Friends (Again)

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Note: This is part two in a series by Emil Marchand. If you haven’t already, find the first part here.

I held myself back and winced inside as she pulled records out and looked at them. I keep them in alphabetical order…….but I held myself in check. She was randomly pulling out LPs and just all over herself about my collection. I also reminded myself “hey, you told her to go ahead and swim, go easy here….”

“Wow…..this would be so cool, you know……a rainy day thing, just hang out and listen to records all day! That would be so much fun!” She said smiling at me.

“Yeah! It really would be fun do that!” I said in agreement while waiting for the kettle to boil, “Oh, here, let me show you the system if you want to play one.” I turned on the Sansui receiver from 1966, and the trusty Technics deck that I have lovingly owned since 1987. “You know how to handle records, right?”

She smiled, nodded “Yeah, my dad, the old man has some and he showed…” she stopped, realizing that I am about her dad’s age, a gentle faux pas on her part…….”But he’s cooler than most guys my age. He really is.”

Nice save I thought to myself. I smiled, gently touched her hair as I went back to the kitchen to pour the kettle, it was just about ready to whistle.

The cat at this point decided to make his entrance back to where the action was, he slyly poked his head out of the closet “Oh…..hey, hey you come here! You’re so handsome!” She said gently to him, “What’s the cats’ name?” she asked. “Nixon.” I said with smirk, and the cat upon hearing his name looked eagerly in my direction, as to get approval from me to come out.

“Handsome boy,” she said to him as he slowly trotted over to be petted “Wasn’t Nixon a crook?” she asked as she petted the cat…….

“Not by today by standards.” I said watching the tea steep in the teapot, “I named him Nixon because he was the president when I was born. That’s all. Easy to remember.”

The conversation rolled forward with tea, Devonshire cream and some honey. Records were spun and lots more laughs were shared, another fast two hours passed……but I knew it had to come out soon…………

What was this “it”? It was me explaining or telling this pretty woman I am a practicing Christian…I was trying to figure a way to let it come out naturally into the conversation……at one point I thought that I would not even have to bring “it” up, but that was not to be the case.

As the conversation lulled a bit, and I poured the last bit of tea into her cup she slowly stood up……and slowly put her arms around my neck……she was so spritefully cute that she had arch up on her toes to reach me. I liked it.

“Hey…” she said quietly while smiling, “You’re a pretty cool guy. I just want to say, I am having a great time…..” I smiled back. Looking down into her brown eyes. Now big eyed women are not the most attractive per say….but yeah, they are compelling for sure. She was a cutie for sure. “This is great, but you know it’s getting late…”

She laughed hard “What the matter? Do you turn into a pumpkin after 10 o’ clock?” she relaxed her arms, and brushed her arms with hands up to the top button of my shirt, and unbuttoned it. “I was thinking, well……I wouldn’t mind staying here tonight, a sleepover…….would be fun? Don’t you think?” She unbuttoned the next button on my shirt.

Friends

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I made a phone call on Tuesday night, and did not speak a word to anyone until this morning (Thursday).

Wednesday was a training day for the rest of my staff down in Oakland, they left for the training before I even arrived to work. I had the office to myself. Maintenance requests by business owners are done online, and go directly to the Facility Supervisor. Rent was already collected, books balanced, conference calls caught up, and I am exceptional at what I do for a living, which means usually in this building, fires are put out even before they are ignited……..the phone didn’t ring, no deliveries. No small talk with business owners. No complaints from the neighbors.

I could have stayed home. It was one of those days when everything was already handled, and the building just ran itself. The boiler and chiller units ran automatically. The lighting system pre-programmed by me worked seamlessly. The doors to the property locked automatically at 6PM. The alarm-security system kicked on by itself.

Millions more people are going to be obsolete in the next decade or so if this keeps up. I include myself in that list. If not obsolete….it will be a one or two day a week thing with fewer benefits and lower wages……..

I did get caught up on our own filing system with contracts, reports, revenue and cost analysis. All done in silence. Not a word spoken. All day, and into that afternoon! The sound only of flipping pages, a cross pen on paper signing documents to be locked in a filing system. Cabinets and file drawers opened and closed. The hum of lights. The sound of a passing car outside. It was even a light business day at the property. Not many clients or visitors. It was just one of those rare days when nothing happens at work………

You are probably wondering about “the phone call” that I had Tuesday night………it was to a woman who “doesn’t like me that way” or is put off by my Christian beliefs and practice. We had a good date the Saturday before over dinner. I like the conversation. I liked her company. She was cute, half my age and it was the first real date that I had, well……probably ever. Group dates from college years don’t count in my book. Going out with guy-pals in the halcylon-electric nights of the late 1990’s with their girlfriends to the reflection of neon on wet pavement, crowded Taxi rides, all in a haze of marijuana smoke and ties askew with unbuttoned collar don’t count either.

The woman and I met for Indian, and I was kind of surprised she agreed to a date with me. I met her a few weeks prior at an “English Beat” concert down in nearby Petaluma. I was expecting “dad” jokes from her, or her just using me for a “nice dinner” while she then went out afterward to go blow Chad on her knees in a urine-soaked men’s bathroom floor, then submitting fully to him only to complain to her bitchy-but-cute girlfriends that “men are jerks” over Sunday brunch in Marin, Larkspur, Novato, Santa Rosa or Bodega…….

She gave me her celli after we were both thrown out during the last thirty minutes of the above mentioned concert, and after toying with the idea for almost a week, I did. I asked her out to Indian, she agreed.

Low heels, skirt, blouse….she wasn’t dressed like she was at the concert in keks, dumps, and a sleeveless top.

The meal was a pulling-burn of curries, pungent spices, creams, naans, marsala, tamarind, and chutney…..we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The conversation was fantastic, lots of laughs, and I learned a bit about her and myself if truth be told.

She is a native of the area (which means family has some wealth), parents are still married (they both are a hair older than me), and she works as a payroll accountant at a local, but famous winery. She shares a house with a few other women that she overall gets along with. She has a younger brother who is some golf prodigy or has the potentials to be semi-pro or even pro someday.

Plates, picked up, a large crowd all around us and when the check was dropped, she said “First date right? Dutch down the middle, including the tip. Sound fair to you?”

I nodded and smiled as I reached for the check, she said “The damage was worth it, I really had an awesome time!” She then added, “I do tip on the heavy side because I was once a waitress at Denny’s, and these folks live on their tips….so I always tip heavier….because you know…..waiters put up with a lot of nonsense.”

I agreed. Check split and paid. I took her hand, and escorted her out on to the busy downtown street. I lit a cigarette and asked her if she wanted to drop by for tea at my place….it was only a few blocks away. “Totally!” she smiled looking up to me…….

The street was packed with white lights strung through the trees, bustling cafes, crowded sidewalks, loud brew pubs and shops that seemed abustle even at this time of the evening. It was a gorgeous California night. We walked and talked all the way back to my place, holding hands sharing a laugh here and there…..

So this is how it is???????????? Is this what guys always talk about? I feel good. She seems really receptive to me……..I like her, I would totally do this again, and I like the conversations we have been having…..she loves music, wait til she sees my vinyl collection!!!!

At my place, the cat immediately noticed I had a guest with me, and made a fast dart n’ dash for the safety of the closet and my laundry basket. She laughed, and seemed surprised I owned a cat.

“Don’t worry,” I smirked, “He’ll be out in a few minutes showing off to you and demanding to be petted. He’s a bit shy.”

“Like you?” She replied, looking up and smiling at me.

I began to make a pot of tea, and she then noticed all my records……..a few thousand of them……I told her to have fun, and go ahead and swim in the collection…………

Note: This is the first part in a series of works by Emil Marchand. Find the second part here.

The English Beat (Petaluma CA)

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It is something of a sensation when you realize how much time just marches on……even if you deny how “you have not changed” but time always tells the truth. You do.

Last night I was in attendance down amnesia lane…….1980’s new-wave / ska / two-tone-pop-eighties band “The English Beat” performed in nearby Petaluma last night. I was there.

Dressing “rude boy” for the show really wasn’t an issue because I’m pretty Mod-button-down anyway. I’m the last guy who still wears doc-martens three to five times a week. I was having a great time again without drink or drugs. Most of the crowd was under 30, mostly women, all them held phones up and recorded the show. They missed it. The whole time holding cameras videoing the whole thing. All with the narcissistic attiude of “See…..see! I was there!!!” but they really were not. The stood still on a dance floor and got annoyed by anyone who bumped into them.

Reality from the 1980’s was gone. It wasn’t about music. It was bragging rights about “how awesome I am” and “how retro and cool I am”

Most of the women were dressed in their hipster attire, drinks in hand, camers in the other, and large purse over their shoulder. They yelled in unison for the song “Tenderness” after every song (if you don’t know “Tenderness” was their biggest mainstream cross-over hit that made mainstream / top-forty radio in about 1985.)

There were a few guys my age (late forties / early fifties) who were there to skank and ska it down. During their classic rollar “mirrror in the bathroom” it started to get a bit rough. One young women…mid-twenties….fun-size, cute, big breasts locked on to my arm (this is a standard thing for rude-girls at shows like this, they are smaller……they usually lock on to a bro near them so they don’t fall or get hurt…..it wasn’t an IOI….been to a billion ska shows since the 1980’s. It’s a safety thing).

Well……..the tattling came. Several women (and a few soy-boy types) with cameras out left the dance floor, and within two minutes three bouncers came and rough-housed me, and few other bros……at first I thought they were out to take the song to the ‘next level’ and I didn’t know they were bouncers, so myself and the other bros skanked back on defense and shoved hard, rolled around…one aggresively grabbed me and yelled “You’re disturbing these women. Pointing to the ones who left to tattle. They say you guys are groping them. You keep it up, you’re outta here!!!”

One of the bouncers was about twenty-five. I was a good seven inches taller…..and no, I am not a muscled guy..but I’m solid for my age I said “I saw these guys in concert back in 1989 when you were not even a twinkle in yo’ dads pants jerk. This is a ska show. You’re on the dance floor, she’s gonna get bumped. Rule is, you move back!

He again said “You knock it off” and he’s speaking to the other bros as well “Or you’re all outta here!”

Suddenly. Shocklingly!!!!!!

The young woman who was locked on to me, and she was about the bouncers age yelled “These rude boys are not doing anything wrong. They’re having a great time. This is a ska show, these guys are actually keeping it tame and safe out here!”

He of course ignored her. Meanwhile the song is still going on, and you could see the band getting annoyed at the “discussion” front stage…people not dancing-skanking….and a few bouncers out in front ruining the mood.

The women and the soy-boys who tattled are again standing in the middle of a dance floor at a ska show with their cameras out filming the show. Not dancing. Standing there.

I gave the one bouncer a light shove as he started to walk away……..then spins around and he grabs me by my skinny-tie (he could have choked me) starts to push the knot up. The other ska boys saw this…..and it was on. Five guys in their late forties jump on him. I crouch to the ground trying to break his grip so he doesn’t choke me. His grip loosens, I stand up, and fall on to him as well.

Now there is a full-on skirmish on the floor. The tatling girls are still mad that they are still getting bumped, ruining their filming experince, the girl who was latched on to me, surprisngly joins in with trying to house-the-bouncers with the rest of us…….we were overwhelmed….at least two more bouncers show up with LED lights, shining it in our eyes..blinding us all….we were all hauled out, even the young woman who latched on to me. Tossed outside the club. We were told we had been “banned” from the rest of the show.

We were all stunned……removed from my history by a few catty women and soy boys who were not even there for the show. After smoking a few cigarettes with the rest of the crew that was tossed out, we all exchanged numbers….shook hands, polite introdcutions and went our separate ways………..the young girl before she left me to stand by myself and wait for my Uber……..gave my butt a squeeze as she walked away. Looked back. Smiled, and said “call me.” (that was an IOI)

I smirked to myself as I waited for my Uber and realized finally that my youth was over…..and the 1980’s???? They belong to narcassitic hipsters who have no class or tatse. Women today ruin everything.