October 3, 2013

The Ultimate Playlist

Dear Tom Selleck . . .

Let's skip the part about how I never write anymore.  Because I do write.  A lot.  Just not always to you.  But I haven't written anything in a very long time.  Nothing.  Nowhere.  I've been as quiet as I can be for as long as I needed to be.

Lately though, I've thought a lot about writing again.  I just wasn't sure what to write and where to write it.  When there are piles of unfinished business everywhere, where do you begin?

And then . . .

I met this quirky, cool, intelligent, funny, kind-hearted, dichotomous waitress with great hair and OCD.  Sound like anyone else you know?   She fascinated me.  And then she blew my mind.  She called off her wedding, that was just weeks away, and moved to Boston.  To engineer prosthetic shoulders for the government.  Or something like that.

There was a send-off party for her at work.  I came in on my night off.  That's how much I like this girl.  And rumor had it, there would be cake.  I'd have to bring a gift.  So I put 5 minutes of thought, a few hours of my time, and no money at all into it, and came up with possibly the best gift I've ever given.  Mostly because I also got to keep it for myself.  The Ultimate Playlist.

According to Google Maps, it takes 12 hours and 40 minutes to get from our one-horse town to Boston.  I burned 12 hours and 42 minutes of music for her.  I carefully chose songs that would help her take on the road ahead of her - physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  If she listened not just to the music, but to herself along the way, she'd be ok.  I know this, because I'm ok.

I set out on a similar journey 17 years ago, this month.  I had no idea where the road ahead of me would lead, but it was the first time in my life I listened only to myself.  If I fucked it up, I'd have no one to blame but me.  If it turned out to be amazing, no one else could take the credit.

I fucked it up.  On multiple occasions.  But it's turned out to be amazing.

true story.

Edie B. Kuhl

February 3, 2013

Love the Players, Hate the Game

Dear Tom Selleck . . .

Beth and I have been best friends since the 6th grade.  We don't always agree, but we never fight.  We can talk about anything and find common ground:  boys, politics, religion.  But there is one thing we do not discuss.  One thing we will never see eye-to-eye on.  One thing that triggers some sort of primal reaction in both of us.  One subject that is totally taboo in our friendship.  Sports.

Growing up, she was a cheerleader and played with boys - just as friends.  I was on the drill team and never played with boys.  Boys and girls cannot be friends in my world.  There are a few exceptions to that rule, but I will spare you the fine print.

She and I have always viewed sports - and boys - differently.  As a cheerleader, she had to know the basics of the game and stick it out through all sorts of weather and extra innings or quarters or whatever the hell they're called.  She had to encourage those boys to do their best, even when they were failing miserably.

I, on the other hand, didn't have to know a damn thing about the game.  I got to show up just before the game, salute the flag during the National Anthem, reappear at halftime, do a little dance, and go home.  I was more interested in the drummer of the marching band than the quarterback of the football team.  Ironically though, Beth ended up serial dating a non-jock and I ended up with a jock as a high school sweetheart.

Weird.  Or not.

Anyhow, let's fast forward 20+ years.

As a bartender, I serve a lot of boys.  They like to talk about sports.  I always have sports on the TV - muted, so I can listen to a little Adele, Sinatra, Manilow, and Buffet.  Usually, I can just nod my cute little head through the boys' sporty nonsensical talk, or busy myself restocking the beer cooler while they try to pretend they're not looking at my ass.  Last week though, one of my regulars hit me right between the eyes with a very direct question:

"Who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?"

Deer in the fucking headlights.  I had nowhere to turn.  No beer to stock.  I couldn't breathe.

So I said, "I know it's on Sunday . . . aaannnddd . . . who's playing, again?"  While I straightened my spine (girls - you know what happens to your chest as you straighten your spine) and cocked my cute little head and smiled.

After he collected himself from hysterical laughter, he told me.  And I quickly and impressively and definitively stated I'd be rooting for the 49'ers.  He grunted and rolled his eyes.  Apparently that was the wrong answer.  Before I could back pedal for a bigger tip, he asked me why.  This was an easy one!  "Because I dated some asshole who went to Baltimore and never came back."  He had NO idea how to respond to that kind of sporty rationalization, quickly ended his interrogation, and tipped me well.  He looks at me with pity and remorse now.  I'm not sure if it's because of the asshole story or because he can't talk sports with me.

I'll have the game on in the background tonight and be pulling for the 49'ers because of some asshole in Baltimore.  Beth will be here for our weekly family dinner night.  We will not discuss the elephant in the room.  We both know it will lead to rage in her and end in nothing but tears for me.

She dates boys who watch sports and play poker and would love nothing more than for her to fetch them a damn beer and a snack from time to time.  Which pisses her off.

I am dating no one.  And when I do date someone, it's often been someone who could give a shit about sports.  Would rather listen to my neurotic playlists than watch a game.  Which pisses me off.

I love to fetch beers and snacks.  I love to make sandwiches.  I love to show up pretty at the beginning of the game in front of his buddies with a pot full of chili and a fridge full of beer and bowls full of chips and dips.  I love when any one of them yells for me from the other room to get him another.  I love sashaying through the room to pick up trash.  I love showing up at halftime, doing a little dance, and leaving the room.  And if he doesn't have his buddies over for the game . . . he gets quite a 'dance' at halftime.  Just enough to relax him for the second half, but not enough to make him pass out.  Just enough to rebuild his appetite and make him thirsty for more.  Beer.  And snacks.

I love sports.

true story.

Edie B. Kuhl

February 2, 2013

We Both Know How It Ends

Dear Tom Selleck . . .

I saw you on TV last night.  Twice.  I tried not to watch, but was only able to skip over your first appearance.  I couldn't ignore you the second time you swaggered into my living room late last night.

I'm writing a storybook and am almost done with the first draft of my first story!  I have not written the ending.  Even though I know how it ends.  I.  Just.  Cannot.  Write it out loud.  Just can't.  I can't even say it out loud to my BFF, Beth.  Just can't.

But I have said it out loud.  To the universe.  It was a silly little late night double-dog dare.  I didn't really mean it.  Did I?  Or did I?  Dammit.  I hate when I do that.

And then you popped up on my TV last night.  Without your mustache.  Now, I have to write the ending to it.

true story.

Edie B. Kuhl

January 30, 2013

Born Again at the Bar

Dear Tom Selleck . . .

You've heard people say they were called by God to the ministry?  Or called to do just about anything for that matter.  Some would say you were called to be an actor.  I'm not sure who called me . . . but they were calling from the bar.  I was called to be a bartender, Tom!

Seriously.  I'm changing lives one beer at a time.  And in the process, my own life is being transformed.  It's frighteningly beautiful.

Everything I ever wanted to be growing up:  a wife, a mother, a good sister, an even better daughter and granddaughter, a shrink, a teacher, a singer, an actress, a DJ, a dancer, a pastor, a mistress, your friend . . . I can be all of those things at the bar!  Every major I had in college and STILL did not graduate:  psychology, sociology, education, special education, communications, linguistics, sign-language . . . I get to use them all at the bar!

Every person I have ever had a relationship with on any level:  friends, family, lovers, enemies, people in suits, homeless people, religious fanatics, people of other cultures, the mentally ill, the elderly, kids, bikers, jocks, nerds, assholes . . . I can deal with each of them - on MY terms.  Because I've already met and 'handled' them before.  This time, they pay me to handle them.  I love that.

Everything I have ever done and have ever experienced, everything I am doing and am experiencing:  love, heartbreak, adoption, death, sex, moves, travels, Corporate America, food service, retail, parenting, loss, writing, story-telling, building a dream, music, humor . . . I have the opportunity to share it all.  But I also soak it all in.  I never get tired of observing people, of over-analyzing putting together the pieces of their stories, of interacting with them in a very open and honest way - but at arm's reach.  Therein lies the beauty to me.  It's what makes it mutually open and honest.

I love every person I am currently working alongside.  Except one.  And I just love that one in a different kind of way.  In a way that says 'your time is almost up, bitch' kind of way.  I have two bosses I mostly adore and who mostly adore me back.  Each of them in their own special ways.  Sometimes their ways make me cry.  But even when I get pissed off and feel beaten down, I turn to bare my other ass cheek and plead, "Please Sir, may I have another?".  And I mean it.  I beg for it.

Where else could I have so much fun working out?  While getting paid to do it?  While looking cute and acting inappropriately?  And only have to show up twice a week?  In the afternoon.  And get to be home when my night is just beginning?

I thank the beer gods (and craigslist) every day for turning my bar into my pulpit.  And?  My dad hangs out there.

true story.

Edie B. Kuhl

January 27, 2013

A Day in My Life

Dear Tom Selleck . . .

How was your day?  Mine was awefuckingtastic!  And I mean it.  It's not just the 4 shots of espresso talking.  I'll give you the run-down and you can see for yourself.
  • First, I slept until 10:23 am.
  • Then, I read and responded to an email from the sailor.
  • Work asked if I could come in.  I really love my job and I just had to put some money into my hooptie yesterday, but I love my Saturdays off.  Hhhmmm . . . 
  • Mary started to suffocate me with her presence.  (You'll have that from time to time.)
  • I told work I'd be right in, but would need off by 7pm, because I had to be at a Girl Scout slumber party by 9pm, and didn't want to show up smelling like beer.  I'm pretty sure they thought I was full of shit, but were desperate and went with it.
  • I got to go to work at the greatest job in the world and meet some of the coolest people in the world!  Like this couple . . . They're 85 years old.  High school sweethearts.  She has Alzheimer's.  They were the sweetest, most amazing people.  Both of them.  At one point, he took me to the side to tell me about his wife's "condition".  As he spoke, I teared up and said, "now that is true love".  And do you know what this sweet little old man said to me?  "You want to know what love is, honey?  All love is, is a tickling sensation around your asshole."
  • Two guys tipped me $20.
  • And then . . . I got to race home (since my hooptie is fixed!), take a hot shower, don some jeans that my ass is looking great in these days, meet a friend for coffee, and go to a Girl Scout slumber party!  No shit!  I was their rockstar tonight!  They even fed me Subway and made me a kick-ass pie!  A whole pie, Tom!  Just for me!  I am the luckiest girl in the world.
  • After all of that, I saw a shooting star!  Dude.
Want to know what makes my day even better?  Knowing this is just a typical day in my life.  It rocks to be me.

true story.

Edie B. Kuhl

January 4, 2013

Smells Like Dad Spirit

Dear Tom Selleck . . .

My biggest accomplishment today was the long, hot shower I just took.  Sometimes my stories are sad, but they are always true.  I love a good shower.  I fantasize about the showers in Brazil.  Not in a weird way, or is it?

I stayed in extra long, and it was extra hot.  (*tries really hard (damn the word hard) not to giggle and insert a that's what he said last night joke)  When I got out, I started thinking about my dad.  (seriously, no comments from weirdos)

My dad used to take a long, hot shower almost every Friday night.  Or was it Saturday?  Whatever.  The point is, he would stay in there for what seemed like forever when all I wanted to do was eat popcorn, drink Pepsi, and watch TV with him.  Maybe work on the TV Guide Crossword at commercials and plan the rest of our weekend according to the television viewing grid.

But when he came out . . .

Mmmmmmm . . . I can almost smell him.

Dial Soap.  Head and Shoulders Shampoo.  Barbasol Shave Cream.  British Sterling After Shave.  My Dad.

Many times after he showered, I would go right into the hot, damp, steamy bathroom and stay there until he called for me the popcorn was ready and whatever show we were watching was about to come on.

Every once in a while I really do smell him.  It always takes my breath away.  Rather than a time machine, I'd like a warm, steamy room to sit in that always smells like my dad.

true story.

Edie B. Kuhl

January 2, 2013

More or Less and Always on Mondays

Dear Tom Selleck . . .

I'm getting closer to a salary agreement with myself, but my mission statement is still in the works.  In the meantime, I made some notes (on an actual notecard) to carry around with me this year.  It's my list of what I intend to do more or less of.

More:

  • listening
  • writing
  • cleaning
  • piano
  • cooking
  • organization
  • dealing (with shit - NOT drug dealing or card dealing)
  • outdoors
  • fun
  • love
  • reading
  • stretching
  • dancing
  • water
Less:

  • speaking
  • snacking
  • smoking
  • worrying
  • complaining
  • reacting
  • cussing
It may seem less than impressive, but it's a start.

While I sit here snacking, smoking, worrying, and cussing (I clearly stated less) . . . I made a deal with the universe.  When I become a very wealthy woman, I promise to always work my Monday shift at the pub.  Always.  I love it that much.

true story.

Edie B. Kuhl

January 1, 2013

(Pub)lic Relations

Dear Tom Selleck . . .

Shit just got real.  Well, more real anyway.  Funny how that happens when one year transitions into another.  While yesterday was just any other day (1/2 price pint night, like any other Monday at the pub) for me, I joined the majority of the world in reflection of 2012 and in anticipation of what 2013 will bring.

It's been a big year, Tom.  Really big for me.  I lost a few things:  my jeep, my granny, my right ovary, a sailor, and 55 pounds.  I gained a lot of things:  a job, a new jeep, gratitude, direction, purpose, and perspective.  I like the view from here.

As you may recall, I don't make resolutions - I write mission statements.  This year, while I'm working out my mission statement kinks, I'm also trying to set my own salary.  I need to write myself a check I can cash someday.  The problem is the amount.  I'm stuck somewhere between $37,000 and $3.7 billion.

Got any suggestions, Tom?  What is the going rate for celebrities these days?  I'm not 100% sure how I'm going to get famous, but I'm definitely sure I will be.  Soon.  I feel it every time I sign my name.  Like when I sign for my 4-figure (including the cents) paychecks from the pub.  I tell them all I'll be famous someday, to hang onto that signature.  Oddly, I think they believe me.

I also tell them you're coming to visit.  But that, they don't believe.  Fools.  See you around the pub, Tom.  Soon.

true story.

Edie B. Kuhl