Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What the hell? Here's something I wrote! Eww!

Gina met George conventionally, on the internet. He wasn’t handsome, and he wasn’t smart. But she liked him. She liked him so much she relocated across the country for him. George had something she had never seen before in any man. George had confidence. And a 1964 Volkswagon Beetle as his primary mode of transportation. No one ever drove anymore in their hippie town of Portland, Oregon. It was almost a sin to drive. Too much carbon footprint, or something. But George didn’t care. No one could stop him from doing as he pleased. Every morning he got in his beetle and drove to the market, picked up a pint of fresh orange juice, and continued on to his job at the farmers market. He wasn’t a farmer, he wasn’t a distributor. He worked the cash register. He counted money and he could do it in his sleep. It wasn’t stimulating work, but George liked it.

He liked it enough to keep the job for 15 years running. He thought of retiring, settling down, buying a motorcycle and touring the country, but with no source of income he could do none of that. Plus, he enjoyed marking an “X” on the calendar for each day he made it to work. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do when he got to the end, but somehow marking the “X” made it feel real. Somewhere around George’s 37th year he started to feel an itch. It wasn’t a fame itch. And it wasn’t a publicity itch. He was fine not knowing anyone and living alone. He knew the people he worked with well enough to have a beer with them at the end of the workday, and that was enough. Though some Friday night that year he found himself on attaching a photo to his multiple pages of quizzes. It’s only because he liked personality quizzes, he reasoned. He wasn’t actually going to meet someone this way. No way, no how was he ever going to meet someone this way. It seemed too fake and too artificial. Too contrived, really. There wasn’t a girl out there that would go for him, besides. Who would want an almost thirty-something autistic man with a receding hairline and visible gap between his teeth. Would you? Don’t answer that.

What about Gina? Gina lived at home. At almost 35 herself, she felt alone and like an incredible failure. She worked in a bookstore and read more than she worked. She didn’t own a car and biked when she couldn’t take public transit. She was a recovering teacher and writer really. Passion was in words and people. More words than people, but you get the idea. She loved Jane Austen, Augusten Burroughs, and Tom Clancy. She didn’t care what people thought of her. She did her thing, and moved on with life. She liked to bowl, but hated the Big Labowski. She like southern GA, but hated Fried Green Tomatoes and Driving Miss Daisy. And most of all, she loved white, long-stemmed roses so much she bought them for herself, one dozen every Friday afternoon.

She would come home, sit down at her dining room table, and have a glass of Merlot while admiring them. She didn’t for a second think “man it would be nice if someone were here to actually buy these for me,” but instead turned her laptop on and opened the “missed connections” section and clicked “man for woman.” “Man it would be nice,” she thought to herself, “if just one of these today were about me. She liked the idea of having an admirer from a far. Never having kissed anyone in real life, she dreamed about it, much like she would at 14, only she was 34. She never would have dreamed of something so dreamy at 14. She was far too practical for that. No, she stuck to advanced algebra and flute solos to the theme from Titanic then. But now she sorta longed for something more. And that she felt that she had missed out and it was too late for this mushy love stuff.

I think that it is time now to bring in a third character, Miss Jilly. Miss Jilly isn’t your ordinary terrier mutt. She has a heart of gold. She pins together whatever it takes to make anyone happy. Miss Jilly doesn’t have a home. She lives at the humane society of northwest Portland and gets a visit from Gina every other week. Gina would love to take her home, but she is too afraid she might kill it. Gina doesn’t have a houseplant to her name, and she can barely keep her roses alive for a week, so a dog might be a little out of the question. But every week, Gina drives to the shelter and places her hands on the glass, as Miss Jilly places her paw to high five Gina’s hand through the glass.  

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