Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dear Friends who discuss serial killers over dinner,

Thank you for being you.

And by "being you," of course I mean, being people who know about Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy and BTK and Ted Bundy, and don't mind discussing the gory details over plates of nachos, grande burritos and chicken enchiladas.

Thank you for the extended discussion of Ted Bundy.

I admit, I had been feeling somewhat exhausted from the day's activities and the night's reading, and when I heard his name I perked up, like a child who has been promised a soft-serve ice cream cone for being on her best behavior.

"Ted Bundy just seemed so normal," you lamented.

"And handsome," you added, sadly.

Thank you for the moment of silence, in which we must all have been thinking: What a waste.

I remember seeing a made-for-TV movie with Mark Harmon as Ted Bundy. I think it may have been my first serial killer movie, and I watched it with a pillow half-blocking my face. I was 10 years old at the time. (If you are interested, it makes a great late-night movie, and I'm also happy to share my recipe for kettle corn.)

Thank you for not even noticing when the people at the next table exchanged worried glances and eventually moved to the front of the restaurant.

All in all, it was a lovely evening.


Your sick friend

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dear Man Who Refuses to Say Hello --

I'll go ahead and say it first: Hello.

Well, to be technical, that isn't my "first" effort, or even my second, or eleventh, or thirty-seventh.

Do you know that I pass you four or five mornings a week (at the end of a leash being pulled by a lovably overweight beagle), and that more often than not, I say "hello" or "good morning" or, when I can't bring myself to face your rejection, a tight-lipped "hi"?

You have lived in the house on the corner for the better part two years.

But you have never once replied.

You could be a statue, really, hollowed out on the inside, with a spraying garden hose in one hand.

I'm not looking for any kind of relationship, or any favors. I'm not going to start up a long conversation about crabgrass or the mistletoe growing in our trees or the weather. I can live with neither of us knowing each other's names. (Baxter, though, would like you to know his.)

No, we don't know each other, except by sight. You are not the neighbor I'll come to when I've run out of eggs, and I'm (clearly) not your choice for a front porch-sitting, lemonade-sipping companion. But I do know that at 6:30 a.m., we are two of a very few people in the neighborhood who are dressed and ready to face the day.

It just seems to me like the very least little thing we can give each other is this: Hello.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Missing: One Large(ish) Remote Control

I have come to realize that few circumstances are more irritating than this one. Only half an hour ago, I had to stand up, walk to the television, locate a series of miniscule buttons, and then toggle my neck back (to locate the channel button) and forth (to check the channel itself), which has prompted this notification. This is how they did it in the old days, I remind myself. This is how my ancestors suffered, too.

For all I know, the remote has been missing for a month. I've been busy, for one thing, and for another, it's baseball season, and I'm strongly encouraged not to interrupt the W's viewing of any baseball games.

Yet today, I'm on vacation. There's a stack of essays to be graded, but they can keep until tomorrow, or Saturday, or Sunday night very late, or even Monday morning, when I'm frantically trying get ready for a week of teaching. It's 108 degrees outside -- at least according to my weather app, which is as close as I would like to get to experiencing today's weather. Three of my four pets are sleeping within arm's length.

It's the perfect day, in other words, for mindless TV.

And then W informs me that the remote is missing. It's been at least three days since he's seen it. I press further -- under the couch? behind a cushion? in the gap between the couch and the window?


I probe further: Did you maybe take it somewhere else? Outside, into the bathroom, into the kitchen? Did you retrace your steps? When was the last time you saw it? Has anyone else been in the house? Would anyone have reason to take our remote control? Did anyone attempt to make contact with you, was a ransom sum proposed? Do you have reason to suspect --

But now I'm being ridiculous. It's not such an imposition to walk to the television and manually change the channel.

Although it's even easier just to turn it off.