Turning Points and Balding Angels

Hell week at the Asylum is almost over. One more day.

Remember last month when I said I kicked bootay during my week as the sole sales ninja? Well.. this week I didn't kick bootay. It was more like.. I was run over and ripped to shreds like the last piece of fried chicken at a southern church picnic.

Give me strength.


I had to go back to the dungeon the engineering department yesterday to dig for an old part number from 30 years ago. As I bent down to retrieve a pile of dusty prints from the bottom drawer, I caught sight of The Groper from the corner of my eye... leering at me from over the top of his glasses. He wheezed his greeting in an asthmatic whisper and I decided that the whopping $23 we stood to make on the sale of this old part was not worth the spine tingling creepiness I was having to deal with. I'd let Bossman come back and dig for it on Monday.

As I left engineering, making my way past the laser cutters and the tool crib, I spotted Luther working at one of the machines. He smiled, waving to me through the cloud of weld dust. I felt the grin forming on my lips and waved back then hurried back inside the office before The Groper showed up again.

Luther's been working at the Asylum for almost as long as it's been in operation. Tall, chubby, sort of dark and balding, my first impression of Luther was that he was just another "good ol' boy" from up on the mountain. He seemed good hearted, a hard worker and maybe just a little simple minded.

Back when I was the self proclaimed queen of the IRC chatrooms, my online nickname was "dolphie" and I used to wear this silver and crystal dolphin pendant. One afternoon I was in the breakroom at work, raiding the Wheel O' Death, the home of stale Twinkies and gray mystery meat microwave sandwiches, when Luther came in and said hello. As I began to leave, he stopped me, kinda cocked his head to the side and asked, "Are you Wiccan?"

"Ummm no.. why do you ask?" I was a little worried. Most of the guys around here wouldn't be familiar with Pagan religions and even if I were Wiccan, I'm not 100% sure I would have had the courage to admit it.

"I noticed your crystal," he explained.

"OH! Oh no. I mean.. if someone is.. that's cool.. but I'm not.." I went on to explain why I wore the necklace and we had a nice little chat about computers and the internet. I soon returned to my office, which back then was still in accounting and told Lulu what had happened.

"Yeah.. Luther's different. He grew up here, but he was born in Germany. I don't remember exactly how the story goes, but I think his mom was from here and met his dad over there, then he left them and she married someone else and moved here... something like that," she explained.

Me and Luther (who, by the way, is very happily married to a lovely lady) have had a lot of off the wall conversations over the years, conversations about religion, faith and spirituality that neither of us felt we could have had with anyone else here in the holler. It was Luther who first loaned me a copy of "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" which lead to a whole new level of break room conversations between us.

Some of ya'll may remember last summer when I was volunteered for a special project.. thingie.. where I ended up crawling around in the floor for a week. Luther was on the same "team" and we spent alot of time talking while we worked on machinery in the blistering heat.

"Mahala.. how come you ain't never been married?" he asked. I'm pretty sure everyone else in the holler has wondered the same thing, it's only taken Luther about 12 years to work up the courage to ask. I explained that when the Amazon was young, I didn't feel comfortable dating so I'd kinda just put things off. In the meantime, I'd let myself go and gotten so out of the swing of things, that I figured that by now.. it was pretty much hopeless.

"You know what I think?" he asked. "One of these days, you're gonna up and marry you a rich ol' millionaire. You'll just show everybody 'round here. Whatcha think about that?"

I smiled and shook my head. "Oh Luther.. no one wants this," I said, motioning to my own body.

"Mahala, I don't know anyone else like you in this whole world and you can take that as a compliment. You just wait and see. I know what I'm talkin' about," he said, smiling a little and nodding as he spoke.

I made up an excuse to go outside on break after that. I went around behind the building where no one would see me and sat on the pavement, beside the big dumpsters full of scrap metal and busted wooden pallets.

And I cried.

Not a delicate, broken rose cry. It was the full snot face ugly girl cry. The kind that hurts your nose and renders you temporarily blind.

It wasn't purdy ya'll.

I've made alot of changes since that day and I'm still a work in progress, but regardless of what happens, everytime I look at Luther it reminds me that someone looked me in the eye and made me feel like I was worth something.

And it was just what I needed.

Anywho.. I guess my point is... a few kind words can go a long way.

It's Friday ya'll. The weekend is almost upon us. We'll talk again soon.

Later Taters!

P.S. If you're in the L.A. area, Eddie Izzard is doing a few more small shows this weekend. Click here for more info.


kenju said...

I'm sure that Luther meant every word he said - and he was right!!

tiff said...

You are both fortunate to have one another as friends.

Epihanies aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Anonymous said...

You're right ~ a look in someone's eyes and a kind word are worth a million!

You just never know how much people impact out lives without every really knowing one another.

BetteJo said...

What Anonymous said.

And the opposite is true as well - I still remember Ken Cooper from 7th grade who pointed at my butt and said "bigger than the whole state of Alaska!"

I think I'd like Luther a whole lot more. Nice to have a friend like that.

Frank said...

When you are able to see the angels around you it means you are closer to becoming one yourself.