On Friday I went over to Uncle Squiggley’s. It was a going away party for the Jones family. They’re moving to Atlanta. Mother Jones leaves today with the baby, Father Jones leaves at the beginning of March. I don’t think they’ll be coming back for anything more than visits. Mother Jones has tons of friends and family in the Atlanta area and Father Jones has a brother and other friends out there. I’ve known father Jones for around 15 years now (give or take a year or two) and he has always been a dear, dear friend to me. The point is I’ll miss him terribly. He was the first person I called when Sabrina dumped my ass. We have been roommates and confidantes. The two of us have shared more funny and tragic moments than either of us would ever be able to recall. He has brought me to the emergency room on more than one occasion. I’ve saved him from hypothermia. Maybe someday a few of these crazy, wonderful, weird memories will make it here. Chances are they won’t. The point is I’ll miss him terribly. A lot of people showed up to Squiggley’s to say goodbye. A handful of us stayed up till the wee hours shooting the shit and sharing stories and memories. It never really got weepy and sentimental, which is surprising considering the hour and amount of alcohol consumed by the others. However, Father Jones will be staying the night sometime in the next couple of weeks so we can have a whole evening to reminisce, we are both prepared for it to be enjoyable and terrible. So I guess the point is: I’ll miss him terribly.
I watched both part one and part two of the X-men movies over the past week. I don’t know. I was never really into comic books and superheroes and crap. These kinds of things never really held my interest too much. I had a couple of friends in elementary school that would collect and trade comic books. They would keep hundreds of them wrapped in plastic; stored in a cardboard box on the top shelf of their closet. Occasionally we would finger through them if we were bored with ping-pong, or catching crawdads out in the ditch, but I never read them. My brother had a handful of 3D ones that were pretty fun mostly for their novelty value. But also because all the women drawn in them were exceedingly busty and curvy, and were wearing skin-tight, metallic, underwear that would supposedly protect them from attack tigers and wizard spells. For some reason I never really bought into the whole “Hall Of Justice” thing. But give me a pillowcase full of Legos and I’ll waste five straight hours building a space base. Anyway, the movies were a pretty entertaining way to waste five hours too(no space base included).
It had been a long time since I had done my dishes. I tackled the project last night but it sucked because the smell was absolutely horrendous. I actually gagged a little at first. Then I lit some incense in the kitchen just to drown out whatever it was that smelt like dogshit in my sink. Well everything is all scrubbed and cleaned and sparkling now but it was awfully trying at first.
One time, when I was living with Oats, there was a stink that was coming from the kitchen. We couldn’t quite place where the smell was coming from. It seemed to be emanating from somewhere near the sink but it would waft and gasp throughout the kitchen making its source hard to place. So naturally we thought it must be from the wastebasket we kept under the sink. I immediately took the trash out to the dumpster, despite the fact that the basket was only half full. Sometimes it only takes one foul item to make a completely offensive statement. The next day the stench had returned. After a sniffing session that still resulted in no known source, Oats went about completely cleaning the kitchen. This kept the kitchen area smelling of sterile-sweet citrus 409 for a couple of days. But after that, the malodorous funk was back to haunt us with its rancid vapor. We decided that the smell must be emanating from the garbage disposal unit. A couple of days later, after running a swimming pool worth of water and soap down the drain, Oats went and bought a new disposal unit. After the unit was installed, we had suspected we were in the clear. Our suspicions were inaccurate and faulty. The odor did not want to leave. Just when Oats was starting to panic that her kitchen was going to be forever unusable, it was discovered that putrid fetor was issuing forth from an African Violet that I had place by the flour and sugar jars. I was humiliated and feeling guilty that I had let my plant cause all of this havoc. I’m not sure why this plant had stunk so violently. Possibly it had some sort of root rot or something. I’ll never be sure. But I do know, from then on I have kept all my African Violets healthy and happy. And when Oats demurely lets a little flatulence slip on by, I’ll thoughtfully let her place full blame on my leafy green friends.
I remember the carpet in my elementary school. It was that short kind of carpet: cut low to the floor. You know, that commercial/industrial strength carpet, you probably have it your office. I do. I’m sure some chemical or textile company had developed it particularly to withstand the 1000’s of muddied, sneakered, stomping feet.
Of course we were made to scrape the mud off our feet before we were allowed to the drinking fountains after recess. But it often did little good. Sometimes, while sitting in a group in front of the teacher as she read Where The Red Fern Grows or The Bridge To Terabithia or some such nonsense, I would try to peel large chunks of dried mud from the tread in my sneakers. Trying to keep the chunks as large as I could without breaking them, so they would end up being a cast of the shape, design, and pattern of the tread of my cool new kicks. After examining my cast and then breaking it into little pieces and pebbles and dust, I’d simply leave the dirt there on the carpet.
The carpet was glued, it seemed, straight onto the concrete pad, almost as if it were a part of the cinderblock building’s foundation. It seemed as unyielding as the cement it was bonded to. This carpet had the ability to give you the worst rug burns ever. It had no give and could peel away the first layers of skin faster than sandpaper. I remember we would rub a pencil eraser, or the round butt end of a bic pen, as fast as we could on the carpet. The friction heated up the eraser/pen to such a degree that it had the ability to burn you and leave a bright red mark. This was a great trick for unsuspecting foes and a strange rite of passage given to close friends.
Occasionally, actually, quite often, some poor child would be brought to school ill, or would have a stomach problem, or anxiety, or bad food, and would throw up on the carpet. Everyone would gross out while the poor child’s teacher, or an aid, would come to console them and take them down to the clinic. The janitor would then come out of his closet to clean it up the best he could. After some hosing and mopping, he would then sprinkle some sort powder that smelt like mint bubble gum on the carpet, I presume to absorb both the acid fluids and the odor. Later on he would come and clean the carpet with a vacuum and you would never know that some unfortunate seven-year old lost his insides there.
Sometimes there would be pieces of the carpet that had been damaged. Little pieces of it, about the size of quarters. The chunks would be smooth and black like glass. I think they were either caused by melting, or possibly chewing gum that has been ground into its tiny fibers for years.
The carpet was mostly orange but had a little brown in it. It covered the entire floor of the school: classrooms, library, offices, and even during my early elementary years, the gymnasium. This was unfortunate because the gymnasium was also the cafeteria. I have no clue as to how many cartons of milk, bowls of peaches, cups of cottage cheese or blobs of ketchup were dropped and left to sit (please don’t tell the aid that I spilt my juice again, she always yells at me) on that carpet. But if the stench that it held was any indication, it was a LOT. A putrid smell of leaked, trickled, dropped and dumped slop having sat stagnant and unable to be completely, or even partially, cleaned. Rancid in the carpet for who knows how long. I bet I could still instantly recognize the peculiar sour bouquet of lunch-carpet. We played basketball, dodgeball, and danced on that gymnasium/cafeteria floor. But when we did tumbling and gymnastics our gym teacher put mats down. By the time I was in 6th grade they replaced the gym with regular wood, basketball-court-style floors.
I’ve had various nicknames throught my life. Some good, some bad, some thoughtful, some random, some mean, some sweet, some just are. Below is a good representation of some of the more unique nicknames I have, or, have had been regularly called.
Hubs – This is my main nickname in real-life (and around here) and is as close as can be to an actual name without being one. Nearly everyone knows me as Hubs. Some only know me as Hubs. My friends introduce me at parties and other gatherings as Hubs. I respond to Hubs like it’s my given name. Some people also call my brother this but drop the ‘s’. I like it. I’ve been called it for as long as I can remember.
I’m a pessimist no doubt. I was a pessimist long before I knew what one was. It’s a trait I was born with, and much to my disappointment, although I have shown improvement, it’s a characteristic I have been unable to shake. It’s unattractive and distracting.
When I was in fourth grade I was having trouble with one of my teachers, Mrs. Potillos. She thought I was a troublemaker. I thought I was well-behaved for a fourth grader. Many of my elementary school teachers praised my maturity. One day I went home crying to my mom.
“What’s the matter hubs?” my concerned mother asks.
“Mrs. Portillos!” I immediately blame for my being upset.
“Why, what did Mrs. Portillos do?” my mother asks.
“She called me a tessimyst!” I ball.
“You mean a pessimist? Do you know what that is?” my mom chuckled realizing the situation wasn’t severe.
This is a perfect example of how my pessimism has permeated my being. I had no idea what the word meant. But I automatically assumed it was bad. In fact I thought for sure it was insulting, and possibly a cuss word that should never be uttered. I assumed Mrs Portillos said something so mean it should send me crying to my mom. And I have had a part of some pretty evil cut-down contests and name calling on the blacktop by this time.