Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Candy's (Happy) Emotional Bitchslapping

If you're reading this, you may have been at a Mexican restaurant with me an hour ago. You may be one of the people from work who threw me a Shock Party. Not a surprise party. Surprise implies something mild. Something like "Oh my goodness...the Pettigrews have added a new festive birdbath to their front lawn." or "That man is wearing nothing but a trenchcoat. And he's flinging it open." or "Uhm, OMG I totally did NOT want my bangs THAT short!"

Surprise is humdrum. Even though the Pettigrews are a fascinating people.

Tonight, one night after I sat grieving my final class at the Big Giant University, I had plans to go out with Teresa and Elizabeth from work. For dinner. At my favorite Mexican restaurant. Kind of a celebration/girl-talk hobnobbing to mark my moving far away from town, Elizabeth finishing her PhD and moving to a nearby town and moving in with her hot sig other Eric. Oooh. I just noticed that both their names start with "E." That's so cute. I could just wolf my guts. Teresa was to be left behind (not like the movie) to be our beloved anchor for our new far-off ports.

Teresa and Elizabeth have something in common. They are both sneaking, conniving, rotten, slithering, diabolical hags from the dark back alleyway of Deceptionville. Somehow, without Candy and her titanium-razor sharp powers of deduction catching on, Teresa and Elizabeth assembled a dozen people from work to send me off forever to Arizona.

I know. So what? Oh Candy, you're SO special because no one has ever ever ever had a going away party thrown for them.

It was more than that. For the last few months I've starting fully realizing how much this job and these people have been "home." And every time I've spoken to any of them at work lately, I'm half in the conversation and half inside my head watching an annoying little plane skywriting "THIS MAY BE THE LAST TIME YOU EVER SEE THIS PERSON." And that has sucked major donkey schlong.

Tonight, almost all those people I've been dreading missing were there. Letting me soak them in one last time, and tolerating me saying the foulest of the foul things to our Mexican waiters in broken Spanish, Spanish taught to me moments after I arrived at the restaurant. (If I didn't already know the waiters, I'd have been shivved.) Thank you Christa and Elizabeth for the new social nuances for my life in Phoenix.

The group (with Teresa and Eliz. at the helm) made me a scrapbook, a 35-page scrapbook filled with the best memories of my life. No really. The best. I have some good memories from college and a few from high school and various orange highway cones of joy along the road here and there. But time at the University has been set apart simply by the circumstances.

When I started teaching there 9 years ago, I was in pieces. I was in such pain that it felt like I was running around and around myself with a roll of duct tape, trying to hold the fragments together in case one day they might take a notion to join up again. I had just been dumped by my husband 6 months earlier. Here's the dramatic part: We had been living in Paris, France together and he asked me for a divorce on Christmas. CHRISTMAS DAY. In the city of friggin LIGHTS! I flew home, me and Hankie, the cat. The husband stayed behind and spent many thousands of dollars on French prostitutes. Say, this has that zany sitcom feel, doesn't it?

Long story short: I blasted apart emotionally and became the bits and pieces mentioned above. I stayed in bed for weeks. Hankie laid next to me, nonstop, the entire time. I couldn't eat. My sister, whose spare bedroom was housing us, would actually lift my head up and put tiny bites of food in my mouth and then let me curl up again. (It occurred to me years later that Hankie was like one of those cats who lives in a nursing home and goes to linger around the dying until they finally kak. I must've looked even worse than I thought.)

Healing has been a long, long time coming. The first semester I taught, I would teach my first class, then go sit in my car to cry, then go teach the second. That second class must have thought I was constantly stoned, judging from my red-rimmed eyes and slow wit. I would go to my cubicle and pretend to drop things on the floor under my desk so I could bend down and retrieve it and have a private 5-second cry.

Years passed. I made almost all new friends, so as not to rub elbows with anyone that might be friends with the ex. His toxicity was not unlike bird flu. I couldn't risk it.

I dated men who were the biggest wussies I had ever met, the biggest liars ("yes, my divorce is final") the biggest shitbags, emotional pygmies and just plain flocking weird ("I have to go home to put drops in my rabbit's ears. He has an infection.") I won't even go into the story of the guy who had 12 large hairless dogs, ALL wearing coats.

The point is, that not only did my new friends buoy me during all that, but they let me in on their various personalities (some of them housed in the same person) and spent hours in accumulated ongoing conversations between classes and student appointments and all that bullshit we were paid to do. They also shared my uber-happiness when I met THE guy. The love of my life. The only man who has ever had it in his power to embarrass me. The only man I would move across the country for.

[He was in on the party, by the way. I can never trust him again. If he keeps the planning of a surprise party from me, then how do I know he isn't out in the woods most of the time, wearing skunk pelts and writing a manifesto?]

In the fabulous scrapbook: Every single inside joke I have with any of the people at work, letters from friends in other states that none of the people at work even know, letters from some current and former students of mine, photos that I will laugh over until I'm too old and dementia-d to know what the hell book I'm drooling over as I struggle to unlodge my bedpan from my Sue Johannsen-y wrinkly ass. There was even a trio of photos in the scrapbook of this totally hot 6-foot-11 basketball player I used to have in my class. He was a college freshman, I was in my late thirties. I had such a puke-tastic crush on him that I could barely teach in his presence. I totally would've hit that.

I will not be able to describe the other gifts I was given tonight. Because I don't want people to find my blog from googling words like "p*nis sippy cup."

Wait, I'll describe one more gift.

I got the gift of a sobbing split second of not feeling my usual feeling: that if people are my friends, it is because they are tolerating me. Barely. The less I'm around, the better the chance that they'll still like me. A little. Not enough to give a rat's ass if I move away and am gone. Don't push your stupid luck, Candy.

I got to step out of that feeling for a little while. I'll go back, of course. Because it's as familiar to me as my own face. But the feel of the air outside that awful little paranoia-filled Winnebago was enticingly fresh. And my friends are the ones who kicked the door in.

Each one of you know (or should, and if you don't, see me after class) that I love you and that your friendship will feed me good stuff for the rest of my life. Come to see me in Phoenix. Relax by the pool. I will bring you a refreshing drink in a sippy cup I save only for special occasions.

28 Comments:

  • At 10:10 PM, Blogger EB said…

    I love you, Candy.

     
  • At 11:27 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    You will never know how much all of that meant to me, EB.

     
  • At 7:51 AM, Blogger Gail said…

    Well, I love both of you.

     
  • At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Scott P said…

    It's not a manifesto, it's a Personal Mission Statement.

    And it's only 684 pages long. So far.

     
  • At 9:32 AM, Anonymous chubbyknuckles said…

    Well, hell. I love every one of you, (even though I've never met most of you) because you guys love Candy. And that makes us all one damned interesting community!

     
  • At 10:26 AM, Blogger Mad Grad Mom said…

    Aww, shucks, Candy. I love you and will miss you terribly.

     
  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    It is going to blow when I have to leave here. Friends like these here ones is impossible to find. Soon I will have only scorpions and coyotes for friends.

    I can imagine it will be difficult to start a book group with them.

     
  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Scott, in other words, it is a PMS?

     
  • At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Jackie O. said…

    I think those sneaking, conniving, rotten, slithering, diabolical hags could make buckets of money creating gorgeous scrapbooks for people.

    But I think your scrapbook was extra-gorgeous and extra-special.

    And I think I'm gonna miss you an awful lot.

     
  • At 2:07 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jackie O. -

    That scrapbook is like nothing I've ever seen. I looked at it about 700 times last night. Using it to boost me while I was packing. Look at a page, pack a box, look at a page, look at another page, screw the packing.

     
  • At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Scott P said…

    I guess you could call it that, Candy. I have to believe that's what inspired it, at least...

    ;©)

     
  • At 5:05 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Oh sweet, sweet Scott. So glad I could inspire you. Just be glad that when I have PMS I don't rip out your lungs with a Hoover Roundabout attachment.

    Perhaps I will inspire you by sneaking a special sippy cup under the sheets. When you least expect it.

     
  • At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Scott P said…

    Oh, great. Note to self- sleep on back. Forever.

     
  • At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Tony from the Bronx said…

    Oh well...thanks Candy...I'm a little embarrassed--all that stuff about "....when I met THE guy. The love of my life. The only man who has ever had it in his power to embarrass me. The only man I would move across the country for." I knew you felt some fondness for me, but I never dreamed....oh....wait. Well this is awkward...you meant Scott, right? OK, moving right along: I hope the Mexican restaurant you went to was the Fiesta and not Chi Chi's which is about as Mexican as my Uncle Mordecai's tallis. Nice rant though--liked it.
    Love,
    T from the B.

     
  • At 9:59 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Tony:
    Ix-nay on the omments-cay about our secret thang. I don't want Scott taking back my zircon. It's cubic, you know.

     
  • At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Candy -

    Hey, us slightly bent and factory reconditioned social rejects have to stick together.

    If nothing else, you bring a bright spot into people's lives through your funny and emotionally honest writing. Hopefully they have internet access "over there."

    I'd say that I love you, too, but well, I haven't really know you that long, and so I think we both know that it's probably only infatuation at this point.

    Okay, that's kinda creepy. Let's just say that I like you a lot, but in that totally non-creepy/stalkerish kind of way that usually gets leveraged into meeting for lattes or a pretty decent deli sandwich.

    ~Steve B (I can't seem to get signed into blogger. #$*&#^&!!)

     
  • At 9:24 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    HA! Steve, I'll meet you at the deli any day. I'll even let you have my pickle. And no, that was not one of them there innuendo things.

    Thanks for the nice words. Now, please come here to grade my papers. Prove your infatuation by reading the memoirs of college freshmen. You'll like the one about the girl who went to the hospital for appendicitis and was "full of tubes and ivys." And that's just a teaser.

     
  • At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I used to make beer money "tweaking" and helping polish some of my fellow students' papers.

    Hole-ee-crap. That kind of stuff always seemed to come easy for me. I just couldn't understand why other people seemed to have such a problem with it.

    I honestly think it's gotten worse in recent years.

    Kids these days...

    {{Steve B}}

     
  • At 9:08 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Steve, Back when you were doing that tweaking for your FELLOW students, your peers, most college students weren't lazy and pathetic. :)
    Now they are. As nasty and judgmental as that sounds, it really seems to be true. NO ONE wants to do any work. OK, maybe 8% or so are really invested. They're the ones that keep me going.

    I'll send you a stack of papers from the other 92%. Then I'll wait for the scream.

     
  • At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Diana said…

    So ... when are you moving?

     
  • At 12:42 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Diana...

    We're pulling away from the midwest on June 4th. Me and Scott and Hankie.

     
  • At 7:28 AM, Blogger prairie biker said…

    Oh, and by the way ...

    I suck.

    I have here a square of camouflage surplus poncho to stick in the book as well but I couldn't figure out something appropriately witty and brilliant to go with it, so it didn't get done.

    I'll have it made up before we're done loading the truck.

     
  • At 9:07 PM, Anonymous twothumbs said…

    can't believe it's taken me so long to do this, but you'll be pleased to know that your blog is the #1 result in a google search for "p*nis sippy cup."

    i'll miss the hell out of you. you are truly awesome.

    sam

     
  • At 2:01 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Sam, I don't even want to think about what I'll do without our daily mutual harassment. It's like a cozy little club of 2 snarling wolverines in the hallway. Our eyes meet just before we spew out the foul names.

    Leave it to you to google the sippy cup.

     
  • At 6:11 PM, Blogger Citlali257 said…

    The little bit of your blog read so far makes me think that you're a writing teacher. Another thought that crosses my mind: If I took another writing class it would be cool to have you as a teacher. = ]

     
  • At 10:58 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Citlali...I'm sure I'd learn just as much from you. I feed off my students like a vampire. :)

     
  • At 12:41 PM, Blogger Citlali257 said…

    Nice image! Love it. It even gives me an idea for my avatar -- if that's the right term for it. In any case, I bet we'd have a lot of fun. Gracias. = ]

     
  • At 10:48 AM, Blogger Gail said…

    Great story and great writing. Wish I could escape that same Winnebago. Mine is exactly the same! We must have gotten them from the same dealer.:)

     

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