Pretty good hermit-crab impression, wasn’t it? I know.
Crawled out, now, and I’ve got that one huge claw waving and snapping around like mad. I’d better grab a pen while I’m still in the mood.
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Light. Bright light. Augh. Heat, too. Humidity. O, my flowers on the patio! The begonias have taken right over, they have. Globular hot-pink locusts. And the marigolds … ever since I moved them up to the penthouse shelf, they’ve gone nuts.
That daisy I was so proud of, though. Kite and I found her, flesh-melon and huge, among the racks of anemic WalMart greenery. She’s quite dead, now, and I know nothing about reviving her.
I still have this bruise on my left thigh from where I tagged myself on the footboard of the bed. My balance isn’t what it used to be, and I like to blame that on the meds although it’s probably just my bad eyesight.
The bruise turned alarmingly green one day; I had never had a green patch of skin before. I felt moldy, couldn’t keep from touching it. It is shaped like Poland, if my knee is Finland, which is a strange yet appropriate navigation marker. Hi, Tony and BÈatrice; you are across the Baltic Sea from my bruise.
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Saturday night, I went to the Summerfest Cabaret production, which was held in the basement of an old building in downtown Birmingham. Green tablecloths, plastic chairs, candles on the tables. The production was called “All Night Strut” and it was a collection of swing and jazz standards, performed (sang and danced) by two men and two women, all incredibly talented, accompanied by a similarly talented four-piece band. Of course, they could have been hippos in leotards accompanied by a tone-deaf xylophonist and still been wonderful.
Have I mentioned that Chad was the technical director and stage manager and pulled everything together beautifully? No? Well. He is a theatre demigod.
Before the show started, I was introduced to lots of people, and the cast in particular. Carl and Lonnie, the tenor and baritone, were very charming. Carl was, however, disturbingly grungy, and I had no idea how he was going to pull this sort of show off.
“The cast consensus is that you’re hot,” Chad announced proudly to me as he sat down where I was skimming my XML book while the audience ate dinner and chatted. “Carl threatened to sing ‘Just a Gigolo’ to you.” I waited for the internal cringe at the possibility of not only being evaluated physically but later on singled out of a crowd of strangers and sung to. No cringe.
Uh, hello? No cringe?
For a moment, I had a flash of waking up in a bathtub filled with ice and reading the note pasted on the tiled wall: “You have approximately three hours to live. Do not attempt to stand up. The phone is by your left hand. Call an ambulance. Your neurotic gland has been removed.”
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For my seventeenth birthday, my mom rented out a hall in the Winnetka Community Center and hired a band and invited all my friends for a semi-formal ball. It was a blast. My favourite part of the evening is captured on videotape: three of my closest friends singing “In the Mood” to me. Soprano, second soprano, and alto. I love that song; I love that version of that song.
Saturday night, I about bounced right out of my chair when they started singing it in four-part harmony and dancing too. We’re talking swing dancing here, folks. It was insanely fun. And Carl was the absolute opposite of grunge onstage. He was … well, he was one cool cat.
Since I don’t know how “Just a Gigolo” starts, I was sadly unprepared for the freaking-and-hiding maneuver I had planned. All I remember is chewing on my lip as soon as I heard Carl intone, “I’m just a gigolo, and everywhere I go …” He has a lovely voice and wasn’t approaching my table, so I felt safe enough to bop along in my chair to the music. The two strangers who sat with me were quite blank, but I think even they did a little head-bob during this song. So fun, enjoying myself so much, relaxed and not cringing in the least.
He’s not singing anymore. Wait. Music’s still going. He’s … o, fuck. He’s walking over here. Well, I’ll show him. I won’t freak out. I’ll just … sit here and laugh stupidly! Yeah! That’ll teach him!
I don’t even remember what Carl said after he sidled up to me, but it was cute and I laughed and other people laughed, and he ended by turning back to where Chad was stationed at the light-board to say, “You can bring her back anytime, Chad.”
After the performance, Carl came up to say hi and hoped he didn’t embarrass me. Normally, that would have been the point in which I would have lied politely; no, no, not at all, it was fine. I didn’t lie this time.
I didn’t have to.
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I want to ride a ferry to work in the morning, across San Francisco Bay. I want to see the water, big water, every day of my life, see the sun on it in the morning and the sun on it in the evening, and I want to be on that ferry, reading, or talking to Chad, or just looking silently at the water after a long workweek.
We’re interviewing for the jobs at Exemplary this July, and if all goes well, we’ll be Californians in August.
Everyone in the known universe has something to say about San Francisco, or California, or start-up companies, or computers, or working, or money, or life, or anything at all. We’re socialized to want to correlate our experiences, to collate them, and then to make big Experience Albums that we can reference so when something weird comes up, we can turn to page 178 and ah! there it is.
I’m a brat. This wonderful thing is happening to me, to us, and I want everyone to be as excited about it as I am. I don’t want to hear another word on the high cost of living or the crime rates or the freakin’ earthquakes. Chad and I have sat through hours of lectures on the topic since we first mentioned it; we even have friends who are avoiding or ignoring us because of it. I know why we’re getting these reactions, I know the company could go belly-up in a year or less, I know how bad life can be, I know I know I know. It’s not heaven; it’s San Francisco. I know.
But dammit, this might be the best thing that’s happened to us yet. That’s what I’m focusing on. I’ve been depressed and disgruntled for long enough; give me some risks, some challenges, some excitement, some success. I’ll take the bad stuff, too, as long as I get what I want. And soon – god, I’m so impatient for it that I’m starting to insult Birmingham, and that’s not how I want to leave. Birmingham has been a good home for us. I just feel like leaving it. Now.
Because you know, you shouldn’t keep a lady waiting when she’s in the mood.