February 27, 2006

Moving Day

Okay, so, about a month ago or so, my girlfriend's dad got into a car accident, basically crushing his ankle, breaking a hip, and cracking a couple of ribs. For those of us familiar with his horrific driving skills, the accident didn't come as that much of a surprise, although the fact he wasn't wearing his seat belt was a little unexpected. But anyway. The point is, his ability to move around has pretty much been on hold ever since the crash.

While her dad has been receiving medical care, my girlfriend has been made his power of attorney, so she's been running all over the place, trying to figure out her dad's scattered financial dealings, while at the same time visiting him in the hospital at first, and now the interim nursing home where he's undergoing rehabilitation therapy. All of this in addition to her regular job, which means we haven't seen a lot of each other over the past few weeks.

Okay, so that's been the situation.

Now, for those of you who don't already know, Melissa's dad is gay, and in the time I've been dating Melissa, he's had three different boyfriends. His latest boyfriend, Tony, has been on the scene now for about four months or so.

As with the other boyfriends he's seen over the years, Tony struck me as a little bit odd during our first meeting, and my estimation of the man during subsequent meetings has not improved. Something I've noticed about people who may harbor mental instabilities is that those instabilities manifest themselves in subtle little ways that make little warning bells go off in my head, so I approach such people warily, like an unknown dog that seems friendly and wants to be pet, but there's something there telling you to keep your distance.

My suspicions about Tony notwithstanding, he offerred to move down to Rochester from the Cities to help care for Melissa's dad, which sounded great at first, because Melissa's been run ragged. But then little warning bells started going off in my head yet again.

I should note here that Tony receives disability checks because he's suffered from seizures since he was 17. Now, at 39, he augments his monthly disability checks by cleaning a few houses and, I suspect, through the occasional pot sale. Because of the seizures, Tony is not allowed to drive, which meant that, if he was going to move to Rochester, Melissa and I would have to transport the man and any necessary U-Hauls. Which, by the way, Melissa had to pay for the U-Haul rental because Tony couldn't afford such a thing. But, the promise of having in-house care for Melissa's dad provided by Tony made the rental price seem worth it.

So, we arrived at Tony's apartment in the Cities Saturday afternoon to begin the move. Tony greeted us outside and immediately voiced his concern that the U-Haul may not be big enough for his needs. He mentioned something about a "55 gallon," and his three corn plants.

We trudged up the stairs to his apartment, a dimly lit place that looked almost exactly like every college apartment I ever lived in. The air was thick with the smell of cigarette smoke, since Tony is a faily heavy smoker. Then, Tony started giving directions, and the directions immediately struck me as incredibly odd.

"You can start by taking those two $200 pictures down," he said. "You can also take that $100 picture and that $400 night stand."

Now, as stated, the apartment had a decidedly dingy quality to it, so hearing dollar amounts ascribed to things that struck me as kind of crappy seemed very bizarre.

After returning from the U-Haul, I found Tony showing Melissa his collection of full cans of beer, which he said were extremely valuable because they were air-tight and factory defects. I decided not to ask for further clarification and instead started moving his collection of roughly 4 gazillion plants. Every plant I picked up came complete with a thorough explanation of what the plant was, how much he paid for it, and why it was special. I thought it would have been far more helpful if Tony was, instead, helping us move stuff rather than explaining what everything was, which I didn't really care much about.

Thankfully, Tony enlisted the help of three people who lived in the downstairs apartment, one of whom was a 16-year-old who--Tony told Melissa in confidence--created a way to make marijuana twice as potent. Which was great and all, but I was more interested in his lifting and moving abilities.

Eventually, Tony trotted out his pride and joy "corn" plants, which weren't really corn plants but some sort of tropical tree-like things with leaves resembling corn leaves. These things were HUGE, over 7 feet in height, and planted in pots the size of five gallon pails.

Finally, we had to move the "55 gallon," which turned out to be an aquarium, except that this particular version was set up as a shallow lake environment, which meant it smelled like crap and, though it was drained, still weighed about as much as a car. Tony pulled a bunch of plants up and out of the mucky bottom and informed us that each plant cost about $50. I was left thinking that I could have pulled them from the bottom of the Mississippi for free.

A final item was wrapped extra careful and put in Melissa's VW Jetta back seat. Without asking, we learned that it was a $500 red jade dragon, whatever the hell that meant.

The plan was for Melissa to drive the U-Haul, while I followed in her Jetta. Tony seemed very anxious when Melissa asked him to ride in the U-Haul with her. Not knowing the Cities as well as she thought Tony did, it seemed like he'd be able to give directions.

As it turns out, the reason Tony appeared so anxious was because he absolutely detests women drivers which, according to Melissa, he mentioned about 12 times on the trip down to Rochester. Although, to be fair, at the end of the journey he mentioned that Melissa was a better driver than he had feared. Also, he believes in God, with the caveat that he thinks God is probably an alien. Melissa also learned that, prior to our arrival that afternoon, Tony had polished off a 12 pack of beer and smoked some pot, which went a long way towards explaining why he wasn't that enthusiastic of a mover.

Additional information offered up by Tony included a mention that he was a black belt in a "martial art that's illegal to teach in America," and that, if you kicked a man in the groin, do so in a upward sweep, because he'll likely pass out before he hits the ground.

There was much, much more, but I think I've provided enough of a background to allow you to postulate the nature of his mental disorder or disorders.

Posted by Ryan at February 27, 2006 05:32 PM | TrackBack

Man, this city is full of people like that. He's yours now. Good luck trying to return him!

Posted by: Tim at February 28, 2006 12:41 AM

Evidently my dad is alive and well and porking your girlfriend's dad in the midwest.

Posted by: Joshua at February 28, 2006 06:13 AM

...so to speak.

Posted by: Joshua at February 28, 2006 06:14 AM

There's a lot of dysfunction in the gay community. (I apologize for using the word "community", but it's the only one that fits. God, I hate that word.) We're a troubled bunch.

Not that straight people aren't troubled, but gay people seem to have an extra dose of problems. Usually exacerbated with chemicals.

Posted by: Keith at February 28, 2006 08:30 AM

You know, Joshua, as I was following behind the U-Haul back to Rochester, I starting thinking about the stories you've related about your dad, and it definitely crossed my mind that their were similarities.

Bonus Tony Oddity: The next day, while Melissa was taking Tony to see her dad, Tony was talking about how he expected her dad to leave him the duplex and all his jewelry. Creeeeeepyyyyy.

Posted by: Ryan at February 28, 2006 09:28 AM

I am not sure I would ever answer the phone when Melissa's family calls....although the family does provide great blog stories for you.

Posted by: Mandy at February 28, 2006 03:09 PM

I was waiting for the financial/will/inheritance punchline. I'm sure Tony saw a great opportunity. Good luck getting rid of him.

Posted by: margaret at February 28, 2006 03:57 PM

Holy shit Ryan! I know this is a "you can't make this shit up" story but...wow, i'm secretly hoping you were. i second what everyone said; including you. oh, well except the part about "there's a lot of dysfunction in the gay community." i take issue with that.* there's a lot of dysfunction in the WORLD!

They've been dating for only 4 months!?! ...and he's moving in? ...AND expecting a duplex and jewelry? J.F.C.!! he'll be a GREAT caretaker! *rolls eyes*

sorry to say my friend, you've got some misery on your hands. the best we can do is pray that he gets bored down there and wants to come back to the cities.

oh by the way... i notice that you haven't mentioned Melissa setting this guy "straight." do not let this 'mo* run you/Melissa over. (call me, i'll tell you how to deal with him! >:-)


* disclosure: i'm gay

Posted by: Joseph at February 28, 2006 09:37 PM

Joseph's gay? Who knew?

We'll just have to see how this plays out. I have serious concerns about Tony (not his real name), but Melissa's dad has dated weird men before. The jewelry and duplex thing is the scariest part. But, again, we'll just have to see how things play out.

Posted by: Ryan at March 1, 2006 12:38 PM

As a daily "strip mining…" reader, I must confess that I immediately thought of Joshua's father as well. I was trying to determine how much in poor taste it would be to point out the similarities until Josh showed up and made the joke himself. God, I love the internet.

Posted by: Sean at March 1, 2006 04:30 PM
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