Home » A Wasted Life » Heading Back Up North

Heading Back Up North

It seemed like J*** was never going to make it back and I missed him.
He had quite the experience while trying to get to Japan.  All of his flights were scheduled on DC-10s and one had just gone down in Chicago so the rest of them had been grounded.  At one point, he ended up in Hawaii but he finally made it.
I didn’t get to talk to him very much due to the time difference but when I did, he told me about “Charlie” the cockroach, who lived in the shower and how there had been a bathrobe and tiny little slippers laid out for him in his room when he got to the hotel.  He said he was having a really good time.
I finally got the call that he was back in the states and was headed home.  Of course, R*** and his daddy wanted to be at the house when he got there and they brought grandma F****** with them.
I offered J***s’ daddy a beer and he declined.  I was surprised because he always drank with J***.  I asked him if he was sure and I could tell that he was uncomfortable when he looked over at grandma F******.  I asked him if she didn’t know that they both drank, and then R*** said “why disillusion an old woman?”   Of course, R*** had already fixed herself a drink and grandma F****** thought she was drinking grapefruit juice.
When J*** walked in the house, B***** didn’t know who he was but K**** did.
He started telling us about the drive and it was almost humorous.  It took on the same tone as my trip as far as “what else can possibly happen?”
The famous “gas crunch” was on and he was right in the middle of it.  I had been lucky and didn’t run into any problems other than not being able to get more than ten dollars worth of gas at a time.
J*** had been sitting in line for a pretty long time and when it was his turn to get gas, the pump ran out.  The attendant told him to go to the next one and everybody started getting pissed because they thought he was “cutting in line.”  The attendant explained it to the other drivers and J*** got out alive.
Driving down a country road with a full tank of gas and many more miles to go, the old blue truck blew a tire.  J*** pulled over to smoke a few dozen cigarettes and ponder the situation.
A few minutes later, an old man walked down and asked him if he knew how to read.  J***,  in his usual cocky way, said “I might not be able to figure out how to change this tire, but yeah, I can read.”  Then the old man said that he had a telephone book if he wanted to read it and call for help.  J*** then realized that the old man couldn’t read.
J*** had brought gifts for us.  He got me a scarf with japanese writing on it and had gotten all three of us Kimonos.
He brought back a Kendo Shinai which was a bamboo stick that he had used over there.  J*** had been a fencer in college and that was right up his alley.  He had a picture of himself dressed in the traditional garb, looking like a gladiator and he looked like a giant compared to the other little japanese men.
His mama, daddy and grandma stayed most of the day and then left.  Now it was time for J*** to go back to work.
Before we left, the executive editor had appointed a managing editor.  It was one of J***s’ rivals and it had infuriated him.
With J***s return and the accolade he brought with him, it quite possibly intimidated the new managing editor, thus his exile to a distant bureau.  The new managing editor was flexing his muscles and would call late at night and tell J*** to go cover a story.  For the most part though, it was a pretty good situation.  He was at home most nights and his middle brother lived in the same area.  They would get together sometimes to have a beer or two.  I would sit and listen to them talk and it was as if I wasn’t in the room.  It was much the same as when J*** was talking to his daddy…..or anybody else, for that matter.
I had gotten another job with an insurance company.  I enjoyed the girls I worked with and they were in awe of my wardrobe.  A few of them decided to try to start sewing.  One of them said to another one….”can you imagine what we’d look like?”  The other one said….”yeah, we’d look like P****.”
My boss was a woman who everybody hated.  Her nickname was Punky.  I got along with her really well and we became friends.  She would call me into her office and we’d talk sit in there and talk about all sorts of stuff.
J*** and I had been invited to the Governors’ mansion and I mentioned it to Punky.  I told her that I had recently gotten to eat breakfast with Ted Kennedy and had gone to the restroom with Joan.  When Joan walked into the room, it was like a spotlight had been turned on.  I thought she was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen and she was very friendly.  Punky asked me if I was impressed by that kind of thing and I told her that I really wasn’t impressed with the Governor but I was impressed with Ted and Joan.
After a few months, I think it was obvious to J*** that he was pretty much screwed at his hometown newspaper, so he started looking for another job.
He was offered a position at a prestigious, award-winning paper and once again, we were headed up north.
We needed to find a place to stay up there, which meant I had to get on an airplane.  I was terrified but I did it.  We found a place to rent in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the city.  It was a huge mansion with three floors and each room was almost as big as a small house.  It had eleven foot ceilings and hardwood floors.  It was actually the kind of house that I had always dreamed of living in.
Then……came the flight home.
For some reason, I was even more terrified than I had been on the way there.  I got on the plane and we were way in the back with no windows or anything.  Suddenly, I felt like I had to get off of that plane so I got my pocketbook and started walking toward the front.   A flight attendant started following me saying “ma’am is everything okay?”  J*** was right behind her and yelled “NO.  MY WIFE’S DECIDED AT THE LAST MINUTE THAT SHE CAN’T FUCKING HANDLE IT.”
I was embarrassed so I turned around and sat back down.
He kept trying to get me to read a magazine or something.  I was literally afraid that if I crossed my legs, the airplane would tilt to one side and fall down.  He had that familiar contemptible, disgusted smirk on his face and he made me feel bad.  I told him that if we crashed, I would never forgive him.
We got back and started getting ready to move.  It was the first time a paper had paid our moving expenses and it was nice.  The movers came in and reduced the house to a pile of boxes in no time flat.
We drove the station wagon and let the movers take the old blue truck.
We were on the road and ready for yet another adventure.

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