Epiphany On Aisle Seven

So there I am, standing in my local Target store looking at something called Lactaid because evidently God has a sense of humor and I’m pretty sure I’ve become lactose intolerant.

I’ll spare you the details, but I’ve had a bowl of cereal for dinner this evening and I’m bloated up bigger than Airabelle, the Creamland Dairy hot air balloon (last seen at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta).

Pride goeth before a burp, and the thought of taking something to stop this feeling seems real, real appealing. I’m comparing and contrasting the relative merits of the store brand “dairy digestive aid” versus the name brand “dairy digestive aid” when in my peripheral vision, I note a man walk by behind me. I can tell it’s a man by the gait and by what he’s wearing as he shops the aisles.

I hardly notice my fellow shopper, but moments later, I get a whiff of cologne.

Oh my.

It’s that scent, that same deep musk and leather tinged scent that reminds me of someone I used to know. Suddenly I’m not in a Target store but I’m in the cab of an early model step side red Ford pickup truck sitting next to that memory and I’m mainlining that scent like a addict huffs paint.

The one I knew wasn’t especially tall but he was broad in the shoulders, owing to many long hours spent practicing his team roping skills. He was a dusky hued fellow of Native American extraction with ice blue eyes that made me go weak in the knees when he’d walk past me on campus.

We only went out on two dates because he was as squirrely as a rabid woodchuck, but oh my heavens was he handsome. Just those two dates were enough to make me smile wickedly to myself some twenty years later.

So I throw into my cart whichever box of digestive aid was in hand as I sensed the sweet smelling gent shopping in the next aisle. I look at the sign on the end cap containing the Target version of the Dewey Decimal system announcing, “dental hygiene,” and think to myself, “why, yes, I could go for something in a minty fresh breath.”

I fix my casual smile, not too wide, not too meager, just Mona Lisa enough, and sashay toward the mouthwash shelves. Memories of slow two stepping dances to the sounds of something like Alabama or George Straight or Merle Haggard fill my mind. I lean casually next to the Listerine and glance up at the object of my olfactory desire.

There stands a mid-fiftyish man with a boiler hanging over a belt holding up a pair of unflattering pants that evidently contain no butt a’tall. His unkempt hair graying rapidly from the top of his ratty hairdo to the bottom of his scruffy beard. What appears to be a remnant of dinner still lingers there on his, oh my is that really a knockoff Members Only jacket he’s wearing?

I beat a hasty retreat and three rows down, I huddle at the end of the hand sanitizer aisle. I need to regroup.

That was, as they say in the vernacular, a buzz kill. Suddenly visions of New Mexico State Ag Week dances under a clear high-desert starry sky vanish and I find myself once again an almost forty-two year old woman in a Target store. I take inventory of my own raggedy outfit, with frowsy hair escaping a hasty pony tail, glasses framing my weakening eyes and a hand cart full of things like GasX and Lactaid announcing that not only was that guy not the guy that I once knew, but I am in no way that girl I wish I was any longer.

The girl I am now needs to buy some Ziploc bags so she can pack her non-dairy, non-wheat, low-fat lunch to take to my “is this really what I wanted to be when I grew up” job and slog my way through another day, as my tummy churns and my hair grays and I no longer ride in red pickup trucks and wonder what it will be like when I’m all grown up.

This is what it will be like. This is what it is. Just me and my rumbly tumbly and enough freedom and disposable income to make it interesting. When I’m done daydreaming and remembering and purchasing my products of middle aged despair, I get to go home to The Good Man who smells of soap and cute boy and is a pretty gosh darn fine reason for going home.

For some reason, even with my frowsy ponytail and corrective lenses and an occasional bout of lactose intolerance, he still thinks I’m pretty cool. And pretty.

Crazy ol’ fool. (Me, not The Good Man)

Awesomest Street in Chicago

Photo from coolead‘s Flickr photostream.

Sunday, Police Action Sunday

Yesterday I drove to the small downtown section of a small town to meet with a group of photographers. It was our scheduled monthly get together.

I pulled into a parking spot and as I put ‘er in park, I noticed a police car parked right behind me.

As I opened my door to exit the vehicle, I noticed a uniformed police officer approaching me.

Me: “Hello, officer.”

PO: (stoic) “Hello.”

Me: “What can I do for you?”

PO: “You can’t make that left turn you just made.”

ME: *puzzled look* Then I consider being a cutup and saying, “Oh, but I can! I just did! Wanna see me do it again?” But I rein in my inner smart alec.

PO: (looking at my puzzled look) “You made a turn across the lane to get into this parking spot. You can’t do that.”

Me: “Really? Oh shit.” (<- yes, I actually said oh shit to a cop. Not the brightest bulb that Albuquerque Public Schools has ever turned out.) PO: "Yes, really. It's painted there on the pavement (he points) and there's a sign on most of the light poles down the street. (he points again)" Me: (now sheepish because I really hadn't noticed) "Oh. Ok. Do you need to see my license?" PO: "No, that's ok. I'm just warning you. Don't do it again." Me: (quavering) "Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. Have a good evening." PO: (walking back to his car) "You too, ma'am." Me: (inside voice) shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit Once I got done quaking in my rain boots, I realized...that police officer did me a solid favor. See, my last encounter with the black and whites was less than 18 months ago. Why does that matter? In California, every eighteen months you can take an online driver's ed class which masks a point on your license. You only get one every 18 months. So if I got a ticket I was plum outta luck in terms of my insurance. I was a little down and dour that day while headed to my meeting, but the rare kindness of the police officer brought a little decency to my gray and rainy day. Plus, I recalled one of the few bits of advice I carry with me from driver's ed classes. A police officer came to speak to us. He said, "Always be courteous to a police officer. ALWAYS. It might make the difference between getting a ticket and getting off with a warning." Thank YOU, McGinnis School of Driving.

Photo by Nick Cowie and used royalty free from stock.xchng.

Theme Song

Back in the day, I used to watch that show Ally McBeal. You know, the one about the skinny neurotic lawyer? The reason I got to thinking about that show lately has to do with my job.

I’ve been in the middle of frying pan and also the fire here at work. There is a LOT going on; notably a project that fell off the rails and I’ve had to step in to clean it up. Always fun cleaning up someone else’s mess….


What I used to dig about that show were scenes that showed the John Cage character, played by Peter MacNicol, standing in his office or the restroom trying to summon up his theme song. This was usually before a big case or a meeting where he needed courage. Or a date. The theme song changed depending on the situation.

Yesterday I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom trying to summon up such courage. I’d been running late to the meeting, then the conference room my boss booked was too small, so I hoofed chairs from every other conference room so all the execs could have a place for their tushy.

Before we got started, I took a break to the ladies room to quite literally wipe the sweat off my brow, take a breath, and get my game face on. I knew I was going to be the only person from my company who would be a bit fierce with our under performing supplier. My boss told me straight up he is non-confrontational, and so in these cases, I have to do it. Which is fine by me, it just takes a certain frame of mind.

I needed a theme song to summon the courage, but seems the music half of my brain was failing me.

So this morning in a quieter frame of mind, I got to thinking…what is my own personal theme song?

For those times where I got to go in agro, usually the song I pull up is “Headstrong” by Trapt. The hard baseline helps, and shouting the lyrics aloud in the car on the way to a meeting is quite liberating.

They go something like “backoff I’ll take you on/headstrong to take on anyone/I know that you are wrong/and this is not where you belong.”

Yeah. Then I go in all “rawr!” and ready to take on the world.

On the days when I’m feeling like there is a black cloud hanging over my head (more days than I’d care to admit) my theme song tends to flow toward Stormy Monday by T-Bone Walker.

“They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad/Wednesday’s worse, and Thursday’s also sad”

God I love that song, especially the John Lee Hooker version.

Back in the day when I used to have a really, really terrible boss (about five years back) and every day was a grind just to survive his insanity, I used to sing the lyrics to Fighter by Christina Aguilera (who I don’t usually like, but that song worked for me.) It was good to turn my adversity into gratitude.

“Made me learn a little bit faster/Made my skin a little bit thicker/Makes me that much smarter/So thanks for making me a fighter”

Then of course, during those good times when I’m thinking about The Good Man, it’s all about Johnny Rodriguez.

” ‘Cause your love put a song, put a song, put a song, in my heart/Never have I heard this beautiful music before”

Just puts a smile on my face thinking about it.

But for now, no time to be squishy. I’m at work. Back to Trapt.

“Backoff, I’ll take you on!”

Do you have a go-to theme song?

Image found at deviantART.com