Monday, May 29, 2006

The Tosser

I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma for seven years. That is how most of you are fortunate enough to know me. I lived in the dorms at ORU for the first four and half years. Then they changed the men’s curfew rule, and I promptly moved off campus. I finished my last year and a half living off campus in Broken Arrow. No one knew I was still a student. If you saw me during that time, you may have thought it was strange how often I visited the campus. You may have even thought I was having trouble letting go. It was nice, the administrators didn’t even know that I was still a student.

Living off campus was great. We lived in a nice neighborhood, near 81st and Olive. Being able to sleep in my own bed, cook my own food, and actually have personal space was really nice. It was also a lot easier to entertain friends. I still laugh at how many girls spent the night at my house because they got back too late to stay in the dorms. I should really thank the administration some day for funneling so many girls toward my house, just because they couldn’t go back to school. Any given week, ten to fifteen girls might have stayed at our house. It almost seems like it accomplished the exact opposite of what the rule intended. Whatever, that’s not what this story is about.

We lived in one of those communities, the type you have to pay neighborhood dues and what not. Our buddy that owned the house hadn’t paid any dues in years. We weren’t exactly into the neighborhood spirit. When the people next door to us won the award for “Best Lawn,” we knew that they had a huge advantage just by living next door to us. The contrast was…..striking. Mowing the lawn wasn’t our first priority, or even a priority at all.

Our neighborhood was an interesting group of people. The neighbors across the street would sit out on their front lawn and drink beer all day. They didn’t work, they just drank beer and took pills.—“ One time, we went to this Deep Purple concert and my friend gave me a couple of Quaaludes. I slept through the entire concert.”

If we stayed our front of our house too long, they would quickly cross the street and sidle up. We would flit in and out of the house just to get the mail. Once you were sidled, it was difficult to shake one off. I’ve left more than one friend behind, just to escape the sidle.

The neighbors next door to us were nice. They had a huge great dane named Harley. Harley had big black and white spots. Before we knew about Harley, we could just see glimpses of him through the fence. For a minute, we thought they had a pet cow.

Some of the other neighbors didn’t know what to think about us. Apparently, some of the neighborhood thought we were running a crack house. We did have a lot of people coming and going at all hours of the night, but that’s just because we were sociable people (Also because ORU girls had curfew). I particularly blame Ike, who always had his big black Land Rover, with it’s smoked out windows, parked out front.

We didn’t cause any trouble. We got along with the two neighbors that actually talked to us, and everything was fine. It’s not like we were looking to make new friends.

I did however, have a run-in with one of the neighbors once……literally.

I used to drive a Buick Skylark, the type that looks like it was designed for hitting deer, with the pointed front end. It wasn’t exactly a street racer. It was dependable and comfortable. That’s really all that mattered to me.

So one day I was driving home from work in the Skylark. I was just cruising a long, happy to be finishing up another long day at the office. I turned into our neighborhood; I was almost home. I was accelerating at a comfortable speed. I will admit that I was going faster than 25mph, but not much. I was being very attentive, looking everywhere. One of the first houses on that block had about twelve kids that were always playing in the street. I was keeping a very keen eye out for them. There wasn’t a soul in sight. No little kids, no adults.

There was only one other person outside their home that day. There was a woman in her driveway, getting out of her car. My keen eye had spotted her the second I had turned into the neighborhood, but she was safely in her driveway, and in no danger from me. As I continued to reevaluate her safety, and anyone else’s, I saw her get out of her car. Then she opened one of the rear doors on her car. I could see that she was retrieving a toy from the back seat. It was a large Buzz Lightyear doll. The type that stands about 18 inches tall.

I was filled with alarm. She was a larger woman, and her car was in a driveway with a sharp incline. As she was leaning back out of the car, doll in hand, she appeared to be losing her balance. I thought, “Oh my gosh! She’s going to fall right on her ass!”

She wasn’t losing her balance. The awkward twisting motion she was performing was actually her way of winding up. Winding up for what? The throw of course. She hurled Buzz out into the street and directly in front of my car. It was a beautiful throw. It hit me directly in the front bumper.

I stopped my car, got out, and looked at her. I wasn’t really sure what to say. It’s safe to say, this had never happened to me before. Maybe there are regions of the country where this type of doll tossing is normal, but it was the first time I had encountered anything like it. So I just looked at her kind of confused. I had never seen this woman before, and I had certainly never talked to her. So I wasn’t really sure why she had just thrown poor Buzz directly in my path.

“I didn’t think you could stop, and you couldn’t!” she said. I really didn’t know what to say to her. I think it’s one of the few times I really have been speechless. All I could manage was, “So you threw a doll in front of my car?”

She reiterated, “And you couldn’t stop.”
I reiterated, “So you threw a doll in front of my car?”

She mentioned how tired she was of everyone driving so fast through the neighborhood. I do know that there were a lot of teenagers that would drive through the neighborhood quickly. Since I was a young person, I guess I was a prime target for her frustration.

I explained to her that I had seen both her and the doll, but I hadn’t expected her to throw it in front of my car. Then she got this slow look of realization on her face, like maybe she was realizing for the first time that she had just thrown a doll in front of some complete stranger’s car. She thought about it, I could tell. Then she quickly redoubled her efforts, and she became even less reasonable. I was still having a hard time processing the whole situation. This woman was easily twenty years older than I was; yet I couldn’t fathom doing something that crazy, not on my worst day. So how does someone, with so much more life experience, ever think that something like that is a good idea.

She started talking about writing down my license plate and reporting me to the police. I’m not sure what she was going to report, but she was going to. Maybe there’s some sort of Pixar statute that protects those of the plush community, and I had just perpetrated vehicular manslaughter. I don’t know.

I realized that I was about to get really pissed and start cursing her out if I didn’t leave. So I got back in my car and drove the rest of the way home. She probably thinks that reporting me to the police must have scared me off.

When this happened, I couldn’t get it out of my head for at least two weeks. I was sooo wierded out by the whole thing. I really don’t understand how anyone could ever think something like that was reasonable. I found myself pondering this woman and what she was like. She obviously has kids, that scares me.

“Daddy, what happened to my Buzz Lightyear? He’s all dirty and his helmet’s all smashed”

“Well son, there’s something I need to tell you about your mother. She’s fucking crazy.”


In case you’re curious, obviously it’s illegal to throw something in front of a moving vehicle. If I had panicked and swerved out of the way and hit some kid instead, or a car, or a mailbox, she would have been liable (c’mon that’s tort law 101, stay with me here). Apparently she didn’t think about that.

I don’t know why the whole thing frustrated me as much as it did. For a while I wanted to write her a letter, or talk to her husband, or something. I don’t know what really. I just wanted to make some sort of sense out of the whole thing, I finally realized that most of the time we don’t get that type of resolution in life. People are crazy, get used to it.

It’s true, if I’m driving along some day, and someone decides (God forbid) to hurl their small child directly in front of my car, I might not be able to stop. We considered hiding in her bushes and throwing a mannequin in front of her car.

I never did. Know why? Because I’m not crazy.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Brief Introduction...

“Life resembles a novel more often than novels resemble life.”
-George Sand

So I'm a flight attendant. Yup, it's a pretty sweet deal. Snappy uniform, exotic places, seeing the world and all that. It's very, very exciting. Do you know how many people stay up at night just wishing they could be flight attendants?? Hundreds, maybe even thousands. But not just anyone can be a flight attendant. It's not like you can just walk into the flight attendant place and say, "I'd like to be a flight attendant." No, there are strict guidelines, requirements even. I had to go through twenty, even twenty-one days of training. That's three weeks!! Just a few days ago I was in Lincoln Nebraska. When's the last time you went to Lincoln Nebraska? I bet it wasn't two days ago. No it wasn't, was it? And then the very next day, do you know where I was? Casper Wyoming. Only one of the biggest cities in Wyoming. Where were you? Probably home, in the same place you were the day before, left only to wish that you could be in Casper Wyoming. Think about that. I'M LIVING YOUR DREAM!

But I’m not just a flight attendant. Oh no, there’s so much more! I’ve got two degrees, one in Government and one in Philosophy. You can get really good jobs with degrees like that, which is how I landed the sweet flight attendant gig. Both of my degrees are from Oral Roberts University, one of the most conservative Christian universities in the country. During my time there, I uncovered many a funny story, situation, and anecdote. Fortunately for you, I’m willing to share from this treasure chest of humor.

Feel free to bask in the glory that has been my life so far. It’s painful, humorous, and sad.
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