Tuesday, June 08, 2010

mingus and the drifter

My apartment has a nice little corral/balcony sort of deal that I'll one day put a fancy set of porch furniture in so pals and I can drink beers and stare at the houses across the street. For now, it just holds a few things that I brought from NY that have no place in my current apartment. And a plant that I always forget to water (which is why I don't have kids). I was just out there for a minute, when I heard an enthusiastic meow. I jumped a little, because the cats that live in my building are not this vocal. There are two that come from across the way, Charlie and Tango. And then there is a fatter black one that hangs around, though I don't know who he belongs to.

When I turned to see which cat it was, I was greeted by a larger adult long-haired gray and white cat with the cutest little face. I said to the cat "Woah. Who are you? Where do you come from?" He responded with a meow. This cat was unlike other wandering cats I usually see. He was super-friendly, had soft hair that was dirty on the white part (though it didn't seem like he was used to being dirty), and he really wanted my attention. Any time I turned away from him or stopped petting him, he put his little paw gently on my leg and mewed. I wished at this moment that I could speak cat, because I'm pretty sure this cat belongs to somebody, but he was wearing no collar and he wasn't telling me what I needed to know in English.

Then, in a little crevice in the floor of my corral, I saw a little black something sticking out. I retrieved it from the crevice, and saw that it was a collar and ID tag. Oh glorious day, I thought. Let's save this cat. I checked out the collar information. It said "Mingus" and had two phone numbers and an address I was unfamiliar with. Now, I'll admit...because I hate the phone so much and because interactions with strangers make me uncomfortable, I hesitated for a minute about calling these people. I thought, "Oh, they must live nearby, I'm sure he'll wander back." I said to the cat "Are you Mingus?" He did not answer. I looked up the address on my phone, and saw that it was in the Barton Springs area. aka pretty far from where I live in cat-wandering terms. So I called the number.

As the phone rang, I thought about all the different ways I could lead into this. As the phone rang multiple times, I thought about how serious I was about leaving a message. But this cat -- it kept looking at me with it's cute lil eyes and it's sad little mews, so I soldiered on. A lady picked up on the fourth ring.

L: Hello?
Me: Hi...umm...Is this Sydney* or Jamie*?
L: Uh....yes?
Me: Um...do you have a cat...named Mingus?
L: Yes! I do!
Me: Um...is it a gray and white cat?
L: Uh...what do you-- no he's more like black and white.
Me: Hmm...Well, I just found this collar in front of my apartment, and it was next to this gray and white cat...he wasn't wearing it, so I thought I'd give the number a call. He's a longhair cat with a white bottom and a gray top.
L: Hmm...no that's not him. Where are you?
Me: I'm in Hyde Park. I saw that the address on the collar seems pretty far from here, so I didn't know...
L: Yeah, I just moved to Hyde Park from the Barton Springs area. I lost him after I moved. He's been missing for a little while so I'd pretty much given up, but when you called I got so excited. (break my heart)
Me: Ooh...I'm so sorry I got your hopes up.

So I asked her more about Mingus and told her I'd keep an eye out for him. She actually lives like 5 blocks from here, so she said she would come to my area and do another search for him. I honestly don't know how long that collar had been there. It looked roughed up. I have not seen a black cat with green eyes and white whiskers/paws at all (Mingus), but I did notice that this mystery Longhair cat seemed fond of the collar. He would grab it in his mouth when I put it on the ground. I worried that Mingus lost his collar somewhere else, and this transient had lifted it (like the cat version of finding treasures that he'll pawn later) and brought it to my corral.

Now I have two problems. Because I have Mingus' collar, I feel personally responsible for finding him, since nobody will be able to call the number if they do find him. I also have this awesome gray and white cat that I want to bring into my house and bathe and spoon and then get into wacky scenarios with. But also, I want to find his home, because I have a feeling he's lost too. Will anyone win here?!?

*names changed for no good reason, really...

Friday, June 04, 2010

la vida rica: pt. 3 - crossing the line

Before he heads to the next room, Bravo grabs me and kisses me on the cheek. I am fooled into thinking he is leaving, because the cheek kiss was so random, but alas, I am still not so lucky. After a few minutes listening to music in the next room with my father, Bravo beckons me to join them. I go, because I'm a nice girl that has a hard time being mean even when the situation calls for it. My father is standing behind his bar while Bravo and I are seated in front of it. Bravo decides to change his strategy.

He grabs my hands and looks me right in the eye and tells me that his girlfriend (!) is a model. She is tall, beautiful, blonde, and blue-eyed. And he would leave her in a second for me. I'm surprised to see how hard he's pursuing me if he already has a girlfriend, but that's the story of my life. I don't think I really responded to this, because I was probably at a double loss for words and also a little bit drunk. He mentioned it a couple more times. I think I may have shrugged, or laughed, or said "that's great" at his last mention of her because, god I mean, shut up already, I get it. You have this awesome chick and I'm shorter and browner. Anyway, he responded to my dismissal of it with "I don't like American girls." I laughed and answered "Well, I'm an American girl." And he says, "No. You know what I mean." Well, then why are you dating one and throwing her in my face? Meh. So I'm getting kind of fed up at this point. Bravo is showing his inebriation more. He keeps wrapping his arm around me and pulling me in to nuzzle/kiss me on the cheek. I feel weird that he's doing this in front of my father, because I know that this is probably about the time that my father is thinking up multiple ways to murder this man.

So, at this point, my father says that maybe it's time to call it a night. He mentions (to my great disbelief) the Memorial Day party we'll be having that Sunday, and if he likes, he can come by. Bravo puts on his bold shoes and says "Ok, how about you call it a night, and she comes to stay with me." TO MY FUCKING FATHER. I think this might have been when my dad started thinking of places to bury the body. My dad tells him that's not going to happen (still remaining surprisingly not threatening) and that it's time to go. My father heads to the kitchen and I start to walk after him. Bravo stands in front of me and gives me a hug. Then he goes to kiss me on the cheek, but turns his face at the last second. Since I've seen most John Hughes movies, I was alert enough to quickly turn my face the other way to avoid a forcible mouth kiss. He tried to go for the mouth kiss one more time, and again I dodged it artfully. And like every girl learns in rape defense 101, I told him "no!" and pushed him away. This was the last of my interaction with Bravo. My father said his goodbyes/see you laters to him and showed him out. Bravo sat in his car in front of the house for half an hour before leaving. He left a beer bottle on the lawn for my father to discover the next morning.

Also left the next morning was a strange voicemail on my father's cellphone. It was a lady saying that there was a man there that was too inebriated to drive home, and when asked if there was anyone to contact, he gave them my father's name. What was strange about this was that my dad had given Bravo his business card, which doesn't have his cell number on it. So we weren't even sure this was Bravo until my dad called the number back later that day and the bar confirmed that it was him, but it was all taken care of. And my luck finally kicked in when Bravo did not show up for the Memorial Day BBQ. I'm assuming he was too drunk the night he came over to remember his way back to the house.

I found out later that Bravo had been at the restaurant with three friends. He completely ditched them in the middle of their meal to hang out with us. And I don't think he even told them he was leaving. Something I also learned is that my brother is less protective in these situations and more pimp. He kept saying "What can I tell him? She's funny! She's smart! She's nice!" Also, my dad was pleased with hearing me speak Spanish, the most he's ever heard me speak. I was just impressed I could speak it after six beers.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

la vida rica: pt. 2 - the wooing

The four of us leave the restaurant and we give Bravo a lift to the car. In Spanish (actually, from now on, just assume that everything Bravo says is in Spanish...he knew a couple of English words, but not too many), Bravo tells me that we are just driving him to his car. He asks if I understand, and I repeat "Your car. Is over there." Even though I've told him multiple times I understand Spanish pretty well, I just don't speak it very well, he seems reluctant to believe me. Many times throughout the evening he will verify with either me or my father that I am understanding him.

After a brief stop at the QuikTrip two miles from my dad's house (ricky and I couldn't make the extra distance...or at least our bladders couldn't), we arrive back at the house. Bravo is a few minutes behind us, so as my father gets beers out and my brother heads to the television, I keep a lookout secretly hoping we've lost him in the two miles since the QuikTrip. I'm not that lucky, and I see his car pull up. I open the front door and see him get out of his car, walk up to the For Sale sign on my father's lawn, pull it out of the ground, and bring it inside with him. He asks if the house is for sale and I tell him it is. He places the sign inside the entryway to the house and goes to greet my father. I take this opportunity to join Ricky at the television.

After some conversing with my father in the kitchen, Bravo comes to sit next to me on the couch. My father sits next to him. This is when the offerings begin. In addition to the aforementioned fashion boutique that he would purchase for me, I would also have access to his family's large tomato business, and multiple car dealerships. He offered to buy me a large house in Mexico. He offered to buy me the house we were sitting in, the house my father has been trying to sell. And, like, how am I supposed to take this? I would've had a difficult time explaining this in English to someone coming off as clueless as he was, so having to basic it up in Spanish I think made it much more difficult to get through his head. There wasn't anything glaringly wrong with this guy. He wasn't bad-looking, he was in his early 30's, and he was clearly very rich. My stepsister later talked about what a creep he was, but I actually didn't think he was too creepy. He kept talking about how this was destiny and did I believe in destiny. And I can understand his approach if he truly felt that. I just wasn't feeling it. And we could barely communicate. And we live in different countries. Do you see how I couldn't even take this seriously? Because he couldn't. He could not understand why I wasn't willing to drop everything in my life to tell him right then and there that I'd give it a try with him. He was all "But, I'll buy you this house!!" and I was all "But I don't want to live in Oklahoma!" and then he'd be all *confused face* "But I'll buy you this house!!"

After this, my father explained to him that I have a life in Austin and I like it there. He told Bravo that I wasn't interested in money, but "amor puro". Bravo stood up and asked why I was living the 'hard' life when he could give me the easy life. He then got down on his knee, grabbed my hand, and repeated that he was very taken with me and couldn't I see this was destiny. Behind him, my brother was doubling over in laughter. I was fighting laughing at that while still trying to keep a straight face for this poor, sincere, inebriated rich man.

At some point, my father had gotten up to get more beer. Bravo gets up from his knee, and sits next to me. He calls my dad over and says "Tell her about the horses." My father tells me something I guess he learned earlier at dinner, that Bravo has horses. Bravo excitedly interjects that he has 15 horses. He tells me about his favorite horse, a black beauty named Chubasco. He asks if I know what that means, and I say no. He looks up to my father for translation and I am told that it means "earthquake*". Bravo looks back at me like an excited puppy and pauses for me to be impressed. I smile and nod but again, don't really know what to tell him. He gets up and asks my father if they can listen to music. They go into the next room, while my brother and I stay with the television.

Stay tuned for the part 3, the exciting conclusion, wherein Bravo almost overstays his welcome.

*chubasco actually means 'squall' or 'storm'