Tuesday, December 6, 2011

When You Know You’ve Arrived

What does a British man says when he is about to have an orgasm? I'm going to arrive? Thank you. I’ll be here all week. Try the fish; tip your waitress.

Don’t worry; this isn’t about orgasms. Although a messy subject, I promise to write about those at another time.

How do you know when you’ve arrived? I don’t mean when you reach your destination, but when you have been accepted into the group. Being a non-groupie, I am not well-versed in the arrival process.

For some, it must be when you get that first invite to join a group of friends at the movies and a night on the town. I am still waiting for that call.

It may be when you are invited to go on an exotic vacation with a bunch of guys. I am still waiting for that call, too.

It may be when you can’t make plans unless it involves the consensus of three of more people. You know I am not even answering that call. I am not big on committee work. I prefer dictatorships and absolute rule – ask anyone who has been on a volunteer board with me. Besides, things get done more quickly when you do them yourself.

Apparently, I have not arrived, nor have I had an orgasm in a while.

Believe me, I am not losing sleep over this, but how does one know when he has arrived in the Mobile Home Community? When can I proudly declare myself, Trailer Park Trash? Some who know me may want to chime in and ask, “When were you not Trailer Park Trash?”

I’ve always been Trash, just not a specific type.

Notice how I capitalize Trash. I say, "Don’t deny it; own it!"

But seriously, for someone who has never fit in, determining the actual arrival time is a foreign concept.

Will it be when people quit slowing down when they drive by my home and pointing as if to say, “I’ve never seen a woman go into that house” or “I hear his people sacrifice chickens to scare away evil spirits?” or “When is that weirdo going to plant some goddam bushes around that tin can?”

Just for the record, no one has said any of those things. The ones who do slow down point at my cars and wonder why anyone would have two AMCs parked in the same driveway. I wonder myself sometimes. Wait until they see my Rambler.

There have been signs that my arrival time was soon approaching. Miss E lives two houses down from me and gets up at 4:00 am to go to her job as a high school cafeteria worker. All through school, I wondered where cafeteria workers lived. Now I know.

Anyway, Miss E, stopped me as I was walking Esmeralda, and said, “Milton. I knew you would be out here. I need your help. My ’check engine’ light is on, and Mrs. M said you know about cars. Should I be worried? What does it mean? Should I go to work? Should I wait until my mechanic opens up?”

Being the car expert that I apparently am, I said, “It means you need to get your engine checked.”

It turns out her car was stalling and backfiring. After five or so minutes of “Should I go to work or should I take it in or will it be ok or what should I do?” I advised her to take it to her mechanic as soon as possible before she found herself stuck on the side of the road. She skipped work that day and took her car to her mechanic.

When I got home from work, Miss E told me it cost her $900 to repair her car because some vacuum hoses had rotted away, and it needed a tune-up, two new tires and some other routine maintenance. She kind of said it as if it were my fault for advising her to take it to her mechanic.  

I sort of felt the way Lucille Ball did when they were filming Lucy Calls the President in 1977, and she told Vivian Vance to go to see her doctor because she was in a lot of pain. Vivian Vance returned to the set and said, “Thanks a lot. Your fucking doctor told me I have cancer.”

I laughed off Miss E’s accusatory tone then she said it was not my fault and even thanked me for the advice. I was kind enough not to tell her that if she had taken her car in for routine service or had a reliable mechanic, she may not have been hit with such a high repair bill all at once. There was no need for me to be a smart ass – this time.

Had I arrived at that moment? I’m not sure.

Now, I have always been the guy who knows all his neighbors (except in that fiery pit of hell they call Rockville), so my arrival time still remained a mystery.

On the other side of me lives Mrs. J, you know, the one who chain smokes on her deck with her back to the road. She recently had foot surgery, and upon seeing her foot in a cast, I told her if she needed anything to call me. I even raked her leaves with her asking.

A week later, Mrs. M asked me why I didn’t tell her Mrs. J had foot surgery. I told her I thought she knew everything going on in the neighborhood, since she was always looking out her window. She knew my cute next-door neighbor was suffering from headaches, she knew the man in the green house lost his wife a week before they moved in, and she knew that Miss E’s other neighbor’s daughter just got out of rehab and was spending all her money. She is also friends with Mrs. J, who is a hairdresser and cut her hair just a few weeks prior.

So, is getting health news before anyone else a sign of arrival? Not sure, but I was beginning to think I was on the descent and about to approach the runway.

Then it happened.

The mailbox pod is located near my house, and it is a great place to meet the neighbors and say hello. One day last week, as Esmeralda and I walked over to get our mail, someone asked me, “What propane company do you use?” I told her, then a discussion ensued with four other people about how they wanted to switch to the company I used and what could I tell them about their billing practices, since the other major company in the area was overbilling them.

I had everyone’s attention as I told them how the company I used handled their billing and what to expect with set-up and the like. We talked for almost an hour about gas.

The last time I talked that much about gas, I was in a room full of Jews!

As Esmeralda and I walked back to our home, I looked at her and said, “Darling, we’ve arrived.”

If you’ve arrived, follow me, get on my email list, share me …

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