Friday, January 14, 2011

Playground Lunch

The cafeteria where I am working sells fish on Friday. Delicious. I typically buy two servings of fish along with rice and vegetables.

Today, they serve cod.

The happy checkout lady notices a business card fall from my wallet and mentions it.

'Thanks, I saw it fall, too. Two pieces of cod.

'They're real small, but looks good doesn't it?

'Very good.' I nod.

I pick a fork and napkin and go to a table reserved by a co-worker's handbag.

My first co-worker of three joins me and we continue our conversation.

My second co-worker approaches the table with a plateful of protein including ribs, barbecue beef, jalapeno cornbread, and braised sweet potato.

'Wish me luck guys! Can I eat all of this without making my new white shirt all messy?'

We smile.

She pulls the edges by the shoulder of her shirt, 'See? White. Not so much after I eat.'

'Trade?' I ask.

'Serious?' She eyes my cod.

My eyes dart upwards, thinking.

'Yeah. Your lunch looks good.'

Trays pass across the table and we dig in to our unexpected lunches.

My other co-worker says quietly, 'That was the weirdest thing that I ever have seen.'

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

If you make that shot, I will...

Facebook takes me down memory lane and tonight a classmate chats with me. In a different chat window, an online friend asks me about her and I smile into my computer screen.

In high school, I played basketball as often as I could and a few one on one partners stand out, including my classmate.

'Hey Tim.'


'If you make that shot, I'll pull down my pants.


'Ok, if you make that shot three times in a row, I'll do it. Serious.


'Just shoot.

I laugh to myself and tuck under the door to the gym, right shoulder touching the door and look at the shot.

To myself, I think, 'Extend a little to get out from under the door frame, graze the ceiling to get enough loft, aim at the glass and visualize where the hoop really is not where it looks.'

I take a breath, relax, and smile.


'Shoot already!

My fingertips touch the ball at the seams and replay the motion in my mind, close my eyes, open them, and take the shot.


My eyebrows raise as I smile, 'Ready for the second shot?'

I look at my friend's face turn white.

She's nervous.

I laugh, receiving the ball. 'Ready?

Her eyes narrow.

I relax, hold the ball, dribble, mentally planning things. My right shoulder touches the door.

I release the ball and watch it pass over the glass.


I smile.

Silence now as she passes the ball back.

I laugh.

But while I dribble and before setting up the shot in my mind, I worry.

I make this and will she really do it?
Will she pull down her pants?
Do I want her to?

I mean, I can make it. But...

I relax, touch my shoulder to the door and remember how I moved to make the first two. My mind goes through the shot. Relax.

I laugh recklessly, 'Just shoot...'

I release the ball and it arcs through the air, passing the glass.


I laugh now, worried and wondering and anxious wildly wondering, 'Will she?'

She narrows her eyes, upset.

She walks to the other gym door and leans over, hands down unbuttoning.


She's serious!

Zip! Before I realize it, her pants drop!

Oh no!

Then I laugh.

She turns to look at me while she pulls up her pants.

My heart stammering, pounding.

She wins! And she leaves the gym.

All I saw were her white spandex shorts!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

You're Getting Old Tim

My mouth open, waiting, a bright light at the bottom of my peripheral vision.

'You're getting old, Tim.' He says, 'Give Tim the mirror so I can show him what's going on.'

The dental hygenist hands me the mirror as Dr. Giaimo prods my teeth, 'See that hole there? The enamel is wearing off and there's only dentin. So you can expect sensitivity from time to time like you had.'

'I'll have to fix that someday. That mark there is nothing to worry about, but that filling on the next tooth is wearing out so I'll have to replace that when I fill in the hole.

'But if you look on the other side, you have one on that tooth, too. That's most common to have them one each side.

'Overall, looking good though. See you in August, ok?

Later in the day, I reflect on holding the mirror, because I remember in the early 80s when I watched intently in the reflection off his glasses.

Eventually, he handed me a mirror to watch better.

In the 70s, he had a fish tank in the office and my siblings and I would watch the huge fish swim around while we waited for our turn in the chair.

In the 80s, Dr. Giamimo buys a bottle of Mountain Dew in the local pizza parlor and drops a tooth in it. Mountain Dew is the local beverage also known as Finn Beer.

Our community is fascinated by the slow motion drama as the tooth gradually decays in the sugary drink until it becomes a powdery residue on the bottom of the bottle.

I ask a year ago, 'Still have the Mountain Dew bottle?

'Yes.' And he laughs in his familiar and comforting way.