This is the third piece in the series “The Columbus Chronicles”
The guy on my left a couple of stools away smells like
aftershave, the strong and cheap kind that comes
in a pickle bucket. He apparently bathes in it.
Not as bad as what I imagine the little guy on his left smells like
that dude looks like he was put through a wire winder
his hair isn’t curly, isn’t kinky, isn’t anything but
black springs that have been stretched beyond their capacity
and they are just. . . there His muscles are thin and visible under
his rayon knit polo, a topo map of hard living
He drinks whiskey with water on the side
he sips and talks and his voice rumbles like a diesel
truck, one of the ones that rattle over the potholes outside in the not-empty
My sour draft is cold, at least
but the taste is perfectly hideous
I consider quitting drinking for the hundredth time
Don’t mind me–it’s just another day to avoid
reflection, to engage in deflection
not answer the phone or check the mail, because
it’s just another day of the same questions over and over
from the same faceless drone in an office
200 miles away, getting cocky with impatience
It’s not my fault you don’t know how to frame a question so that
it can be answered correctly
But I swallow all those elegant curses that would pour
so eloquently from my lips in order to
maybe, just maybe
get that pittance you withhold with apparent glee
I hang up and feel the flush start on my neck and my arms
get prickly from repressed rage
Is it too early to start drinking?? Is it too much to ask
that you just stop with the “i” dotting and the “t” crossing
for the tenth fucking time?
This week has had more twists than a Dairy Queen soft cone made by some high school nerd with a penchant for culinary flair. Annoyances include two, count ’em, two back to back instances of crappy customer service. I mean, really. I’m not much to look at, but I don’t make dogs bark or small children cry and hide behind their mothers. To be crappy at customer service, one must be an active asshole, and by that, I mean, this must be one’s goal in life–to make others as miserable as possible without actually taking a crap in someone’s pocket and smashing it against their skin. That annoys me to no end and I won’t let them get away with it. I don’t say anything when it happens because after all, this is an open carry state. I write emails. I am very polite, of course. It’s easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar. As I’ve gotten older and less apt to let things like that slide, my writing is more fun than ever. I enjoy crafting a witty little nastygram about Miss X treating me like I just kicked her dog and insulted her mama’s biscuits.
That being said, I am flummoxed by recalcitrant bureaucracy and the petty little autocrats intent on running their little fiefdoms as they see fit. Those people . . . I got nothing. Today, I received a letter dated March 6th, saying that my case was closed because my information was never received. How can this be? I sent it via certified mail, by fax, and called to follow up. But I received a call on March 9th from the office to let me know that I had until March 14th to submit any more paperwork. That call was actually informative and very positive. My temple started throbbing when I read the letter. Lord Baby Jesus in the cradle. Those people.
I was raised to not challenge authority, because, well, authority. My rebellion has always been directed inward. My liver hates me, my pancreas is no longer speaking, and my back took a hike years ago. My motto has been, ‘Screw you, I’m gonna hit myself in the head with this hammer and then, you’ll know something!’ Insert eye roll here. It’s not a motto to live by. Not going to go off on a tangent about this particular quirk. I’m almost sure it involves Southern Baptist guilt, and neurotic guilt like that is a tooth numbing dissertation. But it sure does make some purty poetry, so I will keep it around a while longer.