Do I Wake up Grumpy, or Let Him Sleep?
My dear wife keeps insisting for me to tell this particular story. Bless her heart. Surely she wants the world to know what a bonehead I can be. So here I sit, left with no course but to plow forward and prove her right. At least there is that. Anything to keep the little woman happy.
It is not a very good story, I have to admit. It’s missing a proper ending. There is no closure; no conclusion; no suitable finish or a right way to shut the thing down with any amount of satisfaction. And I’d much rather spend more time erecting signs telling the reader to stop and go back, but I do like to sit at her table and eat, so.
Many years ago I had a different wife, and a much different life. She and I owned a huge car, but had no kids at the time. The two of us lived in a fairly modern duplex located on a military base in the Mojave desert of California. I spent lots of off-duty hours attending to my precious lawn. I watered it. I mowed it twice a week. I clipped all of the edges until they looked fine. And I’d sit for hours looking for and pulling weeds. I hated the weeds.
My lawn, so stay the hell out. Scat! Go away. How am I going to win the Lawn of the Week award with you guys showing up all the time?
The wife would join me only to hang out the laundry. It’s beautiful, she would say. Yeah, well you aren’t down here where I am. Look. There’s another one. Damn it.
She was a good sport, but I took it serious.
One day some new neighbors moved in. The man walked over and introduced himself halfway through the event. I stood up and shook hands with him, and the two of us talked briefly. Nice fellow, I told the wife later.
Now I had a part-time job playing in a four-piece band out in town on the weekends, so the next Friday night I packed up the white Olds (we called her the Queen Mary), and took off for the club. The wife stayed home, being underage.
Saturday mornings were made for sleeping in. I awoke sometime around the crack of noon, stumbled into the kitchen, and stood at the sink while I poured myself a cup of coffee. Not being one to dance and sing when I get up, I stayed there while taking a few sips, staring out our window at my lawn. I knew they were out there, and they knew that I would be coming for them shortly. Sassy weeds. Ha. Just wait.
I always parked the Queen Mary either in the street, or in the driveway of a row of garages that sat next to the street. Around the third sip I noticed she was gone. She wasn’t in the street; that much was obvious. I craned my neck forward to see if the stern of the boat was visible in the drive. It wasn’t.
Hey. Where’s my damn car?
Honey, you loaned it to Julio.
Julio? Who the hell is Julio?
Our new neighbor, remember?
He came over and asked if he could borrow it.
What? When in thunder did this happen?
What? Who the hell loaned him my car?
Honey, you did.
When? (I set the cup down)
This morning, I told you.
Look. What’s going on? I never loaned no damned Julio my car, and I never would either. I hardly know the guy.
Well, you sure did.
What are you talking about, woman?
He came over early and asked me if he could use it to go to Los Angeles, but I said he’d have to ask you.
So I let him come in, and then he asked you.
When I was in bed? Asleep? You let him come into our bedroom?
I didn’t want to wake you.
But you let him.
Well, I wasn’t going to.
Damn, woman. Are you nuts or what?
No, but you certainly are in the morning.
I spent the rest of one long day pulling weeds out in the front yard, mumbling and worrying. Julio got back from LA around eleven that night, so one of the other band members had to give me a ride. I never had much to do with Mr. Julio afterwards.