Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet

Brace yourself, there is a storm coming. Of course, when you live in a mobile home, especially one in a mobile home community, you are aware of every tornado watch. It is not out of fear that you stay informed; you do it so that you can say "I told you so" to your friends.

For some reason, your friends are almost disappointed when your home doesn’t go airborne and land on your sister. What sissy has not seen the Wizard of Oz a dozen times? Dorothy may have lived in Kansas, but she did not live in a trailer, bitches!

I don’t know how many of my acquaintances are obsessed with the impending natural disaster I am to experience in my new home. “Aren’t you afraid of high winds? Aren’t you afraid of flooding? Aren’t you afraid of tornadoes?” I watch the news. The tsunami in Japan didn’t take away only mobile homes; it took away ALL the homes! A hurricane flooded New Orleans, not just the trailer park in the West End.

I saw a comedian on Logo the other night who said tornadoes are God’s away of erasing trailer parks with a sweep of her hand, saying, “No, no; don’t live there!” So now, even gay comedians are getting in on the act.

Who the fuck cares! As I said before, tornadoes don’t destroy mobile homes; they destroy Walmarts.

Now, I have lived in my new home for more than a month now, and anyone who lives on the East Coast knows about all the violent thunderstorms we get in the summer months. We have had quite a few big ones since I moved in, and let me tell you the house did not shake, the roof did not peel off, the windows did not shatter, and the house did not go floating down the street – although that would have been cool!

My home is built to higher standards than stick-built homes, and it had to withstand traveling by semi from Pennsylvania over potholed highways in the middle of February to its final destination in Jessup. Some of your luxury cars could not survive that!

And here is something else you might want to consider. Since I bought a brand new home, I have a fifteen-year warranty on it. That is better than what Chrysler offers. This comes in very handy. Being a new home, there were a few items that needed to be addressed, so a carpenter from the factory came down to do work on my home on August 23, 2011 (I include the date for a reason). I also worked from home that day.

I needed to have a wall panel replaced in my office as it was slightly off color, a small crack in the ceiling patched up and a squeak in the floor fixed. If you buy a mobile home, buy the brand I did. I visited the factory a few years ago, and they do great work.

The gentleman patched the ceiling and then went into my office to replace the panel. Did I mention I have three bookshelves with over 500 titles on them and that I edit gay erotica part-time and handle distribution of such materials from our Web sales? That inventory is what is in my office! I didn’t mention it to factory guy either. I had to empty the shelf that was blocking the panel, so he could have access. The books were stacked neatly on the floor, books with titles like Homo Thugs, Boys Hard at Work, Kidnapped by a Sex Maniac, Men, Muscle & Mayhem, Who’s Your Daddy? … you get the idea. When he went into the office, I took that opportunity to take Esmeralda for a walk.

Upon our return, I checked on his progress, and he asked me, “Do you make money selling these?” We then had a very interesting conversation about how he and his wife are friends with a gay couple, and his wife likes to read gay erotica, and if his co-worker had come down, it would have been awkward since he is a big homophobe … or as I like to refer to them, “closet cases.” It wasn’t exactly the reaction I expected, and I was pleasantly surprised.

I wonder if his co-worker has tattoos?

Anyway, the last thing he needed to fix was the squeak. The squeaks are actually caused by pipes rubbing against the floor. The floors are first built upside down in the factory with the pipes pre-fitted and fastened, then flipped.

He asked me to stand on the spot and rock back and forth while he went under the house and to stop rocking when he shouted that he had located the squeak. So I rocked back and forth. Now, I have not been dancing in a long time, and I started humming Michael Jackson’s “I Want to Rock with You.” Remember that song and the dance we did to it in 1979? You would bend your arms at the elbow and swing them back and forth while rocking your hips. And if you were stylin’ you rocked forward then backward. I was stylin’.

So there I was, humming and rocking. He had already found the squeak and fixed it, but I couldn’t stop. Next thing I knew, he was standing there watching me. He cleared his throat.

All I said was, “Cool, you stopped the squeak.”

He then had me sign the work order, shook my hand and was on his way.  I hope they send him again. He was good, clean and efficient. And before you ask, no he wasn’t “doable.” I never get the hot ones. My friend Ed gets the hot ones. I get the efficient ones.

When he left, it was 1:40 pm. I had not eaten anything, so I decided to change out of my sweats and go out and get some lunch. No sooner had I changed and was applying Chapstick, when I heard a thumping that sounded as if Esmeralda was really scratching herself and hitting the floor with her rear paw.

I then smeared my Chapstick all over my face. The thumping got louder and more rapid. I thought that Mr. R (I will withhold his real name to protect the innocent) had done something to mess up my pipes, and the house was now making a very loud noise as a result. Then the house began to rock slightly, and the floor was moving.

We were having a fucking earthquake! An earthquake? In Jessup? No one made trailer park earthquake jokes! I stood in the middle of the great room and started spinning in circles the way I do, except I didn’t turn into Wonder Woman (some day I will), and I thought, “Am I supposed to be under something or in something?” Obviously, I am not from earthquake country.

After thirty seconds, it stopped. Then Esmeralda came out from under the bed and looked at me as if I moved the house. I stepped outside, and some of my neighbors were outside as well. We all asked each other if we felt that.

And to all you trailer haters, no house was toppled over. Another fact – being mobile in nature, our houses are built to withstand earthquakes! They flex. Esmeralda and I went back inside and checked every room. No cracks, nothing broken. There was only a cabinet door in my office that was open.

Upon further investigation, I noticed the sofa was now six inches from the wall. My menorah collection had rearranged itself. And the weirdest thing was my flower arrangement in the guest bathroom. It had spun around 180 degrees.

I called Ed, who recently moved to California and had yet to experience an earthquake to announce two things. I got an earthquake first, and I was going looting!

That is what one is supposed to do after an earthquake, right? Look for a Radio Shack and go looting?

My brother asked me to get a flat screen. Another friend told me to steal jewelry. Too bad we don’t have a Frederick’s of Hollywood here.

Of course, looting in Jessup means throwing a brick through the front window of Wing’s Liquor, Bar & BBQ and stealing a bag of Doritos. This did not make the rednecks inside very happy.

Oh well. The next day, the news reporters talked about how folks have to wait sixty days after an earthquake to get earthquake insurance. Ha! I already have earthquake insurance, bitches!

If that wasn’t enough, at the end of that same week, we had to prepare for Hurricane Irene, the largest hurricane to hit the East Coast in seventy years.

Did I ever tell you I am the “Queen of Bad Timing”?

So, then I got an email from my friend … I’ll just call her Bev because that is her real name. I love Bev, but Bev does not like where I live – ever. When I lived in Mount Pleasant, she worried I would get caught in the crossfire of MS-13 Gang violence. Puhleeze. I went to the same barbershop the gang members used. I even had my “tag” shaved into my hair. I was known as “Poodle Walking Faggo.” Whassup?!?

Well, the email from Bev was a link to an article about how those living in mobile homes need to evacuate immediately and commit suicide because their lives are not worth living. What those who read it neglected to do was finish the article. They were referring to mobile homes that were not anchored and were built more than twenty years ago.

This brought back memories of my days in Newport News and Williamsburg whenever the rare snow storm approached. My parents would call me where I worked every ten minutes telling me to go home immediately. I didn’t even live with them, and I am not making this up. They would call and call and call. One storm hit on a weekend, and I was working at Marino’s Italian Restaurant in Williamsburg. We were slammed since we were the only restaurant on the street with power. And the owner would come to me every ten minutes and say, “Your mother is on the phone.” “Your father is on the phone.” I finally threatened to call the police and get a restraining order. That didn’t stop them.

I was nearly thirty years old at the time, and they were still doing this. I am also the only one in my family that would have to drive home in snow storms, and I managed to do it without incident every time.

My parents are dead now, and I am nearly fifty, so I can now enjoy the occasional natural disaster in peace … or so I thought. Bev called me to tell me to come stay at her house and bring Esmeralda. She sent me emails, contacted me on Facebook. You get it. I finally asked her to stop. Her wife, Marlene, separated herself from the situation. “It wasn’t me who called you!”

There is something I also don’t do. I don’t panic, and I don’t deal very well with people who do panic.

My neighbor asked, “Are you ready for the hurricane?”

I answered, “If I am not, will they cancel it?”

It will be what it will be.

The Friday before the big hurricane weekend (which was only four days after the earthquake), I went out to do my regular grocery shopping. I could not get over the people with their big run on groceries. And all of them were buying bottled water. Seriously? Don’t hurricanes come with rain? Just put a goddamn bucket outside, and you can have all the water you want.

I just got my usual stuff, rolled my eyes and left.

Hurricane Irene blew through as expected. Esmeralda and I survived. The power never went out. There was no damage to my home.

I hear a tree fell on the house next door to Bev’s. Bev also predicted I would include all this in my blog.

For once, Bev was right!

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