It was the most horrifying week of my life, and I was glad it was over. I had been dumped at a St. Hubert’s, pulled over by a bicycle cop for littering, ruined my hair, and been caught smoking in the bathroom on an airplane, and promptly charged upon landing.
I didn’t understand what all the bad karma was about. Two run-ins with the law in one week! And who knew having a couple of puffs of a cig was a Federal offense! I remember a time when you could smoke on airplanes, in hospitals, restaurants, bars! Fuck me for needing a smoke because my life is in shambles! It doesn’t help that you can still see the goddamn ashtrays welded shut on the arm rests taunting you for the entire painful duration of your flight. They treated me like a fucking terrorist! All because I was feeling a little stressed out and needed a couple of drags of a smoke. So nice of them to barge in while I was still in there too, what if I really was on the toilet… Then maybe the tables would be turned. I would be charging them for invasion of privacy! I wonder what would have happened if I was smoking and peeing at the same time?! Would I still have a case?!
Anyway… that was the least of my worries. I was fast approaching 30 and my clock was ticking louder than a jet engine. I needed to make things happen. I wasn’t married, had no kids, and had just been dumped by Mister Frugal at a St. Hubert’s. I thought he had potential… He wasn’t daddy big bucks or anything, but he was in a band, he was a designer (on the side, while working the bar at Jack Astors) and showed signs of maybe being something someday. I was settling by being with him in the first place, nobody understood why! Maybe because all my friends were married with families and didn’t have any clue about what the single life was like in this city. The interviews, the baggage, the desperation, the shallow jerks that put you on speed dial alongside Cindy, Karen, and Veronica, the one night stands, the regret, the disappointments. The drunk dialing fingers.
I was tired. Tired of trying to look my best 24/7 and tired of trying to impress people and trying to sell myself to others. I was on the verge of getting a cat, perhaps several. I had met him 4 months earlier… I was getting drunk by myself at Jack Astors drowning my sorrows of another failed relationship, when he served me my 3rd double scotch on the rocks. I had taken my hair out, unbuttoned my blouse, and put my panty hose in my purse. I was ready to quit it all… my job, my life, the world. I just wanted to get shitfaced… And I did. And he, was my therapist. He smiled the entire time, while pouring me drinks and listening.
He took me home that night and apparently shagged me (not that I remember). He even woke me up with breakfast in bed the next morning while I sat there in horror trying to recollect the night prior. His place was your typical bachelor pad. Beer bottles everywhere, a big screen TV, an XBOX and a Playstation, hand me down furniture, and laundry scattered throughout his room. I remembered him telling me that he was also a designer, but looking at his place… I wondered how.
Our relationship lasted 4 months until I started pressuring him to quit his shitty bartending job and land a real gig. I didn’t even care how much he made, I just got tired of saying “hi this is my boyfriend, he works at jack astors”… and tired of people saying “oh yeah, I think you served me once”. Maybe I was trying to turn him into someone he wasn’t, I don’t know… But I needed him to aspire to something… Anything!
It was a Saturday; we had planned to go out for dinner that night. I couldn’t’ afford to get my hair done at the Aveda salon I usually went to due to the massive fine I just had to pay for smoking on a domestic flight, so I went to the drug store to pick up a box of hair dye instead.. Same diff right?! Ummm not so much. The salon made my hair look wonderful, the Red hues were perfect, the lowlights, the highlights, the texture, the contrasts, everything! This $11.99 box of shit made me look like Ronald McDonald! I only had an hour before I would be getting picked up… I opted for a hat.
“why are you wearing a hat?” he asked
“Follicle malfunction” I said
“uh heh… I see.”
“Why are you still working at a Jack Astors?” I shot back with my sharp tongue
I knew it was gonna be a rough night, and I wasn’t in the mood to bite my sharp tongue. I could tell hat a fight was brewing, and it was gonna be a doozie.
We pulled up at the St. Huberts on Main street and I broke out laughing.
“Surely we’re not eating here” I said
“What, you don’t like St. Huberts?” He asked quite seriously.
“Well… I like it… I just thought, maybe we could go somewhere a little NICER that’s all.”
His expression remained unchanged as he glared at me with a stare that could cut like a Ginsu knife. He opened his door and got out of the car with the excitement of a dog about to have his balls snipped off. I felt bad… I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I couldn’t’ help it… I was a bitch and in the throws of a major life crisis and he was my whipping boy. If he would only, get a real job, stop acting like a frat boy, be a man, be a little more romantic, dress better, shave more often, get a haircut, stop grunting during sex, learn to cook, take me out dancing, and be more willing to listen to my needs… then maybe I wouldn’t be so unhappy and we could actually move forward with our relationship.
We ordered our chicken and sat there in awkward silence, until he finally cleared his throat and said;
“So… are you like, happy in this relationship or what? Because you always seem to be in a bad mood.”
I looked down, and lied “yeah, I’m happy”
“Really, because you don’t seem it to me. You always have something negative to say. You make me feel like less of a man, and frankly I’m tired of it.”
“ME? I make you feel like less of a man??? What about your frat boy bachelor pad, your video games, your fear of commitment, your pot head friends, your JOB for fucks sake… Ever think it’s maybe those things that are making you feel like less of a man?”
And there it was. There was no turning back now. I had said it. I couldn’t take it back now.
“Yeah, I think we need to take some time out.” He said
“What?” what do you mean?”
“From us…” he said “I can’t do this anymore”
I flagged down our waitress “double scotch on the rocks please” and sat there in shock.
“So you’re dumping me? You… You are dumping me?”
“Yeah… I guess I am” he said.
He got up and left the table before our food arrived. He seemed upset, but I wasn’t sure exactly why. He left without paying for our food, stuck me with the bill, which considering I make triple his salary, wasn’t such a bad thing… In the end I was glad we were at St. Hubert’s and not Sassafraz or somewhere like that. I wondered if he had chosen a St. Hubert’s to spare me the embarrassment… but then I quickly retracted that thought with a laugh as I shot back my drink in record time.
I wasn’t hungry anymore, so I dropped a fifty on the table and headed outside. There was a convenience store down the street; I decided to go buy a pack of cigs (even though I had committed to quitting since the airplane incident). I needed one… especially now!!
I came out of the convenience store eager to light a cigarette. I thought about how I was alone yet again, with still no prospects of a normal life in sight. I opened my pack of smokes and threw the cellophane wrapping on the ground, just as I did that I heard someone shout
“m’aam, m’aam… stop right there”
I turned around and saw a cop… bicycling towards me.
“Can I help you officer?” I asked.
“I just saw you litter m’aam. I’m gonna have to write you up for that”
“You gotta be fucking kidding me?”
But indeed, he wasn’t… and I was fined… for littering. Yet another notch in my belt of greatness. I actually cried in the taxi on the way home. I couldn’t believe the week I’d had. I just wanted to crawl under my covers and stay there until I was 50.
Last week, I bought an Orange Tabby cat and named him Hubert. Hubert and I have a simple relationship. He knows what’s expected of him, and I know what he expects of me… which is just food, water, and the occasional head scratch. We cohabitate in peace… and he doesn’t ever walk out on me, and he doesn’t make me feel like I need to drink just to hanlde him.
I think this one could last.