Friday, November 20, 2009

Bullet-Point Friday: Rings

  • I saved $50 dollars on my senior ring because I had a friend in the town over who had family who ran a jewelry store. All I had to do was pass out fliers for them at my high school to get the discount.
  • All I really did was slip a couple of them into some juniors' lockers. That was enough to ease my conscience about getting (to what seemed to me at the time) such a substantial discount. I was the only person who purchased my senior ring through my friend's family. Instead of actually saving $50 though, I purchased a ring design that cost about $50 dollars more than what I would've bought in the first place. It was a form of breaking even to my naive mind.
  • When I was a freshman in college I lost my senior ring one night while walking around a cemetery out in the country with some friends. Almost exactly a year later, I determined that I would return to the cemetery by myself in order to look for it. I found it within thirty minutes beneath the light of an almost full moon. I considered it fate.
  • Years later, and with the same level of determination, I decided I had to visit Mexico for Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. To this day, I can't recall why it was so important to me to go. I was driven mad to some extent about trying to impress a professor as well as claim my own fate as a world traveler, starting right then. I paid for airfare by maxing out my credit card. I drove around visiting ATMs in an attempt to trick them into giving me more money than I actually had in the bank. To some extent, it worked. I had several overdraft charges I had to deal with when I returned. Not knowing how I was going to pay for the hotel that I had had the gumption to call directly from my apartment and using my high school Spanish managed to reserve for my two traveling companions and me, I struck a deal with one of them. I sold my dignity and self-respect by agreeing to clean out her mother's garage after coming back. That was perhaps the only thing I did that wasn't really worth it, even in the end.
  • Determined to have slightly more cash on hand during this all-too-short trip, I sold my senior ring--the ring destiny thought I should have--to a pawn shop for less than half the price I had paid just a few years earlier. I would've gotten less money if I had wanted to return for it later and re-purchase it, but I decided on the spot to go for bigger cash and sell it for the gold. Goodbye, senior ring. Whispered: forever....
  • While I was in Mexico, my friends and I took a bus tour to Teotihuacan. Even though one of my friends purchased our two tickets with her credit card, she was never charged for one of the tickets. She agreed because of my situation that the free ticket would be mine.
  • And since this story is really about Shayne, we'll end with something about her and yet another miraculous sign from destiny that I was traveling down the correct path: my truck was parked at the airport for four days, and I had no idea how I was going to pay to leave. As we arrive back in Dallas, Shayne finds a $20 bill on the floor. And I make my last deal with destiny, asking Shayne if she could use that money to pay for parking. She agreed. With no strings attached, no mothers' garages to clean. And that's one of the many reasons why I love her: not because she freely gave me money that had randomly come her way but because she is obviously a vehicle through which destiny pushes me along on my own path.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bullet-Point Friday: New York

  • I've now been to New York City four times: to march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in November 1986, to enjoy spring break of 1989 with my cool friend Linnie, to celebrate my birthday with old (read: even older) friends in February 2009, and to support Stephen as he ran the marathon a few weeks ago.
  • The first time I visited New York City, we stayed tethered to the touristed sites: the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Rockettes' holiday show at Radio City Music Hall. And of course Christmas shopping at Macy's. I have a photograph I took of the World Trade Center from the Liberty Island Ferry.
  • After one hellacious semester at my undergraduate alma mater, my friend Linnie and I decided to head to New York for spring break. It promised to be a great trip, especially since Linnie had lived there before, and she had a friend who had offered to let us stay with him. It turned out he was an RA for a college on Long Island, so we ended up living in a dorm while most of their students were celebrating spring break in warmer climes. Taking the train into Manhattan every day was part of the excitement.
  • Linnie is an older African American woman I became friends with over the fall semester when we worked together in the basement costume shop under the proscenium stage theater. Our sewing machines were on the same table, so we faced each other every time we worked on a project. And we talked and talked. We had the same taste in music at the time. So while on vacation we hit as many hot spots as we could in Harlem: one night a blues bar, another night a small jazz ensemble. And reggae was provided by the one Bahamian student who stayed in the dorm with us. We saw Mike Tyson and Arsenio Hall at amateur night at the Apollo. We saw the musical revue Black and Blue on Broadway.
  • While riding the subway one afternoon, a homeless man boarded. Linnie leans over and whispers in her thick Black Southern accent, "I smells a CHUD." There was a time when this story was part of my repertoire during small talk at parties.
  • Now I don't remember if that was on the same day as the "Long Island Iced Tea Incident" or not. While ordering a meal at a fancy restaurant, I asked for an iced tea. I have spent most of my life in Texas after all. The waitress clarified: "A Long Island Iced Tea?" Knowing that I was on Long Island, I assumed it was just a local variety of "iced tea". It tasted a bit strange, but I didn't mind. It wasn't until I stood up to leave that I felt the effects of the alcohol. You must remember too that at that age I was quite a lightweight when it came to drinking. I remember slurring something like, "I think my tea had some alcohol in it" to Linnie, who laughed and explained to me what I had drunk. The subsequent subway ride was a blast.
  • I stayed in touch with Linnie for many years after that. But we lost touch with one another after we last spoke on September 12, 2001, the day I was scheduled to move to Warsaw.