Bye Bye 2008

A woman in my luxury apartment complex walks her dog every night at the same time. I know her. She is crazy. Certifiable. Insane.

My day-at-a-time boy would tell you I am insane, but I would tell you it is not the same type of insanity. The woman in my complex is very alone. She is bitter because of this, and she is rarely civil to anyone. I am nice to everyone. I am what you get, when you get to know me, and I let everyone know me pretty quick. Down here in Fort La La La Land, it is a huge mistake to put all of yourself out there so soon, so obviously. Pretty soon–with lightning speed, in fact–all that you willingly put out there will be thrown back at you, and you will be left being nothing short of a fool.

The lady in my complex, however, being insane, is simply ignored. Maybe she is onto something.

I am moving away tomorrow. I am gone from here tomorrow. I am starting over, yet again, tomorrow. Yes, I am terrified. No, I am not brave. I just am. Crazy.

Thankfully, all of the awful stuff of 2008 continued right up till the end of 2008, but it stopped just short of 2009. Thus far, I am happy to report, 2009 has been a banner year of no drama. So maybe I won’t be crazy in 2009. Who knows?

I have no idea when I will be able to post again, given Comcast’s sterling record of never getting it right the first 20 times when I move. It could be weeks. I hope not. But just in case, let me share with you my final moments of 2008. They were, well, quite remarkable.

Against my gut, I agreed to meet the Man for drinks at the beach bar. And all was good until I drank three drinks on an empty stomach, then smoked weed for the first time since college, and got completely trashed. (Yeah, just say no, folks.)

When a shadowy voice appeared at my side saying, “Now there’s a girl I need to kiss on New Years Eve,” I had no ability to connect the voice with a face, or with a person. In fact, in my giggly weeded daze, I thought it was my day-at-a-time boy, and I was, for a brief moment, lulled into contentment, because I stupidly still care very much for him.

It was a sweet kiss square on my mouth. It felt familiar, and yet not. And when I opened my eyes, and the blur crystalized into focus, I realized who it was.

“Oh my God, you?” I laughed, because I was so stoned. Yep, my boy from back in May–the Accidental Wedding boy. He always was a great kisser. Nothing about that has changed.

“Hey, my daughter is here and I want you to meet her before you get too trashed,” he said, even as I lost his face in a blur of alcohol and smoke.

“Oh, I guess you are already trashed,” he laughed. And that was the last I saw of my Accidental Wedding boy. His kiss, as it would turn out, would be the highlight of my 2008 New Year’s Eve. Uh huh.

The next highlight of the final moments of 2008 was the feeling of soaking wet bev naps being shoved into my mouth and all over my face. “If you think I am going to kiss you at midnight after the way you kissed that piece of shit, you are mistaken,” the Man said, as so many looked on, aghast. As so many looked on, while he did it a second time, with a rougher gesture, and as I died so many deaths of humility.

Somehow, I got home a mile down the road. Somehow, I shoved on Roultetta’s collar and clicked her leash to it. Somehow, I walked across the street to my dive bar, very carefully checking for my day-at-a-time boy’s car, which I did not see. It was ten minutes before midnight.

I’ll go in and wish the nice owner a happy new year, I thought, and then I won’t be alone when the year moves forward. If I am not alone, I thought, I won’t be as pathetic as the crazy dog-walking lady in my apartment building. Because, despite what the day-at-a-time boy for whom I still care so much thinks, I am not so crazy. I just wanted to know where I stood with him, in all his silence. And that made me crazy in his eyes, and then it made us over. Done.

I saw him right away as I stood in the doorway of my dive bar, Rouletta pulled tight beside me. He was dressed nicer than I had ever seen him–a yellow South Florida shirt over nice pants, a plastic yellow lei around his neck.

I jumped in a physically startled way from my doorway vantage point when I saw him sitting at the bar with a beautiful young girl. He saw me right away. He mouthed words I could not hear, much less understand. What? I shrugged. “Do not come in here,” he mouthed again, and yet I still couldn’t believe he was there, much less telling me with an angry scowl to go away. “Get out of here. Do not come in here,” he mouthed, one careful word after another.

And I was gone then, per his instruction, the air also gone from my lungs, my stomach, my brain. Wow. Just like that–hatred. Pure, no-questions-asked hatred. Wow. Wow. Wow. But I thought he…. Yeah, I so thought wrong. All along. Along and along and along.

“He’s a douche,” commented Upset Waitress as we drank mimosas at 9 a.m. this morning. “Always was,” she laughed.

“But he said he wanted to live with me here,” I told her, lighting a cigarette I am supposed to be quitting. “He told me…”

“He’s just a dude, a hair on the ass of an ass. He’s nothing,” she said, no longer laughing.

Shit, really? Just another Accidental Wedding Boy? Just another player? Duh, of course. Just another. Which I already knew. I just hated to hear it from someone who would have known better so many weeks before I did.

“Hey, did you hear?” Upset Waitress asked, changing the subject. “One of the oldest inns down here burned down last night. It’s still burning today!” she smiled.

Really? That B&B? The one at which I spent a first magical weekend with the day-at-a-time boy, the first boy I let myself believe and really fall for? That B&B?

“No shit!” I laughed. “How perfect.”

Because it burned to bits right before the toughest, most difficult, most eye-opening year of my life ended. Perfect, indeed. Out of the ashes, ashes to ashes, and all that, right? Nah, it’s just nice to have the only Keys memory of my day-at-a-time boy literally gone for good. It allows for a clean start, at least in my mind.

Which likely makes me crazy for thinking so. Call me crazy, then, because I am never looking back on 2008 again. Except, of course, when I need to be reminded of how crazy I never want to feel again. Never, ever, again.

My New Years resolution? To learn to carry a tray. To learn to carry a tray and not drop anything on guests. To learn how to balance a damn tray and not give a crap about anything else until I do. Yeah, who’s crazy now?

Happy New Year!







20 responses to “Bye Bye 2008”

  1. María José Avatar
    María José

    I almost refuse to believe thats true. how can anyone be so rude? how can EVERYONE be so rude?
    i really really respect you for being so open and honest about your life with yourself, and with us. I’ve learned so much form-with- you this year. And i wish you the year you’ve worked for. the one you deserve. The simple, happy, drama free year.

  2. Laurie Avatar

    Wow RG…. I’m so sorry. Men can be idiots. The ones you are talking about here obviously are. Looks like you found out he was a jerk before you wasted too much time on him. There are plenty more fish in the sea. Enjoy your life and you’ll find the right person at the right time. Best way is to stop looking and just start living.

    Good luck and better wishes for a happier 2009.

  3. Restaurant Gal Avatar
    Restaurant Gal

    Maria Jose–I know, it’s very hard to believe. But believe it. That’s SoFla for ya. Moving to the Keys is like moving to the country in these parts. Here’s to hoping…. Happy New Year to you!

    Laurie–Um, not even a chance on this planet I am looking for a guy during the next, say, 253 years. I do indeed plan to just start living. Thank you and happy 2009 to you, too.

  4. Jaz Avatar

    I’m with Maria Jose & Laurie – just wow. So the Man is an even bigger jerk (or at least equivalent) to the boy. At least you knew in your gut that he wasn’t “it”, but who knew he was abusive… But now, you’re leavin’ ’em all behind like so much crap on your shoe – neither of them deserve more consideration than the concentration required to scrape. Good riddance and happy 2009!

  5. Kim Ayres Avatar

    Hapy New Year! And I hope you get your new internet connection sorted out soon 🙂

  6. JoeInVegas Avatar

    OH, sorry you had to meet some of the bad ones. Better luck with fun further south. Hook up soon please so we can keep reading.

  7. Suz Avatar

    Bravo to you, oh brave one. Carry on!

  8. gabrielle Avatar

    I follow your blog, and I love your writing style.
    But I cannot write as your other commenters here. I’m sorry RG, but after reading this particular post about the boy and the man, the liquor and weed on an empty stomach, I want to shake you , go all ‘mother’ on you and tell you to snap out of it!
    Alternatively, I want to ask you to just STOP IT. (Include rant from MadTV’s Bob Newhart psychiatrist sketch. you can find it on youtube, I’m sure.)
    You’re off to a new life. Maybe lay off the booze, weed , cigarettes and men indefinitly. And anytime you feel the urge, just slap your own wrist and scream STOP IT!.

  9. Michelle Avatar

    At least you are learning as you go.
    The Inn burning is totally symbolic.
    So what’s up with the pot smoking?
    No matter how hard you try you just can’t go back in time to the college years.

  10. Restaurant Gal Avatar

    Jaz: all in the past now. Happy 2009 to you, too.

    Kim: I am commenting via my iPhone as I wait for the cable guy–2 hours after the three hour window during which he was supposed to be here.

    JoeinVegas: Guess the bad ones happen, a little to often in my world, but maybe not so much in my new place. Much more writing to come, I promise.

    Suz: hardly feeling brave, just a bit beat up and humiliated. Oh, and a tad stupid. Carry on? Absolutely.

    Gabrielle: no need for an intervention! It was a shifty new years eve, okay? That’s all, and all done.

    Michelle: weird about the inn, yes! As for the other, first and last time in decades. Done and done and not so fun.

  11. Restaurant Gal Avatar
    Restaurant Gal

    gabrielle: I meant it was a SHITTY new years eve. Love the iPhone auto correct!

  12. jenni Avatar

    LOL shifty 🙂

    Over and done – forward you go! Here’s to 2009 and and not giving a crap until you do!

    🙂 and no matter how often you say toy aren’t brave- I still say you are- being honest and open and what ya see is what ya get is brave. Making a change is also brave- and moving forward- brave and a darn good idea too!! 🙂

    Oh – and using comcast— well that is either brave or insane!

  13. Real Estate Feast--South Florida real estate blog Avatar

    I look forward to your continuing posts when you are able. Sounds like you have put a lot of bad stuff behind. And I thought “shifty” was a perfect comment.

  14. namaste Avatar

    wow and double wow. if only i had the guts to write the way you do. best of luck with your move, RG. one day, i swear it, we’re on for drinks in the keys. in the meantime, a big hug and a happy year to you. –namaste.

  15. Restaurant Gal Avatar
    Restaurant Gal

    jenni–Ha, shifty is another perfect adjective. Comcast and i have parted ways. I think I am going Direct TV. Brave or clueless–we shall see….

    Real Estate Feast–Yeah, iPhone knew best how to put it 🙂 Cross your fingers my wireless holds up.

    Namaste–You have guts because you write the way you do, fellow writer. As for drinks, sooner than later is good with me! Happy 2009 to you, and to all of us.

  16. savannah Avatar

    i can’t wait until i can get down to the keys, sugar! happy new year! 😉 xoxox

  17. Lex Avatar

    Actually, I think learning to balance a tray is a beautiful metaphor and a wonderful goal. Good luck with it. And my this year bring you the happiness and peace you deserve, Beautiful Lady!

  18. mikepete Avatar

    It will surprise you how fast you can leave mainland Florida and 2008 behind!! It’s all good in the end.

  19. Lorraine Avatar

    RG, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a great 2009 for you. I’m running back home to Calfornia for a week , but I’m afraid that my ocean isn’t nearly as nice or warm as yours looks. Hugs to you!!

  20. Queen of Clean Avatar

    Hey RG I think you have to move on in life, I have lost count how many places I have lived.

    Your ‘doorstep’ is worth moving for, good luck in 2009!! xx