Saturdays are for What?

March 15, 2009

Concrete Evidence

Saturday’s are for what?
      The reaction from too much Jack Daniels and no food catches up with me at four o’clock on Saturday morning[. My God, was I dreaming or were those Daliks screaming ex-ter-mi-nate on late-night Dr. Who…and what possessed me to watch a James Dean movie? Haven’t I got a bad case of raging hormones as it is?
      I drink two glasses of water and swallow two aspirins to help with the hangover, groan to feel sorry for myself, and then take yet another oath against excess—there’s no one as self-righteous as the recently reformed. Sunrise finds me digging through the bottom drawer of my dresser trying to find my old sweat pants and cotton jacket with hood. But first, I tell myself, holding up the tiny looking pieces of clothing, I should start my new base line. I pad naked into the bathroom, trying not to look closely into the full length mirror on the door.
      The bathroom scales have unaccountably drifted back beneath the overhang under the lavatory. I dust the platform off so I won’t be adding any ounces, unnecessarily. The dial spins like a roulette wheel. I suck in a deep breath in case the warm air in my lungs will subtract a few ounces. Oh, surely not! Maybe if I use the toilet, again.
      I’m struggling to get the zipper on the jacket together when my dog-eared journal falls out of a pocket. I pause to thumb through the pages of the three by four inch pad with the marble covers and the tape binding until I get to the last entry, a Friday nine months ago, in which I wrote:
      Ran three miles today; winds out of the north with waves breaking over seawall; lost two pounds this week. I can hardly wait for the weekend in Gulfport and dinner with Daren at Landry’s.
      No further entries after page forty three. Who was Daren? A hazy image of a guy in a charcoal blazer hanging over the aft rail of the excursion boat as we bounced our way out to Ship Island; the guy who got sick after the dozen oysters and a full bottle of red wine; the guy who tried to kiss me when I was wiping the undigested food off of his chin.
      Inspirational. I jerk the laces tight on my running shoes, the ones I find at the back of the closet under the swimming thongs I lost during the summer. At least feet don’t get fat, or so they say.
      Some parts of a woman should move around when she’s running. The bounce, while not entirely graceful, is very sexy. Other parts should not imitate a cube of Jell-O. I decide to run on the back side of the levee where fewer people will see me.
      The morning is starting out cool, but warming rapidly. I shall start out slowly, warm up adequately, avoid straining unused muscles. I’m trying to hold in my mind a picture of myself back in shape, the Olympic runner with her white sweat band and hardened thighs. They say it helps.
      Maybe for a hundred yards. I stagger along the path to reach the next drinking fountain where I splash water on my face. Perhaps a brisk walk would be better.
       “Hi,  Morgan,” the image of a cheerful face belonging to Mark Peters materializes through the water in my eyes. “Run together?” he charms me with his Midwestern accent.
      “Thanks, but I’m just finishing up,” I lie.
      “How far? Five miles?” he asks.
      “Not quite that far, today,” I smile. “How about I buy you a chili dog?  There’s a vendor near the Mardi Gras Fountain.” Only the middle of the morning and I’m thinking about food.
      “Sure, if they’ve got good chili.”
      Mark’s wearing bleached tennis shorts that look fresh pressed, a stylish shirt with a Saint Laurent logo, and Nike’s of the sort that I can’t afford. He doesn’t give me goose bumps when we’re close, but he’s a companionable kind of guy. If he’d be a little more aggressive I might even let things develop. He’s got sandy hair that’s cropped close on top, greenish eyes that manage to look serious even with the freckles on his sunburned face, a stringy sort of body that long distance runners cultivate, and a master’s degree in art history. I never have figured out what he does with the art history degree since I’m pretty sure his job involves mostly fitting out sail boats for one of the local yacht brokers. I understand that his mother is a pediatrician and his father is a surgeon in Akron, Ohio, which probably explains his casual career attitude.
      “I thought Saturdays kept you busy with the boats,” I ramble, not really having anything intelligent to say.
      Mark laughs, takes my hand, and pulls me up the slope on the back side of the levee. My worn track shoes slip on the slick grass. We tumble back down, with me skidding on my largest surface, my butt, while he sort of lands on top of me with a mischievous grin on his face. He nips at my nose and moves his lips lower. I like his plan and meet him half way. Nice and salty. The dozen or so people who happen to be walking or sitting nearby give us a passing glance, curious only if things get more interesting. This is New Orleans where only rabbits multiply faster than tourists.
             I keep my eyes on a seagull circling overhead. “Why don’t we go sailing after Church, tomorrow?”
      “Why don’t we skip church,” he counters.
      “People would talk,” I yawn. The sun is comfortably warm and the cinnamon smell wafting from a nearby bed of petunias is seductive. I scramble to my feet and swat a couple of ants climbing up my leg. “You’re sitting in an ant bed,” I observe.
      Mark is up stamping around and brushing at his socks. “I don’t much care what people think.”
      “Don’t be offensive,” I fling back at him while I climb to the top of the grass covered levee and head towards the Mardi Gras Fountain. “It’s about character and responsibilities, not about caring what people think.”
      Mark looks slightly mystified and a little hurt as he moves to follow me. Why do I have to be so serious? I should cut out the philosophy and get laid. “You like your chili red hot or white hot?” I move the subject along to more immediate gratifications.
      “Regular, I think,” he replies.
      Regular? That’s disgusting—only I don’t say anything. Well, I’ll give him one more chance tomorrow afternoon. I grab his hand and pull him along. “I’m not sure they have regular chili,” I thrust at him.
      “I like mustard and mayo, onions if they’re sweet, but I don’t get me any of those jalapenos.”
      Probationary, most definitely.  Maybe I’ll try him on a little Tabasco.
      “And catsup,” he continues. “That stuff from Avery Island burns my tongue.”
      I try to keep in mind that Mark comes from Akron, Ohio, where the people are wonderful but the food is kind of bland when compared to what I’m used to eating in New Orleans. My first meeting dealing with storm water pollution from concrete parking lots was held in Akron, a city of vast parking lots as I recall, and I remember that the waiter at the banquet apologized for the peppers in the vinegar I put on my greens. The taste was so mild that I hadn’t even noticed the peppers.

About charles frenzel

I've been writing all my life. I've also painted, composed, sculpted, contributed to molecular research, advanced some mathematical concepts, lived on a sailboat, and worked for a Nobel Prize winner. Nothing in my life has pleased me more than to share my life with my wife and friend of over forty years.

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  1. Saturdays are for What? | Charles Frenzel - - March 15, 2009

    […] post: Saturdays are for What? | Charles Frenzel Tags: fiction, food, mardi, morgan, nancy-cassell, office, philosophy, poetry, right-room, […]

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