i left my northface vest sweater and a tee shirt in your apt. not coming back to oxford. stick em in the mail please.~ [Ish, 10/3/06, 4:02 a.m.]
hey don't forget to mail me my clothes dude. know your busy but im moving soon.~ [Ish, 10/3/06, 10:30 p.m.]
what the fuck? hello why the fuck aren't you responding to my damned emails? seriously. grow up, jason. do you know how fucking juvenile it was to kick me out? how much that hurt? you fucking hurt me and that's not cool.just send me my clothes and i'll leave you alone. this is so stupid. actually burn them because i burnt your firefox teeshirt.~ [Ish, 10/14/06, 11:48 p.m.]
okay one last time before i really get mad. vest and sweater please. keepthe tee because i never liked the offspring anyway. let me know what the damage is and i'll send you a check. mail them to ___________. thats where i'll be. thanks and have a nice life asshole.~ [Ish, 10/15/06, 3:14 a.m.]
What the hell am I supposed to do in the middle of the night? Seriously. Am I supposed to jump out of bed, rummage around my apartment, and go wake up the postman to make a midnight run?
Oh, and I didn't even have the clothes mentioned. I did, however, find a denim jacket covered in band patches and a pair of women's socks.
I responded to the second email, explaining what I found - I received no reply. I'd have simply called, but, well, Ish may be the last 20-Something in the World who refuses to even own any sort of telephone.
So Saturday morning I loaded up the jacket and the socks and hit the road for Richmond...
* * * *
I sat parked on the street for almost 20 minutes, trying to figure out the easiest way to get in and out of the house with as little drama as possible. It looked as if all six of Ish's roommates were home, possibly with their significant others. The last thing I wanted to do was to knock on the door, hand Ish her clothes, and end up playing into her "tormented writer" soap opera.
I finally went up, knocked on the door.
I was expecting one of the seven possible residents. None of them answered the door.
Instead, a rather chipper, auburn-haired woman answered the door, white paint speckling her face and hair, cordless drill in hand.
The woman stared at me for a few seconds before telling me that Ish had already moved. She then asked who I was, knocking on her door at 10 on a Saturday morning.
Before I could answer, she said something about me being the "Ohio guy" Ish had told her might be stopping by with clothes. The woman invited me in - apparently Ish had left me a letter.
Fuck You Asshole. I'm Gone. Later.
Yeah, I was the immature one, sure.
The woman laughed when she handed me the steno pad. She said her sister wasn't really mad, just not used to having guys tell her no.
And she invited me in for coffee. She'd heard through the previous tenants - and sibling - that I knew a thing or two about renovation projects...
* * * *
Long story short...
"Ahab" (Might as well stick to the Moby Dick aliases) and Ish's grandmother died in the 1990s. Their parents converted Granny's big Victorian into rental units, figuring they'd make a bit of money off the old place. When Ahab last lived in Richmond, she and her soon-to-be ex-husband lived in the big downstairs apartment and rented out the upstairs. Ish moved in after Ahab moved away and turned the place into a virtual commune.
Ahab's job is to fix the place up and get it ready to put on the market. Free rent in exchange for free labor. Ahab needed to get as far away from her ex-hubby as possible before returning to college, so she moved back to Indiana and straight into Granny's Ol' Homestead.
It's more complicated than that, but, well, it took 45 minutes' worth of questions for me to even figure out that much.
I did notice that "Ahab" seemed to enjoy my company. And I enjoyed hers.
And that scared the shit out of me.
* * * *Coffee begat a tour of the house, sans college students and Trustifarians. It blows my mind how much damage 18-22 year-olds can do to other people's property. That begat my climbing up on an eight-foot ladder and installing light fixtures, which begat my showing Ahab how to patch drywall.
And that begat a trip to the local mall, to show Ahab how to shop for some decent hand tools.
Never, ever buy those "Specially Made for Women" tools, unless you're planning on hosting some show on basic cable. They're worthless. June Cleaver never had to install prehung doors or cut trim with that shit.
* * * *
Helping someone pick out tools isn't difficult. Having to wander aimlessly around a mall while someone else decides to "do a little shopping," however, makes me wish for the sweet relief of death.
Some guys can do the mall thing; I'm not one of those guys.
I managed to windowshop every store in under 15 minutes; it took me more than an hour to track Ahab down after she'd wandered into one of those overpriced boutique stores.
I found her in Victoria's Secret - the first time in, oh, four years I've even been one.
I can go another four years, actually. It's not that I get embarrassed; I just don't care too much for the pomp of lingerie. A decent pair of underwear or comfortable sleepwear, sure - I understand that need all too well.
But I'm one of those guys who thinks lingerie is nothing more than a waste of money. What's the point, really? A bunch of wiring and fabric sewn together doth not beauty make.
And, well, I readily admit that I have an ax to grind with the inventor of the garter belt; those little clasps hurt like hell when they pop loose and smack you in the face...
* * * *
"Ahab" bought me lunch, supposed payment for working my Bob Vila magic.
Halfway through my big-ass salad, I realized something.
It was the eyes that gave it away, how she laughed any time I caught her looking at me, how I'd just grin and play dumb whenever she'd catch me doing the same thing.
There was the innuendo factor, as well. When harmless flirting during a lunch conversation enters that every - other -sentence - contains - a - blatant - sexual - reference phase, well, that's usually a good indicator that one or more parties is turned on by the other party.
But that something wasn't exactly making me comfortable.
Every time Ish came up in conversation, we both seemed to want to change the subject. Any time her not-quite-ex came up in conversation, we both seemed to want to change the subject.
I'd come to Richmond to return one woman's clothes, a woman who believed that I'd led her on and who I'd kicked out of my apartment less than a month ago, who thinks I wasn't interested in her because she's seven years my junior. And there I was, flirting with her older sister, asking questions about the contents of a Victoria's Secret bag and being told that, well, I might find out if I continue to be charming...
For fuck's sake.
Isn't anything in life simple?
- TO BE CON'T -