Nov. 1981. Dear diary: You know, I've got a lot more going for me than many other people. I'm very smart, I'm NOT ugly, I'm not shy, I'm not a social outcast, I'm not fat, I've got nice hands, a pretty class ring, a nice house, expensive stereo, leniant rules, straight teeth, thick hair, and a good voice.
It’s Monday morning, and I can’t remember what I did this weekend. Not in a John Lennon “I slept with so many Asian chicks who weren’t my wife” kind of way, although really, you can’t blame him for that. And who knows? Maybe I did sleep with Asian chicks all weekend. Let’s look at this weekend’s photos and find out.
Oh, right! On Friday morning, I met my new next-door neighbor. The New Peg. He’s got the prettiest cat you’ve ever seen, an orange fluffy girl named Oscar. She’s orange and fluffy–did I mention?–and I was a paragon of dignity, meeting her. And this is my neighbor’s friend’s dog, Rex, who was just visiting. He and Eds raised hackles at each other. It was beautiful.
Work was ridick all of Friday. There was some sort of snafu, and the copy editor who sits behind me and I officially had 30 hours’ worth of work to do in one day. We managed to delegate it and/or do it our own selves, and by 5:00, my eyeballs had fallen out and rolled to a bar.
Right after work, I went around the corner to the funeral home. Jo’s brother died last week, and I told her I’d come to either the funeral or the visitation, and the visitation (say “visitation” one more time, June) was literally around the corner from work.
As I got out of my car, another man was, too, not that I’m a man. So even though we didn’t know each other, we became Funeral Buds and stood in the receiving line and introduced each other to people we knew there. He was like my 20-minute husband.
Then I headed home, because I was so busy at work Friday that I never got to come home for lunch, so I let Eds out and fed everyone, and while I was doing that, The New Peg, my neighbor, came out and said, “Would you like to come over for a beer?”
Hell, yes, I would.
When Jo’s visitation was over, and I just made it sound like the angel of the Lord appeared to Jo, she called me and we got up with each other for snacks and moves from very old men.
We’d gone to this wine bar that apparently you must be 45 or older to attend. You know how on rides they’ll have, like, an upright alligator with a jaunty hat that says, “You must be this tall to ride”? At this place, they have a magnifying mirror. “You must have this many wrinkles to enter.”
“You must be able to recite the chorus to The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia to gain admission.”
Anyway, a man who was actually even older than Jo and me sauntered over. “You mind if I join you while I look for wine?” We happened to be near all the bottles, and I’d make some sort of drunk joke here, but Jo is the least-drinky person who actually drinks that I know. “Do they sell half-glasses?” I’ve heard her say.
In case you thought Jo and I eventually acquiesced and ended up in an old-man sandwich, a tongue-and-liverwurst on rye, we did not. We went home to our respectable abodes without incident.
On Saturday, I saw Ned.
Oh, good, June. Good.
We went out for Fruity Pebbles cupcakes, and by “we” I mean I ordered one and he looked on in horror.
Then we went to Target, where my soulmate had clearly been at some point earlier. Hashtag poop! Oh my god, hashtag poop! It’s my new favorite hashtag!
The whole point of seeing Ned was so that I could eventually pop in to see Nancy, and you can see how delighted she was about the visit.
Really, she PHOTOGRAPHS bitchy, but she’s the sweetest cat in the world. She’s always all, o hai! So happy and purry.
And she’s got her litterbox down pat!
Then I came home and some cat had pooped on the floor. I got new litter. I think it didn’t go down well. Irony.
On Sunday I had Alf over to tell me how much it would cost to fix all the things I want fixed. The only really scary cost is the one to put a real door up on my walk-in closet, aka Steely Dan’s Cafeteria Plan.
He’s telling me I need a new deck, Alf is. Edsel doesn’t give one shit. It’s falling apart, the deck is, so now I gotta save my pennies.
This is a time when I remind you that everything we discuss on Facebook of You-Know-Where is not what we necessarily discuss over here.
[June adjusts her papers meaningfully.]
Anyway, that about sums up the weekend. Now Steely Dan, who was out all night, then came in for disgusting canned breakfast and then demanded to go out again, is staring obsessively up in my tree, the one with the face on it.
I keep tryina call him in, because out-all-night kitty and he must be tired (I say that like he didn’t sleep in front of a fire with his other family, or another Asian woman like John Lennon) and he was TRYING to walk back in while never taking his eyes off the tree.
Finally, I looked up there. A cardinal family has been flitting around my house a lot, and they’re both up there, and if that cat eats cardinal babies Ima have his head. I’ll just walk around for the rest of time with that cat’s head on a stick. It’ll be my signature look.
When we left each other yesterday, slamming the door and saying, “IT’S OVER! I MEAN IT THIS TIME!”, I was going to try to come back here and write you at lunch.
That didn’t happen. Work. Tis busy.
So here’s a two-day update on everything that’s happening in my stupid world. I wish to tell you about Ned and Nancy, my broken toe (surprise!), stupid cosmetic things I did and also Steely Dan’s shenanigans. This is like when you go to a fancy event and they show you a little menu of what you’re getting.
Liverwurst finger sandwiches
No, I don’t know what kind of horrific imaginary fancy events I attend, either.
Ned & Nancy. An update.
I wanted to give you a visual, here, so I went to my pictures and searched, “cat,” and then my computer carried on with the guffawing. “Oh, THAT’S specific, June,” it said, as my computer is actually some kind of talking sarcastic animal like on The Flintstones.
Here. And lose the attitude, computer.
As you know–because for generations, your family will be gathering to tell my stories–Ned adopted Nancy, my foster cat. What with the losing her kittens and the going back to the shelter to get spayed and having a terrible time with her operation and possibly with being feral, she got to Ned’s and was not pooping in her box. Like, she was pooping all over yonder, including her food dish.
Ned did everything, seriously everything, so stop “Did he…”-ing me. The vet suggested he confine poor Nancy–which I just wrote as “poop Nancy”–to one small room, and leave her in there.
Guess what. It worked. It took several days, but for the past FOUR days, she has gone exclusively in her box. Ned is encouraged. “This weekend, I’ll move her up to the computer room,” said Ned. He gave Nancy a promotion.
Toe. An update.
As you know, because for generations your family will–oh, stop, June. M’toe is broken.
Yesterday, my doctor-recommended hard-soled shoes came. I worked from home yesterday, because I never thought about it much till it HURT, but it’s a long damn-ass walk from the parking lot to my actual desk, and it involves stairs, and ouch.
So I propped my foot yesterday, I was in the props department, and then when my shoes came, I hobbled to the door to receive them. It was like shoe communion.
There they were. All flowered and shit.
I can’t wear them. I can’t get my foot in that little hole. I mean, I forced myself into said shoe like a wicked stepsister, and then it hurt worse once it was in there. So this weekend, Ima have to hobble over to DSW and look for something clog-ish.
Also, the part where it was almost evening and I was putting on shoes sent Edsel into fits of WE GONNA WALK joy, and I had to crush his dreams rather testily, as I was in pain and he was IRKING me.
Also, this morning, I was drying off after showering
(I’ll give you a moment to stop being turned on.)
and as I was drying off, I half paid attention (my epitaph) and sort of told myself, Remember your big toe is broken when of course
IT’S THE LITTLE TOE MOTHER OF GOD OW.
So now it hurts even more.
June’s a grooming asshole. An update.
Recently, I noted that there are many cute local stores and boutiques near me that I never go into. I always breeze past them as I’m on my way to get something else, usually a sandwich. There’s one sandwich place that’s been there since 1977 and they’ve updated the decor not at all, and I’m deeply in love with the whole atmosphere. I feel like I should be in there with my rainbow jeans and my Bass 100s.
Anyway, a few Saturdays back I decided to spend the whole day just popping into all those shops I never go in, and that is how I discovered the grooming place.
They might as well rename themselves June Store.
They do Botox and microdermabrasion, facial peels and makeup. They do manicures and waxing, they do all the shit I blow all my money on. I was there, innocently getting Botox when I found myself signing up for eyelash extensions.
It takes more than an hour, as you lie there and talk to a woman who sounds precisely like my pal Alicia, who is painstakingly attaching eyelashes to your lid, one by one. It lasts about a month–you’re supposed to go back and get touchups.
But the thing is, they mostly all fell out. And I was all, Well, THAT was a bust, but in fact they texted me to ask how my lashes were working out. And that is the kind of person I am. I get texts asking, How are your lashes working out?
Anyway I told them and they’re redoing them all for free.
The interesting thing, and I may be alone in placing this under the category of “interesting,” is that you’re not allowed to wear mascara with these on, and as these are falling out I’m still not using mascara, because rule-follower.
The point is, I can see my real lashes now, and this is the longest I’ve ever gone without mascara since I’m 24 and went through a hippie phase. I mean, allegedly I take my mascara off, but those of you who groom know it’s never really off. There are always remenenenenants.
My friend’s grandmother could never say that word, so now I can’t NOT say “remenenenants” as well.
THE POINT IS, it’s really off. I mean, I have no mascara on these lashes. And what a set of namby-pamby Melanie Wilkes lashes these are. Holy cats. Why do I have to have seven pounds of hair and caterpillar brows and if I don’t shave my legs every morning I’m Zira from Planet of the Apes but my eyelashes?
NO! Fine and blonde, those are.
…Oh, right. Yes, I’d forgotten that. …Oh, that too? You’re still pissed about that? Geez.
I see I’ve run out of time to tell you about Steely Dan, but I think you and I both know it would go like this:
Last night, my old movie theater showed To Kill a Mockingbird, and I got there fairly early in order to get my popcorn (dinner) and get a decent parking spot. Not necessarily in that order, and what I like about myself is my strong writing ability.
My spot in the balcony was secured. I have always sat in the same spot in the balcony there, and when Ned and I broke up, we made a deal that I’d get the balcony and he’d find another spot. Once, after FatGate 2016, I even sat on the main floor during It’s a Wonderful Life, just so I wouldn’t spot him accidentally.
But last night I went to my regular spot, and guess who showed up. I wasn’t even surprised. I knew he’d want to see that movie.
Anyway, that wasn’t the annoying part. The annoying part was these four women directly in front of us. Now, I know that when you women get together, you hen parties, you all like to talk. Excitedly. This is why I don’t generally hang around women. That and the fact that women always expect you to show up with a candle.
Women: Hey, let’s have lunch.
Me (reluctantly): Okay. (The other reason I’m not friends with many women is lunch. Why are they so into it?)
A week later…
Women: Hey! I’m here at lunch with just a little something I found for you. It’s a candle! With a cat on it! LOL!
Why? Why do we have to exchange gifts just because we’re getting together? It never dawns on me to get a gift for anyone unless they’re, you know, having a birthday party or dead.
Okay, it never dawns on me to get gifts for the dead, either.
Married. If they’re having a birthday party or if they’re registered somewhere because they’re getting married. Then it occurs to me to get a gift.
And I know it means they were thinking of me and they love me and wish to hug, and I should be flattered, but are they? Is that true? Or do they think, Oh fuck. Lunch is Tuesday. June’s so looking forward to lunch. I gotta get her ass a candle.
I mean, is it a pain in the ass obligation for these women, or do they truly go shopping and think of other people, which by the way is also something I never do. Ned once told me I’m the only girlfriend he ever had who has bought him zero clothing, and I’m the person he dated the longest time.
Why the hell should I buy him clothing? Am I his mom? Is he 7? Maybe I’m just a terrible person. Also, I’d like to say to the four women in real life that I’m friends with, I don’t mind lunch with you. Well, I do mind lunch. But not you.
But speaking of my terrible towel personality, last night, there was Ned with his beer and his popcorn, and he’s getting all settled in my spot–our spot, fmr.–and this gaggle of women, middle-aged women, is in front of us, and yes I know I’m a middle-aged woman.
What I like about myself are my short, concise sentences, and what a strong writer I am and oh, thanks for the candle.
Anyway, as soon as I sat behind these women, I noticed one of them was chattering. I mean, endlessly. And looking at her tiny cracked iPhone 3 or whatever embarrassing phone she had. She kept checking Facebook at the movie, and chattering to her friends, and I’m telling you she was physically unable to stop talking.
At this point, the organist was still playing (some 40s song that escapes me now, but which I know all the words to, so I was singing along and Ned was quietly howling like a dog, which by the way is exactly the same thing damn Marvin used to do when I sang. I HAVE A LOVELY VOICE) and the announcer person was still announcing (that always goes on too long), so I had some hopes this woman would
once the movie began.
But no. Oh, no. I wanted to shove her into a ham costume and knock her over in the woods.
Seriously, are people just unaware that you shouldn’t talk in the movies? There was an old couple in their row, who kept trying to sort of unobtrusively stare at her, so she’d get the hint, because it’s the South and other than Dick Whitman, who once turned around and told an old lady to be quiet and I just about died of shock, no one ever directly says anything here. Unless it’s racist. Bah.
Anyway, good movie, but once the lights went up, I saw Ned smirking at me.
“I hate those women,” I groused.
“I knew you did. I knew the whole time,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nancy is still not pooping in her box. He has three–three!!–different styles of boxes and litters now, and he’s taking her to the vet on Thursday.
For me, that’s the dealbreaker. A cat doesn’t use its litter box, it’s over for me. It makes me appreciate the asshole cats I have. And when I say “asshole,” I of course just mean Steely Dan.
Since the kittens got here, I’ve been sleeping in the spare bedroom, and I don’t know why I’m not shutting the door in there the way I did in the real bedroom, but the result is, just everyone’s sleeping with me. I got Edsel, with whom I always sleep, but now Iris and Lily, who are easy to sleep with.
And then it would appear that Steely Dan doesn’t so much sleep with me as he perches atop the headboard and stares down at me, like when Snoopy acts like a vulture.
I say this because at any point that I wake up, he is leering down at me with his shiny eyes of death. That is why I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s all he does. That he never actually curls up against me and purrs or anything. Like a cat that isn’t evil would.
I gotta go, but I keep forgetting to mention goat yoga to you, which I attended on Sunday.
It was at a very muddy farm, as it has rained here for like 412 days.
This did not stop the white people. No, sir. There musta been 50 people there, and also there had been goat yoga the day before, as well. It was sold out, that one was.
So that was fun, and totally worth it, and now I wish for a goat.
I gotta go, which I think I said 20 minutes ago. Ima check in on m’kittens, and get to work.
Wow, they’re getting so bi–HEY.
Your funny Valentine. If “funny” is a relative term,
If you’ve read me for awhile, you’ll know that (a), that means work was called off, although we are expected to “work from home,” and I remember a really bad storm two years ago where I proofread a giant deck–giant–and just as I was finishing it, Iris stepped on my laptop and erased all the changes I had made.
And that is why Iris is mounted on my wall today.
(Also, a deck is a presentation. It is important to never call anything by its name.)
This, by the way, is how Ms. Iris has spent her snow day, aka all days. Her big-game-hunting seems to have dwindled, although to her credit, now when I see something dead on my doorstep–mice, a bird, a hobo–I just assume Steely Dan killed it. I also assume he, and not video, killed the radio star.
I don’t give poor Iris any credit anymore. However, see above. How can she kill things if she’s nodded out on the horse or whatever is going on with her and all cats who can’t seem to stay awake more than 20 minutes at a stretch.
Anyway, they warned us snow was coming, and when did weather get to be such an exact science? Remember in the old days and all the jokes about the weatherman being wrong? Now it’s all, “Snow will begin in your zip code at 4:49 a.m.”
But anyway, yes, they warned us it was coming, so I left work on time-ish and dashed on over to daycare to get my child.
Careful readers will note the ears in the window, and how did he KNOW it was me? It was 5:30 on a Tuesday; every motherfucker on god’s green was coming to get his or her dog, but old Ears up there…maybe that’s why. Maybe the ears tipped him off. He could hear my thoughts or whatever from Spain.
Anyway, my giant nose and I got him home and at some point I turned into a Rembrandt with that collar. I guess it’s a scarf. Still.
I made an enormous pot of pumpkin chili on Monday, because you know what a chef I am, and yes, I just linked to a recipe. Who even am I?
Anyway, I knew I was okay with food in case I had a long winter like Laura Ingalls Wilder. And also like Laura, in her hit book Little Movie at the Shopping Center, I had the dilemma: Should I go to the movies with The Poet as we’d planned, and risk opening the theater doors afterward to see that we lived in a snowglobe?
I sound like a movie trailer. In a world…
But because she is from Iowa and I am from Michigan, we decided to not be a couple of pussies, and we applied the same logic to the size of our popcorn. You’ll be stunned to hear we had some left over.
“Well, I didn’t know you’d eat five pieces and be done,” said The Poet, who apparently really is one of those “where does she put it all” kinds of people, because she gave that bucket the college try and she weighs about 72. Lithe, is what she is. And also currently full of popcorn.
Anyway we saw Lady Bird, and I will not bore you with the fact that we liked it, as everyone likes it, and I wish I could be rebellious and say, “Not enough titties” or whatever, but I cannot. As it was a sweet movie.
Then I got up today, as per usual, and kind of forgot it was supposed to have snown–yes, snown–and went about my normal business, such as navigating the Cat Calcutta that is my hallway first thing.
But I opened the blinds, and I was all, Oh, yay! I forgot that it was supposed to have snowded. Then I checked m’phone and Oh, yay! Work is canceled. Then I checked it further, and Oh, boo. We are expected to work anyway.
So I’m constantly checking my phone to see if work is streaming in, which really cockblocks my original plans of Bailey’s and hot chocolate all day.
So, as I was saying 47 paragraphs ago, if you’ve read me awhile, you’ll know snow means I don’t have to go to work and also winter frolic pictures will occur.
Meanwhile, back inside my ranch, and that joke never gets old, Steely Dan was torn between wanting to venture outside and being highly offended that something outside kept making his paws cold.
I was in the kitchen, doing dishes because hey, dishwasher that works, and Steely Dan kept opening the damn back door, going out, trying to walk on everything that wasn’t snowy, then coming back in getting bored and doing it all over again. I’d have snapped his neck had it not been sort of cute.
He also begged to go out the front, as if maybe it hadn’t snowed in the front yard.
I wonder how many people are waiting for (b). See first paragraph. Then remember whose not-blog you are reading.
In August of 2007, my then-spouse, Marvin, and I moved from Los Angeles to Wadesboro, North Carolina. We went from a population of 3 million to a population of 3,000. It didn’t occur to me that this might take some adjustment.
But this is what I DO in life. I plow through it, never thinking anything through, then being stunned by the struggle because I didn’t think things through. I wish for you to put this on my tombstone, along with the 40 other things I’ve asked you to put on my tombstone, which at this point is something of a scroll. A stone scroll. That you can somehow pull out to read all the epitaphs I’ve written.
“You wanna visit June’s grave today?”
“Ugh, no. I can’t even deal with unrolling her stone scroll.”
Anyway. So instead of sitting, oh, still, and letting myself be charmed by TinyTown, I immediately commenced to finding ways to leave. This is why, on February 27, 2008, I was driving to Raleigh for a job interview, when I passed a little dog on the side of a busy road.
(I just took this yesterday, and was stunned by just HOW busy that road was. Tallulah was less than 3 months old when I found her, and you guys, she was past that gutter. It gives me chills. She was probably moments from being in that road.)
I never made it to the interview, because as we all know by now, I made the best U-turn of my life and swooped that little puppy up and into my car. My initial plan had been to knock on the trailer doors, there, to say, “Here’s your dog,” but when I saw all the yards weren’t fenced, and that she was so very skinny, and once I saw the sun glint through her gold eyelashes, I instead shut my car door and put her in the passenger seat. And right then I knew, I had myself a Tallulah dog.
I’ve never known something so certainly, and never loved someone so fast. It was her gold eyelashes that did me in. Those gold eyelashes assured her spot as my passenger that day.
She was the best passenger I ever had, for 8 years.
This week would have been her 10th birthday, and I decided it was time to scatter her ashes all the places she loved. That included her first home, where I found her; the house we had in TinyTown; my yard here; the dog park; and any other places I can think of where she was happy, i.e., anywhere Edsel wasn’t.
(She was never a fan. Don’t tell Edsel. He was nothing BUT a fan of that dog.)
So yesterday I took the day off work to drive back to TinyTown and to where I found her, which by the way is precisely nowhere–it’s not even a town. Tallulah was a small-town girl. Livin’ in a LONELY world. She took the midnight train going an-y-where.
Also on June’s scroll: She burst into bad ’70s music when no one wanted her to.
The problem was, yesterday was our first snowstorm of the year. Go, June! Wait, did you just plow through something without thinking it through? Hunh.
Just as soon as I got out to the car, it started to snow. It was so pretty, and I was all, Oh, it won’t stick.
So, once again, my favorite passenger and I got into the car and headed on down the road a piece.
I took the country roads to take me home, because it’s a really pretty drive, and normally I’d have stopped to take photos for you, but as the grandmother I’m turning into would say, it was pouring the rain. It wasn’t far out of Greensboro that the snow turned to rain, but man, we’re talking rain. Much rain. It rained longer than Queen Elizabeth.
Oh, June. You’re not funny.
Whenever I return to TinyTown, I am charmed by the people and the beautiful old houses and I think, Why the hell did I ever leave TinyTown? I wonder if I’d have gotten divorced if I’d left. I wonder if I’d have ever met Ned. I’d never have had a Steely Dan, or known a single Alex.
But left it I did, which means I missed the news that my friend Lucy died earlier this year. She was a woman I met through the Episcopal church, where I was the best church secretary the world has ever known.
My stepbrother-in-law Bill once told me about a guy he knew who chucked it all to become a mushroom farmer. He wanted a simpler life. Turns out, being a mushroom farmer is really hard, and you have to constantly keep up with the heat and the moisture and the soil and your mushrooms and LIFE WAS NOT SIMPLER.
This sums up my experience of going from being a proofreader at an ad agency in Los Angeles to being a church secretary in a town of 3,000. IT WAS THE HARDEST JOB I EVER HAD.
But man, did I love the people there. I saw the church and the steeple, then I opened the door and saw all the people, and they were fabulous.
It’s funny–when we first moved to TinyTown, we had one car, a car Marvin would take to work. So my only entertainment was walking, and right outside our door was the world’s steepest hill, so every day in the August heat, I’d climb that hill. This church, the Episcopal church, was at the very top, and I’d sit on the wall and spit up blood while I caught my breath. I would admire the architecture every day. At night, the steeple would be surrounded by barn swallows, but I didn’t know what they were yet.
I’ve learned a lot of things living in the South: To be, not to seem. What a barn swallow is. To enjoy conversation. A ham biscuit. And that not everyone automatically believes in evolution.
I didn’t know I’d end up working at that church, is my point.
Anyway, when I learned my favorite parishioner Lucy died, I called her husband, Dr. Whit, and we made plans to get together yesterday.
When I pulled up to his house, he ran out for me with an umbrella, and does anyone want to join me in wondering why I left TinyTown? He’d made a cozy fire in the living room, and we had lunch and talked about just everything. That’s the thing about the people there: They all have the gift of gab. They make an afternoon fly by, because they actually know how to have conversations. No one checks a phone, no one dominates the talk. It’s a skill everyone there seems to have.
I was stunned to see they still have their mean cat, Dixie, named because she was found out behind a Winn-Dixie 14 years ago. “Has she gotten any nicer?” I asked hopefully. “Can I pet her yet?”
“Oh, no, don’t do that,” Dr. Whit warned. “Don’t ever do that.”
Of course, we talked about Lucy, and he even gave me some of her ashes, and I got my nerve up and asked, and YES, she got to be buried in her Tiffany box after all. I really almost cried when I found out. I so wanted her to get her Tiffany box.
After our visit, I stopped at the church and scattered a little Lu around the back door. I used to work every day from 8–12, and she’d be in her crate during that time. If I ever had to return for more pressing church secretary duties, I’d take her back to work with me for the afternoon where Dear People of TinyTown: Occasionally she’d poop in the nave maybe a bit. I am sorry. SHE WAS JUST A PUP. It was just a little puppy poop.
I remember her little excited puppy self clamoring to the back door of the church, trying to get up those big stone steps. And I remember Father Mike very tolerantly saying, “Hello, Tallulah” when he’d see us together in the office. He was the kind of guy who kept dogs for hunting, so you have to hand it to him that he didn’t fire me on the spot.
I also drove through the bustling downtown that continues to be adorable, then over to my old rental house, which doesn’t look good. They cut down some greenery, somehow. I want to look at old photos to compare the difference, but it looks barer now.
Nevertheless, since no one was home, I sneaked to the back yard like a common criminal and scattered Lu where I stood with her for countless hours in the cold, holding her leash, saying, Go potty go potty go potty go potty until we’d give up and go inside, where she’d poop on the floor as soon as we got in.
“Lu really prefer to poop in nave.”
Then I popped in on some other friends I made in TinyTown, Jerry and Rachel. They are the very definition of gracious. They served me hot cider and chewy almond cookies on a silver tray. Also on my tombstone: She never had elegant silver trays.
Careful readers will note this is the couple who had me over a few Christmas Eves since I moved to Greensboro. Their house was built in the ’20s, and they are the second people to ever own it. It has built-in cabinets, and one of those fireplaces with the wood columns and the mirror built in over it and OH MY GOD THAT HOUSE Y’ALL.
I forget how happy the people of TinyTown make me. And when I left their house, Jerry walked me to my car with an umbrella over me.
Hey, why’d I leave TinyTown?
Anyway, the weather was not letting up, and I basically hydroplaned my way to Tallulah’s old homestead. I saw a kid playing in the yard of one of the trailers, and I was tempted to ask, “Did anyone steal a puppy from you when you were just a wee child?” but I did not. Instead, I very casually walked around the grass, scattering Lu out in the driving rain, looking, I’m sure, not remotely berserk in my suede fringe boots and fur-collared retro coat.
The closer I got to home, the snowier it got, and while hydroplaning was not relaxing, neither was slipping on the ice. Despite my concrete shoulders, I took time out of sliding on the road to open the gift Jerry and Rachel had given me, a big tin of peanuts, and what better time to delve into a tin of peanuts than when you’re on an icy road, with cars spun out every few miles and ambulances everywhere? It’s a moment that cries out for a peanut break.
Tip for readers: Some tins of peanuts have very sturdy foil tops. These foil tops will SLICE YOUR FINGER TO RIBBONS should you choose to, oh, eat peanuts and drive.
You have no idea how badly I cut my own self. Turns out, bleeding and driving don’t mix. Oh my god, I was Nicole Brown Simpson. I was Sunday Bloody Sunday. I was bloody, Mary.
The peanuts were delicious.
I made it home alive and Dr. Whit even called today to make sure I did.
It didn’t even snow that much–although it’s still snowing as we speak. But it’s that kind with the icy top layer, like a creme brûlée. And today I was supposed to go do something exciting that I was gonna tell you about, but now that’s been put off.
But that is probably good, since I have droned on forever about my day in TinyTown, and talk about your gift for gab.
Not as gabby as my tombstone is gonna be, but you know what I mean.
I agreed via email, while at my regularly scheduled job, to take on a freelance project. I didn’t pay enough attention to the deets and dear June, please say deets, because please see above ref to regularly scheduled job and distracted. They offered me a flat rate, and I already agreed, and it’s not nearly going to be enough for the volume of work Ima have to do.
Crap. Contract is signed. Work is already with me. Crap, I say.
In the meantime, it will keep me out of trouble, and there is SOME money in it. Just not much.
We had our annual pumpkin painting contest at work yesterday.
I never participate, except to go out there and eat the snacks, and judge everyone’s work. I have no visual skillz. Like, seriously none.
Yesterday, when my day of judging pumpkins and pumping kin and so on was done, I meandered to our bustling downtown, which is sort of bustling, actually, and is generally pleasant other than the occasional crazy guy “Excuse me, ma’am”-ing you as you walk by. Maybe it’s because when I’m downtown, I drive all the old men crazy.
A guy asked me if I could get him something to drink. Someone had bought him a plate of Middle-Eastern food, and I could just see this white person, all proud of himself, not thinking OH MY GOD THIS WOULD MAKE YOU THIRSTY, and the point of my story was I ended up buying this man some very pretentious $2.50 water at the local bookstore.
But yesterday, I went down there not to drive all the old men crazy, although that’s a given, but to get my red coat.
I’d admired said red coat at my friend Kit’s store, which you’ll be stunned to hear is called Design Archives. It’s a ’50s, swingy coat, a red-orange color, and I almost bought it but didn’t, because I already HAVE a winter coat, so why do I need another.
“Oh, hell, I’ll give it to you for [insert absurdly low amount here],” said Kit, when I messaged her later. “I’ll tell them to put it on hold for you.”
And that is why I was downtown, driving all the old men crazy, and Dear June: You are not Thin Lizzie. Stop. Love, Readers.
“I want to see your new red coat,” my friend Hamlet wrote me, because everyone must know my everything, so when I got home last night, I slopped the hogs, fed own self, drove all the old men crazy and finally came in here to take a webcam photo of said red coat, to not only give Hamlet the exciting sneak preview, but also to show all y’all today.
The goddamn webcam takes 87 hours to pop up on my computer. There have been plenty of times I’ve wanted to webcam you during a blogging not blogging moment, and said fuck it cause it takes too long. So last night I clicked on the icon for it, then prepared to wait the hundred hours for it to finally work.
When I DID see it was up, I noted that instead of the camera being on, the video thing, veeeeedeo thing, was on, and what I enjoy about myself is my rapid ability to show off.
I am reminded once again of my grandmother saying, “Look at her. She doesn’t need anybody else. Just sits with herself and laughs.”
Anyway, here’s the coat.
After I got my designs from the archives last night, and before I came home to show off for company, I headed back to the bookstore to sit in the window and watch people. Judge their pumpkins. I like how I show you instead a view INSIDE the store, but whatever.
Oooo, also, I forgot to mention that when I took a walk with m’coworkers yesterday, I saw a KITTEN, a black-and-white KITTEN, under a car. “KITTEN!” I said, racing toward it.
“How did she see that?” I heard someone ask.
Anyway it ran away from me, and into these woods, and after work I returned to said woods and “kitty-kittied” myself hoarse and no kitten. Annoy.
The rustling through the woods and the walking downtown in the rain and Dancing This Mess Around and driving all the old men crazy resulted in end-of-day hair that looked like this:
Dear God. Yes, I DID have that shirt on inside-out. You know how I am.
So that about sums it up. I got a weekend yawning before me, as I do, and that’s just fine. I don’t know why no one will dance with me.
I ain’t no limburger.
June, driving all the old men crazy, since whenever I became obsessed with that line.
I stood in my backyard just now and watched several leaves fall from the branches of my tree and sway all the way to the ground. It was so pretty that I got the phone so I could show you, but of course once I got the damn phone, the leaves stayed tight.
weee not leaf-ing. heeeee!
Leaves are dicks. Nevertheless, I made a video, hoping to capture a leaf falling, like you’ve never seen that before, but instead my video is more let’s say meditative. Till Edsel. You’ll see.
I hate holding the phone vertically to take a video, but the first time when I went up then down to look at the dog, it got sideways.
I’ve been trying to be meditative lately. As you might know, I had jarring news last week, and you only know this because I wrote about it on the Facebooks, on a page called (Face)Book of June, and what was warm, what was really lovely of you, were the four people who joined the page, read my tale of sadness, then promptly quit it again.
So, no. No, I’m not adding anyone else to the page at this time. It was supposed to be for friends of this page. Friends. Of this page. So. I’m a tad wary right now.
But anyway, if you “Don’t have Facebook” (say, Madame 1800s, how are the 1800s going? Is there penicillin yet?) or whatever, suffice it to say that what happened was that I was on the mend, I was headed toward moving on from my last “relationship,” if you even want to call it that. I think I may just refer to that time as, “Those five years and 10 months that I was gravely mistaken,” but that takes too long.
Those years when I had Stockholm Syndrome?
My Not Found 404 Error?
Anyway. I thought I was moving on from it, whatever it was. It officially ended in 2015, but then it kept …hovering there, and I started it back up again last year at this time, then it ended again, badly, in December and I thought, Okay, this is really it.
But then it hovered again. And it’s hard to convince yourself a relationship is over when someone is constantly coming back, telling you he loves you.
Until you find out he doesn’t.
I found out some stuff, some you-were-not-loved information. And I wasn’t told because there was guilt or so much respect that anyone needed to come clean with me.
I found out because the other woman contacted me.
I’ve been in a limbo for two years. A purgatory. And one thing I like about myself is my ability to not be dramatic about everything. But really, this half-broken-up shit is wearisome. So it’s kind of like I’m in a new breakup.
But since I’ve already spent much time grieving and mourning and feeling incredulous about everything, it’s moving along faster than you’d think, this time.
The point is, I’ve been trying to be meditative. When I walk Edsel at night, I’m paying attention to what I smell, what I see, what I hear. And it helps. Because otherwise I could be walking around with my brain spinning, as it has spun each day since I stupidly convinced myself I was in love, way back in March of 2012.
When your overwhelming feeling is more of anxiety that you adore this person and you worry they won’t adore you back? That’s really not so much love as a neurotic coupling. Must remember this.
You must remember this, a diss is still a diss. A lie is just a lie. The fundamental things apply, avoidant guy.
But I’m doing okay. I’m no longer in denial. Well. I’m 99% not in denial. I think I so dearly wanted some way that this would work out that I never quite accepted it was over.
Till now. I accept that it’s over. My plan is to never say one word to my 404 error ever again.
Oh! But while we’re on the topic of that (Face)Book of June page, I noticed yesterday a few people on there with the Facebook silhouette
And one person in particular with that image, and no friends, and the only info on her Facebook page was where she went to school. I say “she” but it’s a clearly fake, neutral name.
It worries me.
Look, I’m over there being me. My real name, my real details. I know this may come as a shock to you, but I’d rather tell that stuff to real people.
Anyway, this particular person has been on my readers-of-my-blog page for six years, so I didn’t just delete her right away. I messaged her. Said the stuff I just said to you, about real and so on, and how it worried me that she/he had no identity. “Is there anything you can tell me to put my mind at ease?” I asked.
So I removed him or her, and also someone who had no info on her page except a picture of the Verizon chick from the commercials. Then I announced on the page at large that if you had a fake profile, or no profile pic, I was going to have to remove you, because it makes me uncomfortable.
Here’s what happened.
“I have a picture of a flower, June! Don’t kick me off.”
“See, no,” I’d explain, “I’m saying if you have NO photo at all, and NO friends, and NO posts on your wall that I can see. That’s when I’m removing folks. Because how is it fair that you set up a fake account so you can lurk my life? No. This page is an exchange,” is what I said.
Then three comments later, I’d get, “I hate how I look, June, so I have a photo of a soccer ball. Please don’t take me off this page.”
“Yeah, see…” I’d say, and explain it all again.
Ten comments later, guess what.
So that was my day yesterday, until finally last night I was face-down on my living room floor, just typing “please scroll up” every 14 minutes or so.
Cats. You’re all cats. I herd cats in my real life, I herd cats in my online life. But I do heart you all, those of you who are real with me, I mean. I know I haven’t met most of you, but dear god, are you part of my every day.
I’ve watched you lose tons of weight, or a husband, or your jobs. I’ve seen your family members get sick or well. I’ve seen you have rotten days and great ones. And even though it’s weird, and impersonal, our relationship, it’s also sort of very personal.
Thank you to those of you who’ve been real, and have seen me through this stupid 404 error, for screaming at your computer DON’T HAVE DINNER WITH HIM, JOOOOB! all these years, thank you. I’ve tried to be as real as I can, and I appreciate how real you are all being, as well.
I guess that’s all I have to say today. My freelance work came early, goddammit, so I ended up having zero free days after all.
Edsel just let himself and all the cats in, which was convenient for me. Last night, late, there was another NextDoor about a “sweet cat” and I didn’t even have to open it. Of course I did.
“This sweet cat followed us home. Is he yours?”
Ima just brand that asshole with my address and a DON’T FEED. Also, “sweet cat.” Could it be possible that he has multiple personalities? Or maybe he just turns on the charm when a potential new food source rears its head.
I can’t solve every mystery today. I gotta just keep moving on.
Under last night’s waxing gibbous, I found myself at the Full Moon Oyster Bar, in the company of a man. A gentleman caller. A swain.
It was not our first date. I kind of hope it will not be our last. Also, I did not eat any oysters. You know, I used to. Back in my devil-may-care Seattle days.
Do you know what I never actually have had? Is any devil-may-care days. I’ve had younger-and-just-as-neurotic days, sure. Probably the times I had oysters were far drunker times. My devil-may-Coors days.
Anyway, it’s early yet, but so far this guy is pretty good. We had our first date a month ago, a date that involved me meeting him for a drink and realizing on the way there that I was EFFING STARVED, and when I got there, he’d already ordered a cheese, meat and nut plate and it was JUST THE THING I wanted and we had a great time. I mean, not just because cheese and meat, and plus also nuts, although I’m not gonna lie to you, that was a pertinent highlight.
The next morning he wrote to say, “Listen, I know I’m not your type, but I really had a good time, and thank you.”
Here was me:
See, I love a good gif, but then when I have to watch them over and over again, I get bugged, so let’s go to a new paragraph quickly so we can scroll past it.
Okay, see, we still need more room to scroll.
[scroll scroll scroll]
MAYBE GIFS AREN’T WORTH IT. In unrelated news, I would like to kiss that German shepherd doggie right on his manly head.
Okay. So, yesterday, I finally asked this guy why he’d sent me that weird “I know I’m not your type” text.
“Really?” he asked, shifting uncomfortably. Clearly he was hoping I’d just let that pass. Do you know what I never do? Hey, June, why can’t you keep a man?
“Okay, well, look. I’m not trying to suck your dick,” he began.
See. Right then I knew.
“But I never thought I…deserved anyone like you. You’re incredibly attractive, really smart–very smart–and you’re very, very funny.”
People think I’m smart because I have good diction and a quick wit. But ask me anything about physics.
“I am hilarious,” I agreed, stealing his bread from his plate of oysters. He’d already said I could have it. Shut up. Also, do not mention my rapidly declining attractiveness and the consumption of bread at 8 p.m. WHEN I WAS ALREADY HAVING VODKA and hey, carbs. Hey, devil-may-carbs.
“But why would you think that?” I asked. This guy is great. He’s funny, he has a job, an actual job (are you out there dating at my age? Because this is actually a going concern. You’ve no idea how many 50-year-old men out there are not exactly gainfully employed, and still they trot themselves out there. Hey, ladies…), he’s been very kind so far, and I don’t know, man. I don’t know why he doesn’t see that. I mean, I see clear as a bell what a catch I am. [plague joke goes here]
Anyway, he probably doesn’t deserve anyone like me, as he seems like a good person who does not warrant having to be to be cast into World of June. So there it is.
Oh, shit. Steely Dan is fighting with a squirrel hang on.
He–my date, not the squirrel–knows I have a blog but does not know the name of it, and anyway, I told him right off the bat not to read it because Faithful Reader Deb’s husband Peter told me years ago not to whip this monstrosity out too soon–rather someone should get all this delightful pleasure-of-life personality metered out slowly.
But anyway, I said, “I’m probably gonna mention tonight in my blog. Did you remember I have a blog?”
He remembered. Has he read it? “You know what? I have not. You told me not to, so I decided to take your advice.”
There is not a woman in America who would’ve done the same. EVERY WOMAN WOULD STAMPEDE FOR THE BLOG.
“Well, if I do talk about tonight, you’re probably gonna need a blog name,” I said, and careful readers will note I’ve gone 751 words discussing him and haven’t needed a blog name yet.
“Do I get to pick it?” he asked, sipping his manly brown liquor. “Okay, call me Ward. It’s a play on my middle name.”
Ward. Ward and June!
All 10 of you screeched, “IT’S A SIGN!” and this is why lesbians move in together on the third date. It’s not a sign, for heaven’s sake. But it was a charming coincidence.
Anyway, the point is, it’s nice to be dating someone with potential, and it was two years ago yesterday I left my Year Abroad house, so that was A SIGN. No. But I did note it.
I gotta go. I can’t talk about it, but I am still on jury duty, so. I’m tough but I’m fair.
Before I go, here’s what I think of when I think of Tom Petty.
Back in my devil-may-Coors Seattle days, my then-best-friend Esmerelda came to visit me, and we took a very manly hike up a nearby mountain (the one they show at the beginning of Twin Peaks). After, it was midafternoon and we drove past one of those tiny bars with the gravel parking lots, and we didn’t even need to say a word. We turned the car into the lot.
Our bartender was not what you’d call a handsome woman, because any woman who looks like Tom Petty is not winning any contests. We ordered a pitcher of beer because I had a designated driver date with me, a man much younger who we’d teased relentlessly all day (“If June had been dating you when I got married, I’d totally have asked you to be my ring bearer,” I remember Esmerelda saying).
The bar was my favorite kind: small, dark, with a juke box. We sat there on an absolutely beautiful sunny afternoon, listening to all the Tom Petty songs in that juke box, our feet up on each other’s chairs, drinking bad beer and laughing.
I don’t mean a mosquito, or a pesky fly. I mean there was a huge, black, antenna’d, angrily protesting bug in my room whose sole purpose was to terrify me. If I were to make an educated guess, I’d estimate he was about 16 feet long.
I first saw him last week, when I entered the room to put clothes away. I keep the door shut to my bedroom, because Steely Dan eats clothes,
and there’s a giant walk-in closet in my bedroom, a walk-in closet the beige-loving person who owned this house before me added. Despite the 10 years it’s taken to eradicate the brass-n-beige extravaganza in which she left this house, I could kiss her flush on the mouth for that yeah-you’re-charming-with-your-1950s-touches-but-fuck-this-postage-stamp expansion of the closet.
Anyway, to me it’s a convenient walk-in closet. To Steely Dan it’s a smorgasbord. So, door shut. At all times.
The normal cats used to love to go in there and sleep under the clothes, on top of the suitcases, so they were completely hidden. There’re also shelves of linens, perfect for curling into a furry circle and purring. And it’s the warmest room in the house, as she added a heat vent, the Beige-Lover did, for that small-ish space.
But all that’s done now. Because at first I’d see SD in there and think, How cute. He loves the closet too. And then every item I pulled from there was Flashdance.
So the room was dark when I opened the door a few days ago to put clothes away, a day that was as tragic as the clothes-putting-away scene in La Bamba.
As I made my way to the closet, I thought I saw some…scurrying.
“ACK!” I screeched, and looked nervously but didn’t find anything. I hung the clothes in the closet, one eye cocked to the side, like a flounder. Looking out the side of my head for whatever scurried. Had it just been one of my many hallucinations? I certainly hoped so.
As I made my way to leave the bedroom, there he was. On the wall. It was like someone had mounted a black horned boat to my wall–you couldn’t miss him.
“ACK!” I screeched, and when giant bugs report back in their Giant Bug Newsletter, they must describe my house as R3sid3nc3 W!th ACK L@dy.
I started at it, horrified, my hand to my throat as if any second it could leap over at me with its bug shiv.
It waggled one antenna at me teasingly.
“ACK!” I screeched as I shut the door.
Look. I’ve lived alone now, excluding my year abroad, for five years. I’ve learned how to take off doorknobs and put new ones back on. I’ve learned minor dishwasher repair. I can snake a drain and pay all my bills. But I cannot deal with bugs. I cannot. If they’re on the floor, I am happy to drop a dictionary on them and then pounce on said dictionary several times and leave the book there for, oh, nine days.
I literally make the bugs eat my words.
But if it’s on a wall, no.
You can’t make me.
So, I did what any adult would do; I shut the door to the bedroom and slept sheetless, in the guest bed with Edsel. For four days. (Because the sheets are in the closet. Of the bug room.)
I also threw Iris in there, in the hopes she’d just murder it. It was my version of free extermination.
I had clean clothes in my dryer, so I lived off those for several days. Hey, who needs that bedroom, really?
The other night, I flicked on the bathroom light, and?
GODDAMMIT HE ESCAPED. HE ESCAAAAAAAPED. And I only have the one bathroom.
Could I move into the Y temporarily? Could I get a gun? I thought of Scarlett O’Hara. She did murder. She must have been almost as scared of that Yankee as I was that bug. Couldn’t I get myself together? Vomit a radish and gather up my strength?
Finally, it dawned on me. I could buy bug spray! It wouldn’t be pretty, but at least I could kill it from a distance, as Bette Midler would say.
As I was on my way to get bug spray later that afternoon, I saw it. Dead. In the living room. He’d given up the tentacled ghost on his own, and all I had to do was wait him out. I got up my nerve and the vacuum, and swept him up, ACK!-ing the entire time.