Uncle Mikey's Falling Out

I pick up my daughter from cosmetology school in the evenings throughout the week. Normally it's a simple matter of leaving my house in time to get to the school and sit in the parking lot long enough to play a few games of Words with Friends while the security guard wonders why his car isn't a cool Dragon Green color like mine.

Tonight, before heading to pick her up, I decided to dust of the treadmill and ease back in to exercising. I had removed all of the clothing from it the night before when I decided that I needed to stop living out of laundry baskets and actually put my clothes away like an adult.

So...I hit the treadmill for about 40 minutes. I walked for 40 minutes. 2 miles. And I felt like I was about to die. Clearly I was doing something right.

That being said, tonight on the way to pick Jen up I was really looking forward to some quiet reflection on how shitty it would have been to stroke out on the treadmill and if there was a 'you just died, lets change the settings on the treadmill to make it look like you were more badass than just a fat man walking'  (I checked...there isn't).

I get there and as I'm pulling in, I see a man walking up the hill with not one, not two, but FOUR 12-packs of Bud Light. Dude was set to throw a hell of a party. And judging from his slightly less than steady gait, I'm guessing he already had started the party.  I see that his path is going to traverse the parking lot. I also see that the normal security guard is no where to be seen.  I pull in and roll up my window. I'm still in the throes of...I just want to reflect on how I got winded just from walking.

Through my side mirror, I see him drop one of the 12-packs on the pavement. Cans go everywhere. Arms are flailing. Muffled expletives coming through my raised window.

The man shuffled toward me, reminding me of Otis from Mayberry...punching the screen of a non-responsive cell phone.

AWWWWWWWW MAN!!! My phone is dead... (looks at me...).My phone is dead.

"That sucks," I say.

Aw. Nope. Wait. Here it comes. It's coming back up.

"Cool," I offer.

Shit. No. It's dead. And I ain't got no way to charge it.  My window is down at this point and I'm conversing with the man whose exhalations are probably over the limit.

You got a charger?

"I don't. That's USB. I have an iPhone. I don't have a charger for that."

Can I...can...you...my phone is dead. You ain't got no charger?

"I have an iPhone. It's a different charger. I have no way to charge your phone. Maybe they have a charger at the gas-station"

Oh. You got an iPhone. Can I use your phone to make a call?

I pull up the phone on the screen on the dash (I figure that it would be easier than him dealing with my phone in his condition. And I'm a little weird about handing out my phone to complete strangers.

He starts reciting numbers that Tommy Tutone may or may not have tried to use in his song. The first one has no answer.  The second one has no answer. The third one, which is really just a variant of the first one gives some code that we're not authorized to make that call.

I got nobody's number. I'm not computer illiterate  (well...actually, yes...you are. But you're also drunk, so I'll let the grammar gaff slide).

At this point he's leaning in my open driver's side window. He gives me another number... Success.

Tay Tay!! (yeah...who dis?)  TAY TAY!  IT'S UNCLE MIKEY. WHERE YO MOM AT?  (she just let for the store)  CAN YOU RUN AND GET HER? I'M STRANDED. I GOT NO RIDE. I NEED HELP. I NEED HER TO GET FISH AND GET ME SOME NUMBERS. I'M USING THIS MAN'S PHONE.  (she went to the store).

This goes on for a few minutes and the little girl (Tay Tay, I'm assuming) hangs up.

Mike tells me that he knows she can call and get numbers because he got her an iPod she can make phone calls on.

He then tells me, between calls, that he and another dude had been drinking (I didn't need an explanation of that, I could definitely tell that part from the fact that I was getting a good buzz every time he breathed out), and he and that dude got in to a fight... 

So I said 'fuck it man! just let me out here.' so we was drinking and then we fell out and now my phone is dead. You want some money?

I waved off his money. I have unlimited minutes and frankly this was getting kind of interesting.
We tried Tay Tay again. She was still having no luck getting her mom on the phone. As Uncle Mikey was leaning in to my car window, the security guard (a different one than the normal one) drives by slow..."Everything OK here?"

Uncle Mikey turns around and tells him the whole story in like 3 sentences (still not quite sure how) and then turns back to me and finishes talking to Tay Tay.

Then pay dirt. He remembered another number and was pretty excited by it. He was even more excited when they answered. So excited that he leaned ALL THE WAY IN TO MY CAR...like hooker trying to get a date lean....in order to talk to the dash (even though the mics were in above the mirror).

FISH?!? FISH?!?  (yeah. who dis?). IT'S MIKEY. I NEED A RIDE. (i ain't got the juice for that). DAMMIT FISH. I PAY YOUR GAS. FUCK. PUT RED ON THE PHONE!! (yo, Red...it's your uncle) RED! (yeah? Who d--) IT'S UNCLE MIKE. THIS NIGGA LEFT ME STRANDED I NEED A RIDE RIGHT NOW...I'LL PAY YOUR GAS, I NEED A RIDE. 

And to his credit, Red was the coolest of the lot. Like Ving Rhames-Pulp Fiction Cool.

(Where you at Mike?). I'M AT THE MORSE CORNER OF MORSE AND WESTERVILLE ROAD AT THE GAS STATION.  (aww. You at the Speedway?) YEAH.  (don't go no further than the Speedway. I'm on my way to get you).  

And then Mike thanks me. Tells me I'm a blessing. Shuffles off to get his beers and goes down the hill to wait for his ride.

At that moment...when the coast is clear and the seemingly crazy (and certainly not sober) man is away, ALL of the students come flooding out to their cars. My daughter gets in and looks like me like "well....so.....what's new?"

I tell her the whole story and she's telling me how it looked from inside the glass (I can only imagine).

And as I'm telling her the story I'm throwing in the bit of "...well of course they don't answer. They don't know MY number. I'll probably be getting calls for days of 'yo...who called me?' and we chuckled about that.

So...funny story....as I'm writing this...I get a call.

From one of the numbers that Uncle Mikey dialed in his quest to get a ride.

Yo. Who is this. Someone from this number called me.

I could tell from his no-nonsense tone that it was Red.

"Oh..well...yeah. That was me. This dude name Mike needed a ride and his phone was dead so I let him use mine..."

And Red's tone softened.... Oh man. That was my Uncle Mike. THANK YOU so much for helping him out. It was cool. Thank you. 

"No problem, glad I could help."

Yeah cool. *click*

Funny thing is...up until that call back, I really wasn't glad I could help. I mean I know I should have been. But to be honest, I was a little annoyed at first. But as I saw this man going through the list of numbers trying to figure out how he was going to get home (with his 48 or so beers no less), I realized something. Maybe the good Samaritan wasn't necessarily good. Maybe he just realized that there's a time to be a dick and a time to not be a dick.

Tonight was not the time to be a dick.

And hearing the relief in Red's voice just now was all the payback I need.

Although, Uncle Mikey could've offered me a beer. I probably would have taken that. Heh. Rock on Uncle Mikey. Rock on.

And here's a pro-tip from AT courtesy of my encounter with Uncle Mikey--keep your emergency numbers on a card in your wallet. If you rely on having numbers on your phone, you're gonna be screwed if you run out of power.  Just sayin'.

Have a good evening my friends!



Wrong Turn At Albequerque

The day was kind of crazy. There was the adrenaline rush of hitting the deadline on a project despite the speedbumps that turned in to mountainous molehills. And then there was the one minor-major crisis that hits as I'm packing up to leave.

An hour later, I'm out the door. The prospect of cooking dinner for one (see what I did there?) seemed to be the wrong ending to the day.

A Dairy Queen burger and some cheese curds, however, seemed right on point. I hit the drive-thru. As I paid what seemed to be too light of a tab, the drive thru waitron mentioned that one of the other employees liked the color of my car (it IS hard to resist Dragon Green).  I asked about the cheese curds and was told that was NOT on my order. I was ready to wave it off when she shouted back to add it to my order while simultaneously reaching her hand out the window to collect the additional fee.   I paid and was told to park, they would bring my order out to me when all was ready.

I did as asked.

A pickup truck pulls in with an older gentleman behind the wheel. I see them in my rear view.

"HEY BUDDY!! DO YOU KNOW HOW TO GET TO SUNBURY ROAD?!?" I hear him shouting over Usher and Lil Jon, yeah.  I look across the street at the young parent looking back and the old man and quickening his pace.  I hear the old man grumble as he pulls in and blocks me in.

HEY.  HOW DO I GET TO SUNBURY ROAD?! Use the GPS on your phone, I thought.

I started to explain it to him as my food was brought to me. Non-plussed he went to his car to get the tablet he had scribbled the address on. "Wait here"  Don't have a choice, there's a Silverado shaped speed bump blocking me in. 

He starts to explain that he needs to get to Sunbury and State. I explain to him that that's a virtual impossibility. I put the address he spouts in my phone. Find out where he's going (my old neighborhood) and I give him the directions.

Slapping me on the forearm, YOU'RE A GOOD MAN BUDDY!! he bellows as he heads back to his truck and speeds off to his banking appointment.  After about 4 minutes of parking lot gymnastics, I'm home eating my burger and thinking, "I think i just ran in to one of the last people on earth who has a cell phone with no GPS." 

I also looked for the thin prick point of a spy ring and hoped to help that I hadn't been drugged or poisoned by some duplicitous former KGB agent with a score to settle (did I mention I've been watching a lot of NCIS lately?).

All is well though.

Godspeed crazy old pickup truck dude, godspeed.



Embracing the Insanity

I hate that I wrote the following lines on Facebook first. That they were not squirreled away in a journal somewhere awaiting just the right moment to emerge from the chrysalis. And yet, that is fully the case--so here goes.

IF someone tells you they are a writer--and they actually are, you must know one thing; they are crazy. And they know that they are crazy. To have the need to create entire worlds from nothingness through blood, sweat, and tears is nothing short of madness.  And yet I know no other way.

This was a text that I originally sent to a friend and fellow writer. It summed up to me the conversation we had recently had.

I followed with this line.

It's what we do. Dance with words. And hope that one day others will hear the tune.

And that's true. I don't write because I want to be published, or on the New York Times best seller, or have one of my novels turned in to a Hollywood mega-hit.

Oh sure, those things would be nice. But that's not why I write.

I write because I am a junkie. I am an addict. I am addicted to the power that comes with the ability to create something from nothing. The ability to pull you along for the ride. The ability to influence your thoughts, your conversation long after you finished reading my words.

I'm addicted to those 4 simple words...."...and then what happened?"

I write to stay one step ahead of the addiction. I write to walk beside the demons that I have seen destroy so many other creative types. While I occasionally rage hard with the demons, they too know that they are merely fulfilling a role in my life.

*UPDATE* A LOT of time has passed since I first started this post. And ironically...a thought came to mind as I was going for a drive this past weekend.

There are some days when I cannot tell if I am running away from my demons or I am running straight in to their arms. Either way, there is a choice. Escape or embrace. There is no in-between.

I don't know a person that doesn't have demons. I think the difference is, us creative types know that that's what they are--demons. Things that we must try on a regular basis to exorcise.

I am close to joining a writing group. I don't know what's going to happen or what that is even going to look like, but I have to think that if anything, it will at least show me the tools necessary to take this writing thing from a hobby to something I can share with the more than 30 people who regularly view my posts.

30 doesn't seem like a big readership, I know.  But I am grateful for every single one of you. Because you know that there are actually stories in my head. Not just bullshit. OK-there is plenty of bullshit in my head, too. But I think (or I would like to think) that they reason you have come back again and again is for one reason...to ask...and then what happened?!?

Have a great evening my friends. I'm off to dreamland.


Failing NaNo - 4 Years and Counting

I looked, Dear Readers, and noted that the last time I saw fit to let the words fall from my brain bucket and onto these virtual pages was o...