Sunday, July 30, 2000

A day with J



Woke up at 7am and did my usual morning ritual of cereal and email checking. I noticed, when down to the last few spoonfuls, that the tiny black nut bits that were mixed into the flakes had legs. Drat, those tiny ants are everywhere -- oh well, more protein I guess. J came and pulled me back to bed twice, before she got up at 8am and started throwing clothes on (she asks me to wear jeans, but I say "no" because it's going to be too hot -- she pulls hers on because they're new). She has just started a new job at a jewelry store, making decent money, and at the same time has lost the use of the car she was using -- so I've been playing chauffeur and helping her look for a car. I had noticed that a used car dealer (I know I know, I hate used car lots... but this was weird) in town was having a bizarre sale. J and I were supposed to pick up Ignat, her ummm coworker and new buddy, and go down to check it out then go to the beach because J promised Ignat she'd take him to the beach.

On the way into Makawao to get Ignat, I glance at a garage sale and see a telescope on the lawn -- I comment on wanting to check it out. Ignat's house is kind of dark and run down, and he's hanging out with his friend, and probably working out his issues about his girlfriend, who's been taking advantage of him and running around with other men, as J describes it. (I can totally empathize with the guy, since J has been spending a lot of time with him instead of me lately. heh. And I like him, he's mellow and decent, if not particularly interesting.) I call "driver" (I want that telescope) and the three of us pile into my truck. J doesn't want to stop of course, but I pull in to the garage sale, pay the dude $40 to buy the scope, and ask him to hold it for me.

We get down to the used car sale and wander around the lot for an hour looking at the cars. They're all marked at about three times their worth. The deal is, at 10am everyone is supposed to line up across the street then run across and get into the driver's seat of the car they want -- then the sales dude/emcee comes around and marks the car down (one car down to $88, but most to about half their listed price) and the person in the driver's seat gets first dibs at that price. I didn't see any cars I actually liked myself, so I just picked one of the four junkers to see if I'd get the $88 deal. J, though, had gotten it into her head that she wanted an Isuzu Rodeo that was listed at $11999 (all the car prices ended in "99"). I didn't think the car was worth more than 5K, and told her this, but she wanted it. There was a local kid cruising around the same car though -- we could tell he wanted it. I watched J talk at me for him about how the car was kind of beat up and not worth it, I agreed -- but honestly. But she wanted it. I told her it was too much, and I wouldn't pay for it, and I should have just let the local kid beat her to the wheel. But no, my sense of mischief always wins out. I told J that local boy was going to beat her to the car (she was in jeans, and complained about being too hot), so she should lock the driver's side doors. This way she would get to the car a few seconds later than track star, but go directly to the passenger door and hop in. Heh.

So at 10:15am everyone lines up across the street. I'm on one end, lined up in front of my $88 Toyota, and J is 100ft away, in front of her Isuzu, with the kid with a tank top and $100 running shoes hopping up and down right next to her. Heh.

"Go!" And they're off. J and local boy are neck and neck, but he edges her out and she bangs into one of the other cars and falls behind. Sure enough, she gets to the Isuzu and goes towards the passenger side just as track star is wondering why the fucking door won't open. J hops in and scoots into the driver's seat. Oh, man, that poor, angry little man. He was paying right there for the malicious glee I felt at helping whip his fast, smug little butt. He started cursing and jumping up and down, screaming about the cheating haole girl.

The dealer/emcee dude came over and was very dismayed. He was siding with local boy because J had cheated, but she had done it by the rules -- just using a sneaky trick. But the car only got marked down to $9K, so I figured "no way" right there anyway. I didn't want to embarrass J by backing down though, so I waited until the dealership sent us in to do the paperwork (it was now a race to see which of us would fill out the paperwork faster and get the car!), and told her then that it was too much for that car and I wouldn't loan her the money for it. J was pissed. Besides, it was a dirty trick that got it anyway -- but really I just didn't think the car was worth it. So we let the sales dude show us other cars (my piece of junk wasn't the $88 dollar car after all -- that price went to a Mustang that I had assumed was one of those safety displays against drunk driving) then we had some free hot dogs and left to terrorize the next dealership.

Ignat had his eye on a '89 Nissan Pathfinder that was in cherry condition, babied by its previous owner. The sales dude (looked like one of the Beach Boys (the way they look now)) took us to the Nissan and drove us all out to test drive it. While stopped for a light on a four lane road, a dude coming the other way stopped and wanted to make a left turn in front of us. Sales dude backed up a little, waved OK, and this guy pulled through. Wham! A white truck doing about 25 in the lane next to us smashed right into him. Broken glass and twisted metal -- but the drivers looked dazed but unhurt; right at that stage in a car accident when they've just confirmed they're still alive, then in working order, then that they're happy to be alive, but right before they get out of they're cars and start yelling at each other. The light turned green and sales dude slowly pulled away. I suggested we help mediate, since we were so close (3ft!), but I guess they were OK and what had happened was obvious.

Then sales dude started pontificating how these things that happen are always for the best. (OH brother, just what I need, a proselytizing used car salesman -- I think I'd rather have been in the car accident) Then, since J had told him I was a physicist, he starts linking that in with quantum mechanics (shoot me now, please). Just because I want to get to the heart of it, and am compelled by the same urge that draws human attention to any gruesome malignancy, I ask him what he's experienced that makes him think that. He parks the car, to hand the wheel over to Ignat, and pours his heart out about how his son was born in the hospital and given up for dead by the doctors, and how he came in and shouted at his son ("Come on guy, you can make it!!!") and brought him back to life. Damn, it was a beautiful story. Magnificent. Maybe if I ever experience anything like that, I'll lose my mind too. After sales dude had poured his heart out to us, Ignat took the spiffy Pathfinder onto a cane road and tried to trash it. With dirt sheeting off the car and branches scraping the side, we suggested that maybe he should go back to the highway before he damaged the nice car more. So he took it back, and J took the wheel. She got it up to about 80 and checked out how it cornered. Then, we got back to the dealership. Well, we were on the four lane road in front of the dealership. About to make the left. There was a very large, white truck coming the other way at about 45. J went for it. We passengers, especially Ignat in the passenger seat of death, all screamed in terror. J realized she wasn't going to make it, and hit the brakes and let the truck go by ahead of us as we sat in mid lane. Then we pulled into the dealership. I think everyone just about kissed the ground. J was wondering what the fuss was about.

J and Ignat went in to talk to sales dude, and J sent me to buy her a Mr.Misty from D.Q. I was there for half an hour in an excruciatingly slow line. You wouldn't think that any line, for anything, with five people in it would take half an hour, but this is Maui. There was an elderly woman in line behind me -- I really didn't think she was going to make it to see the front of the line. I ordered a Mr.Misty float. After five minutes, the friendly large woman handed me a Mr.Misty freeze. I said I was sorry, but I ordered a float. "OK, so sorry" -- she gave me a float in ten seconds, and said she was full so I could take 'em both.

I got back to the dealership and the sales dude was about to cry. He was locked in a room with Ignat and J. His nerves were shot. He'd been 3ft from an accident he helped cause, poured his closest story out, had Ignat drive his nice, clean, babied Pathfinder through a cane field, nearly lost his life to J's left turn -- and now he was choking up as he was doing his best to act NICE and sell the car to these fucking people and make a little commission to pay his mortgage payment and for his son's allowance so his son can go spend it getting high with his friends, and Ignat was giving him the run around about the price of the car. I walked in and gave J the Mr.Misty. She said she wanted a Mr.Misty slushy, not a freeze. I handed her the float and suggested she just leave the ice cream, suck down the slushy part, and call it a win. I looked at the price on the table and said it was probably a little too high and I'd want to think about it. Poor sales dude. No sale for him today. But not to worry little sky pilot, I'm sure that it's not just an unfortunate accident that these people came into your life to terrorize you, I'm sure it was for some beneficial reason that will surely enrich you. J said the ice cream in her float was sour.

Ignat drove us to the bank to look at Blue Book prices for Nissans, and he wanted to check out a Honda Prelude he spotted at another dealership. I dropped J and Ignat off (I just couldn't bare another dealership) and went to look at a kite surfing shop. The kite's were a disappointment, but I noticed another windsurfing shop having a huge sale, so I checked that out. The place was packed with about every surfer on the island. I asked a guy about one of the beaten up mast extensions, as mine is hell to use, and he gave it to me for free! Yippee!

I went back to meet J and Ignat at the dealership. They pulled in with the Prelude shortly after me. It was overheating a bit, with the temp up towards the high side. Ignat had run it up over 100 to see if it would survive, and it wasn't feeling so well. He wanted to watch it idle though. ("Come on guy, you can make it!!!" I thought to myself.) J loaned Ignat all the money from her first paycheck so Ignat could have the cash for the car. I pointed out that it was somewhat ironic that I was loaning J money, which was causing her to feel some distress, and that she was loaning all her money to Ignat. (Maybe some day I will stop giving people the benefit of the doubt and realize that they really are just as obvious as they appear) My humor on this issue was not appreciated. Ignat bought the car. Time to go to the beach. J said she didn't have a bathing suit. I suggest we go to the big sale I was at and get her a suit. She says she doesn't have any money. (Ha!) I tell her I'll buy her a bathing suit, since I feel bad she was disappointed about the Isuzu. We're off.

J and I wade through the crowd and we pick out a suit. I check out a new pair of Maui Jim sunglasses. I persuade her that, no, her butt is not too big (it isn't, actually) and that the suit looks good on her. She wants the medium top and large bottoms, so she switches them. We go to the counter and they ring up the suit and glasses. But they tell me that the suit can't be switched: has to be both medium or both large. So I get J, and she goes and grabs the large top (fits better anyway). They start ringing us up again, but the results of the raffle are being read by a ten year old boy. (J wanted me to put my ticket in the "Surf" bucket, since she wanted the boogie board prize, but the "Windsurf" bucket had fewer tickets in it so I put mine in there.) The kid horribly mispronounces my name, so it takes me a few seconds to scream "Woohoo!" when I win second prize. Hey, a nice pair of snowboard goggles. Cool. Hey, I'm on a tropical island, I'm winning snowboard goggles, OK, I'll go with it. And I won a $100 pair of sunglasses. Heh. The sales lady tells me she knew I was going to win the glasses. Who am I to argue. J wants the glasses. Hrmph, oh what the heck, OK. So I sign the tab for the glasses and suit and we leave with a bonus pair for J and snow goggles for my much anticipated return to the glorious white stuff.

J wants to go the beach in Ignat's car. :( J and I continue our discussion about how painful it is for her that I'm not in love with her and how much she loves me. And that of course she doesn't have any interest in Ignat, even if he does have a crush on her. Mostly I'm just sad. I don't doubt that she means it -- she's very truthful in her own way -- but there's a big difference for me between believing what she means, which I do completely, and believing what she says to be an accurate portrayal of reality. It kills her that this difference exists for me, but there it is -- and it may be the main reason I won't let myself fall in love with her. Or it could be other reasons, I don't know.

The rest of the day was similar, but not so eventful. J went home with Ignat from the beach. I swung by and picked up the telescope. I drove and picked J up later that night when she called me from a party. J mentioned the sunglasses were too small for her head (-- Hey! I should give them to someone as a birthday present.) Then J and I continued breaking up, and she slept in the other bed to get used to the idea. Sad. I like her. She's fun and all. But I don't know what she's doing with me, since I'm honest with her and she wants a boy who will lie to her, either that or a boy who will make her world his reality. And that reality isn't mine.

Heh. J just called on the phone -- she drove to Hana for fun with Ignat instead of coming back to do something fun with me this afternoon like I suggested. That's reality. I'm not so sad really, just back to being a little more lonely than I am when I'm with her -- and a little less sad than I was before I met her. And J has been sad too, in her dramatic way, but seems happy with the new boy, who's probably good for her. Bah, life. There's a hurricane coming, well OK, tropical storm Daniel, so things should get interesting -- I'm going windsurfing; test out that new mast extension.

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