Helen of Dalton
“Profound Beauty” I said to Donnie.
“Yes…that’s it!” he exclaimed.
“A woman with such a subtle mix of looks, grace, and inner beauty that you only witness it once in a lifetime…twice if you’re lucky”
“A women that time doesn’t so much as stand still for, but wraps around and tries to keep her for itself making everything else look like a slow-motion replay in her wake?”
Curley from “City Slickers” talked about such a woman. I’m pretty sure that Helen of Troy was one also.
I’m not talking about a pretty girl… they’re a dime a dozen…. with most women there’s at least one flaw that is so glaring that it keeps them from ever even coming close to glancing at; not to mention ever achieving.
It may seem like a strange subject for a couple of North Georgia Crackers in a “not so Irish” Irish pub to be discussing, but Donnie and I are capable of such debates… especially after a couple of pints of Guinness.
“Have you ever seen such a woman?” My friend asked.
“Oh indeed I have,” already falling back into my past.
Summer of 1997… Kind of a numb year for me. I was trying to adjust to my new found life as a bachelor after 7 years of marriage in which the last 2 years was more of apathetic routine than undying love. I was ready to get on with my life (Well to be more correct… trying to bullshit everybody else that I was trying to get on with my life… More accurately trying to bullshit myself.)
While my son and I were eating at a restaurant on that one faithful afternoon I ran into my cousin Tracy who I haven’t seen since the last family reunion … err I mean funeral.
“Scottie!!!!!” I heard with such joy and exuberance that it was hard for me to believe it was coming from a females lips. Scottie was the label that only my family called me; my ex-wife or my closest and dearest friends always called me Scott or Asshole.
“Tray… How ya doin?” I said with confused enthusiasm, because she looks so different, not in a bad/good way mind you, just different.
“You just hafta go out with me and my new boyfriend tonight ….we’ll go bar-hoppin’.” she said.
“Who’s your new boyfriend?”
“Oh, his name is Chad…. you’ll like him”
The relationship I had with my cousins was more like brother and sisters. We grew up around each other and always lived in close proximity. So my chances of actually liking this guy were the same chance of me winning the Georgia Lottery. (Especially since I rather keep the dollar than to waste it on a 1 in 100 million chance that lighting will strike…)
I met up with Tracy at her motel room at 6:30 PM that night and met her new beau Chad (let’s just say I’m glad I kept the dollar). “So where are we going?” I wondered out loud. “We’re going to Jimmy’s” Tracy said. “That’s just fuckin’ great,” I thought to myself. Jimmy’s is a place where all the mid-twenties people went to so they can be seen and be shallow with others of the same ilk. I figured that probably 90% of the parking lot would have those FUCKED-UP Volkswagen bugs that are so popular with new generation of upwardly mo-bile pricks.
“Great… let’s go.”
Upon entering Jimmy’s I had this sudden sensation to put a razor to my wrist and save myself the indignation of the night’s festivities. Before I could find a plug-in… “Scottie …. I want you to meet a friend of mine… Brad…this is Scott.”
“Hey big guy … how’s it going? “He asked. “Goin’ o.k. I guess….. Shit … where did Tray go?” I said. “Oh, she’s probably making the rounds……saying hi to everybody…You may not know this but I’m the bouncer here.”
“Oh really,” I asked as I looked down at the top of his already balding scalp.
“Yeah, I might not look like much, but I can hold my on when I need to.”
“I bet you can,” I mused. “This is just sucky,” I thought. “I’m stuck here with an Oompa-Loompa in a golf shirt with a fuckin’ chip on his shoulder.”
“So, what’s your poison Big-Guy?” he asked.
“Well, what do they have?”
“Anything you want, Big-Guy.”
“O.k., I’ll have a Newcastle.” He had the same look in his eyes that my dog used to get when I tried explaining the difference between the living room floor and the newspaper in the bathroom.
“Newcastle? … Guinness?” I was met with the same sound that Tim Allen used to use on Home Improvement.
“I’ll just go up to the bar,” I said.
“O.k., will see you later, Big-guy.”
I started making my way to the bar and the place was so crowded that I was constantly bumping into other people. “Oh excuse me.” “I’m sorry.” And the ever useful “uh-oh” was my shield. And it was like everybody I bumped into was reading for the same part in a play. “No problem Big-Guy,” they would answer.
“What’s this shit?” I thought. I’m 5’10 and 200 lbs., not small by any means but, everybody was acting like I’m Andre the fuckin’ Giant. And so these ladder-climbers christened me Big-Guy. Anyway, I finally make it to the bar.
“What’ll it be Big-Guy?” the bar-maid smirked.
“What kind of beer ya’ll got?” I fumed.
“Oh, we got anything you want.”
“Great…I’ll have a Newcastle.”
Once again, I was looked at with the same look my friend, Lee, got when I tried to explain to him that playing “saw blade Frisbee” was not a good idea.
“Guinness?” still nothing.
“What do you have that’s not a Miller, Coors, Michelob, or Budweiser?”
“We have Killian’s.” she said.
“Super…Killian’s then…” less than enthusiastic I answered.
Then a fellow bumped into me at the bar. I noticed he looked more out of place than I did. He was wearing blue jeans, t-shirt, and a dirty red baseball cap.
“Hey man…how ya doing?” He said cheerfully.
“Doin’ alright… How about you?” I returned.
“O.k., I guess. There’s a lot of pretty women running around here ain’t they.”
“Yeah… I guess …” I said as I saw two ladies who would probably blow you if you owned one of those new V W bugs coming out of the ladies room rubbing their Rudolf like noses.
“I’ve asked a bunch of them to dance but nobody wants to,” my newfound brother in awkwardness quipped. “Well, good luck man… See ya later,” I told him feeling good that I met someone in this god-forsaken place that didn’t call me Big-Guy. Then I ran into this gentleman and accidentally made him spill his beer. “Sorry, man,” I said sincerely. “Let me get you another.” “That’s o.k… you’re bigger than me …no prob… Big-Guy” “FUCK!” I yelled leaving that guy a little’ more than just puzzled.
The night was a total wash out…. and I was trying to come up with a good lie that I could tell Tracy… ya’ know the kind… the kind that you tell someone you care for deeply so you won’t hurt their feelings. Like, “No. Really. Grandma, I would love to have some hogs head cheese but I just had these stomach staples put in and I don’t want them to bust open.” Or, “No. Honey, I don’t mind you tying me up and clamping a battery charger to my testicles, but I left my batteries at the office and I don’t have enough gas to go back and get them.”
As I finally came up with a good lie and as soon as the first syllable was escaping my lips…
In she walked.
“Oh, glorious muse, grant me the ability to wrap wisdom around my tongue and let forth the nectar of eloquence to…to… ahhh, fuck it.” Really what could be said…. the same tired old clichés that are passed around like a funnel at a frat party. No, I don’t want to do her that injustice.
She kind of looked like Penelope Anne Miller, blonde hair, straight not quite shoulder length. She was wearing a tight, black dress that came about two inches above the knee with a split up the side that in itself would have made her a very pretty woman, but it was the way she flowed across the room . Space liquefied and blurred around her and I saw her with a focus so keen that I doubted my senses.
“Scottie … Come dance with me.” Tracy pleaded. As she dragged me across the dance floor, I looked over at the bar and saw the red ball cap of my brother in awkwardness. He gave me the thumbs up. I wanted to tell him, “No….no… no… You got it all wrong this is family,” but I don’t think that would have made a difference. In North Georgia, there are three dances that are acceptable to people of my ilk: 1. air guitar to a song, 2. head banging and/or Foot Tapping, and 3. the lame ass Caucasian/Bruce Springsteen “Dancing in the Dark” routine.
Looking around at my so-called contemporaries, I knew 1 and 2 was out of the question. As I was shaking my groove thing, my dear sweet cousin, who I still pictured as an 11 year old brat was more up to date on the latest dance steps, started gyrating in front of me. I’m in over my head; I thought and was praying to God that this was one of those 30 second songs that are so popular with the youngins. Point: 4 minutes later I was able to leave the dance floor and go and hide in a dark corner somewhere. Then I noticed “The Woman” again. She was playing darts and I could never think of a time when that game was so alluring to me. As she went to retrieve her darts, I noticed that her left foot came up ever so slightly off the floor as she looked behind her over her shoulder and gave her partner a smile that would have made even the sternest and most jaded of men to turn into that buzzard off the Bugs Bunny cartoon.
I sat and witnessed the rest of the night, nursing my third Killian’s, listening to really bad karaoke…. and watching. Not stalking mind you, just admiring.
As the night came to a close and Tracy getting closer to knowing the vomit fairy I noticed that “The Woman” was getting ready to leave. “O.k… if you don’t do it now… you’ll regret it for the rest of your life,” I said to myself.
“Excuse me,” I said sheepishly.
“Yes,” she turned and answered.
Do or die, Scott.
“I just have to say you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.” There I said it.
And with the same smile she gave her partner she said, “Thank you.”
And then I walked.