Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Blues

Stupid Lists

What’s wrong with my life? So many things. I’m compiling a list on this dreary Monday morning. I’ll start with a pertinent question, who names their kid after an unpopular president? I couldn’t be a William, or a Thomas Nixon? No, good old Dad chose Richard. And now that damn movie’s out, the one Opie directed about David Frost’s interview, so Nixon’s on everybody’s mind again. Great. My brother-in-law’s taken to calling me Tricky Dick. I go by Rich. Looking back, I should have changed my last name a long time ago.

I lost my job last year. I was riding high, managing a giant warehouse, busy selling flooring to high-end, and not-so-high-end customers feverishly willing to spend their equity money like water. But the bottom fell out of the housing market and now many houses in our neighborhood are in foreclosure. So, here I am. To make ends meet I took a job with my maniacal brother-in-law Steve. He’s a commercial electrical contractor and I’m his glorified he’ll-do-anything-I-ask-him-to-do-flunky-monkey. I should have gone to college. Too late now. Got a wife that isn’t interested in working outside the home, (she’s a Dr. Laura groupie), three kids, four goats, a horse, two dogs and God only knows how many cats. All these creatures are relying on me for support.

I stopped into 7-Eleven to pick up my customary giant cup of coffee, and just my luck, I run into Mr. Perfect. Sam Waterhouse stands before me at the coffee station. We used to live on the same street when we were kids. He’s a doctor now. Works over at Loma Linda, drives a sleek black Mercedes, and likes to make small talk whenever we meet. “How is Monica?” he inquired. He’s married to an internist, and she’s got a face like a hawk. I wasn’t surprised when he asked after my fetching wife, he always does. He took Monica on a date in junior high.

“Monica’s good,” I say. Please don’t ask me anything about work.

“Still home-schooling the kids?” He’d already poured three sugars into his travel mug, whoa that’s a lot of packets.

“Yes.” I subtly began to back away. I really was going to be late for work and Steve would berate me in front of the crew for sure.

“We’re trying to get pregnant,” Mr. Perfect volunteered.

“Cool. Good luck with that. Oh, man,” I said, looking at my watch in a blatantly conspicuous manner, “excuse me Sam, got a meeting, and I’m running late.”

As predicted Steve really laid into me, I was only about ten minutes late but he carried on as if I'd showed up at noon. He took off. Got to keep bidding on jobs, especially in this economy. I’m supposed to be combing over these invoices but I’m too busy listing out what sucks about being me.

Did I mention that I put on weight? I eat donuts, hamburgers, Cheese Curls, anything and everything that’s handy. And I don’t exercise. I’m too depressed to exercise. When I get home from work I watch TV. I like Dirty Jobs. The Food Network. Sports. Monica rolls her eyes as she heads for the gym. She encourages me to join her but I don’t. So I’m a fat dismal failure at the ripe old age of thirty-four.

My parents sold their spread for big bucks before the bubble burst and they moved away, to Arizona. They live in a cookie cutter house that resembles all the other cookie cutter houses. I identified theirs by the garden gnome that Mom's owned for years, after I spot him standing in front of a cluster of cactus. Dad retired, he plays golf now. Mom works in a scrap-booking store. I miss dropping by to see them after work. I think about driving out to see them again but I know that Monica will squelch that idea. We’re too broke. We’re too broke to go to the movies, or out for breakfast. We’re too broke to buy a lift-pass so our oldest might go snowboarding this year like he usually does. We can’t even afford cable but I insist that we keep it. I will give up every other luxury, but I won’t give up cable. I point this out to Monica, she’s still paying her gym dues—still hitting that treadmill. Well, I need my couch and TV.

Sure, it crosses my mind. Monica could meet some Mr. Body Beautiful at The Fitness Factory, and leave me for him. But Dr. Laura would frown on that kind of behavior so I don’t think Monica would even go there. She’s a loyal, sweet wife. I’m lucky to be married to such a great girl.

I should probably stop with the self-loathing and focus on what I have going for me. At least I have a damn job. Many don’t. We haven’t lost the house. Our kids are great. The animals are getting fed. We own our Honda and my Ford pick-up truck free and clear. Things aren’t so bad as all that. I crumple up my stupid list and get back to work.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.


cw2smom said...

Great story! Sooooo fitting and true for the times we live in! So many of us can relate! Blessings, Lisa

Elizabeth Bradley said...

How many people are freaking out right many. Poor Richard Nixon.

Lisa said...

that is a great piece of writing- i loved the pace- thank you
Lisa x

Pop Art Diva! said...

Tricky Dick, lol. Poor guy. Maybe we women have been lucky there haven't been any unpopular women presidents yet - oh, wait there haven't been any women presidents at all. . . though I guess there might be a few Hillary toddlers out there at the moment.

There are bookscrapping stores now? I guess it's a much bigger deal that I realized!

This was a cool little story on a moment in Rich's life, a perfect quick read - you see I avoided calling him Dick. Poor guy.