This was originally posted in LiveJournal, March 4th, 2006 back when cell phones were less smart and more quaint. I was obsessed with pink Razrs thanks to being brainwashed by Us Weekly. I wanted to be like Paris Hilton, OK?! Don’t hate.
Most of Wednesday afternoon was spent with me perched on the chair, leaning over the back and peering through the curtains of the front window, waiting for the UPS man to deliver my pink Razr. When it finally arrived, I barely held the door open long enough to thank the delivery man before slamming it shut in his face and tearing open the box with one of Henry’s off-limits box cutters. My hands shook with the anticipation of a teenage girl giving her first hand job as I plugged the charger into the wall and watched as the screen of my sparkling Razr lit up with a “Charging” notification. And then I sat there on the couch, phone cradled in my lap, glancing at the screen every three seconds with more fervor than I expended on that damn pregnancy test last August.
When it was finally charged, I turned it on and began adding pertinent info, like five of my 37 AIM screen names. I then sent out emails to my friends, announcing the arrival of my phone, spawning an onslaught of questions about battery life and other technical logistics, but the only answer I had to offer was that my ring tone was “All Cats Are Grey” by the Cure. Then I sat there with my phone in my hands and waited for it to ring. And it never did.
Henry and I went out to dinner when he came home from work, and I promptly turned off the phone. But once we were leaving, I hurriedly dug for it in my purse and flipped it open. I want to know if anyone called, I filled in Henry. “Did anyone call?” he asked. “No,” I said dejectedly. As we left Denny’s, I walked with my phone held out at arm’s length.
“What are you doing?” Henry asked.
“I want people to see that I have a pink Razr,” I said. Duh.
That night, Henry decided that he wanted to go out and get himself a cell phone, too. We went to Radio Shack where the cheap bastard scooped up an LG phone for $19.99. I kept holding my Razr up to his phone and snorting. This made him mad, and probably made his dick shrink a little out of inadequacy. Then we sat in the parking lot and acted like two people who had never seen cell phones before, pressing buttons and taking pictures of each other. I kept sending him pictures and connecting to the internet, causing Henry to freak out. “We got cell phones to save money, asshole! Your first bill is going to be $300 and I’m not helping you pay for it!”
Now he has me such a nervous wreck that when anyone calls me I freak out because I’m afraid to use any of my minutes. But I’ll throw down cash on ring and answer tones. Those things are important.
I programmed in Henry’s new number, with a voice command of “Ass boobie,” but every time I’d try and use it, I’d laugh too hard and it would say that the voice command couldn’t be found. With practice, I was able to use my serious voice and I can now bark out “Ass boobie” with the stone-faced austerity of a newscaster broadcasting live from the scene of a drive-by shooting.
Yesterday, when I was walking home from getting my hair done, I remembered that hey! I have a cell phone now and I think I’ll call my loving boyfriend. So we chatted for a lively two minutes until it came time for to cross the street and I remembered that I still can’t do much of anything while talking on a cell phone and yelled, “I HAVE TO GO OH MY GOD!” and then waved the phone wildly at my side while running across the busy street.
It was also unfortunate to have to say “Ass boobie” in public, because it was the only way I knew how to make the phone call him. I had to duck into the stoop of a store front, face the brick wall and pull my jacket up over the side of my face to give myself privacy. I was put in an awkward position again yesterday while on the phone with a Cingular representative. I was trying to get help with an answer tone that I downloaded but wasn’t working. I was using my regular phone for the call and the man I was speaking with told me to go ahead and call someone with the cell, just to establish a connection. I don’t know anyone’s phone number off by heart because I’m so used to having it programmed into whatever phone I’m using. The only programmed number in my cell phone was Henry’s. The only way I knew how to call him was to say “Ass boobie.” I didn’t want to say “ass boobie” with this dude on the other phone, so I began struggling, leaving streaks of perspiration all over the phone. I lied and said, “Haha, I can’t seem to get any of my friends to answer!” and the man was all, “Oh they don’t have to answer. As long as someone’s voice mail picks up, we’re fine.”
I felt so pressured and began to tell myself Think, Erin, think!. All I needed was one fucking phone number to call and naturally I couldn’t think of any. This went on for what felt like the entirety of a pap smear followed by the insertion of a catheter by the hands of an ill-tempered nurse with an alcohol problem complete with a grand finale of a “7th Heaven” marathon; I would mumble things like “Sorry I don’t have my address book programmed yet” (and even if I had, I wouldn’t have known how to call anyone from it!) among other flimsy excuses when the Cingular guy knew full well that the girl who was talking to was a friendless loser and probably wondered why she had even bothered getting a cell phone in the first place.
Finally, the Cingular man (probably overcome with pity) interrupted my witch hunt for a number to call and said, “OK here, call this number. It’s a restaurant down the street from me and it’ll be a free call for you. Just hang up once someone answers.” Then while he and I were both waiting for tech support to do their thing, I attempted to make jokes but he wasn’t laughing. There was no saving this conversation, so I kept quiet for the rest of the call.
I’ve since learned myself other ways to place calls with my phone. I guess it’s like how they say if you push a kid in water, he’ll learn to swim.
Today in the car, I was trying to figure out how to access my voice mail and Henry was like, “Um, it’s the same as any cell phone,” and he reached over to show me. Then he paused thoughtfully and asked, rather accusingly, “Don’t you know how to do anything with your phone?” Sure I do, I assured him, as I sent him a text message. I could see the dollar signs spinning in his eyes.
I give it two more days before the novelty wears off.
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.
I spent most of this morning re-living 2002 via my LiveJournal. I know it probably sounds like I’m torturing myself, but when I’m in mourning, I like to surround myself with nostalgic effects. Painful as it might be, it’s also comforting to remember the way things were when certain people/pets were still around.
While reading entries from that summer, I found this excerpt which talked about how confused Don and Speck (née Nicotina) were when Henry’s kids (Blake and Robbie) began staying at our house on weekends.
Yes, I’m still sad. Maybe a little morose. I still have crying jags. But I’m functioning. I’m not crying at work (anymore, at least). I know that once we bury Don, I’ll be able to find that peace that I need. (His burial was supposed to be yesterday but was postponed until next week.)
I forgot how much I enjoyed the summer of 2002, and how openly in love with with Henry I was. (Seriously, almost every LJ post went on about it! I was so gross back then.) But then I read an entry about how my rapist co-worker at Weiss Meats called me a fucking cunt and all my boss did was say, “Dean, don’t call the girl names” and then pinched my cheek and said, “See how I take care of you?” in a baby-talk voice and suddenly I was all enraged and remembered that the summer of 2002 couldn’t have been THAT great if I was still working at that hell hole.
The only good thing that came out of that place was meeting Henry.
Don’t worry. I’ll shake this off in time and be right back to being an obnoxiously obscene bitch. And then you’ll miss Grieving Erin.
This morning, I’ve been skimming old LiveJournal posts from 2003 and smiling (albeit bittersweetly) at all the times my cats came up. (I’m still a crazy cat lady, but I was even more of a crazy cat lady before Chooch was born; now I’m maternally obligated to keep the ratio of child : cat blog entries tipped in Chooch’s favor.) I read one post about being busted at my job while calling home and leaving my cats a message on the answering machine, but there was one which made me smile, laugh and cry simultaneously because it involves classic Henry belittling and a Don shout out, so I am sharing it here on my blog. Because this is how I cope. It’s from September 1, 2003.
I just asked Henry who his first kiss was. He said her name was Anita. This was instantly hilarious for me. I said, “Was her last name Life? Anita Life? Because if she was kissing you, she must need a life!” I couldn’t stop laughing for a good five minutes. Henry had his face buried in a pillow and I asked him if he was crying. He said, “No, I’m still trying to figure out what was so funny about that.” I decided this would make a good number for my stand up routine and he said, “Yeah it’ll be great…if everyone in the audience is you.”
I’m putting this in my journal now because I’ve been kicked out of the bedroom. I can’t stop laughing. Anita Life. Haha.
We bought this stuff called BubbleNip for the cats. It’s just a bottle of bubbles with a wand, like normal, but then it somehow has catnip in it as well. We brought the fan downstairs and started blowing mass amounts of it all over the house. The cats were going crazy. But not in an excited, let’s-play-with-this kind of way. They actually looked highly pissed off, and the only reason they were chasing the bubbles is because the just desperately wanted to put an end to it so they could relax and enjoy staring at the walls for the rest of the evening. Don hated it the most. He would look so happy once all the bubbles would disappear, and he would go lay down. Then I would start blowing more and he would reluctantly get back up again. They were hating it so bad.
I found one of the extras in a kitchen drawer last week and my fingers spontaneously cramped at the memory of the labor. It took so long to make these, but it was so worth it. It was Chooch’s first birthday after all! I can’t wait until he’s a teenager and tries to pull that “You’ve never done anything for me!” bullshit, so I can scroll through my blog and show him pictorial evidence of EVERYTHING that spoiled kid has had done for him. You know, since he is so endangered and neglected.
It’s the moment no one has been waiting for: all of Chooch’s birthday invitations are securely hot-glued together into a foam sandwich and have been mailed off to their respective recipients. For as much anguish as these little monsters cost me, I have to admit that I miss them and I was very sad to see them go. When I handed the last batch off to the postal worker, I felt a lump rise in my throat and memories of the past few weeks bled into my mind — the good, the bad, the extremely painful (glue guns hurt). It was like sending off 23 kids to college.
I free-handed them from foam and made each individual face, and then Hoover’s Big Assignment was to use one of those big bad exacto knives that make him feel like he has a big weener to insert each tongue, which includes all the party info when pulled down.
Some of these were taken before they had been surgically tongued, but you get the idea. The tongues need to be pulled on to get the party info.
Hopefully, everyone keeps theirs and then in a year or two we can orchestrate a reunion and play catch up while noshing on Russian tea cakes and whispering outrageous slurs behind Janna’s back.
You guys get to enjoy (pretend for me, please) a vintage LiveJournal post because I have been working on the second county fair photo book and those things melt my brain and sear my contacts to my eyeballs. I’m not very good with tedium.
For the record, I have been waiting all week for Henry to make good on his Valentine promise, which was to finally finish answering those questions for my blog, but after 11 years, I’ve grown accustomed to what a broken promise feels like. Not that I’m bitter or anything. I mean, I only BAKED HIM A CAKE.
(originally posted June 2007)
Everyday, I like to give myself challenges. Nothing too ridiculous though, like donating to charity or smiling at babies, but moderately attainable goals such as holding the door open for Tina, making a sandwich all by myself, picking up after Chooch rather than leave it for Henry. I mean, this is all on top of maintaining fresh and tight rhymes, which is an every day thing.
(Oh I hear all ya’ll hatas, talking yo’ shit. “This bitch ain’t writin’ no rhymes” — I write raps like nuns finger bang.
That is to say, religiously. Walk it out.)
Yesterday’s challenge was keeping up the facade of a happy family dynamic while lunching at Eat n Park. I did a little self-kicking after choosing this one, because faking a healthy camaraderie in a public atmosphere isn’t one of my strong points. But I reminded myself that this is why it’s a challenge, you see.
After we were served our beverages, my mission began to look grim as Henry launched into mindless blathering, using his hushed Restaurant Voice because he’s convinced that every asshole gives a shit about his feelings and thoughts on very important matters like running out of diapers and paying the electric bill. And of course there’s the confidential job dissertation. “Everfresh, Faygo, Faygo Faygofaygofaygo, Everfresh, Red Pop….” OK, I get it, I got it, Henry. You work for a beverage company.
Could I possibly endure an entire meal, watching his mustache bristle as he masticated his cheese steak? Could I restrain myself from meat-fisting him square in the jaw and choking him on his own eyeballs?
And then two angels sent from God Himself arrived and were seated in the booth next to us. It didn’t take long at all for me to realize that they would serve as the best form of distraction — the ridiculous “Is this shit for real?” kind.
When the waitress shuffled over to take their drink order, the woman facing me announced loudly that she would like to be enjoying a glass of ice water, go easy on the ice though and that her friend prefers an ice tea, NO ICE!, please bring the ice in a separate glass on the side!
It was that moment that what very well may be one of the biggest decisions of my life was made: I’m going to start ordering for Janna every time we dine out.
I noticed that the skimpy ice woman, who was clearly the harbinger of this pairing, spoke for her friend every time the waitress came back. I thought maybe her friend was mute or retarded, but it turned out she was just being oppressed.
“Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but did you hear that the President has ordered all the doctors in America to kill the Baby Boomers? Oh, yeah. He did. And also the senior citizens, too. You know, three of my kids are Baby Boomers. I told my son and of course he wanted me to tell him how I found out but I told him, I says to him, ‘Boy I can’t tell you, you know that!’ and then I told him he better not let them give him any more shock treatment*. The pills should be enough, you know?”
*(This is not an embellishment.)
Henry and I exchanged wide-eyed glances and then he hunkered down in quiet laughter, leaving me exposed. She looked right at me several times, but this woman was too deluded to realize that I was blatantly laughing at her.
Even when she acknowledged Chooch, it wasn’t with the rosy-cheeked smile of America’s favorite flour-dusted apron-wearing grandmothers, but more of a matter-of-fact bob of her gray-curled head and a firm “Yes yes, hello to you too, sir” like she was brusquely addressing a door-to-door salesman and not a smiling baby eating strawberries at a nearby table. This was not the kind of woman who would serve up sugar cookies and biscuits with marmalade, but more so the type of woman who might purposely mistake a can of Fancy Feast for her Dinty Moore stew every now and again. But really, who doesn’t do that?
When she would pause to sip from her not-too-much-ice water, the table would fall silent; her friend not daring to contribute much probably for fear of saying the wrong thing and having her friend alert the President that she has a senior citizen primed and ready to be snuffed.
In what I mistook for a moment of clarity, Crazy began regaling her silent friend with an update of who I guessed to be her granddaughter. “…and the commencement ceremony is next Thursday, so I had to go out and buy a dress…” A winded description of her dress followed and I lost interest about as fast I do with crushes, so I actually paid a little attention to my kid, can you imagine?
My ears perked again, though, when I heard Crazy casually extend an invitation to her friend. You know, if I was graduating from somewhere, I would really appreciate if my derailed granny brought along all of her fellow nursing home escapees, too.
Why do I have a feeling that this isn’t an academic commencement, but more along the lines of “My granddaughter’s being released from the hospital next week after recovering from her botched suicide attempt, let’s all drink Pine-Sol spritzers and commence!”
Still unable to hear her friend, I didn’t know if she said yay or nay until Crazy retorted with a very agitated, “Oh. I was hoping you would say no because I don’t have any room in the car.” I felt proud to realize that this is the same way I treat my friends, too! It’s nice to know my Crazy Car is puttering down the right path.
As we were getting ready to leave, I overheard her fussing about the tip. “I’m taking this seven cents off the tip. She was a dummy.”
I walked home with a smile, finally knowing the kind of woman whose wrinkled skin I strive to grow into, and feeling good about winning another challenge. For the casual observer, Henry and I appeared to be exchanging loving glances and coy smiles and smirks, like we were in love or something equally as far-fetched, when really we were enveloped in a WTF cloud and growing delirious off the wacky fumes. What the hell, it counts. I think I was mean to Henry again as soon as we walked through the front door, but the statute of limitations had expired by that point.
I hope Henry shrivels into this brand of mentally-razzed prune. I can already adoringly picture him waxing nostalgic about the days when he fought in a fake war with the Air Force. But people will probably think all of his talk about the Thai prostitutes is the part that’s made up. Only we’ll know the truth.
Most of you guys that read this thing know me from LiveJournal. Remember my icons? Motherfucker, do I miss them. I wish I could use them on here.
This was one I used for my fake journal about Sam, an amputated leg:
I showed Carey that one at work just now and she said there is something wrong with me, which means she’s jealous that she doesn’t have a friend like Sam, who obviously loved to loaf with rollerskates.
Some of my favorites from Henry’s fake journal:
Henry really loved his ex-Faygo boss, Ted. You know who else he loved? Some goddamn John Black:
Here are some of my favorites from my main LiveJournal. Goddamn, do I miss them.
Before Jonny Craig, I had the hots for Danny Bonaduce:
This one makes no sense other than to illustrate my hatred for Angelina Jolie. (TEAM ANISTON ALWAYS):
Not only do I <3 OJ, but I also cure herpes:
Tammy Faye shout out:
This was inspired by a daydream I once had and used to make Chooch cry:
I really liked Bob Uecker:
Keeping the killers close to my heart:
If anyone knows of a way I can incorporate these into WordPress, please holla. I miss them so much and if I had a use for them, I would start making more and more and MORE AND MORE MOREMOREMORE.
(I ate a candy bar a little while ago and my brain is now spinning wildly out of control.)
I was delivered a crushing blow this morning in the cemetery as I panted my way back to the car after an hour-long walk/jog amalgamation. (My jogging is something like 2 parts Corky, 1 part wounded unicorn, garnished with a candied twist of poor eye sight.) It was a hot August day and my hair was dreadlocked with sweat, bugs and dirt, possibly blood, like you’d expect from someone who had just engaged in a spirited flee from Leatherface; this is how I exercise.
Vanity made me freeze as I rounded the edge of the mausoleum next to which I had parked, because not only did I spy my car (homestretch!) but also a suspicious rotund form hovering behind it.
Great, there’s my car, please don’t let this man talk to me. Please don’t let him talk, maybe he won’t see me, please, keep facing straight ahead, no eye contact, so close, so close, so—
All hope was lost as he turned toward me and furtively motioned me over. Trying not to scuff my feet, I grudgingly sidled up next to him.
“Look, two fawn and their mother,” he whispered to me as he pointed down the hill to the valley below.
Terrific, because I don’t see enough deer here in Western Pennsylvania. Still, I feigned interest and together we stood in silence for a few seconds longer. Would he be offended if I walked away? Do I say goodbye first? Small talk protocol is not my strong point.
And then he began talking about deer: what they eat, where they sleep, where they buy their Uggs. I didn’t want to talk about deer. I wanted to go home. Sweat was stinging my eyes at this point and my ankle hurt from when I ran into a slight ditch in the path (things like this wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t so preoccupied with whipping my head around every three seconds, looking out for ghosts and rapists, or the ghosts of rapists) and I could see the silver dome of my car over yonder, pointing and laughing at me.
I hope they don’t get hit by a car was my delightful addition to the conversation before I started to subtly back away. I told him to enjoy his morning to which he countered with, “Have a good walk.”
“Thanks,” I said as I walked the five feet to my car. Thanks? Why did I say thanks?! I was finished with my walk. Now I’m That Asshole who accepts underserved well-wishes.
Because I’m neurotic and as if that man actually cared what I did, I ignored my itchy trigger finger which was waiting impatiently to press down on the button to unlock my car door and I continued walking past it. I’d look like an idiot (to no one but myself) if I get in my car and leave after I just said thanks.
And that’s why, out of principle, I walked an extra fifteen minutes (not like I couldn’t use it, but still) uphill. All because I said “thanks.” As I looped up and around the path, I wondered maniacally about which direction the man had gone. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and the intensity was making me have to pee. What if I ran into him again? Should I turn around? If he was still standing by my car watching the deer by the time I get back…he’d probably think nothing of it. But try rationalizing that to me after I already the devastating finale penned in my head.
And so I kept walking until I reached a path which would have brought me back in the same direction I was headed pre-meeting with the deer watcher, when I noticed him one path below me, taking in the view of the pond. Perhaps he had shifted his awe onto the fish. Had this man maybe not ever seen real life animals before? And then I did this thing that I do where I start to imagine worst case scenarios and I started to feel horribly compassionate for him to the point where I was on the verge of tears. What if his wife was fucking his boss at the zoo and now he has nothing going for him but a stack of National Geographic magazines and memories of skinning buck in Uncle Herb’s storage unit?
Surely he can see me, I thought. If he sees me, he could very well start walking in my direction and we’d end up meeting up at the bottom before I’d have time to hit the next path. He’d maybe want to talk more about the deer, maybe he’d want to tell me how many deer he’s seen in his lifetime. Maybe he even keeps track in a little pocket notebook, and he’d whisk it out of his back pocket to show me the yellowed pages with tiny slashes for each deer sighting. What if he kills people and feeds them to the deer? Do deer eat meat? Maybe he eats the people for himself. Maybe he kills the deer too and then stuffs them with the murdered people and displays them all over his house.
I bet he has a lot of grandfather clocks.
Time stood still for what seemed like eternity. My perspiration had nothing to do with the heat and the laps at this point. This was pure, stinking liquid-fear seeping from my pores and sluicing down my temples.
So I kept walking further away from my car. My right contact lens, clinging onto my eye with its last few ounces of suction, hated me. But I had sacrifices to make in the name of small talk avoidance. (See also: murder; abduction; rape.)
I eventually made it back in the opposite direction and, right before the bend in the path which would show me my car, I quietly slipped behind the mausoleum wall and peeked around the corner. Clear.
For all I know, this man could have very well left the cemetery and gone to feed (deer to) the homeless before swinging by the hospital to read children books (about deer). Yet here I was, playing cloak-and-dagger with some stranger and he didn’t even know.
You probably know by now that my most favoritest thing in the whole entire world is making fun of Henry. It’s quite honestly the only thing that has kept me with him for the last ten years. In some twisted way, he’s my muse. Just not the kind of muse he’d prefer to be.
For almost all of those last ten years, my favorite genre in the oeuvre of Henry Bashing is one I like to call Hot For Neighbor. (I just gave it that title right now, can you tell?) Why should Henry be able to talk to our neighbor Chris without me weaving a web of homosexuality around it? I try to take pictures of them whenever they’re together, like last year when I came home and found them in the driveway drinking Straub together! Or the time they were ”doing yard work” simultaneously at dusk and while I was taking pictures from the bedroom window, the flash accidentally went off, prompting Chris to ask Henry, “Did you see that?” and Henry mumbled, “No.” BECAUSE HE KNEW.
Chris even made it into the Hoover Calendar. (My LiveJournal nickname for Henry was Hoover, naturally because he sucks the fun out of everything. And Ruby was my nick name for awhile.) I’m not sure how I’m going to manage when we’re not neighbors anymore.
Unless, of course, I kill him. Then we can ALWAYS BE NEIGHBORS.
So, imagine my delight when I walked down the driveway yesterday and found Henry and Chris FIXING AN A/C UNIT TOGETHER. You better believe I ran back in the house with more zeal than Rapture-heads waiting to be Godnapped and began taking (noisy) clandestine photos from the dining room window.
I will end this with a Hot Naybor Chris-centric entry from Henry’s fake diary, Me Hoover:
Tue, May. 27th, 2008, 06:44 pm
hay u guyz i am sure u is all waiting to read about how amazin’ i am with grillin’ meat on the grill since yeserday was memroial day and all, but i have something even more specktacklar to say.
i wanted to cut the grass on saturday but the Mower was broked down. I was out there in the yard like for ever trying to fix it and then 2 little boys walked by and stopped to watch prolly because of the way my big mussles ripple when i pull back that cord thingie to start up the Mower, u no? rUBY said it was prolly cuz they was makin’ fun of me but i was like fuck that noise byotch like she even noes what the fuck a Mower is.
any way, so CHRIS (omg omg) cums out and is all “hay buddy lets do this thang” and so together it only took CHris and me THREE HOURS to fix it. here r sum pics:
OMG it was so hard to not look at CHRiss big ass sock crotch. i wish i looked good in tucked-in shirts like he does!!!!! like a real man and shit.
then we moved to the bottom of the driveway and i got down real low like that song about the APPLEBOTTUM JEENS, hoping that CHRis would try to ride me or something. it was nice to have some privisy back there but then i hear asshole RUby laffin’ from the dining room window. at least she tooked this good picture of me and CHRis working HARD together, hard like my weeenr!!!
i got to meet my other naybors boyfriend. his name is MARK and he is black. i does not have black freinds but he shooked my hand and then said hi to me yesterday during the parade so that means we is freinds now rite? so i can haz street cred finaly? he was warin’ a bandana to!!!!!!
look at chris’s HOT ASS.
SUCKSESS!!! look at how hardassed i am!!!!!!! and RUBy knewed it to which is why she was at the door takin’ pictshures of me.
Anyway, these pictures show up on my phone but not on my work computer. It’s one of those awesome blog mysteries that someone should blog about in the blog bible.
I’m taking the day off. (Because I do SO MUCH on here, you know.) So here is an oldie about littering and cops, and cops who litter.
Another Reason to Hate the 5-0
It was the middle of a lazy Saturday afternoon in Hamilton, Ohio. Christina and I were lounging around her room and I was making her cry by talking about how I hate God. I suppose I should have been penciling in a time for church in my day planner since “He” evidently spared our lives the night before when we got caught in the midst of a hail storm on our way from Pittsburgh to Ohio. It was probably the single most terrifying moment of my life and it took place right after I had been talking about Hell.
Over top of Christina’s mighty exaltation for her love of all things Christ, I heard the squelch of a siren from behind her house. We ran over to the window and discovered that there were two police officers on the street behind her house and they had pulled over a man in a truck. It seemed like it was just a traffic violation and I was quickly becoming bored. Luckily, I hung around long enough to witness the most appalling act of crime I have ever seen with these green eyes.
The officers were beginning to wrap things up and as the one cop made to get into the passenger side of the patrol car, he poured out the remainders of a can of what appeared to be Pepsi and then deliberately tossed the empty can into Christina’s back yard.
“Oh no he didn’t!” I exclaimed to Christina, right before shaping a makeshift megaphone with my hands and shouting “LITTERER!” and then ducking, leaving Christina framed alone in the window looking like the sole perpetrator.
Stomping over to her bed, I grabbed my shoes and sat down hard.
“What are you doing?” Christina asked nervously.
“I’m going out there.” I walked out of the bedroom and bounded down the steps, leaving her pleas in a cloud of my dust. She caught up with me before I made it to the back door and grabbed my arms.
“Look, I really don’t think going out there is a good idea. The cops around here are dicks.” She had thrown herself between me and the door so I knew she meant business. I walked dejectedly back into her kitchen as she explained to me that her neighborhood is kind of bad and that the cops are always looking for a reason to, well, be cops and that she really didn’t want to have to make that call to Henry.
“Henry!” I exclaimed in remembrance of my boy-toy in Pittsburgh. “Let’s call him for legal counsel.” And of course he wasn’t home. I left a message and that dickshitter never called back because he figured it was “something stupid” I was calling about, as I would later learn.
The cops had left by then, leaving me alone with a heightened sense of extreme community failure. I didn’t want it be over yet so I continued pacing and spouting vulgarities until I finagled Christina into calling the police station. “We have their patrol car number! Do it, Christina, for all of us civilians. And the environment. It’s God’s will.” I knew that would clinch it.
Christina finally relented, only because she didn’t want me making the call because supposedly I’m too “hot-headed.” But I would have used words like ‘reprehensible’ and ‘detestable’ to convey to the sergeant how appalled I truly was. And I would have thrown in the words ‘law’ and ‘suit’ somewhere in between mention of dying babies and that our earth is God’s playground (HAHA).
But Christina still wouldn’t hand over the phone; she was eventually dispatched through to Sgt. Ebbing (a man I will never forget, bless his heart). Explaining the complaint, she actually said, “Sir, I know this may seem trivial.”
Excuse me, trivial? Are you kidding? That prick littered in her back yard. He did something that people like us would get fined for. Oh, I was livid. She was being too nice and congenial during the phone call and my body was burning. I started to envision what would have happened if I had managed to get out of her house while the cops were still there. They don’t scare me. Plus, I have big boobs.
This was when I decided that I really, truly, and legitimately hated that littering officer. My ears were roaring with the sound of large, wavering sheets of metal and my heart was pounding like I had just run ten yards after ingesting fourteen fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches and an eight ball. I imagined scratching his face (out of malice, not passion) and striking his nose with the heel of my palm in an upward motion, just like Mr. Miyagi taught me. Then I would retrieve his discarded aluminum can and crush it against his jock.
Oh heaven, I have finally reached you through my fantasies.
Christina ended the call and jolted me out of my daydream. She explained to me that Sgt. Ebbing was going to call her back once he reprimanded the officers and that he also informed her that she could go to the courthouse and file for a citation, to which she said would not be necessary (I would have done it – fuck the police). I felt a tiny bit reassured and calmer but Christina was a little leery that Sgt. Ebbing had asked for her full name and address. “I’m a pot head! What if they’re going to be watching me now?”
“What do I care? I live in Pittsburgh.” And then I laughed. And if you know me, you know that laugh, and are probably wanting to bitch-slap me just at the mere thought of it.
In the meantime, we called Henry to fill him in. “You didn’t go out there, did you?” was the first utterance from his fat mouth. I began to feel a complex developing and asked, “No, I didn’t go out there but would it really have been so bad if I had?”
“Uh, yeah!” he answered. “With your temper? I don’t need to be bailing you out of jail.” I have to say I’m a little insulted that I’m not trusted to handle situations such as this one on my own. But Christina was happy because Henry shared in her apprehension.
Sgt. Ebbing called back about two hours later (presumably because he was banging broads in the drunk tank), at which time Christina’s sister Cynthia answered the phone and yelled to Christina, “I don’t fucking know who it is!” The sergeant (I don’t trust him, by the way; I think he’s a cocksucker to be honest with you) relayed the disciplinary action that was sanctioned, and might I add it only entailed asking the officers if it was true and then telling them to come back and pick up the can.
But he lied to us and I know it. Sgt. Ebbing, you’re a lying cocksucker. He told Christina that the officer admitted to tossing the can, which was purportedly an “illegal can of beer” which was confiscated from the man who had been pulled over. In the midst of the confusion while they were making an arrest, it must have slipped the officer’s mind that he had littered.
Except that I didn’t see them make an arrest. I saw the man get back in his truck and leave. What did they say, “Just meet us at the station”? Oh, I don’t think so.
In other words, the sergeant wanted us to think that it was admirable of the officer to be honest about the littering, but at the same time he tried to make us feel guilty or ashamed that these men were in the throes of serving justice and that they should be excused of such a trivial act.
“I’m going out there to wait for them to come pick up the can,” I announced as I ran for the door. Christina came with me and we were discovered that the can was no longer there. That asshole sergeant waited for them to come pick it up before calling back because he knew that I was about to get all Firestarter on their asses. I just know it!
I don’t feel like justice was served. And I didn’t get to swear at anybody.
I’m going to pay one of her neighbors to let me slice their baby with a Pepsi can and then pretend it happened on the one in the Christina’s backyard. THIS IS FAR FROM OVER.
[Ed.Note: Obviously, it was over. Christina plied me with pie and the day quickly turned into "Sgt. Ebbing who now?"]
Trying to distract myself from hockey hell by looking through old pictures. Found this one from June of 2007 and now I want to re-share the story behind it, so you will just deal with that, OK? I’M A LITTLE OUT OF SORTS. I wish you could see my eye twitching. (Yes, I realize how pathetic this makes me. But I’m used to it. I will be OK once I go skating tonight.)
Uncle Otis was a spry nine year old lad when Annie and her family moved to the neighborhood, on account of her daddy losing his job at the paper mill and forced into the trade of candlestick making, naturally. Uncle Otis’ town was known all around, far and wide, as a thriving candle hub. So this made sense, you see?
Annie was in the grade below Uncle Otis and he would flick daisies at her during recess. She never noticed him, mainly because he was poor, but also because she liked black boys and Otis was, well, very pale. And had a small peepee.
Uncle Otis continued to pine for Annie, all the way through high school. Even after Johnny Maplebitch gave her genital warts, his heart still pitter-pattered down Lovelorn Lane. Even after, at age sixteen, Annie was impregnated by a salesman shilling Swiss Army knives and gained fifty pounds that she couldn’t shake, Uncle Otis would still feel a horde of butterflies molesting his insides at the mere mention of her name. Even after Annie joined a religious mountain top cult and was brainwashed into sewing up her vagina, Otis yearned to be the one to rip out the stitches.
At age eighteen, Uncle Otis was offered the job of a lifetime, joining a carnival caravan as a gum-wrapper sweeper. In his mind, he would let himself be engulfed in this job, saving each and every penny and dime, until he had a nest egg large enough to return to town, scoop up Annie, and deposit her into their new house, which even would have its very own colored television, and a pinwheel near the front stoop.
But you know how these love sagas pan out: Some shit always has to go down. Someone dies, someone cheats, someone gets caught masturbating with a candlestick, because Lord knows there’s more than the candle pourers can keep up with so what else are you going to do with it? Give it a wig and call it daughter?
I’m not too clear on the details, as I’m sure pertinent facts have gotten lost in translation through generations, but from what I’m told, the salesman caught wind of Uncle Otis’ great American dream and sent an anonymous telegraph stating that Annie had been murdered by the town meat cutter, after being confused for a bovine.
Uncle Otis snapped, just completely went ape shit all around the camp site. He ripped suckers straight from the mouths of conjoined twins, urinated in the cotton candy maker, fucked a chicken or two; he was destroyed, sanity annihilated. The carnival director was forced to serve him his walking papers, because the dwarves were starting to cry.
Otis binged on moonshine while trying in vain to fight off chimeras of Annie, frolicking through the junkyard next to the campsite. He’d squint and rub his eyes, probably give his face a few sharp slaps, as you would too if you thought you were seeing the ghost of your one true love. She would eventually fade away just as fast as she had appeared.
It didn’t stop, though, no matter how much booze Otis would gulp. He couldn’t take it anymore; it was too torturous. So late one night, after all the lanterns had been snuffed around the camp, Otis sneaked back in and rummaged through the prop chest, tossing bowling pins and barbed hula hoops over his shoulder, until he finally unearthed what he was seeking.
Making a hasty sign of the cross, Otis closed his eyes tight and swallowed the sword. This was tragic because Annie had not actually been murdered, contrary to Otis’ belief. Salesman lied to keep Otis at bay!
So my friend God was like Aw, hell nah and made Otis into a vampire, because if he hadn’t, then all the other suicide-by-sword-swallowing vampires would cry foul and God would have another revolt on his hands, like the time when that big-chested broad had half of her back flesh torn off by a zombie and God was all, “Aw, she’s too pretty to be a zombie” and instead turned her into a fairy princess. Shit like this doesn’t sit well with some residents of the afterlife. But you probably know that.
You can imagine how thrilled I was, now that I’ve regaled you with Uncle Otis’s rich history, when I happened upon his portrait bright and early yesterday at the flea market. Henry, after six years of meticulous note-taking and observation for his forth-coming case study, knew immediately what I desired when I abruptly stopped in the middle of the hustle and bustle and shouted, “Oh-ho, hold the phone!”
“Aw, come on. No. No, no, no. Keep walking. Please keep walking.”
The portrait was propped up at the foot of a table holding less savory items, like books and costume jewelry, a few tools and glassware. My hunger for this tasteful portrait was hearty enough to make me forget about my current hunt for owl-related merchandise and postpone my challenge of forced unicorn affection, which originated after I stumbled upon a display of unicorn figurines, of which Henry reminded me of my dislike for such nonsense.
Manning the table was an older gentleman. He seemed approachable enough but after a few seconds scrutinizing the situation, Henry deemed that it was the same person in the portrait, but you and I know that’s false, because the boy in that picture was Uncle Otis. “I am not buying that. No way, that’s embarrassing.”
There was really no good reason for a person to desire such an item if it wasn’t that of their vampiric ancestor. We couldn’t even really say it was for the frame, because it was battered cardboard. But there was something fantastically compelling about this child and I really needed to have it at that moment or I really think I could have died. What was the use in continuing to breathe if that picture wasn’t going to be on my mantle, I reasoned.
I could only imagine the scene that would ensue if I tried to inquire about the portrait because I really just couldn’t shake the giggles. I’d undoubtedly end up embarrassing myself and that poor man. Plus, it would have really pleased me like a good back-scratchin’ to see Henry muddle through the awkward transaction.
And if you know anything about our past flea market expeditions, you know that there was a moment or twenty of tense deliberating, negotiating, bribing, threatening, whining, crying, until Henry’s endurance was whittled away by my expertise in the subject of spoiled brat.
“Fine, I’ll ask. But you’re coming with me!” I pretended to follow him and Riley over to the table, but then I ducked behind a rack of clothes and feigned admiration over a velvet blazer decorated with gold flecks. I peeked over top of the fourth-hand clothes and nearly ODd on riotous laughter when I saw the seller holding my son while Henry handed him a dollar.
On his way back over to me, Henry hissed, “Take the picture. Take it. Take the fucking picture.” I snatched it up greedily and returned the seller’s happy wave. Then I laughed my fucking ass off.
“You owe me ten dollars,” Henry mumbled.
“But I saw you hand him one dollar.”
“You owe me ten dollars,” he repeated.
Henry was carrying Riley, allowing for an empty stroller in which I could prop my cherished artifact of some stranger’s past. I mean, the eyes weren’t as Borden-ish as I’d generally like my old-fashioned photos of strangers to feature, but it was still one for the brag books. I wanted everyone to see it, to kick themselves for not acting fast enough the first time they wiggled past his table.
“Turn it around. TURN IT AROUND!” Our neighbors were at the flea market and god forbid they should see us with our impressive acquisition. Henry probably didn’t want them to be jealous.
Uncle Otis will be so pleased that I recovered his old school picture. Hopefully it won’t dredge up too many painful memories. I guess I’ll show him the next time he comes over to play Boggle. He’s a real challenging opponent.
Hello. I’m reposting this oldie from LiveJournal to remind Henry that, while I may currently have a crush on his old ass, THINGS CAN CHANGE. He could still LOSE ME.
I do crush easily, after all. (Seriously, I’m juggling about three of them right now. One of them might be yours.)
At Least It Wasn’t Chucky
Last night, Henry and I kicked off the 2007 haunted house season with a VIP treatment at Castle Blood. I’ve been patronizing this haunt for quite literally the past twelve years of my life, so when Henry came home one day and bragged about his company scoring a promotional partnership with them for the season, I exalted on high. He got stacks and stacks of free passes out of the deal, too, which is fantastic because it regularly costs $13. This is why I’m always broke after October.
Henry embarrassed me by wearing his Freek Energy Drink t-shirt and managed to succeed in juxtaposing himself with all of the giant Freek ads every chance he got while we stood in line. An employee dressed as a mad scientist came over and slyly said, “Are you the man who dropped 100 cases of love on us?” and Henry puffed out his chest so everyone could see the logo and then the scientist gave him handfuls of Freek swag which made Henry happy.
“Wow! No one ever gave me the tattoos and magnets before!!” he exclaimed. He even wound up with two Freek highlighters by the end of the night. Congratulations! You just got a bunch of shit that you could have gotten from your office.
Then Henry rained free passes on the people in line with us and acted all ass-wounded when one of the little girls didn’t reciprocate by acting like he was Santa. That mustache freaks kids out, I keep telling him. Then the guy who runs the place came over and told the ticket guy to only send us in with the three people in front of us so that we could have a pleasant experience, sans the screaming obnoxious brats who polluted the line behind us. I was smug. Thanks for wearing your Freek shirt after all, Henry.
(You’re still a loser, though.)
I know you all think this post is going to be about how I loved/hated the haunted house or how Henry’s weener ended up in a wall-cranny or how I found the perfect coffin to be buried in, but really this is about the most intense and pure and real human connection I have ever (never?) had.
A guy walked past me as I stood in line. He was short; in his twenties; looked apathetic, like he’d rather be at a Magic tourney. Trailing closely behind him in a cacophonous bubble were two young kids whom he seemed unable to shake. My initial guess was that they were his siblings and he was forced into bringing them there. I didn’t think anything of him after that. A few minutes later, I glanced to my left and saw him again, but this time he was stationed behind his AUTOGRAPH BOOTH BECAUSE OMG IT WAS ANDY FROM “CHILD’S PLAY”!!! No wonder why he looked like he was forced to be there!
a) I was bored
b) I was standing in line and bored
c) I was with Henry standing in line and bored
d) I have ridiculous crush criteria;
it was only natural for my heart to swell with that intense love that your typical Ed Gein probably felt as he stood above the body of the attractive barfly he snuffed earlier that day and just realized how fabulous her hide would look as a lampshade. I buried my head in Henry’s armpit and squealed as Alex (that’s his real name in case you assholes didn’t know) approached the children behind us and did card tricks for them.
“Oh my god he’s so cute! Oh my god I can’t handle it! Oh my god he’s so close to us right now!” I broke up with Henry a few times so I could run off into the sunset with Alex; Henry pretended to be good natured about it. Probably because being there was like a business meeting for him and he had to maintain his facade of phony sleazeball salesman.
He did, however, push me off the curb once.
Alex’s autograph booth was set up right next to Castle Blood’s exit. When we came out, there was a teenage girl getting him to sign a photo. She bounced from foot to foot like she was running through tires and talked in a quick high-pitched voice fueled by star lust. “Oh my god I can’t wait to tell my friends! You have to understand, no one ever comes to our town!” (Bealesville, Castle Blood’s locale, is about an hour outside of Pittsburgh and there’s honestly nothing to do there.) Alex smiled and pushed the photo back to her.
I didn’t want it to be my turn! I wasn’t ready! I tried to get Henry to do it for me, but he shouldered me toward the table.
I made a brilliant first impression.
“Hi can I have your autograph?”
“The colored photos are $15. Black and white are $10.”
“Shit, my money’s in the car. BRB.”
I probably wouldn’t have been back. I’m a tightwad. BUT! As I made to walk away, Alex stopped me.
“So, is it any good in there?” he asked, nodding toward the castle with his REALLY CUTE HEAD.
So I had an opportunity to get into my element and tell him about how fantastic it is and how I want to live there. He remarked about that as I walked away so I laughed along with him, but naturally I have no idea what he said.
On the way back to the car, I completely unraveled. “Oh my god did you see how cute he was? Oh my god, should I really go back? Oh my god, was I worse, better or the same as the girl in front of me?”
Henry told me I talk too much.
I went back after all and bought a black and white photo. I know, there’s little I won’t do for love. I made a big production of choosing between the TWO black and white photos, before settling on one with him and the director. “That’s my favorite one,” he said. “Cool,” I remarked, trying to keep my composure. I wanted to ask him to write “Your blog is the best” or “We made a really cute kid together!” but instead I stood there silently, gnawing on my bottom lip as he wrote “To Erin, Chucky did it!” Then we had a brief exchange about how he spelled my name right and he scoffed at the thought of people spelling it wrong and said, “But then it would be Aaron!” and I’ve always been attracted to people who even say the boy’s version differently than “Erin.” He is an amazing man.
He then asked me if I’m from Beallsville and I yelled, “No, Pittsburgh!” because God forbid he should think I’m a townie. I asked him where he’s from, and he said, “Jersey.” I should have asked him really awesome questions, like, “If you had to have one of your organs stolen, which one would it be?” (For me, it would be any of the ones that I’d die without. ANY of them. Take them all, fuckers. Or my skin. I seem to have a lot of that.) Or, “Where should we go to make this baby?” But instead I was all, “Yo-de-doh, how long are you here?” delivered atop of serving of insane giggles.
I really think though that the only thing preventing us from embroiling in the passionate act of porno-making was that damn table with his seven-year-old mug plastered all over it. He asked me if there’s anything to do around there and I should have said “Yes — me” but instead I rolled my eyes like a disinterested teenager and said, “Ha, no!” and he laughed but what if he was hoping I’d invite him down to the pier for a cock fight? (I’m not sure there are any piers in Bealesville, but if he wanted one, I’d have made Henry build one.)
So that was that. No swapping of spit, no crude genital introductions. Instead, we stuck with just saying goodbye to each other. I rushed back over to Henry, who was talking to the owner of Castle Blood a few feet away from my love, so I had the excruciating chore of remaining in his line of sight. I tugged on Henry’s arm. “Give me your cell phone!” I whispered, like one of those annoying children who have little regard for when their parents are in the middle of a conversation with another grown up. I had one whole friend I needed to call and relay this sorrowful tale of The One Who Got Away! Henry distractedly pulled out his phone, looked at it, then dropped it back in his pocket, too engrossed in his discussion to fully understand what I had asked. I growled like an angry teen.
On the way back to the car, I reiterated what went down. “I really think he liked me back because there was this REALLY STRONG eye contact. I mean, it was intense! But I was so sweaty though.” (It was 90 fucking degrees that day and some of the humidity lingered in the air that night, making the hallways of Castle Blood stuffy and moist.)
“Some guys like sweaty girls,” Henry said encouragingly.
I talked about it the whole way home.
“Can you believe I met him?? Oh my god, I love—-” I had to pause to refer to the autograph because I forgot his name. “–Alex Vincent so much! I really feel like it was the strongest connection I’ve ever forged with someone. Oh shit I should have given him my business card! I could have written ‘KIT’ on it!”
“KIT?” Henry asked.
“Uh, yeah. It means keep in touch. Maybe if people actually signed your yearbook, you’d know that.”
Then Henry changed the subject by ridiculing me for being the only person he knows who consistently leaves her business cards at home.
After the excitement of getting Alex’s autograph wore off, I morphed into full-blown stalker mode. “We’d have an awesome life together I bet. I’d call him and be like, ‘Hey Alex baby, what do you want me to bring home for dinner?’”
This caused Henry to laugh with aneurysm-triggering force. “Oh, that’s funny. You would never ask something like that! Maybe if it started with ‘Could you,’ ‘can you,’ ‘will you,’ it would be more believable.”
I’ll be back for you, Andy. I don’t feel like I got my $10′s worth.
Probably the only thing Henry enjoys more than receiving a swift punch to the guts/knee in the nuts combo when I get into bed every night is being forced to stay up for a half an hour and listen to me rattle on about my new love.
“You’ll never guess what happened tonight!” I gasped as I climbed over a blanketed mound of Henry and kicked my legs under the covers.
I paused for a second or two, waiting for enthusiastic curiosity to gush from his mouth. I prodded him in the tailbone to gain back his attention.
“I talked to my crush!” I squealed into his sleep-veiled face. He murmured unintelligible syllables which I took to mean, “Oh, what an exciting development. I am grasping my penis, like a baseball bat, in a fit of impassioned anticipation. Please recap the entire conversation, preferably on a stage and in costume!”
And so I turned over on my side and spilled forth my secrets.
“OK so I was walking out of the building because it was the end of my shift and I was leaving, right? And he was standing outside and so I was like Ohmigod should I say it? and I did! I said ‘Bye!’ in that really sweet baby voice I use on people who don’t know the real me, or maybe I said ‘See ya,’ I don’t really know now but whatever I said I’m sure it was fucking brilliant and seductive and then you know what he said back? Oh my god, he said ‘Hey, have a nice night, now’–” And here I paused briefly to shake Henry with my quivering hand so he could understand how profound this exchange truly was. “–like he was struggling to hold himself back from ravishing me right then and there and then I said ‘You too, hehe.’ Isn’t that fucking incredible?”
“Who are you talking about?” Henry moaned into his pillow.
“The security guard at work, you idiot!” I mean, I don’t expect a lot from this relationship, but at least have the decency to keep my crushes in check. “I think his name is Chris,” I cooed, reverting back to my puppy-love intonation. And Henry deemed this a good time to get up and leave for work.
Earlier that night, thanks to Tina’s primal need for gossip (I always get this visual of Tina slurping the gossip out of coworkers’ mouths, like an oyster from a shell. I hope you will now, too!), I learned that the old security guard had been fired for, in Tina’s exact words, “doing the illegal.” I took this for a good opportunity to engage Eleanore in friendly banter regarding the whole situation because she also is a carrier for the Talksalot gene.
Leaning back in my chair, I reached my arms into a stretch and asked, “Oh, so is that why there’s that new guard out there now?”
“Yeah, babe. I guess so.” Eleanore seemed more primed for discussing the aforementioned illegalities, but I forged ahead anyway, hoping that my interest in the new, drama-free guard wasn’t raising suspicions.
“What’s his name, I wonder?” I mused, making sure to sound like I didn’t care too much, though my ears perked at the slight jump in octave near the end of my question. I’m no stranger to moments of out-of-control crush-induced mania, after all.
“I don’t know, sweetie. I think his name is Chris. But don’t quote me!” I found myself breaking into a smile and slowly mouthing his name to my computer monitor. Visions of Christmas morning gyrated through my mind: his stocking emblazoned with a silver glittered “C” hanging joyfully from the fire place mantle, while I poured coffee into his C-monogrammed mug with one hand while adjusting my “I ♥ Chris” pendant with the other.
Eleanore leaned back in her chair and peeked around the divider. “Why don’t you just ask him when you see him?” she suggested.
I nodded and said I would do that, tousling my hair against my cheeks to mask the fast-spreading blush. Then it became giggle-suppressing time.
During one of our breaks outside, Tina and Eleanore were still buzzing about the security guard soap opera. Tina went on to lambaste the new guard by complaining that when she left early the night before, he wasn’t even inside the guard station.
I was furious. I couldn’t have her making such serious accusations about my new boyfriend like that. So when I noticed a slight movement in the guard station across the parking lot, I interrupted the conversation by over-zealously shouting, “He’s in there! The new guard! I just saw him move!” Tina, Joe, and Eleanore quieted down and stared at my finger, wildly pointing across the lot. I lowered my arm and, toning down the TRL-esque shrillness in my voice, concluded by saying, “See, he’s doing his job. That’s all.”
And they resumed their boring discourse in property taxes and cost of living. Bo-hor-ing.
I can’t really tell you why I’m already penning the story of our eternal love. It’s not that his hands are clad in erotic security-strength gloves, because they aren’t (although could you imagine? Ho boy!). It’s not because he coifs his mane in the style of Robert Smith and recites idyllic sonnets about the way the sunlight vaults off my golden locks the same way my boobs bounce when I chase after the ball in a sweaty match of kickball. Because he doesn’t do that either. Christina does, though.
Look, it’s not even fueled by superficial desires to put my hands all over his security-badged chest, because to be honest, I haven’t been close enough to see how attractive he really is. My eyes are bad!
I think it’s because he’s black. I’ve been listening to a lot of Bone Thugs n Harmony lately.
[Ed.Note: Found this when doing some Tina-related digging on my old LiveJournal!]
I have blog apathy, so here is an old LiveJournal post from August 2007. Peace out, girl scout.
It’s been dire straits ’round here ever since our car abandoned us. Thankfully, Henry’s mother has been generous enough to let us use her car whenever she doesn’t need it (and as luck would have it, that’s quite often). We decided to be nice and not force her to rot away in her apartment over the weekend, so we rented a car at Enterprise. It was one of those vixens on four wheels — a Mazda 3. I wanted to hug it every time I got into it. But that’s not the point of this story.
Last night, Henry informed me that he wouldn’t be home in time from work to return the car by its noon curfew. When it slowly (but surely!) dawned on me that what he was really trying to say was that I was going to actually have to get off my ass and do something, I freaked out.
“But I don’t know how.” A good enough excuse as any, I figured.
“What do you mean you don’t know how? Just drive it the whole whopping one mile down the street to Enterprise, give them the key, and have one of them bring you back home.”
Oh, anxiety! Hold your horses!
I began to grow weary just by imagining the impending hassle, much like the day when I will round a corner and get my head lopped off by a sickle-wielding serial killer.
My mom came over this morning so I could get it over with while my wrestler-child was napping. As I backed the car up the driveway, I glanced at the car seat, still fully-fastened to the backseat. I’ve never had to deal with removing the front-facing car seat, only the rear-facing carrier.
“Mother fucker!” I yelled. Henry was supposed to take that out for me. I threw the car in park and climbed into the backseat, thinking that I was about to embark on an easy journey. Within five seconds, it became clear that this was a job for a spinach-eating Mensa member. My mental energy quickly waned as I searched for the magical release button to make all my dreams come true.
Right after I nearly snapped off a finger, the spandexed idiot we employ to mow our lawn crept up on me, whining about his six dollars. I’m pretty sure he’s that paper boy from Better Off Dead, all grown up. I told him I didn’t have it and he did this really obnoxious motion with his head, like he was using his body movements to whine “Aw, maaaan.”
“When can I stop back?” he asked impatiently. Just to get this asshole off my back, I ran into the house to see if my mom had cash, which she didn’t. But at least it looked like I kind of cared by asking her.
I reported the bad news to him and he stalked off. “Sorry!” I yelled sarcastically at his back. I also didn’t appreciate the way he looked the rental car up and down, because I know he was thinking, “Oh, she drives this but doesn’t have six fucking dollars for me?”
Asshole. I’m so over him anyway.
Returning to the task at hand, I accepted the fact that I needed help. My mom came out and together we toiled and bumbled in the backseat until I broke down and called Henry. Obscenities were sprayed, nails were broken, ulcers burned, and my mom was bracing herself for a trip to the nearest psych ward, before I finally conceded that I’d just let one of the guys at Enterprise do it for me, per Henry’s suggestion.
“They know how to do it there!” he promised.
When I handed the key over at the counter a few minutes later, I asked the Enterprise employee if someone there could help me remove the car seat.
“Um, I can see if someone will try, but I can’t make any promises. None of us here have children.”
An older woman was leaning against the counter next to me, waiting for her invoice. “I can help you; I have three children of my own.” I thanked her, but a young man in a dress shirt popped up from behind a desk and enthusiastically asked me to let him try.
“I’m up for the challenge!” he said eagerly, like I was holding tryouts for some outrageous Japanese game show.
After a few minutes, I returned to the lot to check on his progress. He got about as far as I had.
“What did your boyfriend do, glue this in here?” he laughed, but I got a real sense of anguished emasculation out of it.
The mother-of-three jogged over. “No luck? Let me try.” She climbed in the backseat and began furiously working to unsnap the opposite side.
After a minute passed, she turned around and looked at me. “Holy hell!” she laughed, as she blew out a breath saddled with exhaustion.
The woman she was traveling with got out of their minivan and came over. “I gotta see this car seat!” she said with wide eyes.
The mother-of-three saw this as her way out. “Oh good, see if you can do it!” she yelled over her shoulder as she ran back inside the office.
“Wha—I just said I wanted to look at it!” But she shrugged and climbed in anyway.
Another Enterprise employee came over and the first one called out, “Oh good, are you here to help?”
“Aw shit, no. I’m just here to take the girl back home.” What a nice gentleman. I’m sure that will be a pleasant cruise to look forward to, I thought.
Oh yes, Henry. This is so easy, that’s why it took three people to do it. I hope we get a car soon so I never have to worry about this car seat bullshit again. Or, I hope Henry and I stay together at least until Chooch graduates from car seats. The reality of either option is a scary one though.
The Enterprise employee finally dominated the car seat. He stood up and stretched his back. “Tell your boyfriend not to work out so hard!” he laughed. Yeah, I’ll tell him to lay off the cock-pulling, I thought bitterly.
Everyone involved had a nice laugh and exchanged contact info for a future reunion, and then I got back in the car with my chauffeur. We made strained small talk as he shouted and pumped his arm out the window every time we drove past his homies. Which was a lot. Then he flipped on the radio just in time to catch a lovely joint by Bel Biv Devoe.
“Daaaamn, I always forget how old this jam is!” I nodded in agreement and added that I thought I was in middle school when it came out. You know, just to tip him off that I have more urban in my blood than my pasty-suburban facade lets on.
I guess it didn’t impress him much (sometimes my flava just can’t be sensed, I guess), because instead of pulling into my driveway, he sidled up on the curb across from my house, leaving me to cross the street with a big ass car seat over my shoulder. It was kind of like the car rental walk of shame, I guess.
Edit: A quote from Henry. “It’s the easiest thing in the world.”
I didn’t know it then, but I was about three weeks pregnant at the time of this trip.It was originally posted…ew, exactly 5 years ago. And this day will come up later in The Christina Chronicles.
I haven’t been to an amusement park since we attempted to run amok at Six Flags in Ohio two years ago, with disastrous results. See, I evidently became sick after two hours, leaving Henry no choice but to take me home. No, Henry’s no quitter — he tried everything in his power to get me to stay, tossing out suggestions such as: “Well, you don’t have to ride anything. I can ride by myself. Just sit on that bench over there and I’ll be back in a few hundred thousand hours” and the classic “Go in the bathroom and use your finger. Make yourself puke and then you’ll feel better.” What are you saying, Henry? Is this some sort of double entendre? Do you think I’m fat? Why do you really want me to throw up, Henry, so I can stay a few more hours and not make this a wasted trip, or so that last candy bar and plate of cheese fries don’t stick to my ass? So now what, you’re some sort of pageant mom? Oh, you’d like that, wouldn’t you, if I turned bulimic. Then I could be an Olsen and make it easier for you to keep me locked in the closet. Oops, did I just say that? Now the world knows!
Now here’s the thing — I can’t remember if I really did get sick, or if I was just being bi-polarish and over dramatic and that’s why we left. In my mind, I can see myself roiling in pain, pressing back a torrent of vomit with shaking hands, but I have a habit of creating my own memories, in which I paint myself as a victim. I’m going to toss out an educated guess here and suggest that I probably wanted something and Henry said no and the day’s mood quickly soured from there, so I faked illness to get sympathy. On the ride home, I vaguely remember producing a slight fountain of pity waterworks while Henry white-knuckled the steering wheel and kept his eyes glued to the road. Between theatrical sniffles and staccato intakes of breath, I could hear the cash register in his head dinging as it calculated all the money we wasted that day.
However, there was a time right before that doomed trip where Henry’s kid Blake and I were the only patrons at a rickety mall parking-lot carnival. We bounded from one death trap to the next like Japanese beetles buzzing in the wind, not having to piss with any lines.
We both got really sick that day.
Now, these are the only two pieces of evidence I have to fall back on and exhibit A is pretty fucking distorted. Am I at that age where spinny rides have the ability to blast through my equilibrium and shackle my body with waves of nausea? Or were these just two very bad circumstances?
I find myself worrying about things that never occurred to me as a kid. What do I eat? Do I eat something light before I get there? Will coffee come back to bite me in the esophagus later in the day? Do I stick with familiar edibles of a doughy nature in order to absorb any future risk of gastric acid rising from centrifugal force? If I don’t eat at all, look out maelstrom! One thing is for sure — my Rolaids SoftChews will be tucked snugly into my pocket.
I worry about rides breaking and catapulting me to my grisly death. I hear nuts and bolts popping and clicking and my mind starts racing and making up premonitions that I can visualize behind closed eyes, and before I know it, the ride’s over and I didn’t even get a chance to enjoy it. These are the things that used to make me applaud as a kid, the element of fear that makes your blood buzz with exhilaration. I don’t feel that anymore. Relief–now there’s something I feel. With each and every ride I disembark without whiplash, hemorrhaging or sprained body parts, I’m flooded with relief and feel an overpowering urge to go to church. For real this time, is what I say to God in my head.
And my hair. What do I do with my hair? I want to wear one of my scarves because I’m so scene, but what if it blows off on a spinny ride? That’s a whole FOUR DOLLARS drifting off in the wind. I don’t like to wear my hair pulled back because it brings out neurotic smoothing motions every thirty seconds, much like a nervous tick. Don’t even get me started on fly-aways–I’ll produce a cold sweat. Flashbacks from days sporting more barrettes than a braided black girl as my mom attempted to keep each and every last stray tuft of my hair in place. My scalp tingles when I think of how some of those plastic barrettes held down sections of hair pulled much too taut–now that I’m an adult, I realize my mother did this on purpose. It was a form of “accidental” torture.
But if I wear my hair down? O-ho — knots ahoy!
What do I wear? This frantic compulsion stems from school picnics at our local amusement park, Kennywood. It was tradition to have a new outfit to wear so all the boys will notice you. Never mind that they didn’t notice you in a thirty-desk classroom. I remember my eighth grade apparel like it was yesterday. It came from Merrry-Go-Round and I looked like an extra in Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push It” video–jean shorts with purple leather on the fronts of the legs, a black tank top with a purple mesh shirt over top. Oh, I was so fly. By the end of the night, that fucking shirt had more snags in it than the stockings on a hooker’s trunk-stuffed body.
I’ve been stressing over this all week. If I squeeze my eyes shut real tight, I can hear the cruel cadence of my step-dad’s chastising voice, reminding me that it’s not the fucking prom. Almost like holding a seashell up to my ear. Thanks, daddy.
Many moons ago, I was a young and spry youth with pigtails and Bandaid-adorned knees, skipping around Kennywood like I owned it, when a tragedy struck. A friend and I were exiting a ride equipped with swinging cars. As I stepped out, my friend took her hand away from the car, which had been holding it in place and keeping it from swinging. The car swung toward me and scraped the back of my ankle. I remember an eternity of travail, time stopping, voices sounding afar, and thinking, “This is it. I’ve lost my foot. Now I’ll have to get fitted with a club and all the kids at school will mock, ‘Hey let’s play croquet with Erin’s club foot!’” Cotton candy and funnel cake proved to be a sure-fire distraction and I eventually stopped hopping on one foot.
This is the part that stands out the most–when I went home that night, I couldn’t take off my sock. It was actually glued to my heel with blood. Each and every tiny tug and pull created a stinging sensation that traveled up to my thigh. I was so afraid to show my mom because I just knew she would take me to the hospital and the sorry doctor would shake his head and I could read his lips as they mouthed, “We need to take the foot.”
At the very least, my step-dad would want to pour peroxide over the wound which always made me feel as though I was being punished for getting hurt.
Vowing to keep my mutilation under wraps, I thrust my socked foot under warm running water in the bathtub, grimacing as it saturated my laceration, until I was finally able to slowly peel off the sock and watch rivulets of coagulated blood slide off my ankle and swirl around the drain.
I still remember the socks I was wearing that day.
As kids, we’re more resilient. What if something like this occurs on Saturday? What if the rusty steel from a thrill ride pierces and catches my skin and before anyone can save me, my flesh is being unraveled like a mummy. I’m no kid–I’m much higher off the ground now; I’m susceptible to much more damage. Chances of me breaking a bone are more likely than walking away with a sprain. I’m a walking accident! Call me on the phone and listen to how many times I murmur “Ow” as I walk from one room to another. I am fucking panicking here. I don’t want to get hurt! I don’t want the whole of King’s Island to see my blood!
If I die on Saturday, it better be from something cool, like a roller coaster jumping track and plummeting into a ravine. Not something anticlimactic, like me tripping over my feet and then getting run over by a tram.
There is an upside, however.
When Henry and I spend large amounts of time together in public, the tension grows and multiplies until eventually a thick fog of it is smothering us and testing our gag-reflexes. But this time, we won’t be alone — Christina and her sister Cynthia will be accompanying us and hopefully cutting through the bulk of that fog. Instead of fighting with Henry all day, I can mix it up between him and Christina. And of course, any innocent by-standers who cross my path.
Plus, maybe I can convince Christina to buy me a souvenir cup.
We left Saturday morning and drove through a consistent sheath of downpour, which led Henry to blabber on about how “if it’s raining like this when we get there, I am not wasting my money at King’s Island, I’m sorry.” And somewhere on a stretch of wet highway still within the boundaries of West Virginia, we had a shouting match about how he’s going to treat our pre-conceived baby (we love playing Hypotheticals) and I stamped my foot down hard and yelled, “Take me home!” at which point he laughed so hard he had tears in his eyes and I wanted to break his stupid glasses.
After many stops so he could drain his grizzled bladder, we finally made it to Christina’s house in Hamilton, neither of us maimed or sustaining any head trauma, amazingly (my limbs flail when I’m angry and trapped within the confines of a cramped Nissan Sentra).
I know many of you had been holding your breath all weekend long, wondering what I did with my hair and/or if I retched myself into clammy-handed oblivion on any rides at King’s Island.
1. I wore my hair down in hopes of starting a knotted and dreadlocked free-for-all. I tried to act blissfully unaware (I think maybe I did a not-so-good job) and only ran my fingers through it as a makeshift comb about forty times after each ride. And I only furtively smoothed down the mini afro of frizz atop my head all day long, but really—who’s counting? By the second hour, I purposely avoided any glimpses of myself in restroom mirrors.
2. I did not get sick; however, I brought home a lot of (free) souvenir bruises. No contusions, bless our fine Lord. What the hell — and his mommy, too.
While I would love to sit around the campfire with hot cocoa, recounting tales of all my favorite rides (Son of Beast was the most funnest you guys), all I can really remember amidst the whirlwind of clanging metal parts and side-stepping fresh gum in my path is one thing: checking for my period.
I came prepared. The arsenal of tampons was just short of being strapped to my body like dynamite—I had one waiting in each pocket of my cargo pants in addition to a surplus of “just in cases” in my purse. If I had worn boots, I would have tucked one or two in there, also…next to my switchblade. Which I don’t have yet, but someday. Someday.
“Check me! Do I have stainage?” These were my pleas to Henry, Christina and Cynthia every ten minutes while we were held hostage in one line after another. Oh, how I yearned to make fun of others in my proximity, but feared to in case Karma came back to paint a large blood target on my crotch.
I got lucky when we disembarked Flight of Fear, an indoor ride, as no one was around me. “Block me,” I whispered hoarsely to Christina as I leaned forward and spread the legs of my pants apart nice and wide, to inspect for wetness. Doing this while keeping a steady pace walking down a slanted corridor takes skills. Skills which I possess. I like to compare it to performing magic amidst a ring of fire.
But something good came out of my obsessive bathroom breaks–the highlight of my amusement park junket.
Picture it: You’ve just emerged from a stall with eyes raised to the Heavens (bathroom ceiling) above and are silently praising the Lord Almighty for no blood stains on your panties (if you’re a man, picture it anyway. It’ll help build character). As you’re washing your hands real good because this place is dirty (and if you had a more accelerated condition of OCD, you probably would be convulsing and foaming at the mouth by now), you start to panic as you wonder when your next chance will be to “check.” Everyone in your group groans as you drone on and on about your need to “check,” but you can’t shake the paranoia and obsessive need to make sure you’re not drizzling menstrual blood down your legs; the fabric of your cargo pants is thin and blood will seep right through in no time.
You slowly snake the paper towel around your wet hands, sopping up the water and looking at yourself in the mirror, wondering when you became so uptight about the small things. You contemplate telling Christina you want drugs (ask and she’ll do it) so you can relax and if you end up floating around town with curdled blood around your thighs, big deal; you’re too busy goo-goo’ing and ga-ga’ing at the giant unicorn smiling down at you from a cloud.
And then you start thinking about unicorn porn.
Wait, where were you? Bathroom, hands, drying. So, you turn to your left and casually pitch the paper towel into the large garbage can, when you happen to get a glimpse of something extraordinary. So extraordinary it snaps you back to the here and now. No more unicorn.
The bathroom stall directly in your line of vision is slightly ajar, with its occupant standing hunched over, jean shorts and white cotton underwear down around her knees. Before you even have a chance to scold yourself, your eyes slip down a few inches and that’s when you see it.
a real life vagina.
You feel your friend Christina tugging on your arm and saying in a terse whisper, “Erin, let’s go. You’ve seen enough” but you can’t pull your eyes away from the hairy mound of flesh ten feet in front of you. Your body slightly lurches as you feel the giddiness building up and you’re ready to explode into a conniption of giggles. Christina steers you to the exit and you run and tell your friends what just happened, waving your hands like you’re approaching the climax of a jazz dance routine, and rubbing it in their astonished faces. “You don’t know what you just missed in there!” you say smugly, trying to catch your breath. You feel like you’re on a safari. Then you make them stand around, in the way of hundreds of fast-moving patrons and strollers, so you can point out the woman whose vagina you saw. They don’t really care but you make them wait anyway, and when she comes out of the restroom with her kids, you jump and point and they shrug and start walking away.
And that’s my big exciting highlight. It would have been cooler if she was being scalped or having her face painted at the same time I saw it, but what can you do.
My second favorite moment was eating at the Festhaus. I had pizza and fries, but not just any fries: Fries with a buffet of condiments. I derived great, some might even say ecstatic, amounts of pleasure by deliberating in which pool of sauce each fry would be taking a bath: would it be the succulent marriage of ketchup and mayo, the tiny basin of honey mustard, or the thick and rich vat of creamy nacho cheese? My companions had long since finished eating and sat around idly while I dined on one single fry after another. It was heaven.
We left around 10:00 that night so I could be back at Christina’s in order to bid on a spectacular piece of Cure memorabilia. In between spastic menstrual wonderment, fleeting thoughts of missing the Ebay auction would swim through my mind. I even carved a reminder on my inner wrist, imagining my pen was a box cutter and I was sacrificing my tainted blood in the name of Robert Smith.
“Why would you write it there?” Henry asked in a tone that would suggest I just pissed in the corner of a church (I would actually do that too).
“Because it’s the part of my body that I look at the most.” Sadly, I had to explain this to him because, evidently, after four years he hasn’t picked up on my morbid fascination with my veins. And my ribs. Ooh, shivers.