by: Dennis R. Humphreys
The importance of certain things become less so many times as we get older. A few things become more so when we were younger. I guess it's because we become wiser with age and supposedly that makes decisions easier. The problem is, wisdom reflects an accumulation of information we obtain through experience over time with more information that gives us more options. That to me represents a condition for hesitancy and the inability to make decisions even though the decision should be a sounder one.
Sometimes decisions are hard to make and even harder to stand by. The people around you are instrumental in you making the right decision though they may not be aware of their influence. E Those that are aware of their influence and try to use it to their advantage should restrain from doing so and frankly be told to fuck off. It's your decision and you have to live by it. They don't.
I was eighteen and just graduated from high school. I worked on getting a really good job at a large grocery store, part time. It would be enough to pay for college in those days. I worked incessantly on the manager for a year to land the job late in the spring of that year. If I didn't get a job to pay for college, I didn't go to college. If I didn't go to college, well, I was a low number for the Viet Nam War draft. It was extremely important to me when I was hired.
Two weeks after beginning my job the union started pushing to strike for greater benefits. Now as a part time employee I still had to join the union and pay union dues but I received no benefits and no consideration. Now I was threatened with the same view as before I got the job. Then there was this girl that shopped once a week with her mother there and they always, at her insistence, came to my register to check out. She was beautiful in an exotic way. Her father was German and her mother was Mexican, and I found out later as Miss New Mexico had been the runner up in the Miss America Contest some years before.
They were holding a big meeting the week I approached her and I wasn't on the register that Saturday but I was filling the dairy with milk when she came up next to me. I said 'hi' and we exchanged niceties. Then I told her we might be striking and with the circumstances I might never see her again and I wanted to. She immediately told me her name and gave me her phone number.
Midweek after that Saturday, I went to a mass meeting headed by the local Chairman of the Democratic National Committee and the head of the local union at as major university where about two thousand union members showed up. It was basically a rah rah meeting to stir support for the strike. Several of my fellow workers and myself carpooled to go there. We took our places in the front directly in front of the podium where the two men spoke. After a while I raised my hand and explained my situation. It was too late in the season to get a good job like this one to pay for college, I explained that without this job I'd be drafted and heading to Viet Nam. I didn't want to go there. Since I was paying union dues without any of the benefits. I didn't have a lot of choices. The chairman of the DNC asked me what I was going to do and I told him I had no other choice then to ignore the picket line and go to work. The man came right out and told me, ' We'll see how well you can cross the picket line with two fucking broken legs ' . Everyone cheered as I got more pissed with that answer but i waited until the din subsided and spoke up.
“Wow, I'm really impressed that a grown man in a seemingly important position threatens a seventeen-year-old. My parents were lifelong democrats but I'll tell you one thing you're an asshole and I will never vote democrat,” I told him to what ended up to be two thousand people jeering and shouting at me. I turned around and openly gave everyone the finger which made it worse.
The people I came with suggested we leave immediately as I was inciting a riot so we left. That week, luckily, they voted not to strike, so I still had my job, my path to college, and Teri's phone number. I had every reason to celebrate so I called her and asked her out that Saturday. She told me she had been awaiting my call.
I took her to a play at the University of Maryland, the college I was starting at in a couple of months. After the play we went back to my car, which was a hand me down white Nova from two sisters. It had seen better days but was functional. I jumped he when I got in my side of the car and she was a willing participant in a lot of touchy-feely stuff and a lot of passionate kissing.
After wiping the windows down so I could see, I told her I wanted to take her someplace that had a pretty night time view which I did. It happened to be on a small hill overlooking the town and a graveyard. I spread a blanket to lie on and I don't think we ever bothered with the view. Luckily her father thought it was funny when she came to the breakfast table in the morning, wearing a turtle neck sweater with thirteen hickies on her neck. I wasn't trying to establish a record or anything like it but the passion of a teenager is hard to corral.
We began seeing each other every week and occasionally during the week I'd sneak time in to pick her up from school and drive her home rather than take the bus which she normally did. Teri was a year younger than myself and in the last year of high school. She only lived five miles from me and while my mother set limits on me seeing someone and had already formed an opinion, she didn't like Teri, it was an advantageous thing and easy to keep mom in the dark.
Teri was as hot as they came besides being sexy and beautiful. I was blinded by that. I stood my ground with my mother who from day one wanted me to break up with her. My mother was severe bipolar and being so was as illogical as they come. If you fought her on anything and showed her the illogic of a situation, she only became more embedded in her opinion. I told her again and again she wasn't going to tell me who to date and who not too.
Finally, I guess she figured I was too stubborn to get anywhere with she made an attempt to be nice. She offered to cook dinner and have Teri over. She invited my older sister and her husband who is Puerto Rican, over for diner figuring, I guess, having two Hispanics over at the same time would show how politically correct she was...and noble.
I invited Teri over with implicit instructions to dress conservatively at a time when outfits were a little out there and Teri had a tendency to be out there too. I told her mother was impressionable and very opinionated. Please don't put me in the middle. I went to pick Teri up and she said she'd meet me outside in front of her house. As I came down the street, there she was in a bright orange micro mini dress I swear was two inches long. The neck line was a plunging one that showed off her ample breasts and sunk halfway to her navel. She was wearing black stockings with a garter belt very visible with the short skirt. She was ahead of her times fashion wise. I about took gas. This was conservative? I could see my mother's face now and it certainly wasn't poker faced. When she didn't like something, she acted as though she was going to puke and smelled something bad all at one time. I didn't want to say anything and start a fight. I realized by now Teri had a temper. She would misunderstand something and throw whatever was in her hand. I wasn't looking forward to dinner.
When we got to my house and I introduced her to my parents, mom looked like she was going to puke and smelled something bad. My dad on the other hand was beside himself. My brother in law's eyes almost popped out of their sockets and he almost immediately began speaking Spanish to her. I didn't speak a word of Spanish except 'si' so he may have been commenting on what a fine ass she had which was pretty much in your face when she sat on the sofa. I dreaded later coming home after taking Teri back to her home. It was the nightmare dinner from hell.
The next few days consisted of fighting with my mother. As I knew it would, Teri's attire contributed almost exclusively to the fire.
“She looked like a damn whore,” mom said.
“I thought she was beautiful,” my father countered adding more fuel to the fire. I stood my ground for the next two weeks of fighting, mom insisting I break up with her. Once again, I dug my heels in and told her to get off my back, I'd date who I wanted, she wasn't the one dating her. She wasn't about to tell me who I was going to date or not to date. I asked her, 'would you like to tell me who to marry? Oh, what movie should I see? Tell me, should I brush my teeth up and down or sideways? She finally got the hint and relented figuring I was digging in as much as she could and her complaining was just making me defend Teri more.
It was becoming more obvious as time went on Teri had a really bad temper. Spanish was her secondary language and she was as smart as a whip...straight 'A's all through school, head of a couple different clubs, honor society and more. However, she misunderstood things you wouldn't believe. I finally came to the conclusion she did it on purpose to fight. And whenever she started the fight, the first she did was throw whatever she had in her hand at me.
It had gotten to the point I wanted to break up with her. I found her annoying and as illogical at time as my mother. It was a terrible trade off. The problem was if I broke up with her my mother would view it as a win for her and that she was instrumental in bringing me to my senses. I ended up not breaking up with Teri to keep my mother from that misunderstanding.
The final straw was one Saturday when Teri and planned on spending the day together. At lunch I took her to a nice restaurant. We at a nice lunch and having finished, we sat talking drinking glasses of soda. Suddenly as I'm talking, I get a look from her I saw several times before and knew what was coming. She threw her full glass of coke at me and I ducked. It ended up hitting the waiter at the next table, breaking, and soaking him with the soft drink. I was furious but apologized to those around me for her behavior.
After lunch we headed over to the other side of town near where her best friend lived. I was very quiet and she commented on it.
“You're very quiet. Are you mad it me?” she asked.
“Hell, yes I'm mad at you. You have to ask? I don't like getting things thrown at me especially when you're the one who seems to misinterpret things. For a smart woman you are fucking stupid,” I unloaded on her and deservedly so.
“I guess you want to break up with me then?” she asked not realizing what my answer would be. She was a good piece of ass but not that good. Nothing's that good.
She looked at me and I saw that look again. This time she didn't have anything to throw but she did start throwing belligerent verbiage. I shut my ears off to as I slammed on my brakes in the middle of a bridge we were crossing. I about put her through the car window.
“Get out...get out of the fucking car. You can walk from here. Anne lives less than a mile from here. You can walk there and have her take you home. I am not putting up with childish bullshit anymore,” I told her as I reached over her and opened the car door. I even gave a shove to her ass to help her out. I pulled the door shut.
“God, that felt good,” I said to myself as I drove off. I looked in my rearview mirror at her standing in the middle of the bridge, watching me as I put all the distance I could between the both of us.