On paper, my Saturday looks like it was a fabulous day: breakfast at Pamela’s with Wendy, Summer, and Jeannie; roller skating; cherry pie; horror movies. But NO. It was frustrating and borderline volatile. (I say borderline because nothing got broken.)
Summer, being less of a crybaby than Erin.
I woke up in a wonderful mood even though it’s a struggle to leave the house early on a weekend. I love meeting Jeannie and Wendy for breakfast at Pamela’s, the only Pittsburgh establishment whose hype I can get behind—not to be morbid, but I want to be buried inside a blanket of their blueberry hotcakes. The last time we were there was over the summer when Wendy was still pregnant so this was Summer’s first Pamela’s trip! A real monumental occasion.
Breakfast was wonderful. In hindsight, I should have stopped while I was ahead, but I have had this idiotic Sephora gift card for two years and I really wanted to use it (I’ve lost and found it three times, along with my entire wallet because that’s the type of adult I am); there is one across the street from Pamela’s, and I walked in knowing full well that I was going to be spending way more than what was on the card because Sephora is a racket like that.
So already I was feeling anxiety because there is so much I woke rather spend $$$ on. I mean, I like make-up and other assorted shit like that but I hate having gift cards that are specific to one place. I really wanted to spend money on music, not moisturizer, even though I really do need moisturizer now that winter is sucking my face dry. And of course the one time I actually need assistance, I am INVISIBLE to every asshole in that store.
So I left, and not quietly either.
When I was little, my Pappap would always call me a pistol. I was born with a silver spoon practically shoved in my ass, and if there is one thing in my entire life that I have ever been really great at, it’s the fine art of hissy fits and temper tantrums.
Even as an adult, even after years of struggling financially during most of my 20s, I never lost the spoiled brat in me. It’s my literal Drop Dead Fred, hovering over my shoulder and whispering things like, “Oh hell no, you’re not going to let THAT happen are you?”
One time, years ago, Henry made me an omelette and I kicked a hole in our bedroom wall because he put mushrooms in it and I didn’t ask for mushrooms.
I kicked a hole in the wall. Because I am a fucking loco brat.
(Fun fact: Henry just patched up that hole last week while he was painting the bedroom. So, 13 years later.)
From Sephora on, that is the Erin that starred in the Saturday Shit Show. The wall-kicking Erin.
By the time I came home, I hadn’t calmed down much. Every single thing Henry said to me, no matter how innocent, was met with screeching snaps and snarls. Because it was his fault. Why did he have to buy me a Sephora gift card?!
Finally, I went upstairs and played a Defeater record, hoping that would settle me down before it was time to go skating. I was chill long enough to take this picture:
Erin Rachelle, during happier times.
But then the switch was flipped again as we left the house to go skating. Chooch and I were sniping at each other because: siblings. We were only five minutes from home before he and I were both huffing about how we should just turn around and go home, and Henry was doing that thing where he remains very quiet but his eyes are kind of bulging a little. Finally, he actually did whip the car around, which caused Chooch and I to both angrily mutter, “Oh, that’s great. I guess we’re not going skating. I guess we’ll just sit in the house and rot all day” and then Henry lost it and yelled, “TELL ME WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT TO DO?!” and then under his breath he mumbled something about feeling like he woke up in another dimension.
So we went skating.
Oh! I was also angry because my phone charger broke as soon as we left the house. Henry was like “Is this actually over a phone charger?!”
Henry said he was going to go to the post office and Lowe’s while we were skating, which made me cry, “YOURE LEAVING US HERE ALONE?” I made him at least put my skates on me first, but he ended up not leaving anyway, probably because he was too afraid. Instead, he stood on the other side of the rink wall with all the other parents, and made sure Chooch and I didn’t indulge our inner derby demons.
But on the rink, Chooch and I usually team up with each other because we are both roller NARCs, rink tattlers, skate snitches. We hate when people don’t follow basic rules and etiquette, and Chooch kept catching up to me, and in a staccato cadence marred by huffs and pants, he would cry, “THAT KID OVER THERE NEEDS TO GTFO! DID YOU SEE ME ALMOST SKATE OVER HER HEAD?”
When it’s amateur hour, and it mostly always is if there are birthday parties on the schedule, it’s like skating through the Killing Fields: a vertible slalom course dotted with limbs and felled bodies, parents struggling to pull their children off the rink, and skate guards whirring past at warped speed without so much as a second glance.
IT’S KILL OR BE KILLED.
Let me tell you someyhing about where I am in life: I really dislike being around people. The exception to this is concerts, which is really weird considering, but I think my love for the bands helps me deal with it. As soon as stepped onto the rink, I knew it was going to be bad. Romp n Roll’s skate guards are teenagers whose pals come to hang out with them, and in this case, “hanging out” entails rollerblading like high-speed Bond villains around the rink. There was one that almost knocked me over and I wanted to complain but Henry was like “Good luck, he’s friends with everyone who works here.”
Oh don’t worry, it got worse: in an effort to block out the enemies, I decided to focus on the music. I thought it would be nice to request a Bowie joint in honor of his recent passing, so I sent Chooch over to the DJ booth to do my bidding. He loves requesting songs, just like I did when I was his age.
Before I continue, let me explain that the DJ is old, like probably older than HENRY. He has the voice of Casey Kasem, even. For all intents and purposes, he has all the characteristics of your basic, generic party DJ.
So when Chooch requested Bowie, he should have been rifling through the discography on his head, narrowing down the tracks best suited to play in tandem with the pulsating track lights and terrified yelps of children unseasoned in the art of rollerskating.
But instead he asked Chooch, “Is that the one who just died? I’ll try to play Mony Mony, ok?”
I slammed into the wall opposite of Henry to disgustedly scream about this disgrace to music.
Henry just shrugged and said, “I don’t know what to tell you.” Considering that’s his classic response, then it seems to me like he does in fact know EXACTLY what to tell me.
I don’t know what exactly I wanted him to do, storm the DJ booth with flaming bags of dog shit or what, but I guess I thought he would at least care a little bit more than he was letting on. I hate how unreactionary he is!!
But don’t worry – he played Mmmbop and some lame Taylor Swift song.
Shortly after this, regular skating was interrupted for “cart races” and I hate this segment of the session because it takes FOREVER. It’s such an unorganized shit show, like every time they do this is the first time. So we sat in the snack room and made Henry buy us pizza because he had the audacity to buy himself a soft pretzel without us. Can you imagine?! Feeding himself and not us?!
Chooch and I told Henry about all the people we hated and he just rolled his eyes because he doesn’t understand what it’s like to expect perfection.
After cart races wrapped up, we resumed skating. On my second time around the rink, I skated through a sticky gum-like substance and came very close to falling. I made a HUGE DEAL over it, turning and pointing over my shoulder at the infected area of the rink, loudly mouthing off to my skating partner about it, who said, “I’LL GO REPORT IT!”
He loves reporting things.
I skated around two more times but was unable to locate the contaminate. Then the DJ turned on the lights and signaled for one of the incompetent rink guards to inspect the area, so I skated off and joined Henry along the wall.
“I CAUSED THIS,” I urgently informed him. And then I started cracking up, but not because I thought it was funny–I was kind of embarrassed. “I can’t go back out there now,” I cried, clutching Henry’s arm.
“Why?” he mumbled. “No one cares.”
EXACTLY – NO ONE CARES. I watched as the rink guard did nothing more than give the general vicinity of the almost-accident scene a cursory glance, little more than a lazy once-over, before shrugging in the direction of the DJ booth, and then the rink lights went out again.
“There was nothing there,” Chooch said a few minutes later when he joined us. “I told the DJ you tripped over a block but they didn’t see anything.”
“It wasn’t a block, you idiot!” I screamed over top of some unoriginal pop song. “IT WAS GUM OR SOMETHING! GOD, UGH!” And then to Henry I growled, “I’m done. Go get my shoes.” I was irate. The situation had inflated inside my head to tragic proportions where the entire roller rink had conspired against. I was ready to start fights with people.
“We’ve only been here an hour!” he exclaimed, mental math’ing how much money I wasted. But then Chooch lost a dollar in the claw machine, so then there were two of us crying about wanting to leave and Henry was hissing something about “never again” so then I accused him of being on Romp n Roll’s side when I almost PERISHED out there AND the DJ didn’t know who the fuck David Bowie was?
Get fucked, Henry.
It felt like everyone was pointing and laughing at me in slo-mo as we walked out and I’m still not sure if that didn’t exactly happened. Ugh, fuck you smilers!
We drove home in absolute silence. Except for one I declared that I was going to write a letter, which is how I retaliate when I’ve been wronged.
Later, Henry made dinner and I told him with zero coats of sugar that it had no taste. He gave me a really scary look and then went to the store because I said I wanted cherry pie but I think it was less because he wanted to make me happy with pie and more because he needed to get away from me and Chooch.
But by the end of the night, everything had righted itself and Chooch & I settled down (after having a brutal tug of war over a blanket until Henry stormed away and brought us a second blanket) to watch The Visit, which was way better than I expected and even Henry said it was “not bad” which was high praise because he hates everything M. Night touches. I guess M. Night is to him what Ryan Murphy is to me. (Seriously, stop giving American Horror Story new seasons!)
Sometimes it’s not about being happy vs. sad. There are all kinds of other weird second-strong emotions fighting for their moment to shine, and the bad ones win out occasionally. There really wasn’t anything that was going to “fix” my day other than going to bed and starting over in the morning. And my Sunday was definitely better.
P.S. I forgot to mention that I had numerous coughing fits over the weekend which was clearly my body’s attenpt to expel the demons.