Friday, May 22, 2009

Something Good In My Life

Jennifer was about to turn into the Wal-Mart parking lot. But there was an issue. A huge, unpleasant car accident.

Standing between me and the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Well, I don't know for certain if the accident was preventing the purchase of Buffy 7. I have no clue. It could have been at the Kokomo Wal-Mart. Or not. It wasn't at the other place we went. And Best Buy had it, but it was like thirty dollars. I am so not buying Buffy for thirty dollars when I could get it for fifteen.

So we gave up on Wal-Mart.

Later, I tried looking online. And I could find it for sixty, forty, and thirty (all without the shipping added in). So I was unhappy.

Then, having soup with Rachael, I decided I only had one option. The quasi-legal kind. And as I waited for the goods to be delivered from my connection, I was driving home from work considering for the umpteenth time purchasing the Emo Vampire show because it was almost as stupid and funny as Buffy, but not quite.

But I didn't. Instead I vowed to make do with the selection of OST episodes I got at Walmart days before. But Paul called and said to go to meet him and Mom at Wal-Mart. And there it was.

Season 7, fifteen dollars. And now it's mine.

Take that world! And I didn't have to break any laws that are not yet on the books because the law hasn't caught up with technology yet! So no quasi-legal activity needed. Hooray! And they can all sit happily on my bookshelf all next to each other looking good.

Life is good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I really have nothing to say.

This is what happens when I see my friends, keep busy at work, and sleep during the evening.

The biggest event of the week involved me, Nancy, April, and 60 kindergardeners.

I have this thing against swarms. Pile the young of any species on top of each other, and it becomes difficult for the cute factor to overwhelm the too-many factor. The cute is overtaken by the dear-god-get-them-away and I am left creeping away out the door or through a door to put something in between me and whatever spawn/progeny I am avoiding.

I should never have children.

I am comparing kids, human kids, to piles of mice babies, or grubs. That's one protective order short of a court case.

This is why I am not an elementary school teacher. And why I have so much respect for them (Jennifer) and all they put up with (students/other teachers).

I caught myself, after the kids were lining up to leave, rubbing down every surface because their hands had been all over what my hands were about to touch, and I had seen one of them doing the nose-pick/wipe thing on the circulation desk. Ewww!

I told them I was getting rid of marker stuff.

But they were cute. Especially when they thanked us for their tour by singing us a song. The song was cute, too. And they were so precious, it made me think: they had an awesome music teacher to help them learn their lyrics (like Jen). Then I thought: if they learned them this well, they must have had classroom teachers help with it all too or they wouldn't know the words or the motions near so well (like what Jen doesn't have but really wishes she did).

The cutest part was how they divided up into their little groups and went onto the buses and drove far, far away. And now, when they come back, it will be a few at a time (like, under ten)--and I can enjoy that.

But today, oh, today. There are forty (40!) kids coming today. Forty might not be sixty, but it is still more than ten, even more than twenty, and that means A Lot. Fortunately, Nancy has yet to leave on vacation, so the chaos can be shared for the most part, between Nancy and April who are used to giving tours and doing puppet shows and I won't be standing shell-shocked in front of the crowd holding a rabbit puppet in one hand and a pig puppet in the other while I try to Chicken Dance my way out the front door to my car.

I hate the Chicken Dance.

It is undignified.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I guess this isn't so much of a surprise...

My evenings at work are always amusing.

One of the Lisas comes in and stays until closing (or after) picking out movies and ignoring their children as they run up stairs with our encyclopedias or try to vault over the circulation desk.

Erin and I get a handful of candy and pretend that we aren't going to eat it all. And then we do.

And we do crafts.

Today, we had to come up with some kind of tambourine using paper plates. And when I punched holes and tried putting it together, I realized it needed some decoration.

The result of my "decoration" was The World's Ugliest Tambourine. I then wrote on it: "The World's Ugliest Tambourine: Play for 5 Cents" and began the other plate, painting it in a different but equally ugly fashion.

But in between the two ugly sides, some kid came in looking for a book. The book was an Eoin Colfer novel we don't have at the moment but may end up with soon.

So I told him and his dad we didn't have that book, but that we did have the Artemis Fowl series, which in my opinion, is the best thing that author will ever write, no matter what.

I took the two of them upstairs and showed them. Then I walked downstairs.

Now I must state for the record that I have been very clear, throughout my life to anyone that would hear me, that I knew I would at some point fall down our stairs in the library.

They are freaky, and the railing is funny, so I knew I would end up getting used to them just enough, then falling down them in a tragic way that would end with me being shown the door or a first aid kit depending on how badly I was injured or how badly I injured the books I would be carrying.

When I started working here, I knew the inevitable would happen: I would get used to the stairs, go down them fast and end up falling horribly, brutally injuring myself in a way that would make me extra happy about the whole health insurance thing. Or the life insurance thing.

Things were going okay until the last few stairs.

That is, as I was running down the stairs after showcasing the books we had up in YA.

Then somehow, my shoe became separate from my foot for a brief instant, and I became separate from the stairs.

Later, I found myself laughing hysterically as Erin got up and looked, finding me on the ground.

She was pretty nice about the whole thing (meaning, she didn't laugh until she saw that I was uninjured), and we went back to our respective painting.

Then, later, I was laughing about it some more, when she looked at me wide-eyed, and said...

"I bet it's on the security camera!"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

H1N1 Appliance Death Virus...or the Conspiracy of the Repairmen

The Dishwasher Guy came today. That's the guy Lowes sent to install our new dishwasher, which is an appliance sent by God to assist we lesser mortals with our day to day suffering inflicted upon us since the fall.


I've been using tons of Biblical stuff in my writing today. And not really in the way I think I'm supposed to.


And look. All of those semi-bad words Dad never used to let me use as a kid because he said they were substitutions for nastier words I didn't know existed. He is so totally right. I am completely going to Hell now.


Meet me by the skin pit? I hear Laurie Notaro is going to be there, and she's a riot.

Back to my point. The Dishwasher Guy. Dishwasher of Glorious Victory, delivered with Serephs singing and strumming of harps! And my house, the den of human desperation, filled with dirty laundry (waiting for the washing machine still) and dishes (waiting for dishwasher, now arrived).

And he used his blessed (bless-ed like Shakespeare, there) tools to wrest free the cursed (curse-ed again like The Bard) villainous monster of hate and overflowing dishwater. And it was gone from this place. And taken from us, cast out like vermin from our sight.

And there was much rejoicing.

But then, he bent down and said, "Huh."



Mom replied, "What is it?"

And then he spilled out the awful truth. It seems, the SEARS guys from SEARS that were SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING happened to remove the old old dishwasher and replace it with the new old dishwasher without doing a thing they are supposed to do, because they are stupid and probably hate us and want us to suffer.

They were supposed to put in a thingie that would catch the water if something happened to cause the dishwasher to plug up and want to overflow. A something Mom and I hypothosized about last night, when imagining what a better designed dishwasher should be like.

We are just geniuses, you know.

In fact, by not putting in the thingie, they in fact committed a crime.

Yeah! Seriously--a crime!

The SEARS guys are totally going to jail. Or Hell (the special Hell reserved for people who are really, really evil and not just church kids that don't live up to people's expectations). Or both.

And not putting the thing in can make the dishwasher overflow all over our kitchen carpet (I know) just like what happened all those times! They made it happen!

So the Lowes guy, who is super smart and should win Dishwasher Awards of some kind for being a cool guy, could not put in the new dishwasher because that thing was supposed to already be there and he didn't bring one.

The new dishwasher is now sitting in our garage, waiting for that important part that ought to have been in there with the other dishwasher(s) all along.

I'm taking bets on how long it will sit there. The guy said a couple of days, maybe. Who says a week? Two weeks? Repair people use different calenders than we do. It is a temporal flux, a distortion in the space/time continuum.

We'll see what happens.

Another Freak Thinks I'm Hot

Oh, can I attract the freaks.

The weirdos.

The pedophiles.

The drug users.

The psychopaths with anger problems that lead them to hurl other psychopaths through plate glass windows.

The middle aged white men who have not shaved or bathed in decades, who smell of stale cigarette smoke and broken dreams. Or was that gin?

Yep, I know how to find them. If there is a loser in a room with a hundred nice, good looking guys who like sci-fi and their moms, the loser will be the one who actually likes me. The rest of them will talk Trek with me and then ask out my friends. Or at least they used to, when my friends and I spent any time with boys.

And they aren't just the marginal losers, they are the hard core losers. The first guy who told me I was pretty is in the Federal Penitentiary (capitalized because it sounds so scary) for trafficking in illegal weaponry.

Oh yeah. The guys who like Laura carry rocket launchers around. So be careful.

The good news, aside from the fact that I can spot these freaks of nature with my Danger Meter from miles away, is that usually they are also hugely stupid, and make dumb mistakes like picking fights with police officers or just having the rocket launcher laying around where anyone could see it and call the cops. Or by pulling an honest to goodness switch blade on the bus as a joke.

Yep. That guy asked me out.

I turned him down.

But I was really nice about it.

Just in case.

The last thing I want is to push some unstable guy over the edge and have him driving around the country side killing girls who look like me as he gradually works up to eviscerating me on the anniversary of my refusal.

You really never know with some of these guys.

Others of them don't actually say anything, or at least they don't say anything to me. Instead, they make comments to the other men with them as if I am deaf to any words not spoken directly to me, with eye contact established. I think that some men think you don't hear them if they use cunning code words I can't repeat without going blind or deaf for real, or being struck down by God for the evil I utter.

You have to worry about being struck down by God if you read any of the Old Testament. That stuff used to go down a lot.

Usually those are the sort I have the biggest problem with, because they are the type that objectify and leave, looking me up and down (as if there is any part of me that justifies notice) and lingering on certain areas--you know which ones, Jen, but don't say them out loud or I will black out with horror--even though those one such area is mostly miracle bra and their imaginations.

Oh, but the freaks I hate the most, more than all others, are the kind that think because I am in a service industry job, retail, library, etc, I have to listen to them and be nice, even if they are freaky people I want gone. The ones that ask me questions and try to have long conversations I know are only going on because I am standing in front of them taking their money when they buy their car magazines they only buy for the girls. You know what I mean.

Oh, they are horrible. Standing there high and shirtless asking me questions about layaway at Walmart for jewelry that costs five dollars. Because they just want to keep talking, or because they have to save up all their change after they buy their drugs in order to end up with that nice thick hip hop chain and fake bling they got from a toy vending machine at the grocery store.

And yesterday, I was working at the computer minding my own business as one of them came up to the window in front of my computer desk. The window that opens out into the foyer that I am mostly invisible through.

Oh yes, He had to stand on his tip-toes and lean forward in order to glimpse me at all, and when I noticed that he was doing it, I gave him a dirty look because--what a freak! I don't even need a reason. He deserved that dirty look for being a human stain.

Then he got all happy and left with his dirty friends, because a girl noticed him. It doesn't matter why. Just that she did.

And this is why I am so cynical. This is why I expect men to be disgusting and horrible creatures of darkness, and I feel vindicated when they are.

This is the reason why I will end up old, angry, and alone. This is why I will have an apartment or a house of my own, filled with books, and be noticed by my smell three weeks after I am dead. And if Myst, my cat, is still alive, there won't be much of me left to find.

That cat is possessed. She would totally eat me if I died. She's waiting for it. That will be her liberation day.

At least, until that day comes, I will have my knitting to console me. And Jen loves The Golden Girls so much, we will probably end up re-enacting the series by moving into the same house and being persnickety together.

One can only hope.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Laura Comes Out of the Turbolift.

Although not like you think.

But come on, I've been single so long that it wouldn't make much of a difference either way.

Sports fans have all kinds of paraphenalia. It's everywhere. There are shirts--tee and jersey variety, various shorts, jackets, sweaters, and sweatshirts, hats, bumper stickers, and mock road signs all announcing which team is the favorite of each respective fan. In high school, I knew that Keegan loved the Cubs, Paul (not my brother Paul) loved the Oakland Raiders, and an abundance of people hated/loved IU or Purdue.

No one made any attempt to hide it. It was assumed that we all would be accepting of everything sports related. This is the USA, sports are cool here.

But not to me. I loved something different.

In junior high we could still carry backpacks to class. I always had a book with me, concealed within the backpack so that no one would see what book it was. Each and every one of them I had tracked down at used bookstores throughout our area. I would hand over a dollar and carry out four (sometimes five) ancient paperbacks. Once home, I used a mild bleach solution to clean the covers and the sides, then I weighted the books with our old encyclopedias so that the pages would not warp.

Once the books were de-mildewed, they could be added to my shelves and my reading list, and I was happy.

Inspired by the sixth movie, I read all of Sherlock Holmes. There I was, in seventh grade, carrying what appeared to be a largish dictionary from class to class, turning every bible-thin page carefuly to keep from tearing them.

And as time passed, and my television stations no longer allowed me to have contact with my favorite show(s), I consoled myself with each movie, each novel, until the Star Wars prequels were hinted at.

Which, by the way, I hated.

As I became less and less cool, if it were even possible, I continued to conceal the thing that I loved. I tried to keep it from being easily known in my school because North Miami kids never forgot anything you did wrong, ever and made sure you didn't either.

But I love Star Trek.

Seriously, I love it.

I have a whole shelf of Trek books, and I have some that I couldn't find in e-book form, because I had to read them.

And when I heard they were doing a new movie, I was thrilled. And when I saw it, it was the happiest movie-going experience of my life.


Best. Movie. Ever.

And on the drive home, I said to myself, "Star Trek is amazing. What do I care if people think I am a nerd. I am a nerd; I embrace it."

So right then and there I decided to "come out" to all of you as what I really am, a Trekkie.

With the "T" capitalized because I am that serious about it.

Still, I promise I won't buy fake ears or learn Klingon.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Yet Another Reason Why I Love My Brother

Paul just cracks me up. I gave him my e-mail address with the urging that he send me funny youtube links that I can watch during my free time here at work or during my lunch breaks, and he has lived up to the challenge.

He finds insanely hilarious stuff on the net. Things that shouldn't be funny, but are. Like multiple soccer players in multiple games kicking each other in their respective groins set to music. Because you've got to have the music. Or a live action rendition of Pokemon. Or the guy with the mattress store having night terrors in which his head explodes. I don't even know what the heck that was, but it was funny.

Here is a sampling of Paul's videos of the week.

You don't necessarily want to watch the whole of this one, but the Burt and Ernie rap and the My Little Pony movie trailer are hilarious and deserving of attention.

Here's another two, these are tourist video spots some guy made for Cleveland, and both made me laugh like crazy.

I hope you find these as funny as I did!

Oh, and I had this up for a few hours before I figured out I'd put up two of the same Cleveland video, when there are two different ones... And both are great.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The appliance wars

I think it is kind of freaky that, just as we are finding out the horror of various appliances and their inevitable demises, the Yarn Harlot is for the first time actually having appliance problems too. I think there may be a large appliance curse going around.

I will call it Appliance Swine Flu, or the Appliance H1N1 Virus.

Because then people will be filled with the paralyzing fear that causes many parents I see every day to walk around with their arms full of books and also the alcohol gel germ killer stuff that gives me a headache.

I don't think there is germ killer for the appliance virus. I'll have to check.

On the day before my college graduation party, the dishwasher heaved a great sigh and spewed foul, nasty water all over the kitchen carpet. Yes, carpet. Thank you, thank you Grandma Beutler. Only you would think that was a good idea.

I am half convinced that by suggesting kitchen carpet to my impressionable mother, she was trying to cause marital strife/divorce between her daughter-in-law and son. Anything could happen.

At any rate, Mom, struggling with a dishwasher, its spew, and a malfunctioning carpet cleaner, rented a different carpet cleaner which then also poured water all over our carpets, this time just because she didn't get how to fill it up without turning it upside down and pouring the water she had just put inside the machine out of the machine through a different hole.

So the dishwasher was then ruled by the family to be out of commission until such a time as we got around to getting someone to come fix it, or got the money to pay for such repairs, or until Mom decided she was tired of waiting and decided to fix it herself because she'd seen someone do it before and was pretty sure she could do it too.

She pulled a penny out of the dishwasher's spinner mechanism (the thing that sprays the water) and called it a day.

Then it overflowed again.

So it wasn't fixed, and Mom decided the best next move to make would be to detach the spinner deal entirely and then find out what was clogging it. In doing so, she found a little bit of some kind of metal thing, and wondered what the heck it could be. Removing the spinner, she saw it was a chunk of the spinner's innards.

Then she told me she could glue it together. And she fiddled with a little rubber washer, which disintegrated in her hands, appliance style.

The dishwasher was then rendered unfixable by non-professional hands and we gave up. We then spent the following ten months thinking about how nice it would be to get the thing fixed. That and the refrigerator door that opens itself, and the oven door that doesn't open or close because the hinge has broken free.

But that's a normal week in our family. We have a lot of places to spend money, like car repair and groceries, or even the occasional meal, so we don't fix the big stuff if we can live without it. We can push on the top and bottom of the fridge door to close it well. We can lift the oven door as we close it to make sure it actually closes and keeps the heat in. I can endure a car that clicks (or now, bangs) when I turn left. It's what I call living on the edge. Roughing it. If people live in a world without clean water, I can live in a world where I have to push hard on the fridge door and use my fancy indoor hot and cold running water to wash my dishes after I eat a meal with fresh, healthsome food.

Then the unthinkable happened, the washing machine, always a disappointment, finally began to rock along the floor. And emit a grinding noise.

The Sears repairman was called. He stated the washing machine would live. Then he pulled out many, many coins because it's too hard to take change out of pockets (or Irish Whistles, or tie clips, or whatever).

That was good news.

Then he went upstairs and proclaimed the engine blown in the dishwasher. Time of death was called. A certificate was issued, funeral arrangements are pending.

Mom asked if he had heard the horrible noises issued from our spinning washing machine. He said he would listen just to be sure.

That was when the kind, pensive look on the repair guy's face turned to an ominous look of dread.

"The bearings are shot. The spinning something inside the something that does the something that makes the bin turn in circles really fast and magically clean all the grime from clothes isn't spinning right anymore, because God cursed this machine since that is how these things break, usually," he said. Or at least, that is what I heard when his mouth was moving, and words were coming out.

The washing machine was proclaimed dead. A certificate was also issued.

Because the repair guy was a merciful sort of person and because he wasn't sure how long Sears was going to keep employing all the people in the area that they employed or that he would be one of the few they kept, he decided to be extra nice and just charge us for the call, not for all the diagnoses of death he made. He told us this was because he knew we would have to buy some new appliances.

He told us, also, what sort of appliances would live longer than others, and to always, always get the repair package because you need a five year warranty minimum, since things are dying in only two years and not twenty like they used to.

So yesterday Mom went to Lowes. Notice, not the Sears, since everything we have bought at Sears in the past decade has not lived beyond five years after purchase, if that.

She came home, telling us that there would soon be a new dishwasher, and in a week or so, the new washing machine. They will not come soon enough.

We lost this round (meaning the appliances got to fail, and we had to replace them by spending tons of money and not getting a new floor for the kitchen as we had intended but now cannot afford), but the battle continues with the fridge, the oven, and goodness knows what else.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Boys

Oh, the library.

This is such a great place to work. There are books everywhere, nice people to work with, it's pretty, and did I mention the books?

I don't mind having to drive in from Roann every morning at 7:30 am, that's life around here. The only thing I really mind is when people leave their sick/horribly behaved children in our downstairs kids section and then go upstairs to look for their own books, expecting us to watch their children as if we were actually babysitters.

I'm not so into that. There's a reason I was never a babysitter. It is because I am not a fan of children who are ill-mannered, noisy, foul smelling, or sticky-fingered.

The thing that is starting to get annoying, though, are the boys who come after school.

They are the pre-teen guys whose parents don't really care where they are or what they do. They've all been to White's; they wear it like a badge of honor--evidence that they are manly, experienced, or just plain cool.

Those are the first names you learn when you come to work here; the names of the horrid children, the names of the kids who no one wants around.

That's sad. And at first, I felt bad and wanted them all to have a place here. Then I noticed that a handful of them were spiteful, cruel, snotty little sleaze-bags. That was right before I realized almost all of them were.

Oh, these kids drive me crazy. They play a card game (Yugioh?) and then one accuses the other of cheating/misunderstanding the rules, and the rest of the month, they argue about that match, threatening to come to blows.

I have to prevent this.

I have learned to yell. I mentioned that before. It was not the final yell of this place, but it was memorable to those who witnessed it. One such kid has never been nasty in my presence again.

But something funny happened about a week ago with April, something I must mention.

I was gluing the wings on fireflies (white Christmas lights pushed through a sheet of cardboard which we had painted dark blue to simulate night. I had cut the little oval wings out of tissue and was painting the cardboard where they would go with a touch of glue. I was happy.

Then the boys came in. They bypassed April and went right to where I was painting to examine the glowing lights. I assumed: Boys attracted to shiny things.

They then asked for computers (normal) I signed them up. One of the boys then loudly stated that I should know his name by now. I told him I didn't do name memorization very well and if he wanted a computer he would have to tell me again. Otherwise, I said to myself, I will write down a name like Sven and maintain that the computer was occupied for a half hour even though it wasn't.

When the kid finally recited his name, April came over, laughing quietly. "So it begins," she said. It sounded a bit ominous.

"What?" I asked.

"They're all in love with you."

Now firstly, these boys wouldn't know love if it was a bullet to their frontal cortex. They only experience one emotion: hormones.

"What?" I repeated.

"Yep, they all think they're in love with you."

This was unwanted. This was kind of gross. This was also really funny.

April continued: "They think they have a shot at a 24 year-old woman."

I tried not to laugh. "Oh," I said.

"That's right," she replied.

Okay. Now let's just examine this for a moment.

I have only had one boyfriend, and that was a long time ago. Well, not so long ago as you would think. I started dating my senior (I think) year of college. That is how repressed I am.

I did this because I went to a little school where everyone knew everyone and all the horrible things that had ever happened to them, like the time that one boy got his head split open on the new (now old) playground and bled on the sidewalk. I remember right where the blood landed. Or the kid whose brother (toddler-aged) whipped out his you-know-what and watered the slide instead of going inside to use the bathroom.

We all knew which girls were dating and who their boyfriends were, even if one of the parties went to another school. We just knew. Every fight was broad casted around the school as if by the morning announcements, and when Del threw Stephan through the plate glass window, we all knew when, why, and how many stitches (remarkably, none).

We also all knew who had a crush on who, and in my case that was no one and no one.

Yes, I was the kind of social reject that qualified as an observer more than a participant. Students knew me because they knew everyone, but their eyes slid right over me to the person next to me in the lunch line. There was nothing there to see.

I wanted it that way. If I had been noticed, I would have been Noticed, and then I would have been the target of the kind of bullying that only comes when you are carrying a thousand-and-some-page textbook-sized volume of the Complete Sherlock Holmes to class with you for two weeks to read if you got bored.

The point of my saying this is, I was a loner. And a happy one. I had my group of friends. We all had fun together. My friends were visible, even. So I was not so bad off as it sounds.

But none of us, not me (understandably), not my friends, nor any of my current friends that I now am closer to, was approached by the opposite sex.

So it shocks me now, that the boys that once ignored me are now noticing my existence. Is this how long it takes for me to attract male attention? And if it is, and the age difference between me and the person noticing me is ten plus years, how bad is that for my future prospects.

When I am 34, will the twenty-something guys think I'm hot? Or will they have gone to thinking the 16-year-olds are pretty? Where is the logic in any of this?

And how do any of those 13-14 year old boys think they have a chance with me?

Is it the hormones, or do I reek of desperation? I don't smell any desperation. There is no desperation.

Is there?

If this age formula is right, I will have to wait for the men to get much older, so that the youngness factor will work in my favor. Or I will have to cradle rob.


Neither option seems appealing. Either I will have to trim ear-hair for a living, or I will have to endure stupid, juvenile behavior when all I want is the arthritis cream and my knitting.

So it is the single life for me, then. Oh well.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Times, they are a-changin'

The very foundations of the world as I knew it were shaken this Saturday. Not only did I manage to convince my brother, Paul, to leave the house and come spend time with my friends (since there are so few people around our age that aren't drug addicts, drug peddlers, or parents with children, we all need to stick together), Andy had come up from Purdue and he announced that he had a new car.

Andy has always had an older red truck. Without air conditioning (as with most cars purchased by high school/college students) it seemed to run on the hopes and prayers of its passengers, even though it looked a whole lot better than my car ever did.

I remember we met for lunch one day, and he couldn't get it started. I was concerned, certain that poor Andy would be cursed to remain on campus with me throughout the day, missing work and other obligations when he announced that all he needed was a cup of water. We walked back to The Lounge, filled his cup, and walked back.

Shocked, I then watched as he mixed baking soda (which he had on hand) into the water and applied it to the battery, cleaning off corrosion that was the cause of his car issues.

I was impressed, and I told him so. He then proceeded to show me how he could start it by putting a screwdriver on the right part of the frame, as if by magic.

That was pretty darn cool.

As long as I've known him, Andy has had that red truck, with its manual transmission and a ton of tech gadgets wired into the dash board. He has GPS (two different units at the time I was in college), an i-Pod, Sirius radio, and goodness knows what else. Now there is an i-Phone thrown into the mix. Not to mention the laptop...

The tech is just plain impressive.

Still, Andy always had the red truck, which kept him from being so impossibly tech-cool that I would be terrified to talk to him. So I guess that was a good thing.

But now, those days are passed, because Andy has a new car. I don't know what kind it is, really, because I have forgotten in the space of time since I rode in the car, but it was red and plenty shiny, if that counts as a type.

Somehow, the addition of a new car changes Andy in some way, making him less familiar than he once was. He has a Grown Up car.

Now he has an internship in some place doing some thing, all of which Jennifer may not have told me, or else senility has already set in.

I mention that because he won't be around this summer, and I won't have time to get used to the new car. So I took pictures...

And so did Jennifer...

I just have to keep reminding myself that this is the same Andy that Geo cached around Indiana despite the distance, that sat through Shakespeare Under The Stars with me at Ball State because I like Shakespeare. The same Andy that, one Fourth of July, lit a firework without first stabilizing it on some level surface, causing it to, upon ignition, fall upon its side, spinning rapidly and firing balls of explosive fire at Jen's parent's cars, barn, shed, house, and--here's the clincher--a crowd of terrified people (including me, Jen, and Shannon).

I laughed so hard I could not breathe, let alone flee, and Shannon ran to the house (which, I must add, was flammable too) to escape. I just sat on the truck's back hatch thingy and laughed and laughed, until I realized that Andy really felt horrible about the whole ordeal, which was when I tracked him down (inside the house with Shannon) and teased him mercilessly.

This, by the way, was the same man who had been unable to light the bonfire hours before. Explosives? No problem. Campfires? We'll need someone else to intercede.

Then we went back outside and sat on the back hatch thingy some more, while Jen tried to convince Andy to go with her across the cornfield in the dark to the old abandoned house back there, or, failing that, into the barn he had just almost set on fire, all because she wanted to freak him out.

I asked him if he had any pictures of the truck, something I had never thought to do. He said no. And the truck is now at some dealership, gone forever.

It wouldn't be the same if we went down to the dealer in Peru and asked to take pictures. It already has changed hands and it isn't his anymore. It would be like going to England to visit the house my Gran grew up in, seeing the red brick painted over with yellow, the old charm gone away forever. We would be trying to hold on to something that has already gone away, something that was never ours to keep at all.

Because it was never the truck. We won't really miss it. Just like I won't miss my car when it is gone. We'll miss something else, something that doesn't really have a name, that was caught up and around the truck, my car, The Lounge, the Sandwich Cellar, the Truck Stop, and a hundred other places and things.

The way Jen used to hand her old blue and brown purse to Andy as she drove, calling him Purse Boy in front of anyone around.

The way my gran used to take out her half-mug (split down the middle so it was a half-circle) whenever anyone would ask for a half a cup of some drink.

The way Paul used to stretch out on the floor of the living room and play the Sega Genesis, while I pleaded, "When you die, can I play?"

The way Dad used to chase us around the yard, calling us little mice and himself a hawk.

The way a half-dozen of us would pile into two cars and head to the bowling alley, the McDonald's, the Health Cafe, or The Sandwich Cellar, because we could and because we had nowhere else to be.

None of those things will ever happen again. They're over and gone; we can't get them back. And as much as we all miss them, we know that even if we tried, nothing would ever live up to the memory of what those moments and places were to us.

All we can hope to do is look for something different to fill the void all those things leave behind.