Friday, September 22, 2006

onlookers laughed politely

It only took one hour
Eighteen minutes.
The first day was surreal
In the way days are
When you start early in one place
And end up somewhere very different.
A girl sobbed in the car rental line-up
But no one at avis could save her.
In the hotel lobby
Of charming floral patterns and sunlight yellow walls
A man spoke into one of those cell phones
That works like a walkie-talkie
[what a weird name, walkie talkie]
Talking about the secret service.
It sounded serious.
“This is war”
He said.

I had proximity
To one of my imaginary friends.
Only it turns out he's not imaginary.
He's probably not far away, I thought.
I imagined him at his desk
Writing about the invincibility of hate.
I was tempted to pick up the phone and call him
But I was tied to my boss
Doing what my boss wants
Going where my boss goes
Which almost always involved
Stopping at chico's
Even if I could
What would I say?
"Hi, it's Rachel"
Even though that's not true?
Would I ask him to go out, maybe for a coffee or a drink?
‘Definitely drink', I can almost hear him say.
The brakes kept coming on
It's like looking down from an airplane.
All is perfect
And clean
“Nice from far
But far from nice”,
My Mother always says.
Lest you forget
Those clogged pores
Fine lines
Land mines.
I get the sense that he is who he is
With anyone and everyone
Even when he's full of shit.
I respect that.

The trees are tall and lush here.
People you don't even know
Smile at you for no reason
Which might get annoying after a while
But might not.
At the drugstore
I had the guy behind the counter
Repeat his sentence three times.
I still didn't understand him
But pretended to.
He talked about Steve Irwin
The Crocodile Hunter.
Something about innocent animals.
He pointed to a space on the floor in front of the cash register.
"If deh was a horse up in he-ah
Folks, eh never leave it be
Pokin' and proddin'.
All it want
Is to be left by it's own."

I managed to break away from my boss
For a few minutes
Just after a thunderstorm let up.
I threw my runners and Ipod on
And set out among the red brick buildings.
The students moved
In continuous streams.
I admired the architecture,
The vegetation,
And the street names,
Like "Ransom”.
A pick-up truck took the corner in front of me
Aiming deliberately for a massive puddle.
Soaked me good.
Nice, right?
In all fairness
Onlookers laughed politely.
Welcome to North Carolina.

In the end
I called.
Passed my own test.
While there was no time
For that drink
I still wanted to hear his voice.
Turns out
He's very intimidating.
Frightening even
With his new yawk/tar heel/romanian-blend accent.
He sounds adorable
Don't you sunshine?


Lx said...

I'm famous, Ma!
Lemme go git mah shotgun so's I kin faar into the uhrrr.

P.S. i do coffee too.
gots to be strong, though.

next time we'll make it happen.

Rachel said...