I get a lot of blog post ideas while riding my bike. It’s as if my mind works more clearly while zooming around on two wheels. But, when I walk, more random thoughts enter my mind. I just got home from walking my bike back to the house after getting a flat tire on my way down to downtown Denver for Pride.
It happened about 1 1/4 miles out from the house. I didn’t have an extra tube. And I didn’t have enough time to spend time at Pride, find a tube and get it fixed before going to work tonight. So, I had to head back to the house. On the walk back, which took about 30 minutes, I was wondering why I was even going to Pride. I’m not exactly gay. When it comes to sexual orientation I’m more assexual than anything. And although I might see friends while down there, I wasn’t going with plans to meet anybody. So, I would have just been walking around by myself. I worked a 12 hour shift last night. I didn’t get home until 2:15am. What I really just wanted to do was make myself some scrambled eggs and toast. And read the paper. Just a lazy Sunday. Well, that is until I have to go to work.
I started thinking about something that happened a long time ago, where I felt like I just had to get away. I was in the Navy. I had just moved up to Maine to get the ship ready for departure from the shipyard in Bath. I was an undesignated seaman and I hadn’t figured out what job I wanted to do. Once you decide on a job, you start a process called “striking out”. You are granted some time away from your normal duties to do on the job training with a mentor who helps you study for the advancement test you are going to have to take if your going to do that job. I’d like to think I’m pretty smart. And I think others can see that. I don’t know what triggered it. But, one day one of my two bosses (the fact that I had two bosses is really another blog post altogether) tagged along with me as we left the ship for the day. It was one of the most uncomfortable conversations of my life. I was looking forward to just walking by myself after a long day. But, here was my divisional first class trying to persuade me to become a boatswain’s mate. I hadn’t given it much thought. But, I knew when I first met the man, that I didn’t like him. I had already spent time working with my other boss and liked his style of work. This guy came across as slimy. After that afternoon stroll, I started feeling the pressure from both sides. I felt like a puppet being pulled in two different directions. I have no idea why me. There were plenty of other guys that were good candidates. Somehow, I ended up in the middle of a power struggle. I needed to get away.
I awoke one Sunday and decided I would go out for breakfast. I just had to get off the ship. There was a larger town next to Bath called Brunswick. But, since it had a rather large naval air base headquartered there, I thought that that might be to close. So, instead I decided I would catch a cab to Portland. Well, $60 later I was getting out of a cab in front of an old A-frame IHOP. I was shocked at how far Portland was and how much I had to pay to get there. But, I thought at the time that it was worth it. After all, I didn’t have any expenses back then. So, $60 seemed like a small investment in my sanity. On my way in, I grabbed a Sunday paper, was seated by a young hostess by a window and ordered french toast and a glass of orange juice. Ahhhh. Finally. For the first time in nearly 3 months, I felt normal. Well, it lasted a grand total of 10 minutes.
When your in the Navy and you work in Maine, one of the first things that your warned about are the local girls. Like any kid in a small town, you feel like you need to get out of there. We were warned that a lot of young women might try to get hooked up with a young military man as a way of escaping Bath, Maine. You’d hear horror stories about guys having one night flings with a local girl and then she would claim that she was pregnant. Well, being the asexual person that I am, I didn’t see that as a problem. Just an annoyance. I remember walking with coworkers to lunch one day. Two girls across the street were looking at us. When we didn’t pay as much attention to them as they wanted, they flipped us off and called us assholes. I can only speak for me. But, I think the reason my coworkers weren’t interested was because they looked like they were minors.
Portland is a major city in relation to the rest of Maine. I’m sure people there come across all sorts. Thinking back, it was probably my haircut that made me stand out. Before I knew it, I was being visited at my table by a lady who turned out to be the mother of my waitress. She asked me a couple of key questions, then went on and on about how I should date her daughter. I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say. I just kept nodding and agreeing that she looked like a nice, beautiful young woman. But, I had no intention of taking her out for a date. But, that wasn’t the end of it. The cook himself brought me my food. Turned out to be the young ladies’ father. By this time, it was clear that this wasn’t a corporate owned IHOP. He too, went on and on about the virtues of his young daughter. I felt really embarrassed for the young lady. He even brought her back to my table to introduce her to me.
I can see it now. “How did you two meet?”
“Well, her parents arranged our first date while I ate french toast at their restaurant.”
I couldn’t wait to get out of there. It wasn’t exactly the lazy Sunday I pictured.
Now, excuse me. I have to interrupt this lazy Sunday to go let a barking dog in. Then I have to fix my bike. And then it’s off to work. Sigh.