Monday, July 17, 2006

Tales from the Third Life

I once had another life.

Perhaps you’re stunned that I haven't always been Bitty of the Back Porch, English instructor extraordinaire and blogger imperfect.

In fact, I once had many lives. I'm on, I would say, my fifth life, probably in a liminal stage between fifth and sixth.

This is a tale from my third life, the life of the lonely, unloved wife.

The background: I was checking out some favorite but recently unvisited blogs, working backwards from recent posts to where I left off, and I checked in on Meowkaat at I will then, be a toad.

There she told an absorbing tale of loneliness in the Early Internet Era, which reminded me of my own pre-internet era loneliness story.

And this is more or less how I told it in her comments. While her story is better than mine, and perhaps hers should be read before mine, they both seem to have the same moral.

Although I’m not entirely sure what that is.

I wrote:

[Meowkaat’s story] made me think about so many things, including loneliness and once-obsessions that are no more. In an oddball way, it reminded me of the era when I was a refunder (collected labels, boxtops, etc. to send in for refunds...totally prohibitive in the year of the 39 cent stamp). I also lived at the very ends of the earth without transportation. (My then-husband would sometimes "loan" me "his" car.) Anyway, I refunded to scrounge up a little spending money, and I got quite good at it. The highlight of my week -- no kidding -- came when I got to go to the dump. I'd stand at the edge of the rubbish and pick out Stouffer's boxes, tuna cans -- cereal boxes were ALWAYS a gold mine. It was like plucking money from the ground, a real feat for a penniless stay-at-home mother.

There was a dump-tender. I was about 25. He was 40-50-ish. He'd save Sunday newspapers for me, for the coupons. He was friendly.

I was naive.

We had what I thought were friendly conversations, about as sexually charged as a paper towel.

Then one day he said something inappropriate -- I forget exactly what -- as he fumbled with my breast. I will never forget THAT.

I got in my car, drove away, and never looked back.

I was embarrassed by my own naïveté; because I looked at our "relationship" one way -- friendship -- I couldn't see that by saving the coupons for me he thought he was offering, um, tat for tit, so to speak.

But as I read [Meowkaat’s] story, I wondered if the Mod [see M’s story] was bored and/or lonely at work, just as I (when I wasn't feeling utterly embarrassed about the situation) wondered if the lecherous dump-tender wasn't bored and/or lonely.

I don't think I've ever told this story before.

I have a few other tales from the third life, too, although it's the second life that's the doozy. Maybe I'll share those another day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Bitty,

I have read yours and k's stories they are very interesting. I like your name???