I haven’t done a throwback Thursday in a few months, and today I came across an old LiveJournal post from 2006 about the first time my friend Kara and I met in person! 10 years and three babies later, we’re still friends! Thank god for Myspace and awesome taste in music. Kara, I can’t believe Blogathon alone didn’t scare you away!
Sometime last summer, I received an email notification that someone wanted to add me as a friend on Myspace. I was surprised to find out that it was neither a:
[a] screamo band from Idaho
[b] girl trying to break into porn
[c] married middle-aged man looking to just chat, he swears, with a young chick
Instead, it was a real life girl, Kara, from Pittsburgh who actually seemed to be adding me out of sheer interest and not to bolster a high friend count. A glance at her profile told me that she could type and spell properly, and didn’t have an annoying layout spewing out the latest Mariah Carey single, forcing me to scroll up and down in search of an off button. We began sending messages back and forth, making empty promises to meet up real soon for coffee. I didn’t have much faith in that, because the only other time I tried to meet someone from MySpace, she blew me off three times in a row (once was because she got her period).
But then a coffee place opened up in my town of Brookline (and it was about time since the only places around this dump to get coffee is an Eat n Park with awful service or a varied selection of gas stations) right by Pizzarella, no less! I figured this would be a great opportunity to meet Kara, until I sent Henry there one day for a smoothie and he was told that they had no refrigeration. The second attempt to humble them with my patronage was shot down when I wanted a cappuccino and was told that their microwave was broken. If they’re making their cappuccinos in a microwave, I don’t think I want one after all. I’m glad that I discovered this before having Kara meet me there, since I feel like a representative of Brookline and taking her to a bunk coffee house would be sure to hurt commerce.
Another month went by and we finally solidified plans to meet yesterday at an Eat n Park near her part of town. She was already there when I arrived and I feared she would flee in horror as I waddled through the doors with the thunderous steps of a pregnant Godzilla. The most recent picture of me on MySpace was taken in November, when my face was half of what is now, so I hope she wasn’t too startled.
As we walked back to our booth, I begged her not to laugh as I kept my jeans hitched up with clenched hands to prevent them from slithering down my hips. Still, the crotch was halfway to my knees by the time we were seated. I embarrassingly told her that I’m between sizes in maternity pants.
After the initial awkwardness of saying hello 3 dozen times, laughing nervously, and trying to decide what to order (which is hard when two pages of your menu are glued together by an unknown and hopefully not unsanitary substance) everything went well. We lounged around in the booth for two hours drinking coffee (YES I HAD DECAF, GOD) and laughing at our waitress who looked like Gerard from My Chemical Romance. Then the smoke alarm went off and everyone sat there, staring stupidly at one another. “Should we leave? Is there a fire?” The host slouched past us and mumbled, “I wish this place would burn down” and judging by his lax movement, we figured we weren’t in any danger and there was no need to evacuate. But oh, that was the most excitement I had experienced all week!
I don’t think that I scared Kara away (I’ve learned through trial and error over the years what subjects to avoid) and she claims (CLAIMS) that she had a nice time and would like to hang out again. I hope so, because I have this feeling that all my old friends are going to head for the hills once my chitlin’ is born. She said she likes babies!
That night, Henry treated me like I had just come home from 1st grade after making my first friend, and gave me that “I’m so proud of you” look. I realize that I’m a bit reclusive in my pregnant, unemployed state, but really, I’m not that bad. OK, I am. It’s just that you think you have a lot of friends until you actually need one of them, so I started to pull away from some of them. I’ve been very disenchanted with my selection these days.
Then I took my prenatal vitamin this morning like a dumbass (I always take it at night) and threw up so fiercely that I was seeing bright starbursts around the edges of my vision and one of them morphed into Cap’n Crunch, which is the second time I’ve seen his likeness outside of a cereal box (the first was within the scalloped texture of my old apartment’s ceiling).
HEY GANG. Today have a vintage Erin and Henry post about the first time we went to the flea market together in 2005. This was also back when we hated each other, so read between the lines, I guess is what I’m saying, oh ho ho ho.
I’ve only ever been to a flea market once in my life (I’m a reformed Versace-girl, remember). That was in high school, and it was only a quick jaunt for my friend Jon to pick up some cheap cigarettes. I remember wanting to stay longer so I could look for cool things like slap bracelets and ugly lamps, but Jon reminded me that we had more important things to do, like sit and drink coffee at Denny’s for five hours.
So when Henry pressed his luck and threw “flea market” into the Sunday Morning suggestion box, I shrugged and said, “Maybe.” After learning he would buy me trinkets of affection (and shameless bribery), I hurriedly changed my vote to a yea.
I was eager to experience this so-called bargain circus with my frugal, blue-collared boyfriend, who is no doubt quite familiar with spotting a deal. Hopefully he could show me the ropes. At the very least, maybe it would turn into another social experiment, like when one of my ex boyfriends tried to show me how to grocery shop with coupons.
The flea market we attended was set up inside an old movie theater, with the excess spilling out into the back parking lot. Henry wore a proud look of “welcome to my world” on his face, as he steered the car through aisles of limping elderly and spandexed women. I saw fanny packs and torsos sausaged into crop tops everywhere I turned.
Feeling a swell of excitement as he parked between two Nascar bumper stickered cars, I whipped out my lip gloss for a touch-up.
“Are you kidding me? Did you not see the people we drove past? No one cares how you look! It’s a flea market.” But I like to look nice while I’m shopping! He stood next to the car with crossed arms until I dolefully returned the lip gloss to my purse.
We entered the converted theater and Henry seemed to be harboring some hesitation. Maybe he was regretting bringing me?
Once my eyes adjusted, I scoffed and whispered, “Oh my God, this stuff is so dumb! People actually buy this?” causing Henry to grip my elbow and push me along the aisle.
“Stupid. Ugly. Dumb. Whoa…..what’s that?” On a table to my right sprawled a sparking strand of exquisite black baubles suitable for any good Zsa Zsa Gabor impersonator (I should know — I dressed as her once in fifth grade). I held the necklace in my hand and allowed the coolness of the black gems to sink into my palm. This must be a thousand million dollars, I thought to myself in disdain. My eyes furtively sought the table for some sort of price tag, when they landed on a sign that said “All necklaces, $2.”
Be still my heart, I swooned! Pivoting on my heels, I silently implored Henry with wide eyes, necklace clutched to my heart. He rolled his eyes and passed me two dollar bills. When I looked at him in confusion, he said irritably, “Go give it to that old woman behind the table.” I didn’t know! God.
My first flea market purchase! I skipped back toward Henry and gloated in his face. “That’s great, now watch where you’re walking.” He was jealous, that’s all. This is when it occured to me that perhaps my depression could be attributed to lack of accessorizing. So I embarked on a mission for more gaudy adornments.
Twenty seconds later and Henry had lost me. While he continued to walk ahead, I had been drawn over to a table boasting brilliantly colored wooden necklaces. I fawned over them with glazed eyes until Henry made his way back to my side.
“I’m buying these two. Give me money.” When Henry’s hand failed to move toward his pocket, I made like I was going to cause a scene and he hurriedly slapped a twenty in my hand.
I wore the necklace pictured later that day when we went to lunch and each time the waitress would stop at our table, I would flip my hair dramatically over my shoulder and wait for the inevitable shriek of “Oh my god that necklace is so great! Where did you get it!” Alas, she never noticed (Henry maintains that she noticed, alright, but just didn’t care).
Quickly deciding that I was going to empty his pockets if we stayed inside amongst all the “nice” merchandise, he decided to take me out to the parking lot where all the junk was set up. On our way out there, an old woman careened into Henry with a rolled up rug and said, “Oh, I’m so sorry dear heart.” I made a mental note of calling him that for the rest of the day, but it became a fleeting memory once we walked out the doors and were barraged by blaring country music and the dueling aromas of soul food and teriyaki chicken. What a mix.
I shielded my eyes and took in the sea of slipshod tools, bargain cleaning products, and board games with missing pieces. We flipped through stolen DVDs and crates of cracked CD cases; I’ll never see more Rick Astley CDs in all my lifetime if I try.
People bounded from table to table, like locusts, grabbing up armfuls of batteries, watering cans adorned with giant plastic daisies, and Barbie clothes. Underneath small tents, more people pushed and shoved to get a better look at VHS selections, dollar store Christmas decorations and faded Steelers shirts.
I had grown accustomed to paying only $1-$2 for things that caught my eye, so when I’d see price tags demanding a lofty $5 and up, I’d slap my hand across my chest and say things like “Astronomical!” and “Oh, sister, you’re out of your mind!” I fear that I may be forever ruined by the flea market and all of its remarkable deals.
We trudged our way up and down the aisles, Henry stepping on the backs of my flip-flops and me complaining of the pelting sun. In the middle of a train of snide remarks, I interrupted myself with a breathy “Uh-oh.”
“What does that mean, ‘uh-oh’?” Henry asked nervously. “What did you do?”
“Would you look?” I said, as I pointed vigorously to the stand on our left.
“Yeah, it’s all junk. Keep walking.” And he started ambling away, that Henry. I tugged him back over to the table and pointed again.
“I want that.”
“No, I’m not buying it. Come on.”
“But I need it! Please ask that man how much it is!” You know how when you’re a kid and you just have to have a certain toy and your parents know that you’ll never play with it so they don’t want to encourage you? That’s kind of how it is all day, every day with Henry and me.
Henry stood quietly for a few seconds, staring at the object of my desire. “My loins are burning for it, Henry! Please, it’s my dying wish!” I was yanking his arm and lurching up and down like I had to pee. I scrunched up my face and flung my hand across my forehead.
And so he finally cleared his throat and dejectedly asked the elderly black man behind the table how much the brown nudie mug would set him back.
ONE DOLLAR. Oh, my heart soared and I beamed and squealed as I watched Henry make the transaction. The man plunked it into a plastic bag and I wrestled it from Henry’s fist. “I swear to god I’ll use it everyday!” I emphatically vowed.
“Yeah? I wouldn’t,” Henry muttered as we continued along the aisles of clutter.
Still riding the waves of euphoria over my nudie mug, a shiny glint caught my eye. Stopping abruptly, I slowly turned my head to see what was causing such a dazzling glow and gasped as I collapsed back into Henry.
“No, oh no. Keep walking,” Henry’s face was awash with a stew of apprehension and horror.
“But it’s the most beautifulest thing in the world!” I breathed. “I want it. I want it! How much do you think it is?” I had to run to catch up to him, as his pace quickened significantly. “Please?!”
“You act like everything is life or death,” Henry spat as he continued to browse tables for stuff that he likes (which is all stupid stuff).
“I really think that I need this, though. I mean, I love my nudie mug, but this would make me even more happy. Don’t you want me to be happy?” That gets him every time. Every time. I knew that once we made our way back around, he would buy it for me.
What is it? Only the most glorious piece of art you’ll ever see, that’s what it is.
I walked with my head down, body rigid and consumed with panic. “What if someone buys it?”
“Um, doubtful,” Henry uttered while tossing me a fed up face.
Mere seconds later, I was entranced by a glazed ceramic figurine that resembled Big Boy, only he sported frightening lime green eyes. Standing at about a foot tall, I envisioned him perched on my fireplace mantle, keeping watch over my guests. The grizzled old guy manning the table caught me staring at it and warbled in a hoarse mountain man voice, “Anything here catch your eye?”
I wanted to clap and say, “Yes, mister! This right here! How much?” but Henry pierced through my soul with slinted eyes, and with flared nostrils he quickly shook his head “no.” As we walked away, I scuffed my feet and tried to make him understand how much I wanted it.
“That stupid thing was wearing golf clothes and it was carrying a golf bag. Why would you want that?”
“I love golf!” I was offended that he did not know this. When he denied my golfing affectations, I reminded him that I have Phil Mickelson listed as a LiveJournal interest.
“Yeah, but that’s not because you think he’s a good golfer. It’s because you’re weird.” He was still mouthing off about me being a golf fan-poseur, when I saw the most beautiful, gigantic metal bangle bracelet.
I thrust my fist through it and modeled it for all to see. The Asian woman behind the table cooed. “Yes, that’s lovely! Three dollah.”
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe…I can’t decide.” I scrutinized the heavy bracelet and admired how it mirrored the sun’s blinding rays. I continued to deliberate, peppering the moment with uncertainties such as “Maybe I’ll be back” and “Do I really need such an extravagant piece of jewelry adorning my wrist?” until she said, “OK fine, two dollah!”
As I walked away with my new chintzy bangle, I shielded my eyes from its blazing shine and elbowed Henry in the side. “Did you see what I did back there? Knocking her down to a cheaper price? That’s called bartering, Henry. I learned how to do that in Morocco.” Because I loooove reminding Henry that I had already traveled half the world by the time I was 13 while he was busy coloring his collar blue.
“Didn’t you hear what she said? You could have got three for $5, so wipe the smirk off your face–you were still taken.”
And then there we were, back to the table that housed the diamond in the rough. “Look at it,” I purred. “If that’s not the most beautiful—”
“Do you honestly want it?” I imagine Henry thought I was joking until he saw that my eyes were tearing up. And so he asked the seller how much it was going for and suddenly, I felt a rush of blood to my head, and the sound of crashing drums filled my ears. I braced myself for the ugly truth, willing to wager that my masterpiece was going to be too steep for Henry’s meager salary. I could hear Henry talking, but it sounded long and drawn out, like a record playing on slow speed.
I’ll tell you what, I thought my eyes deceived me, like an oasis in the desert illusion, when I saw him hand over two dollar bills. TWO DOLLARS FOR THIS PIECE OF EYE CANDY.
It’s like three feet long!
“I can’t believe someone bought this the first time,” Henry said disgustedly as he thrust the beauty into my greedy hands. I stared at it in awe. What a dangerous item to be placed into the care of someone as sacrilegious as myself. My mind began to whirl as I imagined all the things I could do with it. Chase Marcy around the house; slice Henry’s wrists and splatter his blood over it; use it as a TV dinner tray.
There was a brief window of fear as I wondered if the picture was so cheap because it was haunted. Like, I don’t know, maybe by the Holy Ghost? I made a mental note of hanging the picture below my devil clock; let him keep an eye out, you know?
Generally, I make Henry carry all the bags when we go shopping, but yesterday, I stingily hoarded them all for myself. Feeling my last supper picture slap against my thigh as I walked caused me great delight.
I’m hoping to shop at the flea market all the time now.
“Hey big spender, do you think it would be alright if I bought myself a hot dog?”
You know what, Henry, go and have that hot dog; I think that’ll be just fine.
[Note from the future: I was reminded me of this when I saw a similar piece to the Last Supper at Flower Child last weekend. It was the same size and made from the same material, except that instead of Jesus & Co., it was fruit and FORTY DOLLARS.]
For Throwback Thursday, I was revisiting old LiveJournal stories when I came across this one from 2004 that sincerely illustrates my relationship with Henry. We are exactly the same! I don’t know if I should be happy that, after 14 years, he still pays enough attention to what I’m doing to feel the need to scold me; or embarrassed that I honestly haven’t matured one tiny smidge.
The only difference is now that we have a kid, he’s doing twice the scolding.
Anyway, while I go back to complaining to Henry about my latest workout injuries, please enjoy Our Day at the Homewood Cemetery.
March 28th, 2004
Today at the cemetery, Henry utilized each and every phrase in his repertoire of scolding verbiage.
“Put that down!”
“You’re a fucking weirdo.”
“People go to jail for that!”
“Leave the cat alone.”
“Get down from there!”
And let’s not forget the obligatory “Grow up.” I need a new walking partner. Any takers?
We were in one of the mausoleums and there was this one hallway that was completely dark. I was terror-stricken and started running. That constituted a “settle down” from Papa H. We couldn’t get out the one door to leave and naturally, since I’m prone to panicking, I completely forgot that there was another exit. My heart was beating so fast, and Henry started making references to “Phantasm.” (Although he originally kept saying “Hellraiser” until I corrected him. Because I’m the best.) Anyhow, we made it out safely and I informed Henry that I had chills. He was all, “That’s because it was cold in there.” He’s such a parade shitter.
The cat that I saw, though, I think was a ghost. I chased it all over the place, in spite of Henry’s warnings of rabies.
There was a guy and girl that were cleaning off this one section of graves, and I was trying to contain my laughter, which resulted in my snorting. Henry hissed, “Some people come here for a reason, you know.” He’s such a hater.
The best is the look that he gets on his face when I randomly let loose an ear piercing shriek. Tormenting him is the best part of our relationship.
Just a little preface: after I posted about the most recent game night, I decided to make a “game night” category so that I could keep all of the game night posts together because every so often, I get some kind of blog OCD. Anyhow, I realized that the only account missing was still over on my old LiveJournal. And it just so happens it’s the one where the infamous (not really) CARLY SIMON incident happened! So, this is a reposting of the very first game night I hosted at my house in 2006. You have permission to not read it. Aren’t I nice.
The last time I played Scattergories was in 2003 and I slugged Janna for challenging one of my answers (because according to her, frolicking is not a valid form of transportation, and not even my graceful demonstration of frolicking to and fro could convince her otherwise — bitch) and then Keri threatened to kick me out of her wedding party if I couldn’t get along with others.
I figured three years was long enough to cool down, so Scattergories was the first game we dove into during the Game Night that I hosted at my house Saturday evening. Brian, Janna, Ryan, Stacey, and Kara all spread out in a circle while I got all the pieces together. OK, Henry helped me with that a little. There were plastic things that hadn’t been assembled yet on the cardboard clipboard things because I usually only ever play Scattergories (and Boggle) with myself and I lost my patience within a cool ten seconds.
Henry decided he was going to sit this one out, because he’s afraid to play Scattergories with me.
We played three rounds, which was all good and fun, except that I discovered that Stacey is some brand of undercover Scattergories-Nazi and challenged about 3/4 of my answers. One of those she challenged was “earwig police officer.” I’m sorry, but who are we, as human beings, to say that earwigs don’t have police officers (category: Someone in a Uniform, Letter “E”)? And are you going to tell me that, in some fairy tale right now, someone isn’t sitting on a toadstool? The category was a very ambiguous “Furniture,” not “Human Furniture” or “Earth Furniture.” At one point, she got really angry and said, “Come on Erin, you’re a smart girl! Play right!” I was playing right! It’s called strategy, Stacey. I don’t want one of those dickshitters having the same answer as me!
Almost every time it was my turn to unveil one of my answers (it took about twenty minutes for everyone to grasp the concept of clockwise and Brian was really getting heated), I would be laughing to the point of tears, but no one else would laugh with me (sometimes Kara would because maybe she feels sorry for me) because there was a Serious Game being played and I was holding it up.
Because of Stacey’s iron fist, I ended up losing by ONE point to this asshole:
…whom I’m positive was cheating. I think he realized that he was down a few points whenever my answer of water buffaloes as farm animals was being challenged. I have to state for the record that Janna and Kara tried to sway the vote in my favor, but Brian, who had the distinction of being the swing vote, saw this as his opportunity to go in for the win so he gave me a big hearty thumbs down.
I was angry at Brian six hours before Game Night even started though, because he called me that afternoon to ask what time it started, which spun me into a frenzied tangent about invitations (or Evites, in this case, which always skyrocket my blood pressure because, unfailingly there’s always at least one asshole who doesn’t RSVP or downright doesn’t even view it and then I get all OCD because their name just hangs there, festering in limbo and no matter how many times I call them and email them with clear cut instructions, they refuse to make it right). I left him a lengthy voice mail, schooling him in the very narrow field of invitations, and how they are necessary because they contain pertinent info regarding the party, such as, oh I don’t know, the fucking time it starts, asshole.
He called me back later and left a message to see if it would be cool if he was fashionably late. But apparently, in Brian’s skewered land of party etiquette, fashionably late means retardedly early, because he arrived two and a half hours before game night even started. I hadn’t even dusted the games off yet.
I’ll probably just place a fake personal ad in his name and then I’ll be over it.
During the third round, Lisa arrived with her arsenal of games, which included the crowd-pleaser that is Catchphrase. I was thankful for this, because a girl can only take so much rejection during the same game, so I stuffed everything back into the Scattergories box and slid it under the chair, secretly proud of myself for not throwing any blows during the game but inwardly ready to blow a fucking gasket because goddamn, it’s hard to control your temper when you have explosive anger disorder!
Lisa explained the rules of Catchphrase repeatedly until Brian couldn’t take it anymore and screamed at Lisa to just start the motherfucker, already. I mean, once it was unearthed that Henry had played the game before, everyone relaxed and decided it couldn’t be that hard. I was thankful to not be stuck on a team with Stacey.
Right in the middle of the fourth practice round, Melissa arrived with her baby. I let her fill in for me because I was too rambunctious to be doing so much sitting. Instead, I stood behind Henry and pinched the back of his neck many times and mocked him every time it was his turn to get his team to guess the catch phrase. Most of the time, I couldn’t figure out where he was going with his hints, because he really is a special sort of durrr, but I guess that’s what makes him so endearing. I mean, if you’re the type of person who would think someone is endearing, who typically, I am not.
Every time Catchphrase ended up in Melissa’s hands, she would take too long to get her team to guess the word and the buzzer would go off. She attributed her distraction to Stacey’s “beautiful cleavage.” It could have been an uncomfortable moment, and my innards were aching from laughing so hard, but Stacey took the compliment with grace and the game went on. This would turn out to be a suggestive hint to where the night was headed: Down Girlsex Alley. Of course Brian took great pleasure in this and went to great lengths to egg Melissa on until finally she knew no other topics other than Boobs, Tits, and Pussy. It was very apropos later on when her Catchphrase word was nipple.
And don’t let Ryan fool you, but I was in the kitchen with him when he was getting a refill of his Faygo (haha) Blue Raspberry and totally saw him reach for the Windex instead and quickly try to play it off when I started laughing.
“I knew it was Windex! It was in my way and I was moving it, I wasn’t going to drink it!” Lol oh.
My favorite moment of the night was about an hour after Brian confided to me that, “I’m not trying to be conceited, but I really do know a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff.” He was trying to get his team to guess Stalingrad and decided to tackle the “Stalin” part first. He kept saying, “Russian tsar! He was a fucking Russian tsar, Janna, you idiot!” (Put those two on a team together and it’s truly like having a wholesome 1950’s TV family sitting in my living room.) Somehow, Janna was able to piece together his mis-hints and after she finally guess it, she quipped, “Stalin wasn’t a tsar, Brian.” I wasn’t on their team, but I did a jubilant fist pump in her honor. It’s not often Brian gets put in his place.
No, I was wrong! I have a different favorite moment of the night, because that one wasn’t about me. But this one is. It was Henry’s turn and all he said was, “I don’t know. Um, female singer” and I screamed “Carly Simon!” and it was totally Carly Simon and I seriously rode that horse for the rest of the night.
“Remember when all he said was ‘female singer’ and I totally guessed Carly Simon because I really am that many layers of awesome?”
After playing Catchphrase for about three hours, because we’re all clearly pathetic, it turned into Ask Uncle Brian comedy hour, wherein Melissa asked Brian questions of a sexual nature, but I do not have permission to go there.
Finally, it was after 1AM and I was coming dangerously close to achieving auto-annoyance, so everyone said goodnight and then Janna came with me to drive Ryan home. I started to pat myself on the back for not losing my temper and Ryan was like, “Really? You don’t think you lost your temper? At all?” and Janna kind of gave me this sad look that read, “He’s right, you know.” Fine, so I got a little angry, but I kept my paws and claws to myself and no one got hurt and nothing got broken. I did good considering what I’m capable of!
Unfortunately, it began to unravel after I dropped off Ryan. One of the scenes where Stacey gave my Scattergories answer a thumbs down started to replay in my mind and I punched the steering wheel. I slight honk was emitted, which kind of sucked because it was like 1:30AM and we were driving through a semi-scary area. I ended up bending one of my nails all the way back.
It hurts really bad today.
And now some thoughts on this night from 2014 Erin: That kid Ryan turned out to be the Biggest Douche and started a huge flame war with me in 2008, and prior to this, literally every last one of my friends were begging me to stop inviting him to my parties because no one could stand him, BUT I NEVER LISTEN; my thoughts on RSVPing have not changed and I WILL hold it against you; Melissa supposedly left her husband and child and ran off to the Playboy Mansion, and I haven’t heard from her in years; could my pictures be any smaller; Stacey’s work schedule prevents her from attending game nights now but there’s a part of me that wonders if it’s really because she just can’t take the blinding light of my Scattergories brilliance; I’m totally going to play Scattergories alone tonight after work.
When my brother Corey was texting me pictures of the Amish guys working on our dad’s roof, it brought back fond memories of the time my other brother Ryan and I stalked the man who was building our back porch when we were kids. I knew I had written about it at some point, so I searched my LiveJournal archives and now I am sharing it here, because I think it’s kind of funny how I am still basically the same person as I was when I was a kid.
I have a different dad than Corey and Ryan, so clearly our penchant for stalking comes from our mom.
What was the best summer ever? Could it be the summer of ’92 when we hosted a French exchange student (that deserves it’s own entry)? The summer of my nineteenth birthday party marathon? No, my friends. It’s the summer of 1994 that wins this title.
My parents were in the process of having a back porch built onto our house. This was a big deal for my brother Ryan and me, because stalking one of the workers became the sole reason we got out of bed each day. I mean really, who wants to swim and lay out in the sun when you can be violating someone’s privacy?
We would run from window to window, snapping pictures of him. One day, Ryan even chased his truck up the street. Those pictures turned out fabulously. I’ll never forget the day we discovered his name was Gary. We ran into the house, erupting into shrieks and giggles.
After a week of wasting film on this fine craftsman, we decided to incorporate a little more extremity to our game. More thrill, if you will. We needed a bigger adrenaline rush. The next obvious step was to collect Gary’s cigarette butts and beer cans. When you’re young, you want souvenirs for everything you do.
We would wait until he would go to his truck, then sprint out in the backyard like scavengers, picking through the grass in search of a butt or two. Once we accumulated enough to satiate our pursuant appetite, we brought our treasures in the house and stowed it underneath the couch in the family room.
Stalking Gary consumed so much of our summer. How much, you ask? So much that it infiltrated the summer of my friends, as well. Christy was in Atlanta (I believe) for some sort of academic camp. I wrote her a letter and enclosed one of Gary’s cigarettes butts for her to cherish as well. I just wanted her summer to be as rich as ours had become, thanks due to Gary. I wrote letters to every one of my pen pals, detailing Gary’s every action and movement. Everyone clung to the Summer of Gary with bated breath.
Unfortunately, the fun and games ended when my dad unearthed our stash of memorabilia under the couch. Now, any other dad would have rightfully accused us of smoking and drinking. Not my dad. Luckily for us, my dad recognized the extent of our weirdness long before this incident, so he believed our tale and we escaped punishment. The downside was that he forbade us to continue our game. Something about we were embarrassing him or something.
I often wonder what Gary is doing these days, and if he knew he was being stalked. Was he flattered? My mom says ‘nay.’
During my break at work, I was perusing LiveJournal because I wanted to find the post about the time I entered Henry for some Hotties of Hannukah contest (seriously, I know). But during my hunt, I uncovered the old “What Kind of Hoover* Are You?” quiz that I created on Quizilla in like, 2005? 2004? So obviously I am now going to share that with you tonight, because it’s moderately funny, but THAT HAIR.
*(This was Henry’s LiveJournal nickname because he sucked the fun out of everything. There are still people that call him that and he gets so angry. So…please, keep calling him that.)
I mean, these are all basically still current, minus the metal trucker locks.
I wish the quiz was still on Quizilla so I could see what the questions were, and obviously see if I would be a different Hoover 10 years later.
Chooch’s godfather Brian and I have been out of touch for awhile, but we were messaging each other on Facebook the other night; I got all nostalgic (who, me?) and started reading old LiveJournal bullshit. I found this post from when Brian, Henry and I took Chooch to Kennywood for the first time and wanted to share because it was clearly an awful time for Henry. And those are my FAVORITE times!
Originally posted August 2006
All summer long, I have been itching to go to Kennywood, Pittsburgh’s amusement park. I kept begging Henry, telling him that it would be the long overdue present for bearing his son. My loins have burned so bright for thrill rides that I would have been happy even going to a county fair and scraping myself on the rusty bolts holding together the death traps.
Two weeks ago, I made Henry drive past Kennywood at night. There’s not much to be seen from the road, but the few glimpses of blinking lights I caught peeking from the tree tops was enough to make tears stream down my face. Henry didn’t even care.
Finally, after trying numerous times to plan the trip, only to have my mom (who proposed back in May that we should all go to Kennywood and she’ll push the baby around in his stroller while we ride) bail on us every time, Henry decided that if I could find someone stupid enough to go with us, he’d be the designated Chooch Pusher. I asked Brian, who in turn canceled a meeting and un-RSVP’d to a fiftieth birthday party.
I asked him if he would ride everything, because that was my greatest concern. Evidently, once my friends entered their twenties, they all became spinny ride-impaired. Janna once nearly puked on me at a carnival and the ride wasn’t even that thrilling.
“Oh yeah, I ride everything!” Brian insisted.
So we picked him up at his apartment at 4:30, after nearly getting creamed by a large thug in a car fleeing a fleet of cops in a high speed chase. It was so scary that it made my scalp twinge. And then Henry, a.k.a. Professional Driver, took a “short cut” through various city ‘hoods to avoid rush hour traffic. What should have been a twenty minute drive at best turned into an hour stuffed into a sedan with a crying baby in a car seat, Brian bitching, me whining from the back seat, and Henry massaging his temples.
But we finally got there around 5:30 and parked in the upper lot because we like doing things for free. The only problem with this is that there is a steep escalator that transports people to the bottom lot and I was worried about the stroller. I begged Henry to take the path that wraps around down to the bottom of the hill, but he jabbed a fat finger at the escalator sign and said, “It doesn’t say that strollers are prohibited. I’m going down!” And he did, with the back wheels of the stroller perched on a step and the front end of it teetering precariously into the air. I rested my hand on my heart and chanted, “Oh God. Oh God. Be careful! Oh God. Oh God.” I mean, I wanted Chooch’s first trip to be thrilling, but not as thrilling as fucking free falling from an escalator. I panicked with even more intensity when the man in front of Henry and Chooch reached the bottom and walked off.
“There goes our buffer!” I sighed. I figured if Henry’s stupidity sent the stroller plummeting, hitting the back of that man would soften the blow. We made it to the bottom and my blood pressure started to go down.
Most people, upon crossing the threshold of an amusement park, find themselves smiling like mainliners. I fall into that category. My chest was positively surging with excitement. I was giddy and making fun of people and bouncing on my toes. Henry and Brian looked grim.
Henry paid for all three of us to speed things along. Brian seemed touched and said, “You didn’t have to do that! I have money.” Henry gruffly answered, “I know. You can pay me back when you get change.” But you know Henry, always speaking so gruffly.
Brian noticed a sign for the Fall Fantasy Parade. Kennywood does this at the end of each season. Basically, they find the high schools with the worst bands and portliest majorettes with the eye-hand coordination of a 6-month-old and blend them all together into a giant pelvic-thrusting caboodled clusterfuck, making it nearly impossible to get anywhere in the park while it’s undulating along with the speed of a caterpillar. Brian was not happy about this. I laughed.
Chooch will be able to look back on the day when he’s older since I brought the camcorder along. He will surely hug his sides and smile at the memory of Henry barking at me to watch where I’m walking, me retorting with my signature hateful sass, and Brian oozing sarcasm from every orifice of his business casual-dressed body. Seriously, who wears a long sleeved button down shirt, slacks, and Italian leather sandals to an amusement park? BRIAN, that’s who.
As we entered the tunnel that spills you out into the park, “Straight Up” was playing over the sound system. “Oh goodie, you mean I get the Fall Fantasy Parade, Henry’s asshole haircut, and Paula Abdul all for only $9?” Brian enthused.
It was at this point that Brian decided to point out all the rides he would not be partaking in. “I won’t ride that. Or that. Oh hell nah, I’m not riding that!”
The first ride we rode was a Garfield-themed shit fest. There was a camera set up at the end, and I threw my arms up to illustrate properly my jubilation for being at Kennywood. Brian’s face sagged into a bored scowl. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get close enough to the kiosk which was showing all the pictures on monitors, because a bunch of assholes in wheelchairs had thrown their chairs into park and were just idling there, blocking the counter like a gimp armada.
Brian quickly set the mood for the evening after that ride by briskly informing me that “While your asshole boyfriend is pissing, I’m going to get food.” I stood alone, with Chooch and his stroller, looking like a lost lamb until Henry returned from the bathroom.
“Where’s Brian?” he asked. This was going to become the question of the night. “Getting food,” I gave him what was going to become the answer of the night.
Literally, Brian and I rode about five rides, maybe six, and spent most of the night standing around like assholes, getting in everyone’s way. Every time I turned around, Brian was in line to get a cheese steak or a corn dog or soft serve, and when he wasn’t in line, he was sitting at a table eating Henry’s and my cheese fries. Henry spent our rent money losing at games all night while Chooch stared at passers-by with a pissed off look.
Not amused on his first Kennywood train ride.
I was the only one in a good mood for once.
At some point, when I took over pushing the stroller, Brian joked that people likely thought he and I were the parents and Henry was the grandfather. We laughed about this sporadically through the day, and Henry would respond with a derelict “Oh, ho ho ho.” But then I also suggested that some people might have thought that Brian was our manny.
On every ride, even the train, I hugged my abdomen and wailed, “My incision! Oh holy shit, my incision!” Yes, it’s true that my C-section was four months ago, but I’ve experienced phantom incision pains ever since I healed (or have I?). It feels like tiny bees are stinging me along my battle wound. Those tiny sweat bees.
Actually, my incision neuroses run so deep that I would have to make a separate entry just for that topic alone, so let’s move on.
Things took a turn for the worse in line for the Racer when I mistakenly told Brian that Henry had said we were fucked up. See, Brian and I are weight-obsessed and we bought into the whole ephedra revolution with our entire bodies and souls. You can’t put Brian and I together without one of us eventually lamenting the ban on ephedra. “All because one asshole baseball player had to go and die because of it!” we’ll scoff in disgust. So Brian came up with a solution: We will live in Japan for six months and lose weight on their legal ephedra and then come back home and point and laugh at all the people who buy ephedra-free diet pills. Seriously, you don’t hear about the Japanese OD’ing on ephedra, do you?
Naturally, Henry’s response to this plan was, “No wonder why you and Brian are friends–you’re both fucked up.”
When I told this to Brian, he became really bothered. “Oh, I’m fucked up, am I?” I couldn’t tell if his surly disposition was in jest or if he was really hating on Henry, because we were in line for a roller coaster and he suddenly blurted out, “Where’d that motherfucker go?”
“Who?” I asked, confused.
“Your asshole boyfriend. You know, someone ought to tell him to shave that beard. He looks like shit. That motherfucker.” And so for the next three hours, every time Henry would suggest something, like walking to another part of the park, Brian would retort with, “Why, I don’t know Henry. I might be too fucked up to walk over there.”
Brian eludes Kennywood’s spell of enchantment and slouches in misery. Also, I think he burned through all his cash on food by this point..
After exiting the Thunderbolt later that evening, I saw the buffer guy from the escalator standing there. I excitedly tugged on Brian’s arm and whispered, “Look! It’s Buffer!”
“Who?!” Brian asked, looking around wildly. I tried to suppress giggles as I reminded him who Buffer was. “Oh. That guy. I wasn’t aware that we had labeled him.” I ran over to where Henry and Chooch were waiting and pointed out Buffer to Henry, too.
And then I saw him later when we were seated at a picnic table and I had the perfect opportunity to stalk him through my camera.
I wanted to go on the new ride (the SwingShot), but Henry and Brian laughed when they saw it. “That’s obnoxious. You can go on that while I go on the swings,” and with that, Brian left me standing there dumbly. I was so mad because I didn’t want to ride alone, but it was too late for me to ride the asshole swings with Brian. I stood there with my lip out and became even more outraged every time Brian swung past us. “He’s not even smiling or laughing! Look at him, he’s expressionless!” He just sat there in his swing, staring vacantly. “He probably just went on it because of the bar that goes between your legs,” Henry laughed, continuing on the path of unfunny.
After sulking over missing out on the new ride, getting Indian brush burn on both arms on another ride, and riding the Pirate Ship with a hard core man seated behind me who was reduced to screaming like a girl once the ride started, I duped Brian into riding the Wipe Out with me.
“What does it do?” he asked. The ride wasn’t in motion when we approached it; only one kid was seated on it and the operator was waiting for more riders to come before starting it.
“It’s kind of like the Music Express,” Henry lied.
“Yeah, except it doesn’t spin as fast,” I added.
Brian shrugged and we got on board. He knew as soon as it started accelerating that he was in for it.
“You fucking bitch!” he yelled from the seat across from me. “‘Oh, it just spins around in a circle.’ Then what the fuck is this shit?!” he shouted as the entire circle of seats rose from the platform and began tilting as it spun simultaneously. We could see Henry standing near the gate, laughing and pointing. “And fuck your boyfriend, too!” Brian screamed.
When we got off the ride, I wiped away tears of laughter and said, “I forgot it did all that other stuff!”
“You forgot nine tenths of what it did, you bitch.”
The park was about to close within thirty minutes, and I had yet to ride the Jack Rabbit, which is a wooden coaster boasting a double dip. Brian tiredly raised his hands in surrender. “I don’t give a shit about the Jack Rabbit. You and Henry can go on it and I’ll stay with the kid.” Of course Brian waits until Chooch is practically in a sleep coma before offering to relieve Henry.
So I basically exchanged Brian’s Henry-bashing-in-line antics for Henry’s grumbling of how badly he had to go the “bathroom.” By bathroom, he meant that he had to poop. I learned of his anguish after I punched him in the stomach and he acted like his ass was going to start grinding out poop logs like a sausage machine. I didn’t care of his misfortune, as long as he didn’t crap his pants on the ride (those seats are tight quarters!) and as long as I didn’t catch any whiffs of a rotten bouquet.
Also in line, I informed Henry why Brian kept calling himself fucked up, and Henry was all, “Oh. It’s true You both are and I’m not retracting it. You’re also both juvenile.”
We left after that. My whole body was arrested with giddiness and at one point I came down on one knee in the middle of the parking lot because I was laughing so hard. Henry walked far ahead of us with Chooch and the stroller, while Brian ranted about being fucked up and juvenile.
Brian called me the next morning and said, “God, my feet are killing me today! Maybe if I wasn’t such a fucked up juvenile, I would have worn more sensible shoes last night.”
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.