Correctional Officer (CO) broke up my marriage.

Well, he was the final nail in the coffin which contained my marriage.  I don’t blame him in any way.  For a long time I blamed myself, and punished myself accordingly.  But the end of my marriage was just a change in the relationship with the Ex.  I am proud that the Ex and I are still friends because I love him so much.  He still drives me fucking nuts sometimes, but I love him and want him to always be in my life.

I met CO on May 31, 2007.  There are several reasons I remember this.  One is that it was the day after my birthday.

I had spent my birthday at a goddamn Applebee’s (which deserves a mention only as an illustration of the sheer shit factor of that birthday) because that was the best dining option.  I was in a shit town in northeast California (that deserves no mention whatsoever) for work.  I was bored as fuck because there was nothing to do.  Towns like that are why people do meth.  If I had had to stay there much longer, I probably would’ve given meth a try because the town was so utterly dull.

My big birthday party was at the Applebee’s bar, where I ate a shitty “salad,” and had only one drink because I had to drive.  One of the many reasons I love living in San Francisco is that I don’t have to drive to get shit done, and I can drink a whole lot without worrying about how I’m going to get home.  I don’t even have a car; I rent out my space for fun and profit (that’s a fun double entendre).  I had no interest in being arrested for drunk driving in that crap town.  To be fair, I have no interest in being arrested for any reason in any place.

During the week I was there I had finished reading two books, watched too much tv, gone on pointless un-scenic drives, went to the mall where the anchor stores were Sears and Hot Topic, and experienced a lot of spiritless tedium.  I did discover Cash Cab on that trip, and I met Correctional Officer, so it wasn’t a complete–if billable–waste of time.

The night after my birthday I decided I was going to try to have some actual fun, or whatever could approximate fun there.  I went to the town’s one “fancy” restaurant; the one about which everyone I spoke to gushed.  It was mediocre at best.  I dined alone and finished a bottle of wine so I was good to go.

Go to one of two dive bars across the street from the restaurant I did.  I sat at the bar where the bartender served me my beverage in a plastic cup–wouldn’t want to give anyone the opportunity to smash the barware into anyone’s face.  The bartender–I promise and swear on all things I hold dear–was visibly quite far along in her pregnancy and smoking.  NOT smoking hot–though she may have been to some.  She was smoking cigarettes.  I’m sure there are Websites dedicated to cigarette-smoking knocked-up chicks (look ’em up yourselves you deviant pervs (written with affection, I swear!)) but that is most definitely not my thing.  Had I been on Twitter at the time, the sheer sight of her would have been tweet-worthy.

California has had a law banning cigarette smoking in public places for quite a few years–they were instituted when I worked at the pool hall several years prior to my visit to this particular dive bar.  The impetus/justification for the passage of the law was workers’ rights not to breathe in second-hand smoke.  Bars can bypass the law by being worker-owned.  Because my lovely smoking preggers bartender was, in fact, smoking, I assumed she was at least part-owner of the bar–I tipped according to my perception of her situation.

Eventually I began to chat with a cute guy.  He invited me to hang with him and his friends who were playing pool.  Despite my years of working at a pool hall I am a shit pool player, but I was willing to watch.  The cute guy’s friends were also cute.  They introduced themselves to me and we began to chit-chat.  I was talking shit about their town and they contributed their own stories of local woe.  Someone eventually bought me a drink after I all but demanded he do so.  Finally, it was time to go and somehow I invited the guys back to my hotel room.

More to come ….

I swear. True Story.