Bent Words

Bent Words

September 25, 2010

It's what you used to ask me when I put too many onion slices on your sammy. Or when I put more peanut butter than jelly on your PBJ. Too much Vodka in your RBV.

"Are ya mad at me?"

It was our little joke.

When I had the heat cranked WFO in the car.

"Are you cold or are you just mad at me?" you would ask with sweat pouring down your brow.

I would look at you in all earnestness and you would laughingly smile.

It was just our little joke.

But it's been awhile since we've joked like that. It's been awhile since I've been accustomed to your nuances and idiosyncrasies of speech. It's been awhile altogether since we've even talked. In some ways, that's okay. I've had all these things going on. I've been busy. But I rather miss the irregularity of your visits and the rare occasions where you are there, in my kitchen, bringing out items one by one from plastic grocery bags you recently purchased in anticipation of my bare refrigerator. Balancing various containers full of the things I love on my crowded counters, chopping colorful vegetables. The sound of meat sizzling in a pan I haven't utilized in weeks, concocting several entrees that I barely notice for the steady stream of stories I've had bottled up inside me.

So today, in lieu of your absence, I had to ask via text,

"Are ya mad at me?"

While I was destroying my closet, waiting for your reply and looking for a set of warm, winter pajamas, I came across a pair of South Park boxers. I pulled them out and looked at them questioningly. For a moment, I couldn't place them. Were they mine?

That's right!

It was this time of year last year when you and I went up north (Shawano) to participate in a three-hour endurance race. It was a Saturday night and we were late getting into town for the various things we needed to pick up along the way; grillables for breakfast, lunch and dinner; beer for us and friends post-race; spare rear tire and some race gas from whatever shop it was that had these things. Finally we got up there, scoped out the track and noticed that the parking lot was empty -- normally there were at least a couple other people camping out at the track. So we decided it best to hit the town for a hotel. Besides, it was cold. Very cold.

Apparently there was another race that weekend. A drag race or some such nonsense involving four wheels. We drove around for hours looking for a reasonably priced hotel that wasn't owned by cult members only to find ourselves paying double to stay one late night twenty miles out of our way.

"But they have a pool and a hot tub," you said in a moment of rare optimism.

"Ohhh," I said. "I didn't bring a suit."

And instead of parking the van, you drove us straight to Woodman's or Wal-Mart or Shopko and told me to pick out a pair of shorts (for there weren't any swimming suits to be found).

You grabbed from the rack a pair of South Park boxers and said, "These will do. Now let's get warm."

Back at the hotel, we changed immediately into our shorts, concealed two mixed drinks in Coke cans, and headed down to the pool room.

We just wanted to relax after a long day of running around.

The hot tub was ours. But not for a long. A family of four very large people made no qualms about joining us in the hot tub. We both looked at each other, puzzled. Luckily we were a little buzzed and so it wasn't altogether too bad. Still, you whispered, a little miffed and a little too loudly,

"Are they mad at us?"

I could not help but laugh my stentorian Johnson laugh. This, you would later say, coerced them to vacate the tub and take on cooler waters. I still think, however, that they heard your little comment.

I hope you heard mine.

And I hope you're not.

Written at 9:46 p.m.