I’m not judgin’, I just sayin’

Last month my new apartment building had a summer social of sorts and I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet my new neighbors, even though I know that some always turn out to be the weirdest people you can ever meet and I’ve regretted it many times.

The building management supplied the burgers, beers and music, and some of us brought along wine and spirits. When I was younger I would have stopped at Binny’s to pick-up a 30-pack of whatever beer was on sale and a bottle of cheap whiskey, and started the countdown to when it was time to take off my shirt and sing along with some Pearl Jam. But, in all fairness, I wasn’t too concerned about making good impressions with those that sipped wine or anyone else for that matter.

During the first ninety minutes or so, the five or six people I met seemed to be normal, which caused me some concern because I knew that with the more time that passed before I met the scourge of the building, was more time I spent drinking. And as time was fleeting, the Jameson was going down smoother than my ex-wife, which meant my common sense could soon enough only be described in the past tense.

Over the next hour I met more people who might have some reason to beat on my door or slice my tires over the next twelve months. There was Mark the Real Estate Appraiser, Miguel the Teacher, Courtney the Store Manager, and Gary the Weekend Cross-Dresser.

Within five minutes of talking to Gary, he felt the need to let me and anyone else within an earshot know that during his lifetime he has been beat up several times, doused with gasoline once, arrested in Mexico twice (both times at movie theatres), shot and left for dead once, stabbed a few times, and raped twice… Ok then, don’t hold back, man. I haven’t done it yet, but I bet if you Google “TMI”, you’ll see a picture of Gary.

Next I spent a few minutes talking to Robby and Kaitlin, two of the happiest, most upbeat people you’ll ever meet. I suspect they’ll leave this place wearing purple warm-ups and new Nikes, and so since I was all set with gym clothes,  I went over to get a better read on the building manager, Burke. About the only thing I’ll say about this guy is that he looks like he knows his way around a golf ball and garden hose, and playing hide-and-go-seek with his hamster… at the same time.

Walking away, I thought it would be a good idea to see if anyone had discovered the bottle of apricot wine I brought, and much to my dismay, the back gate had been left unlocked and Rock Star, the income–challenged-urban-Russian-outdoorsman, was enjoying it. Instead of calling him Ivan or Drago (which would be too un-P.C. these days), they came up with something that sounds sort of like what he says is his name. I say that because most of the words coming out of his grey-haired, Rasputin-looking face are unrecognizable. His legend includes fifteen years in a Russian prison, having a pony as a kid, being fluent in five languages (including sign), and being an Engineer back in the Motherland. Yet, as smart as this guy claims to be, he can’t tell you how or when he entered the U.S.

He’s the building’s cause célèbre. As such, they give him lots of spare change, food, new shoes and underwear, etc. In exchange, he sells the shoes and underwear, and urinates behind the building. Personally, the only thing he’s gonna get from me is the finger.  I met him the day I moved in, when he asked for my extra change like it was a toll for using his alley to unload the truck.  After I instructed him to go have sexual relations with himself, he went away for about twenty minutes or however long it takes to start a fire and heat up a coffee can, and came back with three fried eggs in a cheap, red plastic bowl. Anyway, I knew this wasn’t the time or place to mess with him (at a later date I might go to the Goodwill and buy him a stained Detroit Pistons jacket to complete his look).

By this time Burke gathered everyone around and announced that he planned some special games for everyone to play. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t let a guy who wears face glitter plan my fun time, so I grabbed what was left of my Jameson and went back upstairs.

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Family Matters

I went with Allison to her niece’s Quinceanera down in Pilsen last Saturday afternoon. While I’ve met several of her relatives over the last couple of couple of years, this was my first opportunity to meet her sister’s 2nd husband, Ray.

Upon first inspection, Ray looked like the guy who’s always ready for a fight and the type of guy who, if he had a choice of steak and lobster or sardines and crackers for his last meal, he would choose the later because that’s what his old man used to live on. Probably the same old man that would let him have it with an extension cord for letting the screen door slam. That said, I could understand why I was the only adult male guest and why the uncles and neighborhood men had other, more urgent matters to attend.

After about an hour of drinking and listening to him tell me about life on the road, I sensed that he knew every methadone clinic and adult book store from here to Arkansas. Evidently he’s a retired trucker of twenty-six years, as well as expert carpenter. Which I could easily tell by that fine example of a shed he’s built over the last three and a half summers. He goes on to tell me that he didn’t actually retire, but has been on disability for the last three years due to a hearing loss. However, I didn’t see any hearing aids, so I guess plenty of cold beer must help out with that.

So, while all of the women were either socializing or paying homage to the birthday girl, I realized that I haven’t had a conversation with a piece of white trash of his caliber since the family station wagon broke down in Florida about twenty-five years ago, and without any intimate knowledge of NASCAR or hate crime techniques, the only thing I could think of to do was compliment him on his cheap, bought-at-a-roadside-fruit-stand-looking bracelet he was wearing. He goes on to tell me that he bought it outside Choctaw tribal lands in Oklahoma and he is, indeed, 1/16th Choctaw.

I was clearly in a rut, as for the next ninety minutes I’m stuck sitting in the 100 degree shade with Tonto, hoping that a swarm of locusts appears and we’d all have to run for our lives, because our conversation had grown stale and 99% of the time when that happens to men talking, it usually means that its time to either to check out the other guy’s tool collection or make a run to the liquor store. Neither of which I really wanted to do. But as fate would have it, Ray entertained me by exercising his Choctaw spirit as I watched him throw his hatchet at his already half dead tree for thirty minutes. Which makes me wonder if he gets anxious living in Pilsen, given that probably more guys down there wear cowboy hats than any other part of the city.

By now it was obvious that Allison wasn’t going to do anything to help me escape and I knew that whatever excuse I could use to get away could justify some sort of acting out on his part, and one doesn’t want to upset a drunk guy sharpening a hatchet, all the while explaining that the swastika was actually a Native American symbol for luck. Funny thing is that I don’t know how that became part of our conversation, and needless to say, at this point I’m now 100% sure that I do not want my picture taken with him and someday have it plastered all over Nancy Grace.

Four more beers and ninety minutes later, about the only words to come out of his mouth that I could finally agree on was that he was tired of listening to Rihanna and Pit Bull, and he abruptly went inside to get one of his own mix tapes. So after maybe five hit songs from the 70’s and 80’s, we now had thirty teenage girls and boys sulking, and Ray staring at all of the moms like he was contemplating his next conjugal visit. And as Ray is playing his air drums, reliving his glory days, without any warning, Ray stands up and says he wants to dance with the birthday girl (his step-daughter). Um, ok, but I don’t think that Paradise By The Dashboard Light is an appropriate song, you know? This sent the mom running over to cool his jets and to get the Quinceanera out of harms way and I was sure that by now his wife surely realized that she was wrong to think that she was trading up when she married him fours years ago.

Finally, Allison meanders over and tells me loud enough for Ray to hear, that we should get going so we’re still able to find a parking spot back home. Upon hearing this, Ray tells me to stay put as he’s got something to show me. I knew this was an opportunity to make a dash to the car, but Allison insisted that I say goodbye to her grandma before we left, which gave Ray enough time to find the flare gun he bought at a garage sale last month. His wife, however, assured us and everyone else standing on the brown grass, that she had thrown away the flares earlier that morning. And while Ray heard what she said and made a bee line to the alley to search through the garbage cans, he didn’t know that she threw them in the trash can outside of the bakery when she picked up the cake that morning.

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Pork Chop Hill

A friend’s wife just filed for divorce, which is nothing of a surprise to anyone who knows them, especially their neighbors. I knew she was trouble from the first moment I met her. Judging by the permanent sneer and the talking to herself when she thinks that she’s alone, I’d say she’s been suffering from AVG (Agitated Vaginal Disorder) since puberty. And I refuse to believe it’s a matter of her being Manic-Depressive or any other label her shrink might use. She’s just an evil bitch, pure and simple.

Dan married Satan’s spawn six years ago under extenuating circumstances, if you know what I mean. He was just out of the Marines and she was moonlighting at the Gym he worked out at eight nights a week. Dan’s ideal life after the service was a wife, kids, union job, white picket fence and a new F150 every three years. But the last time I saw him (7-8 weeks ago), he was sitting alone in his ’94 Taurus outside a Dollar Store going through a mid-life crisis, second guessing almost every decision he’s made during the last twenty years. Why didn’t I go to college? Should he have stayed in the Corps? Why didn’t he wrap it up that one fateful night? Why did they have another kid? What was he thinking when he went into business with her brother? I’m sure the list goes on and on.

Anyway, I dropped by his carwash the other evening to shoot the shit with him and see if he wanted to grab a bite to eat. As I pulled into the parking lot a guy standing by the vacuum cleaners waved at me and I thought they must have hired a new captain. So, I’m looking at this guy as I’m walking towards the office and the goof keeps waving and then he starts to jog over to me, and I’m thinking he must be on a flat commission to bogart people as soon as they step out of their car.

But, lo and behold, it’s Dan in his finest form. He looked like a new man. Fresh haircut, clean shirt AND pants, and new shoes. It kind of threw me for a loss, because I hadn’t seen him look this presentable since George W was in his first term. So, in the back of my mind I’m thinking that maybe the queen of the underworld died and I just didn’t hear about it or maybe exorcisms really do work.

He stopped hugging me and smiling long enough to tell me that Kauket of Hermopolis had filed for divorce and had run off to Florida with “that guy down the block”, which in turn put him in the drivers seat to have full custody of the kids, keep the house, etc. Well, this oughta make dinner a lot more pleasant. At least now I don’t have to worry about wolfing down a burger in six minutes followed by him saying “I better get home…” So, he tosses the office keys to some old scumbag and tells him to lock up before he leaves, calls his Mom to ask her to keep the kids because he’s going out tonight and we hop in my car and decide to run down to Pho’s for some Thai, but they’re on vacation, so he decides to shift gears and suggests we go to Andy’s to eat/drink and listen to some jazz.

Now, I’m not about to drive down there, so we hopped on the red line and started shooting the shit. Of course he was ecstatic to be rid of his hag and he starts going on about how much more alive he feels, yada, yada. But then he gets a little too animated when he launches into this ten minute monologue on living life to its fullest, like he’s trying to sell me an all-inclusive vacation package.

After twenty minutes of listening to L. Ron Hubbard, we get there to find the place packed with Eurotrash and 708’ers.  I was hoping that with it being a Friday that we might be “forced” to share a table with a couple of women fresh from their cubicles and were ready to party. Instead, we find ourselves standing at the bar with some Polacks who must have filled their water guns with cheap cologne.

Fast forward about two hours and Dan is clearly showing that:

1. It’s been a long time since he’s been out on the town

2. He can’t hold his liquor

3. He needs to get into better shape, because he’s sweating like a whore in church.

Plus, he’s been writing down a bucket list, which included the obvious for a guy in his situation:

  • Visit Europe, including running with the bulls, climbing the Eiffel Tower, going to Lake Como and seeing Clooney’s crib, etc.
  •  Take up golf
  • See his kids graduate from college
  • Walk down the Grand Canyon
  • To be choked out by our high school football coach
  • Learn to speak a foreign language
  • Sky dive

What a second… Getting choked out by Coach Owens? WTF?! I had to ask him about that one, but by now he was really shit faced and was trying to talk to some fat chick from Lincolnshire. I say “trying” because he sounded like Yoda at this point, “My business I own, to anytime the Dells you want could we go”. I’ll put it this way so any guy out there will understand: Dan was even too drunk to take to a strip club.

Well, just about this time the main show started and unfortunately it was gypsy jazz, which explained the crowd. I knew then I could either stick with Dan, suffer through the rest of the evening and maybe have to join Dan and a couple of Pork Chops for breakfast – or – go back to the kitchen, get him a cup of flour and wish him the best. Since I had plans in the morning, I decided to split and get a good nights sleep for once on a Friday.

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f(x) = x

The last time I posted something here everything was going fine. But, well, shit happens. Last fall I had written about the latest one of my too many erroneous, short-term relationships. Now, I’m the type of person who will not check voice mails from someone who keeps calling me every five minutes and doesn’t care if I’m too busy to answer their call, unless it’s my parents, my next door neighbor or Donna Summers (but that won’t happen anymore). I assumed she was just being mildly nuts and not TMZ nuts, so in hindsight I should have checked my voice mail, thus defusing an inflammatory situation and saving myself a lot of grief (and money).

Wendy (crazy broad) trashed my car as I was having a few beers at Cary’s Lounge. A guy had stuck his head in the door and asked who drives a white Jeep with “It’s a Jeep. If I wanted a hummer, I’d call your sister” bumper sticker. Wendy was keying my car because a friend of hers had recently seen me out with another woman and both of us were wearing wedding rings. I called Five-O from the safety of the bar and she’s arrested. So, she stood there (while handcuffed) calling me mother-fucker this, mother-fucker that, making sure that everyone within two blocks knew that I was a cheating husband and a dirt bag, but I’ve been around enough handcuffs to know to keep my mouth shut and not fuel the flames, so I just stood there and gave the cops the info they needed.

A few nights before that I was out with Allison. We had been wearing the rings because she wanted to throw some goofball she works with off her scent. Her company had an outing of sorts on the Odyssey and I joined her as her “husband”. Wendy’s friend (whom I’ve never met), also a consultant at company X, recognized me from some photo’s Wendy had posted on her Facebook page. Wendy’s friend then sneaks a pic of me and the Mrs. on her cell phone, texts it to Wendy, who is in out-of-town and who immediately starts wearing out my blackberry.

Luckily, I had several days of PTO, so I booked a place in Puerto Viejo. I’d been there a few times, maybe five days at a time, but this would be for two weeks. I calculated this would be enough time for the courts to do their thing, plus who wouldn’t want to spend two weeks in Puerto Viejo? Unfortunately, I thought it might be a good idea to invite Marty (bad idea). Marty, in turn, thought it would do Jerry some good to get out of town for a few days, so he told him  (but not me) to come on down after we’d been there a few days. Jerry shows up, tries to buy some “party favors”, but gets into argument with the seller. An argument bad enough that some fat ass cop intervenes. Marty gets busted, my rental is searched since he’s staying with me and the cops find more “party favors”. So, you know what happens next. The cops bust me as I’m semi-conscience on the beach. So, now I have to call someone who can refer me to someone in Puerto Viejo, yada, yada. Fast forward ten weeks and mucho colones, and I’m finally on a plane to Chicago after paying some hefty fines, greasing a few wheels and with instructions not to come back for two years.

Oh yeah, before I forget, I do have to send a shout out to my parents who flew down to lend a hand. That’s if  “to lend a hand” is defined by deep sea fishing and horseback rides. I can’t wait to lend them a hand when it comes to choosing a nursing home.

The Wrap Up: Restraining Order against Wendy (who has since moved to NYC), Jerry is wrapping up his sausage fest in eight months, and I have a shit job while I look a career opportunity.

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Short-term solution

So, Amanda Knox is free. I’m sure a lot of people were very happy to hear this, but none more than Wendy.  A few weeks ago, during some pillow talk, she sort of blurted out a fantasy of having a our own three-way with Amanda Knox, should Knox ever go free. While hooking up with an attractive, freshly released felon does sound inviting, not knowing whether or not she really did go all Helter Skelter is enough to curb this mans appetite. Plus, one crazy broad at a time, please.

I met Wendy about five weekends ago. Mike and I had gone to The Original Pancake House for breakfast before he supposed to meet some people at Lucky Strike. When he went bowling and I went over to Washington Square Park to watch what I thought was going to be some type of dog and frisbee show, but I must have gone to the wrong park, because the only action going on was some hot nannies and a few joggers. So, I sat down and waited to see what might turn up. To make a long story short, Wendy was one of the joggers, we got to talking at the drinking fountain, we hooked up for lunch and had a very casual affair for about a month. But, we’ve since broken it off. Ok, we didn’t, but I did.

Getting a good read on people can be traced back to being single for all but eleven months of my adult life, being in sales and from having a cop as a father. After maybe two hours, my read on her was that she had daddy issues, thus prone to being an overachiever and to having anger-management issues. No big deal. Translated into Guy Speak, Wendy would be a great time in the sack for a month and then I’d have to either get a new phone number or dig a hole.

In this scenario, its best to run Play 23. All she needed to know was my first name and my cell phone number. Keep it as casual as possible, without looking like I’m only there for the sex. Only have sex at her place, with no sleepovers. Do not for any reason let her find out where I live, work or play.

I know a lot of women will read this and think I’m an asshole, but this works both ways. I’ve had it happen to me, but I didn’t care. Most guys don’t. Oh, you wanna have dinner once a week and lunch/brunch on the weekend, go back to my place, boink me, then leave? Sure. You know, it’s not like I was leaving money on her nightstand.

Call me a pig if you want, but my number one priority was networking, researching and finding a new job. Not spooning ‘till eleven am on a Saturday morning or exploring each others hearts. Despite this, I am a gentleman. I open doors, I compliment new haircuts/hairstyles, nails, perfume, outfits. I listen, I communicate, I always remember birthdays, favorite drinks, songs and movies, yada, yada. In fact, I can go as far to say that I’ve gone #2 at a woman’s apartment only twice in my adult life. I just don’t like the idea of leaving my stink in a woman’s home. But I do have to admit that one of those times was after an ex had fallen asleep after the break up sex, and I left a huge, nasty dump in her toilet. She had cheated on me and I also knew I wasn’t going to get paid back the $800 she had borrowed five days earlier. I could have wet her bed and taken her dog for a ride out to the country, but I didn’t.

Anyway, Wendy comes from money (her great-grand dad had something to do with inventing the grip for golf clubs, or something like that). And while she does have a job of sorts as an art promoter, she lives off a trust fund. Which must be sufficient, because she owns a place in Old Town and travels quite a bit.

The reasons I broke it off with her may sound petty to some people, but they were good enough for me. And, again, you’re going to think I’m a pig at first, but you’re going to think otherwise once you let it sink in for a few hours.

Week 1: It’s not even October and she’s talking about us going skiing in January.

Week 2 and forward: She always wants to kiss during sex. No matter how our bodies are contoured, she has to have her lips on mine.

Week 2: Already calling me Honey and Babe

Week 2: Is super pissed when I put my arm around the waitress/cashier at La Cebollita. I’ve been going there for a long time and I know it’s her birthday.

Week 3: She is traveling and we only have lunch once, so only a slim chance to accumulate negative points

Week 4: She answered my cell phone

Week 4: Stuck her finger in my ass in the middle of some hot sex.

Week 5 and the final straw: Calls me three times at my job. She only knew where my job was because a friend of hers works in the same building. (This and other creepy little things leads me to believe that an underground network of crazy chicks exists in this town)

I know I should have dropped her the moment I realized that she had to maintain a lip-lock during sex and started in with the Honey/Babe, but she’s got the endurance of a pack mule and quite honestly, she’s the best dirty talker I’ve ever been around.

I ended it Monday after work and she’s traveling again this week, so I know I’m safe and will only have to screen my calls. But if I get a package from UPS, you can bet I’ll have it x-rayed before opening it.

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