Is it just me, or does it not even really feel like the Fourth of July?
I mean — it’s the 4th. Of July. Literally. But does it feel like a holiday? Probably not, if you’re not in the U.S. And probably not if, like me, you are in the U.S. but aren’t planning any grilling/feasting/playing-with-explosives-while-consuming-large-quantities-of-fermented-beverages activities.
Fireworks make me nervous.
They’ve always made me nervous. Even as a kid. So while I won’t hesitate to rappel waterfalls in Costa Rica or jump from a Cessna Caravan soaring high above the Hawaiian Islands, the thought of setting off Black Cats and Roman Candles and spinners and even “harmless” sparklers and those little popping sperm-like things you throw on the ground that explode with a mini-fierce CRACK that really probably aren’t harmless at all because seriously — what’s “harmless” about exploding sperm? — the thought of all that makes me twitchy and paranoid and inclined to repeatedly shout things like, “Be careful!” and, “Run!” and, “I once heard about a kid who lost his entire hand from an errant Black Cat — his hand!” and other general phrases that make people who are actually enjoying the dangerous, drunken festivities want to tie my leg to a rocket bomb and set it alight, just to see what happens.
Take my word for it — there’s nothing fun about exploding sperm.
So there I was, all motivated to start writing at night and knocking out posts, and then Wednesday happened.
On Wednesday night, I had my book club meeting. Remember that?
So I went to this book club meeting at this great local Indian restaurant (because sometimes I like to pretend to be all edumucated and worldly, when really the reach of my intellectual knowledge hit a brick wall in 2007 when I graduated from college, and Indian food makes me break out in a sweat-stache).
The truth is, I’m not as smart as I’d like to be.
See that? That’s a Barbara Taylor Bradford novel in the foreground. It was mindless. And awful. And didn’t even have any good sex scenes. But I picked it up on the bookstore on a whim because I had a gift card and it looked like an easy summer read and apparently I have zero respect for the world of literature. Please don’t show this to my book club. Also, I haven’t read the Ron Paul book yet. It’s my attempt at trying to become more politically astute. But so far it’s been a very good paper weight. Also, I have very crooked ears. My wonky glasses don’t lie.
Where was I?
Oh, yes. Book club meeting. After the meeting, I followed my friend Ava to her apartment so I could pick up the Hunger Games book she’d borrowed from me and The Game of Thrones I’d intended to borrow from her.
And that’s when my would-be predictable week of takeout and Dawson’s Creek turned… not so predictable.
In her parking lot, there were lights. And confusion. And stunned onlookers holding kids and puppies and, if they were lucky, the other precious things they could grab as they fled. If they weren’t, they held only the plastic grocery bags they’d carried home, only to find that home was no longer there.
Now. I want you to imagine for a second that you live on the far side (thank God) of the 3rd floor of a building that suddenly looks, for all intents and purposes, like the shriveled ass end of a used cigarette butt — all necrotic and charred and this was its good side — the back was far worse.
I also want you to imagine that your significant other is deployed, and you have no way of reaching him save through the Red Cross who, judging by the seedy motel in a questionable side of town they offered to put you up in, may not be the most reliable avenue for getting things done.
But hey. You’re grateful for the toothbrush.
And also, imagine for a second, that you’re pregnant. (This is where it might start to get tricky for the guys. But you can do it — connect with your feminine side and imagine that womb with its resident parasite, dependent on you for its very survival. Okay, wait. That’s even hard for me, and I’m a chick.) But anyway, you’re pregnant. For the first time ever. You feel nauseated and bloated, head filled with questions about feeding and sleeping and how to raise decent little humans.
Yep, plural. Because you’re having twins.
But wait, there’s more.
A friend of yours, whose husband is also deployed and who also is pregnant, is scheduled to arrive at the local airport in T-minus 15 minutes. Just 15 minutes after you realize you may have just lost all of your worldly possessions. She’d been having baby stuff shipped to your apartment for the past few months and was planning on living with you until she found a place nearby for her family.
Imagine all of that.
What’s the first thing you would do?
Ava, who had reached the scene a few minutes before I, in her state of semi-shock and baby brain and sheer exhaustion at the thought of hassles that might lie ahead, knew exactly what she wanted to do.
I was told by an officer that she’d gone inside with the Fire Chief and that I should “stand by.”
Stand by? You took my pregnant friend inside her smoke-filled apartment? Did you notice that unmistakable pregnancy indicator known as a belly before you let her in? And did I mention she’s pregnant?
She came out a few minutes later, a look of relief on her face, hugging tightly to her chest not photo albums or her laptop or legal documents, but books.
Two of them.
Hunger Games, and The Game of Thrones.
“I got the books!” she yelled across the lot.
I laughed. It’s all you can really do in a situation like this. Thankfully, the firemen were willing to escort me back in where, with the help of an industrial sized fan and their skilled use of a flashlight, I was able to navigate the eerie haze to rescue her laptop, hard drive, some important files, and stuff my purse full of her underwear.
It turns out you never know what you’ll deem important in life until you’re faced with the pressure of time, limited arms, and the option to choose.
The back. (Photo by Ava)
Ava, cute firemen, and reporter butt. What? A girl can look…
I picked Stefanie up from the airport while Ava got examined by the paramedics and spoke with the Red Cross, and now I have displaced roommates.
Two of them.
Five, if you count the babies.
And for 2 nights, I made them all sleep in 1 bed. But now we have another, and each our own room, and I’m actually thinking this roommate thing is kind of fun.
Loneliness, it turns out, is like sensory deprivation —
You don’t fully comprehend what you’re missing until you miss it no longer.
And for me, that’s been laughter. And company. Someone with whom to share a meal and discuss the weather and debate the realisticness (yep, I’m going with that word) of the show Army Wives.
Stefanie makes a mean curry soup.
And I’ll admit — sharing my house has been an adjustment, but I’m going to miss them when they find a new place to live.