Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I was halfway through the semester when I met him. Aside from a couple boring - transcript necessary classes, I was taking an evening Astronomy class taught by a nerdy but sweet and enthusiastic professor, whom you could imagine took on this lowly community college job to supplement his income at a more prestigious college or even a private school for wealthy and uninterested high school students. He wasn't jaded by the system yet, but you could tell he was getting close.
The class was interesting and I was genuinely fascinated by the subject, but I was tired from my 9-5 job and subsequent commute from Santa Monica everyday, not to mention the fact that I was still reveling in my newly legal drinking age so going out to dive bars or dancing all night at soul clubs was a regular weeknight occurrence for me. Then I met the aforementioned him at one of those aforementioned bars, and what little attention I was able to pay in class due to lack of sleep and an already precocious tolerance for anything involving classrooms all but flew out the window.
A few minutes from my school was a bowling alley. It had once been old and seedy - a place where cigarette smoking was still allowed inside and little golf pencils were used to keep score instead of those new-fangled video screens. But with the money the owners had earned allowing the crew of The Big Lebowski to film in their business, they had spruced up the place a bit. Not too much though. Not enough to make the iconic location (to us Coen Brother's fans) unrecognizable.
So we'd meet there after my Astronomy class, me and this new person in my life. I'd fidget with my ring throughout class, which is a habit of mine when I'm nervous. I'd check my make-up a dozen times, turn in my homework on occasion, stare out the window at the stars and wonder if they knew what I knew: that this guy was special, that I had never met anyone like him, that he felt like someone I could know for a long time.
I couldn't wait for class to be over so I could rush over to the bowling alley, order a White Russian from the trod-upon and sick of making them bartendress, and wait at the bar for him to show up. He was always late, which became an issue later in our relationship. Sometimes we'd play a round of pins, other times we'd just put music on the juke box and share a cigarette on the patio (which was really just a caged in square of cement shared by junkies and grizzled old men needing a smoke).
One night we showed up to the normally quiet bowling alley and it was alive with people. They were pulling the bar apart and taking stools and hardware away with them. They ripped signage off the walls in a frenzy of what looked like nervous excitement. The iconic neon stars on the side of the building were long gone. The bowling alley was being shut down, it turned out, having been declared immanent domain by the city, who wanted to build a school in its place. Big Lebowski fans from all over the country were taking what they could. We took a few photos, and held hands as we walked back to our car. A year or two later I moved to San Francisco with him so he could be closer to his daughter. We lasted five years total, almost to the day, and I heartbrokenly moved back to Los Angeles once it did end.
It's been almost three years since then, and I now live a few blocks from that spot where our first dates were spent. It's now a jr. high school, a colorful structure, but it can't replace what once stood there. I point it out to people when we drive by, "that used to be the spot where the bowling alley from The Big Lebowski stood" and I think about how awesome it would be to live a few blocks from a bowling alley - how good I would get at rolling if I had such easy access to the game...maybe I'd even join a league. But it's not going to happen. That structure and the time in my life spent there are both long gone.
Although I didn't deserve it, I got a B in the Astronomy class. I like to think it was due mostly to the fact that my teacher was a nice guy, who could see the stars in my eyes as I stared out the window of his classroom and daydreamed about my future. But really, I'm probably just remembering it wrong.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Anyway, I adore children, as I mentioned before, and they seem to be quite fond of me, but ya know, they tend to be a little annoying once they get older and, Jesus, they sure are fucking LOUD and OBNOXIOUS and EMOTIONALLY DRAINING at times whereas my cat is very sweet and quiet and pretty ignorable when I want him to be. I'm guessing you can't push a kid off the kitchen table when he tries to force his snout* into your cereal bowl, or lock him in the bathroom when he's being particularly attention-whorey and bitey.
*do kids even have snouts???
Add to this the fact that my big sister is pretty much in the same, if not more anti-kids boat that I am, and yeah, this upcoming baby has a lot riding on his/her tiny little baby head. But really, I have a feeling we're going to spoil this kid rotten. I can't fucking wait.
Are you an aunt or an uncle?? Has it changed your life? Or wait, do you have kids???! Advice/tips/warnings greatly appreciated. Tell me everything Dear Readers, lest I drop this baby and break it, and you only have yourselves to blame.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
He would get to class about five minutes late every week, after the rest of the class had settled into their desks, pulled out their notebooks, and were gathering their finished homework to turn in. The teacher, a good looking man probably not older than I am now, would have already started speaking to the class -- maybe calling roll or discussing with another student the reasons he was still not listed on said roll.
Just as the lecture started, this rogue student would open the door to the classroom - in fact, after a few weeks of this, we'd all wait with baited breath for the door to swing open...at least that's how I imagined it. He was large, probably nearing 400 pounds, and his trek to the only available seat - a small table at the very front of the classroom - was like a roll of thunder through an otherwise quiet sky.
I couldn't help but watch, none of us could - the teacher only barely ignoring him with what I imagine was all the restraint he could muster. He fascinated me because he didn't seem to give a shit that he was interrupting the entire class. He just trudged to the desk, which because of the smallness of the converted trailer classroom sat at an angle and almost faced the rest of the classroom, and with great sighs and groans, made himself comfortable.
He never took notes. He never turned in homework, in fact the teacher stopped asking for his assignments a few weeks into the semester. The part that flabbergasted me the most, the thing that still makes me think of him to this day, is the smell of his feet. As soon as he heaved himself into his chair, he'd slip his dinner-plate-sized feet out of his beaten and battered Birkenstocks and the room would fill with the odor of his worn and neglected feet. I'd stare at them for most of hour and a half long class, the lack of ventilation or even a functioning window in the classroom causing the smell not to dissipate, but to strengthen in it all-consuming power.
Please don't think I'm making fun of this man. I was fascinated by him, and saw him as some sort of fallen god whose punishment was to endure a entry-level community college class with us mortals. I wanted to talk to him. I was dying to know where he went everyday after class, what his home looked like, what his career aspirations were and if he knew that he had become this king in our classroom of just-out-of-high-school students who had signed up for Psychology 101 and for the entire semester had been diagnosing themselves with every mental disease in our standard-issue textbook while he held barefooted court over us from the front of the room.
I wonder how'd he feel to know that I think of him and that Psych 101 class every time I get a whiff of stinky feet, over ten years later. I can't help but think that he'd be happy with himself. He just had that aura about him.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Shocking, I know: bloggers sometime lead less than post-worthy lives...or at least the stuff they're unwilling to share on their blogs (see: details about said late nights with sexy bearded gentlemen) are sometimes not post-worthy.
Until I'm ready to dish about my love life, and until there's something regarding the post-Time's excitement worthy of reporting, how about some Friday Faff?! (patented by the lovely Hillary With Two L's)
It's not even that I particularly like fast food, although I have been known to consume a Big Mac with unadulterated glee once in a blue moon, but western bacon cheeseburgers from Carl's Jr. have been like crack to me since I was a skinny little girl. Yes, I feel absolutely ill moments after wolfing one, but oh man, they taste so fucking good.
There was a particularly rainy, unemployed winter spent in San Francisco where I did nothing but eat Cream of Wheat every morning, and watch multiple Tivo'd episodes of this show. It was pure heaven. Just watch the theme song, if you don't believe me.
Cold Case Files - or really, any real-life forensic show (also see: First 48, American Justice). I could watch this shit all day.
Okay, your turn! Tell me your guilty pleasures, my dears.