Friday, October 31, 2008

The Audacity of Soap

Or, how my day started with him:
And ended with him.

Friday was a grrreat day. It started with an emergency appointment in Bushkill, PA. I moved some things around to accommodate it, and three more quickly queued up to completely fill the day. First, the gentleman I missed on Tuesday owing to the Scranton area's Ice Age Drill grabbed the top spot at 9am. Then we slid a Forest City right behind it, followed by Mr. Bushkill, and just for good measure, one more in East Stroudsburg. For you geography kids, this is one hell of a loop that starts about three an a half hours to the Southeast of me. So I got up at Ye Daemon Houre of Sorrows. (about 4:30am). I slapped on my Velma glasses and threw a bag of randomly chosen cosmetic items and a toothbrush in my tote, intending to improve my appearance as soon as the sun came up or I gave a crap, whichever came first.

I have my nappin' spots when I drive long distance, when I start out that early I usually need about a 10 minute snoozaroo about 2-3 hours into the day. I pulled into my last-spot-back-lot Dunkin Donuts parking place in Tunkhannock and set my alarm for 10 minutes. I settled into the seat, wondered briefly how I'd fall asleep 500 yards from a concrete plant and zzzzzzz......10 minutes later I sat up and looked around, as the drive-thru coffee-goers eyed me curiously. I gave my hair a brisk brush and looked purposefully into my vanity mirror just long enough to assure them I was neither homeless nor insane and I was on my way.

I sat at a crosswalk smiling in Carbondale as a dad led a diminutive Buzz Lightyear across the street to his preschool Halloween party. I thought about the crisp fall evenings where I set out in some product of my imagination with a plastic pumpkin to collect goodies from my grandparents' neighbors. Even then the lure of having a look around someone else's house nearly trumped the candy in terms of interest. My Carbondale guy was nice shoes, expensive cologne, and ego; it was a divorce situation and I got the condensed version of what happens when Beautiful People must divide their spoils and go in separate directions, their house was a blur of Pottery Barn, exercise equipment, and ornamental dogs. It was spookily clean. I was glad to leave.

Number Two was in a small Scranton-y village 15 minutes to the north, nice people, I managed to smile as I grabbed a bag of parts off a shelf in their basement to explain what washer locks look like, only to discover too late that the bag had been used repeatedly by the cat for claw sharpening and the odd piss. I just talked and talked while I Lady Macbethed my hands in their basement sink with a squirt of whatever laundry detergent they had sitting there. My powers of denial and moving on are strong; one of those things a couple years of volunteering in emergency services will get you. I'm sure I'll be puked on by a random customer child at some point; I'm waiting for it.

Lunch break, then on to Number Three. Number Three lived in a state park. No. Really. IN a state park. I got to try out all the roadblock avoidance functions on my GPS since the route that it chose for me took me down the ONE road that has been washed out for two years that they decided to fix THAT DAY. I pulled into the steep driveway and glanced at the piles of plastic toys that littered the yard, topped here and there by a scroungy bad-tempered cat. I suspected I had arrived at The House The Neighbors All Talk About. I was not disappointed. The living area of the house looked like it had been filled with toys and household items from a hatch located in the ceiling, perhaps with a backhoe. I broke things I stepped on. I couldn't help it. They stood and sort of giggled while I attempted to calculate the approximate number of boxes the piles might be efficiently shoveled into, while considering how I might be kind in my report when the ready vocabulary for the mess included words like 'squalid' and 'disaster' and 'mind-boggling sh*thole'.

Task completed, I set out across the Poconos for my last appointment. I was sitting at a traffic light when the college radio station I found played this, and made my day.

You know, it was kind of warm Friday. And I had my window down. And I probably should have considered that before yelling "WHO THE F--- IS STEVE REEVES??" At a traffic light. There were stares. It was college all over again.

Number Four was small, the appointment brief, and I was happy to be heading at last in a Northwesterly direction. By the time I got back on Route 6 I was just chanting a mantra to myself: "I'm going to make dinner. Then I'm going to take a shower. Then I'm going to put my jammies on. I'm going to make dinner. Then I'm going to take a shower. Then I'm going to put my jammies on." I was hungry. I was tired. I was anxious to take off the Work Pants and scrub off the dirty house cooties. I was tired of the radio. I slapped in my headphones and was tapping the steering wheel listening to this when I looked in my rear view mirror.


Was I speeding? Did he see my oh-so-inconspicuous white iPod headphones? Was I SPEEDING? I didn't think so. He walked up to my window and informed me that 'this conversation is being recorded'. Oh, jeez. Here's my license and registration, Captain Serious. The whole time he is telling me that the police are out IN FORCE because its one of the 'most celebrated holidays' and I'm all like, "What??" I recognize him. His sawed-offedness. The space between his teeth. The Barney Fifery. This was not your typical crew-cut, disarmingly handsome and usually good-smelling Pennsylvania State Trooper. This was a local dude, and more than that, the very SAME local dude who gave me my FIRST SPEEDING TICKET EVER.

Flashback: thirteen years ago. I'm driving too fast through a very small town trying to get to my boyfriend's house before it starts snowing for reals. I get pulled over. $117, thank you very much. I cried for miles afterward and generally felt dirty. I wanted to write an apology letter to send with my check. (Yes. Sometimes us Good Girls are sad and a little ridiculous. Sue us.)

He explains to me that Halloween brings out all the drunks. I nod politely and want to say, I'm not a drunk, I'm a 38 year old woman in a minivan, for crying out loud, who has been driving for umpteen hours and I just want my honey and olive oil soap and my jammies and some supper. I sign my ticket and drive 43.5 miles an hour all the way back to Mansfield, then 4.35 miles an hour THROUGH Mansfield, cursing the trick or treaters and the empty gas tank that forced my interaction with them as I pulled into the station for a fill.

I see my little house. There it is. I pull in the driveway, stagger into its inviting warmth, and drop all my junk in a heap. And walk straight into Himself having a girlfit because his cell phone isn't working. Also, he lost his credit card.

Some very uninteresting screaming ensued, followed by an angry shower and his retreat to the grocery store to get some nachos to throw in my cage. Followed by some more screaming, because I started to write this Friday and he had Girlfit II because I was using the computer.
You know what knocks the wind out of stress/anger/anxiety mixed together with a stupid high histamine level, complete with spontaneous hives? Three Benadryl. I passed out and slept for 10 hours, awaking refreshed and altogether ready to panic clean my entire house in three hours for unexpected overnight guests.

Its a new week, and I am rested and ready! Whether or not things go your way tomorrow, history will be made and the river rolls on. Go easy on the candy.


Jonny's Mommy said...

Opie got ya' huh?

I hear he lives under a bridge a troll...and then once in awhile he stagger out and demands a payment.

Super serious is right. Loooser...

Love the cat peeing on the bag story. Yeah, similar things have happened to me which is why I could feel the bag on my hands as I read this...and gagged. You know my house...when they all more cats or dogs. Ever.

Jocelyn said...

First off, thanks for my new favorite phrases of "girlfit" and "throwing nachos into my cage." You are killer funny.

Secondly, I feel like I just read a book. I feel this in a very good way.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Let me tell you the most amazing thing to me about this story:

1. That you need a 10 minute nap after 2-3 hours of driving.
2. That you can fall asleep in the car. During the day.
3. That you can wake up after 10 minutes of snoozing.

All three of these things are equally astounding to me. I can't take a nap to save my life unless I pulled an all-nighter and then it's an 8 hour nap at that.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Lisa-- Oh, I've heard that "never again" thing before from people who have as many four-footed family members as you do....adoption is unavoidable. Resistance is futile.

Jocelyn-- Thanks! I'd write a book. I'm just not sure if my attention span is long enough. Though I suspect my focus could be sharpened considerably by what they call an 'advance'. Yes indeed.

NGIP- I never used to be able to do it, but when my job started including 5am departure times and 14 hours of driving all in one day, I perfected the Power Nap. Also the Stick In Your iPod Headphones and Perform an Entire Broadway Show While Driving maneuver. (I still maintain that my Route 80 rendition of 'I Guess I'll Miss the Man' from Pippin was stageworthy.)

HappyHourSue said...

Aren't EMT's "on the job" too? No EMT-Cop comraderie?

Sweet Transvestite is arguably the best 3 minutes of cinema ever.

Also: what is up with the direct correlation between degree of White Trash and plastic toys in the yard.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

Yes, it seems that the cameraderie thing only applies in your OWN town. Our cops know us, but that too is tricky; one of the guys in my squad squincked through a 'rorange'light to make a call and he was stopped by staties and given a $127 ticket, while the ambulance sat and waited for him, lights flashing.They truly do not care. Though I talked my fine down in New York State twice by playing the EMS card.

As for the plastic toys; the WT factor seems to go up when they are especially sun-bleached also. Its a mystery.

(PS--I used to be a neighbor of sorts--19335...holla!)

Anonymous said...

It's mighty hard to convince strangers you aren't crazy after a quick round of shut-eye in the car.