My girlfriend, her daughter and some friends were going to a Wedding Shower. What a gyp. No, not that I don’t get to go (that’s a good thing). I’m talking about Wedding Showers. So now you have to pre-gift the lucky couple before you really gift them? Where I come from that’s called double dipping. It’s a scam I am totally against.
What’s next? A Birthday Shower a month before the actual birthday? A Fetus Shower because you’re thinking about having kids? Why not have a Pre-Death Shower where people give you flowers while you lay in a casket? Where does the madness stop?
But this isn’t a story about the nefarious shower industrial complex. It’s a story about one man in search of a smidgen of peace in a house with between three and an ungodly amount of women. I know, at the minimum, my girlfriend, her daughter and her best friend will be in the house when I get there. I don’t know if there will be more but I did hear the dreaded ‘cot’ word bandied about.
But I can’t worry about that. In my mind I have a plan. A simple plan. Most likely a plan destined to fail. But everyone loves a man with a plan. Probably because it rhymes.
I’ve been told that, if I time everything just right, I may not even have to see the overtaking of the house by a bunch of shower crazed lunatics. Oh, you’ve seen these people after a shower. They get that glint in their eye. They’re on the lookout for their shower. The gears spinning in their heads as they concoct other fake showers. The Break-Up Shower. The New Job Shower. The Finally Got Rid Of That Pesky Chlamydia Shower.
We decided to meet at a local bar. That way I can get a handle on the number of guests in a location where, if I so choose, I can escape. Plus its also near the bus station where, I was told, they’d probably be using for their trip back home. They enter after me and I’m glad to see it’s only three. Great. A couple of drinks, the departure time of the bus drawing near, I’m one step closer to my simple plan.
A snag. Of course there was going to be a snag. The girls have decided to stay over one more night and go to the beach in the morning. Hmm, this may even be better for my plan. Oh, another snag. They’re hungry. What is up with that? Every time I see these people they’re always hungry. Do they not eat unless I’m there? What do they think this is? Some kind of Food Shower?
Another snag. Because I didn’t know we had dinner plans (but, honestly, how often am I the last to know?) I’m going to have to stop at an ATM. And where is the first ATM they see? In the parking lot of a dark, tree lined and very poorly lit bank.
And if you remember mere moments ago I mentioned that the bar we were in was situated very close to a bus station. Now I don’t know if you fine folks have had much experience with bus stations but they’re never in the finer neighborhoods of the city. So basically I’m standing with my back to the woods taking money out of a machine. So I’m basically standing in front of a walk up crime spree.
But I survive and they decide to go to a rather nice restaurant. We sit there, four adults, and have a pretty good time despite the fact I remember when these two balloon heads were noxious pre-teens causing havoc and mayhem throughout many dinner times. Oh yes, the human capacity for selective memory is truly one of our most self protective traits.
The waiter had an odd trait of addressing me as ‘Boss’. Which I found rather sexist because he didn’t address the women as CFO or Regional Director or Executive Assistant to the Director of R&D.
I find when people cloyingly repeat themselves I twitch. It’s a situation where I want to react but, because I’m in a nice restaurant, my base impulses have been tamped down by societal norms. But I also know myself. If it goes on to long something will bubble to the surface.
“So, Boss, would you like another beer, Boss?”
“No, Employee, I would not like another beer, Employee.”
Oh boy, the worst thing I can do, in my girlfriends eyes, is make people laugh when I’m being, to her, rude. But my thought is, damn, she should be used to it by now.
The other thing off kilter at the restaurant was when I saw three of the wait staff running. There are only three things that will cause a wait staff to run:
1) the kitchen is on fire
2) they’re being robbed
3) the computer is down and no one knows how to process orders
By the amount of time it took to get our meal I was pretty certain it was number three. That was confirmed when Employee came over to tell us they were having trouble getting orders through the kitchen because of number three. I wanted to help them get over this tragedy. I wanted to tell this highly trained staff in a fairly upscale restaurant to call down the street to the 24 hour breakfast joint and see how they get orders to the kitchen without the aid of a computer.
But, remembering the last glare I received, I stay mum.
We get to the house and I’m told the women are heading to the beach in the morning.
“Have fun.” I say hoping they have fun. But it’s also the first click in the combination that is my plan.
“You don’t want me to get you up?” My girlfriend offers.
“Nope.” I say trundling off to bed rubbing my hands together like a mad scientist so close to the birth of his great idea.
I wake and hear nothing. But I know they are still in their respective rooms. So I lie there, quietly, until the first ses of bare feet slaps upon the floor. Suddenly, in a burst of activity, doors open, zippers slide, breakfast dishes ting. The sounds of an active morn. All the while I remain stock-still.
After some time I finally hear it. The sound of the truck pulling into the street toward the beach. I stay still for a few minutes making sure no one forgot anything. Finally I get out of bed and jump in the shower. My plan is now in full effect.
I get out of the shower, do what one does post-shower then open up my bag fully expecting to see the library book I checked out a couple of days ago. I told you it was a simple plan. Remain in the house by myself with no noise and read a book. But something, of course, went wrong. My book is not in the bag.
I figure she put it in the kitchen. Nope. I start to look around the house. It is nowhere to be found. Damn, I think, she must have left it in the truck. That’s an occurrence I did not plan for. But I make a note of it for future plans.
Disappointed, sure, but I’m resilient. I’m a roll with the punches guy. I look around the house and there are books. Nothing is really popping out at me so I resign myself to making a choice. I grab a beer, go out to the deck and read. Then, not long after, go back into the house because, damn, that sun is hot and, damn, I am white. I can’t walk past a lamp with a sixty watt blub and no shade without getting burned.
Undaunted, well, maybe daunted a little, I sit back on the couch and read. I finish the book so begin another. All in all, it’s been a great day off. Could have been better with the right book. But I’m making the most of it. About half an hour into the second book I’m about to implement the final part of my master plan.
Between the few beers and a couple of books taking that nap was a very easy thing to accomplish on this very good day.
“Is he sleeping?” I hear some undetermined time later. “What’s he doing sleeping?”
I slowly sit up listening to the most noise I’ve heard all day.
“Didn’t you turn on the TV?” I’m asked.
“Nope.” For the life of her she can’t fathom that. “Hey,” I say attempting to revive the day. It may not be the original plan but if I can pound down some pages of my planned book so at least I can pretend complete victory. “Where’s the book I asked you to bring down?”
“I brought it back to the library.”
“The library? I asked you to put it in my bag.”
I thought you said put it in the box.” Box, bag. I can see how that could go wrong. All I can think now is, boy, it’s going to look weird when I check that book out two times in a row. “Are you going to get up? Because we’re hungry. We haven’t eaten all day.”
I swear these people don’t think food exist if I’m not around.