Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dreaming of a waitress in Tulsa

A few years back, when every day at my restaurant seemed like one of the less coherent scenes from a David Lynch movie and I knew the end was inevitable, I very often had the urge to run.
As far and as fast as I could.
I hated every minute of my life at that point, especially the minutes where I wasn't functioning through a wine-addled haze. I had pretty much given up caring about the business, and being marginally or wholly drunk most of the time seemed like the best solution for all involved. I had come to terms with the fact that there was nothing I could do to save it, so I decided to just ride the party bus out until the end, along with my wonderful, devoted, amazing staff.

But almost every day I considered it. Running.

Away. Run. Away.

And, not just running away in the sense of locking the doors to the place, going home, curling up in the fetal position and turning my phone off while I planned my new career path as night manager at the local 24-hour Kielbasa shop.

I mean running away in the purest physical sense. The climbing out the window while the parents are sleeping and becoming a professional groupie sort of running away. I would return many years later as a highly successful abstract art dealer, with my Brazilian lover Miguel and our love child, Tempesta, in tow. At least that's how it went in my escape fantasy...

More than once when I was running errands on a particularly hellish day (which pretty much means ANY day at this point in history), I would stop and consider for a minute or two what would happen if I just kept driving.

Driving until I ran out of gas.
Or money.
Or adrenaline.

One time I made it as far as about 45 minutes south.
I started feeling guilty. I couldn't just go, could I? What would everyone do? Would I tell them, or would I watch the news every night looking for any indication that they were looking for me? What would I do about my husband? Would people miss me? Would they think I had been killed? If I did tell them, would they want me back or would it actually be a relief for everyone that it was over?
How would it, you know...go?

When I would daydream about it, I usually saw myself getting a job as a waitress at a greasy spoon or roadside bar. I would change my name, probably to something like Marge or Vivian, and I would rent either the apartment upstairs with the wacky neighbor or a beat-up old trailer in the desert (all of my possible scenarios take place in a desert-ish or dustbowl two-bit sort of town). I would live this life for a few years- until someone from my past happened to stop in the diner/bar and my hidden past would be revealed to all. I would then have to run again, hitting the road to look for a new town and a new waitressing gig. And, quite possibly, I would find myself mixed up in International espionage. Kind of like David Banner, but without all the angry Hulk-ish stuff.

But no, I never ran. I stayed and dealt with the whole nightmare that was my life.

I stayed, and here I am now. Sane(er), happy, grounded and relatively at peace with myself.

I don't want to do it, but I do think about what would have happened.

If I had run, to that diner, or that bar.

Who would I be? Would I still be me?

Or would I be the girl pouring you another cup of coffee, or another beer, while you're on a cross-country drive to see the country and "find yourself"?

Funny thing is, sometimes you find yourself in the strangest places.


Butrfly Garden said...

Excellent post.

I had a plan one time to drive across the country doing odd jobs to earn my way.

The problem with that was that "odd jobs" means totally different things depending on which sex you are.

But I knew could have been gone for quite a while before anyone started wondering. It was a really sad feeling.

Your life would have shaped you differently, probably. You might have different interests and different kinds of friends, but I think deep down, you'd probably still be WM. Through everything, I've always been me. :)

LittlePea said...

I've had similar urges. My hypothetical runaway name would have been Dottie or Betty though.

I used to know someone who was a, ahem..professional girlfriend/groupie for some time. She's all rough-lookin' and worn out now. So that's another reason to be glad you didn't run away.

Failcooks said...

Mine involves a stripclub (peep show booth?) in New Orleans.

Failcooks said...

I'm having one of those "I hate my life" days today. I went out and got totally wasted last night, woke up feeling like Phillys Diller looks, had to go to a photo shoot where I was all bloated and fat, I'm on deadline for 3 stories I haven't even started (deadline tomorrow), I have to cater at 8am tomorrow and I haven't even planned the menu much less done the shopping, and I'm sitting here in my robe, couldn't care less about doing any of it and probably won't. Ugh. That peep show booth doesn't sound too bad right about now.

Failcooks said...

And oh yeah, my dog is still dead. Did I mention I hate my life today?

Whiskeymarie said...

Oh, honey...

Lollie said...

Something tells me that if I had run like I wanted to in 2002, I would have, at some point, come across your coffee carafe in a Oklahoma greasy spoon...we would've given each other a brief nod that was maybe full of knowing each others' plight. A common thread felt - that sort of thing. In any case, we are here now, we are happy and we blog. C'est la vie. Maybe our paths will cross when we are running circa 2020. See you then. Waiter! Another Sangiovese por favor!!

Sugar Kane said...

Seriously, that was a fantastic post.

Sugar Kane said...

I often found myself sitting in the car having that similar talk with myself. My fear wasn't what my family would say, but seeing a picture on myself on tv looking like that crazy-eye, run away bride. The thought was too much, so I'd always go home. Geez I'm vain.

ps said...

...and then you find yourself right where you're supposed to be. loved this post, wm. xoxo.

Brillig said...

I loved this post too! A lot! I never have those urges anymore, but in high school I dropped out and ran away--not terribly far, but didn't tell anyone where I was going. I was only 17. My parents didn't come look for me. At all. Eventually I ran out of money and rebellion and came home with my little tail tucked between my legs. It wasn't nearly as interesting or glamorous as I'd expected. Your fantasy sounds a LOT more fun than my reality!

T said...

I'm glad you're here. For what it's worth.

Your boobs are too nice to be a Marge.

Stacy said...

Last Sep/Oct I also was in a baaaad place. My fantasy involved taking as much money out of the ATM as I could and then driving to a remote part of Canada and renting a lake cabin for about six months -- you know, the kind that forces you to split your own firewood and go to 'town' for cooking propane. After I hadn't seen any people for three or four months, I'd call my husband to let him know where to find me.

Stacey said...

You didn't disappoint. You said you'd be back with a thrilling post and indeed you did.

When I run away I run away by myself though and have a rather quiet live on a tropical island. No Miguel , no Tempesta. Just me some wine, some sun and lots and lots of tranquility.
Then I go home because sadly I don't know what to do with out chaos.

Disco and Dexter - Friends at Best said...

We always seem to talk the talk about running away, but nobody really does. I wonder why that is. I wouldn't mind being a minimalist for awhile and seeing the world one step at a time.

feisty said...

takes more guys to stick around than to split. (but running away makes for good fantasies)

Flenker said...

Great post! I think everyone has had thoughts of running away to some extent. It's crossed my mind every few years, and now I'm finally doing something close. I guess it may not count since I've finished school and just want to explore a little. But at times, it feels like running away.