Sweet Pie and French Fries Part 2 – Nuggets

There was an interminable pause.

Had T-Mobile’s spotty beachfront reception sandbagged me yet again? Or perhaps saved me from an embarrassing calamity?

It was a really good first date. The kind where you actually have fun. Where you maybe drink a little too much, but somehow don’t make a total ass of yourself. The kind where you decide early on, I’d better behave myself, and for the most part, you stick to that. She laughs at your jokes, you roll a decent bowling score, and at the end of the night, after you let her know you’re about to leave town for a week, she lets you plant a kiss, right on her… cheek. And after she drives away, and you hop in your ’02 Prius, you sit there thinking, I want more.

Then you drive home thinking, I want more.

You get in bed, and then lay awake thinking, I want more.

And then, I woke up with a crazy idea. So grabbed the phone and called her.

“Hello?” She sounds – what? Surprised? Unsure? Weirded out? Shit. NEVER call the next day, let alone the next morning, LET ALONE before 7 am on a Saturday! SHIT!

“Hey, it’s me – sorry, did I wake you?”

“It’s okay, I needed to get up.”

Liar! “Cool. Well, listen, I had a really good time last night-“

“Me too,” she chimed nonchalantly. But did I detect the whiff of excitement in her undertone?

“Good, good. Um…” I was stalling. Was I really going to go against everything I’d learned reading Neil Strauss? “So you know how I’ve got this trip up north today?”

“You might have mentioned it one or twenty times last night, yeah – how drunk were you?”

Shit. “Not very, but maybe a little… I don’t know; I was nervous.” ‘I was nervous?’ Did I seriously just tell her I WAS NERVOUS. Pack it in Rookie, you’re headed back to the locker room.

“Could have fooled me,” she proffered the words like a carrot dangling in front of a jackass.

Okay, here goes nothing: “I don’t know what you’ve got going today, but how’d you like to take a ride with me?”

There was an interminable pause.

Had T-Mobile’s spotty beachfront reception sandbagged me yet again? Or perhaps saved me from an embarrassing calamity?

“Hello?”

She was still there. “TO SAN FRANCISCO???”

Uh oh. “Yeah. I mean, just for the night, and I’ll fly you back tomorrow, so you’ll be back in time for…”

“Work,” she finished for me. “I have work. Tomorrow’s Monday.”

I scrambled, frantically clicking through Virgin America’s website to find an acceptably priced one-way fare. Lucky for me, the early morning flights were still open and cheap. “No problem. We can be there by 4 or 5, have the evening, get a good night’s sleep, and I’ll drive you to the airport in the morning. There’s 6 am flight, you’ll be in Burbank by 7.”

Another long, breathy moment passed by. Then she asked me a question I didn’t expect: “What’s your mother’s Maiden Name?”

Now there was a question I knew better than to answer.

“Cohen.” What the fuck?!

“Social security number?”

Okay, she caught me off-guard with mom’s name, but no way I’m going to give her my— “Four-one-two-oh-seven-oh-nine-three-eight.” SHIT!! What kind of Jedi mind-shit is she pulling on me?

In 60 seconds she pumped me for enough information to take out a mortgage, enlist in the Marines, or have me declared dead. Then she told me to, “Hang on – I’ll call you back in thirty minutes.”

My plan was coming off the wheels. I had hoped for a little more time with this girl, some company for the ride up to San Fran, and maybe a little action on my friends’ couch if everything went well. Now I was sweating bullets, packing my bags and debating whether to call Equifax to put a freeze on my entire Identity. Despite my frequent check of the clock, my mind insisted that hours were flying by, yet a mere 29 minutes later, my phone buzzed. I answered before it had the opportunity to let out an audible ring.

Be COOL. “Hey!” You sound like a tool.

“I checked you out, and gave all of your information to my roommate and also to my mom. They know I’m coming back in the morning.”

“Cool.” Yeah, that sounded real cool. “I already bought your ticket.” That actually did sound pretty cool. “Get packed. I’ll pick you up in an hour.”

“Great, see you then. I’m texting you my address. Bye.”

HO-LY-SHIT. Did that actually work? Is this really happening? Am I taking a girl on a date to San Francisco and then flying her home the next day like I’m Richard Gere in ‘Pretty Woman?’

I bought the ticket. I finished packing. I showered, brushed my teeth, ate cereal, brushed again… I hit the road.

 

She was waiting on the front steps when I pulled up, wearing a tight t-shirt, jeans, and backpack. She looked even better in the light of day, as she bounded down the steps, her long blonde ponytail bouncing behind her. My trance broke in time for me to pop out of the car and open her door. But first, the obligatory guy-and-girl-who-aren’t-kissing-yet hug.

We hit the road.

We plowed through the small talk… quickly.

Before the Ventura County Line, we grow quiet.

We drive in silence, letting the radio do the talking for us.

What the hell have I done?? We’ve got 4 and a half more hours and nothing to say to each other? DAMMIT!

She glanced over at me, wearing a smirking smile that was impossible to read, but my frantic mind only saw the worst. She knows I am full of shit. She knows everything. And then I started talking, and no matter what I said or thought, I just couldn’t stop myself. I started telling her everything. My divorce, my parents, my past, my truths, my lies – it all just poured out of my mouth like floodwaters through a broken dam. And when the floodwaters finally ran dry, we fell into another silence. I drove on, like the survivor of some disaster, still reeling from the devastation, knowing I would have to eventually pick up the pieces and rebuild… or move on.

Then she spoke. “Are you hungry? There’s a rest stop.”

I could barely nod my agreement, so I flipped on the turn-signal to acknowledge her request, and pulled into the first open parking lot: a Wendy’s. I hate Wendy’s. But I was so desperate for the distraction, I would have eaten a Double Baconator and Fries just to plug up my blabbing mouth. Fortunately, we opted to split some chicken nuggets, and she insisted that I let her pay.

As we sat there in that roadside stomach fill-up station, taking turns dipping crispy nuggets and sipping Dr. Pepper, somehow the conversation continued.

“Why did you tell me all that stuff?” she asked me kindly, but bluntly.

I struggled to find an answer that would let me keep a shred of status, but when nothing came to mind, I resorted back to the truth. “I don’t know. I just really like you, and I wanted to start out on the right foot. I want you to know the truth about me.”

She slowly chewed her nugget and stared at me from her sea-blue eyes, sizing me up. It seemed like she was making a decision, but what? Finally she responded, “Okay.” She gathered our trash. “Should we keep going?”

We did. We kept going to San Francisco.

the Habitation Game – Book Synopsis

Were you hoping to read something from me today? Well, I really hoped you were because I realized I haven’t released my book synopsis to everyone yet! What better way to do that, than right here on the blog?! I hope you enjoy it and are ready to read this bad boy soon! 

Xo, Jaime                                                                                                                                                         

the Habitation Game by J Parker Sticklethe Habitation Game – Book Synopsis

Emily sits, staring at the clock on her computer screen, counting down the minutes until she can leave for the day while musing on how she ended up working for Corporate America. Little did she realize the worst part of her day was yet to come when happy hour obligations put her front and center with the woman who would put the word dead, into Emily’s dead-end job.

As Emily recounts 30-years of roommate relationships, some worse than others – like the time she lived with a nudist, whom she suspects was also a Nazi; to the times she unwittingly allowed an alcoholic, a drug dealer, and a couple of mobsters’ kids to live with her. Nothing could have prepared her, though, for Adeline.

Not only did Adeline manipulate Emily into living with her, but she also moved in with a secret boyfriend and an oppressive personality disorder. The worst part – Emily and Adeline work only three desks away from each other.

As anxiety begins to knot and twist around Emily’s stomach, the fear that she’s made a grave mistake by moving in with Adeline is validated when Adeline’s mood swings start to manifest themselves and secrets of her own past roommates are revealed. At least that’s how Emily sees it when Adeline starts to communicate with Emily using a butcher’s knife instead of a Post-it note.

As Adeline continues to mind-fuck Emily, she is unaware that she is playing with fire. After years of living with crazy people, and months of putting up with Adeline, Emily may have the motive to strike back.

Book coming! 2018! Woohoo! Make sure to follow me here or on Instagram for updates!

Sweet Pie and French Fries

He picked me up an hour later in his first generation Toyota Prius. I’d never seen the first generation of Prius.

On our second date my husband and I went on a six-hour road trip together. I knew very little about him, except that he was dreamy, funny, and that I was infatuated with him. Oh, and that he had to drive six-hours to San Francisco to meet up with a group of friends to go camping at a Phish show – which, at the time, I didn’t understand what that meant. Phish? Who? Camping? What? Jam-band something or other.

After a successful first date of bowling and then late-night fresh, very sweet, blueberry pie with a slightly burnt buttery crust and a giant plate of salty hot french fries (since sweet and salty ARE the best combo) from the all-night diner, I knew I wanted to see him again and again and again. He really sealed the deal when he kissed me goodnight, confidently, on the cheek.

When he called me the next morning, early, on a Saturday and requested a second date immediately I felt giddy and eager. When he said he wanted me to drive with him to San Francisco, stay the night and then he’d fly me home the next night, I said “no, I’m not going to sleep with you, I barely know you.”

He laughed. “I don’t want to sleep with you either. Well, I mean not on this date. We’ll be staying with a bunch of people, sleeping on the floor, but I promise you a great time.” He was just so damn charming.

He gave me 30-minutes to accept his invitation, so I took his social security number, mother’s maiden name, driver’s license information, and more. I called three friends and gave them the list of information. I did a quick criminal record check and stalked his social media for any red flags. At the 29-minute mark I called him back and said, “Okay! But remember, I’m not having sex with you.”

He picked me up an hour later in his first generation Toyota Prius. I’d never seen the first generation of Prius. On our first date we had met at the Bowling Alley, because I’ve learned from past dating experiences that giving a first date your address can be an annoying, regretful, and sometimes frightening experience, and I had driven us to the diner and back. His Prius made me giggle. It was tiny, and round like the cars the clowns drive in the circus. And he’s six feet tall, broad shouldered with big hair, and a bigger personality. To be honest, that car matched him perfectly.

We commenced with the flirtatious small talk:

You look great!

I had a lot of fun last night.

You were hilarious.

What do you mean, ‘you won bowling?’ I clearly won.

You get the idea. Then we were both silent, for a really long time, and it was awkward. We were driving on the I-5 North and the landscape was dry and barren in the August heat. Brown hillsides, power lines, and debris crowded the horizon. street-238458_640 There was a heavy, thick dust that skewed my peripheral vision, forcing me to constantly turn my head to the right, like I had a tick or was trying to avoid looking at my co-pilot.

When it didn’t seem there could be another second of the silence, which had stretched nearly ten-minutes now, he stole a glance in my direction, and with profound gravity said, “I like you.”

“I like you too,” I grinned from ear to ear.

“Before we can go any further with this, I have to tell you some things. I want to start this relationship off without any lies,” he continued seriously.

My mind raced. I started to think worst-case scenarios: Is he kidnapping me? Is he already dating someone – am I the other woman? Is he going to kill me? Did he just break-up with someone? Is he going to leave me stranded in San Fran? Was he going to try and sleep with me? Where was my Woman’s Intuition? Why wasn’t my gut talking to me?

“My dad died six-weeks ago,” he said. And before I could recover from this news and my thoughts that followed, he continued, “and I’m divorced. I was married to my college girlfriend. I haven’t dated anyone seriously since then. I used to be a pathological liar. I told my mom for a long time I was gay. And I’m leaving on a cruise ship for a five-month contract in six-weeks.”

It was so much information. I wasn’t sure what he wanted me to do with all of it. It was our second date. Where do I start?

“You were married? But you’re so young!”

“Yeah, we made a youthful mistake.”

“I’m so sorry about your dad, are you okay?”

“Not really. But yeah.”

“So you leave in six-weeks, huh?”

“Yup. For five months.”

“Hey, there’s a sign for a rest stop, are you hungry?” I was out of questions at the moment and needed an excuse not to talk – food.

So we got off. We were about an hour outside of Los Angeles. I contemplated going home. We ordered some Wendy’s fries and a Frosty each and we sat, staring at each other in silence until we both started laughing. We couldn’t stop laughing.

“Why did you tell me all that stuff like that?”

“Because I want to be nothing but honest with you. I like you.”

I believed him. I liked him too.

To Be Continued…

P.S. Leave me a comment below! You don’t need to leave your email address, promise, I’ll never spam you! Let me hear your story or thoughts! Xo

Fluff

I sit adjacent to her long, sinewy arm, our legs brushing against each other’s by force of proximity, and I stare into her piercing, icy blue eyes – I’m not going to back down this time. Her character assassination, though disguised as a general opinion of sorts is nothing more than her own insecurity of self worth and value.

“A writer isn’t much more than fluff for entertainment. Anyone can write about anything, it doesn’t take any sort of talent, or skill… you don’t even need an education. It’s not a profession,” I felt her words bunch up my guts like red meat: tough to swallow, hard to chew, regretful.

I smiled in spite of myself, favoring the approach of niceness and I questioned her, “do you read? Books? Fiction? Creative non-fiction? Do you? Any of the great works of literature past or present?”

She stares at me, a smirk passing over her lips that make her eyes dance a little in the light. It’s her tell. I know she’s going to come at me swinging. I’m ready to take a blow, as I see her thoughts passing through her expression. What would she say to cause me injury? Is she so eager to make another hit so early in the conversation?

“No. I suppose I haven’t and I don’t care to. My schedule doesn’t permit the luxury of books. I’m in the business of making money. I suppose that may be an excuse and I could make the time if I thought it were important, but I don’t. Don’t misunderstand me – I don’t think books are important.” She giggles and picks up her wine. I think she may have had enough. Drinking makes her bold and unfiltered and while that can be charming on some it is not the case with Lily.

flowers-2067604_640Lily is an aging beauty. I make-up her past based on stories and photographs. A woman that men adored for her physical attributes and exotic accent, but Lily chose to live life on her own. Her life has been ruled by her fears and anxieties. It feels like a great loss to me. She could have been so much more, a soldier in the fight for humanity, the arts, feminists. She could have been a source of inspiration, but instead she’s a tale of warning.

“We aren’t learning anything new in this conversation, so we should just stop talking about it,” Lily offers as I am distracted by thoughts of who I wish she were.

“Okay,” I too easily agree, regret even, but I know better than to push for more. I know I won’t change her mind, or prove her wrong, but I wish I could point out the masters of the trade and what makes them great. I wish I could find the words that would sway her and make her understand why the world needs writers… my mouth is opening to speak —

It’s too late.

I’ve lost her to other interests. Lily rises from the table, and is moving onto a discussion regarding the inadequacies of individuals that work from home, “a luxury afforded to less ambitious people,” she determines.

I look at her wishing the conversation had not taken place.

I think less of Lily when she makes remarks like this.

I glance at her with a weak smile.

She silently smiles back, her eyes twinkle. I can see she wants to spar.

I decide to go to bed.

I know tomorrow will produce more of the same logic from Lily and I want to point out to her that The Grapes Of Wrath is critical to our country’s history, and how James Baldwin makes us cry as a nation and the influence Ayn Rand has had on politics or Orwell – how can she live in the dark not even considering what these authors left us with?

Not a reader, that’s fine, but to criticize writing as a “lackey’s ambition” is too far. I’m sweating under the covers unable to sleep or calm myself. My frustration turning into anxiety, I reach for my Kindle and pull up a book and I begin to read. My heart rate slows as I lose myself in the beautifully crafted prose of Sedaris. Laughing at the humor of ignorance – or, arrogance? I know I will not change Lily’s mind, but I can write about it here on this page and feel safe knowing she’ll never read what I wrote about her…

On Account of Ghosts

By Michael Chrobak (Guest Author)

There are times when life moves in such a way that it becomes impossible to deny there’s a higher power. Relationships that come at the exact time you need them, or resources to help complete a project you thought might be dead. We’ve all had them. You take a wrong turn while driving in a strange city, and you end of finding the best jazz club you’ve ever been to. Call it a predestined moment, or divine guidance, or just old-fashioned good luck, but it’s clear something outside of ourselves had to be involved. That’s how I came to live where I do now; in a beautiful, loving home; with a ghost.

Let’s go back fifteen years. I was married (still am) with four kids (two of which I shared custody of), all trying to co-exist in a 1400 square foot house. There was barely enough room for our furniture, let alone ourselves. Then, I became a Realtor, and my income jumped. This was during the years when a blind monkey with one arm could find success as a Realtor in the super-hot California market.  I did better than most. After a year or two helping other people move into nice, new homes with lots of extra space, I decided it was time to do so as well. So, I started looking. (It was kind of hard not to be looking, since looking at houses was my job.)

I found a house that seemed absolutely too good to be true. For one, it was quite a bit larger; over 1,000 square feet larger, actually. It had an incredible backyard, and was in a very quiet neighborhood, too. I went to look at it, and immediately fell in love. I told the owner to let his agent know I was submitting an offer, then I went and got my wife and kids so we could all see it. She loved it as much as I did. It was the house we had been dreaming of and one we knew we might never leave.

I went back to the office and called the agent. That’s when he told me there was a ‘mistake’. The price listed was $100,000 under what they were really asking. He says it was a typo, I think it was a brilliant marketing scheme. I wouldn’t have even looked at it at the higher price, thinking it was out of my price range – way out. But, by that time, my wife and I were too much in love with it to pass it up, so we went for it. And, using some creative financing (not illegal!!) we got it.

It was about 4 or 5 months after we moved in that I first felt it – the ghost, that is. I was on the couch watching TV when I caught something out of the corner of my eye, and I felt a chill down my spine. There was nothing there…nothing visible, anyway. But I could tell it was there all the same. I didn’t feel afraid, or worried, just a little curious. “Where did the ghost come from?” “Whose ghost is it?” “What does it want?” I never got the answers to those, and I never talked to anyone about it…not even my wife.

Over the course of time, that ‘something is there’ feeling continued to happen, over and over again. And then, pardon the phrase, but shit got real. No, blood didn’t start seeping out of our walls, nor did my daughter’s baby dolls start chasing us with a butcher’s knife. What did happen was worse. Our appliances started breaking down.

The a/c went out, and we replaced it. The stove went out, we replaced it. The dishwasher, water heater, garage door opener, you name it, we’ve replaced it, or repaired it, or both. Blenders, hair dryers, electric shavers, televisions, computers, anything with power was at risk. Either our ghost doesn’t like technology, or it just didn’t like our bank account. I’m not sure which. Fifteen years we’ve lived here, and we’ve replaced every appliance at least twice, and repaired them multiple times in between. And the repairs have always been the kind where the maintenance guy says, “I’ve never seen a (enter appliance here) do that!” Lucky us! We not only have an appliance killing ghost, but a creative one at that.

This year alone we’ve had two repairs on the dishwasher, two on the oven, bought a new fridge, replaced the furnace and the a/c, have burned out three (yes – 3) blenders, 2 immersion blenders, a food processor, and at least one cell phone. This year has definitely been the worst year so far, and though I’ve never done anything about it before – don’t want to upset the ghost, right? – I intend to find out whose ghost this is, track down whatever relatives they have left behind, and hand them a list of all the items I want reimbursed. I have all the receipts saved in my banking software, in a folder entitled, On Account of Ghosts.

headshotMichael Chrobak has been involved in working with Youth and Youth Ministry programs since he was a teen himself; a long, long time ago. He has held the position of Director of Religious Education and Youth Minister for St. Bonaventure’s Parish in Concord, CA, and also as Youth Minister for St. Michael’s Parish in Livermore, CA. He has survived raising four children of his own and now lives in Oakley, CA where he continues to stay involved in Youth Ministry through his blogs and books.

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I’ve Been Too Busy To Write, Because I’ve Been Busy Writing

Yeah, I know how it sounds, but it’s true. I can’t think of a better way to have been too busy for my blog… except for my two-year-old. He keeps me happily busy as well. Our daily conversations start a little like this:

Me: Jack, I love you so much I could eat you.

Jack: I love you too, mommy.

Who taught him grammar at two? Hopefully Jason and I, but maybe he’s just a gifted toddler, that’s what I’m supposed to say – I’m his mother.

I digress. I’ve had so many things to talk about and as I sit here to recount them, I am left mindlessly wondering, what was I going to say? I feel like that happens a lot. Probably to everyone, but I’m just not used to it.

I have a few writing gigs at the moment and one of them is a total stressor, but it shouldn’t be. I won’t tell you which one, because that’s not the point. What I will tell you is that it reminds me of my first day at McDonalds. I was 15-years-old and had been working since I was maybe ten or eleven. That’s right. I grew up in a large family and there wasn’t a lot of money to go around. If you wanted something you had to figure out how to get it. You also were expected to work. So my career life started early. Sure I babysat, became a junior camp counselor, I had an enormous paper route, I was a grocery store bagger, then cashier, and one summer I got a job at McDonalds, because my friend worked there. What was I thinking? I was thrown on the drive-thru my first day and I couldn’t understand a thing anyone was ordering. It felt like I was watching an old Charlie Brown movie, everyone sounded like quacking ducks. Not to mention I had no clue how to punch in the orders. All the keys were unnecessarily abbreviated on the register. How does 2X equal Big Mac? My brain just wasn’t equipped for it. After getting every order wrong for an hour, they put me on Bun Toasting duty where I immediately set-off the smoke alarms and burned my finger. After which, I was sent home for the day. They didn’t fire me. I wanted them to fire me so I wouldn’t have to keep going back every day and embarrassing myself at a job I couldn’t do. And let me be clear, I never got any better working there. They put me on the fryer, they put me at the front registers, they put me on the griddle, they put me on janitorial duty and I failed at everything. Lets not get into why I sucked at the job any further, but rather why didn’t I quit? It wasn’t an option. I would have had to beg my parents for permission to quit, and that gave me even more anxiety. Which is a bad lesson to learn.

Now I find myself in a similar situation in that I have a job I can’t quit, and I don’t think I’m any good at it, and it’s definitely stressing me out. I have anxiety just thinking about it. What’s the worse that will happen? I’ll be let go, I’ll quit, it’s not a big deal, but somehow I’ve turned it into a mountain of an issue. I found it hard to even relax while on a five-day vacation in Maui! That’s right. I was a mess the whole time. And I know I’m not alone in this. Why do we do this to ourselves?

And when do we get to an age where we can just relax a little. Let the 20-somethings stress, we’ve paid our dues, let us be calm before we get old.

I’ll survive the job, or I’ll leave on good terms, or they’ll let me go – no hard feelings. That’s the absolute worse that can happen. Until then I’m going to just breathe through it and keep plugging away at the rest of life. Living it, not letting any one thing consume me. I will keep working toward finding balance and I will promise to write more blog posts. Let’s see if I can manage to get one up this weekend, too!

The Neighborhood RV

It all started on Friday. Well, that’s when I noticed. I thought little of it at first, but vowed to keep my eye on it: a blue-striped Tioga, circa 1990, sans rust (thank G-d) RV. I found it parked across the street in front of my house, this utter eyesore in my otherwise epic, urban, nirvana of a neighborhood. A neighborhood caught between two worlds, mine and it’s Latin American heritage.

I start texting neighbors:

“Do you have friends visiting in an RV?”

No.

No.

No.

No.

No.

I panicked because the part of life I was witnessing from a small distance away had now arrived on my quiet, clean, insolated, cul-de-sac: the community’s displaced residence who live in RVs.

NOOOOOOOOOO!

Inside I screamed. Then I went to my cupboard and pulled out my new, unchipped, clean Ikea bowl, a bag of organic chia seeds from Trader Joes, a tub of greek yogurt, a 5lb bag of oatmeal from Costco, Grade A real maple syrup, and pecans and I made some delicious overnight oats for the next morning.

Then I sat down at my MacBook Air laptop, took a swig of my electrolyte water, and watched the RV from my beautiful Craftsman windows, parked just past my legit landscaped front yard that’s filled with fruit trees, succulents, and dog poop, in the house I own.

New construction has upped the value of real estate in my once sleepy town. Not to mention a million national articles in publications like Vogue and the New York Times calling us the trendiest and best place to live. It is as condescending as calling a beautiful older woman on-trend, “cute.” They consider my town some sort of wonderful oddity as we maintain a small town feel in an otherwise big city.

The landlords love the attention, as they renege on leasing contracts and up the rental prices beyond a mortgage payment. And as family and individuals become displaced from the only town they’ve ever known, a drug called methamphetamines has become an epidemic.

Even the feral cats have started to leave.

I’m wondering if I should take a chocolate Babka over and introduce myself.

As I’m watching I see my 90-year-old neighbor walk over to the unsightly home on wheels and pound. A gentleman emerges, there’s a brief discussion and the RV hums to life. I sigh, it’s leaving.

NO! He just moved, to the other side of the street, right in front of my other windows. Dammit, why did we buy a house on the corner?

I want to go out there and find out the haps, but as a woman I’m always hesitant of large vehicles I could disappear inside of with no one being the wiser, so I wait.

Patiently, but with laser focus.

I have watched and waited for three days now, and while I’ve seen the fluorescent glow of light peek through the filmy windshield, I’ve not noticed anyone coming or going, but the one time.

Also, and I don’t know quite how it happened nor do I remember when, but we were elected and still retain the position of Neighborhood watch block captains. Dammit. So, naturally, going on Day 3, everyone is starting to pull us aside and complain:

“¿Qué hacemos con esto?”

“No está bien…”

“Can you do something?”

Sure! I’ll just wave my politically correct magic wand and poof, the poverty will disappear from our street.

And then something happened, the RV purred to life again (and I’m being generous with my use of purr). And it drove away. Out of sight from my window. I looked left from my window and right and I couldn’t see it. I felt relieved. I also felt bad for feeling relieved. But I definitely felt relief.

I saddled up the dogs for a walk and left the confines of my gated yard to the street. And as I steered us to the right, I saw it. The blight on our community, the scourge of our street, the beast on wheels, the RV now parked two houses up.

Dammit!

I walked the dogs over with me and I “admired” the vehicle looking to be “caught.” And I was.

“Hi!” came a booming, male voice.

I jumped, a little too startled since I was officially trying to be seen.

“Hi,” I replied, but was drowned out by the warning barks of my loyal 12-pound companions.

“I’m not staying, don’t worry,” the owner of the RV said smiling, politely. “I’m just visiting family. You don’t mind that I’m parked here, do you?”

I fumbled with trying to say something, but couldn’t figure what to say. He wasn’t asking, but rather telling me I didn’t mind. He wasn’t homeless. He was recreationally traveling in an old RV and parking on streets to avoid fees at the parks. I wanted to scold him. Stand on my soapbox and preach about his lack of consideration for the many homeless locals living in RVs who mind the rules and don’t park on residential streets because it’s illegal and enforced by the community police. And why did he think he had the right to avoid such persecution just because his purpose was vacation?

“Okay,” I cowardly replied, “when are you leaving?”

“Tomorrow,” he smiled again.

I nodded and walked away. I’m glad I didn’t take a chocolate Babka over. This story doesn’t have an ending, but that’s life. I’ll let you know what happens tomorrow. Also, we’re going to make burritos with my neighbor and pass them out in the community later. I know I do it to feel better about the rising number of displaced people – it’s selfish.