Very little about Saturday was normal. But it was fun. And weird.
It began with waking up with a friend and his six-year old at the house. We’d gone to sushi dinner at Kohana Friday night, then played video games and drank beers and hung out. No, the six-year old did not drink beer, just the alleged adults, but the three of us took turns playing Xbox games at which I am horrible. It was reminiscent of the year we were housemates and routinely enjoyed such scenes of domestic pleasure. This particular morning, the big dude was still sleeping, and I was hanging with the youngling who was demonstrating his superior control of the Xbox controllers, narrating what each button and trigger and toggle does (“See, it can jump”) and asking me if I had it yet. He’d witnessed my total ineptitude in Portals 2 the previous night and was determined to set me on the path to video game mastery by offering me the game’s instruction sheet and showing me where the controller information is printed. He wasn't up to see my improvement in Black Ops or whatever it was that came next.
My awesome derby teammate the singer-songwriter /artist /hair goddess freshened up my color and cut, and gave me loose curls which must have looked amazing, because as I walked through the mall in search of a belt to go with the killer belt buckle from my favorite thrift store, it felt like people were looking at me. I can be a little paranoid and was analyzing the gazes ... thankfully, they were more of the “uh-huh, not bad” kind of look, as opposed to the “what on earth was she thinking leaving the house looking like that?” kind of look. In the movie running in my head, I was the star of a hair product commercial. bathed in glorious soft lighting, hair bouncing in carefully choreographed slow motion, handsome men in designer suits walking by giving a wink. In reality, the guys were dressed in baggy-ass basketball shorts and jerseys with thick, gaudy chains or droopy butt jeans and tee shirts, but it still beat the usual feeling of invisibility, where people quite literally walk into me like I am not even occupying physical space.
I found two belts, and the Hot Topic cashier is a friend of a friend who I’d met once or twice and it was nice chatting with her for a minute. On the way home, I had a heart-wrenching message from a dear friend with sad news about her ex-husband (inoperable tumor) and one of her dogs (accidentally run over). I wanted to hug her so much, but I was across town and she had to work.
Back at the 402 (a.k.a. my house), I discovered the belts are too long due to my failure to consider the four inch span between the prong for the holes and the loop to hold the belt. Duh. I considered returning them for a shorter length, but if I ever wanted to put the original buckle back on, the other length would be too short, and besides, I didn’t feel like being back in the mall. I knew a hole could be punched in the leather in about two seconds with a leather punch, which I lacked. It was time for some classic Yankee ingenuity. Scrounging in the ill-equipped tool bag yielded a four-inch long nail of correct girth and a hammer. I grabbed the notebook from the camera bag that has been sitting open on the table (where it doesn’t belong) for months to use as a cushion under the belt and nail.
On the porch, I pounded the nail through the leather of the white belt to make a new hole, which was not nearly as easy as it seemed it should be. It took about 10 attempts on each side of the leather, and some forcing of the nail through the hole and back out. It was about 150 degrees out and I was in a full body sweat when, halfway through the operation, a spotlessly clean white Avalanche pulled into the driveway. Nobody I could think of drives an Avalanche, and I was staring at it because, after all, it was now parked in my driveway. From the confines of the tinted window chariot stepped the guy who used to live next door -- clad in jeans and a dark blue shirt. We used to chat while in our respective yards, but it has been perhaps a year since I saw him last. He said he happened to be driving by, saw me and stopped to say hi.
And frankly, it was kind of awkward. First, the dude is on the handsome side of the equation, which always makes me all nervous and sweaty and stupid anyway. Second, I don’t really know him that well, and suddenly he was standing there on my walk a year after moving, complimenting the appearance of my yard and apologizing for just stopping by. He said I “look hot,” and I said “well, yeah, it’s about a million degrees out,” and then he said how great my hair color looks and that I look thinner and really great, and that he always thought I was attractive, so maybe he wasn’t even talking about the weather being hot and I am actually as goofy and dense as I fear I am.
When he asked if I knew what it was like to just be drawn to someone for reasons that can’t necessarily be explained, it started to feel like a cheesy romance novel, a genre I rarely read but regularly mock. And in my typical doofus manner, when he would say something pleasant and complimentary, I would say “aw, thanks” and change the subject to roller derby or Moose or the failure of my Roma tomatoes to turn red (which I am beginning to take personally). He asked if I was single. He mentioned he and his girl are on the outs. He’s looking for a house and moving back to the ‘Ville. He apologized at least a dozen times for just stopping by.
Belt hole finished, I said I needed to get inside and make a picnic for Jazz on the Lawn. It seemed like maybe I was supposed to invite him in, but that felt weird, because the whole year he lived next door he was in my house only once. I gathered up my sophisticated hole making tools, two belts and notebook, told him he was welcome to stop by again some time, said goodbye and ducked into the air conditioned safety of my house. Packaging my cheese and crackers, blueberries, cherries and other essentials, I wondered if this is the universe’s way of messing with my constant requests for delivery of a Prince Charming.