Thursday, April 3, 2008

5 People I *Don't* Want to Meet in Heaven

I'm really not prone to dwelling about what happens in the hereafter, but I couldn't resist writing a list about the folks I don't want to see "upstairs" after I reading the same in Art Buchwald's last book. He not only writes about who he specifically doesn't want to encounter in Heaven, but what activities he won't do with them there if they happen to share the same space.

Here's my list:

1. My grade-school swim coach. He was mean. I can still see him pacing back and forth in the bleachers at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Natatorium. He'd have this scrunched-up look on his face; his arms folded over his barrel-shaped belly. He'd yell and scream at us scrawny swimmers. "Faster!" and "Go! Go! Go!" He really wanted me to do a flip turn at the end of the pool so I could compete in races. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't master that under-water somersault. I'd do my breaststroke: scoop, scoop, scoop the water, my head bobbing up and down in the water as approached The End. Then I'd panic. I actually felt claustrophobic. I'd get all twisted up at the tiled wall. I'd swallow some water trying to do the flip. I said forget competing. I'm not doing this. So I didn't, to some regret. Oddly enough, I can do the flip turn now. I couldn't learn under pressure. I'm certain my coach, who was already advanced in his years, has beat me to the Finish Line Above. Still we are not swimming in the same pool. Ever. We're not going to share pina coladas at a warm-report. We're not going to talk about purchasing an infinity pool.

2. My swing-dance instructor. He's still alive, but thankfully doesn't live nearby. I'll admit I had a crush on him. His footwork was divine, his attire, vintage. He had the whole 1930s handsome man look down pat. I'd get flustered around him, of course, yet I was brave enough to give him a jar of homemade jam I made. Much later, he gave me an old 1930s print of two thin ladies in the Art Deco dresses; the print actually had two fabric swatches on it. The idea was that whoever saw the fabric would want to make the pictured outfits. Admittedly, my crush went in overtime at this point. Oh, he must like me!!!!When I invited him to a hat event at a local French brasserie, he was so cold I ended up calling up a girlfriend in tears mid-way through the event. He wouldn't talk or even look at me at subsequent dances. I was invisible to him! So if he makes it upstairs (and I'm thinking he won't) we're definitely not going to do the cha-cha, the balboa, the lindy hop or the foxtrot even if I'm the last woman available. We're also not going to any flea markets. That's that. Let him suffer in the presence of St. Peter, if that's possible.

3. Guy who damaged my Hyudai Excel. This is more than 10 years ago. I was driving westbound on a late rainy afternoon. Lights were on, roads were slick. Motorist in the eastbound lane spins out into the westbound side inexplicably. The car he struck hit mine, and so on, causing a four-car collision. My auto had minor damages and was still operable. His? Totalled. I didn't even see what he looked like, he was carted away in an ambulance so quickly. No one seem to know why he turned when he did. For a long time, I couldn't drive in the lane closest to oncoming traffic. It was too traumatic. I blame that mysterious man for that. So if he's in Heaven? We're not going to share a car ride anywhere; we're not going to retro automobile shows and he's not allowed to park his vehicle anywhere near mine.

4. Editor at downtown publication. She wasn't my first one at this particular job. But she was toughest one to please. She'd come from a law newsy. So she knew how to write. Her double-chin would get all bent out of shape when I split infinitives in my copy. She said that simply wasn't done and wrote so in my evaluations after I was put on probation (you see where this is going). I'd have to sit in her office and listen to all of this while she nervously would play with a pencil. Soon enough, it was bye-bye and I was out like trout. No job. For the longest time, I couldn't bring myself to write. I was no good. I spent my time washing windows for my mom, earning some cash. A freelance article (assigned) ended the drought, and I was back to writing with some confidence. So if Ms. editor is at top of the stairs? We're not attending writing conferences together, we're not writing or editing the same periodical, and she's not allowed to be in the same bookstore if I arrive first.

5. Glenbrook South High School driving instructor. He flunked me because he said I was a danger on the road. All because I cut someone off a little too soon once when we were on the road together. I also had trouble parallel parking. So while I aced the written part of the class, I failed the actual driving. I was so embarrassed. What would I tell my friends? I couldn't tell the truth. So I told a lie. I said my parents wouldn't let me drive. I had to wait a whole year before I could take this summer-class again (my private school didn't offer this luxury and our family didn't have the budget for one-one-one lessons). I passed. Oddly enough, I've yet to get a driving-related ticket. So if Mr. Hot Shot instructor is on the Top Floor, we're not going to same DMV for our celestial licenses; we're not sharing any vehicle to the latter, and we're certainly not taken any courses together. No way, Jose!

So. What five humans do you not want to see in Heaven? If they're there, what are you not doing together? Feel free to write a post on the topic on your blog, leave a link on mine, or write the whole shebang right here!
* By the way, I still don't have my hands on the latest Burda. I did go to the newsstand yesterday. They had the Spanish version. I didn't do better at the fabric store today. The older issue was still there. Oh well. There's always next week.

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