Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Womans Instinct Is Usually Almost Never Wrong

I decided to leave work a bit early seeing as I had a newborn kitten waiting for me at home. There was no one here and I was sure I wouldn't be noticed. I said goodbye to my friends on the other side and let them know why I was leaving. My friends are cute and though I know most everyone's feeling is that I should have my cat fixed they all understand she's a bit old and her last litter all died. People are weird, it's like they have empathy for my cats suffering. Maybe it's me they empathize with. Maybe because I haven't been able to get pregnant they think I want my cat to have kittens...maybe it's just me fearing empathy itself.

Still I put those thoughts away and pretend they don't exist. I only just imagined that look on her face. I only just thought I heard a certain pained inflection in her voice. These thoughts and more swirled their way around the recesses of my mind until I made it to the second set of elevators that would shuttle me to the lower parking lot. The lowest in fact, also known as: The Dungeons.

A a bald man in a yellow shirt and carefully color coordinated belt shoes, slacks and tie joined me in the Dungeon elevator somehow still managing to look pretty cool in his thick black rimmed glasses and goatee. He was eating fruit in a cup as he made to push the button to the lower most floor and when he realized I had already pushed it settled back into his corner. As we sunk lower towards the parking lot he began to cough and sputter. The doors opened and I began to walk out. Suddenly, without slowing down I turned my head slightly towards him and said, "You'd better not choke because I don't know the Heimlich.", without the thought having ever been processed through my mind first. It was quite shocking actually, because I don't talk to strangers, but what was even stranger was the fact that he laughed so much he began to choke.

I said, "Holy shit...I'm sorry." We laughed all the way to our cars. He sputtered and coughed all the way between gasps of laughter saying, "You-made me..." cough, sputter, "choke-for real!" cough, choke, "GOD...that was- so -- FUNNY!"

I jumped in my car wondering what the hell would posses me to say something like that to someone I don't know. Am I becoming more like Rigid? Is he rubbing off on me. I slammed the door and put my seat belt on. Dreamy thoughts slipping through my mind and a smile still on my face. I turned the key and the strangest thing happened. My car made a really funny noise, all the lights on my dashboard went on then everything turned off. It never turned. The entire thing was black. I tried the key again and this time absolutely nothing happened. I immediately thought of the battery, but remembered we had just replaced it a week or so ago. I checked my lights, but I hadn't left them on.

My brain was racing. This was horrible. I was leaving early, I have to study. I don't have time for this! What could be wrong? This isn't that simple. This wasn't going to be a simple charge and go type of thing. I knew it in my gut. I called Rigid and told him what was going on. He said, "Well, what do you want me to do about it? Go and ask someone for a jump."

You know, I told him there was something wrong because I didn't think it would be that simple. I had the feeling he would have to follow me home. This has happened to me before, but not in this car. That, of course, had not occurred to me at the time. I just knew he HAD to be there but I also knew that he would not understand that reasoning. I insisted that he help me which angered him even more and insisted that I speak to the parking lot attendants or the security guards.

I work in Westwood. My ex husband worked as a concierge/security guard. For liability reasons I know they're not allowed to do much. Again, I knew that regardless of my explanation he would not understand and simply hung up. This was going to be a bad day. I took a deep breath and went back to the lobby. My heart pounding in my chest and the blood slowly seeping out of my skull and burning my cheeks with...what? Shame? fucking way. I haven't felt this way since I was a kid. I haven't felt a shame, fear and embarrassment burn my cheeks in a very long time, not like this.

What was really stopping me from opening my mouth and asking for help? The fear that I might let a tear drop in front of someone that doesn't know me? Why? I don't like being a girl? Don't like feeling helpless? Or am I just horribly angry that Rigid didn't at least tell me not to worry. Everything would be okay. Ask me to see if someone can give me a jump and if I have any trouble to call him. Tell me that he'll stay on the phone with me if I need him to. I don't know, be reassuring. Did I allow my feelings to get the better of me because he yelled at me as though I was bothering him? As though it annoyed him that my car wasn't working? Did I imagine that?

Instead of acknowledging my crippling fear it became all about what he wasn't doing and how HE was behaving towards me. I allowed myself to feel justifiably slighted and angry. Wasn't it most likely his fault anyway? He changed the car battery himself instead of going to a mechanic to save money. I don't think he even knows how to change the windshield wipers. I walked right past the security guards, heart in my throat and out towards the smoking area outside the building. I slowly took out a cigarette, phone in hand, lit it and proceeded to calmly call that jerk calling himself my husband.

I said, "You have two options. You can either come down and help me or I can call AAA."

"You'll call AAA rather than ask someone to give you a jump? I don't understand. How does that make sense? What's the problem with you asking someone to help you? You're telling me no one will help you?" he said with the most sincere twinge of exasperation.

"Listen, you don't have to do anything okay. This isn't an ultimatum. I'm letting you know, I'm not going to ask anyone and I'm not going to get into why. If you want to come help me great, otherwise I'm calling AAA and renewing my subscription."

"So let me get this straight. Rather than ask someone for help you'll spend money we shouldn't spend. Right. Fine I'll be right there." as he hung up the phone I heard him say, "Between you and fucking Morrigan..."

That was it, I went to finish off my cigarette anguishing over the fact that I'm making Rigid do something he doesn't want to do and wondering why in the world he wouldn't want to do it. I felt like suck an ASSHOLE. I sat there trying to feel justified for forcing him. It's his fault. 'If he hadn't made me angry.', 'If he didn't make me feel so sad.', 'Why can't I just ask someone? What if I just get up and ask someone now.'

I finished my cigarette and realized that burning feeling in my cheeks hadn't gone and I couldn't stand to be around anyone any longer. I walked up the spiral staircase to the the large balcony and sat two tables away from a girl with her back to me. Just as well, I wouldn't have felt comfortable otherwise. I lit another cigarette and continued to try and feel comfortable with my level of manipulation. The guilt ate away at me and I couldn't find a way to justify it. I felt horrible.

Into my third cigarette I decided to call him. He wasn't far, in fact he was closer than I expected. By the time I was done with this cig I'd be able to go downstairs, straight to my car and wait less than a few minutes before he showed up. I was sure of it. I smoked it up and prepared to be face to face with the man I love and help him understand something that even I deep down didn't understand. Maybe he won't hate me as much.

I waited in the car, but he took a little longer than I thought. Maybe I was just being impatient? A dark SUV rounded the corner and there he was. He parked directly in front of me and didn't waste any time getting to work. With barely a word he asked me to pull the lever so he could open the hood. I stepped out of the car, twisting my hands together and for the first time trying my hardest to appear submissive. Maybe by forcing him to help me I'm metaphorically castrating him...Much like my ex claims I did him. He asked me for the jumper cables. I had no idea I had jumper cables. I felt like such an ass when after connecting them the car turned right over. There you see, point proven. It was easy as that. I could have just asked someone.

"That simple." he said. As we waited for the car to charge a co-worker came to see what happened. My cheeks burned again, but I know this person and I like her very much. She's always defending Rigid too. She thinks I'm mean to him. Honestly, She's probably right. After a begrudged explanation on my part she was on her way. I was about to get ready to drive off, but Rigid had me test the car. It didn't turn back on thus proving my point this time. There was something more serious going on.

"But you see what I mean though? It was that easy. It just took two second and the car started right up." in a much lighter tone. He always seems to lighten up after we've spoken to friends.

"Yeah, but there's something wrong. It's not keeping a charge at all and I don't know why. It's not supposed to do that. Could it be the starter?"

"No, because if it had been the starter the battery would still have a charge." he explained.

After a short while we left. The entire thing took less than 10 minutes and we were on our way. Rigid's cell phone wasn't working apparently, so he honked on the street and motioned for me to stop at a gas station. He wanted something to drink. He always wants something to drink. I needed cigarettes so we stopped. The car felt weak as I slowed, it almost felt like it stopped but I figured I was just imagining it. Still, I was relieved that Rigid was there.

He brought over my cigarettes and jumped back into the car. We exited the lot together cutting off a large white Van in the process, but that's Rigid. He doesn't care, he just wanted to stay close to me. My stomach felt sour, I could still feel the guilt churning inside me turn to guilt over feeling comforted by his presence. Traffic was building up on the onramp, but we quickly made our way towards the two-lane one-per-car traffic light. I do this every single day. Most days I'm on autopilot, but not today. My senses were completely on edge so when the car shut down as I came to a stop at the light I immediately stuck my hand out the window and pressed the emergency button.

No lights. Nothing. People began to honk almost immediately and Rigid threw his hazards on. I just sat there in a daze not knowing what to do. For the first time in my life I had no idea what to do. My car wasn't going to move without a charge and there was no way to safely turn the truck around to give me one. Not to mention the fact that it would be illegal. Rigid came to my side, cursed at a few people that drove past him and asked me what we were going to do. I wanted to call Cal-Trans. Last time someone came to help me and I didn't even call. I was off the freeway in no time. But I didn't know the number and I couldn't think straight. Rigid always ask me to call Pumpo and I always tell him no, but this time I did.

He didn't know the number, I don't know why I thought he might. He stumbled around the Internet trying to look for one. He always finds what he wants. I got it. I shouldn't have called. It finally hit me to just dial 411 and after many fumbled attempts I finally got through to someone. They informed me that they contacted the Highway Patrol, but that I would have to call another number to contact Cal Trans in my area. I dialed the number and the rep quickly informed me that I would have to call 911 because the situation I was in constituted a Roadside Emergency. I told her I just needed to be towed, but she only repeated that I call 911.

I felt so frustrated that my chest constricted to a tight ball and after the way Rigid screamed at me to get out of the car in case someone decides to get stupid or hits us I was just beside myself. I shakily dialed 911 and felt the panic surge in me. I knew it was completely irrational, but I've never called 911 and didn't know what to expect. I've learned to be wary of police officers no matter the situation and there's a good reason why. It's my reason and mine alone and I will not share it with anyone because in all honesty it doesn't make much sense and quite possibly could have something to do with my father. Rigid, on the other hand, is very comfortable with officers so I asked him to help me with the call. I don't know why, but he only took the phone begrudgingly.

After pressing a few buttons to navigate through the menu, he got it in him to see if he could push the car on his own to get it into the emergency lane. He tried to hand me the phone, but I refused to take it. I was just trying to regulate my breathing and not panic like a fool. People tried to whizz by the cars, but of course each kept having to stop at the light so their dramatic gesture was just that. The jeered, cursed at us and laughed. I had my back turned to everyone but I was acutely aware of the fact that they were cursing because they thought we had gotten in a fender bender. They couldn't understand why the fuck we would block traffic that way when there was clearly nothing wrong with our cars.

Rigid cursed at them as they passed with the phone to his ear. He shoved the phone in my face so I put my hand up and pushed it back to him. Pleading with him to help me, but he pushed it into my hand. I screamed hysterically for him to please just help me. My face contorted with an anguished look and he said, "RIGHT if you're going to get nasty, if you keep that shitty attitude up I'll just leave and let you FUCKING deal with this shit on your own." shaking the phone in my face, his face less than 5 inches from mine screwed up into a little red angry ball. He said a lot more than that, but my mind had already gone.

I put my face in my hand and tried to breath, but I didn't. Instead I held my breath. I probably looked like I was about to throw up, but I was trying to keep myself from gasping as hot fat tears burned their way down my red cheeks and rolled over my fingers. He yelled some more telling me there was no need for that. He screamed for me to breath and not panic. It hurt so much. I felt so fucking sorry for myself that I became angry with myself. Rigid is the only man I've ever let treat me with such disrespect. Never in my life would I ever put up with this crap. It's one thing to disrespect one another in a playful way and quite another when you're full on angry. This was about as full on as you could get and he was cruel. I wept for myself because no one else will. I wept because I was truly alone.

My legs felt like they were about to give out and I felt so dizzy and sleepy suddenly. I couldn't hear the cars around me and there was a funny ringing in my ears. I tried to breath and began gasping, dry retching. He continued to scream at me wondering why I was behaving this way, why I was panicking. Screamed and told me to get in the car, sit down, stop crying. The more he yelled, the more he barked the less I heard him. I wanted to run out into the street and disappear. He wouldn't stop screaming and pulling me. Kept saying that if a police officer saw me freaking out like that he'd take us both in. I'm sure you've been successful at rationalizing with a hyperventilating irrationally pms'ing 30 something year old, but I never have.

God, I wished so hard he'd get the picture. Just fucking shut up and hold me. Why the fuck do I have to tell you what to do while I'M the one in the middle of a panic attack? Yeah, it's no ones responsibility to take care of me, no one's duty but my own that's not a problem. It's simple kindness, a very common human interaction. See someone cry, put a hand on their shoulder. See a girl cry and be overcome with the desire to hold them until they stop. Basic comforting skills are what Rigid sorely lacks and never in my life have I been so poorly treated in that respect.

Yes, It's irrational. Yes, there's no point! If I had any control do you not think I would exert it? Do you not think that I just spent the last hour trying to control it? Do you not understand what a threshold limit is? Ever heard of it? It's called the point at which you CROSSED THE FUCKING LINE! Guess what, there's nothing I can do about it. Once I start crying I can't exactly stop. If I had any fucking control I wouldn't EVER cry. It's like...not having a sphincter, the little muscle in your anus that keeps your shit in your body. Want to know what happens if you don't have a sphincter? You might shit your pants. You pass gas without wanting to. You can take a really huge cock up your ass. Yes, there are advantages to not having a sphincter muscle, but really only if you work in the porn industry.

Sometimes there can be advantages to my freak outs. I'll feel lighter and will stay happier longer after a good cry. May happen during a movie. This makes Rigid very uncomfortable which. It's not uncommon for the words, "Silly fucker." to pop out of his mouth. Sometimes...just sometimes he might actually touch me, maybe even * gasp * hold me. Under times of stress though his best foot is always shoved somewhere behind him, most likely rooted deep in his nether regions. Quite possibly kicking out his sphincter. No wonder he farted everywhere we went when we first met. He has a tendency to have his foot lodged permanently up his ass.

Tuesday afternoon was no different and I stood there shocked, for some strange reason and just sobbed. though I was surprised at all that he didn't handle it well. As though it truly shocked me that he screamed at me to try to get me to stop crying or that he yanked at my arm to try and get me to jump in the car.

Eventually I did get in the car. My makeup smeared all over my face and my eyes swollen. The tow truck showed up eventually. Rigid continued to talk to me and get me to see reason. Tried to make me understand why he was screaming and why it was pointless for me to cry at all. This made me cry all the more, but he'd softened his tone. I just tried to ignore him as much as I could.

After being towed to a parking lot near the next exit we jumped the car again and set up. This time on the street. See how smart we are? We didn't get far before it turned off again though so I ended up having to call AAA anyway. Sixty seven dollars later we were on our way to a dealership. Wait...what? Who's idea was it to go to a fucking dealership? Holy shit. THIS is exactly what happens when MY head suddenly becomes lodges up Rigid's ass. He suggests dealership and I say...okie...whimper...lowerlip quiver.

In my mind I can hear my ex-husband's voice screaming, "DEALERSHIP???? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND???" A deep throaty and excruciatingly threateningly FUCKING scary and maniacal as hell laughter tossing seeds of doubt into my brain. Yeah...fucking dealership, hoping it's not too much.

Shit, maybe I should go to a regular mechanic? No, fuck it we decided the dealership was fine. Was the dealership fine? No...not so much. Not only did I have to leave it over night JUST to get a fucking diagnostic done, but I would have to pay $119 that they will happily count towards the total fee. Isn't that nice? I clenched my cheeks, went home and tried to be prepared to unclench them the next day.

BEND OVER CAUSE HERE IT COMES! So, the cat and kitten kept us up all night. Rigid was irate and I was exhausted, but I managed to make it to work. Scarily in an SUV I'm not used to driving, which also funily enough is missing the mirror on the right. Can this week get any worse?" Yes my friends. Yes, It can. The dealership dude called to quote me a grand total of $895 for a new alternator, battery and brackets.

So, I'm paying the $119 and having the car towed to Pepboys who quoted me $167 for the alternator. Could I have said all of this in 500 words or less...probably.

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