Cherie – Chapter 5 – Be Careful What You Wish For – Part I

Don’t be a guy.

Be a man.

Advertisements

Saturday arrived. I woke up relatively early. Philly had periods of showers but the rain was supposed to stop around 1pm, so that was good. I didn’t want another rainy day date with Cherie. But actually I was looking forward to seeing her so the weather didn’t really matter.

I stopped by the salon to drop off some detergent and bring my friend Trish some fives for the register. She was hung over from a night of Jameson at Tattooed Mom’s with her friends on South Street. She stopped drinking alcohol about a year ago, because she said she didn’t like how she behaved on it. Said it made her angry. Trish is angry anyway and I can only imagine what a nightmare she is on booze. That’s probably part of the reason she can’t function without smoking marijuana everyday and drinking oceans of coffee just to get through the day. I’ll be writing a chapter about her in the near future but for now I’ll stick to the events of today.

I give Trish the fives and she hands me a twenty out of the register. I’m walking across the lobby to take a seat and chat with her for a bit when she says. You have a hole in the back of your pants. I’m like, “Stop checking out my sweet ass.”

“Seriously dude. You have a huge hole in your pants. Don’t you feel that?”

I reach back and sure enough, there is a pretty good-sized hole there.

“I didn’t want you going out on your date today with a big old hole in your pants, dude.”

I joke that maybe I could guide Cherie’s hand to it in the movie theater for some cheap thrills.

“It’s the 3rd date!”

“I hate that shit!”

I tell her I agree. I don’t know if you all know this but a lot of young people are under the impression that the 3rd date equals sex. Which I find stupid. In all seriousness I would rather get to know someone and if there is a mutual attraction, the sex should just happen as a celebration at some point. There should never be a deadline related to intercourse. That almost sounds predatory.

So I head back to my apartment to put on another pair of jeans. I grab a pair and realize I haven’t worn them in a while. Like two years. They are a 36 waist. I now wear a 32 waist, but can do a 34 with a belt. They’re just too big and I look ridiculous. I grab another pair. Another hole in the seat. What’s going on here? Did I wear out the seat of two pair of jeans? I know I see the occasional mouse here in the building but what sort of butt munching rodents do we have around here?

I find a pair that are in decent shape with no holes in the seat, and put them on. This will have to do. I go downstairs and summon an UBER. While driving down to Columbus Boulevard to the multiplex, I chat with my driver, Hanna. She asks me what movie I’m going to see. I tell her the lady I’m taking likes scary movies, so we’re seeing, ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil.’ Some how she gathers from our conversation that my date is younger than me. She asks, and I tell her she’s a little younger. She tells me about a male friend of hers, who is 50 something and was dating a woman in her 40’s and just wasn’t happy. He said that women his age were all carrying all the same baggage. He’s now dating a woman around 30 and says that younger women are just more fun. I say that I agree, but when you date younger women they all eventually want to get married and have kids.  She says that her friend is always up front about that sort of thing. Maybe I should have been clear about that in my last 3 failed relationships. And here I am being driven to what could possibly be a 4th similar destination.

She lets me out and I go into the lobby and get in line for tickets. The movie starts at 1:50 and it is now 1:30. I get the tickets and as I turn to wait for Cherie, she appears. On time. Early. I like that. It’s really nice to see her. Even though it’s only been four days since our last encounter.

Her hair is up in a bun, exposing her lovely slender neck. makes me think about how I kissed that neck on Tuesday. She’s wearing a yellow blouse, and light brown slacks. They cling to her shapely legs.

We are about to enter our auditorium and we notice the floor is really sticky. Someone must have spilled a soda there, and they tried to mop it up but didn’t get it all up. Now I’ve been to plenty of movie theaters in my time, and have jokes about the sticky stuff and detritus that is on the floor of the theaters, but this was really sticky. I had to laugh out loud. I practically had to curl my toes to keep my shoes from being pulled off by that sticky floor. Just a classic ‘out at the movies’ moment.

We go in and decide that we both like to sit in the back of the theater. I ask her if she wants anything to eat. I suggest some delicious buttery popcorn. She says it’s ok but doesn’t like how it can stick in your teeth. She says she likes chocolate, but not dark chocolate. I tell her I love dark chocolate. She smiles and knows what I mean. I really do prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, but I also love the color of her skin. I go and mortgage my house at the concession stand on exorbitantly expensive snacks. Medium popcorn, medium cherry coke, bottle of water, and a bag of snickers minis for baby. $21. The food was as much as the tickets. The kid behind the counter even told me I could upgrade to a large popcorn and a large soda for $.50 more. I compliment him on his up-sell, but politely decline.

I get back to Cherie. I get all of our snacks and drinks squared away and sit down. “How did you know I loved Snickers?” she asks. “Well I’m funny and you like to laugh, so I figured, Snickers. she smiles and we settle into the previews. There aren’t many people in the theater. I like that. There’s also no late arrivals and no one is sitting in front of us. I love that as well. People are getting seated and chattering a little but that’s acceptable during the previews. We’re whispering closely. Then we kiss. It’s really nice. I feel like a teenager. I haven’t smooched in a movie theater in years. It was so sweet to hold hands too. She rubbed my arm and caressed my hand, and I was even so bold as to rub her leg and knee. It was all very gentle and romantic. What a refreshing difference from the crap women I went on dates with a few months ago. But I’m really enjoying this elegant romantic odyssey.

There is one rub that I have to mention. It’s happened a few times since then. We call it the C-Block, or the CBs. Cherie and I are in the very back row of the theater. All the way in the aisle to the right against the wall. There is only one way out. Doesn’t some pair of fucknuts sit at the very end of the aisle? This couple just sort of drops it there. One row down would have been fine. But they are right now, in OUR aisle. They could have sat anywhere. There weren’t that many people in the theater. It’s just a human thing. Homo Sapiens are such social animals they have to be together all the time. I can tell Cherie doesn’t want them there and neither do I. But there’s nothing we can do. Nothing but make a bunch of trips to the snack bar and the bathrooms. This way we can thrust our delicious firm buttocks right in their stupid faces.

Oh, never mind. It’s just annoying, we just wanted some private time to neck in the back of the theater!

The movie was a pretty by the numbers horror flick. I’d give it a solid three and a half stars. Demon possession, scary children, and good sudden frights do make you jump. We shared the popcorn and the candy. It was lovely. I was happy to be there sharing this Halloween treat with her.

After the film, we went outside. The sun was out and the rain was gone. It had been warm during the week, but had suddenly turned chilly in the last couple of days. Cherie always has trouble finding a place to park in the city, but down by the movie theater there is always loads of parking spots. We walk over to her Saab, and hop in to get out of the chill. We’re chatting about our next move, (which I have already planned) and more kissing ensues. She tells me she was hoping I would agree to sit in the back of the theater so we could neck. It appears this girl really likes me. She says she likes how soft my hands are. It makes me think of Captain Quint when he grabs Matt Hooper’s hands in the film Jaws, and says “You’ve got city hands, Mr. Hooper, from counting money all your life!” That, and the scene in Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” when one of the men on the farm puts petroleum jelly in his one glove to keep is hand soft for when he touches his woman. I don’t know why my mind flashed to those two images but for a moment they do.

I suggest we go over to Dave and Buster’s to go play games together. She likes the idea. I will say this about my lovely neuroscience major. She is very bright and quick of wit, but extremely laid back and easy-going. She’s from California, and this chick is chill. I always compliment her about her sweet disposition, because I really like that about her. Peaceful is good. She tells me, that between her two jobs, going to class, and taking care of her son, she has to make many decisions every day. She says she likes how I take charge, and just tell her where we’re going and what time it’s happening. I always have a plan and take the lead. She finds that attractive. So take note male readers, many women like to be told what you’re doing with them and where you’re taking them. Women are great negotiators and communicators, but when it comes to picking a lunch spot, just tell them pizza or sushi or just take them somewhere they serve different stuff and go. I have to give thanks here to my late father in regard to the clock. If he told you something was going to happen, or we were going to be somewhere at a specific time, it happened without error. He taught me that your word is your bond, and always be punctual. Like Beau Bridges says to Michelle Pfieffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys, “Punctuality is the first rule of show business.” Life itself is like a giant long series. You’re the star of your own show. Make it a fun, exciting show if you can. To sum up: Girls like a take-charge man.

Don’t be a guy.

Be a man.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly                           Facebook: phicklephilly

Tales of Rock – David Bowie Thinks Witches Are Stealing His Semen

In fall 1975, David Bowie went into the studio in Los Angeles and made Station To Station, one of the best albums of his career. It saw him transition from playing conventional if fantastic rock and roll to recording a series of genre-bending masterpieces that set a template for ’80s pop and whose influence is still being felt decades later. Pretty impressive, considering he was doing so much coke at the time he later couldn’t remember recording the album at all.

According to David Buckley, the author of the book “Strange Fascination: David Bowie: The Definitive Story,” Bowie’s diet at the time consisted of cocaine, peppers and milk, and he lived in “a state of psychic terror.” Interviews published in Playboy and Rolling Stone depicted Bowie surrounding himself with burning black candles and Egyptian artifacts and believing that bodies were floating past his window, witches were stealing his semen and that the Rolling Stones were sending him secret messages. He lived in fear of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, owing to his supposed practice of witchcraft. In Station To Station‘s title track, Bowie yelped, “It’s not the side effects of the cocaine; I’m thinking that it must be love,” which was definitely the wrong diagnosis.

If Bowie wanted to clean up after this album, he made the wrong move by decamping to Berlin with Iggy Pop. Still, the trio of albums he recorded during this period—Low, Heroes and Lodger—honed his legacy. This trilogy along with Station To Station was cherry-picked to create a perfect soundtrack for Christiane F. We Children from Bahnhof Zoo, a German film released in 1981 that captured the harrowing lives of teenage junkies in West Berlin.

Check it out. I saw it at a midnight showing in LA in 1982. It’s great!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

Annabelle – Chapter 3 -First Date

What if I’m not falling for her at all? What if I’m simply in love with the idea of love, and not this woman?

It was a hot day in July of 2013. I remember that summer being especially humid. I didn’t want to get all sweaty before my date with Annabelle. So I took a taxi up to the Barnes Museum. But sadly, many of those cabs are still hot as hell in the summertime. I went inside, told them I was on the guest list and that I was waiting for my plus one.  The girl at the counter tells me it’s cooler downstairs. I head down to cool off and dry out. I was heavier back then, (36 waist!) so maybe that’s why I was sweating more. I get some water and have a seat.

I get a text from Annabelle that she has arrived. I tell her to just let them know who she is and they’ll let her in. She comes downstairs to get me. She is wearing her hair up, and has a black top and matching black slacks that just cover her knees. Is that called Capri pants? She is also wearing heels so she towers over me. I don’t care. I’m Phicklephilly. I cast a great shadow across this city. She goes to use the restroom, and I chill out looking at little models of what the building looked like when they were designing it. The are all in different stages under glass.  I’m looking at one of the tiny models very closely when she returns. She comes up behind me and I just feel her presence. I turn around and she is over me looking at what I’m looking at. I tell her it felt like I was being stalked by a raptor from Jurassic Park. She laughs and does this little impression of a raptor. I find this funny and ask her if she liked the film  Jurassic Park. (One of my favorite movies)

“I love Jurassic Park.”

“Okay….okay” I reply.

We go upstairs and into the main ballroom. They are having a little first Friday celebration. A live band plays some sweet jazz. For whatever reason we’re both starving. I get us high top with a pair of chairs, and tell her I’ll go fetch us some snacks and wine.

I head over to the bar and all they have is overpriced everything and some cheese and chips. It’s the Barnes for God’s sake. Can’t they afford any decent chow for the guests? I gather up two bags of chips some cheese and a couple of glasses of wine. I’m not even gone for five minutes, and some old codger has already swooped in and started talking to my date. This guy is easily twenty years older than me. I approach, drop the food on the table and hand Annabelle her wine.

“Really dude? I was gone all of five minutes. Get your own girl.” I joke.

We chat with the old guy. He seems charming and harmless. After a bit, Annabelle and I go over to tour the collection. Apparently, that wasn’t part of the passes I was given. I simply drop a name and they let us in. I had never seen the collection before so it was a real treat for me to see what a billion dollar art collection looked like.

The collection includes 181 paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 69 by Paul Cézanne, 59 by Henri Matisse, 46 by Pablo Picasso, 21 by Chaim Soutine, 18 by Henri Rousseau, 16 by Amedeo Modigliani, 11 by Edgar Degas, seven by Vincent van Gogh, and six by Georges Seurat. Other European and American masters in the collection include Giorgio de Chirico, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, Paul Gauguin, El Greco, Francisco Goya, Édouard Manet, Jean Hugo, Claude Monet, Maurice Utrillo, William Glackens, Charles Demuth, Jules Pascin and Maurice Prendergast. It also holds a variety of African artworks; ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art; and American and European furniture, decorative arts and metalwork. The museum also holds several significant works by cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz.

It was pretty amazing how one guy was able to collect this many fantastic, priceless pieces of art. We walk from room to room, looking at everything. At one point she says, “Out of everything in this room, which is your favorite?”  Then I would choose the one I liked the best. I would do the same to her. We did this enough times, until finally she asked me what was my favorite in the last room.

I simply pointed to her.

She smiled.

We then went downstairs to the rum tasting. We were all in a room and they gave us three different rums to try. The guy that was running the tasting really knew a lot about each rum and what made them different. But the weird part was, they were comparing the taste and look of the rum to different paintings in the collection. They had the images on a video screen on the wall. I’ve never seen this done, and I don’t even think it’s a real thing. But free rum is free rum. I remember the person talking about the mood of the paintings and the taste of the rum, and I was into it. there was a moment when my eyes drifted away from the host and onto Annabelle. I was looking at the painting and then my gaze passed over to Annabelle. I looked at her profile and neck. Was I falling for this girl? I took girls to events all of the time. What was it about this one? There’s nothing special about her really. It’s been two years since Michelle. I’m really taken with her. Has it just been too long since I’ve fallen in love that I just want that feeling again?

What if I’m not falling for her at all? What if I’m simply in love with the idea of love, and not this woman?

After the weird art/rum tasting we headed back upstairs. We probably shouldn’t have had all that wine and rum with so little food. I can handle it but it could be a bit painful for Annabelle tomorrow.

We leave the museum. It’s located in an area where it would be difficult to catch a taxi. I decide we should walk up to Spring Garden. We reach the corner and flag one down. We share the perfunctory hug. Dating’s funny. So much of it is tied to timing and ritual. I put her in the cab and ask her to text me that she has gotten home safely.

The cab rolls east into the night and as I walk back down into center city. As the city rises before me, I feel a little spring in my step.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

Facebook: Phicklephilly       Instagram: @phicklephilly

Marigold – 1997 to Present – Good German Stock

I’ve known her since she was 21 and now she’s a mom!

I met Marigold when she was only 21 years old. That was back in 97 when she worked for me as a teller in my bank branch at 10th and Snyder Aves. in South Philly. They would sometimes send her to another branch to help out, so I didn’t see her all of the time. She always seemed smarter and sharper than her peers. I really liked her. (Tall blonde. Good legs.)

We would sometimes go to lunch and it was always nice to spend time with her outside of the bank. Marigold eventually left retail banking for a better job. I remember she always dated high-end wealthy or affluent men. She wasn’t a gold digger or anything like that, just knew how to date a better class of men than most girls her age.

We kept in touch and would occasionally meet up for lunch or drinks to catch up. At one point I was living in New Jersey and she was living in the Fairmount area for Philly. I was married back then. Years later I was working in Philadelphia, and she had moved to New York. So that kept us apart except for the random visit. I later moved to New York for work and she was then living in Newark, NJ with her boyfriend of several years. That was just a few train stops beyond where I was living at the time. So we got to hang out every once in a while.

I remember attending her bachelorette party. I was the only guy invited. Just me surrounded by a bunch of women. It was awesome! She and her fiance married at city hall but then had a big reception down in the Bowery of NYC. I took my then girlfriend Jackie, who was a second generation girl from Haiti. She was a lawyer on Wall Street. She wanted to get married and have children so badly, I think she scared me off. Lorelei was enough kid for one lifetime for me.

I eventually moved back to Philly and took a job at a local digital publication. I didn’t see Marigold as much as I would have liked to, but we always managed to get together at least once or twice a year. Then she moved out to Lexington, Kentucky. Her husband is a professor at the University of Kentucky, so out they went. he’s a great guy. Everybody loves Don.  Men and women alike. He’s so cool that he’s never minded me hanging out with his wife. Cassandra works as a financial broker, so technically she can work anywhere. I have known Marigold twenty years now, and I’m sure hasn’t been a fan of living out in the midwest. She’s a city cat like me and probably misses living in a metropolis. I would bet that at some point they’ll come back.

She has a little son who is now six years old and two daughters that are about two and a half. They are fraternal twins. They all have white blonde hair and look like the perfect little Aryan family. They’re all really cute. I think the son could have used a bit more discipline to keep his behavior in check, but he’s not my child. I know for a while about a year ago, cassandra was losing her shit having three little kids to take care of everyday. That was real challenge for her. I think it aged her.

I was down at our shore house a few years ago to see my father and she visited with her son. She wanted to meet my father that I always spoke of fondly to her. She wanted to see his train collection and also wanted her son to see it. It’s pretty spectacular. I’m glad she finally got to meet my dad. Her life with her father had always been a challenge. I believe he was bi polar and struggled with alcohol. I remember even in her twenties she was taking care of him. Writing out his checks to pay his bills, etc. that must have been a lot for a young girl to bear. I may have fucked up some things in my life, but I was always capable of taking care of my daughter. Girls need strong dads. I may not be the strongest father, but I was consistent with Lorelei. I also wasn’t a crazy asshole like her mother, so that’s part of the reason Lor has decided to live with me.

I am writing this because I am about to go see her and her daughter tonight. She’s visiting Philly for a couple of days to see everybody, and this must be my night.  I will finish this piece upon my return.

I got to their hotel at 5pm. They are staying at the Courtyard at Marriott. It’s a nice hotel right near City Hall. Originally that building was built in 1926 as a government annex to City Hall for over 60 years. In 1990 it was acquired and renovated by Marriott. The marble floors and three chandeliers in the main lobby are all original. It is the largest Courtyard Marriott in the world.

Just thought I’d give you a little Philly history there.

I go up to her room, and her little daughter is on the carpet playing with her maryjane shoes. She’s so cute and social. I know it’s been a stressful drive up from DC today for Marigold. They were down there visiting with Don’s family for the holidays. Marigold is happy that she only has the one child to look after for the next couple of days. She is relieved that her husband and his family will get to spend time with her son and other daughter. Three little kids are a handful, but getting a break and only having to look after one is much needed on her part.

I hand Marigold a skinny joint. She’s delighted. She hardly ever smokes weed so she says she only needs a tiny bit to get lit. She excuses herself and heads to the bathroom to toke up. I’m just chilling on the couch sipping a glass of wine. I tell her to run the fan in the bathroom to draw out the smoke. I hear the fan go on followed by coughing.

Moments later, Marigold reappears, smiling. “Thanks, I needed that. Do my eyes look stoned?”

I assure her she looks fine. We get her little one in the stroller and head downstairs in the elevator. I’ve decided to take them to Zavino at 13th and Sansom. It’s a small place but we’re in a nice little booth in the back. I had called ahead to hold a table and they were very accommodating. They take the stroller and hang it in the back.

We settle into our seats and order some wine. I know they all love pizza and that’s why I brought them here. It’s really good brick oven pie here. They have this location and a bigger one out in University City. Their happy hour is pretty solid. We got two pies (they’re small) eight bucks a piece and the wine was only five bucks a glass. For a nice place like this in midtown village, that’s a good deal.

We had a nice dinner without incident. Her daughter was well-behaved. The food was great and the service on point. I was happy to see Marigold and share this moment of repose with her. When we finished, she insisted on paying the bill. I left the tip. I walked her back to the hotel and we called it a night. It was a great two hours to catch up with my old friend. She said she couldn’t wait to snuggle up with her little one, smoke a little more grass and fall into the arms of Morpheus.

I love Marigold like a sister.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

Michelle – Chapter 13 – Domestic Bliss and a Happy New Year

Is that a picture of my ass on that wall?

2008 was an amazing year. Barak Obama was elected President, The Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series, and Michelle was my girlfriend. That’s a hat trick if there ever was one.

Michelle was one of several people who got laid off while the company we were working for was once again trying to figure out what it wanted to be. (Print going bankrupt again!) I remember the day it happened she went out and bought me an Ipod for my birthday. I was very grateful and it was a wonderful and thoughtful gift. I love music and I couldn’t believe how technology could put a thousand songs into something the size of a pack of gum. It’s pound for pound the best gift anyone has ever given me, and I don’t like presents. I’d always rather give that receive.

Michelle started working as a hostess at a local restaurant. She hated it because now she had to stand there and watch people do the very thing that she and I enjoyed doing. She also took a job at a local retail store here in center city. Looking back on that now, that had to be tough on her. She went from making good money at a dot.com to being on her feet all day and night and doing something she wasn’t even interested in. She did finally get a good gig with a great company. Better than when she worked with me at the publication. It was a non-profit that was at the forefront of organ donation. This job would serve her well and help catapult her into a great career in the future!

She was fed up with her bitch faced, passive aggressive roommate, and I think that chick was leaving when the lease was up anyway. I wanted to move to Philly and get out of living in Pennsauken, NJ. So with us being in love, we decided to get a place together. That normally had been the kiss of death for me, because I like my alone time. But we really got along and I figured we’d be alright.

We got a third floor two bedroom apartment in Graduate Hospital, which is the neighborhood just south of Rittenhouse. Penn Medicine now runs the hospital complex down there now, but people still call the neighborhood by its former name. It was a beautiful apartment. Everything was brand new. The instructions were still in the oven. It had all of the amenities. Michelle picked a two bedroom because my daughter Lorelei stayed with me every other weekend. She did a wonderful job of finding a home for us in Philly and I love her for that. We have so many great memories in that place.

I remember the night she showed me the apartment. The realtor was late. (He is a very powerful real estate mogul in the city today) We ended up going to Ten Stone, (A neighborhood bar at 20th and South) Michelle put it to me… “Are we doing this?”

We split the rent and the bills but eventually I think I paid the utilities and half the rent because I earned more. One thing I never took into account was that the reason we had to pay $1650 a month was for the second bedroom that was for my kid that visited twice a month. In hindsight I should have paid more of the rent back then and all of the utilities. Sadly, back then I was paying $600 a month in child support to the Gorgon sister I call my ex-wife. But Michelle was always on point with pulling her share. But I know I should have always paid more.

We moved all of our stuff from both apartments in one day. It was brutal. My whole body hurt for a week after that massive move. We did it all with a single U-haul van I rented for $100. Her building charged her $100 to use the elevator for the day to move. Fuckin’ exit fees.

We didn’t care. We got plowed at Continental midtown the night before, but we made it work. We got all of our shit moved in and it was in piles of boxes all over the living room. I think we went for pizza at Lorenzo’s that night to celebrate our new life together.

It was fun living together for the most part. The holidays were coming and my daughter Lorelei and I went out and got a tree and set it up in the living room. It was so funny. It was like a Norman Rockwell moment. Michelle was working and we wanted to surprise her. My daughter and I walked from 18th and Kater to 4th and South, (Which is a hike) to pick out a tree. We found a great bushy one and proceeded to carry it by hand all the way home. I only had one pair of gloves so I gave one to baby and I wore the other one. Lorelei carried the top, (Which was lighter) and I carried the trunk. We took breaks because it was heavy, and switched gloves. It smelled so good! Pine Christmas sap! I love that smell! People were coming out of their homes and taking pictures of me and my daughter carrying our christmas tree across the city. They were going mad about our Rockwell moment. I don’t know how Lorelei felt about it but as always, she was a trooper.

We all decorated it and it looked beautiful. Michelle had lots of great ornaments that either she or her mother used to stress about. I don’t remember why. Maybe because there was some holiday history in those ornaments. I remember later she really stressed about those ornaments. I know Michelle didn’t really give a shit because she’s like me, (no pageantry) but her mom did.

One of our favorite things to do was to sit on the loveseat in our living room and watch movies and different TV series on Netflix. Michelle’s mother had bought her a 50″ flat screen for Christmas and it was glorious. We would binge watch on the weekends. Just eat, drink wine and smoke cigarettes. Sometimes Michelle would bring out the inflatable mattress and stretch out on that on the floor. She loved that thing just to rest her beautiful body after a week of work.

Another thing we enjoyed was sitting at the kitchen counter, (resembled a bar) and we would listen to music and just chat and drink. Sometimes we’d bust out Scattergories and play that. Michelle being a former National Champion swimmer, was very competitive and didn’t like to lose. Things could get intense during those board game sessions. I actually remember her getting mad at me if I got a little far ahead. I always liked that about her. She had that champion spirit. I’d be sweet to her, but still liked whipping her ass in the game. But I never wanted girlfriend to be mad at me because I loved her so much.

On any given night you could catch us slow dancing in the living room to the sounds of Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, or Roy Orbison. It was a lovely time.

We were making so much noise one night our crazy neighbors downstairs were throwing pretzel bites over our balcony to get us turn it down! The bites were hitting the sliding glass doors, but I think secretly they wanted us to play more Johnny Mathis!

We didn’t go out and terrorize the city anymore. We watched the entire run of The Sopranos and all of Six Feet Under. I remember us both sobbing at the end of the final episode of Six Feet Under. We were both equally blown away by the show.

We even cried uncontrollably at Marley and Me. I don’t know why but we loved that movie together. (Watch it. Maybe you can explain it to me. We’re not pet owners)

It was New Years Eve, and we were just coming back from brunch, or something, and Michelle wanted to stop in a women’s apparel store called Couer. It’s on 17th around Sansom. We go in, and She’s looking at lingerie and what not and I’m just checking the place out. I get to the counter and they have this huge black and white photo. It’s a huge picture of a woman’s posterior in a thong, holding a fuzzy kitten backwards. So you see this cute cat’s face and her ass. I’m looking at it, and the photo seems familiar. It’s gorgeous and tasteful. Great ass and cute kitty.

Suddenly, I hear Michelle’s voice from behind me. “Is that MY ass?”

“Don’t we have an 8×10 of that photo from your modeling days somewhere in the apartment?”

“Oh my God! That’s me!!!”

“Wait…what?”

We tell the person working there, and we all get a good laugh. We can’t believe that giant photo is there. It’s Michelle’s delicious bum from her days as a Reinhart model. The shoot was discussed, as was the kitten and the photographer.

“He’s still here.”

“Who the photographer?” I say, puzzled.

“No. This guy.” And another lady comes walking out from the back with a big old grumpy Persian cat in her arms.

“Holy crap! That’s the little kitten in the picture?”

“Yep. He’s like ten years old now.”

We were blown away and left laughing and saying how this New Years Eve was already getting crazy. It really seemed that everything we did or touched made something happen. (That’s what happens when two people are in love and the world is open to them)

So we were invited to join a former co-worker of ours to see the fireworks and grab food down at Penn’s Landing for New Years Eve. It was a bitter cold night. (We’re talking teens) It was impossible to get a taxi, and UBER and Lyft did not yet exist in Philadelphia. But I had an idea. We walked out to the corner and were trying to get a taxi, when the idea struck me. We were right near this place we always ordered pizza from. I saw one of the delivery guys and said hello. I told him I’d give him $20 if he’d drive us to Old City.

His response was, “Get in.”

We hop in the back of his pizza delivery car and off we go. He stops at a house nearby and delivers a pizza. It was surreal. Then we’re off again. He gets us to our destination. We thank him and out we go.

I think we were at the Mexican Post in Old City. We had probably been drinking before and we drank more when we got to the restaurant. It was nice to see my friend and his wife, but at that time I didn’t know any of the other people at the party. They were a bunch of IT and tech nerd types.

Just picture the creepy shy girl who looks like she could kill you in your sleep if you ate the last of her Ben & Jerry’s. Or the nerdy guy that has no table manners and chews with his mouth open. That’s just the result of some sort of parental neglect of some kind.

We finish up and head down to Penn’s Landing. It is really cold now on the Delaware River. The fireworks are great but all I can remember is the penetrating bone chilling cold. (And I’m sure Michelle feels the same)

Somehow we got a taxi back to midtown and actually went to the Midtown Diner on 18th Street. It was packed and I think I ate a cheese steak and fries. Michelle told me when she went to use the bathroom there was vomit everywhere so she used the Men’s room instead.

That’s what I hate about New Years and for that matter any other holiday where every swinging dick in the city is out drinking like they’re Duff McKagen in the 80’s. St.Patrick’s Day lasts like three weeks in this city. It makes me just want to leave the city for those  weeks.

So there isn’t much to write here about this time. We were done with going out and getting loaded every night. No more crashed parties, no more crazy events. Even though we could sit down at anytime and reminisce about all of our deviltry, it would be for nostalgia’s sake. I think our domestic time together were some of our best times. We enjoyed each others company and some of our best memories have come from that calm tranquil period in our relationship.

I think Michelle would agree.

Michelle always said: “I have so much fun with you, that when the day is over, I wish we could do it all again.”

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

 

Duncan – 1997 to Present – Blind Ambition And The Sin of Avarice

I have known Duncan for a long time. Nearly 20 years. He is originally from Northeast Philly like myself. I met him back when I was in retail banking. I was selling mutual funds at a branch in South Philly. He was my underwriter. So I would procure the clients, and sell to them, and Duncan would put together the hypotheticals and make recommendations. So he was my back office support person assigned to me. He had followed a girlfriend to Charlotte, North Carolina a few years before. Our headquarters were there.

We became friends shortly after he saw that I had written, “The Green Manalishi with the Two Pronged Crown”, on the auto reply on my internal email. It’s a Judas Priest reference and he got it. We started talking and got to know each other and our mutual of all things heavy metal.

He had family in Pennsylvania and would come up and visit occasionally.

Over the years he would come and stay at my house and we would plan his visits around heavy metal concerts. We’ve seen AC/DC, Motorhead, Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Cinderella, Iron Maiden, and many other bands on several occasions.

When I got divorced he dumped his girlfriend who had gotten heavier and lazy. I bounced around the banking industry for a few years, and dated a few women. Some crazy, some not so crazy. I don’t remember if he dated much after he split with his girlfriend. Here’s the thing, Duncan is a good-looking, fit guy, but he has absolutely no game whatsoever. He works out, but doesn’t eat all that well. The boy needs more fruit and vegetables.

He always had around five dogs. They were his buddies. He lived on a remote road and had a big yard for the dogs to run around in. Always the dogs. So while I’m working in and out of banking and consulting, Duncan is taking all of these courses to become a CFA. (Certified Financial Analyst) He meets a woman in one of the courses he takes at night and they get to know each other. I think she was married before or in the process of getting a divorce.

So they hook up because they are both sporty and good looking. They eventually get married.

One thing about Ducan that is his biggest flaw is that he has no coping mechanisms in place. He has to control everything, and everything has to be about him and meeting his needs. Kind of like my dad. So after two days with the guy you’re ready to escort him off the property. You have to do the activities he wants to do, and eat the food he likes to eat. That shit doesn’t work long-term with any relationship. But he only visited a couple of times a year so I didn’t mind. We had good times for years.

Duncan was driven to be what he wanted to become and put off family until he felt he had reached a certain level in his career. “When I pass this test, or when I get that license, we’ll try to have kids.” Well, he put it off for too long and the window was closing on his wife’s ability to reproduce. They tried for a while but nothing was happening.  She finally did get pregnant but at some point lost it. It was painful physically and emotionally for her. She didn’t want to go through it again, and that was it.

Duncan’s wife came from money and had no real concept of it. I remember him telling me she had over one hundred thousand dollars in revolving debt. She kept promising to pay it down, but I don’t think she ever did. He only found out about it when they were doing a refinance on the house and she couldn’t be on the loan because she was so upside down with her credit card debt. Duncan always kept all of their finances separate. She liked to blow money on frivolous things, and Duncan was always frugal.

With any hope of gestation off the table, she started going out on the weekends with her soccer buddies. Many of them were younger and she would stay out late and party at the bars and clubs. Duncan used to smoke a bunch of weed when he was cool, but was never really a drinker. He doesn’t go out anywhere. He’s not social at all. He doesn’t really have any friends. I think I was his best friend for many, many years.

He did cut me off for about two years once when I first returned to Philly from New York. I don’t remember why. Some trivial shit. But out of nowhere he started texting me again. When I asked him why he cut me off, he literally said he had no recollection of doing it. I remember exactly where I was when he cut me off. Saying, “we had a good run, but it’s over.” But I was just happy we were back. Even if he lived fifteen hundred miles away.

Duncan is telling me he’s getting fed up with his wife going out all of the time. But she probably was bored with him by then. I know if I were a woman I wouldn’t stick around. He’s got to be 48 years old by now and he still acts the same way he did back in his late twenties when I first met him. He hasn’t evolved as a man at all. Still the same guy. But he gave up weed years ago.

So after about a year of her going out he finally says he’s going to divorce her. They were married for eight years. He worked his ass off for the bank. They own him. Scooter is married to his ambition. He spends so much time working that he has amassed a small fortune. But of course his loser family all have their hands in his pockets. He had to go on their mortgage or they would lose their house and have to go bankrupt because of their reckless spending.

They split up. He’s on his own with his house full of dogs again. He tries to date some woman at his office and she’s not interested. He has to go to therapy for his divorce. Not because he’s sad that it ended but because he’s so angry that he failed. He started dating some older Asian woman at his tennis club. He says he’s never getting married again. But he bought her $5000 earrings last Christmas. He makes killer bank now. They have been together for a few years now. I refer to her as Yoko because I hardly ever hear from him anymore. They’ve come up to the area twice, but the first time I really didn’t feel like hanging out with them. Then around last 4th of July, they were supposed to stay in the city but ended up staying out by his parents and I never saw him.

One of the last conversations I had with him this year was him telling me that when he sells his house in the Spring 2017, he will be worth a million dollars. Maybe then he’ll finally be happy.

But I doubt it.

UPDATE: Duncan text me over the holidays that he was on the train with his girlfriend on their way to Warminster to see his family. He sent me a photo of a 1.75 bottle of Grey Goose being held by her in a liquor store. He said it was for me. No warning. No planning. Just has a bottle for me and am I available in the city tonight. I already had really important plans with a lady, and I wasn’t going to be around. I told him I’d be available Saturday night and Sunday. I got a text later from him saying he was on South Street, and where could he take his girlfriend for dinner. I told him Serpico or Ella. I never got a thank you or another word from him. He said later that maybe on Sunday he could see me because he was visiting his cousins. At this point, I wished he just left the bottle on my front steps and left. Because it’s all about “Mr. I have no coping skills.” So I think I’m done. (Still love him though) Too much has gone by and he’s so locked into his old Asian granny of a girlfriend that I won’t hear from him for a long time. I liked him better when he was a pot smoking clerk. At least he was fun back then.

Bitter?

Yeah. Table for one.

(But… Stay tuned. There is more to come in the future and will be glorious.)

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

Johnny R – 2009 to Present – Dive Bar Blues

Johnny came into town recently. I hadn’t heard from him the entire day, and was concerned he would bail. I had just come off an exhausting evening with a lady, and was pretty tired. I had to work at the salon all day and then go meet with him. I wasn’t burned out because I hadn’t drank or smoked anything the night before. She simply wore me out. “Junior achiever, had the old bull by the horns.”(As Steven Tyler would say)

I kind of was hoping he’d bail, but thought it better to text him. It was the end of my shift and he told me he had just arrived at Mcglinchey’s. Being Sunday afternoon, I knew even if we hung out neither of us would last long.

I lock up the salon and headed over. When I get there some seats had opened up at the end of the bar and I beckon him down. I love this place. The staff is surly, the jukebox is good, and the drinks are cheap and you can smoke in this bar.

Perfect.

Johnny’s not happy. So what else is new? He’s always a little disgruntled about something. Currently, he’s pissed that the bartender is hanging all the way at the other end of the bar chatting with her boyfriend.

The bar has somewhat emptied out. There are just small clusters of drinkers at the bar. The jukebox is blasting country music. Which just adds to Johnny’s rage. I don’t care for country music either, but that shit was relentless. He blames the guy that he assumes is the bartender’s boyfriend. She’s not our usual girl, but I can tell she knows us. Johnny is making his faces and doing his hand gestures of disbelief about the poor service.

“Dude, It’s McGlinchey’s!” I tell him. But it does seem way off tonight. It’s not busy enough for us not to be getting the attention that Johnny thinks we so richly deserve. The country hits keep coming and it is getting on my nerves too. I should go over to the jukebox and play a block of Lamb of God, but I don’t know if we’re going to be around long enough to hear any of it.

We have a few rounds and catch up. I tell him what’s going on with work, life and this blog. I even show him in my phone his first chapter. He becomes suddenly giddy and loves that I’ve included him in my story. But, he’s still sore about the poor service and shitty music. “I have an idea. I’m going to hit the head. Be right back.” He says.

I’m still feeling a bit worn out from the previous nights nocturnal exploits. But this always happens. I’ll just go to bed early tonight and be as good as new tomorrow.

Johnny returns from the bathroom with a twinkle in his steel-blue eyes, and a spring in his step.

“Well this is a change in attitude. Did you meet a guy in there?”

“Ha ha. I just did a little bump of coke.”

“Oh nice. Maybe you’ll be in a better fucking mood now.”

“You look a little tired. Want some?”

“I’m good, Johnny, but thanks.”

I like Johnny on either adderall or coke. Stimulants help him focus and actually sober him up a bit. He’s Irish and he loves his Bud bottles. If he has a little something extra, it sustains him at the bar longer. However, things aren’t improving at our beloved McGlinchey’s tonight. I’ve had a couple of $2.60 glasses of wine with ice and he’s throwing back the beer and coke, but the vibe is off due to the music and poor service. Normally this is a bar we’re happy to camp out in for hours on end, but it’s just not happening.

I tell him we should leave and go to one of my favorite spots. He’s fed up as well and agrees. We cash out and hit the trail. The better bar is only about four blocks away. He’s complaining about the cold and doesn’t want to be out in it too long. I assure him he won’t die of frostbite. Plus his nose must already be frozen from the blow.

We get there and take a seat at the bar. Totally different vibe. Warm and happy. The bartender comes over to greet us with an open hand. Roman is one of my favorite bartenders in the city. There are better mixologists with more knowledge in the city, but Roman brings personality and creativity to his bar. He’s part of the experience and makes everyone feel welcome.

Johnny is happy when Roman hands him an ice-cold Bud bottle. It’s a nice upscale place, but there is something for everyone. Roman is letting me test out some new cocktails, and Johnny is feeling much better. After a while I no longer feel as tired as I did earlier. Just good energy flowing from all around.

Johnny’s girlfriend calls him. He thought maybe she’d be picking him up but she says that she’s not. He’s usually in two different places with Rachel. Aggravated or frustrated. They’ve been together for over eight years and that seems to be the way they love. Who am I to judge? Johnny talks about writing a blog again. I tell him, I’m not going to bring it up again. He says he has all of the information in his head. He just needs to let it out. It’s easier than ever to release your thoughts onto the page. The trick is to actually do it. Thinking a lot of great and wild thoughts is cool, but actually bringing them forth is quite another, and no easy task.  I think if Johnny would make the time, and could be on the right cocktail of drugs and alcohol, he would write some fucking great shit. But the only way to do that is to sit down and write.

Write everyday if you can.

After a while, we’re both feeling good, but Johnny needs to get home and feed his cats. He says that maybe the coke will put him in the mood to write. I don’t mind if he never writes a word. I just enjoy having him in my life as a friend. I know you were hoping we’d get into some vice this time, but again, we have behaved ourselves.

Maybe we’re both just getting older.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly