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The Dashing Life and Exuberant Times of Brian Harrison....And Other Rare Anecdotes

Friday, May 21, 2010

Getting Mooned By a Redneck, When All that I was Doing Was My Job

I was winding my way down neglected roads, named after various creeks in St. Clair County, Alabama. I had already had an interesting adventure hopping upon a hidden trailer off a dirt road, where it looked abandoned or like someone was squatting inside or hiding from the law, but I couldn't make my entrance; all the doors were locked and most of the windows had something draped over it like curtains. And I figured that I could be being watched. Though, I doubted it. I went back to my car. And in the abandoned mailbox found old mail. That led me on the to both the name of the person who used to live there and the actual address of the place. My job takes on the form of detective work occassionally. But this is perhaps the making of another story..

The next house that I came to on Dry Creek Road was the making of my tale. It was a house quite in the backwoods style, of having various assortments of junk, all different random items strewn about the place. It's as though, these people have yard competitions to see who can have the most random pieces of useless junk scattered throughout the yard.

The address number to this house, was not in my binder. (The people who made these binders did a shoddy job of it.) And I was sifting through my maps trying to make sure that this particular house was the one that I needed to interview. As I did so, parked in the road, several older kids in the back of this house, saw me and took me to be some sort of spectacle. I don't know why. The youngest little brat, in the distance, bowed up like he was challenging me. Little did he know that I would pull in his driveway. Again, sitting in their drive, singing along with Waylon Jennings in my car, trying to find the forms for this address which was not listed, it took a little time. And whenever I perceive that the people are immediately distrustful and impatient, there is a part of me, that likes making them even more suspicious and impatient. One of the boys watching me, goes inside his house and gets his pa.

Papa Bear comes out wearing nothing but pants and shoes, and from the look on his face and the great volume of his protruding stomach, it looks as though he likes to swallow whole and let digest in that bountiful sack of his, unfortunate intruders who sit in their car in his driveway. I take this as a cue to hop out and give a soothing salutation, that I am not a robber, a terrorist, or even Muslim. Usually, I can win them over with my affability. Sometimes, I can't.

After confirming the address, and when I kick off the first question, he shoos me saying that he doesn't want to have anything to do with this. I proceed on in an unarming way. He then points at his driveway and bellows out, "You see that! Now, you know the way out of here! Go on, Git!" or some such Jedd Clampett imperative. I swirl around back to my car, and say, quite vexed at his tone with me,"Okay, but you can be fined. Just warning you."
He gasps and then yelps something incomprehensible, but the end I hear."There ain't nuthin but 6 people livin' here."

I raise my binder and pencil and then ask, "So do you have any names for these 6 people?"

He blurts out, "Why, yep...that's Abe Lincoln, there's Moe, Larry, Curly." His boys chuckle. And I seize the sarcasm to make my own jab at his shirtless jelly belly, and him being an ignoramus, "So you must be Curly, right?"

At this he stood cut to the quick, and could find no suitable response, but to turn around suddenly and drop his drawers. Fortunately, I could see it coming, and covered my eyes before the ghastly sight. His children looked on and laughed, maybe even hoorahed. I couldn't hide my own laughter and just belted out that "Alright, you win. I'm outta here. I don't want to see that." I got in my car and drove off. Though, looking back, I wish I would have had the presence of mind to say, "Now which ass do you want me to be talking to?" But who can compose themselves under such revolting circumstances.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Coffee Break

Here is another submission into the Coffee Shop Chronicles. The rules were to write a story that had coffee in it. So I wrote the following. Oh, and I should probably warn you that I am not quite as neurotic as the main character. I exaggerated him a good deal from my own OCD habits.

Dennis sat fidgety behind his office cubicle with the last dregs of his morning coffee about to be swirling in the maelstrom that was his uneasy stomach. His was a fidgety existence. He had forgotten to take his anti-anxiety pills that morning and he could already feel the effects. Should he go for a 2nd cup of coffee or should he wait it out. What if people thought that he was severely addicted to coffee? Or that he was merely trying to find an excuse not to work. Besides Marlo had seen him amble up to the coffee pot the first time, only a mere 10 minutes ago, what if she happened to see him this 2nd time? And Marlo, as the entire office knew liked to squawk to everyone about everyone else.

Dennis had a severe anxiety disorder, diagnosed straight from Dr. Rosenfeld, that kept him from enjoying the normal things in life, like dating, having pets (particularly rabbits), flossing, cooking bacon with short sleeves on, carrying scissors, etc. But what made Dennis particularly nervous was intense social interactions. He could have deep conversations. But small talk frightened him so much that he oftentimes hid when the loquacious currier boy made his rounds about the office. Many people thought he was afraid of elevators. This was not the case; he just dreaded the light conversation that is often to be expected inside elevators.

Occassionally, in a sublime moment, Dennis could look the fear straight in the eye and go through with the very thing that he was dreading. But not without certain rituals. It is apparent to the reader that Dennis had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD. If he was dialing a number to talk to someone important, he would have to press an uninterrupted sequence of dial punches. If he made a mistake, he would have to hang up the phone and start over again. Or else, he feared he may actually cuss out the important person on the other end; call that person's mother all types of nasty things. This whole anxiety was as though, he wasn't really in control of himself. So, he had horrible, conscience-slicing thoughts that crept up in his mind, and he had to go through with these strange rituals in order to get rid of the thoughts. And usually these thoughts were never something that he would ever actually do. Somewhere deep down inside himself, though, he fooled himself into thinking that he was capable of such things.

Dennis decided to be bold and make that trip to the coffee pot down the hall. This was only after many clickings of his mouse. Usually an even number. He proceeded down the ominous hall, with empty coffee cup, his neck and back arched in a strange tension, that he wasn't aware of. He was lucky. He made it down without anyone really noticing, and, so chastised himself for being so paranoid about meeting people. "Why am I such a weirdo?" he asked himself, as he poured a hot, frothing cascade into his styrofoam cup. The coffee appeared to be a fresh batch. As though someone had just made it. Steam rose up cautioning Dennis to wait a few minutes before he took his first sip. But just then, he happened to turn and see the head of the company walking his way.

He flustered. What was he to do? This was not merely his boss. But his boss's boss. The guy always referred to as the lead lion, who was usually altogether hidden from peon sight, unless to make important announcements. He was regal and seemed to glitter with the golden rings on his fingers, as well as the glimmering of his tie pin. Dennis wanted to leave. But he couldn't. He could never leave without adding sugar and creamer. Not that he really cared for the difference of the taste. It was more so that something catastrophic didn't happen. "What if my boss is marching over here to tell me I'm fired? This may happen if I do not pour sugar and creamer in." Such is the mind of an severe OCD sufferer. While, Dennis cringed and frantically doctored his coffee up, he thought about his boss. He pondered his power and authority, his high achievement, but also how this boss was actually a good man and how he gave some of his wealth away to charities and how nice a guy he was. Yes, he was a man that commanded one's reverence. But then the thought resounded in Dennis' head. -A thought that his poor anxiety disorder had orchestrated in order to make Dennis sweat. "What if I poured coffee in my boss's face?"

And Dennis could not get the thought out of his head. What if he really lost control of himself and splashed this hot, simmering coffee in the face of the CEO of his company? Dennis was paralyzed. He could barely continue to stir his coffee. Not that Dennis detested this man. No, as was stated before, his mind had an acute way of tormenting him. It was the fact that such an act was to be appalled at. And he would never ever want to do this. Or did he? And then, a strength that he had never known before gripped him. He blinked and a voice not altogether himself asserted itself, from somewhere in the tense cobwebs of his heated brain.

In truth, his mind bounced back and forth. "Why is man so set on self-destruction? Give a person ample fortutious opportunities and he will dodge each one of them and learn how to destroy himself and ruin his life as a result. But where is the glory of man? Why," Dennis thought, "it's in his ability to make his thoughts a reality. -To make what is merely imagination an actual outcome. Without that, we are merely shadows of our own dreams and not real."

"What man, can actually control his own thoughts? Better yet, what brave man, a true man will surpass the fear that so surrounds him, and actually make the strangest, most absurd thought a real, life act? That act, no matter how trivial is genius. What if I said to my conscience, 'Screw you!' What if I decide not to be tormented by you? I abhor this job. These people. My self." And with that Dennis splashed his piping hot coffee straight into the CEO's face and then fell to his knees and began to sob uncontrollably.

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