Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Breakfast with Lilies, Part I

I woke up too early. I had my mental alarm clock set for 6am, but I pounced awake at 5am because something didn't feel right. I live in a ghetto neighborhood of a prominent town, as I have always. Wherever I move, I find the ghetto. I prefer the ghetto, there is more to do, there is more vibrancy. The wise people float to the top of the shit pile, form a union of barter and negotiation; we watch each other's back.

I sleep really deep -- World War III won't wake me up, but if I think my neighbors or my own property is being penetrated by a vile creature, I am up and conscious and defensive/offensive immediately. My cat looked up at me and licked her paws in shame of her daddy bouncing up, fully naked, at nothing.

Pulling my sleeping pants on, I went into the hallway and realized what I was nervous about: the neighbor was trying to break into his own apartment on the top floor. I wandered up there, asked if he needed help. 5 minutes later, I popped the lock on his door and told him to get a more secure lock. He was thankful.

As I wandered down, I logged onto my Google Mail account for this blog to see what lovely emails I had received from the night before. While I love email from all of you, I especially love the emails from the foreigners halfway around the globe. When you're about to get off of work, I'm waking up. I promise some of you that someday I will come and visit, just for the simple fact that I am greatly entertained by your random expressions. There's also a few of you who are worthy of being bent over the rickshaw or the rice paddy float or whatever other prejudice thing I can think of.

Nonetheless, I was up. A quick shower, just to rinse down from a sweaty eventless night (plus I wanted all traces of the manspooge gone from my belly hair), fed the cat, Swiffer WetJet'd the kitchen and living room floors, and noticed I was out of eggs.

I get fresh eggs delivered 2 times a week to my humble tiny apartment from a dairy farm. Eggs, cheese, heavy cream (pasteurized but not homogenized!), and sometimes little trinkets that they or their neighbors have grown. Sadly, today is the day for the next delivery, and I made too many eggs since Friday. Damn it.

Ask I pondered a low sugar protein bar instead, my "phone" rang. That's what I say when someone pops open a chat to yours truly. My friends find it comical, my clients and employees find it annoying. I almost always say, out loud, "Hello?" when I hear that lovely bloop sound.

It's a Guest. That means I have no idea who it could be. I look outside and notice the sun hasn't crested over the top of the apartment complex, leading me to think it is shy of 6am. I check my clock, which shows that I'm short of noon, according to GMT, my preferred time zone.

I say good morning/good afternoon, not knowing where this person is from. "Good morning. You're up?" I am. "At home still?" For now. "What's your plan?" Car wash. Maybe lunch with someone. "In the city?" Maybe. Which city, I have no idea. Who is this? "A reader."

Oooh, anonymous. Sexy. I am not one to dive into mystery too much, I prefer to dole it out. I'm not a chatwhore or a mailwhore, but I never mind a new friend or two online. Offline, I have little time for more people until I dump the remaining 9 friends who are on my axe list.

"Want to get breakfast?" they ask, before my reply completes. I hit the backspace key to erase my reply. What town are you in? "Chicago." Have we met before? "We've never talked before." Email? "No."

Hmm. When this person asked to get breakfast, I made a short list of who it could be. 4 possibilities, 5 if I included one person who would be obviously making a joke. What the hell, I'm out of fucking eggs and I look good after my shower. "So?" they ask again, a little impatient.

First, I didn't shave today so I look extra scruffy. "I don't care. I don't even know what you look like." Second, I don't know if you're male or female, so I think we should at least describe each other. "So that's a yes." Impatient, aren't you? "I work at 10am." Oh, on a time limit. Fine, what area? "Closer to the loop. Or convenient to the El." I throw out an idea.

"I haven't been there before, but fine." I throw on some slacks (grey with pink pinstripes), a pair of shoes I just acquired but haven't worn in, a dress shirt that I've been wanting to wear (pink, linen) and avoid the tie. Of course my cufflines are a mess, so I grab a pair of Turk's heads instead. Americans don't wear Turk's heads, ever. It's a nice change of pace, and 99% of people don't even notice them.

I zip back a reply: I can be there in 40 minutes. "Exactly?" Or whenever you're ready. "How about 8 instead?" 8 is fine, that gives me time to find coffee. "See you at 8, Sane."

Her description of herself: 26, 5'5", athletic fit, summer brunette (light), blue eyes, glasses (YES, cock-in-mouth), will be wearing a green casual dress. So she's a female, that's interesting. So far, I've yet to get any man-date requests from the 2 guys who are supposedly reading, lurking, fearing whatever it is that they fear so they don't post or at least say hi. Time to de-lurk, men. I know you're out there.

I break into the car and notice some lilies are blooming. When was it hot enough or wet enough for the lilies to come out, I have no idea. I like lilies, they remind me that the hot of summer has come, but in Chicago this is untrue. Poor lilies, reaching the peak of their lives late, I guess. I pop a few of my post-bulb beauties off to keep in the car as a reminder of my hard work and the dirt I had under my fingernails not that long ago.

Traffic is fine. I zip downtown and drop my car off at my usual lot, the owner a long time friend. I wander the area, missing my office in this part of town, talked to a few business owners just opening up their lighting galleries or furniture showrooms. It's early, very early, but the city is alive. The El passes overhead and I'm thankful for my earplugs, which I always wear near public transportation. You can't make it to your 30s with great hearing with a box of the ugly orange 28db plugs at the ready.

I have no idea who this person is. I know I've never talked to her, and she mentioned her name and I have no idea who she is. Still, I like meeting bloggers, and I will go out of my way to do so because you're all such interesting folk.

I finish my slow-paced walk around my old 'hood and finally make it to the restaurant we chose. It's a perfect day for a walk, and I may do more of it later, if these new shoes weren't bugging my ankles. Nordstrom FAIL, these fuckers are going back.

I look at the sun and estimate it to be around 8, so I have one more cigarette outside when I notice a brunette in a green dress. A lovely specimen of a young lady, she smiles at me with a crooked smile behind her awesome and sexy glasses. Her hips shake just enough, but more to the left than the right which tells me that her purse is really heavy.

She walks up to me and we shake hands. "You're exactly what I was expecting." One of my eyebrows raises in surprise, since most people's fantasies about what I look like are far from reality. "You're short, but you do stand tall." I laugh as I open the door for her, flicking my cigarette almost 15 feet away with a tap of my middle finger.

The restaurant isn't too busy, which is sad. 2 years ago, their morning crowd was always pretty thick. I guess the interior design "artists" have their credit cards maxed out and can't afford $20 for breakfast anymore. Their loss, my gain, but I really prefer busy restaurants because the food is fresher, usually.

We sit at our table and she smiles nervously. I ask her if she's nervous. "Hell yeah, you could be a crazy murderer and if I'm late to work, I'll get fired." Late because I killed you? "Exactly."

I smile.

Continued in part II.