Monday, June 23, 2008

Friends that make us laugh.

I have a friend that I haven't seen in a while. Her name is Jamie and she is one of, if not my funniest friend. I could go into all the ways that she made me laugh but this is the gist of it. While working together if she made a big embarrassing mistake she would immediately come over and say "You'll never guess what I just did." The self deprecating humor she used made us all laugh along with her. Everyone loved her all the more for the way she made herself look even more ridiculous, mostly because she was so funny and adorable. She would magnify the usually small incident until she had us all crying and holding our sides. She was my manager at an apartment community and boy did we need her attitude. Not that she couldn't chew you out for something when need be but you could always depend on her to laugh about it later, or make fun of you about it in a teasing way. I learned from her how to make fun of myself. I think I was pretty uptight before that. I am a sensitive person so anything anyone ever said I took to heart. Heaven help me if I ever did something stupid in front of someone. I was so worried about looking foolish that it kept me from doing so many exciting things in my life. I know that I am not alone and I probably know why I am like this. But I won't go into that now. That may be an issue for the doctors couch.
But once I heard Jamie and her take on her own silly abashments, I really started to lighten up. If I do something stupid, I get over the embarrassment by thinking of how that must of looked to another person. Or if not that then I think about embellishing it as Jamie did to make it funny. Once you hear the laughter that your blunder causes you can't help but forget whether your face is red. Also there is comic timing. Wikipedia says "This is the use of rhythm and tempo to enhance comedy and humor. A beat is a pause taken for the purposes of comic timing, often to allow the audience time to recognize the joke and react, or to heighten the suspense before delivery of the expected punch line." If you would like to read more about timing go here. . You can learn to use timing to make your listeners laugh along with you if you want to get that funny. Jamie definately has a natural talent for this and some people are just naturally funny. I believe I have a gift for laughter but before it certainly was not when I would embarrass myself. Now I recognize doing something stupid is a part of life. Then I make fun of it. Come on, just laugh about it. Now isn't that much better!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Brave girl kicks ass in the sticks.

This wasn't funny at the time. The years have changed that.

Growing up in the rural south makes you tough, and somewhat fearless. I have a theory about why. If you move through the woods on a regular basis, fearlessly staring down and stepping over small wild creatures and also being aware of the larger wild species also thriving there, it does something to boost your ability to be brave, to take the upper hand if need be. An incident that happened when I was 17 proved that.

I was with my best friend, Charlotte, both of us feeling good and heading home after a day at the beach. Charlotte had a gold mustang that was dusty, loud, and with two girls usually in the front seat, boldly obvious. This mustang had been bought from her brother and it was a classic piece of junk. It took awhile to get anywhere because we had to stop about every 15 miles and pour water into the radiator. When we would get close to where we knew a stop sign was coming up I would stretch my neck outside the window to see if anything was coming. If so, Charlotte would start pumping the brakes and blowing the horn. Traffic lights meant Russian roulette. But hey, we had wheels.

That summer afternoon we had enjoyed lazing around at our state park and just having a great day talking about boys, friends, boys, clothes, boys and other things.

Charlotte had chosen the back roads most of the way to play it safe with the car. But just after we pulled out onto the main highway she decided to stop and add some water. We both jumped out. Charlotte raised the hood and I grabbed the big plastic jug of water from the back seat floorboard.

We were busy with our heads together so we hadn’t noticed a car slowing down, but we did hear the crunch of the rocks underneath the wheels of his car, We thought that he was going to offer us some gentlemanly help.

As he walked up behind Charlotte, I heard him say, “Back it up there girl!” Charlotte waved him away saying, “No, we got it thanks!” But that wasn’t what he meant. He continued. “Both of you back it up and get in the car. You, on the driver’s side”. He nodded at Charlotte. Charlotte looks over at me like “What the hell!"
Being the more obedient of the two of us I say, “Okay”, and head for the door. Now I would like to say that I wasn’t that eager to get my ass in the car but as a southern girl you are always conflicted as to whether to be “sweet,’ and do as you’re told or to come out fighting. Charlotte gave me a look that said I had lost my mind. I realized that she thought that I was a little too eager to please. “We aren’t getting in the car with you, and I don’t see how you think your going to make us.”
The skinny intruder said, “Oh yeah, “There’s a huntin’ rifle in my car, and I got a gun in my boot.” Charlotte shifted her hip and crossed her arms. “Oh sure” she said. But I noticed her voice was a little fainter and she did get behind the wheel. He stood, holding the door open, looking in. Charlotte looked up at him. “It probably won’t start. You didn’t let us get finished working on it. She pointed at the water jug on the roadside. “Oh, it’d better start,” he threatened. The engine roared into action.
I, feeling like a coward, still had the passenger seat door open. Mr. Pushy was getting in, moving Charlotte over with his hip. Suddenly, she swiveled her butt, got her foot on my behind and booted me right out of the car into the gravel and weeds.

I hit the ground hard. I looked up in time to see Charlotte lean over and pull the door closed. It was my turn to think “what the hell!

As that Mustang tore down that country highway all I could think was “Oh shit, there goes my friend alone with some damn redneck murderer.” There was only one thing to do. Get up on that road and put my thumb out. Finally my brain was engaged.

Charlotte looked down at her hands. Something didn’t feel right! Her nail! You made me break my nail you stupid son of a bitch! And I painted them!” She went ballistic! She was punching him in his side and making him cringe and grunt. “Stop or I’ll wreck” he said between punches.
Charlotte leaned close to this ear, “I don’t care, let me out before I kill you.” At this point he had no doubt that he was about to suffer serious bodily assault. “I didn’t mean to make you break your nail”, he said sheepishly. “But if I let you out now you will be in the middle of nowhere and you might get eaten by a bear or picked up by a bad person”.
You are so stupid! Charlotte was roaring “What do you think you are, a good Samaritan”? “Get out and give me my car back.”
“Oh no, He said drawing out the words, “Then I could get eaten by a bear.”
“Are you serious? Would you rather be eaten by a bear or go to the gas chamber?”
“What?” he looked incredulous.
Charlotte shouted, “Awe, stupid, didn’t you know that kidnapping meant you went to the gas chamber”?
His eyes were popping. “That’s not right. Where’d you hear that? Anyway, I’m not kidnapping you!

Then what the hell do you think this is, a smoky mountain rescue? You haven’t stopped this car yet!”
“Well now I can’t for sure if you say I’m kidnapping you. What’d you say that for? It was just a joke. I know your brother. I recognized this car. I worked with him and he was telling all of us that you bought his car. And I caught a look at you one day and….
“My brother is going to whip your ass. That is if I don’t kill you myself.”
Every word was accentuated with a slap and hard punch. Charlotte had even gouged him in the eye with her broken nail.
“God----, Stop it, just stop it now”. The car is swerving along the road. “Calm down, I not going to hurt you”, he said with a tickled of blood moving down his cheek. Charlotte’s other nail had jabbed him in the eyebrow and ripped the skin. His finger-poked wounded eye was starting to swell shut.

The car rumbled to a stop. “Finally, you’re getting some sense.” Charlotte said as threw up her hands.
“No, I’m not, he said, the car is stopping on its own”.
“Okay then idiot, just let me out to see what’s wrong!” she starts to open the door but he grabs her arm. “Are you sure you won’t try to run away cause I’m too tired to chase you and I am not going to the gas chamber over this.”

“What do you want to do, just sit here?” It’s damned hot and I have on a wet bathing suit. I am not comfortable! And with that she slammed her pointy elbow into his Adam’s apple.
“Hey, he grabbed his throat, screeching, “You almost made me throw up.”
Charlotte hammers away. Up on her knees she grabs his head and twists it. “I am going to pop your head right off.” And he believed her. For the first time he fought back. He shoved her against the passenger door. They sat for a few minutes looking at each other. Then she opened the door, went around the front and popped open the hood.

“You idiot, you left my friend back there and she is probably scared to death”
.He looked indignant. “Now, who threw her out of the car, huh?”
She glared back. “I thought you were going to try to kill us or something. I was saving her life!”
He offered, “We can go back and get her.”
She glared,” Where do you think you’re going with this “we” stuff?
“You ain’t going nowhere with me. You were stupid enough to pick us up, force us into the car and leave your car sitting on the side of the road so the police will track you right here. You left my friend to be eaten by a bear. And you kidnapped me. Man, you are in big trouble. If you broke my car I am going to kill you with my bare hands.”

Back at my situation I was wondering why no cars were coming by. Why no one was coming to the rescue. The only other alternative was to do it myself. I could try and hot- start his car and go after them. So I ran to the car. My dad had shown me how to do this on our car once for kicks and giggles. I wondered if I could remember how.

Peeking into the rolled down window, I peered toward the floorboard wondering how I would jam myself under there, and then I spotted the keys, dangling in the ignition!
I just stood there for about two seconds not believing my eyes.

Jumping in I started that old car and rocketed forward.

Charlotte was still doing her part with her constant assault on the soon to be, very worried, probably future death row inmate.

It wasn’t long until I saw Charlotte’s car pulled over, sitting there, the hood up and the edges of two people seen occasionally moving on each side of the front end of the car. It looked like stand-up wrestling. Oh my God, he was attacking! I had to do something!

I got out and yelled, “Hey”! The activity stopped in the front of her car. For a few seconds it was still and then I saw the guy look around the hood as though he was expecting a ghost, or worse, the police.

I was shocked at his appearance. His hair was on end, His t-shirt neck was all stretched out and it looked like his nipple was bleeding. His lip and eye were swollen shut.

When he saw it was me he dropped his arms down to his sides, rounded his shoulders and started explaining in a whiny voice, “I did not kidnap her, it was just a big joke. I was going to tell you that!” Charlotte came from the other side. “This fool broke down the car. Even I had to think that was humorous. It would be hard to place that blame on this guy.

I had no time to say a word before Charlotte was in his face and all over him. All I could hear from him was “uh, uh, uh”, as the breath was being hammered out of him. He kept peeking at me with his hands up over his face as if I might save him from her.
As I was on the way to some serious tears or serious laughter, (seems I was always conflicted) he turned to get away and Charlotte with all her might kicked him right in the seat and knocked him in the middle of the highway.
That girl was good with her feet.

We saw that it was all over. We stood there staring at each other, grinning. I had come to the rescue but Charlotte had saved the day.

When I asked her what all she had done to him she said, “My emotions just took over. He really pissed me off. I would have kicked him right in the jewels if he had been standing still long enough.” So we know he got away easy.

We had no post- traumatic syndrome. Only our mother’s did when we relayed our story. Her mother said, from now on she should take her Pekinese to protect her. We laughed about that one. The only thing that dog would do is pop out her eyes from barking too hard. Now that would scare most anybody if you weren’t expecting it.

As for the kidnapper, his name was Roy Ray and he was known to be mostly stupid. Charlotte’s brother said we could press charges but he wouldn’t be able to whip is ass then, so Charlotte just gave him the go ahead and forgot about the court system.
I think he learned a better lesson the way Charlotte handled it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A short trip to Shangri-la.

Last week Steve and I took a flight across the country to California. We went to the golden state to visit Steve's people in San Francisco. The time we spend there was great. It was Steve's birthday so there was a party and "so good to see you's" all day. We visited the city and various places that brought back memories to Steve. We visited people I didn't know, and shopped in Half Moon Bay and walked on the beach.

I noticed it's true what you hear about life there, so laid back. I know that the air is fresh and the weather is beautiful, the plant life plentiful and glorious. There doesn't seem to be any mosquitoes or flies and they leave their doors open without screen doors. No need for screen!

But how could they be so laid back with everything, especially real estate, being so very expensive? Stressful? You'd think. But I didn't really notice that anything except homes were more expensive than here. Target prices looked the same to me. The only time I "had a fit" so my sister-in-law said, was when she tried to convince me that the price of $7.00 for a plain hot dog is normal. I have to tell you I didn't throw a fit but I know that $7.00 is not normal. I checked. This particular hot dog was in a museum restaurant and my so-called fit worked. My sister-in-law bought us a cheeseburger ($9.00) and a hot dog and made us share her Caesar salad. (I am my father's daughter!)

It seems that the corporate world dominates over most everything in the city by the bay. I know that it was the dawning of the computer age that boosted the high prices of real estate. Just driving the interstate will give you a glimpse of the opulence of the big guys, Google, Oracle, etc. And aren't these guys considered young on the silicone highway?
I come from a long line of carpenters, blue collar workers, proud farmers and office assistants.
Steve left California for Oregon right after the rise began. So we really only know what we see and hear. I have to assume that there are many that are under the stress of their corporate jobs. I didn't see it myself. All my sisters have high priority jobs in well known companies but they don't seem to show too much stress. My sister-in-laws Pitt bull is more nervous than she is.

I guess what I am saying is that I think it is true that California is a peaceful, laid back place.

Am I buying into shangri-la? Okay, maybe I was overwhelmed by the beauty and warm hospitality, or because the weather was about 72 degrees the whole time and not a single drop of rain. Or it could be that I had no responsibilities the whole time I was there, yes, the whole "5" days.

Because I dislike travel by air, I was hesitant to go. The ride was what I expected, boring, tight and all day long. This is where we spent most of our money. No, really, the airports.

I never liked take off or landing and now there's the extra security. Of course I must have packed wrong or something, they went through my luggage. I know they probably have to do these things, but it is one more reason that I don't enjoy flying. I thought about this as I was going out that I'd have to think about the long trip back. But I didn't think of it once. I was thinking on my way home, when can we do this again?

I think California and my in-laws worked the magic. I came back ready to move. But reality is back. My girls are here. My home is here. My overloaded back yard and garden are here. How in the world would I get 3 dogs and 5 cats to California?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bug's birthday

Yesterday was the big day for little Bug, the pretty princess in our lives. She was four and feeling every bit of it. It's always a great day when family can get together, and even though ours is small, we make it seem like a hundred people. I, of course decorated my living room like a cinderella ball with balloons strewn from the ceiling. Bug walked into the room as we all sang happy birthday. Her eyes were wide and twinkling and a huge smile. She had mushroom pizza, her favorite, and then happy to get to the presents. She got many fun toys and some neat clothes. She got a little electric keyboard, several dolls, tea sets, and mom also gave her a big bags of assorted things such as candy poprocks. We all had to laugh when Bug tried the pop rocks. She ducked her head and put her hand over her mouth. She just wanted to get rid of it, same thing with the big red rose blob from the top of her cake.
It took about 20 minutes to tear through the gifts. Afterward I suggested taking the pups for a walk while Bug rode her bike that pawpaw found for her.
What an ordeal. The big girls had brought their two dogs so all together we had 5 dogs and a child on a bike. None of the dogs know how to behave except Pootie so it was chaotic. It sounded like a big disruptive party at first. Then we calmed down to a stroll,sort of. Bug rode her bike all the way to the end of street and back. She was so proud and did so well. She told her mom, "I need you because I love you." Which almost brought us to tears. Then she took a little tumble to the ground. She cried a little then brushed off her tears and got back on that bike. What a trooper.

This little story will bore the life out of most. I just wanted to make note of a wonderful afternoon on an important birthday for bug. I hope that we have many more just like this one.