I’m Dingo from As I Was Saying. I know you are all here to read Kelley, but you’re stuck with me today. Sorry, bitches
I went to see Wolverine earlier this week. Did I replay the Hugh Jackman in his birthday suit scene over and over again in my dreams that night? Oh, quit whining. That’s not a spoiler, folks. That’s incentive. Now plop your $12.50 down and go get a gander at some man candy.
Anyway, no, I did not dream of Hugh “Come-to-me-Baby” Jackman. I dreamt that my mother was trying to get me to go to church. But not just any church. It was some country church with hard wooden pews and a preacher who looked like he just stepped off the set of The Scarlett Letter. There was a fruit stand just down the street selling cherry pie and I could see it from my pew. I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean. I don’t even like cherry pie all that much.
Anyway, I woke up craving pie and pissed off that I did not dream of Hugh “You Know You Want Me” Jackman. But the universe was not finished fucking with me yet. I packed up my bag o’ books and headed to Starbucks to study . As some of you know, my Starbuck’s study days are often rather interesting. I am a magnet for the flotsam and jetsam of humanity who want to critique my hair or otherwise flaunt their crazy. This particular day was no different.
The coffee shop was relatively empty. I set my laptop up in my usual spot, a tiny table that’s just large enough for my computer and a book. About an hour later, I was thoroughly engrossed in my work when I heard someone say in a pissed off voice, “I said hello!” I looked up to find a woman standing beside my table with a Tupperware bin filled with a murky biohazard and, in her other hand, a newspaper. “Um, hello?” I said, sure that she had mistaken me for someone else — like someone who was about to share my table when there were at least ten empty ones in the store. At my acknowledgement, she beamed. Her face broke into a smile and her hair, which radiated out from her head like braided spokes on a wagon wheel, practically shivered with delight, each braid giving the others enthusiastic high-fives. My stomach dropped. And then she dropped into the seat across from me, pushing my laptop across the table and placing her Tupperware Dumpster of Death and newspaper in the now-empty spot.
Now, for the uninitiated, if you MUST share a table at a coffee shop, all that is required is a civil acknowledgement of the other person’s existence. You do not need to engage in small talk, exchange phone numbers, or arrange for a house swap while one of you is in France. No, just nod. Smile. And done. Apparently, Wilma Wagon Wheel didn’t get the memo. She plopped down and immediately started blathering, only pausing to inhale enough air to re-inflate.
“Do you think we’re going to get some sun today? I like to go barefoot when it’s sunny. It makes my corns feel good.”
“What kinda laxtop is that? My brother has a laxtop but his looks better than that one!
*deep breath and a shaking of the braids over the sorry state of my “laxtop”*
“Did you see Medea Goes to Jail, Race to Witch Mountain, Mall Cop? ”
The easiest thing would have been for me to move to another table, but once again I was cursed by my southern upbringing. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings so I stayed put. And, as she opened the Tupperware Dumpster and began gobbing its contents like a mouse trapped in a cheese wheel, I figured she’d either finish and leave soon or the hazmats she was eating would kill her. I tried to focus on my work only giving her a nod and an “uh-huh” every now and then. I figured she’d get the hint. She didn’t. Instead, she stopped mid-slurp and slammed the container down on the table slopping a few tentacles over the edge and soaking her newspaper with ooze. “What are you looking at?!” she yelled. Oh, crap. What the hell is going on? I looked up from my laptop to see that she was directing her ire toward a man at a table several feet away. “What are you looking at?!” she yelled again. In an indignant stage whisper, she turns to me and gestures, “That man is staring at us.”
And then I sealed my fate. I answered her. “He’s not looking at us,” I said. He’s working.” With an emphasis on the “working.” That simple answer appeased her and now, having gotten my attention, her braids did a happy dance. “I’m going to Hallelujah!” she said. “Have you ever been to Hallelujah?” she asked. Oh, crap, I thought. She’s going to whip out her Gideon Bible, or Watchtower, or copy of Dianetics. My dream of my mom trying to get me to go to church became less of a dream and more like a premonition.
“No, I’ve never been to Hallelujah. I’ve never even heard of it,” I said. She was flabbergasted. Her eyes rounded into a Tex Avery cartoon look of surprise and her braids just about leapt off her head in shock. “YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF HALLELUJAH?!” she shouted. “Nope, sorry,” I said, shaking my head, “Where is it?” Clearly disgusted by my lack of world geography, she waved her hand in the general direction of the Starbucks entry and said, “You know, over there!” I just shrugged and gave her a weak smile and said, “Sorry, still don’t know where it is,” as I prayed to God and L. Ron Hubbard that she would not ask me to look it up on my laxtop. But I didn’t need to look it up because she described it to me in great detail. How she’d gone to Liberty Travel to book her ticket (I didn’t even know people used travel agencies anymore) and that she just wanted to get her ticket but the travel agent wouldn’t stop talking about transfers, fees, and other mundane things. But she finally got her ticket. Just that morning. But she wasn’t sure where she’d put it. No problem, she’d go back and get another one if she couldn’t find it.
“Are you sure you’ve never been to Hallelujah?” she asked. The look of pity on her face was genuine. First, I had a second-rate laptop and now, she discovers, I have never been to Hallelujah. Hell, I’ve never even heard of Hallelujah! So, she described it to me.
Hallelujah has water, and sand, and palm trees and — wait a minute, this is sounding awfully familiar. “Do you mean Honolulu?” I asked. “Where?” she asked? “Honolulu,” I repeated. “It sounds like that’s what you’re describing.” “Honolulu? I’ve never heard of such a place! Honolulu?” she said as she and her braids start laughing at my stupidity. “Honolulu. Hmph!” Now she thinks I am completely off my rocker. “It’s just that I’ve never heard of Hallelujah and what you are describing sounds a lot like Honolulu.” I must have offended her with my suggestion because she placed the lid on her Tupperware Dumpster with a brusque snap! and gathered up her newspaper, soggy though it was with offal. She and her braids turned their back on me and began to walk away from the table. “What do you know,” she said, “you’ve never even heard of Hallelujah!”
She stomped away. Three feet away. And plopped herself down at the table of the man she’d yelled at just moments before. I sighed with relief, went back to my reading, and pitied the poor man as, five minutes later, I heard her exclaim, “YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF HALLELUJAH?!”