Secrets of a Spiritual Guru:
Real Estate, Yoga & Lies
Tamara Lee Dorris
On the way to the office, I stop to put gas in my stupid car. When this deal closes, I am seriously considering a new car. Ron says my car is fine, but that I just don't take proper care of it. To hear him, you'd think I put sugar in the gas tank. How important are oil changes anyway? I mean really, how dirty does oil get? Well, it turns out, plenty.
Ron said to me, "You know, Melissa, cars aren't like clothes. You can't just get a new one because you don't feel like hanging up the old one."
I scowl at him. I always hang up my clothes. But in an effort to humor him, I take my car into one of those almost drive-thru oil change places, and naturally, they try to tell me that my car needs a million dollars worth of repairs. Wise to their tactics, I scoff and tell them just to change the oil please, a new filter will not be necessary, thank you. I pay for the oil change, outraged that a couple of cans of oil cost so much. It can't possibly be that difficult to pour them in, especially with the little funnel and everything. The young girl at the register checks my ID and then smiles up at me.
"You've got a birthday coming up." And here it looked like she couldn't read.
"Couple months," I say, looking at my phone like I am expecting a call from the president or something.
"Well, happy early birthday," she says. I know she is really thinking how glad she is that she's not anywhere near my age. Little bitch. I thank her and head toward my oil-fed car, wondering how hard it would be to change my driver's license and update the third number of the year I was born. It's easy to lie online. In fact, any time I sign up for anything that asks for a year of birth and has a drop-down selection, I just pick the decade after mine. I figure, if it's ever on a legal matter or anything, I can just lie and say it was a mistake. Damn mouse slipped or something.
At work, Becky is in Bert's office. Bert is my Sean Connery look-alike broker. I think he has a crush on Becky, but he's old enough to be her grandfather and smart enough to know sexual harassment laws in California. I slip into my cubicle, trying not to seem too cocky about my upcoming big commission check that I want to rub in Tac's face as soon as I get it. I open my e-mail and see one from Luke Tucker. It has the little red exclamation mark next to it, so I hold my breath and double click. Uh-oh.
Melissa, I've decided that I'm not going to go through with this deal. I've filed bankruptcy with the federal court this morning. Thank you for all your hard work, but hopefully you will understand that I am being treated unfairly. Luke
I gasp for air. I can't find any. Who took the damn air?
I must have made a dying sound because before I know it, Becky is standing next to my desk, and Stan, an older agent, has spun his chair in my direction.
"What is it?" Becky asks in her animated way.
"Luke…not selling…" I try and stutter out the words, but they are stuck in my throat.
"Whaaaat!" Becky yells, bending over my shoulder to verify facts, like she does.
"Oh my God. I am so sorry!" She puts a hand on my shoulder, and I realize it's been at least five minutes since I breathed. Maybe ten. Suddenly I notice that Tac is not at his desk. Thank God. That is the one reason I finally decide to inhale.
My broker, Bert, explains that I am fully entitled to my commission, but that if Luke, the bad client, filed bankruptcy, it would be hard if not impossible to collect. He adds that it would also likely cost me ten thousand dollars in attorney fees. I tell Bert I do not have ten thousand dollars for attorney fees. Bert says he understands. He does not tell me he will give it to me. I bet he would if I were Becky.
At home I try to pry Ron away from the computer.
"Bad news," I say, grabbing a bottle of wine and looking through the sliding glass door at Herman, the stray black cat that needs to be fed.
"I thought you weren't drinking wine on weeknights," he tells me, his face buried in his laptop.
"Listen, I've had a really bad day."
"It's fattening," he says, as if I do not know the routine. Yes, alcohol is fattening. Especially for me because once I have a couple drinks, I suddenly think my metabolism is so drunk it will forget that I've decided to bake cookies at 9:00 p.m. and eat half of them while watching the Food Cooking Network. Ron, knowing that I am less than thrilled about my upcoming birthday, my weight, and those little lines that my face has started collecting, suggested I join a gym. Like him. He reminded me that since I've changed jobs I'm not running around and on my feet all day. That, and my age. He actually said that! Called me old. He said, "Well, we get to a point when our metabolisms slow down." I cried and wouldn't talk to him for two days. He totally denied that he called me old, but I know that's what he was thinking. And now he's calling me fat.
"If you think I'm so fat, why don't you pay for liposuction? And Botox too?"
"You're being ridiculous." He closes the lid to his laptop and comes into the kitchen, where I am struggling with a corkscrew.
"I'm not being ridiculous. They have a new laser liposuction that can make me skinny again."
"You don't need that. You just need to work out a few times a week and eat more healthy."
I don't know who this man is. I've seen him survive an entire football season on beer, Doritos, and Oreos. His idea of exercising was helping me carry groceries in, and even that had to be at commercials. He might be going through some kind of menopause. I remind him that he is older than I am.
"I'm not that much older than you, Melissa," he says, taking the wine bottle and inserting the corkscrew. He is very good at opening wine bottles.
"I know. But, you are nine months and seven days older."
"Thanks for clarifying that." The bottle makes a popping sound like the one I made when I read that dreaded e-mail. Luke Tucker. The Devil.
"I think my deal is dead."
"What?" Suddenly I have Ron's attention. Maybe he was planning on me taking him to Tahiti with that nice commission check?
"Luke, the seller, he filed bankruptcy."
"Can he do that?"
"Can you sue him?"
"I can, but it would cost money, and there's no guarantee I'd ever see a penny."
Ron reaches over and puts his hand on mine.
"I'm really sorry, hon," he tells me, and I start to sob. I tell him I'm fat and old and a rotten real estate agent. He pours me some wine and lets me cry.
"I have to feed Herman," I tell him.
Ron owns a pool company. In fact, that's how I met him. His company has the contract with the condo association where we live. He was training a new pool cleaner guy, and I was in a two-piece holding my stomach in (which happened to be about two inches flatter back then). We hit it off right away. My mother was thrilled, naturally, that I was dating, and I soon started planning our wedding. In my imagination. Because, well, he hasn't asked me yet. I've hinted, left pictures of wedding cakes around the house, sighed heavily about always being a bridesmaid, never a bride.
"You haven't been a bridesmaid since I met you," he said.
"Well, I was three times before I met you."
"Listen, marriage is a big thing. What we have is great, right?" He points around the living room (mine) at the flat-screen television (his), the off-white sectional (mine), and the shelf full of videos (shelf, mine; videos, his).
"I know, but I'd like to get married before I need a wheelchair to get down the aisle," I tell him. He reminds me that a few years ago when we decided to live together he made it perfectly clear he had no intention of getting married and did not want children. These are facts I never shared with my mother but that haunt me daily.
Tamara Lee Dorris has been a life-long fan of personal and spiritual development, and has written several books that fall under the category of "self-help." She wrote Guru as a way of poking fun at how easy it is to become an online expert. Tamara has gone crazy selling houses, loves yoga, drinks wine and is still as addicted as ever to personal development. She lives in Northern California with a bunch of annoying animals and her husband. She has four kids that she likes a lot and a mother that drives her nuts.
Learn more at www.tamaradorris.com.