Notes from a Walkman Junkie: Hostage Situation
We have all made mistakes, some of which are small and insignificant while others are large and require a good lawyer. My large mistake was getting married and my east coast lawyer was expensive and threw out phrases like, “If you want me to bust his balls, I’ll bust his balls.” He said this at our first morning meeting and I was completely bathed in relief by this reassuring and professional statement. I let my lawyer know that while I appreciated his generous offer, I did not feel it would be necessary. The failure of this marriage can be summed up with this song.(Just replace west coast with east coast and reverse the male/female roles…Ok, just pretend I am singing it about my ex-husband).
The process of the divorce eventually reached completion and I was ready to put that part of my life behind me. I moved back to Springfield, where I grew up, to rebuild my life. A ‘do-over’ if you will. The only kink in my otherwise flawless plan was that my ex-mother-in-law, ‘Alfonsina’, also resided in Springfield. She had moved there from Sicily years ago to be with her American husband (a man with a thick mid-western accent who pronounced the word, ‘grazie’ exactly like the word, ‘yahtzee’).
Alfonsina had always had a very unusual and unexplainable attachment to me. I often tried to figure out why she was so fond of me and the only reasons I could come up with were A.) I rarely spoke and B.) When I did speak she could not understand a word I was saying (she spoke very little English and understood even less). The result of Alfonsina’s baffling and unwarranted adoration towards me was that she was NOT AT ALL pleased when her son and I parted ways.
I was always a bit concerned with the possibility of crossing paths with her when I moved back, fearing that seeing Alfonsina would be a tad on the uncomfortable side. Our inevitable encounter took place in a grocery store parking lot, where I soon learned that I had grossly underestimated the level of emotional discomfort to be endured.
I had finished my shopping and was walking towards my car, clutching my groceries when I spotted Alfonsina steadfastly approaching me. My initial thought was to drop my bags and run, but what I did instead was freeze like a deer in headlights. She immediately grabbed me and tears filled her eyes, combining two things that I find most disconcerting: 1.) Someone touching me and 2.) Crying in public. The crying and touching only aggravated our already strained communication skills. All I knew was that she desperately wanted me to get in her car and talk which seemed like a monumentally terrible idea, so I did.
Once we were in her car, she began drilling me with inappropriate and incoherent questions. The basic theme of these inquiries from what I could gather were, “Why are YOU doing this?” and ” Are you living with a MAN?” The interrogation seemed to last for hours and ended with her asking for my phone number. This was another spectacularly bad idea, so I gave it to her.
The meeting between Alfonsina and myself took place about three years ago and amazingly there has not been a repeat opportunity of convergence….until today. This afternoon, I once again found myself face to face with Alfonsina in a parking lot. This time, I ran.
In the spirit of not making the same mistake ‘again and again’ enjoy this tune by the bird and the bee, a brilliant indie/pop/alternative duo from
L.A. Listen to them here.