So it seems again I have been asked to recap an event that Erin deems blog worthy. Me, I feel it’s just another day in the life. Chooch decided he wanted a funnel cake ,while Erin and him rode the scrambler I was instructed to get. It seemed easy enough since there was no line, just run up order it and sit down and wait. Ordered it,sat down waited, noticed the tall gentleman in blue at the order window above. He placed his order after me while I was taken the picture ( as instructed to by Erin) waiting for my funnel cake to fry up. I said gentleman in blue, which now is going to turn into tall douchebag in blue as he turned from the order window and went directly to the pickup window and proceeded to grab my just finished funnelcake. My mother who was sitting behind me ,just got the words ” he’s gonna take your funnel……” out of her mouth when he grabbed it turned and almost ran past me before I had a chance to get a word out of my mouth. He was actually walking very briskly almost like he knew what he had done. No big deal, by this time his had come up and was ready for pickup. All I had to do was wait for Chooch to get done, so I set ti down on the bench next to my mother not thinking that it might fall off , it was quite windy that day. Well of course right before Erin and Chooch returned the wind had proceeded to pick it up and throw it on the ground, and blow the plate clean across the park. Didn’t want it to go to waste, I mean it fell behind the bench and just hit the ground for a sec so no harm in eating it and Chooch would have eaten it. So by the time they got the I had devoured almost all of it except for the powdered sugar that was still on the ground. Well of course I had to explain what happened and after all the
” eww how could you eat that off the ground”
and the tears from Chooch , I went and replaced the first funnelcake. Got this one wrapped to go so there would be no accidents. We were now leaving and as always the wacky worm is always rode on the way out. As always I had to use the bathroom and walked right past the wacky worm. When I returned I noticed Erin frantically waving her arms at me. Like I’m supposed to know what that means, it also comes with the
” you asshole can’t you tell what I want”
looks. I noticed too late the douchbag was on the wacky worm directly in front of her.
[EDIT NOTE: I did not edit this for Henry. It's time for him to spread his wings and fly. Also, the title of this is mine.
Some other things: now I know the TRUE story. Henry made it sound like he was loafing by the pick up window when Tall Douchebag in the Blue Jacket swooped in and snatched it right from under Henry's nose. I feel less bad now!
Henry was taking a picture of the funnel cake place because I asked him to since Dutch things appeal to me. My phone was dead or I'd have done it myself.
Also, I was gesticulating wildly on the Wacky Worm because I wanted Henry to take a picture of the Douchebag (again, my phone was dead). But since Henry and I fail at Charades, the ball was dropped. Actually, I think he knew exactly what I wanted and just didn't care. This sounds more accurate.]
Thanks to the Timehop app, I am reminded of the time 5 years ago that I tried to spearhead a new fashion revolution. (I am also reminded that my tweets were way better than they are these days.) Here are the tweets to back it up.
2:44PM: Wrapped a polka-dotted scarf around my ankle. Henry said it looks real dumb. Hope it catches on.
3:19PM: I hope people will think I tried to slit my ankle.
6:36PM: Kim (my supervisor) just pointed at my anklace (HAHA) and said, “What r u trying to be, Sha-Na-Na?” and I died. Except that I still live.
6+:36PM: Or ankerchief?!!?
6:49PM: Henry, who was 1/2 asleep when I left for work, just emailed me and asked “Were u dressed weird when u left?” IT’S NOT WEIRD ITS AWESOME.
I think that fashion statement needs reinstated.
Other brilliant things that I invented which failed to catch on:
Saying whatevelyn instead of whatev. (I still say this though.)
Referring to the year 2008 as “two thousand double quad, y’all.”
Revolutionary War porn.
The best game ever: Thingieball.
(Apparently, that same day, I was also trying to get kidnapped, but couldn’t decide between an alley at midnight or smeared with the scent of trust fund at a truck stop. God, my life could have been so different right now if I had stopped dreaming and started DOING.)
Chooch and I decided to be strong, independent humans Sunday evening, so we ordered a movie from Redbox (“Possession” — we also wanted to be scared independent humans) and then declared to Henry that we were going to walk to the Redbox a few blocks away outside of CVS to retrieve it all by ourselves.
“And I’m even going to buy TOILET PAPER while we’re there!” I decided, noting that we were down to one roll. (I shudder to think what goes on in the bathroom when it’s occupied by Chooch.) Henry seemed bemused by this, to say the least.
However, I failed to note that it was about 10 degrees out there. Chooch at least had a heavy coat and hat on so I figured I was probably still within the child abuse margin of error. Although, we had to walk kind of slow because there was ICE EVERYWHERE.
Chooch and Erin against the elements — a scary thought.
Then! Then we stumbled upon a DEAD BIRD on the sidewalk and let out a collective “awwwwww!” We almost retreated after that, but I really wanted that fucking movie.
“What kind of bird do you think it is?” Chooch asked, after hypothesizing on how it died (his theories were way more violent than mine).
“I don’t know, who do you think I am? DADDY?!” And then we started shit-talking Henry, because that is what we do best.
Faces chapped and burning from the icy wind, we had finally made it to the Redbox outside of CVS. It took me three attempts to swipe my credit card because my hands were frozen flesh bricks at this point. After the final swipe, my credit card flung out of my hands and what a real parlor trick that was, trying to pick it up back up with fingertips I could no longer feel. After all of that, Kiosk B said it had no such record of my reservation so we moved on to Kiosk A, which didn’t acknowledge my now-violent credit card swiping AT ALL. (And yes, I was swiping it the correct way! Ask Chooch!!) By this time, there was a small crowd of people waiting for their turn, so I freaked out and announced, “JUST FORGET IT. THIS IS ALL DADDY’S FAULT ANYWAY!” and drug Chooch inside CVS to hopefully purchase toilet paper without incident. I was totally acting like Splintered Chooch.
Here is a helpful piece of background information: While I have reserved tons of Redbox movies, I have never actually used the machine-thing, except for one time a few months ago, when I thought I would be Really Helpful and walk to the very same Redbox one day and return a movie, but it kept rejecting it. Some woman was standing behind me, causing me severe performance anxiety, and I finally yelled, “FUCK IT!” and went inside to spend money on makeup to piss Henry off, because THIS was all his fault TOO!
Turns out, it was rejecting the DVD case because the DVD wasn’t inside.HENRY’S FAULT FOR NOT PUTTING THE DVD IN THE CASE!!
I called Henry from the toilet paper aisle and completely berated him (in hushed tones, I hate talking on my cell phone in stores!). “This is all your fault! I looked like a complete asshole out there! THIS IS WHY I WANTED YOU TO COME WITH US!” Then I hung up on him.
OK. The part about me and Chooch wanting to be independent humans? That’s not completely accurate. The truth is that HENRY didn’t want to walk there with us so we sort of had no choice but to go alone.
Henry called back. “Were you at the right kiosk?” he asked innocently, which made me see the bloodiest red that ever redded.
“I’m not an idiot!” I hissed, still extremely cognizant of the people around me and God forbid I should start fitting the Brookline stereotype of broadcasting my domestic disputes. And then, “Since this is all your fault, why don’t you just come here and do it yourself!” And END CALL.
In the checkout line, two guys in dirty beige coveralls stood behind me, hawking up a storm and being your basic white trash Yinzer pricks. The guy closest to me took a call on his cell and literally it felt like he was standing inside my ear, showering me with this terrible Pittsburgh cachinnation and coating the back of my head with the essence of date rape and Steelers. I kept inching forward but there was no escaping his grating voice. Meanwhile, Chooch is looking at the fronts of all the gossip magazines, asking me, “Who’s this broad? Who’s that? And her? And him?” because if it’s not someone that’s on the cover of Alternative Press, he’s clueless. But every question made my heart race faster and faster because MOMMY IS IN A BAD MOOD, OK SON?! Commotion was all around me! I just wanted quiet!
“How’s your evening?” the young cashier asked when it was our turn to check out.
“Fine,” I said.
But at the same time, Chooch, in his typical high-pitch, shouted, “MOMMY’S CREDIT CARD DIDN’T WORK IN THE RED BOX SO NOW WE CAN’T GET OUR MOVIE!” And of course, he would pick the moment when Pittsburgh Asshole put away his cell phone and approximately 12 other people had joined our line. And of course, I hadn’t paid for the toilet paper and his fucking apple juice yet so the cashier was kind of looking at me like, “Bitch, if you can’t afford a $1.50 movie from Redbox, you might not be wiping your ass tonight.”
“That’s not why!” I snapped at Chooch, while swiping my credit card. At least CVS recognized the existence of my credit card! “It’s because Daddy is an idiot!”
I don’t know how this was Henry’s fault, but give me time and I’ll write a manifesto.
I snatched the CVS bag off the counter and stormed off outside, where Henry was waiting for us in the car. He took my credit card and JUST LIKE THAT the movie was in his hands.
“I SWIPED THAT MOTHERFUCKER A MILLION TIMES! CHOOCH, TELL HIM!”
Chooch actually agreed! He usually likes to pick these moments to be infuriatingly contrary.
“I believe you,” Henry sighed. “Now get in the car.”
“FUCK YOU! I’M WALKING HOME!” I cried, a little confused about why I was still feeling so much anger but still certain it was all Henry’s fault.
Henry just laughed (HE LAUGHED AT ME!) and patiently said OK.
A block away, Chooch and I lost it and started cracking up.
“I bet daddy’s going to be so pissed that we didn’t get him a drink!” Chooch giggled, which made me giggle to the point of tears. Henry has this thing where he HAS TO BUY A DRINK anytime he’s at a store, no matter what store he’s at. Bonus points if they sell those nondescript jugs of iced tea. And anytime I happen to (rarely) go to a store without him, he acts like I cheated on him if I come home beverageless. Bitch works at a fucking Faygo plant! Bring your own shit home! And really, in 12 years, when have I ever thoughtfully picked something up for him at the store without being told to first? He’s lucky I’m courteous enough to order a drink for him at restaurants when he’s in the bathroom.
Everything we went through and that movie wasn’t even all that good. But at least the new episode of The Walking Dead was on right after.
Chooch and I talked A LOT about that dead bird and how fucked we’re going to be if Henry dies/leaves/quits doing shit for us.
I got a splinter and blah blah Daddy hurt it really bad. i wish i never had a splinter…it felt really bad…daddy had to use a pin and tweezers…he was torchering me.
Erin’s 2 cents:
My favorite part was at the very beginning of this incident, where Chooch learned that he had a splinter in his foot. He very casually said, “Huh. My foot kind of hurts. Did I step on something?” As soon as I said the “s” word, he fucking FLIPPED HIS SHIT. He’s never had a splinter before so I’m not sure how he knew that this was going to turn from mildly irritating to OMG I’M BEING KILLED. Maybe it was a lunch table topic one day at school.
He just stood there yelling in front of me, so I said, “Um….go upstairs and tell daddy.”
Which loosely translates into “Tell your dad to deal with this shit.”
Moments later I heard this ungodly, high-pitched shriek so I ran upstairs to spectate. I mean, Chooch + Splinter + a tweezer-wielding Henry = Must See TV.
What I found was a red-faced child flailing on my bed. Henry, ignoring the melodrama, held him in one place with one hand clamped around his ankle, the other hand scraping away at the dead skin around the splinter. He looked so patient, his mouth pursed in quiet concentration. I don’t know Henry does it!
Meanwhile, Chooch’s head was tossed back, one hand draped across his forehead, and he was screaming, “I HATE YOU DADDY! I WISH THIS NEVER HAPPENED! DADDY YOU’RE HURTING ME!!!” It was the performance of a lifetime.
I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that we live in a duplex and our neighbors were very much home. I had to counter with my own yells: “IT’S JUST A SPLINTER! DADDY IS JUST TRYING TO HELP! PLEASE NEIGHBORS DON’T CALL THE POLICE!”
Moments later, the splinter had been extracted and Chooch’s tear ducts miraculously plugged themselves. After all that. Life went on.
An hour later, we were watching a man writhing in pain post-zombie attack on The Walking Dead. “He looks just like me after I got a splinter,” Chooch observed sadly, without an ounce of sarcasm.
The next morning, we were walking to school. I still had a limp from the Big Bowling Ball Boo-Boo, which Chooch noted and scoffed, “My limp is worse than your limp.”
“It totally is not!” I cried.
“Yeah, it is. My foot injury is way worse than yours,” he argued.
“You had a splinter. I had a BOWLING BALL DROPPED ON MY FOOT!!”
“Yeah,” he replied smugly. “And the splinter was worse.”
The Perp: Blue-Collared 47-year-old male with an Amber Alert Mustache
The Scene of the Crime: Abby’s Birthday Party at the Playmor
Weapon: 14-Pound Bowling Ball
Saturday, February 9th, 2013. The Penguins were playing the Devils. Kirk Cameron was speaking in Georgia about Christian marriage. A club in Jersey was having a parade for Snooki’s kooka. We had two birthday parties to attend at two different bowling alleys. It seemed like a pretty normal, low-key Saturday.
Until a sickening display of barbaric violence shook the Playmor bowling alley to its core.
At approximately 1:25pm, Henry’s blue-collar, calloused hands fumbled a pink 14-pound bowling ball and dropped it on an exact (some might say PREMEDITATED) trajectory to my precious left foot.
(Henry will argue that it was only 12-pounds, but please — let’s not listen to the VILLAIN of this story.)
What made it worse was that I didn’t even realize he had dropped it, so there was no anticipation, no toe-cracking preparedness. All I knew was that one minute everything was fine — an Emarosa song was playing in my head, sparkly fairies were twirling around my cherubic head — and then it wasn’t fine.
My Emarosa song scratched to a halt, the sparkly fairies fell to their death. And my foot, it felt ALL THE PAIN. Time stood still. Henry sounded like a miles-away dick-in-throat Barry White (“Oooooh myyyyyy Godddddd I’mmmm sooooo sorrryyyyyy! Pleassssse don’ttttt castratttttttte meeeeee!”); bowling pins crashing around me sounded like sheets of metal waving over my head; convents of nuns state-wide braced themselves for what Satan-approved words might come exploding out of my mouth.
But I just stood there with my mouth open. I was too confused to really understand what was happening, too overwhelmed with toe torture to field-kick Henry’s ballsack, too stunned to swear – props to me on that, since I was flanked by unlimited childrens’ birthday parties.
Not that it mattered, considering that the sound the bowling ball made upon impact was virtually onomatopoeia for: FUCKING OW OW MOTHERFUCKING OW, COCKSUCKER OUCH!.
Potty-mouthing aside, what I REALLY wanted to do was projectile vomit all over Henry’s son-of-a-bitchin’ mustache. Once the blinking neon PAIN, THIS IS TRUE PAIN signs faded out from my eyes, I was able to see Henry had a tangible sheath of AW FUCK clinging to his face, the official Saran Wrap of apologetic, frightened pussies. Bitch, you BEST be scared. There’s a reason I keep some of my old Darkchat friends around!
(For the black magick, duh.)
For the first few minutes, I was too focused on pain management and muttering death threats at Henry to cry. But then my DICK HEAD son came over and motherfucking stomped on my poor damaged foot—the sound his foot made against mine was practically onomatopoeia for Evil Son From Hell. Moments later, my friend John, the dad of the birthday girl, came over to get our bowling game started and I blurted out, “HENRY DROPPED A BOWLING BALL ON MY FOOT” followed by an appearance of Pity Me tears.
Henry tried to be a Funny Man about it and said, “Well, I guess we’re done bowling, ha-ha” and seemed like he was prepared to return my bowling shoes.
“Um, I’m still going to bowl,” I snapped, and then asked him if he was capable of finding me a fucking ball without putting me in traction. And preferrably not one that’s 14 pounds, what the fuck.
Determined to be a hero, I bowled TWO FRAMES with an almost- broken foot, icing it in between turns.
Henry and I simultaneously realized that this was not the first time he tried to keep me down by handicapping me. He started to laugh about it but was abruptly silently when I cupped his balls with a hand made of barbed wire, using nothing more than the power of my glaring eyes. I don’t know Henry, it seems pretty wanton at this point.
At least this time wasn’t soundtracked by the sickening crisp of cartilege breaking.
Henry’s “Please don’t call the cops/Jonny Craig is an angelic singer/I’ll clean the whole fucking house/WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT ME TO SAY!?” look of Desperate Remorse.
Right after Abby’s birthday party ended, we had to head straight to another bowling alley for Chooch’s cousin Zac’s birthday party. I made a beeline for Henry’s sister and whined, “Guess what your brother did!?”
Kelly offered an appropriate level of sympathy.
“Are we going to bowl here too?” I asked Henry as I shrugged off my coat.
“No, my finger hurts,” he said.
OH. WELL SHIT. Wouldn’t want him to be in ANY PAIN.
Much later that night, I finally mustered up the courage to peel off my sock and inspect Henry’s ruthless damage. I already knew nothing was broken, as evidenced by my ability to wiggle my toes without agony catapulting me through the roof, but my toes looked like they went skinny-dipping in a blueberry pie. Shit goddamn motherfuck it hurt so bad that I can’t believe the damage wasn’t greater. It was practically a My Left Foot sequel.
The other day, I was wandering around the streets of downtown on my break. This is only slightly dangerous, as I’ve been learning a lot about my surroundings, i.e. how to find my way back to The Law Firm. I decided that I wanted to check out the Christkindlmarket in Market Square, which is basically a fancy way of saying, “Look, we built tiny store fronts full of European wares.”
Of course, I needed to see if there were any Bavarian-flavored goods being sold, but while I was out there, I noticed that SANTA CLAUS IS THERE! AND HE HAS HIS OWN HOUSE!
I have been around many Santas in my day, but never have I felt so strong a desire to have my picture taken with one.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any money on me, and besides, I was already “accused” of having “no friends” so why get a picture taken proving that? It would be way more fun wrangling some of my work friends, I mean “colleagues,” to join me.
I came running back to work and burst into Carey’s office. After I panted out my request, she promised that she would go with me the next day.
So yesterday I painted my nails all Christmas-like, put on an emerald green silk shirt for extra yueltide flair, and even spent some extra time straightening my hair all nice and un-hobo-like….
…only to get to work and have Carey tell me she was “too busy.”
“But your hair looks really nice today!” she said as a way to compensate for my rapidly falling face.
“Yeah, because I THOUGHT I was getting my picture taken with Santa today,” I said in a huff.
Meanwhile, Barb had left early, Wendy said she was too scared (like I brought my own Santa or something), and Gayle and Amber1 had already taken their breaks. However, Amber2 told me that if I could hold my red-nosed horses until Monday, she would happily go with me. (I should have just asked her in the first place, since she’s also the person who went Furry-hunting with me last June.)
But then today Carey casually proposed that we go get felt up by Santa. At first I was like, “WTF, I look like crap* today!”
*(See also: “normal”)
Whatever. Sane hair or Hobo hair, I was getting my fucking picture taken with Santa’s fat ass one way or another. I was so excited and ran around rubbing it into everyone’s faces (Glenn responded with a blank stare).
But when Carey and I got down there, we found out that it was cash or food donation only. No credit cards. My heart sank—I didn’t have enough time to run to an ATM because my break was halfway over by then.
Carey shrugged and said she had nothing, so I hung my head and we walked away.
As we retreated, I noticed an older black woman up ahead and recoiled at her appearance. But then I thought to myself, “Oh, she has zombie makeup on. There must be a zombie event happening.”
(Pittsburgh is the Zombie capital of the world, so…not unusual.)
But as we got closer, I realized that there was actually something wrong with her. Her face was ashy, about four shades lighter than the rest of her, and she was wearing bright red lipstick.
Her hair? THAT was legit hobo hair.
And then she opened her mouth to reveal a pit full of rotted stubs.
“Excuse me, do you got any money so I can get some dinner?” she asked in a panhandling drawl.
“No,” I replied, walking away and leaving Carey to have her face gnawed off for dinner by Hobo Zombie.
I didn’t really think anything of it. I knew that Carey was going to Chipotle to get dinner and I had to get back to work.
Ten minutes later, I was at Barb’s desk, whining about how once again, I was Santa pictureless, when Carey marched by with her bag of Chipotle.
“Thanks for leaving me with that homeless woman,” she spat. “What a great way to treat your Santa wingman.”
I lost it, totally folded myself in half with giddy laughter.
“Wait, what’s this?” Barb asked. “You conveniently left that part of the story out!”
“And just so you know, when I was in Chipotle I discovered that I actually did have leftover cash, so that’s what you get for deserting me.” And then, as her office door shut behind her, Carey tacked on an effective, “Asshole.”
I walked away, crying with laughter, while various co-workers noted with sarcasm my valiant propensity at having the backs of friends.
Later, upon further discussion, Carey and I deduced that the beggar may have been a black albino.
“How terrible to be TWO minorities,” Carey said solemnly, but I only started laughing harder. Then I returned to my office, where I laughed alone for the next 30 minutes.
In other work news: I used the microwave here for the first time last night and totally fucked that up.
“I have terrible news!” I cried into the phone yesterday morning, the fat boy of all tears rolling down my cheek. Henry didn’t respond, probably because he gets this call 87 times a week. “MY BIG GREEN GLASSES BROKE!” I wailed after he said nothing.
“Oh, you big idiot,” he spat. “That’s no big surprise, the way you treat those things. You sleep with them, sleep on them*, they’re on the bathroom floor, in the bathroom sink…” He continued to spout off how abusive I am to my eye glasses – well, SORRY I wasn’t in the SERVICE and didn’t learn how to swaddle them in the American flag for protection, HENRY.
(*This isn’t a lie – just the other morning, I had to pull them out from under my back when I woke up.)
I bought my babies from Zenni Optical a little over two years ago. The prescription was totally fucked. (I had to lie about that pupil measurement thing because Zenni Optical kept saying those frames weren’t available for people of my pupillary distance. God, can any of my measurements be socially standard!?) Here’s a list of the side effects I experienced during the first week of wearing my Big Green Glasses:
Unless I’m sitting stalk-still, it appears that I’m peering out of a fish bowl. Everything is curved. I can’t remember if convex or concave is the word I’m looking for, and to be honest, I’m too busy thinking of when I’m going to get to the cemetery today to worry too much about dictionary.com’ing that shit.
Saturday morning, I had the brilliant idea of writing in my blog while glassed. Thought it would be good practice, train my eyes to be more like those of goldfish. It was worse than trying to type without any visual aid at all! Every time I attempted to glance down at the keyboard, I’d recoil in horror because the fingers tapping along the keys looked like they belonged to tiny (not yet dead) Jon Benet Ramsey hands. EVERYTHING IS MINIATURIZED IF I LOOK DOWN, WHAT THE FUCK.
Sunday morning was the food test. If I could EAT with the green monstrosity perched on my nose bridge, I could be convinced to keep trying these frustrating exercises. A simple bowl of cereal – Honey Bunches of Oats, if you need to know for your case study – was all I was trying to conquer. Thanks to my inability to look down, my chin, cleavage, and the person I keep chained under the computer desk all thanked me for the lovely breakfast.
I should note also that these were the first glasses I had since…2003? Perhaps even earlier. And after I totally forced my eyeballs to adapt to the new fucked up fishbowl lenses, I wore the shit out of these things! Sometimes I even wore them ALL DAY. (Only once to work though, and I was made fun of by Chris, who totally doesn’t even remember. BUT I WILL NEVER FORGET.)
“How did you break them?” Henry asked me when he came home from work yesterday.
“I woke up and put them on and they were CROOOOOOOO-HOOO-HOOO-HOOO-KEDDDDDD!” I cried. (That’s “crooked” for those can’t read Whiny Type.)
“Because you sleep on them,” Henry interrupted while I was still relaying the tragic events.
“So I tried to bend the one arm back up—-” I continued sadly.
“You’re supposed to heat it up first,” Henry interrupted again.
“OH LIKE I KNOW THAT!” I yelled. God, I didn’t take any eye glass survivor courses in high school like you Henry, OK? I was too busy being COOL.
I took this picture the NIGHT BEFORE THE MURDER. I distinctly remember saying out loud, “Hey Big Green Glasses, I haven’t photographed you in awhile!” and take a second during my obsessive viewing of the TV show The Killing (which you can see in the reflection!) to take a photo of those sexy green goggles.And they were only $9!! NINE DOLLARS.
If only I knew that would be the last time I would ever wear them.
Of course, Zenni Optical doesn’t have them anymore. So now I have to scour the Internet, looking for a comparable replacement, even though I know in my heart, there will NEVER be a replacement.
Unless I can find these:
(I’ve been obsessed with Brett Somers and her bitchin’ Coke bottles for most of my life.)
Please, help me in my quest! I’m helpless!
Until then, I will be turning my Big Green Glasses into some sort of commemorative art. RIP, babe.
Henry was gone all day on Saturday, helping out at Castle Blood. I thought, “Oh, this will be OK. Chooch and I can go off and have a cute little photo shoot, celebrate our independence, etc. etc.” But before Henry left, I called him back in the house to have him fetch the wheelchair and put it in the car for me. Independence could wait a few minutes.
“Do you think we can do this successfully?” I asked Chooch when we were on our way to the (damned) location.
He answered quite matter-of-factly, “By ourselves? No.” That kid knows what’s up.
Everything was great. We sang “Call Me Maybe” loudly and repeatedly en route. I even stopped at a gas station and bought him a drink! Look at me! Taking care of my kid’s needs! But then we rolled up on the designated site (Coulterville, an area where many of my photo shoots are located), and that was when I realized I had to lug a wheelchair; a unicorn mask; the camera bag; and a plastic bag filled with clowns, doll heads, an empty bottle of Old Crow and a jack in the box all on my own because my goddamn son is a fucking divo.
This is where Henry’s blue-collar arms would have come in handy.
Originally, I wanted to cross the train tracks and walk toward the river, because there are some really cool spots back there. But then I realized, “Holy shit, I can’t lift this wheelchair up to the tracks” so I started swearing and crying. We were going to take the pictures at the nearby cemetery and abandoned church after that, but Chooch was being totally uncooperative and we screamed, “I HATE YOU!” at each other with enough fury to raise the dead, and then not one but TWO trains passed us and we were both shook to the core because OMG WE ALMOST TRIED TO CROSS THOSE TRACKS AND WE COULD HAVE BEEN KILLED.
That made me flip out even harder, and then Chooch started crying because he lost his (broken) sunglasses and I wouldn’t help him look for them because the trains were freaking me out so bad and all I wanted to do was push the fucking wheelchair back to the car (IT WAS ALL UPHILL, THANKS).
There are people who live around there. I sure hope they heard our histrionics. Especially when I threatened to orphan him and he snarled, “NOT IF I GO TO THE ORPHANGE FIRST.”
I was NOT going home. Not after driving all the way out there. So we stopped at McDonald’s (after I flipped out for the 79879876th time because the gas light was on and I couldn’t find a gas station and then when I did, I had to make an illegal turn to reach it) and I said out loud, “Fuck this. I’m getting a frappe. I goddamn earned it.” But first we had to wait for the oldest woman alive to send back all of her food and then proceed to sit there in her dumb minivan even after she got the right stuff, and I started yelling at her which made Chooch laugh to the point of tears, but then seriously say, “Mommy, she’s just an old lady.”
AND THEN THEY GAVE ME MY FRAPPE WITHOUT A MOTHERFUCKING STRAW. I didn’t want to park and go inside to get one, because I couldn’t leave Chooch alone in the car (I checked the manual real quick for that one) and he didn’t have his shoes on plus I was all sweaty and tear-soaked and had dirt all over me from god only knows what. So I drank that bitch without a straw and had chocolate syrup all over my face; I can assure you I didn’t really care at that point. I had accepted my new role as the poster woman for Defeat.
Did I leave out the part where I called Henry 87 times while he was trying to cut doors in walls at Castle Blood, screaming at him because I didn’t know how to fold the wheelchair and it was THE WORST DAY EVER and I might as well just KILL MYSELF? Oh, well that totally didn’t happen.
We ended up going to the place where the Easter pictures happened. (Click that link if you haven’t seen those photos; Henry has on makeup in them!) At first glance, I thought the abandoned structures had been demolished, but really it was just because the area was so overgrown with frondescence that it was no longer visible from the road. Where was my machete when I really needed it?
I think I lost 10 pounds that day from crying, sweating, raging & hiking thru weeds and mud with a wheelchair. And we both have cuts and scrapes all over us from trampling through walls of jagger bushes, with Chooch wailing, “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE MAKING ME DO THISSSSSS” and me screaming, “IT’S FOR ART, STFU!!”
By the time Henry came home, Chooch and I were both languid on the couch, eyes glazed over, looking extremely pathetic. “Can we go out to eat?” Henry asked. “I worked so hard today and I’m starving.” With my eyes, I mentally castrated him.
Later that night, Chooch was telling Henry something unrelated to the photo shoot, and added, “I think that was when Mommy was in the car, crying.”
Back in the year 2000 P.H. (Pre-Henry), I was in the throes of dangerous encounters of the internet kind. I lived for the exhilaration of placing personal ads, even though I had a boyfriend, and cruising chat rooms for strangers to invite to upcoming parties. For as anti-social as I am now, I was precariously social back then. I loved having parties and watching my friends who I had met in traditional ways—like say, high school—mingle with the strangers I invited in from the street. It was always a good time (for me); kind of like being a puppet master.
On one particular occasion, I had met a few seemingly nice guys who answered one of my ads, and after emailing back and forth for a week or two, I divulged my phone number to those who piqued my interest. Steve was the first one to call.
We talked for hours that night and I sincerely thought he was great; we had a lot of things in common, we were both weird, and he seemed to not mind that I wasn’t looking for a date—but a friend. Then he got another call and promised to call me back in a half hour.
True to his word, my phone rang within a half hour. I noticed that the call came up blocked, but I answered it anyway. But after I said “Hello?” I was quickly annoyed.
“Uuuunnnh, hellllloooooo? Thisss is unnnhhhhhh Thteeeeeevveeee [slurpy intake].”
It may have been cute for a second, but after several minutes of me trying to carry on a conversation with him, I couldn’t get him to break out of this character.
“Look, call me back when you’re not going to talk like a retard,” I said. Sure, we had hit it off with alarming speed, but it was still soon for him to be prank calling me, I thought. Phone-sex on the first call is OK, but emulating Corky should be reserved for later encounters.
Steve called back a few minutes later and acted like nothing had happened. “Oh good, I see you’re speaking normally again,” I said with relief.
“What are you talking about?” he asked. And over and over again he gave me his pathetic denial. “I swear, I was talking to my sister this whole time.”
I started to get pissed off and then I realized, how typical. You think you meet someone good and then it quickly dissolves into a bucket of shit. But then something clicked in my mind and I urged him to recount his personal ad pertinents to me. And so he went through the details of where he lives, how old he is, and what he does for a living, adding in various hobbies and musical tastes along the way.
This is when it dawned on me that there was another Steve who answered my ad. Another Steve who had my phone number. And that particular Steve had mentioned in his emails to me that he was in a wheelchair. Because I’m presumptuous, I had imagined that he was in some sort of accident, and not handicapped because of some disease or infliction on his nervous system. Furthermore, what is that particular Steve really was retarded?
I quickly apologized to Steve #1 for accusing him of prank-calling me.
Steve #2 called me the next evening and I fumbled through a nervous apology to him too, begging him to forgive me for calling him retarded. He laughed, but he could have been crying; I couldn’t tell. I struggled through an awkward phone conversation with him, not really knowing what to say and being unable to interpret some of his responses; he had a very slow and thick slur. When he invited me out to dinner, I didn’t have the heart to say no. I had called him a retard, for Christ’s sake! The least I could do was grant him a dinner date. Would it be wrong to accept a free meal from a guy after I called him retarded? Not in my world.
But I wasn’t going by myself. I dragged my friend Keri along with me.
We arrived at Eat n’ Park and Steve was waiting inside with his dad. We all shook hands and introduced ourselves, all the while Keri tossed me sidelong glances. (I may or may not have filled her in on the extremity of Steve’s condition.) And then Steve’s dad said, “OK kids, you all have fun. Bye!” And he left.
He’s leaving?! I panicked inwardly. Steve was very crippled: he had a face that kept wanting to tuck itself into his chest, arthritic and gnarled hands, and arms that didn’t want to straighten. You leave me to my own devices with someone who has special needs and that’s as good as tucking a homemade bomb into my stretched out hands. I can’t even take care of myself. My napkin is shredded and twisted and saturated with ketchup before I’m even a quarter of the way through a meal.
So who was going to help Steve get to the table? Who was going to make sure he didn’t spill his Coke?
The three of us convened in a cumbersome huddle, looking stupidly at one another, before I finally snapped out of it. I took his wheelchair by the handles and began pushing him toward our booth. As I tried to position him as comfortably close to the end of the table as possible, I repeatedly banged his legs against the booth. I looked down to apologize, but he had his face upturned toward me, plastered with a puppyish grin.
While waiting for the food, small talk was made and we learned that Steve had some terrible nerve condition that was akin to cerebral palsy, and while it had no bearing on his mentality, it did impair his speech. He told us tales of his assisted living complex and started one about his imminent feet amputations, just as our food was slid onto the table. Yummy.
I watched in horror as Steve painfully tried to maneuver his hands around his burger, like lobster claws. He would occasionally use one hand to latch onto the sleeve of the opposite arm in an attempt to hoist the sandwich up to his mouth. I was frozen. What was the protocol here? Do I cut the burger into bite-sized morsels for him, or physically lift the burger to his awaiting chops? I felt like people at surrounding tables were watching in full-fledged “What will she do?” anticipation. I cast a desperate glance at Keri, who gave me a nonchalant “He’s your friend” shrug. So I dipped my napkin in water and dabbed at the ketchup and mustard smudges around his mouth before they became crusty.
In moments of utter discomfort, I don’t cry or sweat or swear; I laugh. And I laugh good and hard too. Of course, I’m smart enough to know that laughing at a handicapped man who has burger shrapnel all over his lap and face could be perceived as cruel and uncouth. It’s not that I found his condition to be a side-splitter, but I wanted to mask my trepidation and discomfort with laughter. So I started to make fun of Keri, and brutally so. This caused Steve to laugh and snort and spray our table with his half-swallowed sips of Coke. It went something like this:
“Hey Keri, remember when you were playing Truth or Dare—”
“Shut it, Erin.”
“—and you had to put that pickle—”
“That’s enough, Erin! OK!”
And so the evening advanced, with me ruminating over all of Keri’s past relationship foibles and peccadillos, while she hunkered down in her side of the booth, glowering at me. I knew I would have to deal with her wrath later, but it would be worth it; our night had regained normalcy. As much normalcy as it ever was going to achieve when one guy is in a wheelchair and the other two girls are like, “OMG he’s in a wheelchair.”
And then it was time to leave. And so did normalcy.
“Hey Keri, why don’t I give you a chance to push his chair?” I offered with faux-sincerity.
“Oh, thanks Erin, but really, I know how much you enjoyed it.”
“I would never be that selfish, Keri. Now hurry up and take those handles before I change my mind!”
She glared at me as she began to pull Steve away from the table. As she started down the aisle between the other diners, Steve began exuding a monotone moan.
Keri kept pushing his wheelchair along even though it was obvious something was catching. Steve was lurching forward as Keri was violently throwing herself against the back of the chair. “Why won’t this fucking chair roll?” she cursed.
I bent down and looked under the chair. “Jesus Christ, Keri, you’re wheeling it over his foot!” There it was, one limp leg bent back like it was made of rubber, with the foot hooked around a wheel.
Even after nearly receiving one of his amputations early, Steve paid for both Keri and me and said that he still wanted to hang out with me again. He invited me to his apartment. Again, I brought buffer, this time in the form of Janna.
We sat in my car in the parking lot outside of his building, and I concocted a plan. I liked Steve, I really did, but it was hard for me to be around him because I don’t have compassion programmed into me anywhere. I try to reach out and it comes off as forced and robotic. So I decided that I would have my boyfriend Jeff call Janna’s cell phone in approximately one half hour to forty-five minutes. We would then pretend like it was one of our friends with a dire vehicular emergency and therefore we would have to cut the visit short.
Steve had requested a lunch of Taco Bell. I tried to talk him out of it because I could only imagine the mess factor borne from the pairing of Steve and tacos, but the prospect of seven layer burrito got the best of me and so Janna and I arrived at his door with bags of steaming quasi-Mexican heartburn.
We sat around his dining room table and began to eat. I thought I would have been slightly desensified during the sequel to Steve’s dining skills, but it was still just as excruciating to witness. Janna sat with her burrito mid-air as she watched Steve repeatedly fashion a shovel from his hand and scoop up the fallen contents of his taco. Over and over again, he would attempt to take a bite and then plop, the taco’s intestines would come plummeting back to the table. I quickly went through my arsenal of napkins as I plucked stray lettuce shreds from his glasses and mopped up tiny pools of fire sauce from the floor around his seat.
By the time he managed to down one bite, I was just as caked with meat and beans as he was. It was like we had bear-hugged around a burrito. For the first time in my life, I was unable to finish my Taco Bell.
It’s just food, I reminded myself. It’s not even regurgitated. It’s cool; he can’t help it, I thought over and over again. But I had a rising lump of burrito in my throat and every time I looked in his direction, at the cheese dangling from his gnashing lips and the slivers of taco shell sticking to his chin, the lump threatened to re-acquaint itself with the world. I felt so ashamed that I couldn’t bring myself to help this poor man eat his taco.
Just as Janna was on the verge of the tears from intaking this harsh slice of life, her cell phone rang from within her purse.
“Oh! That is my….cell phone. No one…..ever calls me….on my….cell phone. I wonder…who it could….be,” she said in a foreign and mechanical voice akin to a computerized operator. I glanced behind me, trying to find the cue card she was reading from. Fuck, Janna — he’s handicapped, not retarded.
(Don’t worry, Janna aspires to be a teacher, not a Hollywood starlet.)
And so we told Steve that Keri had gone and broken down somewhere and we had to go help her. You know, me and my tow truck.
“Ooohhhh. Keri. The one who puuuuut the piccckkkle—-”
“Yep, that’s the one! That’s Keri!” And we laughed and talked of her big boobs for a few minutes before Janna and I grabbed our jackets and flew out the door.
And on the way home, I felt so riddled with guilt. I can remember crying about it when I was alone. This guy was so sweet and nice, but it was hard as hell for me to be around him.
However, not able to say no, I attended his New Year’s Eve party a few weeks later. I brought Janna and two other friends and it wasn’t so bad because some of his friends from his complex. That was fun, walking into his apartment and being greeted by a collective round of, “Uuuunnnnnhhh”s. To keep from laughing in their faces out of nervousness, I equated them with zombies. Because zombies are no laughing matter; zombies are scary. And then I comforted myself and dulled the awkwardness by hovering around the spread of food, where I could be found devouring mass quantities of Russian tea cakes.
His family was also there. Great, meeting the family on the third date? I better break this thing off before we end up betrothed, I thought to myself in a panic. But not before I eat some more cookies.
One of the more mentally-incapacitated of the bunch took a liking to Janna and that made for some good memories.
That was the last time I saw Steve. Things took a turn for the worst when he began sending me e-cards filled with animated roses and cupids. And then on one occasion, we had mixed our signals and I ended up meeting him one night at the wrong place, causing him to believe I had stood him up. He called me that night, bawling like a maniac on the phone (at least, I think he was crying. Sometimes when retarded people, or people who sound retarded, cry, it can be mistaken for laughter. I know this because I watched “Life Goes On.”) and accusing me of hating him.
For as cold and icy as I am, that broke my fucking heart. I had a quick glimpse of what it must feel like for a mother to unintentionally make her child cry. I couldn’t do it anymore.
I became the dick who stopped returning the handicapped man’s emails.
Foreword: Yesterday at work, Lee was lambasting me for stalking the Jonny Craig lookalike at Delgrosso’s and even went as far to say that he wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if I grew up to be a serial killer. The whole time he’s talking, all I can think is, “Oh, but I’ve done so much better when it comes to stalking people” and of course the first thing I thought of was JIMMY, the pizza boy I stalked for three whole days back in 2005, during snowy November nights WHILE PREGNANT. I even made a(n extremely poor quality) video, which is at the end of this post, and after watching it for the first time in 3+ years, I STILL get a thrill when I see Jimmy. You should note that most of the video is me saying, “OMG THAT’S HIM!” and Henry mumbling, “No that’s not him,” until the very end WHEN IT’S HIM.
OK go on.
Originally a LiveJournal post from November, 2005.
The Jimmy Set-Up
One night while taking a leisurely stroll with Henry, I insisted that we walk past the pizza place which employs the latest delivery guy that I’m stalking (I have a thing for pizza guys: Exhibit A / Exhibit B). His name is Jimmy. This I know because last week as Henry and I were ambling past, Jimmy was sitting in his car, waiting to pull out when another employee of Pizzarella came running out, yelling, “Jimmy! Jimmy, wait!” Alas, Jimmy didn’t hear him and pulled out into traffic with a squeal of his tires, the Pizzarella sign adorning the top of his car. “Huh, there goes Jimmy,” I said as we looked on.
Big deal, right? Well, on our way back from our walk that night, we were crossing the street. All was clear, but suddenly, while we were in the middle of the road, a car came flying up over the hill, forcing me to run the rest of the way. I was clutching my stomach and yelling, “Don’t hit me I’m pregnant!” (LOVE playing that card), when I happened to toss a glance over my shoulder and I saw that it was Jimmy in his dinky white sputtering car with the Pizzarella sign on top. “Aw, it’s Jimmy!” I yelled, as I tugged on Henry’s arm. He didn’t care.
One block over, and it was time to cross the street again. We had just stepped off the curb when another car came barreling at us. I started to yell threats about being pregnant when I stopped and screamed, “Hey, it’s Jimmy again!” His window was down and he clearly heard my zealous exclamations of his name; they were rather orgasmic. Henry was embarrassed. So I decided that it was fate; I mean, obviously. Maybe there’s supposed to be a movie made about us, I suggested to Henry. A romantic comedy!
I began to outline the premise for Henry. Man drives recklessly around town with the intent of running over any and all pregnant women he comes across, because he hates babies and the vessels which bear them. One fateful night in November, he sees me walking with Henry. Henry selfishly dives out of the way, leaving me in the headlights of Jimmy’s car. He hits me, but unfortunately for him, I survive, and so does the baby, which ends up being his, so he spends the rest of his life hunting down me and the kid, trying to kill us with his pizza delivery car.
“How is that a romantic comedy?” Henry asked. Well, maybe it’s more of a thriller. Or it can be a dark comedy and we’ll just have Pee Wee Herman doing something occasionally.
Ever since that night, no matter what Henry and I are involved in, I make time for Jimmy. “Hey, remember Jimmy?” I’ll ask. “No,” he’ll say. Maybe his lack of a Jimmy memory is because he’s trying to trick me into having sex at that particular moment or he’s too engrossed in “Good Eats,” but I know deep down there will always be room for Jimmy’s memory in Henry’s heart. Someday, maybe he’ll be secure enough with his manhood to admit it.
Unfortunately, Jimmy wasn’t at the shop last night. However! As we walked past, a man exited the pizza shop, carrying a precariously-stacked tower of trays. We watched him walk over to his parked Audi and struggle with the opening of the passenger door.
I’ve never seen Henry move so fast in my life. “Here, let me get that for you!” And then an awkward exchange of “No, it’s cool, I got it” and “Are you sure, man?” followed by “Yes, thanks man” and ending with “Oh, OK, bud!” ensued. I was able to hold it in long enough for Henry to rejoin me on the sidewalk, but then it all came tumbling out of the loose cannon.
“Oooooooh! Henry’s new boyfriend!”
He wouldn’t talk to me after that and even tried to walk me into a street sign.
Anyway, I’m going to order from Pizzarella this weekend, but only after I make sure Jimmy is working. Then when Henry is paying him, I’ll be hiding by the window, or maybe behind a bush*, taking his picture. You just wait, Jimmy.
(*I should plant a bush.)
The Jimmy Fake Out
But I don’t even like their food, I thought, after I urged Henry to place an order to Pizzarella that Saturday night. And when Henry brought up that tiny detail, I of course lied and said, “You must be thinking of another place, buddy. I love Pizzarella. It’s like being in Italy. With all that real Italian food. Mmm. Trevi Fountain, holla.” Indigestion brought on by sub-par Brookline Italian fare was a small price to pay in order to lure Jimmy to my doorstep.
Thirty minutes later, Henry began pacing back and forth in front of the window, with his arms crossed tightly across his chest. Wow, I thought, Henry is nervous too!
Turns out he was just really hungry.
When I heard a car pull up to the house, I lurched for the camcorder and yelled, “Is it him!?”
It wasn’t. It was some worthless piece of shit who could never match up to Jimmy’s talent for pizza slinging.
My pasta tasted like poison. I ate bitterly as I reflected on how Henry refused to grant me permission to cut him earlier that day. Just one little slice across his chest with a box cutter, it was all I asked; a small token of our love, I begged. “Shed your blood for me, you son of a bitch,” I hissed with my fingernails at his throat. If he really loved me, he’d have let me. So now I can add this to the list of his other vetoes: me vomiting in his mouth; him dressing as Michael Myers and raping me (I would have loved to one day tell my child that that’s how (s)he was conceived); allowing me to take a Danish lover; and the list goes on, my friends. The list goes on.
And so I start thinking. I don’t have the money nor the appetite to continue ordering shitty food every day in hopes of drawing Jimmy to my front door; I would just have to go straight to the source. I begged Henry to give the night one more chance by walking with me to Brookline Boulevard, where we would have a real life stake out.
“Either do this or let me cut you”: a proposal in which I win either way. I suggested that we pack a small bag full of sustenance, maybe some crackers and peanut butter, because there was no telling how long we’d be gone.
“Oh, we won’t be gone that long,” Henry mumbled as he zipped up his jacket. I tucked the camcorder snugly into my pocket and pulled my hat down low over my eyes.
It was time.
There was no sign of any of the Pizzarella delivery cars as we walked past the shop the first time, me giggling uncontrollably and Henry telling me to shut the fuck up. When I’m giddy, I walk like a drunk, forcing him to grip my arm hard to pull me out of the way of other pedestrians. I hoped it would bruise so I could show the cops, but it didn’t. Damn those cold-weather layers. I plan on battering myself in time for my sonogram next week so all fingers will point to Henry.
We passed this guy Brice who used to stalk me, and his dog took a dump in the middle of the sidewalk. He acts like he doesn’t even know me now, I thought, as my wave and bright smile were met with a vacant stare. I looked at Henry in disdain. It’s all his fault. All of my stalkers retreated with their tails between their legs once Henry came barreling into my life, disrupting the natural order of things. (Gas station grocery shopping, inviting people over from chat rooms, blind dates, roller skating in the house. This list deserves its own entry. Or book.). I walked in silence for a few seconds, shedding invisible tears for stalkers past. Tossing a quick glance over at Henry, I felt a thousand pounds of hatred as I watched the way he scrunched up his shoulders to block the wind; the way he looked like a hoodlum with his hood pulled up tight around his fat face. Look at what he’s done to me, I thought, thinking of all the fun he’s driven out of my life. Maybe he can give me some STDs too, to ice the cake; make sure no one will ever want to stalk me again. No more Brices or Gothic Carls or Johnny Blazes. I’ve been tainted by domesticity. What stalker in their right mind would risk peeping into my window only to catch a glimpse of Henry traipsing around in his underwear? Who wants to stalk a boring quasi-housewife? (If you answered “I do” to that, my address is available upon request. I can also send pics of Henry’s bare legs to requested parties, as well.)
Luckily for Henry and the fate our unborn child, I distracted myself from further thoughts of running away by making zombie noises. The first one I did was the best, but then I couldn’t remember how I did it and I began to try too hard, which resulted in me sounding like I had emphysema. Still, I practiced on and on, relentless, because I’m no quitter. Plus, I wanted to test it out on unsuspecting passers-by.
“Was that it?”
“Was that it?”
Finally, Henry stopped answering me altogether, but it didn’t matter since we were now across the street from Pizzarella. I dusted off a spot on a retaining wall and made myself comfortable. Cracked my knuckles a few times, blew on my finger tips, punched Henry in the crotch — you know, all the things people do when they’re preparing to undergo some heavy surveillance.
While I was getting nestled, two young kids pedaled past on their bikes, so I hit them with my zombie sounds. And then I laughed about it for a few minutes and kept saying, “Hey Henry, remember when those kids rode by and I made zombie noises at them?” He wouldn’t answer; that happens sometimes. I guess it’s because he’s old.
As luck would have it, right when I got the camcorder all set up (you know, extracted from my pocket and turned on), a drunk old black man came from our right, slightly staggering with his head down. So I taped him, with Henry whispering, “Don’t. That’s not nice. Stop.” See what I mean? I am so oppressed. Too bad Henry then started to laugh. Mr. Fucking Humanitarian. This is the same guy who comes home from work and brags about seeing prostitutes fighting and a woman wearing white pants with a menstrual Rorschach pattern on her crotch.
But I’m cruel for videotaping a wino.
While I was fully immersed in this anthropological specimen, Henry jabbed my arm and pointed across the street. A delivery man had returned. I swung the camera in his direction and began squealing, “Oh my god it’s Jimmy! It’s Jimmy!!” The butterflies were ricocheting all over my stomach as my laughter shook the camera, and then Henry said, “Oh wait. That’s not him. Jimmy had a white car.”
What, daddy? There’s no Santa?
I was crushed. Even more so than when I lost the Alternative Press “Number 1 Fan” essay contest last year. (I lost to some cunt in California who wrote something similar to this: “OMG I DON’T HAVE AN OLDER BROTHER BUT THANK GOD I HAVE AP BECAUSE YOU ARE LIKE AN OLDER BROTHER WHO SHOWS ME GOOD MUSIC.” How does that make her their number one fan? I would say that makes AP her number one imaginary friend. Fuck you and your non-brother, you fucking slut. Of course, I didn’t follow the rules and my essay was about three hundred words — give or take a few hundred — too long. In any case, I know that girl’s name and where she lives. And in one of my lowest and darkest moments, I even tried to find her on LiveJournal so I could flame her. There, I said it.)
You see, we don’t actually know what Jimmy looks like; just his car. Still, I really think I’m in love with him.
I really am, I think.
We waited a little longer, huddled together against the wind. “Sweetie, I don’t think he’s working tonight,” Henry said as he patted my head. You know it’s dire when he calls me sweetie.
But then the clouds parted and another delivery car pulled up.
“That’s not him. That’s the guy that delivered to us earlier,” Henry said with authority because he excels in all things pizza and vehicles. But while Henry was shooting me in the face with his smugness, he totally missed the delivery guy emerging from his car. Suddenly, one of his legs completely gave out, like it was made from putty, and he fell back against the side of his car. I laughed, and I mean laughed, with enough volume and zest for him to hear and look over at me. This made me laugh even harder and I’m going to admit something here because I’m honest: I peed. Yes, I pissed my fucking pants, right there, sitting on the wall. Erin urinated. Granted, it was the tiniest dribble, maybe the size of a gum ball at best. But it was enough to feel warm and uncomfortable.
Look, I’m pregnant, OK? This shit happens. And by shit I mean piss.
This was the final straw for Henry and he urged me to get up and start walking home with him. Also, he was pouting because he missed the stumbling delivery man.
“Wait,” I said. “Not until I know for sure. Give me change, I need to make a call.”
And so I walked a half of a block down to the gas station and called Pizzarella from the pay phone, because I’m proud to be part of the world’s 10% without a cell phone. While I dialed the number, Henry stood beside me but I pushed him away because I didn’t want to laugh. I needed privacy for this one.
A girl answered and, while my mouth was wide open, there was this ill-timed delay in my speech. I almost hung up but didn’t want to waste the fifty cents. (Fifty fucking cents to use the pay phone now? It’s been a long time since I had to use a pay phone. Jimmy, my man, you’re raping my pockets.)
I had it all rehearsed in my head. A simple, “Hello, is Jimmy working tonight?” would have sufficed. But instead, I ended up sounding like a head gear-wearing 12-year-old Bobcat Goldthwait making his first prank call at a slumber party.
“HI!!!! [pause to bite back laughter] IS JIMHAHAHAHAPFFFFFFFFT WORKING TONIGHT!?!?!?”
“Who?” She was clearly annoyed. I hoped it wasn’t his girlfriend.
“Jimmy.” I wasn’t laughing now, but rather trying to hold back more spurts of urine.You know how hard it is to manually shut yourself off once you’ve started!
And so I was informed that Jimmy was not working that night.
“THANKS” I yelled and slammed down the receiver. And then I laughed all the way to a stomach ache, while the urine burnt my thighs as it dried.
The next day, at exactly 2:20 PM, I was on my way to Pitt to schedule classes and I totally passed Jimmy and his white car on the road. I made a slight detour on the way home, parked across the street from Pizzarella, and finally captured him for a lifetime of pleasure on video.
Got to leave work around 6:30 because it was so slow, but Henry and Chooch were at Chuck E Cheese for a birthday party, so I had to take the dreaded trolley home. Almost not worth getting to go home early.
Sue kept trying to coax me into taking an entire box of pizza home and I was like, “I can barely carry myself on the T, let alone an XL pizza box.
So she gave it to the cleaning people.
But I blindly chose the correct one and made it all the way to my stop with little incident. Did overhear two hacky-sackers compliment each others dirty hats though.
Clammy Trolley Fare.
Then I arrived at my house only to learn that HENRY wasn’t home yet. HENRY who has the house key. Hot Naybor Chris invited me in since I looked like a poor, shivering sack on the porch, but I declined because I wanted Henry to find me in such state and feel bad.
Some fucker at Henry’s work had the nerve to take off Monday through today, which meant I had to take the goddamn trolley to work since Henry had to go make stupid Faygo deliveries.
Everyone is always like, “Riding the T is not that big of a deal, Erin. There’s a stop directly across from your work!” And there really is! It’s super convenient, and the closest t-stop to my house is within walking distance. But for someone as tightly-wound as me, the simple act of riding public transportation is enough to ruin my entire day (not to mention my relationship with Henry).
For example, when Andrea was here last September, she had to take my trolley fare from me because I was sitting on a bench counting and re-counting it like a textbook OCD sufferer and my clammy palms were laundering the money in the very true sense of the word.
Monday, my eardrums were treated to the incessant childish whine of a crackhead who slurred loudly into her cell phone all the way to downtown. Fucking crackheads. Then a man with Downs Syndrome danced onto the T and continued his Soul Train while standing next to my seat. I smiled at him, but I think he was seriously trying to poach my seat; after looking around, I was like, “Get real, bro.” There were unlimited empty seats for him to choose! So finally, he danced his way to the back of the trolley. But then when I arrived at work, I was standing outside the building, talking on the phone, when another mentally handicapped man in a hunter green parka came at me out of nowhere, scooped me up in an airtight embrace, and squealed, “Happy Easter!”
I returned the sentiment (after panicking that I missed Easter) and then had to squat down and duck beneath his arm to escape his kidnapper hold on me. It was intense, and my friend on the phone nervously laughed and then asked, “What the fuck is happening over there?!” Probably the worst part was that immediately afterward, I had to ride the elevator up to my department with GLENN, who laughed demonically at my expense and then said, “No seriously, welcome to work, it’s nice to see you. Wow, I almost said that without laughing!”
I spent the next 2 hours trembling at my desk.
Tuesday was normal!
Today seemed like it was going to be normal for the first 2 minutes until I noticed it for the first time. This abrupt, bark-like outburst from the man sitting across from me in the handicap seat. Following the bark would be a hand-flap, and then a violent shake of his head.
Look, we all make noises sometimes and pretend to be motorboating invisible tits, I know this. However, there was something about this man and the way he was staring at me (I COULD FEEL HIM STARING AT ME) that was starting to make me clench up. And the way he kept inserting his hands into his coat pockets made me close my eyes tightly and pray to Saint Rita.
Probably he just had a nervous tic, maybe something akin to Tourette’s, but all I could think was, “THIS GUY DIDN’T TAKE HIS ANTI-PSYCHOTICS AND NOW HE’S GONG TO STAB ME FOR THE SIMPLE FACT THAT I’M WEARING PINK SOCKS, HOLY FUCKING SHIT, I DON’T KNOW.”
By the fourth stop, I was hugging my arms against my body so hard, I had somehow turned into my own personal straight jacket.
Occasionally, he would talk to no one in particular. Of course, no one would answer. I kept looking away from him, out the window, until it occured to me that his lack of responses might eventually set him off. I didn’t want to wind up with a Mexican necktie because I didn’t acknowledge his trite observation that it was raining in the morning and now it was not raining.
So when he shouted, “The weather is CONFUSED!” I made brief eye contact and shouted back, “I KNOW RIGHT HAHAHAHA” and the sound of my forced laughter made me close my eyes and cringe, but he seemed pleased at my consideration. Everyone else, however, was now looking at me like I was just as fucked up.
This kept going on and on with the weird UNGGGHHs and motorboating and nervous hand-stuffing in his pockets, while I continued to look out the window and think about what it’s going to feel like when a butterfly knife finds its way between my ribcage and how unfortunate it was that I was wearing one of my favorite sweaters, goddammit I didn’t want to get blood on my favorite Lauren Conrad sweater.
And then the T started its course across the river, so now I’m hyperventilating about the T falling off the bridge and into the river, where I will undoubtedly become entangled with dead river bodies, and all of this was making my vision have colorful dots in it.
Suddenly, an electronic beep fluttered from his person. “SHIT!” he spat angrily, and I braced myself for the explosion from the bomb that he accidentally detonated in his pocket. But it wound up just being his watch.
So when the T cruised to a halt at the stop before the one I needed, I bounded up from my seat and ran out the accordianed door, straight onto an unfamiliar trolley station. There were multiple signs pointing out the directions one would want to take depending on which street they were hoping to emerge onto, but I DON’T KNOW ANY STREET NAMES DOWN THERE.
I just stood there, like I was part of a scene from some lame indie movie where the main broad is all in slow motion while the rest of the city speeds past her, except for me what lies beyond is not the Jonny Craig I waited my whole life for (or at least a grilled cheese on a gold platter), but a plethora of ways to get myself lost real good in the city.
And that’s when I realized that my skittish body language probably had me looking a lot like that guy on the trolley; or worse—a tourist.
I chose a man with a purposeful stride and followed him up a set of steps and out into the daylight, where I called Henry, who was technically on my Non-Speaking list since it was all his fault in the first place that I had to ride the T and ALMOST GOT STABBED.
In a hyper-panicked, out-of-breath voice, I relayed to him my horror and then panted, “So now I don’t know how to get to work.”
“Ok…well, what do you see?” he asked, and I could tell he was stifling a laugh, that motherfucker.
“Tulips,” I said confidently. I saw lots of tulips behind a chain-link fence.
“What STREET are you on?” he asked, sighing wearily. And then, “Are you walking toward the river?”
“I don’t know where the river is!” I cried. But Henry eventually figured out where I was without the aid of the river.
To make him feel worse about what he did to me, I lied and said, “And just so you know, some car splashed me when I was walking to the T from the house, so now one side of me is entirely drenched.”
“Really? One entire side of you is wet? I’m going to call Wendy and ask her.” I never should have let Henry become friends with my co-workers.
Once I got to my desk, I was whining to Nina about what happened, who did her best Barb impression and coddled me like I need to be coddled. Carey overheard my woeful account and, after offering to draw me a map of important downtown landmarks, said, “You know, if you lived in the South, I bet people would say ‘bless your heart!’ to you a lot.”
I had to cross countless perilous streets to get to work, but at least it kept my Lauren Conrad sweater from getting slashed.