This is part six of the project I am working on for National Novel Writing Month. Here are the links to the first sections.
Inside the car I remembered that I hate commuting. The fact that it would have taken me just as long to get to the beach as it did to travel to the office was immaterial. Normally I would have spent the ride plotting ways to prick “Big Ed.” The precious minutes of beach time that I was wasting would have been devoted to thinking about how many different ways I could call Harold, “Hairy.”
Did I mention that at times I can be juvenile, selfish and spiteful. Not my finer traits, but hey, at least I am aware of them.
This time was different. Instead of plotting my silly revenge, enjoying music or listening to the ridiculous rantings of the anonymous talk show callers I was lost in a place that I wasn’t so sure I wanted to revisit. I was back in the past. It was a bit like walking into my garage. There were all sorts of treasures inside and a bunch of junk that I probably should get rid of, but never had.
I have always liked thinking of my memory as being a big garage or warehouse full of stuff. It works for me. There is something appealing about it. Whenever I need to remember something I simply walk into the garage and find the box it is located in. The problem is that like my real garage those boxes are not only dusty but they sometimes include items that I didn’t expect to find.
Back when I was married the garage was my refuge. It was my cave, my domain and all who entered it understood that it was dangerous to screw with things without my approval. Not surprisingly the ex thought that different rules applied to her. Although to be fair I learned long ago that once a woman starts sleeping with you she assumes certain liberties, like trying to convince you that Laura Ashley sheets are cool for the master bedroom.
My internal monologue was disrupted by the squealing by a loud thump, thump, thump coming from the car next to me.Â If you want to piss me off it is always wise to play your stereo at levels loud enough to make the windows shake. I have said more than once that if I am ever involved in a road rage incident it is going to beÂ because of that.
The noise got my attention and I made a point of looking around to see where it was coming from. There was a large SUV in front of me that seemed to be theÂ culprit.Â Sometimes it is hard to tell. The noise is so loud that it could just asÂ easily be coming from the side or behind.
The license plate frame on the SUV said something about being a proud student of Grapevine Community College. The G.C.C. administration should be proud of this sort of representation. It really says something. Then again, I am a part time writing instructor there so maybe I should be more charitable with how I think of the students.
The writing gig isn’t bad. For the past ten years or so I teach one or two creative writing courses each semester. In the beginning I wasn’t so sure about it. They didn’t have an existing curriculum so I had to develop one on my own. That was supposedly going to lead to my earning more but I am not really sure that ever happened.
That first year I taught by Braille. It was a lot of touch, feel and react. I wouldn’t advise doing it that way. The department chair made a point of instructing me not to do it that way. He gave me a lot of good advice that I ignored. Sometimes my issue with authority causes trouble for me.
But we got through it. Over time I developed a teaching style and I found that I was pretty good at it. Most of my students were truly interested in learning so it made it easier to engage them. And of course it didn’t hurt that quite a few were relatively attractive women.
On a side note let me mention that you don’t want to tell woman that she is relatively good looking. It is the kind of remark that creates a minefield that no man wants to walk through. It is not that different from being asked if a particular item of clothing makes her look fat.
Say that she is relatively good looking and she will set you up for a verbal beating. You can almost guarantee that it will be an interrogation of what and who she is relatively good looking compared to. If you suffer from the same fits of stupidity that afflict me it will lead you to saying that she is far more attractive than a hippo or warthog.
You’ll say it with a big smile that you think she’ll find endearing and then after she has eviscerated you’ll wonder why you didn’t just save time by hitting yourself in the head with a hammer.
In case you are wondering I sometimes use that as part of my lecture. The students enjoy laughing at my expense. It is not unusual for the women to laugh the hardest or tell me that I should know better. I smile and shrug my shoulders. The guys usually like this too. After class a few of them will come and share their own war stories with me.
I like to try and use these kinds of stories because they work well as ice breakers. Get the class to laugh. Get them interested and engaged and it becomes far more interesting to everyone.
Not everyone appreciates these tales. Every class is filled with at least one person who doesn’t appreciateÂ a self deprecating sense of humor. Did I mention that they are usually female. Is this coincidence? I think not. That leads to another useful safety tip for the men.Â Don’t try to use that last line or any derivation of it in class. You’ll do great with the women who likes to hang out with the boys.
But invariably you’ll upset one or more who will decide that you are sexist and in need of being reported to whatever authority they think will screw you the hardest.
Ok, I admit it, I am a bit bitter and irked with the fairer sex. But I have a good reason, really, I do. I can tell you her name, her sizes. Yes, I said sizes, shoe, pants, panties, bra, blouse, whatever. I don’t give a damn whether you think that is cool, weird or what.
I can tell you how tall she is, her weight, what color her eyes are and a million other details. It has been years and I haven’t forgotten what she smells like or how it feels to kiss her. Years later and sometimes when I close my eyes I still see her looking back at me.
Years later and I can’t forget. The last time I saw her we kissed each other goodbye and headed off to our cars.
But I am not going to go there. It took a long time to put it aside. It took a long time to accept that the life I thought we were going to share wasn’t going to happen. Took a long time to convince myself that I couldn’t just wait around, that maybe love wasn’t enough.
And until the girls decided to have lunch with me that was ok. I was ok. Until that little bit about her being single I was ok.
I’ll say one thing for being distracted, it made the time in the car go by like it was nothing. Of course the downside to that was that I hadn’t spent any time thinking about an idea for my next assignment. And now I had all of five minutes to try to come up with one.