So every once in a while I post a scene from a day in the life with George. For organizational purposes these post’s title will now be prefaced with CCWG. I also added a CCWG category at the bottom of the page for easy reference to past conversations. On with it!
The driver and passenger doors shut near simultaneously as the two men got in the car.
“I didn’t want to say anything during the service, but did you smell that?” Pete asked, starting the car.
“Hmm, no,” George answered without confidence. “Smell what? What are you talking about?”
“Back in the church. I kept smelling something pretty rank. I even kept my mouth closed in an effort to eliminate the possibility it was just my own breath,” Pete explained.
“Ha. No, I can’t say that I did smell anything.”
“Weird. I felt bad because A- was right there too and he had invited us and all. A lot of people were lifting their hands in the air, so I guess it could’ve been just the B.O. from that,” Pete said.
“Yeah, it’s always possible. That was a lot of people in there,” George said.
“But it was pretty awful. As predicted, there were a lot of women there too. And you know how bad their farts smell,” Pete suggested.
“Oh yeah. Women’s farts are the worst!” George said. Pete couldn’t help but notice George’s energy go from zero to a hundred in an instant. “It’s all because they hold them in for sooooo long!”
“What? This is great,” said Pete, laughing.
“Yeah. They hold it and hold it and hold it. And then you let them into a large auditorium like that and they let them rip. They figure nobody will suspect them,” George articulated. Continuing the flawless rationale, he explained, “My older sister used to never fart. Never. She actually had me convinced that women don’t fart.”
“Come on,” Pete questioned.
“Dude, I was like seven,” George clarified. “Anyhow, one Christmas I heard her just rip one. She couldn’t deny it, so then she convinced me women only fart one day a year–Christmas.”
Lazily leaning against the kitchen counter, George routinely placed some kind of large green leaves into the pan on the stove as Pete unknowingly wrinkled his face in disgust.
“I think I told you that I finally joined that gym.”
“How is it?” George answered.
“It is quite the place. And it’s ridiculously cheap for what they have. They have a lap pool open twenty-four hours a day,” Pete said. “And a towel service! The last club I belonged to that had a towel service cost one hundred thirty dollars a month. This place is just forty.”
“That’s not too bad.”
“And, I might add, even at ten in the morning there were a lot of young fit women,” said Pete.
“Those places are meat lockers for sure.”
“On principal I have never picked up a woman at a gym, but I’ve also never seen such a high ratio before,” Pete continued. “It’s crazy. I’ve always hated the feeling I get that I might meet a women there. Luckily, I have my sights already set on this Cammie.”
“You’re wasting your time, Pete,” said George.
“I mean, this one blonde, there was no reason for her to walk right past my machine. No reason at all. But she did.”
“I’ve been trying to tell you, Pete, that women are more forward than you ever let yourself believe,” said George.
“No. No way. This one was gorgeous. She wasn’t checking me out. She came by because she was pissed I wasn’t ogling her,” said Pete.
“That’s beautiful women for you. And that’s why they hate the mustache.”
“What?” asked Pete.
George then elaborated, saying, “My mustache. Beautiful women can’t stand not getting the attention. And a mustache, different than a beard, demands so much attention, that women can’t stand them. I was with M- at the mall the other day. She was actually getting upset. She thought it was a fluke the first time, but a total of three random strangers complimented me. Nearly everyone else stared at me, not her, as we walked around. It was eating her alive. It was so funny.”
“It’s true,” he told himself, “she could be more beautiful. But then that more beautiful female would no longer be the woman sitting across the table now, the one called Noa-.”
“Noa-,” Pete said, as he noticed their hands almost bump while reaching for a chip, “if our hands touch while grabbing a chip, you know that I’m going to read into that, don’t you?”
If only for a moment, Noa- shook her head and cast her eyes about. She was smitten. She then found the strength to rebuff Pete’s subtle, though ingenious play and said, “Pete, there’s never going to be anything to read into.”
Laughing heartily, Pete soon noticed the jaded, slightly-too-terse, and preferring-a-thousand-yard-stare-to-eye-contact server walking towards the trio’s table, meals in hand.
“That’s what I’m talking about!” George said as piping hot fajitas along with the fixin’s were lowered to him.
Feeling the pressure to finish the complimentary chips and salsa before they were gone for good, Pete snuck in a few last bites before reaching out to receive his chimichanga. “Thank you,” he mumbled, unable to hide that his mouth was full.
Finally, the lady lowered Noa- her plate. Noa- didn’t notice. Like a student pretending to be reading her textbook in her lap, or perhaps just behaving like an adult with an office job, Noa- clearly was attempting to hide her addiction.
“Noa-,” Pete said, smiling. “I can’t believe you. You’re sitting across from two of the most eligible bachelors in,” he hesitated, clearly searching for the proper radius, “in America, and rather than enjoy the company, you’re on your phone. This is what’s wrong with the world.” Turning to George, he knew he had nailed it.
“America, eh?” George asked. “I thought you were going to say Denver, but I can’t argue with America.”
Noa- smiled at the attention, but still couldn’t quite pull herself away from the device.
“My question,” George began, turning towards Pete and filling the conversation’s lapse, “is who could be more eligible?” Upon uttering the inquiry, his countenance reached an uncommon gravity, which led to a rephrasing of the question. George asked again, “Or rather, how could I be more eligible?”
“Yeah,” Pete chuckled, his belief in his hastily developed though now affirmed sentiment strengthening with every passing second, “how exactly are we not the most eligible?”
A pair of pink sandals, a pink stuffed penguin named Pingu, and a pink, doll-sized tutu (which H- had used on her polka-dotted stuffed puppy as a bathing suit all day) made it clear that the two men were not alone in the house. This particular Friday night’s late hour ensured the girl-child was deep asleep in her room. It also ensured that any interested onlookers, the likes of which James Fenimore Cooper’s noble Chingachgook would label “blackguards in the grain”, would not be surprised to see George and Pete staring at two respective laptop screens as they intermittently stated their latest life observations. Those screens, naturally, were filled with images of women supposedly interested in dating. Well, at least George was viewing a proper dating site. Pete found himself fighting the good fight, that is, deciding how inappropriate it would be if he friend-ed a woman on LinkedIn because she was a smoke-show.
“Pete, just do it. It’s not a crime,” said George.
“I know that it’s not a crime,” Pete said with a touch of exasperation, “I just think that it’d be tasteless. Plus, this chick has 500+ connections. Apparently it stops counting at 500. I can already tell that there’s no promise there.”
“What does the number of her connections have to do with anything?”
“Look, I really want to believe Rudi’s advice and just try to find a woman with whom I enjoy spending time. But I’m just saying let’s look at reality for a second. She is gorgeous, posts videos on youtube of her singing with her sister, and has over 500 connections on LinkedIn. Whereas I don’t really like people, am pretty sure that I don’t even know 500 people, and I certainly don’t want to be dragged to events where everyone spends all their energy pretending that they’re not pretending, blah, blah, blah,” he said, running out of air. “Plus, it appears that she enjoys her job. And that means she’s not interested in kids, raising a family, etc.”
“Fine. You’re right,” George conceded facetiously, “don’t click connect.”
“You know what guys in the Air Force used to say?” Pete asked, his tone somewhere between frustrated and bitter. “Poverty is the greatest aphrodisiac.”
Opening his eyes wide, as was often the case when he liked what he heard, George nodded and said, “I’ve been trying to find a poor woman for forever. Or at least one who grew up without much. That type of woman would know how to budget, not be comfortable spending a lot of money, be happy just to have a steak every once in a while-”
Laughing, Pete asked, “Ha. You’re serious? I thought you were joking at first when you agreed.”
“-I’m totally serious. Especially since reading Anna Karenina and all those scenes of the simple life of farming.”
“I told you man. That’s what Tolstoy did at the end of his life. He practically gave up his nobility to work out in the fields,” Pete added, “and he had 13 kids.” He then paused just long enough to form a point. “The trouble is, I have no idea where or how to even start to look for a woman like that.”
“All I know is that a big step in problem solving is voicing the problem.”
“My mom asked if I’ve ever considered a deaf woman.”
“Welcome back George. How was it?” Pete asked, strictly observing the custom of not giving George time to settle in upon returning from his trip before beginning the questions.
George’s eyes had the look of a man searching for an appropriate opening to the story that he knows will be well worth telling. “It was good. Seattle has some good weather and good scenery,” he said.
“Yeah, but that’s just in the summer, right?” Pete asked.
“Right. The point is, I don’t think I could live there unless some company paid me a lot of money,” George said, repeating “a lot” for effect. “Oh, and Pete, I have to tell you about the girl,” he excitedly recalled.
“That’s right. You actually got to meet her. Though you had essentially made up your mind before the trip that she wasn’t the one for you, right?”
“Yeah, she’s definitely not for me. She was hot, but she kept reminding me of my ex-” said George.
“Probably never a good thing.”
“-and besides a bunch of little things, you should’ve seen the place she lived in!” George recalled, his animation for the story growing exponentially now. “I don’t know where they got the figure from, but it was a downtown apartment and everyone in it kept saying it cost six hundred thousand dollars,” George said, cutting himself off there with a stare that is usually followed by a stroke or heart attack. Thankfully a burst of laughter which most would categorize as the sound of a man going insane ended Pete’s concern and preceded, “Oh, and you won’t believe this. She had some nice bookshelves. So I took a look-”
“Bad books, right?” Pete guessed.
“-no,” George said, his eye-lids still completely out of sight. “No Pete. Not bad books, fake books.”
Now nodding, George continued, “Yeah, I saw a book that I didn’t recognize, so I pulled it off the shelf.” Then flipping the pages of an imaginary book, he said, “When I opened it, the pages were blank.”
“Get outta here!”
“She had decorative books Pete,” George concluded. “Pete, the woman had books on bookshelves purely for decoration.”
“I don’t even know what to say.”
“Of course, she did have a big TV though,” George said.
The two single men would have laughed themselves to death if it wasn’t for the eerie silence that accompanied each necessary breath. The silence that these two knew ought to be filled with the sound of crying babies, children’s laughter, lids rattling on a hot stove, the clothes dryer buzzing for the fourth time in as many hours, bad piano playing, lousy excuse giving, and sometimes–just sometimes–the sound of a loving wife’s voice as she mockingly whispers, “Isn’t this everything we hoped for and more?” with an inner strength and resolve that have, as of yet, avoided language’s shackle.
The main room of the house that was built in 1950 was atypically adorned for the year 2014 in a comforting way. One sofa, a piano, two lamps, one antique globe, four chairs, a kitchen table, and four onyx pedestals–the mineral, not the gem–displaying the Russian Baron Peter Klodt von Jurgensburg’s “The Horse Tamer” miniatures made up the room’s vertical trimmings. Hanging on the bland tan plaster walls were three framed images. One was a black and white movie poster capturing the famous coffee scene in Heat, another was a black and white poster of 1990s Metallica, and the third was a commissioned word-art photo–also black and white–of a TH-1H Huey bordered by friends’ well-wishing farewell comments and signatures, which received attention each time the owner was heady with wine. And there was a white board.
As usual, George, who was sporting a clean shaven chin, was standing, Pete, wearing just-before-itchy length stubble, sitting. They had just returned from viewing TC’s most recent film at the local theater.
“So, Mr. I-Like-Blondes, what’d you think of her?” Pete asked, looking up from his laptop while it woke up.
“Pretty hot,” George said.
“As you know, I’m not into blondes, but there was one scene which made me long for a woman again,” Pete said.
Smiling bigger than after bowling a strike, George said, “Oh yeah. The one where she’s doing that iso-pushup.”
“The one from the preview? Na, that’s not what I’m talking about,” Pete interrupted, derailing his friend’s excitement in favor of his own.
“What are you talking about then?”
“I’m talking about when she’s focusing on memorizing the plan that will allow her and TC to stay alive long enough to win. When they were in the bunker room…..planning area…..with the holographic thing,” he said, trying to jar George’s memory.
“Oh. I remember.”
“It just reminded me that it has been a long time since I have seen a woman really try hard. As in apply effort. Real effort. Care about doing it right. It was hot,” Pete said. He paused for only a moment, but it was long enough for him to sift through a decade’s worth of memories. Beginning again, he said, “I can remember memorizing the helicopter operational limits while on my commercial flights to my next training base. There were like 220 numbers that had no pattern. That kind of effort. Or I think I’ve told you about my first memory of Greeny. From back in college? It was an intramural flag football game and he was on the ground, laid out, fully extended with the football in one hand–all to gain a few extra inches. I don’t think the game even counted for anything. But I remember having the specific thought, ‘I want to be his friend.'”
“Yeah. Women just don’t do that. Or at least the ones we ever come across don’t,” George said, staring through the wall, past the front yard, across the dimly lit street, and into the unending night.
“Doesn’t matter where the effort is being applied, I would chase after a woman like that,” Pete concluded. Rejoining, he attempted old white man voice and quoted another sci-fi favorite of his day, “Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness.”
“I was thinking the same thing,” George said. “See ya tomorrow man.”
Bad guys fight for many things. They fight for fame, money, reputation–sometimes they fight just because they can. Good guys, on the other hand, fight for one thing: family. Because good guys fight for their family–because family is the only thing worth dying for–they do really cool things to win. And because we want good guys to win, most of us movie watchers give filmmakers a tremendous amount of liberty with little things such as physics. Of course, however, each of us has our own internal sliding scale when it comes to these liberties.
For instance, I found Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s 2-story, 30 foot leap from his moving (and ridiculously bad-ass) Humvee down onto an Indy-car-turned-wedge-with-possibly-magnetic-suspension believable. He’s a big guy. Surely those muscles are good for jumping and cushioning. My friend George agreed.
And when Vin Diesel leapt 50 feet to catch his woman mid-air (she’s also leaping) and has enough situational awareness and foresight to twist to his back so that when they land on an innocent bystander’s car’s windshield she is unharmed, I found myself lowering my just-raised-in-celebration arms and wiping a tear from my eye. Then, as that now dry eye checked in on George, it discovered he was wearing a large grin and nodding a hushed “Yes!”.
And when I hit STOP on my timer as the giant bad-guy-filled Russian Antonov cargo plane finally comes to a halt on the runway, along with the smiling good guys and their many cars, I discover the car/plane chase that just happened on a runway that can’t be longer than three miles at speeds somewhere near 120 mph lasted all of thirteen minutes. And that’s impossible. Then, I quickly remember that my limitation of the runway’s length to three miles is because that’s about how long the longest runway in America is. I have no idea how long runways are anywhere else on the planet, and the scene did not happen here in the States. And in that moment, the scene became believable. Seemingly we both decided the point was not worth debating, so George and I silently waited for the anti-climax scenes.
Did I mention that good guys have great barbecues and hold hands while praying? They do. And sometimes, part of the table spread is an enormous bowl of baked beans.
“Did you see that bowl of baked beans?!” George exclaimed. “No way those seven people can eat all of those beans! Back it up. Tell me I’m wrong.”
So we backed it up. And the bowl was rather large and rather full. Not noticing it the first time, now that I saw it I just figured someone liked left-over beans.
George did not agree.
And now you know what it’s like to watch Fast and the Furious 6 with George.
(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)
“So, guess what I just got?”
“I don’t know. What?”
“Tailored shirts. They’re great. Gone are the yards of fabric that hide my svelte figure.”
“Yeah, I actually heard the radio talk about how women like men who wear tailored clothes the other day. Though, I have to say it seems out of character that you’d do something like that. Did you have them done at the store? When did you even go shopping?”
“Oh, I didn’t get them done. My friend was going to throw some away, so I said I’d take them.”
“So, they’re not tailored…to you?”
Instructions for How To Stay Single
Step 1 — CROSSFIT for life.
Step 2 — WALK through Costco like a kid in a candy store.
Step 3 — ABSTAIN from soap.
Step 4 — TELL everyone you know about Steps 1- 3.
“She has to know, right?”
“I don’t know, man. Does she? Know what?”
“Know that her words are very flattering. Very, very flattering.”
“I mean, sure she’s your teacher and we’d all like to believe teachers are more aware than their students, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s thinking like you think she’s thinking.”
“I’m not saying I know how she’s thinking. I’m just saying that it has been a long time since anyone has said I’m fascinating, endearing, and an enigma.”
“Whoa, slow down buddy. She didn’t say you were fascinating, endearing and enigmatic. She said your writing was.”
“Hey, don’t ruin this moment for me.”
“So what do you think my next play should be?”
“All I know is that she’s your number one contender right now.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
“You said she reads your blog?”
“She said she does. She even used the word ‘wildly’ to describe an aspect of them. ‘Wildly’. I like that.”
“You told me that she said your blog was ‘wildly different’ than your discussion posts for class.”
“Like I said, ‘wildly’.”
“I don’t think you understand. My living room came to life. I can only interpret this to mean that my will, my hopes, my desires–that I–manifest the future,” Pete told his friend.
Given that Pete, like any man, has an impressive streak of riding high on life at times, we should note that his claim isn’t quite unfounded. Before explaining his claim’s seeming impossibility, we must first denote 2012’s sublime specimen of synchronicity. Back in 1989, as a mere child of eight our hero saw the film Top Gun. You know, the movie starring Tom Cruise that pretty much did recruiter’s jobs for them ever since? Yeah, that Top Gun. He then went on to become a military pilot. While serving as a pilot, he was a member of a squadron which had an unofficial theme song. The theme song was Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive. Here’s the kicker. In 2012, Tom Cruise starred in a film called Rock of Ages (which unlike Top Gun did not inspire anyone) in which he (TC) sings Wanted Dead or Alive. Think about that for a second. Coincidence or not, that’s some seriously Mufasa C-O-L shit.
Back to our story…
“No Pete, I do understand. I just don’t think it’s more than a coincidence. I don’t think there is any hidden meaning. I can’t believe I’m even acknowledging the idea that you control the future, but I am, and you don’t,” the Debbie-downer replied.
“You can’t tell me it’s just coincidence. When people walk into this place what do they see first? Metallica hanging on the wall. Then they notice the beautifully 670lb Steinway and Sons grand piano,” Pete said, taking a breath that signaled that he was not going down without a fight. “And last night, for all the world to see, Metallica and a Steinway and Sons piano performed together on the same stage! How many people have Steinway and Metallica in the same room?” he asked, using hand motions to bolster his claim. “How many? Maybe 3. Maybe 20. But I’m one of them,” he said, his crescendo one self-assessment away from its peak. “Man, I feel good right now!”
“Yes Pete. And did you notice that you have a globe of Earth in the room too? And the performance happened on Earth!” his friend mocked. Continuing, he said, “And there are lights in this room! And the concert had lights!” Pete was no longer smiling. “And we’re in a room. And they performed in a room!”
“Go to hell.”
“And there are people in this room…”