September 13, 2008


Stepping up onto a local bus last night, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of Ellen L. sitting close to the front. At precisely that same moment, she jerked her head in another direction, presumably so our eyes wouldn't meet. I sailed past and planted myself towards the rear, watching the back of her motionless form for about ten minutes, until she disembarked.

Once upon a time Ellen and I'd been great gym pals: We laughed, we gossiped, we exchanged training tips, we went to eat afterwards. Then I mucked things up in a big way. She'd been wetting her whistle at the water fountain and I made an inappropriate gesture.

See, I'd been under the misguided impression that we shared a certain camaraderie that permitted some amount of benign physicality. But benign schmenign: she exploded, ripping into me like I'd squandered her life savings on the lottery.

This occured twenty-plus years ago. I'd never before been hollered at with such ferocity (and I probably haven't been since).

I grew up real quick that afternoon. After Ellen finished her tirade - in the middle of the gym, no less - I summoned all the grave sincerity my naively immature self could muster. I took her aside for a talk and made an impromptu little speech professing my profound regret.

I explained how I knew what I'd done was disrespectful of her and the entire female gender (which was likely what she needed to hear). I told her I'd learned an important life lesson I'd carry with me for the rest of my days (which I have). I asked what I could do to make things right again (which was nothing, apparently).

Quite a mouthful for the young Tank. Just as I'd never been yelled at, neither had I felt the compulsion to make such a significant and genuine statement to another human being (two milestones for the price of one). All things considered, I thought I'd handled the gaffe pretty well.

But there was Ellen last night, all these years later, perched at the front of the bus, too proud or too scared or too stubborn to even nod. Seems I'm still a wretched ogre, a despicable creature, a misogynist of the first order - to the degree that she can't bear to look in my direction. Ellen's the skeleton in my closet.


Don't cry for me, readers. Water under the bridge and all that. I guess there'll always be people and circumstances I'll never understand. Poor Ellen L.

The incident does, however, represent a third milestone in the life of the now not-so-young Tank: being the object of intense personal animosity, deserved or not. Kinda weirds me out.


tornwordo said...

This town really is small isn't it? I bet she's a spinster though.

Lollygagger said...

fuck that ugly cunt, her bony asian ass is probably longing for pinches now

michael sean morris said...

I feel nothing but sad for people without the capacity to forgive; the fact that she's unwilling to believe you could have changed, grown, or matured in two decades means she hasn't - since most people mistakenly assume everyone else is exactly like them.

It's things like this that sometimes make me want to leave Vancouver, since I've got my living ghosts here too (no doubt like we all do, wherever we live).

SharkBoy said...

Sad to say, but you are probably better off not having shared more adventures with her, imagine how bad things would have been had a surprise ending like this happened another 10 years in the "friendship". She is obviously unstable and incapable of sharing feelings, life, friendship properly. Somewhere, alone, she's sitting wishing for friends.

Mark in DE said...

There are some things that just have no solution.

BTW, where's that more recent photo of you? You should post THAT on your blog.

Mark :-)

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Those kind of moments stay with us forever. Because we really are sensitive, we feel them more than the perpetrators, and we never forget them. Force yourself into perspective. That's what I try to do.