It was a *really* good day. Let's cut to the chase: I had the most productive/conversational visit with my dementia-riddled father in a long time, I helped save a dog from getting crushed in traffic, an absurdly beautiful woman who could not have been more than 25 years old gave me her phone number, and my surgery elbow keeps getting better.
What the hell?
(Insert "*very* Good Friday" joke here if you must; I just did, didn't I?).
(Oh, and before you start cranking up to any level of outrage, I gave the phone number back. Yes, you correctly recall that I am happily married. But let's be serious.... I am not going to pretend that being handed that number with its accompanying adoring gaze wasn't the single greatest ego boost ever. More on all that in a bit).
I've told you before about my elderly dad's struggles with dementia and his ultimate placement against his will into a (really wonderful) dementia-oriented nursing home. Lately, it's been.... Well, I think the medical term is "super fucked up." He has been refusing food, water, etc., and staying in bed all day. It looks like he is winding down, and I am fine with that; he is old, unhappy, and, well, mostly, but not entirely, crazy. I firmly believe in a person's aggressive right to die under these circumstances, and he seems to be asserting that right. I am not a sugar-coater kinda guy. He's dying. But it's OK because he is old and wants to.
But I really want him to check out smooth/easy when he does. Of course, no tubes, hospitals, and other extraneous nonsensical bullshit. But I also want there to be more than just an absence of crap; I would like there to be some level of comfort. So, after much consultation with the nursing home, I agreed to put him in hospice care. It doesn't change anything -- he is still in the same room at the same place -- except two things: (1) if he refuses food, water, etc., they are now officially cool with that; previously, legal liabilities being what they are, they considered it a problem to have a non-hospice patient who wasn't eating; the hospice designation changes all that; (2) they will go the extra mile to make him comfortable from here on out. It's very cool, and has been a huge relief to me. (In many ways -- trust me, *many* ways -- I do not understand or even *like* my dad, but I still love him and want him to have what anyone would want at this point: a seamless, peaceful exit off the planet when he is ready).
Since the move to hospice care, he has been a bit better. No, not great, but not totally miserable either, and (finally getting back to the point of my really Good Friday -- oh, hell, I did it again, didn't I?) on Friday for the first time in almost two months, he actually had a conversation with me that was more than one-word answers. I didn't use the word "hospice," but I was able to fully explain to him that I hired new people to make him comfortable, and that none of the old rules apply. No need to go to the dining room at meals if you don't want to eat. Let your freak flag fly, dad. And these nice hospice people will do whatever you want to help you out with that.
It was awesome. He seemed really cool with it -- and, let's be really effing clear -- the words "really cool" have rarely, if ever, been applied to my dad or his demeanor. It was a moment of Zen calm in a very non-Zen relationship.
Next scheduled stop -- Philly to pick up my son who was coming home for the
weekend. But I wanted that beautiful cerebral massage that caffeine gives me (or at least that's what it tells me it does), so I stopped at Starbucks and got a venti (Italian for "big-ass") Americano. Black, 'cause that's how I roll when I am not at home to bulletproof it.
Deliciousness was procured and I got into my car, heading out the driveway when....
A medium/large dog, leash attached, comes flying out of an SUV that just parked. Totally distressed owner follows, in pursuit, but Fido (I forget the name that was being ineffectively called out) is having none of it. He (she?) is zooming around like a nut and this parking lot is busy, and, even worse, Lancaster Avenue, full of stupid people driving stupidly in stupidly large numbers (my thesaurus just exploded from non-use), is only feet away.
I really love dogs. I really love big dogs. Really big dogs love me too. I have previously been able to corral sprinting escaped large dogs when their owners could not, just by showing my face (dog appears to say: "Hey! It's youuuuuuuuu, and I love you!") and squatting down to the dog's level, whereupon Rover mugs me with affection and I snag the collar and hold him/her for the owner.
But this freaked me out. This dog looked really stupid -- sorry, dog -- and confused, yet was still sprinting laps. Dumb and fast is a terrible combo near traffic. So I just stopped my car in the middle of the driveway, thinking, "The person behind me (who almost hit the dog, mind you) can wait." And I jumped out, and did my squat-down-to-the-dog's-level trick. And Scooby Doo headed straight for me, and, then, less than ten feet away, just walked to his (her?) running owner instead. The guy said to me, "Thank you *so* much, man," and carefully put Lassie into his vehicle. I started to get back in my car when a very pretty woman, who was exiting the building, said to me, "That was *so* cool." I just kinda laughed and said, "Thanks," and drove off, attempting to unclog the now-cloggier driveway where I had stopped.
I *do* remember thinking, "Wow, if I were single, I think I just could have had a date."
But that encounter was so fast, and the coffee so distracting delicious, that I didn't really absorb the ego massage as I could have. (Before you hate me, BTW, I am just being honest; I am male and, as Zaphod Beeblebrox -- look it up -- once said, although I am paraphrasing out of laziness, "If there's anything more important than my ego here, then I want it captured and shot.")
Anyway.... Onwards to Philly I rolled. I took a hypercircuitous back way there, because the traffic reports were referencing Sodom, Gomorrah *and* even Soul Asylum's decision in 1993 to add a keyboard player and suck from then on as metaphors for the state of the major highways. I got to very near my son's place, and I saw my fuel light was on.
Fuck me. Gas is *so* much cheaper in New Jersey than in PA. Gas and booze are the only things NJ doesn't overtax, and I don't really drink very often anymore. So I try to avail myself of NJ gas pricing at all times, never ever ever purchasing gas in PA.
But I am also firmly against running out of gas, and, good moods and shiny things of the day so far (but really, who could have imagined what was about to happen still?) being what they were, I really had no idea how long that fuel light had been on. So, in a line of traffic, I texted my son that I had to buy gas, and I headed for the nearest station. He, unflappable as always, said, "It's all good."
The price was ridiculous, way way way over four bucks a gallon. Somehow the station was really busy, though (desperation?), and it isn't a terribly well-designed place anyway. Lots of people are there for the attached Dunkin' Donuts, and the pumps were full, except for the one I snagged. I got out to put in just a few gallons.
Angelina Jolie pulled into the station.
OK, it wasn't really her, but it was her younger cousin, or, if they aren't actually related, they should be. She was sitting in her car, mostly concealed from view, but I just kind of *knew* she was was gorgeous from head to toe.
I need to digress for a second -- I am not a pig. I don't ogle women. Sure, I notice them, but I am just not the tongue-hanging-out jerkweed that populates local bars. But there is a special level of crazy off-the-scale beautiful that can make me stop and think, "Boom. She seriously won the genetic lottery."
Angelina then pulls in at an angle that wasn't quite right behind me, but it looked like she was headed that way. I thought two things: (1) "Good lord, she is so effortlessly beautiful that it is really amazing, and, frankly unfair to all of us," and (2) "Oh, for fuck's sake, she is about to block the only way I have out of this crazy crazy madhouse of a station."
So, I made a motion that somehow was intended to convey the question, "Are you headed here, i.e., right behind my car?" and when she smiled (in a soul-melting way, mind you, that made me think, "Wow. Just effing wow") and nodded, I abandoned the filling process for a moment, and went up to her window and said, "Hey, I don't want you to lose this spot, but I have to go that way [pointing]. Can you let me kinda slide past you and drive out before you pull in?" She put on the soul-melting smile again, and said, "Yeah, sure."
I went back to my car, put a couple drops more gas in to get it to six gallons total, and when I turned to put the pump handle thingy back, she was standing there, smiling, holding a piece of paper.
She could not have been a day over 25 years old.
Angelina: "Hey again. I know I just met you, but my name is Kate and this is my phone number and I *really* think you should use it."
Me (picking up dislocated jaw from the ground and just effing glowing otherwise): "Oh Kate.... you just made my day. But.... I am really *so* married, and I can't do this."
And I gave her the paper back. And then I reiterated: "But really, you have *no* idea how you just made my day You are really beautiful and this sort of thing just doesn't happen to me."
She kept smiling for a second, and then *really* didn't. And then she looked a little annoyed/puzzled, as if I was being a jerk somehow. I was thinking, "What the hell, how much more nicely can I say no thanks?" and she then cleared up the confusion, nodding down at my left hand: "You are really cute, and say you're married, but you're not wearing a ring?"
Me: "Oh Jesus.... It's at the jeweler's getting resized!!!" (I have lost enough weight that my ring comes flying off my finger way too easily, and we took it in for resizing -- - actually a trade down to a smaller size via shipping it back to the manufacturer -- a couple weeks back. It's in, but I haven't gotten there to pick it up).
She (finally) smiled again, and shook her head in the most (beautifully) resigned way ever, and said, " I am having the worst day in the world."
I said the only thing I could say, in the most stupidly (but genuine) enthusiastic voice I could: "Oh no you're not. Because I am having the best day ever all of a sudden because an insanely beautiful woman just gave me her phone number. And there is no way that that insanely beautiful woman is allowed to have a bad day. *Please* do not take a single negative from any of this. You're awesome."
And she kinda squeezed my arm, smiled a little sadly, and went back to her car.
And I as I reversed my car, did a wacky K-turn to get out of there, and looked over at her as she pulled past to get to the pump, she gave me the goddamn sweetest smile I have been given in years.
That was the third time my soul melted in five minutes.
I was, truth be told, completely freaked out, vaguely (OK, more than vaguely) proud of myself, and utterly unable to figure out how to tell this story to my son. So I didn't (heh, although I just did, eh?). He got into the car and I asked him, "Music, or Penn Jillette's podcast?"
Somehow -- I guess because the universe was set on "Steve" that day -- he said, "Podcast," and my response was, "Cool, although we really can't talk *and* listen then, but that's cool."
Inside my head, I thought, to quote the Rolling Stones, in a southern accent no less, "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord." I love shooting the shit with my sons, but this was no time for that because I was still processing the madness of the Greatest Ego Friday Ever.
I didn't tell my wife either when I got home. I fucking hate people who try to make their partners jealous, and, at first, I couldn't figure out a way to tell it without raising that specter.
So, instead, I woke up four or five times in the middle of the night, shook my head, smiled, thought, "That was just the most fucking insane day ever," and vaguely rolled off back to sleep.
The next morning, I was just bursting to tell this sorry to someone, so I told my buddy Justin, who is also my CrossFit trainer. He laughed his ass off at the madness of it all, and responded, "Sure you can! Just tell her. It's awesome!" when I mentioned that I wanted to tell my wife -- 'cause no one is more awesome than my wife -- but wasn't sure if I could/should.
And so I did, and we, um, celebrated the Awesomeness of Us in a very nice way.
Oh yeah, and my elbow feels a lot better too. More on that in the next post.
Fuck yeah. Eat paleo. (That's the only reasonable conclusion, isn't it?)
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