Friday, March 18, 2014
The day began like any other, which is to say without a dope beat ta step to. “It’s been a long time since she left me,” I thought to myself. “It’s been a long time…”
I started the day with my “morning cleanse” by “making light my intestinal burden”. There was not yet a need to shower as the first thing on my “To-Do” list was to take a mattress and box spring to the landfill. (That and the fact that my body naturally produces a scent reminiscent of babies’ breath and unicorn tears.) One of the few benefits of having to take my car to the body shop was the fact that I got a rental car. (Of course, paying a $250 deductible to get a rental car isn’t much of a benefit, but when Life gives you lemons…) After the mattress was loaded into the back of the Hyundai Santa Fe (“Hyundai, we’re better now.”) it became readily apparent to anyone paying attention --or anyone who excelled at the spatial relations portion of any of a number of standardized tests-- that the box spring was not going to fit. Given that each load taken to the landfill cost $7, and I wasn’t made of money, I had no intention of taking two trips. “Pardon my French, but ‘F*ck That’!” [Editor’s Note: Damion doesn’t speak French.]
Just when I thought all, well $7, was lost, I opened my “mental Man Bible”, turned to “The Book Of Watkinson” Chapter 12 verse 15 in which it was said, “There’s no such thing as obstacles; only saw-portunities.” So, I oiled my chainsaw (and my chiseled torso) and got ready to “turn this mutha out”. Before cutting into the box spring, I took my bypass lopper and snipped the metal frame; decreasing the potential for kickback. I then donned my gloves and protective eyewear, stood above the box spring, and got down to business. As the heat of the day began to rise, I flipped the box spring over and over again, cutting it into ever smaller pieces. Sawdust filled the air…and stuck to the mixture of oil and sweat on my chest. (Honestly, I really didn’t think this through.)
“Could it BE any hotter?!?” I asked aloud.
“I could tell you, but why ruin the surprise?” a voice responded from on-high.
“This is not the last I’m gonna hear from you today, is it?”
Once I returned from delivering the mattress and freshly hewn pieces of box spring, I got my cleaning supplies ready to wash “Shakira” and “Steph”. (You can’t wash one without the other.) Why do I insist on hand-washing my cars? Because, as the old saying goes, “You never truly know a lady until you’ve washed her by hand.” [Ed’s Note: No one has ever said that. Correction: No one not currently in prison or not soon to be the subject of an episode of “48 Hours Mystery” has ever said that.]
After my ladies were presentable, I readied myself for the third part of my day; the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament where the Blue Devils of Duke would face-off against the something-somethings of Mercer. Being in public meant, of course, freshening up. After scrubbing myself with Dove Men + Care (“Dove for Men: It only LOOKS like a giant Viagra”); I puts on my Duke-rooting uniform. I then combed my hair, brushed my teeth, and slapped on some Aqua Velva, which, in French, roughly translates to “water vagina”. [Ed’s Note: First off, that’s not French. Secondly, I’m pretty sure he was thinking “Aqua Vulva”.]
Believing the win to be a foregone conclusion and envisioning myself basking in the glorious envy of other collegiate basketball fans, I also prepped for the fourth part of my day: Cirque du Soleil presents Michael Jackson’s Immortal. This involved packing clothes more in line with the cultural milieu. As it would turn out, the preparations were not necessary; but I digress. [Ed’s Note: This would not be the first nor the last time his “celebration” would prove premature.]
Once ready, I fired up “Steph” and headed to the local watering hole. “Welcome to Hooters!” they shouted as I made my entrance. As the first half drew to a close, it was all too evident that both I and my Blue Devils had underestimated Mercer. Unable to hit a mid-range jumper or simple layup, the only thing keeping Duke in the game was three-point shooting; something on which they would become overly-reliant. The unexpected competitiveness made another truth self-evident. Namely, nothing brings fans of other teams together quite like their hatred for Duke. As Mercer’s confidence grew, so did the roar of the anti-Duke crowd.
As they cheered each Mercer make and Duke mishap, I remained silent. As chants of “Let’s go Mercer” emanated like a groundswell of…swelling ground, I remained silent. As my waitress asked if I needed anything, I remained silent. [Ed’s Note: Mainly, because he was hypnotized by her cleavage in his face, but…hey.] But when the kid at the table next to me shouted, “Duke sucks!” I could remain silent no longer. At that moment, Duke went on a mini-run. As anyone in my position would do, I turned to the child who made the offending remark and yelled, “Suck it!”
“Did you just tell a six-year old to ‘Suck it’?” my server asked
“First of all,” I explained, “he’s at least seven. Secondly, he started it.”
“Seems a bit childish,” she replied.
“Yes, he does.”
“Actually, I was referring to—You know, my eyes are up here.”
Mercer took advantage of my lapse in concentration by halting Duke’s run and closing out a 7-point victory.
“Are you ready for the check?”
I nodded in the affirmative. I was numb, but comfortably so. The Yin of crippling despair firmly nestled against the Yang of ample boob-age. Normally, the sight of another team dancing on the shards of the Blue Devils shattered expectations would have left me devastated. In the face of it (them), however, I was able to keep my head up. (Well, not “up” so much as slightly angled.) As it turns out, Hooters really DOES make one happy.
The lack of a drawn-out celebration left a hole in my schedule. So, after paying the check and leaving a healthy tip; something I often do out of respect for wait staff [Ed: read “waitresses”] and bartenders [female bartenders]; I headed home to regroup.
Upon arriving at home, I took my change of clothes out of the back, headed upstairs, and took a very long, very hot shower; the falling water masking my tears. While I stood slumped over with only the shower wall keeping me from crumpling to the floor, the water flowed over my lowered head and into the drain. I seriously considered skipping the performance altogether. I eventually pulled myself together. “Pull yourself together, Man!” I told myself. “This is Cirque du Soleil! This is Michael Jackson! This is ’The King of Pop’! This is a non-refundable ticket! Why is this water still running??? I’m not made of money!” I shut off the water, toweled off, got dressed, and prepared to meet my public.
The performance was at The Patriot Center on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Knowing traffic on I95’s tendency to become a giant parking lot, especially on Fridays, I headed up early. I would stop at a nearby dining establishment, which I was always “Welcome to”’d, for dinner and basketball. Near the outset of my journey, my day took an unexpected turn for the better.
I was at a stoplight. A gray BMW 5-series pulled up next to me. The driver was one of those overeager people who tries to jump the light. When the light turned green, he gunned his engine and set off. “Steph” let out a low, barely audible growl. She wanted to hunt. I usually don’t participate in such juvenile activities. I am, after all, a Southern gentleman. However, I was having a bad day, my Blue Devils had been unceremoniously eliminated from the Tournament, and I really, REALLY hate BMWs. So, I gripped the steering wheel and let Steph off of her leash. She let out a roar, dug her rear paws into the asphalt, and locked in on her prey. Propelled forward by her powerful rear legs, it was only a matter of seconds before she had caught up to and overtaken the BMW. “Steph” had eaten her first German, and she had done so without engaging Sport mode. All before reaching the speed limit. It was a good kill.
When I arrived at Hooters Fairfax, it became readily apparent that I had underestimated the overlap between patrons of the performing arts and consumers of chicken wings. Why else would the parking lot be so full? I couldn’t think of a reason. After driving in circles, I finally found a spot right in front of the eatery. As I emerged from my car, I was accosted by a policeman. He being an officer, and I a gentleman, I felt certain we would be able to quickly resolve any misunderstandings.
“You can’t park there, Sir. That’s handicap parking”
“It’s okay; it’s a Jag.”
“Pretty sure that doesn’t matter.”
“Sorry, I meant to say, ‘It’s a Jaguar.’”
“Oh, in that case…No. Unless you have a handicap, you can’t park there.”
“Does color-blindness count?”
“I’m not great at math.”
“I lack of sense of decency.”
“Obviously. Try again.”
“I have no Soul.”
“That’s unfortunate, but still doesn’t qualify.”
“I meant I can’t dance.”
“I can’t sing, either.”
“’And?’. I’m black, and I can neither sing nor dance…”
“While I admit that particular revelation calls into question many of the stereotypes I have come to accept, that still doesn’t rise to the level of handicap.”
“You’ve got enough problems.”
While we were talking a space opened up. After moving, I went inside where I was immediately welcomed…Welcomed to Hooters.
“Are you here to watch the games?”
“My team lost earlier today.”
“Who’s your team?”
“Lemme guess. You hate Duke.”
(Wry smile accompanied by continued silence.) “What can I get you to drink?”
She came back with the sweet tea, and we continued our conversation.
“So, is Kentucky still in the Tournament?”
“Yes, they are.”
“Good. I’m originally from Kentucky.”
Being a Duke fan, I hate Kentucky. Not to the level I hate the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Tar...heels...), but hate nonetheless. She was extremely attractive, however, so I responded as follows, “Really? I’ve always had a healthy respect for the long-standing tradition of the Kentucky Basketball program (other than the period of blatant racism), and have found everyone I’ve met from Kentucky to be incredibly--.”
Jesus: “Sorry. Don’t mean to interrupt, but can you read this for me?” (Hands me a note.)
Jesus: “Great. Just checking. Carry on...”
“So, you’re going to pull for Kentucky now, right?”
“I don’t see white top.”
“I don’t see why not…why not.”
After placing my order, my waitress (Hooters Girl) sat down across from me.
“So, when Duke lost, did you cry?”
“I cried a little…in my face.”
“Where else would you cry?”
“Sometimes, I cry in my pants.”
“I don’t think those are tears.”
“Really? Because I often feel sad afterwards.”
“I don’t think that’s sadness you’re feeling.”
Jesus (leaning over and pointing to my hand): “Read the note.” (Nods.)
When I noticed it was getting close to opening curtain, I paid my check (with tip) and headed on my way. I arrived at the Patriot Center having made great time. I parked “Steph” and walked into the arena.
Upon seeing my ticket, the usher pointed towards my seat and asked if I would like to utilize one of the available oxygen tanks.
“The air gets pretty thin up there,” she offered.
“I got this,” I responded. “You should’ve seen my seats for Timberlake.”
During my trek, my thoughts turned to my impending neighbors. The only thing that concerned me about going to performances alone was not knowing who would be sitting next to me. Who would it be this time? Who would The Fates, in all their dark comedy, see fit to trap me next to? A woman and her crying baby? An inquisitive child asking, “What are they doing?” every five minutes? Sir Shares-A-Lot? Madame Asks-Too-Much? The Space Invader? Mister “Did You See That”? Miss “I first saw Michael…”?
My body tensed with each step as I steeled my nerves and awaited the unveiling. As I approached my seat, I saw a woman. She was gorgeous and, as was I, dressed to impress. She was exquisite. Could this raven-haired beauty really be the one accompanying me on this walk down memory lane, or was it merely a mirage brought on by the thinning air? Upon my arrival, we greeted each other with the requisite pleasantries. Though I didn’t know much about her, I knew that she appreciated performance art, fashion, and Michael Jackson. By her seat location, I also knew that she either liked to do things last-minute or appreciated a good bargain. “This is going to be fun,” I thought to myself. “For, as anyone who really knows me is fully aware, I likes my ladies like I likes my doors, which is to say—“
Jesus: “I got this…If I may.”
“Do go on.”
Jesus (takes a deep breath; exhales slowly): “Revolving, swings both ways, attached…”
(5 minutes later)
“…slightly unhinged, broken, hollow, dead inside…”
(10 minutes in)
”…adoorable…What? I’ve been doing this for 10 minutes straight! They can’t all be winners.”
(takes another cleansing breath): “…affordable, French…”
“…doggie. What?!? It’s a legitimate type of door! Well-oiled, big knockers, red and painted black…”
“Okay, that’s enough. The show’s about to start.”
“I had more.”
“I don’t doubt it.”
The show was amazing! The woman, unfortunately, was married. I don’t know which was more surprising: the fact that she kept talking after telling me she was married or the fact that I kept listening. No matter.
After peeing in a trough with 15 other dudes while 40 others waited behind, I headed back to the car for the trip home. As I sat at the last light before my exit, a black, turbocharged Volkswagen Beetle pulled up next to me. (Volkswagen: Because not all Germans are a*holes.) The driver rolled down the window, pointed to me, then pointed forward. He wanted to race. I was tired, it had been a long day, and I just wanted to get home. “Steph”, however, had gotten a taste for blood.
“What the hell,” I thought. “Girl’s gotta eat, and she do love German…”