July 4, 2010
Two X-rated hours last Sunday
—Warning: Adult Content
This story is true.
There are a couple of women I’ve known a long time who stomp into my life every few years. I don’t know why they keep in contact, even if it’s infrequent, as their phone calls are always about them, with rarely a query about me or Bill, and they tend to whine. Lou is one of these women, except she doesn’t whine as much as she harangues.
Lou and I were both headhunters at an employment agency in the mid ‘70s. The job was stressful because we worked on commission, so folks would go out drinking on Fridays to unwind. Bill and I took her to a Bonnie Raitt concert at Case Western once. We were invited to her post-wedding ceremony party.
She and I were friends, but not tight friends. Just hang out friends. It’s not like I was her Maid of Honor or she named her first born after me. Her personality was too unbalanced, more volatile than I could deal with. We drifted apart, she moved to California. Ten years later, she called me. The conversation was so all over the place, so exhausting. When she called me 6 years ago, I didn’t return her call.
Last Saturday at 9:00 p.m., Lou called again, leaving a l-o-n-g message about how it was urgent I call her back, that she must talk with me pronto, and wanted to discuss some business too. She left her work number at InTown Suites somewhere in Arizona. Now when a friend, even an in-and-out-of-my-life-pain-in-the-ass friend, says that something is urgent, I take her at her word. So I returned the call on Sunday, 11:00 a.m..
After I identified myself and she expounded on the dulcet (yes, she said dulcet) tone of my voice, then wasted 5 minutes babbling about her need to turn down Alicia Keyes, the first question I heard was if would I go to Wichita with her. Ummm, no, I won’t go to Wichita. To which she replied:
NO NO NO NOT WICHITA AREN’T YOU F@#KING LISTENING NOT WICHITA WOODSTOCK WOULD YOU GO TO F@#KING WOODSTOCK WITH ME
This is not what I expected.
Seems that as a teenager in her native Philippines, she’d read about a festival of peace, love and music and wanted to get to the U.S. to attend. Four F@#KING months later, after her father bribed a politician, she got her F@#KING visa and arrived in this country in F@#KING December, where she saw snow for the first time and it was F@#KING beautiful but she had totally missed Woodstock. She was sobbing as she related this story.
She then declared how she’s decided she’s going to be a mojo. I attempted to explain that you don’t decide to be a mojo. That you’ve either got your mojo working, like the Muddy Waters’ song, or not.
NO NO NO NOT THAT MOJO WHAT KIND OF F@#KING MOJO ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT
She meant she’s going on the road to be a mobile journalist (MoJo), a term that’s about 4 or so years old. Of course, Lou doesn’t own a camera or a wireless laptop. In fact, she doesn’t have a computer at all and doesn’t text. She’s now 61, but 40 years ago she was a journalism major on full scholarship, so I can go F@#K myself if I don’t get it.
Lou railed on, with plenty more expletives. If I dared put forth a comment or question, she screamed at me. F@#KING was interjected in almost every sentence. (To save you a bit of what I went through, I won’t include F@#KING as often as Lou did.)
Her mind and mouth crisscrossed continents and the time-space continuum, moving from St. Francis de Sales who was the spiritual director of St. Jane Frances de Chantal, who founded a number of convents after her husband died, to St. Helena, consort of Emperor Constantius and the mother of Constantine in the 3rd century in what is now Istanbul. Lou included a long explanation of the two women’s contrasting lives; in a nut shell, Jane was married (good), Helena was not (bad) yet both are saints.
Most cited as the Feast date for St. Jane is August 12. But August 18 also comes up so that’s what Lou celebrates. St. Helena’s is also August 18. And August 18 is the ending date of Woodstock. THIS IS F@#KING SIGNIFICANT.
(Are you, dear reader, keeping pace?)
Her next topics jumped from her desire to be a nun, how Catholicism ruined her life, how she didn’t lose her virginity until she was 22, and a stay at a Franciscan monastery in Malibu, which was originally named Melibu after Mel Gibson. Yes, that is what she said and it illustrates the danger of skimming the news: after Gibson’s 2006 drunken driving conviction, he bragged that he “owned” Malibu. So pranksters altered signs to read “Melibu.” Once again, she’s sobbing.
Did I mention her discourse on Queen Isabella? Christopher Columbus? “The Sound of Music” when the exasperated nuns describe Maria von Trapp as a flibbertigibbet? Her stroke? How she went all Linda Blair at the doctors? That afterward she dyed her black hair blonde? Her type B diabetes? Her divorce? How her husband was a jerk (although you know by now that she didn’t use “jerk” and that F@#KING was an adjective, adverb, and noun about a million times.)
Self-help book influence her. Five things you should do with your life: have a child, write a book are two biggies, which she combined into one. The book she is writing will be her child. YES I’M WRITING A F@#KING BOOK
I’ve now been on the phone for an hour and fifteen F@#KING minutes and I still do not know what the reason is for the F@#KING call, let alone what the business part is about. Bill couldn’t stand listening, so he left the room about 45 minutes earlier. At 12:20 I tell her she’s got 10 minutes to get to the point. Ten minutes stretched into 25.
She’s starting a business, named Isabella Enterprises (ah, I get it now), which will be a global consortium of her great contacts in import/export in the Philippines, entrepreneurial friends in the States, and she wants Bill and me to handle all the marketing. Three times I ask what is the purpose, what is the mission? Finally, she discloses that the mission of Isabella is to help women everywhere break through the glass ceiling.
We’re in our 60s! My head has permanent bruises from bumping the damn ceiling. And I’ve never broken through, and neither has Lou, so how are we going to position ourselves as experts on this issue?
As the Black Eyed Peas say: You so two thousand and late.
But did I say any of this? No, I did not. I maintained a ladylike calm and asked pertinent questions, although I will admit I was growing impatient. Funding? She’s got investors she won’t name. Other companies involved? In the works. Has she written a business plan (because I’d like to read it)? No, not necessary. Does she want our email address? No. I try to explain how we’ve assisted other startups; that marketing should be thoughtful, she needs to write down her ideas.
No, no writing for her. She likes to talk on the phone. What she asks me next is if she sent us two first class tickets would we fly to her? No, not without some substantiating paperwork first.
Oh no, here it comes. I have said something she just cannot tolerate.
DON’T YOU F@#KING UNDERSTAND THIS IS GOING TO CHANGE THE F@#KING WORLD ISABELLA WILL F@#KING EMPOWER WOMEN EVERYWHERE WHAT DON’T YOU F@#KING GET
But she’ll mail me her brochure after it’s printed.
What? She’s designing and printing a brochure but we’re to be in charge of the marketing? Bill’s a designer. I’m a copywriter. Why is she not using us?
I’VE GOT MORE F@#KING TALENTS THAN YOU F@#KING KNOW THIS IS MY F@#KING COMPANY AND I AM F@#KING IN CHARGE I’M DESIGNING IT MYSELF
When pressed, Lou reveals that actually, she’s having her very special young niece design the brochure. To which I replied
F@#K YOU LOU YOU’VE WASTED TWO F@#KING HOURS OF MY LIFE
Then I hung up.
Now I’m thinking I might have been a tad harsh. I should apologize by mailing her some antipsychotic meds. Clozapine. Haldol. How about Thorazine? But she probably wouldn’t F@#KING take them.