Monday, June 25, 2007

Susie & Shorty - 1st Installment in the Series: How We Met

I was invited by a friend to hang some of my paintings in a group art show which was being held in a second floor space above Woolworth’s on Hollywood Boulevard . The landlords of the space were a couple who had a recording studio and a clothing design studio, and they had on hand, their friend, Shorty, to run the sound for the fashion show and to help the artists hang and light their work.

I became aware of Shorty when Ian, the female half of the landlord team said to me, “Someone is in love with you”.

“Who?” I replied, looking around to see which artsy hunk would be my next disastrous fling.

“Shorty!”, she replied happily.

“Who is Shorty?”

“That guy, over there!” I followed her pointing finger to a very short, chubby man, whose belly was popping out of his dirty T-shirt, his uncombed, slightly unkempt Afro topping off the look, and his pants, hanging below the belly scuffed their long hems across the dirty floors.

“Oh", I said, disappointed. Ian immediately reassured me that Shorty was a very special man indeed. He was downright wonderful. I was less than enthused. She advised me to get to know him over the next couple days during the show. I’d always been interested in recording studios and production, and as I soon realized that Shorty was an audio engineer, I decided to hang around him in his element, the cruddy, cigarette burned mixing board in the smoke filled, worn down recording studio.

My immediate impression of him during the next 48 hours was that he was “cool”. He always seemed calm and happy, which of course could have been because he had some really good pot, but I came to realize this was truly who he was. He was respected by everyone and seemed to be the person, as small as he was, that everyone came to for help.

He asked me if I wanted to go to Cabo with him in three weeks because he was tour managing a rock band that had a New Year’s Eve gig at a club there.

I said, “Sure, I’ll go with you”, kind of thinking that it might happen or it might not. That night, he walked me to my car and spent about 7 minutes giving me his Skypager number and telling me in the most minute detail how to use it. He must have had some pretty stupid girlfriends in the past.

The next day, when I got home from work, there was a message from him on my answering machine. He said he needed to get may passport, etc. to get the papers ready for the trip. This guy is serious, I thought. Over the next month, he impressed me by being very capable – able to handle anything. What did not impress me were his lack of communication skills and absence of grooming or style. He also was definitely not artsy or “cultured” in any way, and seemed extremely uncomfortable around my crowd of friends. His tactic to ease his discomfort was to pretend he was a “meat eatin’, good ole’ boy from Texas” because he knew that it would piss off my vegetarian, tattooed, nose ringed friends – even though he was just a 5’2” Jewish guy from Cleveland. He really didn’t care if they liked him or not, he was just Shorty.

When we actually did go on the Cabo trip, this little guy really blew my mind. He had five half drunk rock and rollers and their girlfriends in tow, all their ID’s, passports, luggage, plane tickets, gear and manifests. When we got off the plane in Cabo, everyone at the airport knew him and greeted him warmly, which caused me to think that perhaps I had myself another drug dealer. But it was just the kind of guy that Shorty was – he was in his element, taking charge, doing his thing.

During the course of our early relationship, I was told time and time again by women who knew him what a great guy he was and how lucky I was to have landed him. We never really had a courtship because he’s not romantic, doesn’t converse, and really has no idea how to go on a date. He just kinda moved in, speaker by speaker, ugly piece of furniture by ugly piece of furniture. The issues that we had then are still the same issues we have today. The difference is that I learned how to ask him questions and through that finally learned “Shortyspeak” so that we can communicate. When I need to talk about art, jazz, and things of that nature, I go to my friends. The reason why we are still together after seventeen years is that he just truly is a great guy. He is the most capable, technically and mechanically proficient genius that I have ever seen. He does not know the meaning of the word “quit”. He wakes up every day happy, no matter what adversity he might be facing. He never worries me with things that might upset me, he just handles it all and lets me live in my happy little world. He is logic and patience personified.

He is still emotionally locked up, but he tells me he loves me every day, every time we say goodbye. Even though I’d love to school his little butt about many, many things, like how to speak properly, groom, dress, and a million more things, I respect him and admire him for all the amazing things that he can do that my cultured ass couldn’t figure out in a lifetime. I could go on and on about him so I’ll stop now.

I saw her at this art thing. She had a good body, I liked her paintings – they were buildings and not crazy like the other paintings. She knew how to work a staple gun, she was small and Jewish. She wasn’t too annoying, she had a nice apartment, and she had a good head on her shoulders even though she was divorced twice already. She was a little dippy but not too bad. She was psycho in Cabo, but I straightened her out. Her friends are okay but most of them are weird. I was worried that she would break up with me because she always bailed when things went wrong. She was a little too emotional, but I knew I could handle her. And what can I say now? She has a good body, she makes good kids. She’s a good mom. I taught her how to be normal and now she’s cool, but still crazy some times when her hormones are whacked out.


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