon in a varying color or width. I politely protested, feeling like the sweet, simple gesture of a single red rose might, perhaps, be lost in the tissue and tulle and ribbon treatment. He insisted, though, and who am I to argue? I am certainly NOT one to argue with a butcher/florist.
I was 20 minutes late at the airport. I had anticipated waiting in the bustling baggage carousel area with my single red rose (which, incidentally, matched my new red patent leather flats). I never end up able to recreate the perfect lovely scenarios which I create in my imagination.... instead I found Drake at the baggage carousel and snuck up behind him, worked my way around his right side, pretended to be a stranger and then played the slow-invasion-of personal-space game. I'm quite romantic in my head. In practice, it doesn't come out *exactly* how I planned, but I always mean well.
My husband and I are both opera singers, and in the fall we moved from NYC to Michigan, where he is now a professor of voice and opera at Oakland University. In January we bought our first house-- an 1895 Victorian, and we're expecting our first child (a boy) in April.