Everyday Life, Fiction

Episode 47 – Cross-Cultural

“Your pants have a hole in them,” I say to Denny, as I pull his pants out of the washing machine and put them in the dryer. I’m wondering if I should dry a pair of pants with a hole in them.

“Which ones?”

“These,” I take them out for him to see.

“Do I still have another pair? Or do they have a hole in them too?”

I grab the other pair, thinking to myself that Denny never has two pairs of jeans in the laundry at one time. I check the crotch, “This one is starting too,”

“I guess it’s time to buy a new pair of jeans.”

If I bought clothes the way Denny buys clothes we could probably afford that annual tropical vacation I dream about. Add the cost of skin care, hair care and make-up and we definitely could. It doesn’t take much for a woman to spend three hundred bucks. One trip to the salon. One outfit. A couple pairs of shoes.

Last week I went to a clothing boutique were two staff took a lot of time with me. I was their only customer and they put together three sets of clothing, complete with boots and two pairs of shoes. They were so sweet and helpful, I couldn’t just walk out. Besides, you don’t get that kind of assistance every day.

Denny is getting undressed in front of me in the living room. He must be going to the gym.

“Hey, sexy man.”

He looks at me with glee.

“Hey, people can see inside here,” I exclaim. The living room blinds are partially open and he’s taking this a bit further than I thought.

“They can’t see inside here now.”

OK, Denny. I want to believe you. Maybe you are right.

I once walked by our condominium and, no kidding, I saw a woman pull her shirt off. I looked away really quickly. The lights were on inside, and it was night. It’s daylight now, so they probably can’t see.

“How’s the fanny pack working out?”

“So far I think it’s perfect. I can put my phone in there, and my card. I can probably even put my keys in there, although I usually put them in my pocket. In the gym I just have it like this,” he shows me how it’s off to the side.

“Unisex?” It looks a bit feminine to me.

“You want sex?”

“Unisex. Do you think it’s unisex?” I stifle my laughter.

“I wouldn’t be ashamed to use it if I was you. Even though I’ve used it,” Denny’s eyes always get a bit wide when he knows he’s being funny.

“OK, I’m going to the gym,” he tells me as he opens the door into the hallway.

“Have fun.”

It’s a gray day out there. Probably a really nice day, though. The sky is completely one color of gray. For some reason I can’t explain, I don’t want winter to end so quickly this year. This has never happened to me before. I never seem to be able to wait for spring. This year I love the bare trees. I have a fascination with branches, configurations of different branches on trees. I could be a tree artist.

Denny walks to the gym. It’s a small gym. I tried it. We live in an multicultural neighborhood and there were only men in the gym. I only went there once.

I tried the community wave pool once too. I think I draw attention to myself with my white skin and blue eyes and fair hair. It feels like the men are looking at me, even when they’re not.

Denny enjoys the cross-cultural experience. “I like your shirt,” Denny told me a young, buff-looking guy took his earphones out of his ears to tell him that he liked his shirt. It was his ‘mosquito bomber’ shirt. Huge mosquitoes diving like bombers honing in on a target. It’s a Manitoba shirt his parents got him.

Denny refuses to wear his free college shirt. He works at a college campus and fixes toilets and cleans out sink drains, among other things. I finally gave the shirt to the thrift store. He has another free t-shirt he wears. He got it when he did a children’s music gig with a local performer at a music festival on an island off the coast boasting a population of one hundred and seventy-five.

The performer also did security for movie sets and worked as a clown. You meet interesting people in the music industry.

Musicians and performers, I’ve concluded, need an audience. It’s a life source for them.

Denny has a gig one week from now. Our kids asked if we could babysit then, but he can’t. He is performing. A rotary event. With this band I notice there isn’t the same synergy he had with his last band.

I was going to take the orange t-shirt he used to perform with the clown to the thrift store, but he thinks he might need it again. Maybe he’ll be invited to the island again.

I tell Denny to get a kids show of his own going. He could do it.

Denny doesn’t think so.

“You do it every week,” put on a show, I tell him.

“But that’s different.”

OK. I’m not sure I get it.

But then, I’m not Denny.

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