yesterday i found a mix cd a dear friend in memphis made for me a few years ago. it's bright pink and has no writing to identify it, and that's how i know it's the one from her. funny how a lack of something or other can be just as telling as the presence thereof. the cd was one of those for-no-good-reason happies we'd occasionally give each other. my happies usually involved some combination of sugar, flour, and butter. i am always making desserts.
yesterday i was rolling down route 98, easing below 45 mph just as i passed the cop car creeping at the crest of the hill. the speeding ticket is to police officers what advertising work is to freelance writers: it's the job you do most of the time so that some of the time you can do the fun stuff. or that's my take on it, to avert my thinking that cops are just on a power trip. years ago on an evening in morgantown, while i was walking kaiser down high street, a cop yelled at me bc kaiser got too curious around his car. i sighed indignantly and stood there a few seconds longer just to spite him. i am often indignant.
i hadn't listened to my friend's mix cd in a long time; i assumed it had suffered the fate of most of my cds upon ending up everywhere in my car besides a safe place: scratched, ruined. what am i doing with cds anyway. ipods have been hip for ages...to the point of no longer being hip, i suppose. my phone has an ipod, but i'm not interested in spending my valuable time loading it with songs. so i rely on whichever cds are still listenable, their numbers dwindling with the passing of time. i carelessly let my music fall away from me, almost as if i dare it to do so. and then i long for the songs that are gone. maybe i do it bc i know i can find them elsewhere if i really want. yesterday was a music windfall, though. i came across that bright pink cd and decided to give it another try. as luck or fate would have it, it actually worked. i am always giving things another try.
toward the end of route 98 — or the beginning, depending on which side of town you live — the instrumental opening to bobby bare jr's "flat chested girl from maynardville" came on. it's slow and makes you wanna sway and sing lalala along with it. and i always thought it was a harmonica there at the beginning, but after looking at the video on youtube it's an instrument i've never seen — a mini keyboard-looking thing with a tube that goes in your mouth. whatever you call that. anyhow, the song seems to be about a mental-case girl who gets high and hates the way she looks and thinks no one likes her. i love to sing along, although i can't sing very well, nor can i relate to crazy girl at all. i haven't gotten high for eons and never liked it much the few times i did; pregnancy body-weirdness aside, i've liked the way i look for at least the past decade; and i generally think i'm likable. there's another bobby bare jr song, about a different girl, and i can relate to her. it's called "painting her fingernails." i've listened to it 33 times give or take, but every time he sings "she could fix a cheese sandwich but someone might ask her to dinner" i feel like he knows something about me.
going to dinner is to me what going to the toy store is to a kid; it's my fun. some people think going to dinner alone is weird or sad; not me. i've been doing it for years. one of my first dinners alone was in pensacola, florida. summer of '94. i spent a few weeks there with a friend. we planned to spend the whole summer but i got sick and went home early. we drove down there, so i had to take a plane back. i have a picture of myself standing in the airport, my head tilted to the right and a smile underscoring my spotless complexion. i'm not sure how i straightened my hair in that humidity, but it was straight as the stripes on the shirt i was wearing, which showed a peek of my flattest-flat belly, although you can't see that in the picture. i bought that shirt on a shopping spree with my high-school graduation money.
in recent years, going out to eat with others has become the staple of my social life. however, it isn't easy to come by. i am often wait-listed. because, as a single person, you are no one's priority. except your parents, that is, and only if you're lucky to have good parents, at that. so i'm always waiting for someone to be done with whoever else — boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife — before they can commit to being my dinner companion. it makes sense, of course, yet is no less frustrating...just as i typed that, i realize it applies not only to the wait-list thing but also to being single. i am always finding hidden meaning in things.
today's rain clouds took their bulk elsewhere, sometime between a text message and an un-ripe apricot. neither will be finished.