Apr 08 2008

Organic Substances

Published by at 1:22 am under Friends

What’s worse than the newage, hippie-dippy, organic, spiritually enriched chocolate that I ate yesterday? Hippie-dippy chocolate that sneaks out of its wrapper and lands on the seat of your brand-new car where it sits for two days in full sun. I was late for an appointment when I swung open the car door and froze in my tracks. I can’t begin to tell you what went through my mind as I tried to figure out what I was looking at.

Later: A certain theme is emerging to my day. When I drove into my driveway I noticed that the blinds in the front window were all bent and askew. “What has the dog DONE!” I wondered. What the dog had done, I’m hypothesizing, was try to get out the front window because she had a sudden, urgent need to be outside. Unsuccessful, she left a deposit resembling that which I found in my car, placed thoughtfully on the the good, imported rug that Mom bought me. The cleanup made me late for a phone meeting.

But wait. That’s not all. In the middle of the meeting Stella came inside, click-click-clicked across the floor toward me, reached the good, imported rug that Mom bought me, and puked. Gallons. The floor was four inches away, but I guess she didn’t want to get it dirty. The meeting was a technical discussion during which I needed to help make strategy decisions. I was useless.

The day got better after I crated Stella and headed east alone. An hour later I was in Lulu’s dorm room.

I joined her and four of her friends for dinner in the university’s dining hall, where I was suddenly overcome with nervousness. First, it was odd being 35 years older than everyone for miles, and second, I got confused trying to navigate the cafeteria, which is a series of food-pods with cute names. The Blue Onion has vegan stuff. Saucy has pizza. Across the room, Fresh Inspirations is what I would’ve called a salad bar and is not to be confused with Go Live, which has fried food.

Once settled at the table, my group of five eighteen-year-olds was conspicuously silent. “Are you always this quiet?” I asked. They shook their heads. “Is it because I’m here? They nodded. But by meal’s end they were back to themselves, stealing food from each other’s plates — and stealing each other’s plates — and throwing Lucky Charms at each other.

Jammed with chocolate chip cookies, I said goodbye to my daughter and her bovine neighbors, like this one. (Currently studying livestock and dairy judging, Lulu informed me, “This one wouldn’t be a good beef cow. See how skinny her butt is? But that’s okay, since she’s a dairy cow.”)

I went further east to join my old dance class for the first time in two or three years, for a surprise 60th birthday party for Marlene.

My stomach still churns when I see the Door of Doom and climb the long steps to certain humiliation on the dance floor. I had an extra jolt of anxiety when I changed into dance clothes on the spot where I once lay stretched out with a freshly broken foot, smiling bravely and shaking uncontrollably from the onset of shock.

We practiced our figure dances and I was amazed that they’re still in my feet, even though I haven’t done them for ages. In fact, our North-American-Championship-winning High Caul Cap is so burned into my memory that my muscles will probably be twitching the steps as I shuffle off this mortal coil. Our teacher Patricia talked about the possibility of our competing in the All-Ireland Championship next winter. I made the commitment to come to class once a month for practice. Who knows: maybe I’ll make it twice a month, even — the three-hour round-trip be damned. I have really missed dancing and my airborne buddies.

Marlene seemed genuinely surprised when we jumped out at her.

When I rolled home at 11:00 I found that Stella had left me one final token in her crate. I hope, for my sake, that she feels better tomorrow.

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