Last fall I was treating myself to lunch at a restaurant that the “long – dead to me Narcissist” and I used to frequent. What do they say? You need to “de-sensitize”? To get over the phobia, one must continue to have exposure to the dreaded thing/situation/place? Well, I did give myself a break and I didn’t eat at the one in his neighborhood….. I never go there.
I pulled into the parking lot next to a Honda 4-door sedan. As I got out, it was REALLY hard not to notice the car. It was filled with papers, trash, mail, video cassettes, CD’s, fast food wrappers, you name it. The back seat was piled as high as the back window. Only the head rest of the passenger’s seat could be seen. There was debris piled up to the passenger’s window. If the windows were manual, you would not have been able to find the knob. Truly, it was fascinating.
When my sister was in grad school….her car looked pretty bad too…she was driving a minimum of 150 miles a day…while still being a mommy. Most of her “accessories” were text books and coffee cups…pre-Starbucks.
The car also reminded me of a man that I worked with, probably in 2003. His car looked worse than the one parked next to me. He was a lovely person, he was just a pack rat. He lived alone, had a nice home, only moderately cluttered. But his car? We used to say that if there was a file missing in the office, all we needed to do was check his car.
Finally, several of us who were quite concerned about him, had an intervention. (Having kids, I am flashing back to the scene from the Disney movie Nemo with Bruce the Shark….”INTERVENTION!!! Fish are friends! NOT FOOD!!”) Our friend and office buddy took it well. Maybe he just needed the encouragement. We cleaned out his car….for hours…22 black garbage bags later, it was spotless. We even chipped in and had the car detailed.
As far as his home went, with a little help and a few phone calls, I found a very nice lady who would come in and clean for him twice a week. Last I heard, they were dating.
Having had three pre-schoolers at one time….I am not one to judge. The floor of my car used to be covered with Hot Wheels, fishy crackers and Cheerios. There was usually someone’s sippy cup with mold growing in it, in a cup holder.
With a smile I shrugged off the memory and hurried into the restaurant. An Orange County Fire Authority truck had just pulled up. I got my place in line before the hunky and hungry firemen did. Granted, the view behind them in line would have been delightful, but I was in a hurry and it is not polite to drool in public.
I placed my order and got my drink.
I am going to let you in on a little secret. This was probably THE ONLY positive thing….no wait, it WAS the only positive thing… I learned from the Narcissist.
Here it comes….I know you are waiting with baited breath…..wait for it…
When you get fast food, whether walk-in or drive-thru, have a sip of your drink before you leave the restaurant. That way if the drink is too syrupy, not enough carbonation, you’ll know BEFORE you leave. Seriously, it was the ONLY worthwhile thing I learned from him. Trust me…it was not worth the grief. And certainly wasn’t something that I couldn’t have figured out on my own.
I got my order and left the restaurant…passing some of the cutest firemen….all except for the one who reminded me of my ex-brother-in-law. Oh well, they all can’t be eye candy.
As I walked back to my car, I noticed two guys looking at the pack rat car with looks that were a combination of disbelief and awe. As I neared them I said, “Yeah, that was my reaction too.” They both turned to look at me and one of them almost dropped his lunch. They turned white as a sheet and one of them blushed.
I did not understand their discomfort, so I said, “I used to know someone whose car looked a little bit like this…”
They both let out sighs of relief. “OMG!” they said together, “We thought this was your car!”
We laughed together. As I left the lot I called to them, “I am so going to blog about this!”