In the eighties, I was physically picked up and thrown out of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Apologies to Mr. Van Halen -- I'm a sincere fan.
If you knew me then, you'd understand why. If you know me now, you're most likely scratching your head. But let me assure you, I deserved it.
After many hours of downing margaritas at the bar, Marilee (my boss at the time) and I began discussing life with the aid of pretzel nuggets and stir straws. We lined them up through the center of the table likening each piece to one of our life's chapters and verses until we covered the entire surface. Unbeknownst to me (due to too many margaritas, no doubt), our waitress would occasionally visit, attempting to take a drink order. And we ignored her completely. At some point, I complained about her inattentiveness and approached the bar to register said complaint. And complain is exactly what I did. It was a wee bit too loud; a little abrupt, perhaps; but, in my defense, I felt my ego had been bruised.
Our waitress happened to be standing two feet away and said, "I've been to your table five times! You ignored me." "No you haven't," I snapped back. She called me a bitch and the gloves were off. I grabbed her shirt, the bartender grabbed me, and out the door I went with Marilee not far behind. Naturally, because she was sitting with me, she was at fault as well.
As we sat dumbfounded outside the hotel, our shoes strewn across the few steps that lead to the entrance; Marilee glared at me. She grabbed her shoes, hung them on her boobs, and said: "There are thousands of other places to drink in this town, let's get the hell outta here." And off we went; shoes hanging from our boobs through the streets of New York.
I mention this only because my life was full of such experiences before 2007. There isn't a bar or dance club where the employees didn't know me by name within a three-city-limit radius.
And the me now wonders why. Why was my world so confusing? Why was my behavior so despicable at times? What was I trying to ultimately prove? Okay, so I added a what. There were, however, many whys, whats, hows, and whos in my life. Looking back, my life was nothing but questions -- there were hardly ever any answers. And, at some point, I stopped asking. I stopped looking for the seemingly elusive explanations for my actions and mind-set.
Then in 2005 my world exploded.
A relationship of almost fourteen years came to an end.
At an age when I thought all things should fall into place, pieces of me were blown through time. I scanned the past for reasons, peered at the dismal future, and remained frozen in the present until 2007.
Until the warm winds of Georgia called me home.
I say "home," not because I grew up here, but because a person of like mind, heart, and soul waited through time for me to arrive. His woes, like mine, are difficult to put into just a few words. But let me just say this: In the three years we've been together, a whole person was fashioned from all the little bits and pieces that remained. And today, we still spend most of our days together. It's as if lightning struck on March 17, 2007 -- St. Patrick's Day -- and fused us together.
Or, perhaps, the effects of the moonshine and green beer haven't worn off yet.
Whichever it is makes no difference to me, and quoting Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof: "May the good Lord smite me with [more of] it" all of my days "And may I never recover."
And what of my days bar hopping and swilling the finest drinks two bucks can buy? I now spend most evenings at home watching Jeff chug Colt .45s to his heart's content, and I at his side with my Boones Farm. We're happier than pigs in shit.
I haven't been thrown out of any unfavorable -- or favorable for that matter -- place in the last few years. That's pretty good, huh? I haven't been seen wearing my shoes on my boobs lately, either.
Farm livin' is the life for me.
Land spendin' out so far and wide.
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.
We're living a wonderfully simple life. And I love it that way.
And though, we're usually found gardening, building, reading, and/or writing; we now have "respectable" reporter jobs writing for The Beacon -- a North Fulton County newspaper.
Perhaps, this year we'll both find time to finish our books.
One can hope.
At any rate, as Wednesday approaches, I can't help but remember our first meeting: My very first St. Patrick's Day with an honest-to-goodness Scots-Irishman and all the "trimmings."
We're an odd combination to be sure. We call it Mick-xican (Mik-x-ee-can): Our very own culture. Where does that fall on the romantic scale of relationships? -- Pretty damn high as far as I'm concerned.
It may have taken us a whole lifetime to reach each other, but the years since 2007 have been well worth it. Each morning, when I rise, I remember that lightning never strikes twice in the same place. And I say my prayers while I anticipate the new day ahead.
I know now that all the years that led to these were a blessing in disguise; all the minutes and hours that make up the years to come will be just as cherished as that auspicious day we met.
Happy Anniversary, Jeff.
Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone.