Lovin’ It Up Nasty

The other Saturday, I was pretty busy taking the boys around to their basketball games, so we opted suicide in hitting the drive through at Mickey D’s for lunch.  You know how we’re all real suckers for health food!  It was in that drive through that we had a most interesting experience.  

Some McGenius had a great idea some years ago when they created the double drive through lanes at Ronald’s House of Gastric Sadness.  They created a way to boost profit by allowing more people to put their orders in during rush periods and get to their nasty food almost as quickly without getting frustrated from waiting in a long line and leaving before they order.  It sounds like a good idea until you factor in the problem that those two lanes have to squeeze back down to one in order to pay and then get your lukewarm bags of 11-year-old, ultra-GMO, freeze dried, smashed-in  meh.  

After ordering my boys all of their “food” which would have little nutrition of the original options placed between the buns, I started to ease forward to get in the line to pay.  Still at odds that I’m actually paying for this stuff.  In my new country, I’m surprised Obama doesn’t just make everyone pay for $40 of McDonald’s every day, and have $7 of it delivered right to their door like the morning paper.  Might as well, that’s what it tastes like right?  Anyway, a fat disgruntled Turd Muffin in a little car cuts me off and gets in line in front of me.  I was pretty irritated.  I had obviously started moving first.  Oh well, maybe he didn’t see me, as the poor way in which this double lane was built, there was a serious blind spot for him being in the outside lane.  It’s all the easier for me to hate him because he looks like such a low-life reflection of myself, but I choose not to honk, shake my fist, or anything of the like.  Because my food will be just as nasty when I get it, and waiting an extra minute won’t make it taste any better, Heaven forbid.  

That moment I decided to accept my defeat and prepare to be the next one in line was when things got interesting though.  Suddenly in my side view mirror, I see the door fly open of the car behind me, and with lightning speed, a man coming up to my window, kicking up wet snow as he throws his arms about, shaking his head in disbelief.  He had beady brown eyes and long thinning salt and pepper hair with slight balding.   He was wearing penny loafers, khaki pants, and a red knitted sweater pulled over a striped white dress shirt. I rolled my window down cause he certainly had something to say to me.  I didn’t feel threatened though.  This man in his middle ages and smaller size had no fear to offer anyone.  He spoke to me with a tone similar to that of the older brother of a friend to a kid who’s being threatened by a bully on the schoolyard and said, “Did that guy cut you off, or did you just let him in?!”  

Before I had a chance to answer, he tears off toward the offending motorist with the same intensity and begins yelling at him and shaking his fist.  I’m starting to think my new friend might be intoxicated with some illegal substance other than weed judging by the flighty way he moves about, but all I can do is watch and laugh.  I knew he couldn’t inflict anything serious on big uncle Turd Muffin, so I didn’t get out to break it up.  Me and all three boys instantly had front-row seats to our own private showing of Jerry Springer, so we settled in for the feature.  He explosively told the guy he really messed up by cutting me off and not waiting his turn, and threw in hefty triple servings of profanity (which my kids could have done without).  With the boisterous way he spouted off having little to back it up with, as well as his accent, I could tell he wasn’t from this area.  Those of us from my neck of the woods take threats from strangers more seriously and save them for more dire circumstances when we’re ready to send someone to the hospital.  He waved me off as turned back to his own car at 2/3 original strength, muttering under his breath.  The boys and I were tearyeyed, red in the face, and much-so short of breath with fatigued stomach muscles as we rolled forward to take our punishment from the drive thru window that morning!  



Turn lights out. Lock the doors. Repeat

The other night I had a disturbing dream.  I was a proselyting, name tag wearing missionary for my church again (after not having done that in real life in almost 13 years, something common only to young single people, and older people who’s children had already left home in my faith).  I was transferred to what I knew would be the last area I would serve in before going home.  Like many other areas I had served in in my dream, I arrived in the area after a well known favorite missionary of everyone had left.  He was a cool kid I knew from high school, who in real life hadn’t served in my mission at all.

The neighborhood I was living in didn’t look familiar to anywhere I’ve actually been.  Months of missionary service went by, except for this mission was being served amongst people my wife and I had known in Colorado where we actually just moved to Utah from last summer.  There were people from church as well as students and professors from college.  Someone caught wind of the fact that my time for going home was getting closer.  So other missionaries I lived by suddenly packed up my stuff for me and piled it up in an empty house at the end of the street, which street was intersected by a more busy main road.  I was no longer allowed to be part of the work and even forgotten and shunned by all the people I had known and loved until a speed train whizzed by and sucked me out of that place, presumably to take me back home.  The feeling was a horribly thick sense of loneliness like I’d never felt.

The way my dream worked out is far from what it was actually like to serve a mission for my church, but it taught me something.  I don’t do well when things come to an end, especially good things and things I put a lot of energy into.  You’ve all heard of short-timer syndrome which refers to the time between when someone turns in their two week notice and when they actually leave work for the last time.  This usually means the one leaving gets lazy in their work duties and itchy to leave.  But you never hear the flip side of that.

Some years ago, I worked in a nice little all-natural meat shop.  It was a fun enough job with nice co-workers, but it paid next to minimum wage and had no benefits.  I had had to take the job because my previous job which was supposed to take me off into the sunset with all kinds of hours and money ended up stiffing me by only giving me one day per week and expecting me to be on call all of the other days.  Anyhow, I heard the county jail was hiring correctional officers, so I submitted an application.  On the form, there was the question asking if they could speak with my current employer.  I said no.  I had no idea how soon they would be conducting the background check, and I didn’t want them giving my work my notice for me.

Too bad!  I came into work one afternoon to have my manager ask me, “So you want to be a corrections officer do ya?”  They were somewhat understanding.  They knew I had a family to take care of.  But from that moment on, until I was able to start at the academy A WHOLE MONTH LATER, they pretty much treated me like a poopy pants stranger.  No fun at all.  Suddenly no one really wanted to talk to me anymore.  It was a pretty sad time in contrast to when everyone was my friend.

Plenty of other times in my life have taken on a similar sad and lonely feeling.  I knew I would graduate in the Spring of 2001, but I never really saw the end of high school coming.  Me and all my would-be friends scattered from the town like cockroaches almost the very next day.  Yet when I started high school, it seemed like it would never end.  Afterall, it never did on “Saved by the Bell”, or was that just a side affect of watching too many reruns?

My playing club volleyball my junior year of high school came to an end one windy bright sunny day under a pavillion at a local park.  Our Hawaiian coach had lined up a little luau to be catered for us.  The food was great, but volleyball was over.  What was designed to be our “victory celebration” (we came in at about 5th place and had a great time doing it) felt more like a funeral.

I’ve never enjoyed being the one who has to “turn off the lights and lock’er up” in any situation.  I get the feeling many others feel the same way seeing as how they all find reasons to leave before clean-up time as well.

How does one deal with this?  It seems one phase of life is constantly ending as another one picks up with nothing to get me through the in-between.  One minute you and grandpa are having a great time out golfing.  The next it seems, he remembers neither who you are or his own daughter.  I know I should just be happy to have had the chance to go to a decent high school in Suburbia.  I know that something like playing on the volleyball team is a reward in and of itself.  But…for someone who suffers from clinical depression it does little to soothe the pain.   


Creepy Weirdo Lessons. Free to a good home.

Happy Wednesday, and here’s hoping you’ve had a great January!  Just kidding.  How can anyone have a happy January?  Why do we even bother wishing someone well in January?  Even if you have a birthday that month and you win a free pair of shoes, the whole month still has to taste like mucky freezer burned leftovers eaten in the shadow of December and all the hype that goes into creating a riotously overindulgent Christmas.  We should all just avoid each other for the first month or two of the year in reaches of the world where it is winter at that time.  What do you think?  Run that one by the president.  Anyway, I’m not going anywhere with my blog, but I’m sure having a fun time getting there.  People have actually read some of it, some reigning from countries I don’t even have friends in.  That’s reason enough to keep writing, something.  Or maybe they’re just trying to send me spam.  

Recently it hit me, as it always seems to.  Things I learn never seem to show up calmly at the doorstep and ring the bell.  They always jump right in front of me like a scary clown and pie me in the face after letting out a mischievous gut giggle.  I’m 33 now, and sort of let down that I’m just now learning this, but I’m glad I was able to pick up on it myself rather than have to be told by someone else.  

I’ve always had a superb memory.  I never forget the faces, the names, the song, the smell, the tastes of a given situation I was a part of.  Often people are amazed.  When it shows itself, my family is suddenly found standing around smiling at each other and looking at me like I’m part of the circus freak show.  “Just look everyone!  It’s Jeff, our little history book!”  Just as often, it is the cause of disagreements and sad feelings of being all alone in a sea of people who seem to have the memory power of petstore goldfish.    

Another quality of me considered a good thing at times is that I’ve always been sentimental.  Most of the time, it’s been to my downfall.  I’m guilty 98% of the time of being the one out of any two people in this world who cares more about my relation to them than they do to me.  Rather than suppress it, I’m working on letting go of it as a whole.  That one thing alone has caused a trainload of stress and pain that I could’ve done a great and many things without.  One of the strangest things though, is when these two join in a not-so choice reunion of destiny.  

In my early twenties, I would be working at an office supply store (now out of business through no known fault of my own) and recognize a teacher from elementary school.  Even worse at another time, someone who I hadn’t seen since I was little.  It doesn’t really get good until the moment I go up to the person and say hi to them.  “Hi So and so!”  Now someone who they don’t know or recognize in any way is calling them by name.  “I’m Jeff Taylor.  You babysat my brother and I when we were young!”  Watching someone squirm who is that far removed from your life, although highly amusing, is pretty cruel.  You might as well be saying, “Hey it’s me!  I was a snot-nosed kid who couldn’t even reach the bathroom sink to wash his hands on his own when you knew me, but I’ve long-since graduated puberty and become an adult, and my tone of voice says we’re still “just as good of friends as we always were”, with a hint of “I can’t believe you didn’t recognize me.”  My favorite scene of such an occurrence is this one from the movie “Groundhog Day” staring Bill Murray: Phil’s Choice moment with Ned Ryerson 

I know it’s sick and wrong, but somewhere along the way it just sprouted out of “Oh hey you, I don’t care that you don’t care about me.  Now go and have a nice day you silly self-absorbed ass!”

The good news is, I have ceased this behavior for a few months now.  I think there has to be an equation which includes certain number of years limit and/or maximum measuring how long it’s been since we were in any way involved with one another and how good of friends we were anyway one must calculate before addressing someone publicly.  Facebook?  What’s Facebook and how should that be considered?  I worked with a friend for several months in that office supply store, and remained Facebook friends with him for years after, commenting on each other’s posts and liking pictures, etc.  Then I actually ran into him in person and tried to start talking to him, but he didn’t even know who I was.  Are you serious?!  Unfriended!  

I’ve realized I can no-longer go shopping with my family at a certain bulk-selling club store which I love, because everyone I knew in high school and their mother shops there.  It’s just too big of a temptation!  I just want to walk up to people, put my arm around them and say, “Hey Bobby Joe, remember me from high school?!  You were one surly cowboy, and we weren’t even friends, but I remember that funny joke you told someone in English 10, and now that we saw each other, I just thought I’d come over and create a nice awkward greasy moment for the both of us to share as we reminisce on the good times we never had.  By the way, have you tried their Polish dogs here?  Fantastic!  They’re the hotdog you taste aaalllll daaayyy llooooonngg.”

On that happy note, if you haven’t seen or spoke with someone in 15-20 years in today’s age of instant communication, it’s clear there are multiple reasons why, and you’d best not wave them down,…that is unless you’re going to buy them a Polish dog and a soda for $1.50.