Back in Black

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There is a steady rain falling as I wait at Sixth and Robert this morning. I enjoy sporting my black raincoat for the first time since May. If I’m not mistaken, I purchased it at Dayton’s about the time of the store’s name change to Marshall Fields, and prior to morphing into Macy’s. I say ‘I’ purchased the coat, but more likely, my ex-husband paid for it. I was on a quest for a black coat, similar to the Theory brand black raincoat worn by Dana Scully in three different episodes of the X-Files from seasons 8 & 9. I have no memory of how much it cost…$75? $125? Is it possible I have been wearing this coat for 14 years? It washes well as long as I hang to dry. The pocket seams have needed repair for five years or more, but I hate to sew (sorry mom). Eventually I must pay someone to tend to this chore. It will be well worth it, because I fucking love this coat.

Years ago, I wore this coat to the Annual Oscar Party held at the Holiday Inn Express in St. Croix Falls, WI. After the party, my sister Rosemary and I went to drink at the Crystal Chandelier downtown. I always liked the place because my dad could spend an entire afternoon there “nursing” a glass of whiskey. It took 15 years for this to impress me. I can only nurse two fingers of whiskey for all of 20 minutes! Anyway, after the Oscar party, I apparently insulted a stinky, fat farmer guy wearing bib overalls. He was propositioning me in some respect…or lack thereof. Rosemary told me that I said something like, “…why are you talking to me? I don’t talk to guys who wear overalls.”  Granted; I was married AND entitled to my personal opinion on clothing matters, but this is just one example of what the Scully coat and cheap liquor does to a person. As it turned out, my flip phone and wallet fell out of the Scully coat’s pocket at the bar, but I successfully retrieved both the next morning. This is a nice thing about small towns.

This past St. Patrick’s Day, I stopped off after work at Pazzaluna for a beer. I got off the bus at The Liffey, but the door man wouldn’t let me in without my driver’s license. I was only going to have one beer, but things happen. When I got home, I must have struggled to get my work boots off in the cramped entryway of my studio apartment, and fallen against the dresser. In the wee hours of the morning, I woke with crusty hair and a gash in my head. I then discovered what must have been bloodstains around the collar of my Skully coat. I treated the stains with spray-n-wash, washed in cold water, and it came out beautifully! The small gash in my head got a slight infection, but healed after repeated treatments with Neosporin. Okay…where was I? Oh yes, I was telling you about this morning.

I regret that I no longer have my classic, black umbrella. That umbrella was a gift chosen from a catalog as a reward for five years of dedicated service to Goodwill Easter Seals. I have forgotten what my other choices were…Thermal lunch bag? Automatic plant waterer? I considered my options, and I’m sure, chose wisely. I loved that umbrella. Through no fault of its own, the umbrella met its demise as I struck it repeatedly against an iron fence outside of a trendy Highland Park condo prior to boarding the 74 back to downtown on a rainy evening last spring. It had been a good day. I discovered Jennifer through a co-worker. She is stylist at Hair-O-Smith in Northeast Minneapolis. I used a Toyota Prius through my Hourcar membership to go get my first Asymmetrical Bob from Jennifer. I also went to Old Navy and got some t-shirts, tank tops and a cargo skirt. I looked pretty hot in Highland Park that evening…green cargo skirt, red tank top, a cute handbag and black umbrella. Skip to umbrella destruction…I smashed it against the fence, shouted various obscenities to a forgettable man (in absentia) and derived little satisfaction from the experience. The context and details are unimportant…however, I really miss the umbrella.

Today, I keep the rain off of my asymmetrical bob with a compact, royal blue umbrella. This one I purchased at CVS Pharmacy on Penn Avenue in Richfield one day prior to deployment to Hurricane Sandy with the Surge Capacity Force in November of 2012. The compact, blue umbrella saw me through many a rainy day on Long Island and at the Staten Island Disaster Recovery Center, but I hate it. It’s blue. I am a black umbrella person. I like black t-shirts, black pants, black coats, black boots and black umbrellas.

Ok…so, this morning to my right, there is a middle-aged Black guy holding a broken, yellow, child-sized umbrella that is keeping the rain off a fraction of his person. I can’t help but smile in amusement. To my left; a chubby white guy holds a small, pink umbrella. He closes it up minutes before the bus arrives. I assume, because he is embarrassed to be covering his large, bald head with a tiny, pink umbrella. I would be.

A bicyclist boards and sits next to me. He is a regular commuter whom I recognize. A young woman boards at Randolf. She is not a commuter. She has no umbrella, but totes a North Face backpack and a large handbag with about two dozen zipper compartments. She frantically stands to grab a #54 schedule and simultaneously pulls her cell phone from one of the zipper compartments of her handbag. When we stop at St. Paul Avenue, she inquires of a young lady who is getting off the bus, “What stop is this?” It is obvious that she is going to the airport. The bicycle commuter and I find it amusing that she fears she may miss her stop.

At 10:26, we arrive at the airport. There is a Delta employee bus in front of ours at the entrance, and an unanticipated delay. What is going on? The arm should lift within seconds, whereupon I can sprint to my checkpoint. The driver honks, then backs up to get a better view of the problem. The bicycle commuter and me exchange glances and spring to action. We communicate to the driver that we must exit the bus immediately. “Ok, but you know this is not safe, right?” Sure…we will agree to anything and sign any necessary waivers just to get to work on time. While sprinting past the entrance, we observe a mini-van taxi in front of the Delta bus. The driver is shouting into the intercom in a heavy middle-eastern accent…”All I want to do is drop off a passenger!” He must be new around these parts. Dude! You’re totally in the wrong lane! I swipe in at 10:34…not too shabby. At approximately 11 AM, the young woman with the North Face backpack comes through my checkpoint and a bag check is called on her carry-on bag due to oversized liquids. Rookie. I greet her with, “Hello, how are you? You were on my bus this morning!”

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