Thursday, April 4, 2013

Any Other Name

Argue; verb: Give reasons or cite evidence in support of an idea, action, or theory, typically with the aim of persuading others to share one's view; persuade someone to do or not to do (something) by giving reasons; exchange or express diverging or opposite views, typically in a heated or angry way.

Lick; verb: Pass the tongue over (something), typically in order to taste, moisten, or clean it; (of a flame, wave, or breeze) move lightly and quickly like a tongue; defeat (someone) comprehensively; noun: An act of licking something with the tongue; a smart blow.

Squint; verb: Look at someone or something with one or both eyes partly closed in an attempt to see more clearly or as a reaction to strong light; (of a person's eye) have a deviation in the direction of its gaze.

Any Other Name

When you spend every day with someone who is larger than life, do 
you too become large or do you remain small?

“Hey, hey, hello this is Bob.”  The voice on the other end of the line is none other than Bob.  In my profession I work with a wide variety of BOB.  Bob, Bobby, Bo, Bubba; six out of ten times I answer the phone the male voices on the other side say, “This is Bob.”    The “hey, hey, hello” made recognizing which Bob it is on the line, undeniable.  

“Bob,Bobby Boy,”  I say back to him.  

He doesn’t hesitate to ask,  “How the hell are you today?” 

“Now you know when I fell from heaven, I realized I was in Hell deep and wide.”  

Laughter roars on the other end of the line, “You know it girl! Let me talk to Don.” 

In my mind I tumble around Donald, Don Wan, Don the Donut King, Dawn the insurance representative that speaks her name so fast it sounds like Don…  “Hold please,” and I quickly press the button to page Don to the phone.  Don the Donut King, you ask?  You have to be here to know the story of the Donut King, so I will tell you. Don the Donut King, is a guy who knows all donuts, and corrects you if you call twists, bear claws or mistake Cherry for strawberry filled.  How does he do it???  No one knows the difference between cherry and strawberry filled until the first lick, but Don the Donut King, he knows at a glance.  He is a regular around here, and brings donuts when he needs something from us.  I never asked, but I think he is like an alcoholic with donuts.  He would rather be a social donut eater than eat them by himself, or he would have to admit he has a donut problem.  He is thin as a pine tree and I think he can eat all the donuts he wants, but must be vain to hide his problem.

Back to Bob, Bobby Boy.  Bob is the kind of man who fills up a room by just his voice.  His presence is not so dominating.  He is about 5 ft. 10 inches tall, not exactly short, but not quite tall either.  Medium build. He might not even be noticed in a crowd.  When he opens his mouth, he is large.  He is huge.  He thrills everyone who hears his voice.  It is booming and encouraging.  I have seen him with his children.  Tiny toddlers they are, but when he talks to them, it is as if his words scoop them up and catapult them in the direction they need to go.   The kids look like they realize the power their dad possesses and want to win his approval, and inside they know nothing they do will disappoint him, so they do anything he asks. 

The phone rings again. No, “hello,” no, “hey this is Bob.” 
On the other end, “ Does Ray drive a maroon truck?” 


“ Why did he just pull up then drive away?”

I have no answer.  “I am here and you are there, you tell me.”

“No. You call him on his cell phone and tell him I am here with two other guys and we saw him drive up and drive away.  Does he think he is in the wrong place?”

Again I have no answer. I want to argue this point with Bob, but I hesitate and Bob is quick, “Put me on hold and call him on his cell phone. Let him know I am standing here with two guys waiting on him.” 

“Ok, Hold please.”  And this is my day.  

I think of him sometimes, another Bob.  I know he wonders about it.  We never talk since the time his mom and his boss simultaneously tried to get us to date, constantly inviting me to meetings, fish fries, and other gatherings I normally did not attend.  Of course we would talk, but only when encouraged by  his mother and boss.  We already had “the talk.” It was brief.  We were walking together on a job site walk- through (another invite to something I normally did not attend) As he pointed out this and that, he knew it was just for looks.  We talked.  He asked.  I said no.  Why?  We work together.  I wanted to keep working together.  I like Bob.  I wanted to keep liking Bob.  He said he understood and that was the end of it.  We humored his mother and his boss, but at the end of the night, goodbye were the last words we said to each other.  This was nearly fifteen years ago.  We still work together. 

Bob got married.  He has three beautiful boys.  He named one with a name I suggested as my favorite.  I am extremely happy for him.  His oldest boy plays piano, opposite of his jock father.  He goes to job sites with his father and wants to know how things work but I do not think his hand will ever know a splinter.   His brothers want to ride the heavy equipment trucks and watch the earth move, they will get plenty of splinters.   

I know from experience you cannot love the kids without loving the parents.  Love sometimes cannot be contained no matter how much you try.  I tried to force love and it never came.  Whenever love comes, I like it to be simple.   I do not like love when it is confining.  Love has not found me in a while.

The next call suggests we go to lunch.  I agree and soon I am out the door to meet my girlfriend.  At the restaurant I want something new.  As I am reading the menu  someone walking by bumps my arm.  I squint to see who it might be, the stranger is apologetic and introduces himself, “Hi, I’m Bob.”