Thursday, January 05, 2006

I'm not "People"

"People" are selfish. They're arrogant, and pushy, and needy. "People" drop the door when you're walking in behind them, and cut you off during rush-hour without waving a "sorry". "People" think their time is more important than yours is. "People" let their kids cry in restaraunts, and don't pick things up off the floor when they drop them in department stores. I dont like "people"... but I'm not one of them.

Neither is my friend L, whom, I expect, hasn't been "people" for decades. He also happens to be the most thoughtful, selfless man I know. L invited himself over for a movie last week. He knew I was having a crap day, and that I needed to get out of the house. The theater, unfortunately, was closed (price you pay for living in a small Midwestern town, I suppose). We decided to go for a beer, instead. Now, when I say I'm "not a big drinker", I'm significantly understating the situation. I drink about twice a year, three times if I'm feeling frisky. The last time I've had anything with alcohol in it was probably close to six months ago. We squat on a couple of bar stools and order. The bartender mixes my drink pretty strong, so after choking down a swig or two, I call her over.

"Can you throw some more non-alcoholic liquid in that thing, babe?"
"Sure," she says. "What would you like?"

Now, I'm not sure what, exactly, is in the drink I ordered, only that the last time I had it at this place, I liked it.
"Whatever you put in it before is fine." She shoots a couple spurts of various colors from the fluid spout, and hands it back. I turn back to L with my newly-diluted beverage. "My sister wants me to go to her house and play cards with her and her friends."
"You gonna go?" he asks, clinking the ice in his glass.
"Nah. I don't much care for her friends. Besides, I'll probably be drunk by the time I finish this!." I grin, and take another swig. I'm only 1/3 of the way into it, and already I can feel my tongue is getting heavy.

We talk about life, and love, and work, and his kids. We talk about my health.
"You'd be amazed at what all has milk in it," I babble, chasing ice cubes around my glass with a pink plastic straw. I tell him about not being able to go with Dad to Korea when I was sixteen, because I have to be within 30 minutes of a hospital. I tell him about going into anaphlylactic shock as a kid when I accidentally ate something I wasn't supposed to.

By the time we finish our drinks (one each, mind you), I'm more than a little tipsy. L drives me home, walks me to the door like the gentleman he is, and sends me off to bed with a "Good night!" and a wave. When he gets home, L shoots me an IM.

"How ya feelin?" He knows I'm a little loopy.
"My head feels like a fishbowl..." We chit-chat for a minute or two before my phone rings.

"Whassup, biatch!" My sister, in all her rambunctious splendor.
"Nothin," I slur, giggling.
"Ohmigod, are you drunk!?!" she squeels into the phone. I swear she nearly popped my eardrum. "She's drunk!" I can hear her saying to some one in the background. "Can you believe that? My sister is drunk!!!" They have a laugh (at my expense, of course).

"Get your coat on. I'm outside." Demanding little thing, ain't she?
"Wha? Where are we going?" I'm now peeking through the front window at the car parked on the street, full of three faces pressed against glass, trying to catch a glimpse of me stumbling around my living room.
"To the store!" My sister's a shop-a-holic. Did I mention it's about 11pm? What on earth could she need from the store at 11pm?? My sister, by the way, is "people". So are her friends.

I crawl into my coat, stumble out the door, and the next thing I know, we're whizzing through the streets of my little town. The next few hours of entertainment involve watching my sister and her two friends play Halo on their playstation and eating cold McDonald's fries. I'd like to say it was better than sitting at home, alone, but in all honesty, I'd rather push a screwdriver through my eye than have a repeat of that night.

When they finally drop me back off at my place, somewhere around 2am, there's a note in my door...

"She says: My head feels like a fishbowl.
She asks a question.
He answers.
She doesn't reply.
He thinks about the medical problem.
He thinks about how she didn't know exactly what was in the drink.
He thinks about a head like a fishbowl.
He thinks about her falling to the floor.
He thinks about calling 911.

He knows he worries too much and that the internet is a shitty place and people aren't always like they are in real life but he can't get the image of her passed out on the floor out of his mind.

He drives back to her house in 25 minutes. He finds the inside lights off and the porch light on. He realizes what he's been pretty sure of the whole time.
She's not dieing.
She just left."

L lives 45 minutes away from me. He went all the way home, and drove all the way back out here to make sure I was alright, even though he knew I was probably with my sister. L was thinking more about my health and well-being than his own time, convenience, and lack of sleep. L is not "poeple". I'm lucky to have L.


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