Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I have to go now
An hour ago I was standing in the parking lot of Vertical World climbing gym in beautiful Magnolia Washington. Gorgeous night. I pulled my car up in front of the alley and pulled out a crate of my dog's possessions. Lisa, who kindly agreed to look after the dog in my absence, was holding the dog. So at the moment in question I had both arms wrapped around the crate and Lisa had both arms wrapped around Hometeam and there was an obvious exchange occurring.
Enter into the scene two men fresh out of the climbing gym. They were heading to their car, which was in no way shape or form effected by the presence or placement of my car. I was telling Lisa something very important about Hometeam's sleeping schedule when I saw that one of the men was giving me The Look.
You know what look I'm talking about. The "I want to say something- but I'm not going to say something- so I'll stare at you with a weird tight smile until you make eye contact and then I'm gonna say something" look.
Seattle, you've got to stop making your faces do that.
Politely, I told Lisa to hold on and then I squared up to the man. "May I help you?"
"No?" (Oh why do we bother with this back and forth nonsense?)
Right on cue, he caved. "You're parking in the alley?"
I love the way he said this. As a question. With all the uncertain, mildly amused but losing patience inflection one might use towards a child. "You putting peanut butter in your hair?" "You're tying your shoe laces together?"
It's the nothing less than toxic inflection that says "I don't have the right to stop you, but I like the sound of my own voice and I'm morally superior to you thus it would be in poor taste to remain quiet, plus you annoy me."
When I was 10 years old I was a little league pitcher and I took a baseball straight off the bat and right into my forehead. Didn't even sway. I suffered a concussion in the fifth grade potato sack race- slammed my face into the gymnasium wall, won first place- didn't even cry. First grade, both front teeth knocked out simultaneously by someone's thumb, didn't bat an eye. I could go on. Point being, I can take a hit.
But I do not care for being talked to like a little kid.
I do not care for it at all.
Poor Lisa. Lisa is smart and quick, but she's also calm and even tempered. Had it been her car, she probably would have shot the man a 24 kilowat smile and diffused the growing unrest with a, "Oh so it would seem, but I'm just dropping off a few things. You know."
Not me. I grew up in the middle of Boston where people honked their horns and double parked and swore out loud and everyone survived. One of my earliest memories of my mom was being in the back seat and watching her swerve around a timid car putzing through the central artery and shouting, "Oh come on JACK! " I love you, Ma, and I swear my voice rose an octave even before I started yelling at dude in the parking lot.
"Yes I'm parked in the alley. I'm parked in the alley for five minutes so I can unload some things are you okay with that?"
Dude pulled himself close to the car. He looked honestly surprised. He kept quiet but he still had a trace of The Look left on his face. And I had to make it go away.
"I said ARE YOU OKAY WITH THAT?"
"Well...." His friend nervously ducked his head into the driver's seat. "Noooo. But okay."
I was in no way satisfied but now Lisa was gently pulling my elbow away, so I capped the incident with my favorite tagline. "Jesus Christ, I hate people."
"Goodness" she said slowly, "It could not have been more obvious that we were loading things. I think you get a parking pass for that."
"That's it!" I told her. "I'm going to New York!"
That's it. I'm going to New York.
(I'm flying to New York tomorrow!!)
This story dedicated to my cousin Katherine. May the big, beautiful East Coast bitch stay alive and well in all of us.