Thursday, October 20, 2005

A post about Matthew Lesko's suit goes way off track (like that's a big surprise here...)

I saw him again today at the coffee shop. He wasn't there when I arrived. I had walked in from the cold rain after getting my flu shot at the Kentlands Giant store (where I must have been the only needle victim under 70) and headed straight for the ladies room. Not that you needed to know that, but it serves to prove the fact that I spend too much time there. When I walked out, having not yet ordered anything, the barista had a large mocha latte ready for me.

Apparently, I am a creature of habit. I'm also living on deficit spending now, so I'm glad I have frequent caffeine addict's loyalty points to cover my Mayorga addiction. I settled into a big leather chair at the back of the cafe, nursed my coffee, and tried to focus on the coverage of Tom and Katie's Scientology space clam monster fetus in People Magazine. But, alas, I was too distracted by other stuff going on in my skull to worry much about whether or not Katie screams throughout her drug-free labor. I had my cell phone out, willing it to ring with a job offer.

No such luck.

Finally, I hauled my ass out of the comfy chair to hit the road. And that's when I saw him. The Lesko. In his favorite spot - the leather couch & chair corner up front by the door. Today, his bright colors were replaced with something a little more low-key for him: a black suit with hot pink question marks, a hot pink shirt & tie, and truly hideous hot pink duck-type shoes. I guess this is what the Riddler would wear to a funeral. He was having an animated cell phone conversation, hands waving in the air.

I opted to not wave hello this time. I just got in my car and started the drive home, watching the gas gauge and considering buying another lottery ticket. I understand why the poor buy lottery tickets. It's a little thrill of hope. I bought a scratcher. I lost on all 15 possible wins. Hopefully, tomorrow will bring a fruitful phonecall. That'd be better than a lottery ticket any old day, and I could use some good news before this month is out.

In 12 days, on November 1st, I turn 40. It would be nice to be re-employed by then. (It would also be nice to have a million dollars and Julian McMahon as my cabana boy.)

Most of y'all who read my blog are younger than I am. What do you want to do for your 40th birthday? What do you hope to have done by that date?

I've been to 27 countries. Lived in three (well, four if you count Russia and the Soviet Union as separate entities.)

I've seen Mt. Ararat and touched the Rosetta Stone (I'm lucky I didn't get my ass kicked by museum security), crossed the Nile in a felucca, and put my hand in the Boca della Verita.

I've been held at gunpoint multiple times in Russia. I've been mugged at knifepoint in Thailand. I've been arrested for disturbing the peace in Uzbekistan and smuggled into Kazakhstan without proper papers.

I've stood at the foot of Air Force One as the president deplaned for a summit, with the lights of the world press illuminating us. (Which was incredibly thrilling.)

I've been in the same room with 7 U.S. presidents (spoken to two - Nixon in person, Clinton over the phone) and I've stood at the podium in the White House Press Room and sat in the president's chair in the West Wing situation room. (Silly, sure - but cool to do!)

I was offered a job by a music industry executive at the bar in the Hard Rock Cafe in London on my 21st birthday in 1986. (I turned him down. That's one of the great "what-if" moments of my life.)

I worked for Gopher from "The Love Boat." (He's one of my employment references.)

I've written for the radio, but I've never been published in a real magazine or written a book.

I saw the Soviet Union fall, incredibly up close and in person.

I witnessed a murder so close my shoes were spattered with the victim's blood.

I held my father's hand as he died.

I missed my mother's death by an hour.

I've seen and heard things I can't explain scientifically. (Sorry, Penn & Teller.)

I've done a lot of stupid things, and a few smart ones.

I've been in love, but no one has ever been in love with me.

I have regrets, fears, and a lot of challenges in my life. Right now, I'm in a pretty dark place, but I hope things get better. Regardless of what the future holds, I cannot say I have not lived in these 40 years. I have the scars to prove it all.

Make sure you have some scars, too, before you turn 40. Don't live in a bubble. Get dirty. Love someone - even if they don't love you back (just don't go into restraining order territory, okay?) Have an adventure or two or three. Take pictures. Write about it. And treat people with decency whenever possible.

And remember...

It's not the years, honey - it's the mileage.


alwswrite said...

Right now, I'm willing to bet, someone is in love with you and you have no idea. It's not the first time and it won't be the last. Regardless of who declares his feelings and who keeps them under wraps, know that you have been worshipped.

Your experience inspires me. And there are so many wonderful things in store for you... Don't stop writing about them, I can't wait to watch them unfold.

suze said...

you certainly have LIVED, and i have no doubt there are multitudes of experiences left for you out there.

i agree with aj in that you are one of the most impressive people i 'know' (in a virtual way). and i agree with alwayswrite in that you've been worshipped before, and probably are now.

Merujo said...

I'm never quite sure what to say when someone compliments me. I'm more than a little socially awkward that way. But thank you all for the nice words.

AJ - if I make it out to L.A. in January, as I hope, I'll buy ya a drink (or something from Baja Fresh) and then you'll see I'm less impressive (and yet larger) in the flesh!

Always Write and Suze - thank you - if anyone is in love with me, I wish they'd just up and say it! (Of course, right now, my head would probably pop right off my body. Just a stress reaction.) And I'll keep sharing the stories as long as people want to hear them. :-)

Kuzmich-chik - isn't it weird to know someone for so long and yet have only scratched the surface on who they are? I think it's more common than we'd expect.

And Gina - if you ever find yourself in DC, I'll take you to my favorite coffee place and we Scorpios can share some war stories. I see you as a woman with a treasure trove of stories yet to tell...

I have so many weird stories - I actually left one of the few Yahoo groups I ever spent time in because people thought I was making up all my oddball stories. But they are frighteningly true.

Cyn said...

Not to ignore the bulk of your post, but YIKES -- Matthew Lesko! -- when I was a radio show producer in the late 80's we used to do regular segments with him. To use the word "character" to describe him is an understatement...although I'd like to know where he got that suit.

Merujo said...

He has more than a dozen of those suits - each one in a different garish color combination! Terrifying, ain't it?

Claire said...

Wow. I'm rather impressed with your life though I'd pass on all the gunpoint experiences if possible. I used to think 35 was when I'd have it all together, but as it gets closer, the deadline may end up shifted to 40, or more likely abandoned entirely.

Other than travel abroad, I'm not sure what I'd like to accomplish by 40. Own a house, find work to invest my time in that I enjoy and pays enough so that I don't feel like a slave. I'd be all for winning the lottery too, but sadly did not win power ball last week even though I drove across the state line to get tickets. I should've bought gas instead.

Hang in there, Merujo.

Shafa said...


I wanna be just like you when I grow up, Merujo...

Merujo said...

Claire, I bought Powerball tickets, too. $5 worth. I did hit the Powerball number itself, so I get $3 back at least!

Dariush - I wouldn't trade any of those experiences for the world - good, bad, and ugly, they've helped create who I am. And who I am is someone who's still baking. I'm not sure if I'll ever be done. Just think what amazing possibilities are ahead of you, youngin'! :-)

Spencer said...

What a beautiful post. I worry that I haven't done enough in my life. I have lived within 15 mile radius of my current house my entire life. I've been to two countries beyond the U.S. (Canada and Ireland). I have a lot of "what-ifs" in my life and at 37 am not that far behind you in age. I envy and admire everything you've done.

Tell you what though - there's an entire lifetime and whole lot left to do for all of us. Something tells me when you do this post at 60 we'll be even more amazed.