please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Calm Guy

Bout a month ago, a guy from the local paper approached The Tulsa Kid and I sitting outside the Troika. He wanted to know if he could take a picture of me doing a crossword puzzle. The resulting image is above.
I had forgotten all about its existence until I opened the paper yesterday and found it there.
Man, what powerful hands I got. Man, what a great shot of the Kid's crotch.
In any case, as I mentioned earlier, he's back in Tulsa, marrying off one of his sisters. Like every wedding I've ever seen, this one has problems.
First off, he's from an extended family of maybe eight kids. Most of the siblings are pretty close though, considering that they're steps and all. Well, bride-to-be sister excluded one of her other sisters from the bridal party, and sparks be flyin'. They had been very close up until this time, and there hasn't been what has struck me as a decent explanation for the oversight. "I forgot" doesn't seem to fly here, so I dunno...In any case, there's going to be at least one relative at the reception (should she choose to even go) that's gonna be drunk as a lord, saying those inappropriately honest things that usually end up getting said at such functions anyway.
The next problem is parking. Bride-to-be has lived next to a fairground for ten years now, and for all ten of those years (and preceding, no doubt), this has been the week in which they have the fair.
So no adjacent parking for at least a mile, and something tells me the wedding guests won't be taken in by any sort of New Age-y antics like, "Let's have a love march the two or so miles to my place!" Tulsa's dad is in a wheelchair, and gets around in a big ol' van. Son says to pop, well, why don't we just put the seats back in the van, and I'll shuttle everyone back and forth from the house to some selected parking facility elsewhere?
"Oh, don't you start now...", his dad said.
We reflected on this when I was told that last bit. It was observed that his family are those type of people who want the drama, and want nothing in the way of a solution.
I run into this a lot. A great many folks seem to think that you're not really doing your job if you aren't losing your shit. Matter of fact, if you aren't doing your job, it's a great way to cover up. I just noticed a long time ago that stress is sort of counterproductive, and if you're panicking, you're gonna fuck up. In short, standing around yelling at everyone is all well and good unless it's wasting time, which it almost always is.
I was working at a street fair a few years back, running the beer tent. I got the kegs all tapped, and went looking around to see if anyone else needed help. Being artists and restaurant people, the general scene was chaos, and everybody did. I did what I could for people where there was anything to be done, went back and stood there selling beer for the next two days.
My girlfriend, working at a booth not far away, was asked, "Is The Calm Guy your boyfriend?"
Later that evening, I calmly deterred one of the fair organizers from absconding with my tips. I just kept smiling and reminded him ver-y politely that those tips were mine, not the beer company's. He made one last little effort along the lines of maybe he should, you know, hold on to them, you know, for safekeeping, and I said Thanks, But...
When the kid named Milo was working with me on that gig a couple weeks ago, he had this curious habit of always putting his hands on me. Not in an obnoxious way per se, but the way a pretty young kid on his first big production might, to have some professionalism rub off on him, or something. He more there for the Art, as I was there for the Money, and art if I happen to catch any.
He walked up to me one day and put a ratchet on my left nipple, began twisting. This left a little grey patch on my white t-shirt. Later, he walked up and said, "You've got something there on your shirt."
"Yeah, some asshole with a wrench put it there," I said. And he keeps on illustrating his points with getting too far inside my space, resting his hand on my shoulder, and finally the un-flappability just fell apart.
I swept left, got rid of one hand, "Again with the touching me," I said, and for some reason this caused him to try to put his right hand on me, and I swept right, said, "Again with the touching me."
For some reason, this meant to him that now we would be fake-fighting/sparring, which always annoys the hell out of me. "Again. With. The. TOUCH-ING ME!", I said, and he was greeted with my boot kicking out at him. It was an automatic reflex.
He jumped back, laughed and said, "What do you take?"
I thought about that a moment and said, "Pardon me?"
"What martial art do you take?" Oh. That's what you mean.
"I took restaurant kitchen."
Well, think about it. Dodging around corners and people while generally being yelled at by a less than benign sensei, all the while avoiding being stabbed, scalded, burned or getting chemicals all over your skin that eat carbon-based things. (Like You.) The whole while, all four of your limbs are working alternately but in congress, and hell, no wonder I'm the bull goose loony around here.
And yeah, when people panic, that's just one more thing to deal with. It means that The Calm Guy's newest task is to calm down the freaker, or ignore them, or make sure they at least stay out of the damn way.
The cardinal rule of that martial art being "get out of the way", and the second being "stay out of the way". There's been times where I'm carrying the whole damn thing on my back, and I'm only talking when absolutely necessary. I maintain radio silence, and it aids the calm spot in my mind, which is essential to operating from a clear place. Inevitably, I get interrupted by some weepy sort who wants to know why I'm mad at them.
It can be hard to explain the difference between anger and what I need to do, especially as they are not doing their job either, while wasting my time. Saying, "I'm really busy, and so are you, if you didn't already notice," won't cut it. That just leads to more questions. I usually just say can't we maybe talk about this later?
You know, when we're drunk.



Blogger Jacq said...

Can't we ALL just get along?

5:44 AM  
Blogger Erudite Redneck said...

You could be a hand model! Ha! ... Wait, could the Tulsa Kid thgen be a crotch model?


10:44 AM  
Blogger Jacq said...

Ha ha ha!!!

5:35 AM  

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