Early Morning Invite

The phone rang this morning before 7 a.m. I was upright but in my usual semi-comatose early morning state, as I had had to get up to do violence to the alarm clock. Damn things keep breaking. I wonder why?

I squinted at the phone. I couldn’t really see the number on caller I.D. without glasses, then decided that surely politicians wouldn’t be calling me at that hour to tell me what a bastard the opponent is.

“Hey, I hate to call you so early, but thought you’d probably be up in order to feed chickens or something!” said a friend and former co-worker over the phone. “This week has been a week from hell at my school, and we decided that drinking is the only cure. How was your week?”

“I’m in middle school HELL!” I assured her. “I want to worship at the altar of Ba’al and personally pick out the kids to be sacrificed, and they’d all be from middle school.”

“So does that mean you want to meet us after work?”

“Oh, HELL, yes!”

Remember, folks, I do not drink as a rule. It is a bad habit and costs too much. My family has more than its fair share of alcoholics. I have stayed alcohol free for years and years. Then I got into the school system.

My friend never even tasted alcohol until she got into the school system. She has since made some impressive strides away from sobriety in her free time.

“Uh, one problem!” I pointed out. “I get off work an hour later than you do.”

“Oh, right, I forgot. We’ll still be there when you get off, though.”

Throughout the day, I was sustained by the thought that in only a few hours, I would be with kindred spirits. I must practice impressive self-restraint and not be arrested at school for assaulting any student that says “Bitch, PLEASE. You can’t do a THING to me and we both know it!” because I was seeing friends after work. (Seriously, one student did say that to me this week. He was right, too.)

“Where is everybody?” I asked when I arrived, as she was the only one of the group there.

“They decided to go to a bar over in the next county where they wouldn’t be recognized!” she said. She was incognito as she’d gone home to change. I was wearing my school T-shirt. Can’t be more obvious than that! “I waited here for you because I didn’t have your cell phone number to call you. They said I should bring you!” Oh, right. I’d lost the cell phone that she had the number for.

“Hunh. I saw that place and was always curious about it.”

“As bad as it looks on the outside, it’s ten times worse on the inside!”

“I didn’t think that was possible! I thought the outside was all for atmosphere, and the inside had to be better.”

“Uh, no.”

“Well, then, we’re too high class for that.” Heh. It wasn’t until this evening that I started to wonder how, exactly, did she know about how the inside looks?

We talked and laughed until I realized I couldn’t feel my legs. Then we talked and laughed while we walked around the parking lot until our legs were working properly and our eyeballs were tracking in the same direction. We discussed some serious subjects, too, like what the hell are we doing? I said that I really wanted to go do my own thing again, but my husband was afraid for me to not have health insurance. She said that her husband really wanted her to quit because he wanted her to be free to travel the world.

“If I were you, I’d leave!” I told her. I could only dream of having the luxury of world-wide travel, never having to worry about paying the electric bill, or whether I would have enough money for the next week’s commute to work. Heck, I’d like to have time to do routine house maintenance and repair the barn! (I’d like to have the money to do that properly, too, but my dreams are small.)

“If I were you, I’d go ahead and leave, too!” she said. “Surely with your degree and experience you can find a job doing SOMETHING that pays better than this.” Hmmmmm. I’d probably bring home more money working at a part-time retail job. *thinking* Okay, maybe not.

“If I quit, I would NOT be able to afford the bar tab!” I assured her, laughing. Hell, I couldn’t afford it now. I’d had to ask SwampMan for a $20 this morning in order to have enough money to meet folk after work.

“Don’t worry about it! I would pick up the tab!”

“Oh, GOD! What if I have to start drinking beer?” I teased, although if I didn’t have the job I have now, I probably wouldn’t be drinking at all.

“Don’t worry. I won’t let it come to that!” she assured me as she zoomed off in her cute little car, and I drove off in my Ford truck.

As I drove home, I thought about how nice it was to be able to laugh with a kindred spirit, different though our lives may be. While we may each envy portions of each other’s lives, we would never be comfortable exchanging places. I’d rather go to prison, for example, than organize and cook for a dinner party of twenty which she does routinely, and I doubt that she would ever gather eggs without wearing latex gloves, and she would probably throw away clothes and/or shoes that got chicken poop on them. She does charity events. I do chicken slaughtering. She wears designer clothes. I wear T-shirts I designed.

Yet we enjoy each other’s company. Go figure!

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