I was watching Cops late one night about a year and a half ago. They'd pulled over this beast of a woman for suspected DUI. Her blue eye makeup was so thick and garish it looked like it might have been applied with a trowel. The lipstick across her mouth was applied in such a slapdash manner it could legitimately be called “facestick.”
She roared at the hapless cops in this southern snarl that was just classic. “Do you know who the fuck I am?” she bellowed at the top of her lungs. “I know some powerful fucking people, so y'all better show me some motherfuckin respect or you'll be cleaning out toilets after I get through with you!” …and so on.
Then, when they found her itty-bitty stash, this hillbilly potty-mouth cranked up what sounded like a full-grown hyena screaming into an amplifier. She was a real piece of work, this one. After contemplating the seemingly endless supply of A-list crazies in the world, it suddenly hit me like a wet fish: I knew this person.
Honestly, this chick had more red flags than a Soviet May Day parade, more baggage than Luis Vuitton.
One night about three years prior, there came a knocking at my door. This was not unexpected; I was waiting for a blind date Christian Mingle was sending over. I'd recently signed up for their dating service and this would be my first prospective Mingler. I'd tried a few other online sites with zero results and decided to see who the Creator of the Universe thought I should be with.
So I answered the knock and in marched this rather impressive specimen of the female persuasion. She was wearing an orange tube top over polka dot poodle skirt and a pair of espadrilles that were so tall and full of cork they could have been used to construct a functioning life raft. She strolled around as if inspecting the place, nodding her head and saying, “Yep, yep, yep, yep,” sort of sotto-voce, all to herself like.
Trying to break the ice, I said “So, were you in the Navy?”
“The Navy?” she said, “Where'd you get that crazy idea?”
“Well, I mean, I saw the tattoo on the small of your back… ‘All Aboard!’” so…
“Oh that. I wasn't in the Navy, but I did get that during fleet week, though I'll be damned if I remember a thing about it, other than I woke up face down in a drainage ditch and for some reason you could have driven a beer truck up my Khyber.”
“Oh well, uh, yeah, please excuse me. I didn't mean to….” I stammered, blushing crimson.
“You got anything to drink, chief?” she slurred, cutting me off.
I could tell she was already three sheets to the wind, but I mumbled an affirmative and dutifully fetched a Bud tall-boy from the fridge, which she unceremoniously torpedoed in one sustained chug, then crushed the can flat before letting out a cane-toad belch and bouncing the crumpled aluminum muffin off my forehead, talkin something bout how we're common law married, after knowing each other all of five minutes. I was completely speechless. She plopped down in the barca-lounger, put her espadrilles up on the coffee table, picked up the phone, and ordered a large pepperoni pineapple and jalapeno pizza, before calling out for another beer at elevated decibels.
I decided to let her stick around awhile, I don't know why. I guess it was just the kind of iffy decision an insecure “hot car baby” like myself is prone to make from time to time. Her name was Saundra and, long story short…she moved in, with all her worldly possessions in tow, including two pugs (one black, one white), 12 wind-chimes, 300 humorous refrigerator magnets, and a large collection of jigsaw puzzles and Beanie Babies.
Honestly, this chick had more red flags than a Soviet May Day parade, more baggage than Luis Vuitton, and the holes in her brain would have given Blackburn Lancashire a run for its money. She was like a computer with a gimpy hard-drive; the kind that constantly crashes and destroys all your files. She saw two doctors and three shrinks who wrote her six scripts, for everything from fibromyalgia, to panic attacks, to something called Reverse Depressive Disorder, or RDD, which described people who were depressed but who enjoyed being depressed. They were only happy when miserable, and miserable when not depressed. The meds either kept her depressed so she could be happy, or happy so she would get depressed and then happy. I admit, I could never manage to wrap my mind around that circular, contradictory disorder of hers, but I do know that misery loves company.
She left a trail of pathetic, brokenhearted liaisons in her wake; grown ass men who fell helplessly and hopelessly in love with her.
Turns out the super depressed are (wait for it)….depressing (duh), and if you hang around them long enough you will be as depressed as they are in no time flat. Fact is, a lot of the terminally bummed out would prefer you join them in their bottomless pit of angst and despair rather than climb out of it themselves, and this was the case with Ms. Saundra in a nutshell.
Her life story (if it was to be believed), was rather spectacular and hair-raising. She was an army brat, who as a child had been dragged around the world to every generic, soul-crushing, squalid army base from Spitzenburg Germany to Suk Muk Dik, South Korea. She grew up fast being around a bunch of hairy, smelly, sex-crazed GI's on a daily basis. They liked her and she liked them, often at the same time. Before too long, she could drink, screw, and cuss them all under the table.
From early on Saundra discarded the sentimental view of love peddled by every book, movie, commercial, painting, play, poem, billboard and ode since humans started walking around upright. In her mind it was all a bunch of gloppy emotional drivel to explain an evolutionary programmed imperative, designed to get us to mate and reproduce. Saundra liked to love em and leave em, in classic hit and run fashion. She left a trail of pathetic, brokenhearted liaisons in her wake; grown ass men who fell helplessly and hopelessly in love with her, only to be discarded like yesterday's mashed potatoes after she'd had her way with them.
When her father was posted to Little America in the Antarctic to guard some endangered penguins, she hit the road and never looked back, eventually winding up somewhere in the Midwest where she spent some time turning tricks as a truck-stop hooker, servicing the long haul drivers in the cabs of their big-rigs.
“Oh, they had em some big rigs all right,” she'd say, giving me a leering wink while laughing and wheezing hysterically.
After she'd gleaned all she could from her brief career banging truckers, Saundra fell in with an outlaw biker gang based out of Yuma, Arizona, who called themselves The Bloody Wankers (this also explained the large tat of the Grim Reaper riding a Harley she had on her back, which was the logo of the BW's). Her old man was the leader of the pack, a bearded, smelly, slob-simpleton named Lonnie “Buzzkill” Boman, who, although a handy person to have in a knife fight or a meth smoking contest, could barely write his name in the dirt with a stick. She was officially his old lady, but truth be told, she got passed around like the collection plate on Sunday morning among the Wanker faithful on a semi-regular basis, even being named “Biker Bitch of the Month” five times running.
One night she got all splooey, drinking way too much Southern Comfort at a bar called “Skidmarks,” and started mouthing off to Lonnie about how much she had on everyone concerning various illegal enterprises the gang was involved in.
“I could send every last one of you sons a bitches to federal prison for life, so don't be fucking with me!” was how she phrased it.
Lonnie suddenly realized she was right and quickly decided to shut her up for good. Mother Miles, his second in command, was given the job to whack her with a sawed-off shotgun when she got off work at The Rack, a topless bar the gang owned where she did a mean bump and grind five nights a week. Fortunately, one of the other dancers was Mother Mile's girlfriend, who informed her of the impending hit. Saundra took off liked a scalded cat and didn't quit running until she hit Providence, Rhode Island, where she lay low and lived off welfare and food stamps under an assumed name.
She did odd jobs: poodle groomer, deep fry donut tender, crime scene clean-up. She then had a religious experience involving a corn tortilla with an image of the Virgin Mary on it, and decided to get Jesus and his Daddy working for her. Not by changing her behavior and becoming more spiritual and less materialistic mind you, but by signing up for Christian Mingle to see who the Almighty had chosen to be her soulmate, benefactor and all-purpose ticket to ride. You know the rest.
As for our sex life, the less said the better. For the sake of propriety, let's just say there was one.
I only had one argument with Saundra, but it lasted for two years. We clashed like Israelis and Palestinians over a litany of issues big and small. For instance, she kept turning the thermostat down to meat locker levels of cold, while I preferred a more temperate climate to prevail. This led to much turmoil as we kept countermanding each other's settings, sometimes hundreds of times a night. She was a very mean drunk, and when sloshed had a personality that could split logs. When served an unpleasant point of logic, her immediate response was to launch the nearest heavy object in my general direction.
I took to wearing a batting helmet.
As for our sex life, the less said the better. For the sake of propriety, let's just say there was one. I won't go into detail, but if you've seen the movie Apocalypto you have a fair idea what it was like. Some might wonder how I could have gone through with the love scenes co-starring this particular female lead, and I've wondered about that myself, but only ex-post facto—by then the damage was done. The point is, I did go through with it, and I'll try to explain why.
Apart from how she'd ended up, there were still distant traces from the days when she was the hottest little chicky-boom in town and guys beat a path to her door and groveled at her feet. Sure, that may have been an Olympic-sized pool of booze, 10,000 Kool-100's, a hospital's worth of designer chemicals, and countless nights on the tiles ago, but despite being a shadow of her former self and a certified broken down palace, when the lights were low (or off completely), she could still summon a flicker of the old magic, however briefly. Let's not forget, she was still a woman, with all the moving parts and fixtures more or less intact and in their proper place (if none the worse for wear). Besides, I was so needy and pathetically desperate for female affection at this time in my life, almost anything in a skirt would have sufficed, so I threw caution to the wind and got down to the window fogging activities.
Saundra was like a beautiful Ferrari someone had driven in the Baja 500, hitting every cactus, gopher hole, rattlesnake, boulder and Mexican along the way: the car may have been reduced to heap status, but if you got in and turned the key, it started, and if you pressed down on the gas pedal, it went forward. Unfortunately, over the long haul, a turbo-charged, highly unconventional, sometimes hilarious, often terrifying sex life could not begin to sustain the relationship in the face of so many other factors that negated every other consideration, good or bad.
On the rare occasions when she was sober, she'd rattle on endlessly about her pet obsessions, namely, astrology, Tarot cards, and reincarnation. She claimed to be working through some problems from a past life that (wouldn't you know it) were caused by me in one of my past lives. She said whatever she did to me, I had it coming. She got pissed about things I did in her dreams. She felt sorry for inanimate objects and would purchase cartloads of godawful tchotkes just because nobody else was nuts enough to buy them.
Her diet consisted of nothing that couldn't be found within the confines of the average major league ballpark.
She was addicted to garbage. She watched junk TV obsessively. Reality shows like The Bachelor and Big Brother, where the object of the game was to humiliate and destroy total strangers. She was hooked on dramas from the Lifetime Network, modern day damsel in distress movies that taught her to be a permanent victim, forever abused and set upon in countless covert and overt ways by no-good-nick guys. Her diet consisted of nothing that couldn't be found within the confines of the average major league ballpark: all nachos, burgers, pizza, foot-long corn dogs, jerky, oversized-pretzels etc. She left the empty bags and wrappers scattered about the place.
When she wasn't glued to the television she'd spend hours doing those fucking jigsaw puzzles. But the pieces of the various puzzles were all mixed together, so she never managed to actually complete one of the pointless things. So there they sat, half done, for weeks and then months on end. Any suggestion that maybe she should forget the whole project and pick up the goddamned puzzles was met with a blistering veto that routinely led to a knock down drag out dust up.
She lived to consume. She'd plant herself on the couch, eating family-sized bags of Cheetos, chain smoking javelin-length Kool Menthol 100's, reading supermarket tabloids, buying worthless junk from home shopping, swilling pitchers of Rob Roys, and rubbing nickels on scratch-off lottery tickets, which were immediately ripped in half and discarded on the floor after they inevitably failed to pay off.
She had enough sundries, skin lotions, hair-conditioners and over the counter pharmaceuticals to supply a small army. She shopped compulsively and impulsively, but always lost interest in the stuff after she'd come down off the high of buying it, much of it never leaving the bag, much less the package, it was bought in: books she'd never read, furniture never to be assembled, electronics she'd never plug in, an eight-foot plastic Xmas tree that would never go up, art that would never be hung. The stuff slowly started to take over, like kudzu. The kicker was, she'd put all of this crap on my credit cards. She'd gone through my trash and found the numbers, then maxed them all out. I was soon staring down the barrel of complete insolvency and financial ruin.
Then, I had a dream that Saundra was pregnant. I begged her to take care of the situation or at least trade it for a couple of jet skis, but she carried it to term and gave birth to a healthy, shiny, pony-keg of Lowenbrau Dark. I took this disturbing nightmare as an omen and immediately started looking for the nearest exit.
I decided then and there to live like I was in the witness protection program.
We finally broke up after the money, credit, and booze ran out. She said I was dangerously passive-aggressive and would need years of intense therapy to undo the damage done to my psyche… during the French Revolution! She took it on the arches in the early spring, after I reset the thermostat one time too many, puffing on a Kool 100 and cussing a blue streak. She informed me she was going to hit the road for an extended period in order to find herself. I wished her luck, because there sure as hell wasn't anybody else looking for her, except maybe the Bloody Wankers. So she split for parts unknown and I was left to raise the pug dogs all by myself.
After the meltdown, I finally had time to think. I couldn't believe Christian Mingle had sent this Gorgon over. That wasn't a very Christian thing of them to do. If this was God's match for me, I shuddered to think who Satan would have picked out. I eventually forgave them. I think maybe God was testing me in some bizarre, unfathomable way, which would be just like Him.
In the end I chalked it all up to experience. Live and learn, huh? Then, right after I saw her on Cops, just to be on the safe side, I changed my name and moved to another city without leaving a forwarding address. Seeing her again proved that she was still at large and saw-tooth as ever. I decided then and there to live like I was in the witness protection program from that day forward. For all I knew she was trying to track me down, asking random strangers where I can be found and what my new name is, and so forth. Truly, you can't be too careful. I fear I'll probably spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder, but it's a small price if I can avoid ever crossing her path again.
What did I get out of the whole crazy episode? I learned a few valuable lessons. I learned that when it comes to relationships, never get involved with anyone who has more problems than you do. Beware human anchors. Sooner or later they're headed for the bottom. You can either let go or go down with them. Take your pick. Also, you might want to steer clear of Christian Mingle. Trust me, God has enough on his plate, so don't be bothering Jesus with that shit.