Please, Stand By
Christmas Eve 2020
It hasn’t been 24 hours yet so it’s still ok for me to be fuming because once midnight hits and the ghost of Jacob Marley arrives in my boudoir along with the ghosts of however many other ex fling-a-boo’s, I have to be ready. Prepared. Armed to the teeth.
It’s been four months since Jason’s been, you know… In the ground. I haven’t gone out on any dates.
(Going to the biker campground with Schmitty in his carbon-monoxide steeped pick-up does not count as a date, even though I drove that hunk of junk into the compound past county sheriffs desperately trying some artful and hilarious diversion tactics, because Schmitty was scared due to his expired registration, and the “HOGOROSA CANCELLED” sign flashing on the Thruway. But then Schmitty abandoned me for biker crank, and I was left cold and alone in my freezing tent, which I dubbed “Camp X Ray,” and screamed into the soulless air: “I’m alone! I’m abandoned! I’m alone and abandoned!” until an LL Bean-catalog older guy built me a campfire).
I’ve unplugged from Jason’s cronies. I’ve found solace in solitude.
That is, until Rusty, my ex-boyfriend from the grindcore band, reappeared back into my life. Again.
It’s not what you think. His bandmate died. Of Covid. So of course I went to the memorial at Lombardo Funeral Home, stood around with Rusty and The Growler (swoon), and some other guy who happened to be there in a satanic/celestial printed mask and somewhat of a Tony Hawk: Pro Skater vibe about him that I couldn’t quite trace.
The very next day, I already had a friend request from him, and why I actually clicked it and looked at his profile I really couldn’t tell you, other than I remembered him from the night before. I never saw him with his mask off, reader. But I was physically attracted… a modern phenomenon indeed.
“Are you the same guy from [Redacted]’s Memorial last nite?” I send via Messenger.
“Yes,” Dan says, a totally easy to remember name, thank God. “I was going to message you and say you looked familiar, like we had totally met before, maybe at the Mohawk…”
So of course I tell him about my DJ gig, the “Mid-Life Crisis Happy Hour.”
“I have, like, a page that you can, you know. Like.”
“Oh that’s awesome, yeah, I would love to get together sometime,” Dan says. And he sends me his phone number. Old Skool.
And I go into detail about how I’m suffering corneal infiltration from the ill-fitting contact lens in my left eye, that I look like Quasimodo, but giddily declare that I just need a week with my Rx drops and then I’d love to.
“Either on Friday, totally we can go to Canal Club 52, I know the bartender, but might have something to attend to, but if not, on sunday we could do the ny beer project so I could get us a reservation on sunday,” Dan is texting me like a werewolf who hasn’t had sex in awhile. “After six.”
“Yes, dinner would be lovely,” I return the favor, electronically, vaguely, with a few romance-tinged emojis to punctuate the declaration, “I miss going out to dinner.”
And then the sentence that was to be the nail in my coffin, dear reader.
“Either night would be fine with me.”
So up until then, of course we do the usual texting all-the-time thing, and I engage in some harmless Facebook stalking. Turns out, Dan’s street nickname is actually “Chopper” Dan since he builds custom motorcycles, and looks to have a pretty huge group of biker homies, and without his mask on he looks pretty good, although way older than me. But I’m into his ‘look.’ I hate to admit this but he definitely looks like an older version of Billy. (Billy! Shout out to Billy, who’s probably reading this right now. How the hell are YOU holding up?)
So on that fateful Sunday night, a mild, star-filled night brewing with potential, I uncharacteristically allow Chopper Dan to pick me up. But only because, in a strange twist, Dan lives in my neighborhood, across the street from Jason’s grave and on the next street over from Schmitty himself. And we are heading all the way out to Lockport.
When Dan texts me that he’s “here,” I find him at my front door. Yep, old skool.
“Hey there,” I say. His hair is slicked back and he’s definitely, sniff sniff, wearing cologne. I climb into his giant truck clad in a leather minidress with vertical zipper, opaque stockings and my chunky platform boots with the grommets.
“It’s so crazy how we were in the same movie,” I tell him. Yes, not only did I get a hot date following the Metal Memorial of Rusty’s bandmate, I was cast in the role of “Lucifer’s Secretary” by the guy with the webzine! Apparently I have the look they needed, not to mention a job at a law firm. And last minute, Dan was asked to be an extra because his friend owns the bar where they filmed earlier that day! “A total coincidence to be sure.”
So we cruise up to Lockport, and I’m totally at ease. I mean, all of l these coincidences must mean Dan and I are meant to be.
“So, what else did you do today?” I remember Dan said he’d be free “after six,” so I figured he was with his son, who is a teen, and I figured they were out and about doing “manly things.”
“Oh, hm, nothing really.”
We arrive at the restaurant, and finally Dan shuts off the Godsmack emanating from the speaker (wtf?) that I’ve chosen to ignore. And it turns out to be a pretty decent evening. Perhaps this was due to the 10 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants, making dates conveniently short these days, and infusing them with an easy vibe of having zero expectations whatsoever. So far…Over our shared appetizer of boom boom shrimp, Dan admitted something shocking. Something I reached out to my gal pal Robin, who just moved back to LA, about.
“He told me…Well, he told me he’s never read a book.”
“I mean, he said the last book he finished was Dr. Seuss in childhood…”
“He’s got to be fucking with me,” I’m staring up at the cracks on the ceiling of my room.
“Don’t sell yourself short!”
And I knew right then and there, Dan would become the subject of an eventual blog. Since he would never read it and all. But in less than a week’s time…well, even I was surprised by the quick expiration date.
The next day as I’m exiting the good old Main Court Building and trudging towards my car, Dan and I have fallen into a little texting tete-a-tete about you know, this and that. Being Monday and the fact I’m fatigued from being out the previous night, I figure tonight will be a night for chillin’ solo, putting my room back together, which is in shambles…All the usual post-weekend stuff.
“Hey, want to watch the CKY livestream with me next week?” I ask him, more to gauge his interest, and see whether or not I scared him.
“CKY, I’m not familiar with them, i guess it would depend on what I had going on that day,” he says. “I was thinking of driving around Hamburg and checking out the light display at the Fairgrounds today or tomorrow, would you be interested?”
Shambles be damned! I guess Dan is smitten.
“I’d love to,” I reply, “But I really need to track down a picture frame for my boss’s gift. We are exchanging Wednesday.”
“well, I have some things to pick up for myself. I’ll go with you. We can go to Hobby Lobby. I have a coupon.”
“Hobby Lobby? Don’t they, like, have something against birth control?”
“Oh, geez, I don’t know anything about that.”
“Yeah pretty sure it was a scandal, uh, I swear I’m not a radical…Um, sure, I guess we can go there.”
Yep, the old two-days-in a row means pretty soon I’ll be walking down the aisle like Stephanie Seymour towards Axl in the “November Rain” video, I mean…is there a better confirmation that he’s, like, totally into you than the infamous Two Days in a Row?
As we are about to enter The Dockside, conveniently located on the Erie/Niagara County borderline, post-Hobby Lobby, I link my arm around Dan’s. We walk several steps… Then I take it away. Just checking to see if we have…chemistry.
We decide to split the poutine, and Dan orders me a pinot, along with his drink of choice…sweet n’ spicy sangria. What? He is comfortable with his masculinity, okay. And he has a reliable vehicle, so I will never have to be “DD” again!
“Did you once have red hair?” Dan shows me a picture of my Albright Knox ID from 2012 from my Facebook page. “Is that your natural color?”
“No, definitely not.”
“Also, you had curly hair in a picture that I liked.”
He shows me a selfie, a recent profile picture.
“Oh that, those are beach waves.”
Dan might be insinuating how he wants me to wear my hair…
I don’t know if it was the wine, or the simple luxury of going out to eat, inside, with a guy who owns a reliable vehicle – but either way I wasn’t phased by much. I was willing to overlook anything. Anything.
“Have you seen Monster Garage, with that guy Jesse James? I think he’s cool but he must be a total dick. I mean, divorced like, five times? Marrying Sandra Bullock? I mean, why? She’s really not sexy…He is clearly some kind of gold digger…” I continue to carry on about Jesse James for like, five minutes.
“Jesse James yeah, we hung out,” Dan shows me a picture of them together with Jesse’s most recent ex-wife, the Paul Mitchell heiress. “They were down in Daytona for Bike Week.”
“No WAY!” Dan looks pleased with himself. “Sorry, I mean I never met the guy. I’m sure he’s very nice in person.”
“His porn star ex went totally psycho,” he says. “Smashed everything.”
“Well – he probably drove her to it, let’s be honest.”
As the night grows dangerously close to 10 p.m., closing time, Dan picks up the check. I offered to pay last night, and he looked insulted and said, “You really think I’d invite you to dinner and want you to pay?”
So this time I don’t offer. We head to Dan’s truck.
“Joint?” I hold it up under the passenger seat overhead light. Dan didn’t even see me roll it, as I should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for being able to roll joints in the blink of an eye.
“What? Oh, I’ve never smoked weed in my life.”
“Plus it would stink up my whole truck.”
And so, I leaned in and gave him a little kiss instead. No tongue. It was quite chaste. I have an oral fixation, what can I say.
And so – alas! This blog won’t conclude with Happily Ever After. I mean, does it ever?
On Christmas Eve Eve, I would not have been opposed to one of Dan’s random invitations, since finally I didn’t have to work the next day, or all weekend. But reader, that didn’t happen. I got a super long text at 4 p.m., sure, but…
“Hey i have been super busy all day, i tried to get us a reservation but couldn’t so i will have to get back to you after the holidays.” And then a smile face.
At first I was like, “ok, cool, do you watch true blood?”
“A little,” he says, before ghosting me the rest of the night.
Wow, really. I have been placed on standby.
So I said, “I really don’t know why you need to get back to me…For what?” I mean, he didn’t even know what I had planned that night, or any other. He will probably pop up and ask me to help organize his garage, or something. So I said, “You can just leave me alone.” Dramatic, yes. “Have fun at Hobby Lobby.” Ok, so a tad immature. But I feel like he was taunting me with that Hobby Lobby business. If anyone has a Planned Parenthood connection, I know someone who needs as much educational literature mailed to his house as possible.
Yes, like Janis Joplin once said, “I am a wild airplane…And have been placed on standby.” Actually she never said that. But that’s me alright, a renegade airplane, crashing and burning, or at least lost somewhere near the Bermuda Triangle. And that’s ok. Because in the end I can’t date someone who’s never read a book, or Playboy or Hustler for the articles, and who isn’t 420 friendly, I mean…Seems like kind of a bland existence.
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