Tuesday, February 16, 2010


In line at the burrito place, waiting outside the burrito place for our order to be filled, the diner on Sunday mornings, poking around antique shops, walking down every block in a 3 mile radius of my place, the ubiquitous middle-aged single women stroll, and set their sights on my man.

Well, he’s not my man. He was once, but never for that long. There was always another middle aged single lady lying in wait – like the one that owned the ever so hip bakery in the neighborhood. He was always delivering wedding cakes for her, he said it was innocent, that they were just friends. It seemed her delivery van was always breaking down and he was the only one with the Midas touch for delivering baked goods. Pretty soon I saw his pick up truck parked in front of that bakery every time I drove by. And soon after that, I’d see her behind the wheel of his truck with no Cal in sight – me standing at the sidewalk getting a hit by a face full of exhaust – the giant a poof of finely sifted cake flour choking my lungs.

That was years ago, she ended up being with him, but everything ended abruptly when she cleared out one of his drawers to make a combo pantie/sock drawer for herself. Cal is a man who’s blood runs cold at the sight of a woman’s toothbrush, yet he used to break down doors and haul dangerous organized crime characters off to jail. Fearless against the city’s most dangerous element, testifying against violent criminals in court and returning to his home that was listed in the white pages, full address plain as day. Yet women's toiletries sent him running like a little girl to the folds of a mother’s skirt.

Oddly, this is one of the reasons why I sort of loved him. Maybe because it ensured the fact that no one woman would be around too long. Women like to roost, what’s the old joke; what do two lesbians bring to a first date? A U-Haul Truck! Women tend to be nesters, and Cal looked like he was a prime candidate. Well mannered, respectful, a good listener, a houseful of antiques and well-tended-to houseplants. It was the perfect cover, only it wasn’t a cover, it was who Cal was. And single middle-aged women fell for it every time.

He would make an old fashioned “howdy ma’am” nod to almost every woman we passed on Main Street, I would picture him whittling notches on his antique oak headboard with each gestured hello.

That was years ago, and now he couldn’t be more important in my life; I have made peace with all the other single middle aged women on the street, our burrito place, even the lady with the bakery who he still refers to as a “rock star”. I know of every woman from his past – some are still around – the one with the fucked up kid who can’t stay out of rehab, the one in social services, the one who knows how to use a circular saw, I’m good with them all, although we’ve never met.

For therein lies the secret to winning Survivor on The Lost Island of Middle-aged Broads. I understand that all these other middle-aged women are part and parcel of being Cal; I sit by his fire listening to their stories – sometimes I feel for them as though they were friends.

Why is he worth my friendship, my time, this story? He will always be that fearless cop I first fell in love who brought down the bad guys and who more often than not would leave his weapon at home because I knew he secretly believed that guns were for scaredy-cats. I love him for his antique birdhouses, his pretty glass lamps, they way he shoots off on his motorcycle as the yellow light turns red. He’s bad-ass, collects pretty seashells – I even love his fear of women's toothbrushes – it doesn’t scare me anymore.


  1. Hmm, this raises so many questions. But for now I'll just mention that a person you fixed me up with who shall remain nameless dumped me when I bought him a toothbrush. Dumb mistake. Or maybe not...

  2. I'm glad you brought your Oral-B elsewhere. ;)

  3. It’s about time “Cal” appeared here. Your affection for him comes shining through.

  4. Yep, "Cal" isn't much for press. The guy's entire childhood is revealed in a best selling book, now details of his adult life exposed in this minimal exposure venue... what's an anti-hero to do? I just hope he'll speak to me after he reads it. :)
    Especially since I named him "Cal"... really??

  5. At least you've learned your lesson about FULL disclosure.

  6. I should have made "Cal" a heroic sanitation worker who likes arranging dried flowers who's afraid of home made lasagna. I'm slowly coming around to switching it up so nobody knows who I'm in like with. :)