Singalong with Kallie

What I wouldn’t give for just one good night’s sleep a week. Even one a month. 

Last night I was up too late, and this morning I was awakened by loud music from someone’s open window across the alleyway. Not angry rap or industrial rock like you usually hear from boombox bozos, no, it was the sound of Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky and the classics, but a little too loud. The only thing missing was Mr French in his tuxedo saying, “You can’t buy this collection in any store.”

♦ ♦ ♦

It was a boring day at the office.

♦ ♦ ♦

After work, Kallie and I took the J train to her house, and I said goodbye to my old TV and plugged it in and toggled the antenna, and now it’s her TV. Kallie no doubt knows how to plug in a television and putz with the antenna, but it's something society expects the man to do, and Kallie asked me, so I did it.

Then we went to dinner at the Happy Palace on Monterrey Blvd, Kallie’s favorite Chinese restaurant, and I can taste why. She had salt & pepper baked squid, and I had oysters on the shell in a black bean sauce — an exotic meal, by my standards. My idea of seafood is a tuna sandwich. Kallie paid, I tipped, the oysters were scrumptious, and I ate some of Kallie’s squid, too. Happy Palace is swanky (cloth napkins!) and pricier than the Sincere Cafe, but it was swell, and I’ll return if I’m in the neighborhood again.

And I might be in the neighborhood again, maybe even with Kallie. The conversation came easy all night, which wasn’t a surprise. Heck, I hadn’t even been very nervous at work before we left. We like each other, so we’re past that phase already.

After dinner, we walked back to Kallie’s house and had a singalong at the piano, which sounds very Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland, but it was fun. Kallie is soft-spoken, which, combined with my growing deafness, means I’m often saying, “Huh?” When she sings, though, it’s loud and clear, and she plays a powerful piano too. She played and sang four songs she’d written, quite pleasant tunes to my uncivilized ear, with poignant lyrics, too.

Soon as she started playing the piano, her flatmate from across the hall came out and started singing with us. The flatmate, Janey or Jilly or something like that, is the effervescent double-bubbly sort, someone who’d get kicked out of Up With People for excessive cheeriness. I disliked her instantly, and if she lived across my hall I'd hate her.

Then a stack of old sheet music emerged from somewhere, and Kallie played the piano while all three of us sang songs by the Beatles, the Monkees, Depeche Mode, and Pink Floyd. Then suddenly it was almost 11:00 on a work night, so I BARTed home.

My only maybe-misstep was during a lull in the singalong, when Janey/Jilly/Judy/Jodie asked me if I played any musical instruments. I said, “Yeah, if I have beans for supper I can fart the theme from Oklahoma.” Kallie laughed, and her friend thought it was just sick, which was the best possible response I’d wanted from both of them. Her flatmate can bite me anyway, and chip a tooth. She’s way too Meg Ryan, and anyone who finds fart jokes offensive has their chain pulled too tight.

Kallie cracked better jokes than mine, and she was smart and seems well-informed. She’s enough like me that we could talk about more than the office, and enough unlike me to be interesting to listen to. All three of us shared a few puffs, and I wouldn’t mind hanging out with Kallie again. 

Twice I had a fleeting urge to kiss her, but that would’ve ruined the evening, and besides, I’m more comfortable doing the platonic thing. This may have been the first evening I’ve ever spent mostly alone with an attractive woman without plotting my move to the next step. There’s not a next step here, and that’s OK.

One minor red flag: Kallie has a degree in parapsychology, runs a sideline business as a hypnotherapist, and she told me about some of her past lives. I’ll have to go to the library and look up parapsychology — it’s not in my dictionary, but my dictionary is small to match my vocabulary. If it means what I think it means, I don’t think it’s a real thing, and I didn’t know you could earn a degree in it. Hypnosis is real, of course, but past lives is dried horse ploppings.

Kallie is easygoing in her spirituality, though, not loopy about it like some people. When I said I was surprised to hear it, she said she keeps her spiritual side secret at work, and I can understand that. I keep everything about myself a secret at work. From experience I know that too many people judge even the slightest weirdness too harshly, and I’m weird … and yet, here I sit, maybe judging Kallie’s weirdness a little too harshly.

She’s good people, and the whole evening was wholesome. Despite my recent lack-of-sleep, I didn't yawn much, and except for the doobie, everyone was so well-behaved my Mom and Jesus would've been proud.

I hadn’t known that Kallie is creative, writing those songs that didn’t make me cringe. Being creative is important; it’s one of the few things separating humans from the other apes. Creating something that’s good is almost too much to hope for, but Kallie’s accomplished that. I wondered for a moment whether I’d have the courage to let her see anything I’d written, but of course I wouldn’t.

From Pathetic Life #5
Tuesday, October 11, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

Pathetic Life 

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1 comment:

  1. This is the most G-rated thing I've ever read from you. Sorry about Depeche Mode.


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