When I return home to my parents after the California adventure they are relieved that I didn’t die and annoyed that their pain in the ass daughter is back home to add “color” to their quiet retired life.
Dad says, “have you ever thought about joining the military?”
I nearly spit out my coffee. “Dad, do you really think your defiant, war-hating daughter would last longer than five minutes in the military?”
I sleep a lot and watch TV with my parents. It’s not a good depression rx, FYI.
Murder She Wrote is on. Mom says, “I just love that Angela Lansbury. She does such a great job tracking down those murderers.”
Dad says, “For crying out loud Phil it’s just a TV show.”
Hoo boy. I need to get the heck out of dodge.
I go job hunting for a waitress job. I hope for a much better situation than my first and only waitress job up until that point: It’s my first day. I get the orders from the party of ten correct. I bring their food without incident. I grab a pitcher of water and go to refill their glasses. Unbeknownst to me the ice has settled into a giant ice cube. I’m ignorant of this possibility because I have no prior water pitcher experience.
The giant ice cube comes gushing out onto a lady’s plate of saganaki. I’m mortified. In nervous embarassment I say, “guess you’re having soggynaki for supper, hahaha.”
The owner runs over and screams at me in Greek with a few English words like idiot thrown in the mix. I run out of the back door, ending my two hour tenure as a waitress.
I travel to Richmond, Virginia with a friend. I fall in love with the city. The beautiful historic homes, the river, the vibrant music scene. Within a week I find a room to rent and move there.
There’s a zen saying, “Wherever you go there you are.” I say that to someone one time and they reply, “Well duh. Yeah.”
My point is that I’m happy to get out of Williamsburg but I struggle with anxiety. I haven’t successfully google-mapped a route to the location in my head where I can turn down the anxiety button. One reason is because Google Maps doesn’t exist at that point. Even if it did directions through regions of the brain are not an option. “You have arrived to Amygdola.”
I meet my neighbor, Ray. He looks like a character from the movie The Outsiders trying to get his act together.
We immediately connect. I’m as comfortable with Ray as I am soaking in a hot tub on a cool Autum evening.
We’re both broken souls, poor but wealthy in laughter and music and hikes at the river.
Four months later Ray asks me to marry him. I’m thinking, “Whoa. This is moving faster than a Porsche on the German Autobahn.”
I want to say, “Can’t we wait? Why the big hurry? I’m twenty one years old. It’s the legal drinking age not the legal marriage age.”
Instead I say, “Yes.”
I need a lesson on how to say no. It goes like this: “You just say no. The end.”