He had on an Old Navy pullover fleece-type shirt of which I have the same one, in the exact same color—dark green with black trim. Fortunately I wasn't wearing mine today, because his fit him like a model, whereas mine fits me like a parachute.
He was a white guy, clean cut, and turned toward me when he heard someone approaching, but he didn't acknowledge my nod and "Good morning," or if he did, he did it without nodding and so audibly low that I didn't hear him. I immediately wrote him off (judged him, ha, Cat Warren are you still reading?) as unfriendly, or at the very least, not a morning person.
I was surprised then, when the bus came and he boarded before me but was taking too long to get the machine to take his one dollar fare, and turned around to me waiting on the stairs behind him and said, "Come on in, brother." I did a quick swipe of my card and took my seat while he tried one more time, successfully, to get the machine to take his fare.
I had a little Groundhog's Day incident happen this morning, too (only a couple of days off). While still waiting for the bus this black lady and her three kids walked by us on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. She was quite heavy, but more so in a manly way (i.e., a pot belly more so than big hips), and she texted while she walked and while her three kids ran up ahead of her.
There were two boys, the lead one taller and the younger one about ten feet behind him. About ten feet behind him was a girl, who looked to be somewhere between the boys' ages, if her height was any indication. The tall boy wore a pink backpack, the smaller boy a yellow one, and the girl a multi-colored floral print one. The mother wore a look of, "I'm more interested in my phone than my kids."
On the bus I took the third seat to the right walking down the aisle. After I sat down, I noticed a heavyset black lady in front of me, sitting with her daughter beside her. After a few minutes I heard her talk to her two boys, both of whom were in other nearby seats, but one obviously as younger than the other, as the difference in boys of the family out on the sidewalk.
The hair of the daughter in front of me was pulled into several pigtails, each with a bright, plastic braid clip at the end of it—seven in all: a combination of baby blue, clear, yellow, green and red flowers and a pink butterfly. There was also one that "was not like the rest," and I wanted it to be a bumble-bee as I thought that would fit in nicely. It clearly wasn't that though, but she never turned her head in such a way that it angled toward me enough to tell what it was.
Oh yeah, and Grumpy Boy made an appearance today. Long time no see. He did not get off at my stop, though, so perhaps he has changed jobs.
We had a full 1.5-hour working team meeting in which we spent the entire time trying to clarify how we're going to define archiving and retention when talking about it within our organization and in presentations on the subject to our customers.
I joined Anna, Kim, and Brad at lunch time at Cup A Joe's on Hillsborough Street, where as always, fun was had by all. Brad had to keep his crotch from doing Great Flydini tricks while we all looked at phenomenal photographs of Kim at a recent yoga photo shoot.
I attended the NCSU Web Developers Meet-up from 2:00 - 3:00 in the auditorium in the university library, where my friend and colleague Jen gave a presentation on Usability. She did a great job; I always enjoy her presentations. A great deal of knowledge always peppered with my kind of humor.
At the gym this evening, I spent most of my time hiding from, or at least avoiding eye contact with, Bubba. I was doing the chest press when I heard this booming voice singing way louder than the music being piped into the place, "Ba-ba-ba ba-ba-bra-ann, Ba-ba-ba, ba-ba-bra-ann" came barreling around the corner scanning across the entire area into which he was entering as if to say, "Is everyone looking at me?"
He walked by almost every machine in there making some kind of remark to anyone who made eye contact with him, with a total lack of the possibility that some people might be meditating or enjoying their quiet time at the gym. Go to a bar if you want to socialize. I know for a fact that of however much time he spends "at the gym," no more than one-tenth of it is doing anything other than exercising his vocal chords and sharpening his ability to be disliked on sight.
When I came out of the gym, I had a tearful-sounding voice mail from Karen, a relative from "up north," asking me to call her back, that she had some news she didn't want to leave in a message. Karen is the daughter of my uncle who died a year ago in September, and whose boyfriend whom I loved meeting when I was up there for her father's / my uncle's funeral was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of cancer.
Returning her call and not wanting to think it, but fully expecting her to tell me that he had passed, I was shocked to hear that indeed it was my aunt who had passed away. Karen said that she has been having breathing issues ever since Frank passed away, but that she was seeking treatment for it. They weren't sure if it was asthma or what exactly it was, but they were working on it.
Karen tried to reach my aunt on Wednesday evening to no avail, and figured she had "gone out to Walmart and would call me the next day," Karen said. "She often did that."
However, Karen called her Thursday morning, no answer, Thursday at noon, no answer, and again around 5:00, no answer. Figuring something had to be wrong, she drove there (she lives about 20-30 minutes away) and found my aunt passed away in bed with the phone next to her ear, as if she may have been trying to phone for help. Sadness.
I smile when I think back over the last couple of years in which I made a conscious effort to visit my Uncle Frank and Aunt Annette "while they were still alive." The first trip came about in June of 2006, when I was thinking of the people in my life who if died, I would attend their funerals. Frank's and Annette's were right there at the top, and at that moment, I thought, "Wouldn't it be better to visit them while they were still alive?"
So, scheduling a three-day getaway to one of my favorite places on earth, P-town, I decided to tack on a visit to them two days before heading up Cape Cod. What an incredible two-and-a-half days I spent with them:
- (06/15/06) Surprising Uncle Frank at his front door, and learning about a child (and my cousin!) no one ever knew they had...
- (06/16/06) Deep, personal sharing with Uncle Frank and Aunt Annette, seeing a different side of my parents, and Pepere using the bookie...
- (06/17/06) Uncle Cliff and cousin Theresa make a surprise visit, finding out about another gay family member, and learning about my grandmother's real name...
And it's time like this that I thank god for my commitment to blogging, to be able to relive and remember these times with my aunt and uncle, who now have both passed. A few more meetings:
- (08/31/07) Mom and dad learn about Lisa...
- (09/01/07) Mom and dad and I meet Lisa...
- (09/03/07) Our last day together on this trip with lots of good pictures out by the lake...
And then there were the hard visits:
- (06/14/08) Seeing Uncle Frank in the nursing home toward the end of his life...
- (06/15/08) And saying what turned out to be my final good-bye to him...
- (07/22/08) And a follow-up letter of love and gratitude to him after returning to North Carolina...
- (10/12/08) Flying up for his memorial mass and picking a couple of treasures from his things...
- (10/13/08) The mass, and what turned out to be the last time I saw my aunt.
RIP Aunt Annette and Uncle Frank