JOY part 28

Focus. Focus on the short term goal. This is what I told myself as the anxiety over my impeding death started to eat away at me at five-thirty in the morning. Think about Nancy. No, think about Ann. Sweet, smart, ever-so-bangable Ann. If Nancy was right, then I had to keep being interesting or I was doomed. I mean, I guess compared to the local Frat Boys and other bovine, I WAS interesting. But I couldn’t get too cocky, so to speak. I needed to find something really interesting to do with her. Well, I had lots of very, very interesting things I hoped to do with her, but…Anyway. I had to come up with somewhere to ask her out to that was unlike anything she normally would get asked out to. Maybe that thing I wanted to do to her with my tongue and…No, before that. Think, damn it! Think!

Milwaukee. There’s an answer you don’t hear every day. How could any beautiful, young woman resist a come on like that. “Hey, Baby, waddaya say to a weekend with just the two of us, some cheap beer and some pretzels right there at the brewery? We could even take the tour!” Shows how much you uncultured slobs know. To which I will give you clueless folks another clue as to why Milwaukee was it. Calatrava. Say it with me: Kal-a-Trava. You still don’t get it, do you? He’s an architect. From Spain. Who does really, really cool buildings. Amazing structures that are as much sculpture as functioning spaces. One of the best of which is in, you guessed it, Milwaukee. Damn, that was rough. Get with the program a bit, People.

So, yes, Calatrava designed this incredible structure right on the lake that looked somewhat like a giant white bird. It even had “wings” that moved up and down which were actually used to control the amount of light that fell into the space. This was actually an important thing since inside said space were some old, rather light sensitive, paintings. In fact, said space was the new addition to The Milwaukee Museum of Art. Like the Tate Modern in London, MOCA in Los Angeles, or The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the building was bound to be far, far cooler than the rather lame collection of art usually housed within it. Kind of like books with really great covers that are really awful once you start to read them (Don’t even). All the same, going to any one of the above mentioned museums was always a really great experience. So, I figured this could well be, also. Hence, therefore, my desire to invite Ann to Milwaukee. Speaking of desire, I now find myself starting to think about Ann. You know, like that other sort of thinking about. I just pray to God my Mother doesn’t walk in.

Ann agreed. No, not about my Mother walking in, but I’m sure she would agree with that too. No, she agreed to go to Milwaukee with me for a day trip next Saturday. But only on one condition. We took the Mini and she got to drive. I kind of liked a woman that liked to be in the driver’s seat, but this was going too far. So, we made a deal. I would drive but she could be on top when we had sex (which I preferred anyway but don’t tell her that). No, no, no. What I said was that she could drive us there and I would drive us home, so to (oh fine, I’ll stop. Heaven knows I wouldn’t want you folks to think I’m annoying or anything). It seemed important to make a stand just so I looked like I wasn’t going to just roll over and do whatever she wanted all the time. One thing even a dense lad like me learned ever-so-long-ago with women is that if you ever become too nice or too accommodating they hate you for it. In fact, you are often relegated to the “just friends” role forever thereafter. They really are psychotic, you know.

I had three days to kill before the big day with Ann. So, I decided to take My Mother out to lunch. The fact was, I hadn’t really spent very much time alone with her since I had arrived in Madison. Lynn and The Animals seemed to always be around. Aside from grossing me out, making me exhausted and giving me headaches, having The Animals about made it virtually impossible to have any sort of real conversation. Anytime I had started talking to My Mom or Lynn about anything, one of them would make sure to put an end to it. Sometimes, I even wondered if they did it on purpose. Self-Centered, Little Tykes!

So, right, lunch with My Mom. She picked this incredibly irritating faux-country barn place filled with flowers and padded booths with floral patterns on them. Basically, a theme park of what a “nice restaurant” would be. Then again, what in suburbia wasn’t faux something? Anyway, I digress. I’m trying hard to control my stomach and to listen to my Mom at the same time. I wonder if she’s noticed how bad my stomach actually is. I mean, how could she not with the poison fumes involved? Anyway, she doesn’t say anything about it and goes on about the craft fair she went to and this lovely stained glass thing she wanted to buy, but didn’t because it was too expensive and so on and so on and so on. In fact, it was all really amazingly dull except that it was nice to see My Mom so happy about these things as she was talking about them. And then over a dessert of not very good Peach-Cobbler-type-stuff, we got to the meat of the conversation.

INT. FAUX SOMETHING RESTAURANT – DAY

MY MOM
How long has your stomach been acting up?

ME
Years.

MY MOM
Did you have it checked? Sometimes that can
be a symptom of something serious.

ME
Yeah. Twice. Both times by specialists who
did ungodly things just to tell me in the
end that I was fine.

MY MOM
They didn’t tell you what was causing it?

ME
Getting old and stress.

MOM
What are you stressed about? Not having a
job?

ME
No, this started before then. It might
have even been caused by actually having
a job. Those jobs anyway.

MY MOM
Is there anything I can do? I hate seeing
you so unhappy.

ME
Do I seem unhappy?

MY MOM
Are you unhappy?

ME
Well, I ain’t thrilled about losing my
job and having this stomach thing. But
that’s the way it goes, I guess.

MY MOM
It will get better.

ME
How can you say that when I’m going to
die any day now of some weird disease?!

(Nope. Didn’t do it. I so wanted to. I so wanted to share what was really going on with me to her but I didn’t. Like I said, it just wouldn’t be right.)

ME
Yeah, I know. Things pass and life
goes on.

MY MOM
As long as you remember that, you’ll
be alright.

And that was that. Another one of those conversations that normally I would have thought nothing of but that somehow stuck with me in a really odd way. Something about the way she said “it will get better” and “as long as you remember that, you’ll be alright” seemed far more than just general advice. It was almost like she already knew what was going on with me and what I planned to do. Creepy.

Speaking of creepy. Can you please explain to me how come the people in this town are all white and all of Scandinavian or Germanic descent? I mean, there are a few black people and a few college students from wherever, but for the most part, this place looks like Hitler’s wet-dream. I guess I was so used to the beautiful mess that was New York’s ethnic identity that this was just too unsettling. And the rest of the fucking country was like this! All bland, fat, pasty white people that looked like the product of way, way too much inbreeding. It was all starting to make sense. The Bovine Herd. The Bovine Nation. Thank God for New York.

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