Saturday, October 31, 2009

When the Past Comes Back to Haunt You

When I opened the office door and set my bags down, out of the blue, I remembered that I had a meeting in 15 minutes and hadn't prepared. Waiting for my computer to boot-up could take forever so I grabbed my scribbled notes from Friday, hoping they would enlighten me and refresh my absent minded self of the meeting agenda. Suddenly, the phone rang and I picked it up with my usual enthusiasm, "Old College," I said in a pseudo sarcastic voice. But, then what to my wondering ears should I hear but a mouth breathing, moaning psycho-path who was obviously in the middle of the task at hand...literally (if you know what I mean). I quickly slammed down the phone, flabbergasted, I tried to collect my thoughts when the phone rang again. It was Vic. I knew his number well since I bothered him throughout the day with nonsense phone calls. "Hi. Thank God it's you. I just got a dirty, porno call from some random MY JOB!" I bellowed, half laughing, half scowling. "Don't worry about it. It was probably a prank. Maybe it was one of the students," Vic said, not worried about the situation. "RING," "RING," "RING." It was my other line. This time I could see the number. The area code was from South Jersey. 609 to be exact. I didn't get the whole number. "Damn it," I thought, frustrated by the University's bad caller ID system that doesn't store numbers. I put Vic on hold and cautiously answered the other line. "Old College, " I said in a lighter voice. "Ugh, Ooooh, Ahhhh, grunt, grunt" the caller moaned and moaned. I slammed down the line again. There would be no climaxing by anyone in 203 Rumson Hall...not even by an obscene phone caller....HOUSE RULES! I switched back to Vic, told him what happened and he asked if I was able to get the number. "No," I said sadly feeling a bit defeated. "Don't worry NeNe, you'll figure it out," my husband said. "I'm sure it's nothing."

"RING." "RING." "RING." I couldn't believe the nerve of this foolish, slobbering caller, with the staying power of a Viagra popping old cooter who had nothing better to do than call a spry 40 something for a little morning delight. Well, he happened to pick on the wrong woman. I'll play along for a little while and then I get mad quickly. On my desk of toys, I scampered for a toy whistle or anything that I could blow in the "handyman's" ear. Nothing...nothing...ahhhhhh something. It wasn't much but I grabbed a wax harmonica someone had given me last Halloween and blew as hard as I could. I hit a nice middle C note but nothing to destroy the ear drum. "Damn it!" I picked the phone up, accidentally hanging up on Vic at the same time. Now I was alone in my office suite, no student aid, no co-worker to save me. I was flying solo. I blew again, this time directly into the phone. I must have looked like a supreme ass at that moment but I didn't care. I wanted to inflict some sort of pain on this obnoxious phone caller who was stressing me out right before I had to be on point. I could feel my face get red, my blood pressure rise and my patience wane. "Blow....whistle.......silence." He even stopped moaning and for a brief, fleeting moment, I thought I'd won, but then he exhaled loudly. Ugh..had he? He had. Oh my God! He caaaaaaaa...No. I can't go there. I won't think about it. I zoned out for a second until I heard him begin to laugh. I was enraged to the point of no return. "Maybe you should get a better whistle Rene'. I really love that black sweater you're wearing this morning. I've been watching you...very closely," he carefully explained. I was paralyzed, frozen with fear. It was the kind of fear that kept you from screaming. Suddenly, I was a mute. I dropped the phone on my desk, never hanging up. I quickly looked out my office window, scanning the parking lot for a sign of anyone who may have been playing a trick on me. Nothing. Then, suddenly, I heard the suite door close abruptly. I ran to my door, slamming it with a fury I'd never experienced. I was panting heavily, my heart was thumping out of my chest. Again, I was mute. Frightened beyond my capability, I reached for the phone. I slammed it down on the receiver and called the main office just a few doors down the hall. I was crying, screaming and pleading with the student aids to help me. My door knob was turning, turning now harder and harder till it shook the entire door frame. "I'm waiting for you Rene'....I'm not going to wait much longer," the sex crazed freaky phone caller said. No need to worry. The students were coming to help me or where they. How long does it take for a college kid to walk down the hall?

I heard muffled yelling and the outside door abruptly close and then re-open again quickly. "Rene' are you OK? What the hell is going on?" said Aaron, a junior at the college. "Open the door!!!!" As I was about to open it, I head a car ripping through the parking lot, brakes screeching. It was a brown sedan with Pennsylvania plates. I think it was a Chevy Vega. I hadn't seen one of those in years but somehow, it rang a bell. I managed to write down a piece of the plate ABH-7 and then I lost the rest. My eyes aren't what they used to be, neither are my reflexes. My stomach was churning. I could feel the English muffin and peanut butter I ate for breakfast quickly rising up my esophagus. As the bile crept higher and higher, my mind was running. Where had I seen that car? I kept drawing a blank, but somehow, I knew it had to be someone from my Cape May days. That was 20 plus years ago. The summer of '87 to be exact. I had a bit of stalker when I lived at the Maycomber....he used to fuck with me whenever he had a chance. I was warned about him from a rent a cop friend of mine who said this guy was wanted for questioning about a stabbing in PA and that the Cape May cops were watching him. He pinned a dragonfly to my door, crushed my "Whose that Girl" Madonna cd and shredded my Cosmo's in the bathroom. He even stole one of my lipsticks and wrote "Bitch" all over the bathroom mirror. Could it be him? I haven't thought about him since the summer of '90 when he slid up next to me on a slow night at Carney's Other Room, touched my leg and tried to buy me a drink. He was in his 40's and eager to make my acquaintance once again. Thank God my then boyfriend noticed the frightened look on my face and quickly escorted me to the kitchen where I waited silently until he got off his bar tending shift. I never saw him again, but now all signs point to him and almost 60 year old derelict looking to get cozy with me all these years later. What a bloody sicko!

I opened my door, only to find a few sheet white students wondering what the hell was going on. We began to speak over each other, eagerly trying to grasp the gist of what just went down. Then, my peripheral vision caught a letter taped on my door. It was hastily written in half block, half cursive writing that said, "Next time, no door will keep me out. I'll be watching you just like I did through the key hole at the Maycomber."


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

American EXPRESS? Are you kidding me?

Along my three mile trek to work this morning (Tuesday), my 2002 VW Passatt decided to conk out as I entered the gates of Hofstra, where I was slated to speak at a guidance counselor gig in the University Club. As I coasted into a spot, I silently cursed the day I ever bought this black lemon. I do vow never to buy another VW as long as I breathe air. My 1990 Jetta just bit the dust a few years college car that my mom purchased for me, just died. You should be impressed by that but it just goes to show that things are now built to break...not to last. My husband made an executive decision earlier this year and dropped our wonderful Allstate Roadside Assistance Service in place of the "free" American Express Gold Card car service. What a big mistake! There are fundamental differences between the two and unfortunately, he made the wrong decision. I sat in the club's parking lot for two and a half hours waiting for a tow truck to arrive while snippy little girls from Amex kept assuring me that he'd be there momentarily. Well, momentarily came hours later and after much hullabaloo, our tow truck manly man showed up and quickly flat bedded my VW away. If I had known I'd be basking in the Indian summer sun on a mid-October morning, I wouldn't have taken my beach chairs out of the trunk of my car. Thankfully, my husband came and waited with me over a couple of bottles of water and a box of chocolate covered Altoids. My stress level was at an all-time high. I ended up speaking with the counselors prior to my long wait, which was good but I was frazzled and fumbled my words a few times. I hate that because I'm a good public speaker and I kept losing my thoughts. Ugh! I sucked yesterday but I have a few more chances to get better at this. I'll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, the word on my street is ditch AMEX Roadside (I hate to even compare this to service) Service and get something that is more reputable. It didn't take much to convince my husband to switch back to Allstate Road Service, especially since he waited and waited and waited there with me for well over two hours. Funny how things get fixed when ...........

Monday, October 19, 2009

Life in Motion

I think I have my seasons mixed up. I've been hibernating for months, but I plan on doing daily installments from now until I can't write another word or phrase. I must be out of my mind to let my craft slip away. After my mother's death, I basically threw my hands in the air and said, "whatever will be, will be," (oh that Doris Day influence) and allowed myself to be bad in more ways than one. I ate too much, drank too much and allowed myself to wallow in my misery and bereft state. I marinated so much in that sadness that it began to overtake me and that, my friends, is what shook me to the core. I can't say I simply snapped out of it but what it did was make me look deeper into my feelings, which allowed me to release the anger and depression that had a hold on me. I know what's wrong in my life and unless I make radical, painful changes, I'll be stuck in a life that has little meaning. I wanted so much more for my life and I hate to think about myself as 42 and trapped. My marriage is phenomenal...I couldn't ask for a better man to share my life. It's all the rest. I was driving yesterday and heard Queensryche's "Jet City Woman," and almost cried. That song came out in the summer of '91 and at that point, I was 24 and had my whole life in front of me. I was going to write for Rolling Stone you know. I was going to be the next big thing....big big BIG hopes and dreams, but I let my fragile ego lead me into something that was safe..a sure thing. Don't get me wrong. I met a lot of amazing people along the way and honestly, it radically changed my life. Each person I met along this crazy ride had a hand in shaping me. There's always a time when we have to simply walk away. Carol Burnett did it when she tugged on her ear lobe each Saturday night as she left the stage but how will Rene' find her way back to the pages, the sentences, the periods and quotations..........How, How HOW?