Friday, August 22, 2014

Washing Dishes

Last night it was a thunder storm. It looked majestic from my New York window. I thought about going out, but why? Most of the time on rainy nights any perspective comedy spot is cancelled, and when there is lightning I run. It’s for the simple reason that I had a cousin get struck three times and live. Of course, despite his freakish feat of strength he’s still doing better than his sister who got knocked up in high school, and has subsequently gone on to have children with two other different men.

Because it was stormy out, he was the perfect night to catch up on house keeping. That has been the theme lately. To get my career to the next level, I am now working with a manager. She and her assistant have been wonderful so far. For the first time in years, I have someone in my corner and I am not alone. I also have a mentor I meet with every two weeks, who is an awesomely brilliant woman that is helping to guide my career. While I never know what is next for me, I don’t feel like I am wandering in the dark anymore. I also had a new acting reel made, something I have been dragging ass on forever. I also listed my DVD on EBay and this week was the accidental poster girl for their facebook blast.

Add in yesterday, before the storm, I was walking down the street. I saw a man who is a cabaret legend and highly regarded. He told me that my show/book signing event was a joy. And he wants to do it again. He complimented me and everyone I worked with. This man has seen everyone live and in concert from Judy Garland to Barbara Streisand to everyone else. This made me so happy I almost cried.

Despite summer being as busy as it was, now things are starting to slow. From April-July, I didn’t have a moment to myself. Rent paid itself, which was a change of pace from the financially interesting winter I had. However, being busy means you don’t always know what is going on in the home front. For the last several months my refrigerator has been in some state of broken. At first, it would work and then just wouldn’t, but would work again. I have an upstairs neighbor who sometimes runs too many things at once and blows a fuse. Sometimes my ice cream would melt, but then things would work again. Finally, one day my refrigerator stopped working altogether.

Actually, that’s not true. The bottom part didn’t work at all, but the top part that was a freezer didn’t freeze food but still kept it cold. I was so busy I didn’t have time to pay attention. I figured maybe I just needed the top part to work. But then I started to get horrible stomach cramps and diarrhea. Some of me thought it was overwork and fatigue. Yet it kept happening. Someone told me that the way I was living with my semi-working, nonworking appliance could give me Legionnaires Disease. One of my character defects is that I need to have my back against the wall and the shit hitting the fan before I take action. This was most definitely unmanageable. So I called my super Spooky Juice.

Spooky took a look at the appliance and said it was old and I needed a new one. He filled out the paper work. A crew of men who work with my super took the refrigerator from my apartment. Thing is, I have lived there for sometime. When things get busy, I don’t do my dishes. Instead, they somehow get left in my refrigerator or oven. Then I wonder why I have no clean dishes. Suffice to say, there were some interesting dishes removed from my refrigerator with some interesting food particles on them. Oh, and my oven had quite a collection, too.

The oven trick is one I learned from my mom. Truth: Things got busy in my house when I was a kid. Plus we would have one of my eccentric relations or one of my dad’s clients feel they could pay a surprise visit. In order to make it look like three kids didn’t live in the well kept home on Foxtail Drive, my mom stashed the dishes in the oven. Of course at some point the dishes were removed and done and no one was any the wiser.

One day my dad found out and he was fuming.  Actually the correct term is shit fit. It was quite by accident, and I had no idea why he was looking in the oven in the first place. My dad in the kitchen would be like John Boehner at an LGBTQ function, out of place. Anyway, he discovered the dishes, flipped, and wanted to know how long it had been going on. My mom explained the hiding place was only temporary, and the dishes would be done. Meanwhile, the man had only cooked twice in his life: both for my mother on Mother’s Day. Once he burned the food entirely, and the other time the eggs had a bunch of shells in them.
We had a dish washing party/my dad acting as drill sergeant. It was terrible. I mean, my sister and I were in dance class. My brother was starting football, and my mom was our driver. All my dad did was work. No one was home. What did he want? 

After that, my mom came up with a plan, keep Dad out of the kitchen. So as soon as dinner waned down, he was in front of the television on an exercise bike or lifting. She guided him gently to the basement away from the kitchen, and my Pops was none the wiser.

So I had a little dish washing party of my own. The thunder storm fumed, and Soul Food reruns played on youtube. Yeah, they are a black family, but I can relate. For starters, anyone with a family can relate regardless of skin color of ethnicity. Sure, the Joseph Sisters are nuts, but when the going gets tough they do stick together. I have an aunt and uncle like Max and Kenny. I also have two aunts like Teri. Oh, and I have a cousin like Bird. So the show sucks me in. Maybe we don’t deal with the race issues per se, but we deal with the same family theatrics.

As I washed dishes, I cursed my existence. My life had gotten big and busy. When I wasn’t working, I was in a class of some sort furthering my acting and writing. Maybe if I would have taken care of what was in front of me, I wouldn’t have all the shit going on in my body that I do. Of course, my refrigerator leaking has gotten a mouse or two in my apartment. Yes, Mordeci who will not die. This Rasputin-esque creature has alluded capture and death. He already escaped one glue trap, and now knows the trick. Now he just taunts and annoys me. Of course, the exterminator came earlier that day. My house was a mess. Maybe I earned an “A” in my graduate level writing course, but in the domestic department I fail with a flying color wheel.

Then with my soapy hands my love life ran through my head. I have been having a no strings attached relationship with online dating. Sometimes I go on and smile at a dude, and sometimes I just don’t. The whole thing was my mother’s idea. She has been obsessed with the idea of my sister marrying Boomer, and now she is also obsessed with my nonexistent love life. You see, things have been so busy on my end for the last several years that the thought of a lover has never even crossed my mind. Most of the time, when I get a moment alone that is what I want, a moment alone.

The other day some dude sent me five questions on EHarmony. I was in a strange mood. A man who had been a friend to me at one of the toughest junctures of my life passed suddenly-and maybe someday I will write about what happened entirely. The whole thing messed with my mind. So I was still in a weird place and I can be a bit of a devil. There is a place you can fill in your own answers. I did. I told him the ideal date would be him not stuffing me in a trunk and killing me. I mentioned I didn’t care what we did as long as I didn’t end up duct taped and dead. I told him the ideal man was someone who didn’t ask so many damn questions. Afterwards, I felt remorseful and I apologized.

Now he wants to talk on the phone and I can’t. I just can’t atone for my little evil streak. I can’t explain I acted out because I was grieving and therefore turned into a fucking asshole. I can’t. I also want to inform him I know he has some sort of malfunction because he wants to talk to me. No man with their shit together ever wants me. Growing up, none of my hot male classmates wanted to date me, but their dads always did. The class president didn’t want me even though I painfully pined for him, but the kid skipping school with the drug rehab stint did. Even as I got older, the distinguished gentlemen at the cocktail party didn’t want me, but the kitchen help who was a guest of the state for a few years always did and still does. My sister doesn’t have this problem, and neither does my mother, but several of my female relations do.

I suppose you have to like who likes you, and I am the pinup of the month at the local methadone clinic. My female rels feel the same way. You see, they date guys who are so below them that they can be stepped on. Yet they fall for these guys and they get dragged down too. I have yet to be dragged down by one of my male companions but I have come close on a few occasions. In my head I tell myself I eliminated most other vices from my life, and these bad news dudes are my drug of choice. Yes, it’s called codependency, I know. Yet I can’t help but like a bad boy. They think my surprise foul mouth is adorable, and I know how to handle this clientele. Maybe this is why I lashed out at the dude sending me questions. It scared me that a potential man with his shit together might want me and I couldn’t handle it. I still am disappearing on his ass though. The stunt I pulled was a little dickface.

And then I realized I still had more bowls to wash….

Of course what would I do with a decent dude if I had one? I should really invest in a dog cage. That way, he won’t be able to escape. Sometimes I want a lover. I see all these weirdos sucking face in the park. Once, when I was street performing with one of my puppets, we told them to get a room. I thought they were going to kill us. Yet maybe I need someone to get a room with. That’s why I am losing my mind.
On the flipside, my career is busy. I don’t have time to babysit another adult let alone myself. Men are people, and they don’t understand when you are too busy for them. A lot of guys like the career, until I am unavailable. Or they think it is something I will just give up. Maybe after having caved for a short period of time, I am afraid I will cave again. Then there was one with lots of money who told me I would never amount to anything in comedy. Yet when something happens, there he is, the first to congratulate me.

Makes me think of a dude I partnered with for an aborted business venture. We started out as two visionaries looking to make people laugh while we helped them. Truth: He never treated me like an equal. According to him, my dating record was a nightmare. It’s true, it is. However, I can tell someone how to get out of hell and to keep going. Hell, I can even tell them how to spot hell and the licking flames. That knowledge should count for something. Maybe it made him self-conscious of his own shortcomings. Yes, he and his fiancĂ© were in couples therapy and hadn’t even walked down the aisle yet. If you are blowing up in diners and breaking up on someone else’s schedule, don’t get married. We all know that. You think a Hawaiian honeymoon was expensive, you have never been divorced. Hell teaches you a lot of lessons. I don’t recommend people go, but maybe don’t judge others who have been. If anything, they are fountains of wisdom you have yet to tap.

Then of course there was the ex that I cheated on nonstop and treated like crap. I regret it and want to apologize. His wife or girlfriend or whatever that monster is hates my guts though. Maybe it’s because he still wants me. Men like it when a woman treats them badly, it makes them desire her more. Maybe that’s why the dude from EHarmony wants me to call him. Yeah, he likes to be beaten. Maybe he’s not normal after all. Still, the ex who I treated like crap flies in and out of my mind. I hope he’s happier than he was with me. I know he still looks me up. I know he does.

Of course Holden and I are speaking again. He was the last time I said I love you and meant it. We were two alley cats that could have made a home. I had to let him go. He owed back child support, was off his much needed bipolar meds, was abusing controlled substances, and of course had several warrants out for his arrest. These days he is no longer working as a rent boy, but is clean and sober. Holden lives in a sober house, and is currently high on God. I don’t know how I feel about that. I am happy to have him in my life again.

Part of me thinks there could still be a chance with someone that I truly loved, but the other part of me is content to have him as a friend. Either way, he will always be special. It also still hurts to talk about him. House cats don’t understand alley cats. We got each other. Maybe this is why I like men who are bad for me, because I am an alley cat and so are they. An alley cat and a house cat never go together. Maybe this is why I cheated the way I did the last time I had a boyfriend. Maybe this is why I can live in shit until it backs me up against the wall. Maybe this is why my life doesn’t kill me and my friends are insane. I am an alley cat.

As the thoughts rushed through my head, past merging with present, I put my dishes on top of the temporary refrigerator my landlord gave me. I figured I am a shiteous housekeeper, awful cook, and don’t do dishes. I wash windows. Maybe the dude I end up with can do the housekeeping, cook, clean, and raise the children. I can earn the money and fool around on the street. He can look for my ass, and I can tell him I pay the bills. Gender bending at it’s best. Who’s the bitch now, suckers?

Then I realized my dishes were dry, and my hands had become wrinkled. The Soul Food reruns had also stopped playing in a loop. The thunder storm had calmed. Perhaps it was time for my brain to do the same, and time for a bath.

To Horrendous Housekeeping. 

Check out my book I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
Available on Amazon and through Barnes and Noble

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