Friday, March 19, 2004

Run To The Hills! (Or Is It Run For The Hills?) 

When I was 21 years of age, I drove my little gray '89 Geo Metro into the ass-end of a gargantuan beige '78 GMC Suburban. Details as to WHY, for the purpose of this story, are unimportant. I WILL say that the Suburban survived with minimal cosmetic damage, while my Metro was bashed up real good. While the "Gray Turd" was being repaired (by three Koreans and one Alabamanian, which was real fun to watch, by the way) I had little choice other than to "bum rides" from people.

No, I DON'T ride the bus, thankyouverymuch.

I was fortunate enough to have help from my family through most of my ordeal. The other times I was in need of transportational help, I usually called upon my friend Ryan. Ryan is a short little fella with a big head and a limp, both of which he acquired via a car accident when he was quite young. You'd think that his experience would be enough to scare him into being a careful driver, but, you'd be wrong. Ryan drove like a crazy person even on his BEST days. He was, however, nice enough to provide me with transportation. Beggars can't be choosers, I guess...

During this, the period of my discontent, I was working at both the radio station and the screen printing house. The station had recently hired, and summarily fired, a disc jockey named Mike Shaver. Mike was a young man with a resonate baritone voice, a spastic personality and a taste for whatever he could get his filthy little mitts on, just so long as it appeared to be female. In truth, I may be giving him too much credit. He was really...well...slimy. Anyway, he had just recently been dismissed and the rumors were circulating. So, too, were phone calls from females that he had, apparently, had contact with. One such female persisted in calling me while I was on the air. It was pretty clear that she wasn't necessarily a Rhodes Scholar, but she was a nice enough person. Over the course of a couple weeks, we chatted about a lot of things. I found out that she lived out east of town in Calhan or Ramah or something...I learned that she had a son...I learned that she had a bit of a crush on Mike Shaver and she was pretty disappointed when he was fired. She was also quite sad to learn that he had gone back home to whatever hole he crawled out of in the first place. Over the course of time, I forgot that she had known Mike and came to expect her phone calls. I may have even looked forward to them, it could get quite boring at the station sometimes, especially after midnight. After repeated attempts on her part to set up a meeting between her and I, I finally relented and agreed to meet her in the food court of the Chapel Hills Mall next to the Orange Julius on a Saturday.

She suggested that we could see a movie. "Whatever," I thought. I'd have to get Ryan to drive me. Saturday came. Noggin-Boy picked me up in his dingy little Ford Escort and we made our way to the Chapel Hills Mall. When we arrived, we parked in front of the Sears store that anchors the southwest corner of the complex, walked in, found a seat in front of the Orange Julius and waited. I watched every single girl that walked near our table that day. She hadn't really described herself in detail, so she COULD have been ANYONE, I had no basis for comparison. There were some females that passed by that I thought COULD be her...There were some that passed by that I HOPED would be her...And then there was one that I HOPED TO GOD WASN'T her...

Of course, it was her.

She came with her Son and her Mother in tow. She was dressed in a style that can only be explained as "trailer park yard sale." She had this one goofy-ass eye that would wander off for no apparent reason. She had these little foamy spittle pockets that would form in the corners of her mouth, giving her the appearance of a rabid dog with acne. She was a "real winner" as Ryan would descibe later. And, this day, she was to be my "Mystery Date."

"Are you Derek?" she spurted as she approached.
"Yeah" I offered, smiling bravely in the face of certain doom.
"This is my Mom" she said, through her foamy speech-barrier.
"Pleased to meet..." I started. "Mom" stopped me with the following exclamation:
"If you're gonna see a movie with MY DAUGHTER, you'd better just sit on your hands the whole way through!"

And hello to you as well. Things were off to a great start, I thought. I couldn't exactly say to her at this point that, it would be OK. I had NO INTENTION of touching her daughter EVER, not even in the dark. Instead, I just smiled, met the little wobbly-headed son and suggested that we go and buy our movie tickets. I probably forgot to introduce Ryan. He didn't care. He was scared to death. He just wanted to go home, and so did I. Instead, we made our way over to the theatre...Ryan, myself and spittle-chick.

Googly-eye reminded me on the way over to the theatre that her Mother had driven her to the mall all the way from podunk shit hickville and that she'd just be hanging around the mall, waiting for the movie to be over. Once we chose a movie, she said, she'd go let her Mom know about what time to be around to take her home. A fine plan, I thought. There was a large crowd gathered in front of the movie theatre that day waiting to purchase tickets. I chose, at random, the movie Mortal Kombat, which was set to start in 10 minutes or so. She agreed to my choice and ran off to give her Maternal Unit a pickup time. Once I figured she had completely lost sight of Ryan and I, I turned to him and said:

"We could just run right now."
Shocked, yet relieved, he looked up and replied "You wanna?"

I did, indeed, wanna. We booked it toward the nearest exit door and left the mall. The early afternoon greeted us with warm, sweet sunlight and a brief sense of complete and total freedom...My glee quickly turned to horror, however, when I realized that we had just exited the Mall at the extreme NORTHEAST corner. The car may as well have been across town, it was so far from where we were. We certainly had some travelin' to do. I immediately took off at a dead run around the mall. Ryan, limp and all, bravely attempted to keep up...Eventually, he dug the keys out of his pocket and threw them at me. "YOU GO AHEAD! PICK ME UP WHEN YOU GET THE CAR! DON'T LEAVE ME!" he shouted, as he hobbled to a stop. I caught the keys in stride and ran like frickin' Hell. I kept my head on a swivel, on the lookout for Ma Spittle and Spittle boy. Finally, I made it all the way to the Escort and it seemed that I hadn't been spotted! I jumped in, fired it up and hauled ass back toward Ryan. He jumped inside and we got the Hell out of Dodge, as it were.

I know, I know. "How heartless. How cruel" you say. Hey, I FELT BAD. A little. But I did feel bad. I know all about how sad rejection is, I've faced it more times than I can count. Still, I wasn't about to subject myself to two hours in a dark room with a total frickin' drool monster with an effed-up eye and I certainly didn't want to lead her, or anyone else, on. I'll admit, I didn't face adversity head on that day, but it was for the best. I'm not sure I want to look straight into that kind of adversity ever again.

Adversity called me at the radio station a week or so after my great escape to offer me a nugget of wisdom, probably along the lines of "you're an asshole," but, hey, I've heard it all before. I should've asked her if she enjoyed the movie, but even I'm not THAT evil. To this day, I still haven't seen the film "Mortal Kombat." and I probably never will.

I never had any intention of seeing it in the first place.

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