Lost Love and the Mysteries of Life Eternal ...or... How I Grew to Love the Truck Stop

She wouldn't be calling anymore. She. Her. The one I had so dearly loved for such a long, long time.

These words stared back at me from the screen of the iBook. Painful as it was, I couldn't help but realize that I don't own an iBook, that I had once again woken in the wrong house.

It's an odd habit of mine...not really sure how it happens or how to remedy it. Why couldn't I have a proper sleep disorder like sleep apnea or night terrors? Nope, I just wake up in other people's homes.

Actually, it happens so often now that I usually just grab my cloak and hat and make off on my way, hoping nobody notices me, hoping that no knife-wielding 84-year-old comes lunging at me for my most impolite home invasion.

My escape is thwarted by the fact that I don't own a cloak or hat, forcing me to return to the place at which I awoke, return the stolen goods, and attempt to explain both my original presence there and my apparent latent kleptomania. Neither explanation seems to go well this time, so I decide to make a tactical retreat before the cops arrive.

Oh, where was I...yes, lost love. Yes, something along those lines.

Did you know penguins mate for life? All I can say about that is, damn, they must start getting tired after the fifth or six year or so... (Where are the rimshots in life, where have they gone--and why do they abandon you when you so desperately need them?)

A woman is a complex machine...they're like onions, mechanical onions, that is...they're like big, mechanical onions that...um, do something somehow that doesn't lend itself very easily to my analogy and so I'll abandon it for now. Rather, a woman is like a kiwi fruit. Okay, perhaps I should abandon analogies altogether.

Have you ever tried your hardest to impress a person, to earn that person's love, just so you could spend one more day waking up with that person lying in bed beside you? Did you ever walk around with some infernal Dylan song struck in your head, thinking that maybe there is a special someone out there for everybody and maybe you just blew it with the only person who will ever love you, the only person who's ever going to think you're any fun to be around?

And before you know it, the one you love won't even return your phone calls. (But I suppose George W. Bush is a pretty busy guy these days.)

Back to the topic at hand: lost love. Not quite sure where I lost it, but nope, after checking all my pockets (including the tiny square one that only God knows what's supposed to go in there), I'm left with nothing. Take the pants off, turn them upside down, shake them...nearby child screams, points, begins to weep...replace pants in a quick and diplomatic manner. And life goes on.

Did you ever lose something important, then realize that no, you haven't really lost the pin they gave your father when he first became a freemason; it's just rolled under the couch again? Yeah, this isn't one of those times.

So I walk the streets tonight in search of solace, in search of enlightenment, in search of booze.

Somehow I find my way to some classy burlesque near a truck stop. It's called "Carl's Gap-Toothed House of Bare-Ass Action." (That's the classy burlesque's name, not the truck stop's. I don't blame you for being confused, because that sentence has clear subject/verb agreement issues going on and shit.)

I order an Amaretto Sour. The waitress hits me. I order a glass of the house merlot. She hits me again.

I order a beer.

While she's gone, plugging my order into the IBM RS6000 supercomputer they have humming in back, one of the strippers makes her way over to me. I try to give her a look that says, "Very sorry, but not tonight, okay?" But my facial gestures must not translate well into the morbidly overweight performer's native tongue, as it apparently comes out something like, "Me so very horny...would you like some of this silly American currency? I have far too much."

I tip her $20 just so she'll go away, forgetting that tipping strippers is like feeding the neighborhood cats...and pretty soon I'm surrounded by similarly *ahem* endowed women, all jiggling around for (apparently) my entertainment. They continue to gyrate and slide seductively across the floor...well, as seductively as their combined 800 pounds will allow, but they're trying, ya know? You've gotta respect the person who knows her craft.

My beer arrives. It's a Coors Light and the born-on date has been filed off like it's the serial number on an illegal handgun. A quick sip reveals that it's probably a nice 1981 vintage, which makes it the same age as my sister. (I hope my sister doesn't taste as crappy as this beer, though. For her sake. And for the sake of whomever she's dating.)

I pay my tab and tip the original stripper another $20, because whatever the hell she's doing now is bound to cause some serious back trouble in her later years, and I figure she'll need the money for her chiropractor, or her orthopedic surgeon, or whoever it is that deals with stripping-related injuries.

As I walked out of the joint, she was still on my mind. (Dear God no, not the stripper...the other one, the original girl, the one the writeup is about... Okay, again, I know my subject/verb agreement is off, but Christ in a fruit basket, give me some friggin credit!)

The sun is rising. It's a new day. And some horrible combination of sleep deprivation and skunked beer have combined to make me prone to hyperbole. "Today is the first day of the rest of my..." I start to say, and then I'm held up at gunpoint by a couple of teenage hoodlums packing nine millimeter Glocks (made even more threatening because they're pointing them at me "gangsta style").

"Yep, it's the start of a new day," I think.

Relieved of the rest of my cash, I decide to return home. Maybe sleep will cure what ails me. Unless what ails me is actually worsened by sleep, in which case I'd be making it worse!...but perhaps I worry too much.

As I settle in beneath the sheets, a calm comes over me. The day is over, the day is through...I can rest now and leave the worries of today to be...well, the worries of tomorrow, I suppose. (Gee, that's comforting.) But for now, sleep.

Oh shit...wait a minute...am I in the wrong house again?

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