Tag Archives: women

Growing Up George: Ch. 7 The Missing Drink

Autumn in the Potato Falls district comes more chilly than in most parts of the country. There were already patches of white lining the slopes beside the straight wide roads that seemed to disappear into a horizon of mauve ashes. Some of those shortcuts into the woods would be shut down in a few weeks. By then all the fires northwest of here would have been put out.

In order to test our research and collaboration skills, Meztli and I had been given the most unimaginative assignment in Journalism ever. She herself turned out to be highly developed in the aforementioned skill set, while lacking in the latter. I guess you could say we were like Lois Lane and Clark Kent, except I couldn’t fly, didn’t wear glasses and there was no chemistry between us. I picked her up one Saturday to head toward the campus library at the university, which she said had public newspaper records dating much further back than the ones at our small barrio library.

As I took the back roads to avoid traffic, she kept asking me to slow down to take pictures of the landscapes.

“What do you do with all those anyway? Instagram?”

“No. I just.” Then she trailed off into her own quiet world again. She was playing Coldplay off her phone speaker and singing all the chorus parts when we passed a waterfall, I’d say about two stories high, right off the side of the road.

“Hey! Slow down! I didn’t get a picture of it!”

“This is already gonna take us all day.”

“Why didn’t you warn me it was coming up?”

I hate it when girls raise their voice for no reason. “…I didn’t know I was supposed to warn you.”

“Well go back.”

“We’ll pass it on our way back.”

“Ok. But you better promise,” she whined.

“Or else what?”

“I’ll tell Cindy you’re in love with her.”

I felt myself blush. “What makes you think I am?”

The end of the song “Yellow” was coming up. She ignored my question and rolled down her window. The brisk icy breeze swept in and blew some strands of her hair against my right arm.

“It’s true,” she sang to the crop fields. “Look how they shine for you…”

‘Ok. Whatever,’ I thought to myself. But if Meztli, whom I’d only known for about a month, had noticed my crush on Cindy, I could just as well assume everyone else had noticed it as well.

The song ended. “Are you asking her to homecoming?” she asked.

“What’s homecoming?”

Meztli laughed at my reply. She had this contagious, heartfelt, warm laugh but rarely seemed relaxed enough to share it with anyone.

After proving we were relatively local high school students and being given access to the archives, Meztli took over speed reading and sorting, assigning me the menial task of photocopier. A couple hours went by like this when she asked me to go get her a latte.

“I don’t think you’re allowed to drink in here.”

“Just sneak it in your backpack. Here,” she pulled out a money purse with a scene from the anime Death Note printed on it. “Buy yourself something too.”

I ignored her generous gesture altogether, emptied my backpack and headed toward the elevator. As I waited there, I complained, “We’re gonna get kicked out. Watch, we’ll be banned and your college application’s gonna be rejected. With giant red letters. REJECT.”

She laughed again, but this laugh had more of an evil undertone. “What makes you think I’m applying to come here?”

I was still in line at the cafe when she texted me: “Hurry up. I have to show you something.”

“I’m still in line.” SEND.

“Make it a double,” she replied. “Urgent matter requires your immediate attention.”

“4 people ahead of me.” SEND

My phone vibrated again: “Ask them for the chocolate swirl thing. And HURRY.”

Our assignment was to collect statistical data on complaints about air quality. Even if she had found a lawsuit filed against the government in the 50’s, it could hardly merit the excitement she was ensuing.

I ordered her the latte, unaware that it was twice as expensive as the ones back home. I even asked them to put one of those chocolate graham straws. When they told me the total I had to cancel my own drink. There is this saying, that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving… I can’t say I always get that.

When I came out of the elevator, she walked up to me and held up an unfolded newspaper in front of my face. The date was July 27th, 1996. The headline read, “Lara Murder Remains Unsolved.”

I grasped the paper out of her hand as she pulled off my back pack. I tumbled over to the nearest seat. The article- I can still see the print now clearly as if it were right here before my eyes-  stated:

“Potato Falls sheriff Mark Credenza issued a statement yesterday in which he gave a timeline of the events that probably led up to the death and apparent murder of local Hispanic woman, Angelica Lara. The body of Ms. Lara was recently found in the county dump by a scavenger entrepreneur who has asked to remain unnamed. Her family reported her missing on June 16th after she did not return home from her high school graduation celebration events. Friends say they saw her enter a vehicle at about 9 PM that evening- the vehicle belonging to her ex-boyfriend, who is currently being questioned regarding the case. Ms. Lara is believed to have been sober and not under the influence of any other substance, but an autopsy has yet to prove otherwise. The body has visible marks of distress, though authorities anticipate the results of the autopsy will be mostly uninformative because of the time that has elapsed. Ms. Lara’s disappearance led some classmates to misinform investigators that she had ran away from home, while close friends have affirmed that would have been entirely out of character for her. She is survived by an older sister and son of six months.”

“You didn’t order a drink?” Meztli’s voice had some sort of out-of-body intercom type effect to it.

“Huh?”

“You didn’t get yourself anything at the cafe?”

“I drank it on the way over here. …Meztli, where’d you find this paper?”

“With all the other ones. Hard to miss. You know, cause of your last name and it’s the Sunday paper and all that.”

“You think this is about my mom?”

“Was your mom’s name Angelica?”

“Yeah.”

“So what’s the population there, like, 1000?”

“1,080.”

“So what are the odds of there, like, being two Angelica Lara’s murdered the same year in Potato Falls?”

I clenched my teeth and hater her. I hated Meztli with all my might that instant, but for reasons far beyond me. I didn’t want to punch her or anything, I just wanted to concentrate my hate and fear of my past and ignorance on someone, and right then and there, she was someone.

She must’ve noticed something in my face because she put her hand on my shoulder, leaned in and whispered, “You deserved the truth.”

Our eyes met behind my held-back tears, and the hug that followed numbed my hate, at least for a moment.

“Whoops.” She had spilled some of her latte on the paper. “We should probably take it with us anyway.”

“NO,” I protested, but she stuffed it in my backpack along with all the photocopies, and headed toward the elevator.

“Come on,” she looked over her shoulder, “Let’s go ask Tío Jorge about this.”

 

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Too Charming for Myself

Last time the a/c technician came to the office, he kind of asked me for my phone number and i kind of said No.
Today he is here again and i think i made him cry.
I told him no one told me he was coming.
It is unnerving for a guy to just show up and want to come in, and i think he got sad.
I just passed him down the hall and gave him my best fake smile i have to offer.
Charmed, no doubt.

This morning i went to do ministry work which is done this way in my congregation:
Whoever is a member of that congregation or an active member of another congregation can meet at a set time at our hall.
In our hall it is only in the mornings and since i work most mornings and oversleep the other mornings, (without mentioning the mornings on which i do both), i tend to only make my own arrangements and go out in the evenings.
But i try to show up Fridays and Saturdays to the group meetings when i can.
Today only one brother was going out in the ministry.
He is a Vietnam Vet and has a lot of stories.
(We don’t go to war but that was before he studied the Bible).
He is retired and married but his wife died twice and the paramedics brought her back to life.
(“Oh Well,” he says).
Now she is overweight and can’t really walk anymore, so he is always alone or with this single younger brother who is a little socially awkward, but i’ll leave his stories for another day.
So this brother is from Central America and he’s always contrasting his childhood on a coffee farm with the time he spent in trenches in Vietnam.
Later in life he had other jobs, the last of which was a lawyer.
Today we were speaking with a genuine hippie, the kind you only find in Ojai, Seattle or Oregon.
Mr. Hippie owns a big property (big by California standards) and feeds wild animals from scraps he finds in the neighbors’ trash bins.
He bathes in the creek or ocean with his clothes on.
(Thank God).
I’m pretty sure he was stoned the whole time we were talking to him.
You see, people round here are not that nice.
But he invited us to take a seat and the brother i was with was telling him his war stories while a woman who rents a room on the property overheard and was visibly disgusted.
That is the problem with people round here.
No one wants to hear the truth.
They just want to paint butterflies on their walls and build water fountains out of rocks they find in their neighbor’s driveway.
Still, despite his probably being stoned, we had a good conversation about making conscientious use of the earth’s natural resources.
He pretty much thinks everything humans do is damaging and we are bound to destroy ourselves.
I tried to read him a couple verses from the Bible about the future but if you are a woman, perhaps you can relate to the following:
There is a point when a woman is having a conversation with a man when you know he is dismissing your opinions as not having any serious weight to them because he is seeing you as a sex object.
Confirmation of this suspicion came when he proceeded to ask me my age.
What the hell, you go talk to people about God and stuff and guy just wants to know if you’re young enough to bear his offspring.
Of course i only put two and two together because he held his gaze for too long.
I was uncomfortable but the brother i was with didn’t seem to notice and kept sharing war anecdotes.
I don’t mind that the brother strays off topic because i wonder what his mind would be like if he didn’t have anyone to share his traumas with.
He could be one of those homeless guys who heckle my friend and me at the park.
Vets have been through a lot and though i am opposed to war, they do not get the social help they need- that is more than obvious.

I am still adjusting to the local small town artsy culture there is here.
I still haven’t decided if i have any friends yet.
One sister whom i spend a lot of time with and yeah, she’s pretty cool, kind of keeps hinting that she wants to see my twitter account but i don’t think our relationship is there yet.
At least i’m not.
(My account is public but i dunno. It’s a big step).
There is a sister who i was getting along great with but last time i saw her she kind of got on my case about not meeting in the mornings and i am the kind of person that usually doesn’t reply… but the more i think about it, the more i wish i had said, “Uhm some of us have to work.” and possibly even be more insulting because she lives off a trust her husband has and he is a little bit disabled, and she doesn’t work because she has asthma.
I have asthma too but i work.
So it is just irritating when people pressure you to do more and you already feel like you’re doing the best you can and instead of asking how they can support you, they focus on what you can’t do.
Don’t get me wrong, i love everybody, at least in theory.
But when things like that happen i don’t have anyone that i can talk to about it because i am supposed to be this model minister who gives discreet answers to stoned hippies and doesn’t tell off the homeless guys who heckle her at the park, she doesn’t tell people to mind their own business when they ask about her personal schedule and she doesn’t talk about her bouts of depression because she is supposed to be always happy and smiling and encouraging and God i hate everyone, i swear everything i do is all out of love to God and no one else.

Are you an initiator?

Are you typically the person who initiates conversations, texts, relationships, sex, etc?

Or do you like to be on the receiving end?

Some of us don’t have much of a choice.

If we don’t initiate, we could go years without human contact.

I am not naturally an initiator.

Being shy and with low self-esteem my whole life,  I can think of a dozen reasons off the top of my head why someone would rather not be contacted by me.

But there are some people I’m willing to initiate for, because if I don’t,  I’m afraid I’ll lose them.

There comes a point, though, where I become exasperated.

I wind up at the corner market pigging out on chips and taramisu for lunch.

image
This is something I'm happy to initiate.

One recent example of said exasperation is my supposed BFF.
She got divorced in April but has been disconnected from me because she has been talking to this new guy I don’t approve of.
She’s never been a clingy friend, but it’s like she only calls when she has guy problems.
I told her I was buying a house in May and didn’t hear back from her til yesterday.
She only texted me because she’s depressed that she’s cut off contact with the new guy.
I see the pattern clearly now, though I ignored it for over the last five years.

I was arguably rude, I think,  cause after a few texts back and forth,  she didn’t reply.

Eh. I’m used to it.

But that’s not why I’m pigging out right now.

That’s because I just saw through my coworker.

She keeps asking me to move patients to an earlier time and then sabotages the schedule so I have to call them again and move them back to their original time.

I decided to take a long lunch and let her deal with her own mess for a change.

I don’t have sisters and was never really close to my cousins growing up,  so maybe that’s why I have trouble getting along with most women.

Not sure why I can’t get along with men, though.

That’s a whole ‘nother mystery for a different food binge.