Oct 10, 2010

The Hammock & the Zippo

The summer between University and my post-graduate studies, I once again moved back home – which saved me cash, but lost some sanity and freedom – it was a necessary trade-off. I had landed a job bartending at the 4-star restaurant just around the corner from my house – great score! On my first night, I was out having a smoke on my break and one of the hottest guys I have ever met came to join me, and he was friendly. Right then, I really, really liked my new job! He was like a version of Ray Liotta with his piercing blue eyes, but with softer features, better skin and a whole lot of yummy goodness. Even my mother had a hard time sucking back her drool when she came into the restaurant one day and met him. Yes... he was THAT hot.

In my usual fashion, Carter and I hit it off right away and we even started to hang out outside of work. He was a couple years older than I was, so I took that into consideration when I dropped shameless hints about my true feelings and he didn’t respond. Carter must have known how I felt – he was a lot more worldly than most of the younger guys I had been interested in, so I concluded that he was indeed aware, but wasn’t interested. I still kept hanging out with him for a while though but it was difficult to not come off as ‘stalkerish’; he was like a drug and I constantly wanted a fix. Just being in his presence gave me this awesome high and I loved the feeling of it – even if it was only one-sided.

Surprisingly, this story isn’t actually about him, but I had to set the scene. We had been working together for about 3 months at this point, and there was a summer-end staff party at one of the employee’s farm. It wasn’t a huge gathering – maybe 20 people at the most – and the handful of us herbal enthusiasts easily found each other. There were about 4 of us and we gravitated to this fantastically quaint twin hammock set that were hung between 3 trees, away from the rest of the party. I had brought my lucky Zippo with me, as it had been everywhere else with me for the better part of a decade, but as we were smoking pipes, my Zippo was of no use so it got demoted to my back pocket. Carter and I cosily shared one of the hammocks like 2 stoned peas in a pod. Others came and went, but the two of us stayed there for a long while, together. In my fantasy universe, it was actually a pretty romantic setting and all it needed to be complete was for him to lean in and plant a big juicy one on me – but of course that didn’t happen.

When I got home I realized that my Zippo was gone. Shit! I really loved it. It had a magic mushroom on one side and my name engraved on the back. It must have fallen out of my back pocket when we were on the hammock. I quickly called the host of the party the next day and he was able to complete my sentences.

“Did you happen to find a Zippo by th...”

“By the hammocks? YES! And I’m afraid that I ran over it with my ride along lawnmower and gave me quite the fright!”

“Oh, I’m so sorry! By any chance did it happen to survive the lawn...”

“The lawnmower? Are you kidding? It’s in about 4 mangled pieces.”

“And just to make sure that it’s mine, can you make out what was on it?”

“Yes, it looks like it used to be a mushroom of some sort. Is that right?”

“Yes, that’s right. Thanks anyway. You can just throw it out if you haven’t already.”

I was dejected; it was one of the few objects of mine that I truly loved and felt a genuinely strong owner-to-object bond with it. I didn’t want to buy a new one; my Zippo days were done. I needed to quit smoking anyway.

About 6 months had past and I was going through my ‘junk drawer’. I rarely went through it – it was like all the crap that I didn’t use but still didn’t want to throw out just yet. I can’t even remember what I was doing in there to begin with, but while I was sifting through it I found an old blue bandana – I hadn’t worn it in a few years and it was tucked away in the back. Underneath the bandana was my Zippo – completely intact and as shiny as the day I bought it. I have absolutely no reasonable explanation as to what happened. It really freaked me out and even though I maintain to this day that it was truly my lucky Zippo, I never used it again.

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