It was 1:48, exactly, on this Wednesday afternoon in North Carolina when, once again, something hit me. I’d been awake since five – I’d gone to bed at a little after three in the morning. I’m still burning the only brand of oil I know how to burn. Not much sleep, but some. Anyway, that was not what had my nerves jacked-up at that very moment in time.
1:48 pm. My mind could not recollect those numbers or that time is associated with anything demonic or disturbing. But for me, at that moment, they were supernatural digits.
Maybe I should back this story up a little. Tara, I now can call her by her name – TARA – instead of My Special Lady Friend (and that is part of the weirdness the afternoon has brought, as well,) and I had to be up early. We had a house to go see. A potential home. And I knew I was not going to be myself in the whole process of discussing improvements to the heating & electrical complexities of a home built 22 years ago.
I just don’t know a damn thing about it to say anything. So: I don’t.
And there was the truly terrifying question posed to me on the ride there: “What do you want?”
What do I want? My god, I never had an opinion before today on what I wanted. It was what was affordable? What place will take me? Or, in really desperate times, where was there a bed open?
There were a lot of things I should have been thinking about on the ride to the house. I imagine common questions such a fast push into the next step of the relationship Tara & I were embarking should have been posed. But that was not on my mind. There is an unquestionable confidence I believe exists in me regarding us – Me & Tara – which should just be left alone. – It should just be accepted.
Maybe I should have been thinking about water damage & dry wall replacement…?
It was the email I opened & read two hours before Tara was even awake, pulling me away from the NOW of the moment. It was an email from my Project Manager. A nice woman, named Jen, forwarding me the first images of my book cover – front & back flaps – along with the forms I would need to fill out if I thought changes needed to be applied to the layout, the image, the text.
It did not matter I had under two hours of sleep; I spent the next two hours, before Tara even sipped her first sip of coffee, meticulously – almost obsessively – finding flaws that needed to be corrected. Sentences that needed reworked. And that is not a part of who I am! But this is a book, damnit, and MY book, to boot, so I congratulated myself by being an amateur prima donna, making the product worse.
I needed to breathe. Smoke a cigarette. Get out of the house. Go look at another one. But not before I filled-out that damn form, attaching to it a Word doc. full of my concerns & suggestions on how I want “The Book” to appear, visually.
And what do I know about Graphic Design?
About as much as I know about granite countertops.
In a way, it was starting to look like a screwed day. One filled with my personal inadequacies & irritable pathology.
I mean, the first cover art for my first book was right in front of my face, and all I could think about was how to make it better! And how it was not how I envisioned it. Lord knows how I will be rereading the whole thing before it is printed, looking for flaws – or, I should say, what I consider flaws – wanting to expand certain sections… shorten, or completely cut others. I’m going to be a wreck.
Sleep will become a diminishing pastime.
Back to the home, though. It was nice. Solid. Had a good feel to it, though the situation the current owners are going through is bad.
We like it. Tara & I were interested in everything that was being told to us about the house – everything that had been WRONG! About the things that had been fixed during their 22 years there.
There was some cosmic, yet comedic, lesson going on. And, yes, I was picking-up on its not-so-subtle method of delivery.
Before we left, we put down a cash deposit.
Now, for those of you that have not been reading my posts during the past year, I am broke. Probably will always be broke. I have enough to not starve. And enough to smoke cigarettes. I’m proud I donate to the Gonzo Foundation every month. I have enough clothes & books & everything else. And I’m grateful for it all.
Terms like financing & mortgage & percentage rates are more terrifying for me than the worse DTs hell-ride into terror. Tara, on the other hand, is a genius when it comes to such things. And, because of such things, she has become quite the sardonic whiz when it comes to the Almighty Dollar.
When I was told the price for the home, I was not sure to be happy, mortified, disappointed or frustrated.
(I never bought a home! I don’t know what the hell to think. Put me in a room where people are discussing the significance of Hemingway stating John O’Hara was the most important novelist of that generation, I’ll have plenty to say – plenty of thoughts would be percolating in my skull… but this domestic, Strange Stuff is out of my weight division. A man needs to learn the hard way when NOT to step into the ring, because he remembers what it was like to tap out… remembers what it was like to be Knocked the hell Out.)
So, next stop: the bank. But not for what you are probably thinking. Tara had to get the separation papers from her husband signed & notarized.
(That is now why I can, without any legal ramifications & strain, call Tara by her name, instead of the mysterious My Special Lady Friend.)
It wasn’t until we had pulled out of the Bank’s parking lot when the question that had to be asked – that I needed to ask – came out: How are we going to pay for the house? The house we are living in has not even Welcomed so much as her first potential buyer, and we HAD OUR NEW HOME WITHIN 72 HOURS!
What was crazier: the phone call Tara had with the bank. – She was just in the bank seven minutes prior to placing this absurd call. The call went something like this:
Tara: Hello. This is Tera T__. Is Darcy there? Yeah, hey. Yeah, I was just in there. Nope. Didn’t forget anything. I was just wondering how I could get $XX.000.00. I just got a home.
(Indecipherable noise from the iPhone.)
Tara: Yep. It’ll be for the farm.
(More indecipherable noise.)
Tara: So, I’ll get a check book. And how much can I ask for? I mean I don’t know. Anywhere between $10,000.00 and $2,000,000.00! Wow. Well, I think $XX,000.00 should do it. And I pay that back by the end of the year? Um, when will the check book be ready?
(A few seconds of agonizing silence.)
Tara: Ok. That sounds good. You have a good day, too. Yeah. See you then.
She pushed the button, putting the iPhone into a wonderful snooze.
“Well,” I asked.
“We can get the check book next week. I got us a little extra money, too. For moving expenses.”
My mind had Mushroomed. That phone conversation lasted less time it would take having a healthy & enjoyable bowl movement, reading something interesting during the process. No showing of photo identification. No forms to fill out. No NOTHING! And she gets enough money to pay for a home – PLUS EXTRA!
My consternation & utter amazement must have been as visible as if someone kicked the dangling joys between my legs up into my stomach.
“It’s Small-Town living down here,” she said with the Million Dollar Smile on her face. As if that was supposed to EXPLAIN such insanity & recklessness. And from a bank, no less. Hell, when I go into a bank, two forms of photo identification are required, my mother’s place of birth needs to be memorized & spelled backwards, medical records are researched and, if the teller just so happens to be female, my medical history seems to make them blush; I have to swear an oath to donate more blood… – point being: no way in a sheetrock royal hell will ANY bank give me ANY money, let alone the amount Little Ms. Tara got with a little length-of-a-fart phone call. A bank won’t even withdrawal MY OWN money from MY OWN account without an i.d.
By 1:48 on a Wednesday afternoon, in North Carolina, I helped in picking out Our future home. We have the financial backing to procure mentioned home. No longer does My Special Lady Friend need to concern herself with her soon-to-be-ex-husband.
And I got to see even more proof my book is actually be published.
(Something I thought would never happen.)
It was pretty cool, too. Even though I have an odd way of expressing it.