bad customers, burns, class, cocktails, collections, costumes, eye colour, eye contact, family, Faulkner, food, friends, German Cross, Halloween decorations, hobbies, jackets, Marcel Beyer, Spanish Civil War, Spanish Grand Cross, travel, work, workplace accidents, WWII medals
I liked that book, I think. It’s hard to explain. Like…a variation of Faulkner’s help-me-my-family’s-crazy-and-now-I-am-too The Sound and the Fury, which is one of my favourite books.
Except that this one was centered on something that’s also an absurdity from my own childhood. The kind of absurdity where you are the only one of your siblings with dark hair and eyes, and the others make up their own version of the family, where you are adopted. You don’t belong. Because you’re the wrong colouring.
I was jealous of the book’s narrator, because he at least had his cousins who matched him, and because the people making up the absurd stories were neighbor kids. Not his own family.
And they still do, of course.
And then there’s that gap between you and your next youngest sibling, the one your parents explain with the twin brothers that didn’t end up being born. And the mistake on your birth certificate that made you out to be born in a foreign country–your siblings love those details, and even though they’re younger than you and are just making up stories like kids do…you never quite shake the feeling that you’re not like them–your own family.
It was nice to read a book where someone else knows about this sort of thing.
I remain unsure about whether or not its nice to live in a universe that knows about you though, and knows where you are at all times…she asked me to go to the arrivals area for her to pick me up, because it was less crowded…so I go up and she’s like:
K: What sign are you standing under?
Me: It says… *I look up* It says, you know, AMC? Condor. Um, Lufthansa.
And meanwhile, Wolf is rolling on the ground and laughing and I am telling him to shut up. Shut up, SHUT UP. But he can’t stop laughing. Because of course.
It’s just as well, I think, that I am still bad at making eye contact with my friends. Or anyone with whom I am having a friendly conversation. I can keep eye contact during an impersonal conversation, no problem. I do it at work all of the time. (And, of course, whenever Tyler is talking about me being a fascist and needs to be stared down.)
It’s what I do instead of hesitating between words, which is what she does. She’s very cautious when she speaks to me, like she wants to make sure she chooses exactly the right words before she says them. Was she always that way? I cannot recall…we talked so seldom back when she used to be loud and obnoxious…
I don’t want to be weird, but I listen pretty attentively when she speaks to others, so I can hear how she talks…and she doesn’t hesitate as much with them. I am wondering why she does it so much with me…because we had a misunderstanding once? I worry about it. I was thinking about it a lot when it was her turn to talk. And about the book. Because I could look her in the eye when she was the one talking, and her eyes are greyer than I remember. I remember them being more green. I think it must have been the light. Her hair is darker now, too. I was wondering if she dyed it, but I don’t think so. She’s never paid much attention to what she looks like.
I wondered, too, about how my eyes look to other people. If they see the green or the red, depending on the light. My siblings like to quote JK Rowling to me–the passages about Professor Snape’s dark, tunnel-like eyes–but, as I said, they’re evil about my eye colour. Jester says nice things about them, but nothing I can really grasp and picture for myself… *shrugs*
The weather was crap while I was there, but we had a break of a few hours where we were able to get some things done. I carved two tiny pumpkins and decorated their front window with webbing and little spiders, and she cut the lawn.
And we went for a walk, which was funny, because she gave me a map of the trails around the neighborhood, and went on her usual run while I walked and looked at all the ferns and lichens and things…and then we met up again at a park and looked at beaver dams in the creek and walked home.
Heh. She liked my vampire jacket, which I hadn’t had the opportunity to wear here yet because of the weather being obnoxious. But she said it looked good on me, which was nice because I had some doubts. (On a scale of 1 to embarrassed to be seen with me, how bad does this look?)
She says I need a trench coat.
We also met a stranger who asked if we were going trick-or-treating, and we said no. He said I looked like I was going anyway, and we started up some banter about Halloween and dressing up…wound up walking with him for almost 45 minutes before we parted ways. It was a nice chat. She told most of how we met…it was interesting to hear her version of it. He said my jacket made him think of the Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts album cover.
And…we didn’t go trick-or-treating, but we did hand out candy and wear some costumes…I don’t have pictures of it, but she wanted to be the wolf, which left me with a unicorn headband and a rainbow tail (yep. I was a Goth unicorn for Halloween), and we took turns giving out candy and making dinner. I am not much of a cook, but I can mash up potatoes like nobody’s business. She was also really excited to make a Dutch apple pie because she’d never made one before…it turned out really well though.
Aaand…during a brief moment where I was out of the room, she also picked up a 500F pan (260C) with her bare hand, and ended up with blisters and what was probably a second degree burn…which meant Jon had to cut her food for her, and I texted my dad for advice (he used to be a firefighter) that didn’t involve going to the hospital, he said to put aloe or antibiotic ointment on the burn…she started cursing in her tiny, hesitant voice while she tried to dab it on the blisters. Jon and I were crying from laughing so hard. We’re awful.
She had me make drinks for us, and was surprised that I knew even a little bit about making drinks…somehow it’s never come up that we had a full bar at my last theatre, and a smaller version where I’m at now…and then this also happened:
K: Reesey, so, do you know what’s in this drink?
Me: *doubtful* What’s it called?
K: I have a description of it here. *shows me her phone*
Georgia Peach: made with Peach Stoli, peach schnapps, cream, pineapple.
Me: But…it tells you all of the ingredients…
K: It does?
Me: Ah…I see.
And then we had a chat about Stoli being a brand name, and about vodka and schnapps being different things. x_x
There was also this:
K: If I’d stayed with my last work group until their project was completed, we could’ve gone to Oktoberfest.
Me: Well, that’s alright. I think we’ve established that neither of us drinks much…
K: No, you don’t understand. The work group was going to tour the contractor’s factory. They’re based in Germany.
Me: Ohhhh…so, real Oktoberfest.
Me: But, I don’t even have a passport.
K: That would be a problem.
Me: On the other hand…*excited* I have those wolf ears and tail. I could have disguised myself as your service wolf, you know, now that you’ve been horribly burned.
K: *laughs* Yes! Nobody would question it.
Jon: *shakes head* Oh my god, you guys.
And then we talked about crazy things that happen at both of our workplaces…I’m shocked, sometimes, at how naïve she is about how people are. I tell her about our worst guests and she can’t wrap her mind around it. Jon had to assure her that I’m not making stuff up and that people in the service industry deal with crazies all the damn time.
On the other hand…she told me a story about someone at her company who was in a situation where either he didn’t notify someone to check on him, or the person who was supposed to check on him just assumed he’d gone home, and they left without checking–she couldn’t remember which–but whatever the case was, this guy ended up sealed inside a part of a plane and died. And nobody knew where he was until after the plane had flown a few times and showed signs of trouble that they couldn’t pinpoint…until they opened up the part he’d been sealed inside and found what was left of him. She tells me that most of him was dissolved by the fuel.
That’s horrifying. And, of course, as she told us, my Wolf and I are having this conversation.
Wolf: Don’t you even dare.
Wolf: Don’t start imagining it. Just don’t even.
And that night, what happens but that I go to sleep imagining how awful that must be to know you’re going to die like that. She said it was probably the lack of oxygen that killed him, but still…awful. So awful.
To avoid burns, we ate out the next night. It was an Italian place, and we were all looking at the menus when she says, “Antipasti…is that, like, for people who don’t like pasta?”
Omg…poor girl. Jon and I were cracking up.
It was good food though. So was what we cooked. She was so excited to show me that she’s learned to cook a lot of things since our last visit…I was in serious danger of being overfed. 😛
It’s nice though…all of it, really. Including their veiled attempts to persuade me that I want to move out there. Because Jon asked, too, and he and I are still kind of iffy about each other. Like two cats meeting and deciding to mostly ignore each other.
I think it’s touching though, that she went to all that trouble to have me over for just a weekend, and that she keeps Jon up-to-date on me enough that he would try to pique my interest in moving just so that K could have her friend nearby.
Because I know she’s got other friends…but like me, she’s not confident about meeting people. And like she told that stranger we chatted with…we’ve been friends since she was in middle school. Probably longer than almost anyone else she’s still in contact with. New friends have a hard time beating that.
It’s just…I lack confidence in all aspects of my life. And it’s not just me anymore, either. It’s also Jester. I couldn’t move him so far away from everyone he knows and likes. And the west coast is frighteningly expensive for me. I couldn’t do it…
Would I like to though? Of course. I’d like to be nearer to them. Of course I would. But I couldn’t think about it seriously because…I guess…I am afraid that unless I could force myself to find better-paid work, I’d just feel constantly like we’re not equals. It’s something that’s affected our friendship for years now, although it’s not something we talk about…we just kind of mince carefully around it because we are both so anxious to not be the kind of people who judge each other based on career paths or income, but our situations are so different now that it’s hard to avoid the topic at all.
I don’t know. I think…if I could move up another step in my own company, I think I could feel confident enough to call us equals as far as being professional, at least. I’d like that, and I think she would, too. It would relieve a lot of tension.
Now, moving away from that mess…
I have never been so anxious about going through airport security as I was this time…she doesn’t usually ask me to do things, but I’d told her about my medal collection (I know how few people will actually read all the way to this point in my post, so I suppose I don’t anticipate having to explain myself…), and she was really keen on that subject and wanted to know if I could bring them so she could see them in person. I debated about it for almost a week before I decided to bring two.
I brought the 1930s Spanish Grand Cross simply because in it’s red and white and gold it’s the prettiest to look at. I’ve also finally found out what the white crosses were issued for, too, so I will have to remember to include that in an email to her sometime because it means that almost everything that I’d previously thought I found out about it is incorrect.
And of course I took the 1940s German Cross, since it’s the one she most wanted to see. We talked for a good long while about the two medals, and about our sketchy knowledge of history, and about how in spite of history, it would be interesting to know the original stories behind the medals…we spent at least an hour speculating and being ridiculous. And talked a little about my intention to put the four of them in a shadowbox at some point (and then bury it in a corner of the room where nobody will ever look at it and question my hobbies…) and how to go about attaching them to some kind of backing since the clasp on the German Cross got squashed at some point and you can’t open it.
Anyway…I spent all of Monday traveling…woke up at 1245 Seattle time, and scared her to death because I was already awake and packed and eating leftover pie in the dark kitchen when she woke up at 3ish. We left at 330 and she had to drop me off at the airport around 445 so she could make it back to her workplace and find parking by 6-630ish.
Man. I spent a looong time wandering around the airport. And finishing my book. And getting agitated about their creepy art installments.
Aaand then, after almost 7-8 hours of waiting, I finally boarded and could not sleep. At all. I always sleep on planes, but not this time. Wide awake and hating every moment of it. And forgetting that when one has a carbonated drink, one should open it BEFORE takeoff. That wasn’t so bad, but still messier than I would’ve liked.
And then when we landed, I got mashed in the head with my bag because some other passenger was a jerk and got in my way when I was trying to get it out of the bin. I was livid and tired and with my broken skull…I wanted to hurt someone. Not the ideal way to travel. Even carousel marches could not cheer me up.
I slept pretty well last night though, and woke up and went hiking alone today…so my last day of vacation was pretty good. Tomorrow I go back to work and have to hurriedly review my section for our fall safety meeting before we present that. Bah.
I will go back to being angry if I have to read slides with glaringly obvious errors again.
But…maybe not. One can hope.