Friday, June 17, 2005

Ten Hours In That Smoky Womb

This is going to be a short one...not only have I been annexed by MK, again, but it's way past my bedtime to boot.

I woke up late today, no dreams that I remember, and realized I had about 30 minutes to dress myself and get over to the office of the Nigerian doctor. I was ten minutes late, but I made it.

Once I was properly shrunk, even though it was about three hours earlier than usual, I decided just to head on downtown to Patrick's place. As it turned out, that was the best decision, because otherwise it would have been a repeat of last week, because they've moved Dancin' in the District back to the riverfront, and getting into a garage before 5 pm meant I didn't have to pay the exorbitant special events parking fee.

I had an excellent chicken sandwich from the Night Owl Cafe, read Insomnia, and played some chess with JimmaJimmay.

JimJ took my place in the Smoke Shop Employee Hierarchy after I left. He's a good kid and a smooth criminal, and he whipped my ass righteously (I really have to start playing more chess, because my skillz have deterioriated through lack of use). But in my defense, I was beating him soundly until the Asshat of the Day showed up.

The shop was really busy...besides the show, there's a biker convention in town, and the Southern Baptists are here this week too. That provided me with a hearty "Heh" while I was looking in vain for parking I didn't have to pay for. While there were about four people in the shop, a large, loud man in a particularly tasteless Aloha shirt came in, waving a pack of Winstons and saying something about lung cancer. I wasn't really paying attention until he got up to the counter and started trying to browbeat JimJ.

The guy claimed that "sometime Wednesday afternoon", he was eating in the Night Owl (downstairs from the shop) and his 15 year old asked for $5 and left the restaurant, whereupon our friend the Moose was supposed to have sold her a pack of cigarettes. The guy wanted his money back or he was going to "come back with felony warrants" and "shut the place down by 8 pm". He was, he said, an attorney. What he was, in fact, was an asshole.

JimJ treated him as reasonably as possible, explaining that since he was not on duty, and since the man didn't have a receipt, he was going to have to call the boss about the matter. He offered the man a seat, which he refused. When JimJ told him he had not been working that day, this asshat turns on l'il ol' me (still studiously examining the half-finished chess game) and said "Oh, so it was you who was working when my fifteen-year-old bought these cigarettes." I politely informed him that the last time I had worked in the shop was three years previous, and thereafter he ignored me.

The boss had already left his day job, and the Moose vehemently denied having sold any Winstons the day before. (This, added to the fact that the Moose is far more scrupulous in his carding habits than the rest of us, was pretty much the clincher for me that this guy was full of shit.) JimJ offered to take a number for the gentleman if he preferred not to wait, but stood by the fact that he wasn't authorized to give a refund without a receipt. The guy blustered and threatened and swore some more, and with one last threat of having us shut down, banged out the door.

We had a good laugh, and the cops never showed up. But JimJ kicked my ass at chess.

This is what I want to know: if you're an attorney, aren't you usually aware that offering not to report a crime in exchange for financial compensation is extortion, a felony, while selling cigarettes to a minor, while carrying a heavy fine, is a misdeameanor citation??? And if you're from out of state (Michigan, according to the asshat), why are you letting your child wander the downtown district of an unfamiliar city by herself?? I mean, I've been going downtown unsupervised since about the age of sixteen, but I am from here, which makes a difference. When I went to New York to stay with a friend at the same age of the purported daughter, I wasn't allowed out of sight in the city long enough to scratch my ass, much less buy cigarettes. Even in Jersey, where said friend lived, we went to the mall in a group or not at all. Sheesh.

Don't try to fuck around with the Smoke Shop...Patrick doesn't let you work there if you're a dumbass. Ask me soemetime about the time the cop came in on a Sunday and tried to roust me on a "sale of paraphenalia" charge.

Anyhow. Patrick came, we had a good laugh again, I massaged Patrick until he fell asleep in his chair, and then I read an excellent book on African-diasporic tradition that he brought back from New Orleans for me when neither he nor Tish could turn me up a Legba image.

Around midnight, Patrick advisd me on the symbology and traditions of Litha in prep for my ritual next week, and then I went home, reborn again.

When my therapist last asked me where a safe place was for me, I told him that after every Thursday session I head to the shop, which is warm and womblike and home to me. When I told Pat, he reminded me that the place is a touchstone of my life, representing some of the best years thereof, and that, other than the obvious advantage of having a dyed-in-the-wool Southern gentleman to watch over me while I'm there, was why I naturally feel safe.

Inside the smoke shop time doesn't pass as slowly as it does in the world outside. Ten hours almost anywhere and I'm ready to be somewhere else...except Patrick's place. Legba be thanked for that particular smoky womb, and its continued availability...becase when I am waiting for fullness, there's nowhere I'd rather be than there.

The friggin sun is coming up...time to go lie in bed and wait for sleep.


At 10:12 AM, Blogger GoddessAradia said...

well, if you were up to see the sun, then I won't expect you online soon.

I really wish I could've stayed at Patricks, but the whole married thing gets in my way at times...

At 1:22 PM, Blogger Memphis Word Nerd said...

Your therapist sounds wonderful (based on the touchstone comment). It sounds like your time with him is a pretty important touchstone, too. Thursdays must be a pretty great day for you.

At 2:35 PM, Blogger parcequilfaut said...

The touchstone comment was actually Patrick's, not my therapist's, but you're right about my therapist...right now I'm seeing him 2-3 times a week.

My therapist is in his 70s, looks like a Norman Rockwell granddad, and is a hyperliberal Episcopal priest who spent over 30 years as an army chaplain...who also went to be Mobile Crisis First Respond at the WTC site after 9/11, and wanted to do it for the tsunami, but his wife told him he was too old. My shrink is pretty cool too.

In other words, pretty damn cool. The middle of my week is usually on Wednesdays, shrinking and Patrick's on Thursdays.


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