Aug 122010
 

Last night at work, I received a string of really sweet emails from Henry. Totally out of the blue, he apologized for letting me down, especially on my birthday(S!!!). That’s the one day that always makes me realize how alone I really am in this fucking city, and Henry doesn’t really do much to help in that regard. But at least he’s acknowledging it. Baby steps!

Anyway, his emails were so nice that I actually started to cry a little while reading them. It made me realize that it doesn’t really matter how many people let me down, as long as I’ve got that Henry guy. (Ew, gross I know. But this only happens once every three years, so deal.) So today’s post is a Henry-centric flashback to 2007.

*****************

Things I Learned From My Fridge

April 18th, 2007

When I moved into my current home in 1999, my step-dad gifted me with a refrigerator. But not just any fridge! This was a true relic of his bachelor stint, a tangible slice of the 70s. One could tell at first glance that this box was old, but it was good enough for a single girl who acquired her groceries from the gas station.

The crisper had lost its lid during one of the fridge’s many locale changes, but what did I care? I didn’t even know what a crisper was until Henry moved in. Pre-Henry, I had adoringly referred to it as the Alcohol Receptacle. When he schooled me about its function, I laughed because the last time I checked, there was no produce department in Sunoco so why would I need to know what a crisper was? (I’m the world’s worst and unhealthiest vegetarian. I lived by the philosophy of “Can’t cook? Cheese curls!” But now I have a Henry1965 so I eat vegetables.)

And when various liquids and syrups hybridized into a mysterious pool along the bottom of that crisper, I learned that using the hose of a vacuum to suck it all out was not a Smart Idea, as evidenced by the exasperated “Oh, Erin, no!” evoked from Henry.

The freezer, bless its heart, was comprised mostly of a giant iced growth protruding from the top. One time my friend Wonka and I went homicidal on the ‘burg with screwdrivers and hammers. It was one of the most violently rewarding moments of my life. It taught me that therapy was a waste when I could be simulating crimes of passion on gigantic ice cubes as a stress-reliever.

And of course there was the time it smelled so bad and then Henry finally cleaned it, providing yet another great photo op.

I thought about all of these things Saturday morning when the fridge completely fell to its knees, totally gave up its rank ghost. But mostly I thought “Good riddance.”

Yesterday, Henry rented a Uhaul and went to my grandma’s to pick up her surplus refrigerator. It must be nice to buy a fridge to keep in your game room “just in case” and then oopsies, never use it because you never needed such loft in the first place. If I ever get to that place in this lifetime where I can have duplicate appliances on the off chance that I might someday house another family under my roof, then maybe I’ll sling a little less hate. Maybe!

Of course, Henry has no friends so he was all on his own with the Fridge Acquisition, which made me laugh. When he returned with it, chest puffed out like a man coming home with a freshly slain buffalo carcass slung over his shoulder, he made me stand on the front porch and hold the door open for him. As he stood there, he mumbled “This will be the true testament of my strength” and with a swift intake of breath he hoisted the fridge up the (only two, ha-ha) steps and into the house.

Now, I’m not one of those females who gets all panty over men exhibiting random acts of Herculean strength, so I was surprised when my obnoxious laughter — the usual soundtrack peppering Henry’s every movement — became strangulated in my throat by an impetuous sense of attraction. But how could this be when my embarrassing crush on him had ended in March! Two days after it started! I was so angry at myself for succumbing to such typical womanly persuasions.

As I jumped around him and fulfilled my duty of Getting In the Way while jabbing the camera in his face, I realized that it was probably not so much the act of fridge transportation, but more so the gloves he was wearing while doing it.

Real manly, blue-collar worker man gloves. The kinds with the little black nubbies on it. I would be lying to you, Internet, if I said it didn’t make even the tiniest beads of sex-sweat bubble within me. To think, I might not have unearthed this new personal idiosyncrasy had the fridge not intervened.

I admitted my new found delight to Henry and he seemed annoyed. Probably because I never say things like, “Your pretty face turns me on. Hey, your weener makes me hot” but instead I blurt out mood-inducing gems such as, “You remind me of Michael Myers, please simulate a rape” and “The gloves that you (and millions of other people) wear make my nethers drizzle and sizzle, touch me all over. But only if you’re wearing them!” I think he’s also afraid because this means hello, new role-playing scenario! Sure, Henry, I’ll spread the legs for you, but not until I watch you lug that fridge upstairs. Give it to me, Papa H.

Before I left for work today, he was telling me that one of the guys at work is plying him with blank DVDs, to which I excitedly responded, “Oh good! Now go find some glove porn to download. But none of that fashion glove bullshit. I want the big bulky ones. Like the kinds that garbage men wear. You know, dirty.”

The last thing Henry said to me was a tired sigh paired with “You’re disgusting.” Honestly, he couldn’t have slipped in an “I love you” somewhere in there? He better pray I don’t have a car accident and die tonight, because now everyone will know how callous he is and I’d love for that to be seared upon my headstone. Fantastic, yet disgusting, partner to Henry. She had a big mouth and a fat face, but still she will be missed.

We’ve only had the fridge for two days, and already I’ve learned so much.

Aug 082010
 

It’s really getting bad over here.  I’m so far into this alternate reality that half the time I forget that I’m not deaf. Or Mexican.

My hearing-impaired alter ego Manuel has really been having a tough time of it. First, he gets stabbed in his apartment by some crazy lady with a knife. Then his life-partner Henry forgets to pick him up from the hospital! That’s low. It’s a good thing they reconciled over season 2 of Queer As Folk the next night.

Then there was the whole affair with the realtor from Michigan and the peanut butter-coated hearing aid left on the commode.

This weekend, Manuel had to make a last minute trip to his hometown in Maryland (the relay operator pronounced it Mary-land) because Mother and Aunt Shirley got in a fight over cat food again and this time it was pretty bad. Aunt Shirley is very serious about her cat food!

Henry is trying furiously to block my personal relay phone number.

***

I woke up at 6:30 this morning to meet Jessy and Tommy at one of the flea markets in Perryopolis, PA. (Tommy calls is Perryhopeless and I’d have a hard time finding anything more apropos.) That’s how you know I love you, when I set my alarm on a goddamn weekend.  Prior to our arrival, Jessy tried to warn me of the utter trashiness of this particular flea market, of the foul stench that could be sniffed throughout the indoor portion, of the fact that she and I would look like hotel heiresses in comparison.

Just driving through the lot, I quickly learned that this flea market was like an outdoor People Of Wal-Mart festival.

And it was awesome.

Femullets abound!

Tazmanian Devil tattoos every which way! On shoulder blades and saggy, sun-damaged bosoms!

Wrecked livers and nicotine-tarnished teeth as far as the eye could see!

Troughs of worthless tools! (In a move reminiscent of Henry, Tommy felt inclined to explain the purpose of these worthless tools and no one cared!)

Piles of novelty t-shirts and creepy stuffed clown dolls!

Then we happened upon a certain expanse of tables and if my life was a TV show, this is where the record scratch would have been inserted. I had happened upon the motherland of cheap flea market rings. I almost never find cool rings at the two flea markets Henry normally drags me to. I couldn’t breathe for a second or two as I ran my fingers gently over the display cases.

I bought three. I didn’t even feel guilty. The lady behind the table kept trying to show me these neon bands that glow in the dark (“They ain’t even gonna turn your fingers green,” she emphasized as many times as Dubya reminded Kerry not to forget Poland – political flashback, holla!) and I kept pointedly ignoring her. She’s lucky her other rings were too fabulous to make her lose a sale. Like this one that’s giant enough to provide back-up next time I try to break Henry’s nose:

And then I really had to pee. Normally I’d hold it, or go behind a teepee and peepee in Henry’s cupped hand. But I wasn’t going to be near “safe” restrooms any time soon, and there were no teepees or cupped hands ready to be participant. I was forced to go inside and make a visit to the “ladies lounge.”

They could have called it The Queen Mother’s Diamond-Encrusted Porcelain Ballroom and it wouldn’t have done much to priss up the piss puddles atop an uneven floor the color of boogers and staph infections, Gretel’s toilet paper trail, or the lingering bouquet of old lady flatulence.

There were three stalls: one had a flooded floor, pubes dipped in menstruation droplets dotting the seat like ornamental garnish at the sewage plant, and a ripped toilet seat cover waving in surrender.  One was occupied by a human emitting low groans. One had a broken lock.

I chose the one with the groaning human. Straddled it’s liver-spotted lap and urinated right between its legs.

But really, I hate when bathroom stalls don’t shut! It’s hard work peeing with one foot slammed against the door.

The groaning human didn’t wash its hands.

I did. Wash my hands that is, not groaned. I lathered those phalanges up REAL GOOD with steaming hot water. Then I rejoined Jessy who bought me a red velvet whoopie pie filled with a hearty splooge of sexual cream cheese. It was enough to eradicate the horror of the bathroom. I’m convinced that baked goods is what makes it all OK. There are times I consider having another child while eating a particularly high class cupcake; makes me momentarily forget the pain and trauma of that whole “creating life” process.

“I totally get what you mean about that delicious aroma,” I said to Jessy. It was like a hearty stew of body odor, Nascar fandom, cigarettes and Looney Tunes t-shirts unwashed after weeks of marinating in Pabst spills, gasoline splashes, and juice squeezed fresh from domestic violence.

Delish.

Meanwhile, we couldn’t find Tommy.

“I left my phone in the truck or I’d call him,” Jessy said.

I didn’t even have to ponder what to do next. I’m always waiting for these opportunities.

“I’ll call him,” I said deviously. “What’s his number?” And as Jessy recited the digits, I typed them hungrily into my IP Relay iPhone app.

AND HE ANSWERED.

Manuel: Thomas. I am looking for you. Jessy fell into the commode. We are cleaning her off and will join you shortly. Thanks. Adios.

Tommy, to the operator: Ok. I know where she’s at. That’s my wife. Thank you. I’m gonna hang up, I’m gonna go where she’s at.

The operator, in parenthesis, informed Manuel that Thomas was speaking too fast. But the bigger picture here is, OMG how nice of Manuel to come all the way back from Mary-land to assist in Operation: Plunge Jessy from the Commode.

While this was going on, Jessy was talking to two jewelry vendors. I was hunkering off to the side, away from the flow of foot traffic, squatting to hold in my laughing-pee. I kept trying to tug on her arm, laughing so hard my speech was on par with that of a slurring retard with a Cockney accent and a fat wang in his mouth.

Jessy ignored me and continued her adult conversation.

By this point, I could barely breathe. I was laughing so hard that it was coming out in squeals. Jessy finally bought something and said goodbye to her new grown-up friends.

“You’re an asshole. I was trying so hard to talk to those people while you were over there laughing like an idiot!”

Then we found Tommy and he still looked confused from his phone call from Manuel. I explained to him and he was like, “You’re a fucking retard.” But I know deep down he was impressed.  Probably even honored to have received a call from the great Manuel.

Before we left, some guy approached us and said, “Do you have any plans for the winter?” He was trying to hook us into learning more about some home renovation thing he was selling.

“I thought he was going to ask us if we had any plans tonight,” I laughed to Jessy as we walked away.

So she turned back and yelled to him, “Hey she wants to know if you have any plans tonight!”

He blushed (I’m taking Jessy’s word for it since I had all but vaulted over vendor tables to avoid the awkwardness that was bound to ensue) and said, “Oh, that’s my girlfriend over there.”

How dare she! Turning me from Ridiculer to the Ridiculed!

Then we went to brunch at the Beach House, where I got to meet Jessy’s mom and her husband for the first time. Both were very lovely and I had a delicious frittata.

“Erin must love her food because she’s not talking,” Jessy said to the rest of the table.

“Thank God,” Tommy muttered.

Aug 012010
 

After my friend Wonka brought his baby Cosette over for show-and-tell several years ago and Henry had a firsthand account of my fear, horror, apprehension and decidedly un-female reaction to babies, he asked, “We’re never having children, are we?”

And then something made me change my mind and I ended up having a baby.

Everyone said, “Oh, now that you have a baby, you’ll love all babies! ALL BABIES! Even ones with no arms!”

Well, it’s been four years and I have yet to go out wearing a bonnet and clanging a bell, looking for babies to hold.

Don’t get it twisted – I don’t blacklist my friends once they have children. I love Wonka’s daughters! I love Kara’s son Harland and Christy’s daughter Claire and Jess’s son Gavin, especially now that they’re not infants anymore.

One of the analysts at my job has twins. They’re babies, less than six months old I think. Or maybe they’re six months. I don’t know. He brought them in one day and I’m sure I was the only asshole who didn’t go running over to their carriers to honk their little baby toys and poke their noses. The entire department was humming with baby talk and cooing.

“Did you go see his babies?” someone asked me on the way back to their office after taking in the ripe aroma of upchuck and soiled Pampers and smiling wildly like these  were the aromas her nasal passages were made to traffic.

“Yes!” I lied, full of cheer and “I’m a normal lady who loves babies” subterfuge.

I actually broke a slight sweat, waiting for the babies to leave.

Aug 012010
 

In addition to writing something nice about Henry, my sponsor Rob requested nice things in written form about Chooch, too. And since he’s basically 99% exactly like me, that shouldn’t be too hard.

It’s never a dull moment with Chooch. Sometimes I pray for some dull moments, though. He’s always moving and talking and I’m furiously flipping through the parental text book because if I had known that, I’d never had had a kid! I thought they were like rag dolls, made to be propped up against a pillow in front of the TV.

Seriously though. I love him. Even during those moments when I have to leave him here with Henry while I go off and sit in a dark parking lot so I don’t have to be aurally assaulted by his sonic weapon of a scream, I still love him. Even when his tantrums and outbursts and mood swings leave me in tears, wondering what I did wrong, I still love him.

There are moments when he is literally the only human being in the world who can make me crack a smile when I’m swinging low. And he has my back. When Christina fucked me over, Chooch would be the first person to tell you, “Christina hurt Mommy’s heart. I’m going to put her in a hole and set her on fire.”

And there are times when he can be heart-breakingly sweet, literally making me smile and making my heart ache in tandem. Like when I caught him quietly singing Paramore’s “The Only Exception” two weekends ago. It was so sad, how he was murmuring it to himself over and over while quietly playing with his toys on the floor.

He can hang with the adults better than some other adults I know. He’s witty and sarcastic and has a warped imagination like me. He loves scary movies and holding my hand when I lie and say I’m so scared. He acts like it’s putting him out to hold my hand, but I know he likes it deep down.

What I love best about Chooch is that he’s mine. And sort of Henry’s, depending on my mood. Sometimes he’s all of Henry’s, depending on HIS mood.


Aug 012010
 

Alyson had the most random request this year, suggesting that Henry cradle a photo of Tom Selleck like a babe.

“It’s something I dream of every night,” she said during  our nightly three-way phone convo with Candy from the chatline. I heard a distinct shattering sound in the background, so I knew it was true; Alyson NEVER lies while she’s smashing Precious Moments with a mallet.

Henry was really trying to leave for work. Really trying. He had just scrubbed off coffee grounds from his face and was in search of his work shoes.

“It’ll only take a second!” I pleaded. “Just sit down and hold this!”

So he did, but not without fussing while Alisha tried not to laugh in his face.

“Um. You’re supposed to be holding it like it’s a newborn baby. Act like you love him. Use both arms.”

He was really glaring at this point. I’m not sure I have a boyfriend anymore. I might be on the market! Any takers? I’m not high maintenance AT ALL.

Jul 312010
 

The first gift I received when I was born, aside from that gosh darn gift of life!, was a brand new, pink stuffed dog. As soon as I was able to speak real words, I named him Purple. I don’t remember any of this, but it’s what I was told when I visited the Sphynx Gate that one time I starred in Neverending Story.

Ever since July 30, 1979, this cotton-stuffed object has been the only loyal friend in my life. We’ve been through the war and back, so he doesn’t exactly look the same anymore. In fact, he’s not even pink. What was once a plump and healthy stuffed animal is now a limp, decrepit rag. He’s also in three pieces: a stuffing-less head with one ear, no eyes, and a gaping hole where the nose once was; one washcloth patched paw; and a multi-colored patched torso, the whereabouts of which I am unsure.

Purple went everywhere with me. I had a habit of rubbing his paw between my fingers; it was my comfort, my pacifier. I freaked out anytime someone dropped him. Because he’s real. He has feelings. Nerve-endings. All that.

When I was four, my step-dad threw Purple into the fireplace. He hated my attachment to Purple, said I was too old. It was “time to let him go.” Thankfully, only his ear was singed, and those small black dots burned into Purple was a constant reminder of why I hated my step-dad.

That same year, we went to Florida with my grandparents. My step-dad was all, “Hell no, the dog stays home.” He thought Purple was “filthy” from me carrying him everywhere. My poor pappap, in an effort to make it up to me, bought me pretty much every stuffed Disney character he could find during our stay in Orlando. What kid wouldn’t love that? I know I did, but it wasn’t the same. Rubbing Mickey’s right mouse ear just wasn’t the same.

One of the few pleasant memories I have of my grandma is her sewing kit, full of colored threads, buttons, Jan Brady-esque ribbons, and hope for Purple. Because that kit is what re-attached Purple’s leg time and time again. My step-dad’s mom once offered to operate. I didn’t have the heart to say no; she was such a sweet lady. She returned Purple with his leg sewn on backward. After that, she stuck to the things she was good at, like buying me cheap snow globes.

I’m 31. Purple went from being patched up by my grandma to being surgically altered by Henry. And I still can’t sleep without (some part of) Purple.  Fucking love that thing.

Jul 262010
 

After I gave myself a Trix’stache for Crunchy Betty’s Food On Your Face contest, I was 99% sure I didn’t do it right. So I emailed Leslie, the writer of Crunchy Betty. And I was right! It was wrong. It was supposed to be a facial mask made from natural products, so I scoured her website looking for something that was easy enough for me to not screw up, even though Leslie said I didn’t have to. I was determined at this point to do it up proper-like.

First, I saw that I could just take some aging bananas and mash it all upon my face. Good thing Henry likes to leave fruits and vegetables laying around in open graves, attracting fruit flies by the droves.

“What exactly are you doing?” Henry asked when he saw me monopolizing prime counter space while he was trying to cook dinner. I turned around with banana entrails coating my fingers.

“I’m doing something awesome. Go away.” I squirted honey into the bowl and ran off to the bathroom where my banana mush could make love to my face in privacy.

Not a minute after pushing him away, I was yelling down for Henry to help me.  He walked in just in time to catch me dry heaving into the shower curtain.

“It’s just bananas!” he said all condescendingly. But the consistency! The color! It was like mucous. Think, chunky mucous collected from a team of hawkering truckers.

I have a real problem with putting stuff on my face. Even store-bought masks that are all honeylicious and gooey; not gonna happen on this girl’s face, which might make one wonder, “Then why are you bothering with this, dummy?” To which I might answer, “I don’t know.” Although, I do have a lot of time on my hands. Time and determination, my friends.

I can handle clay-type facial masks though, so I went back to Crunchy Betty and found one that sounded like it would fit within my parameters of acceptable epidermal food-smearing.

Mocha-Frappucino Mask

  • 2 Tbsp freshly ground coffee (the finer the grind, the better)
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp. milk (whole), heavy cream, or yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. honey

Henry was angry because he had to stop cooking his dinner in order to supervise. I was trying to mix everything together with the tablespoon measuring thing and I didn’t think it was all that big of a deal. Mr. Pampered Chef started rummaging through drawers in search of the proper mixing device. Then he goes, “You should add an egg to that for protein.” Henry always has to urinate on things to make it his own. It’s really annoying.

“You know I’m not eating this, right?” I asked.

But Henry knows everything! Even stuff about what is good for FACES. God, that Henry. Am I right? I don’t know how he finds the time to learn everything about everything in the entire history of the planet.

Next thing I knew, he had cracked an egg on the counter top and was separating it while it was still in the shell. I think he secretly hopes that I’ve been filming him on the sly doing all these things throughout the years, so that one day I’ll have enough footage of his sheer ingenuity and culinary aptitude to submit an audition tape to Food Network on his behalf.

Oh, I do. But that’s not where I’m sending it.

Anyway, my gag reflex thanked me for the new concoction. The texture was pleasant against my fingertips and it didn’t make my face feel harassed by viscousness. It made me feel like a cake, so I added candy stars which have absolutely no benefit to the skin as far as I know. But they sure are pretty.

In the instructions, Leslie says to “apply to a sleepy morning face.” Henry read that and said, “Does it work on miserable, bitchy night time faces, too?” Oh, our house is bursting with so much love it hurts. Ask Alisha. She was once accidentally impaled with an ice pick that I chucked at Henry out of love.

I like this picture because I look like Henry with a shit-beard.

Chooch wanted in on the action. But he’s just like me and HATES having stuff on his face (which is why I was surprised he was so willing to be made up into a zombie at his birthday party last May. Probably because he saw his BFF Bill do it first.)

That’s as much as he’d let me apply before shouting with authority, “OK! That’s enough now. Christ.”

It didn’t take very long for the concoction to harden against my face and I could feel my skin becoming taut beneath it. The best part about it is that it smelled SO GOOD. And it didn’t drip off my face  like bungee-jumping pus.

And if you like the flavor of coffee grounds, then the mask tastes great. Just lick it off your face; I did. Who needs a shower and a washcloth?

The coffee grounds were less brutal than I imagined them to be. I don’t know what I was expecting, to rinse my face and find that I’m suddenly the new addition to the Bodies exhibit? It left my skin super soft and oil-free. Stupid me came running downstairs, yelling, “Touch my face! It’s so soft!” only to have two pairs of gross male-hands grope my cheeks. I probably could have stood to repeat the process after that.

So go on. Get yourself over to Crunchy Betty and find some stuff to put on your face.

Jul 212010
 

One of the best things about being a member (it took me four tries to spell ‘member,’ I hate myself today) of Etsy’s Dark Side is the birthday swap that goes on there. I had forgotten that I had signed up for it until Monday, when I came home to a package that Henry had propped on the fireplace mantle, (sort of) out of Chooch’s reach.

“Oh shit, birthday swap!” I yelled, after remembering that my birthday is July 30 and that I haven’t sent away for any complimentary Bibles lately.

It was a gift from the undeniably awesome Canadian Meeshah!

Knowing that I love horror movies, she painted me this:

I fucking love it! Of course Chooch thinks it’s his and we’ve been fighting over it like hateful siblings ever since.

She also included a skull necklace, which I wanted to wear to work yesterday but Henry was being an asshole and wouldn’t put it on for me. THIS is why we’re not married, you guys. Just this. Not my infidelities, oh no.

So far this birthday has the promise of being way better than last year’s disaster. Thank you, Meeshah and Etsy’s Dark Side for making this ol’ sack of emo potatoes feel loved.

Mar 142010
 

If you read my blog enough, it probably becomes pretty clear that cemeteries are a prominent part of my life.

I’ve:

  • learned to drive in one
  • fell in love with Henry in one
    • and then almost drown in a bottle of water
  • been stalked in one
  • puked in one
  • attempted to hide from Henry in something like eight
    • once while wearing a fluorescent orange shirt
  • fell in love with photography in at least a dozen
  • had epiphanies in plenty
  • tried to get a job in two
  • cried at least once in every one

Most importantly, cemeteries are where I feel most at home. I’ve learned a lot about myself during cemetery walks and it’s where I used to tell stories to a very in utero Chooch.

When Christina and I were still friends, we didn’t see each other as much as we’d have liked since there were 300 miles between us, but when we did find ourselves together we almost inevitably wound up in a cemetery. It was on those occasions where I always felt the most alive and literally like a kid again, and those were some of the best moments of my life.

I had been waiting since over a year ago for the Isles and Glaciers EP to come out, and  I finally snatched a leak copy a few weeks ago (don’t narc on me – I bought an actual copy when it was released, jesus) . There’s a song on it called “Cemetery Weather” and even though it serves up my heart en brochette on a plate of heart ache and tear-salted lettuce, I torture myself by listening to it over and over. I took a one-day break last Thursday because it was starting to feel like, to quote the great Omarion, there was an ice box where my heart used to be. I am literally pissing late 1990’s emo music over here, folks.

So, here. Have fun with that.

[mp3_embed playlst="http://www.ohhonestlyerin.com/wp-content/plugins/mp3-player-plugin-for-wordpress/mp3/CemeteryWeather.mp3"]

Can we speed up the process, please.

Jan 272010
 

lesbianblinddate

Really, no one flinched when I told them I was going on a date with a lesbian.

Sure, I got several memos reminding me that I wasn’t gay, but that didn’t deter me. Because the fact was, I just wasn’t meeting any cool guys. Not that I was looking for any, really, but more that I was addicted to the thrill of blind dates. My personal ad even said, in large font, that I was just looking for casual encounters, something to bud into a friendship. And then I would go on for a paragraph swearing that I wasn’t a whore. And I wasn’t. I never went home with any of those dates. I just honestly lived for the opportunity to meet new people.

My friend Brian, upon perusing my ad (which actually started as a joke), deadpanned, “Oh yeah, you won’t get KILLED or anything. Have fun with that, weirdo.”

But the guys I was meeting were all vapid, bore me with football talk, and wanted to get into my pants. (Well, I was shocked!) So I decided it was time to switch things up and try my hand at a girl date.

And that’s how I found myself meeting Wendy and her friend Ron at Eat n’ Park.

Wendy was vapid, wore an offensively large Dallas Cowboys belt buckle and wanted to get into my pants.

I found myself in a silent prayer, thanking God for sending Ron with her.

During our meal (I had grilled cheese, that much I know), Wendy sat across from me and failed in her attempt to seduce me with her eyes. Instead, she just looked drowsy from psych meds. I was a bit let down that Wendy didn’t seem much involved in the conversation, or in getting to know me. At all. Unless it involved the exchanging of bra sizes and saliva. I was content chatting casually and comfortably with Ron while demolishing my grilled cheese (which he paid for and I can’t remember if I said thanks) and ignoring the salacious stares and ribald posturings belching from the Wendy Zone.

Toward the end of the meal, Wendy had been silently dragging her spoon across her sundae, presumably bored with the conversation topics which did not include:

  • belt buckles and where to buy them the biggest
  • ecru work shirts and the women who wear them
  • the perils of dating outside of your sexual orientation

But suddenly, she looked up at  me, and with those weird drowsy eyes, drawled, “I like whipped cream…and cherries.”

And then she licked her lips. And her eyes flittered down a little and I found myself hugging my boobs protectively, trying not to pee.

That night, while retelling the details to my friends, I felt so violated. So objectified!

“Well, was she hot?” I was undoubtedly asked.

“No!” I yelled.

“If she were, would you have—?”

“Maybe! But she wasn’t. It’s OK, I gave her no inclination that we’d be seeing each other again. Plus, she lives an hour away.”  

Until the next day, when the phone calls began. Oh, the phone calls! Her primary job became calling me. In fact, I’m pretty sure she quit her actual job to make this so.

“So, I’m thinking of moving back to Pittsburgh,” was what I was presented with one day, with all the pleasure and joy of getting slapped in the face with a dead fish. “Ron said I could move in with him again.” And then, “I think I’m falling in love with you.”

“Ron’s cool,” I said, at a loss for how to address her proclamation, and feeling a strong urge to peek out the blinds and make sure she wasn’t squatting behind a tree.

“Hey, what’s that song you have in your email?” she asked.

“Yeah, that’s ‘Question of Lust’ by Depeche Mode,” I offered reluctantly. Why did she want to know? Was she going to give it to the DJ she already hired to play at our wedding reception, oh my God what I have done?

“I love it,” she slurred in her own warped version of sexiness. ” I play it all the time and I made my whole family listen to it.” When I said nothing, she went on to add the AWESOME admittance of, “They know all about you.”

I went on to handle Wendy the same way I handle the gas men: ignore the assholes until they go away. She called me for months. Hands down she was the toughest blind date to shake. Probably she’s forgotten about me by now, but I’m still cursed with her memory every time I hear that damn Depeche Mode song (which used to be my favorite!).

I’m not even sure Wendy was her name. I had written “Ron and the lesbian” beneath their picture in my photo album.

Now that I think about it, maybe it was Michelle.

May 122009
 

Bill and Jessi (my MICHIGAN friends) came to visit over the weekend for Chooch’s birthday party (more on that later when I’m not coughing up my ghost). Perhaps they think I’m making fun of their state, but the real reason I introduce them as “my Michigan friends” is so everyone will be like, “Wow, Erin is so wonderful that people will drive from MICHIGAN to hang out with her” even though the secret is that most people come for Chooch. Probably my friends walk away thinking, “I don’t even like to cross the Liberty Bridge to hang out with that cunt, but these assholes will drive five hours?”

billjessimay


So I happened to be sick all weekend (and I still am, but at least now I have that phlegmy cough that I love so much) but luckily Alisha came over on Saturday to act as a liaison of sorts. We took the aliens, I mean Michiganers, to Mt. Washington, where they could take in the breathtaking view of our city. And this is where I learned that Alisha moonlights as a Pittsburgh tour guide, because she was whipping her arm all over the place, pointing out buildings and rivers and I think I heard a few dates roll off her tongue too and I was kind of like, “Wow, I lived here my whole life and I did not know that.” And Alisha is from Arkansas!

Still, I was thankful to not have to speak too much, because I was sick. Like, take-me-to-the-nearest-infirmary sick. And to make it worse, Alisha had given me some bogus drug combo and I lost feeling in my finger tips and then I almost fell into the river at one point, too. I think I even blacked out and I’m pretty sure Alisha picked my pockets when my consciousness was AWOL.

Bill and Jessi got to ride the incline, which is probably the biggest treat to offer Pittsburgh visitors. Yes, our city is THAT awesome — people can sit in a house that goes up and down a hill. Space Needle what now?

(I am  not the biggest fan of our city, I don’t know if anyone noticed.)

Anyway, on the incline’s return trip, some douche with Wolverine mutton chops sat with us and I thought Jessi was going to slice him because Bill has to have the best ‘chops. “There can only be one!” she kept saying. For what it’s worth, Bill’s are so much better anyway.

I think 45% of the day was spent talking about nasal douches.

Then we ate at Mad Mex with Henry and Chooch and I’m pretty sure our waiter thought that Chooch was Bill’s son and I was growing sicker by the second with the aid of Alisha’s traveling medicine cabinet and all I could think of was the girl on Prom Nightmares who used to be a raver but got out of the scene only to decide to take that one last hit of Ecstacy at her prom and she died, she fucking died, and none of her friends listened to any of her complaints until she past out and then you know what happened? She started to turn BLUE, motherfuckers. BLUE. And then she was in a coma and DIED.

And when I shared this cautionary tale with my dinner companions, they all kind of looked at me stupidly and then said, “Yeah, you’ll be fine.” MY HEART WAS FLUTTERING!!! I am so lucky I made it home that night, for fucking realsies.

Good thing too, because the Penguins won their game that night and I was able to scrounge up just enough energy to cheer.

(On the real, I love these guys. They watched hockey with me and Jessi hates it and didn’t even complain and even said that if she were ever to hit her head real hard and suddenly like hockey, she would be a Penguins fan. That, my friends? That is love.)

Oct 012008
 

Rainy Saturdays usually make me miserable and grouchy, but this past Saturday turned into one of those days where every single thing had me squatting in laughter. I really needed a day like that.

First, Blake and Janna joined Henry, Chooch and me for a quick jaunt to Bloomfield’s Little Italy Days. It’s essentially just a small street fair, with a portion of the road blocked off and stuffed with food vendors and craft booths.

Henry’s mood soured immediately when we passed a voter registration booth with clip-boarded volunteers doling out Obama stickers. Too bad for Henry, but the rest of us like Obama so we made an executive decision to slap supportive flair to our chests. Henry continued pushing Chooch down the block while we stood around and fraternized with the enemy.

It wasn’t until later that I realized they said, “Italian Americans for Obama.” I scoffed and said, “Great, we’re not even Italian!” but Janna said, “Well, actually, I am.” I don’t know why, but it gave me more incentive to make fun of her. And not because I’m some closet racist plotting to bomb Italy. I love Italy! I love those fiesty pasta-slingin’ peeps! It’s just that it’s Janna. And judging Janna is my #1 hobby. I think she has come to realize, after nearly 20 years, that this is her role in life. Which is why, later, when she asked for Splenda for her iced tea, I took it upon myself to make her a sweetener bomb (Splenda, Equal, and SweetnLow). And she drank that shit too. BECAUSE IT’S HER PLACE ON EARTH.

Henry wouldn’t buy us cookies or brownies and Janna wouldn’t buy me jewels, and the clouds were black and heavy with precipitation, but nothing, NOTHING could ruin Little Italy Days for me. And oh, the sights I would have missed had I let some unfortunate weather and stingy asshole furrow my brow!

I might have missed this sweetheart of a nun, with her adorable hell-damning visage. And then I would not have known such lovely edelweiss fashion still existed in these States.

Bloomfield’s own Elvis-Wayne Newton hybrid might have flown under my radar.

And I wouldn’t find out about Gene Simmons going marachi until VH1 decided to make a show about it. Also, that waving broad is exactly the type of classy dame I strive to grow into. Imagine the lamé she has packed in her closet.

And if I had let Henry’s conservativism cloud my personal sunshine, I wouldn’t have thought to subject Blake to yet another of my impromptu photo ops.

We only putzed around the streets of Bloomfield for an hour before Henry herded us back to the car. He later complained that he had wanted to stop and fill up on the many Italian concessions waiting to bloat bellies, and when I asked him why he didn’t indulge his pretty little desires, he muttered something about “all you damn kids acting like idiots” or some such completely absurd variation. I know it was the whole Obama sticker thing. He felt left out and out-numbered.

As we drove through the back streets of Bloomfield, I caught a glimpse of a scene so horrific, it forced me to shriek loud at a volume high enough to make every occupant in the car jolt in their seats.

“WHAT?” Henry shouted, probably wondering if he had driven over the unconscious lump of a homeless man blitzed from chugging turpentine in a boot.

“Something was going on back there. There were two army guys holding GUNS and approaching a house!” I cried.

“Are you sure they weren’t cops?” Henry asked, glancing in the rear-view mirror.

“No, they were definitely armies.” This made everyone laugh and I was angry because this was a very serious situation. “We have to go back there and save a life!” I screamed.

So Henry did. He actually turned around, but not without lip, until we drove past the street in question.

As I shouted, “THERE THEY ARE!” Henry, Janna, and Blake (in unison so harmonious it could have been sung by angels on high) groaned, “They’re playing PAINT BALL.” And we all laughed.

After that, we dicked around on Mt. Washington, taking Chooch on his first ride on the incline. It started raining really hard by that point, so we went to dinner at King’s, where Chooch burped out “Asshole!” with all the charm of a Tourette’s sufferer, and Blake and I reminded Janna repeatedly that she wasn’t a part of our family. It was more fun than doing a speedball in the Champagne Room.

To add a dollop of whipped cream to a day full of giddy antics and newly sprouted grays on Henry, Blake declared that we should make cookies.

“Oh, we should!” I encouraged. “STD cookies!”

Henry got all foot-planty and spat, “If I’m making cookies, then YOU’RE going to the store to buy what we need.” Thank God he sent Blake along to make sure I didn’t fuck shit up. You know me, send me out for flour and I come back with a non-descript bag of dildos.

So while Henry slaved away on the kitchen, Blake performed serious Google image searches on various STDs while I bossed around Janna and basically sat around being cute. Then Henry realized he didn’t have corn syrup or some shit for the frosting, so while he was out we had a tea party and it was awesome because it was yet another thing that Henry wasn’t invited to. During our tea party, Blake ridiculed Janna’s selection of Earl Grey by saying that, “Earl Grey is for assholes.” My selective hearing heard, “Let’s race for abstinence” which had me squatting on the floor, squeezing back pee drops. Of course, no one else thought it was that hilarious, which only made it harder for me to not need to slip into a fresh pair of Depends. At some point, we were talking about egg harvesting and I tried to convince Blake that it was as easy as lounging in a tubful of ice, wielding a melon baller, and then creating a Craiglist post. Hopefully, he will teach all the girls at school this method.

My mug, Skelly, indulges in some delicious diseases fellatio. Look for it in the December issue of Bon Appetit.

For my cookies, I mainly stuck with the theme of Vaginal Maladies, such as menstruation and yeast infection. This one, Popped Cherry with Lone Tear Drop (added for extra sentiment), was my personal favorite. Lost virginity never tasted so delicious.

Hey, there’s some yeast in your pink. Or perhaps a fresh load. Whatever whets your appetite.

Later, I laughed at the realization of what a great role model I must be. Send your teens to my house, Parents, where we make jokes of serious matters and look at pictures of diseased vaginas.

Sep 052008
 

       (Written 10-07 for Creative Non-Fiction, it was the most fun I ever had in a church. Well, besides the time I did lines of coke off a crucifix with an altar boy.)


 

 

 

 

        “It smells so good! Doesn’t it smell so good? I can’t wait for tonight. I’m so hungry!”  She closes her eyes and takes another long drag of the aroma wafting toward her from the adjacent kitchen, where caterers are bustling around in preparation for the Women’s Conference being held in the gymnasium later that evening. The lobby of the Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints church where we sit is small, but cozy.  Sister McRae casually leans forward across from me on a mauve-cushioned chair. “People just don’t understand what we’re here for; they don’t understand what we’re coming to share because they think we’re selling something, but anything we do is completely for free – videos about Jesus Christ and free videos about families – and people just don’t understand. It doesn’t make sense to them that we would come out here and be so happy and have something to share; they say they have enough and don’t want anymore. I don’t even have enough!” Sister McRae gestures a lot with her hands when she speaks, throwing them up in the air and curving her fingers into air quotes; the sunlight streaming in from the front doors makes the two chunky silver rings on her fingers sparkle and the highlights in her long brown hair glow.   

                  Her companion Sister Mordue and I share the cushy tapestry couch. I try not to be too distracted by the larger-than-life portrait of Jesus emerging from his tomb, which adorns the wall to the right of Sister McRae while she tells me that Sister Mordue was just assigned four days prior as her new companion. I’m slightly surprised, what with the way she playfully slaps Sister Mordue’s thigh every time she ends a sentence with, “am I right?” I assumed they had known each other for awhile. Sister Mordue is the perfect portrait of what a stereotypical missionary should look like: frumpy, quiet, and squeezed into a celery-colored button-down blouse.

                 But Sister McRae only looks like this from the waist down. She has little need for makeup, close-set eyes (but not freakishly so) and a narrow chin with a slight cleft; she’s the kind of girl you expect to hate in high school – upbeat, popular, and pretty without trying — but then they shock you by offering you the seat next to them in the cafeteria. Her long brown hair has a bit of wave to it, and is equipped with just the right amount of scrunch. A small front section is clipped back, creating a cute bouffant. Her speech is peppered with “like” and “you know.” She’s wearing a wide-striped navy blue and green fitted polo shirt with sleeves that stop just below her elbows. But below the waist, her attire becomes more pious. Her legs are swathed in what appears to be an entire bolster of wool, stopping just short enough to skim her ankles, and her black thick-heeled clodhoppers look more suited for a femme Frankenstein. Other girls her age might still be home, sleeping off Friday night benders and recharging for another night of whirlwind barhopping and random hook-ups, but Sister McRae doesn’t let bars and current fashion tempt her. When she turned twenty-one last November, it was a no-brainer for her to trade in her life in Highland, Utah in favor of becoming a Mormon missionary.

              “My dad wasn’t a Mormon and you know, in Utah there’s a ton of members, but my mom didn’t want to nag him and tell him to go to church. She was like, ‘Let’s just be a good example.’ So after being a good example, well, my parents were married for twenty-five years and then he knew that it was true and he decided to join the church. Twenty-five years later! Watching that happen, it was so amazing to see and I wanted to go out and share that with other people, and be able to show that families can be together forever.”

              I want to not like her. She’s one of these people who cement themselves to my front porch, waving Christ pamphlets at me through the screen door. They catch me when I’m in the middle of changing my baby’s diaper and they catch my boyfriend lounging in his boxers. You say “I love Satan” and they say they say “I love you.” You call them names and they still come back. But Sister McRae’s sweet and has a slight naiveté about her that makes her charming. She likes Magic Eight Balls and Hershey Kisses and she takes pride in the fact that she’s never wrecked her car; she complains of Pittsburgh’s signature humid summers and she grew up watching the same television shows as I did: “Family Matters,” “Full House,” and “Step-By-Step.” I start to think that she’s an awful lot like the girls I used to be friends with — in middle school.

               She carries a tan messenger bag with her, bounteous with copies of the Book of Mormons and pamphlets on Tithing and Chastity. Her voice – peppy, confident and sweet – becomes just the slightest bit robotic and artificial when she talks of the Church. At first I think this might be an opportunity to expose her as a fair-weathered Mormon, to corrupt her with my atheist influences, but then I realize that she still believes in what she’s preaching; she’s just so used to saying it over and over that it’s essentially been turned into that loathed spiel that gets front doors slammed in faces.

                 Mormons pay for their missions on their own, and Sister McRae is no exception. Back in Utah, she went to cosmetology school and got a good job as a hair stylist in order to save up the money to come to Pittsburgh for an eighteen-month long mission. (I’m always glad to see a hair stylist with nice hair. It reassures me.) Once here, Sister McRae relinquished all contact with her family back home, save for a phone call on Christmas and Mother’s Day.

                  After piling a mound of pamphlets and a Jesus DVD on my lap, Sister McRae asks, “You are coming back for dinner, I hope?” After sitting with the food’s personal street team for thirty minutes, how could I say no? She has me convinced that it really does smell like the spread of Utopian delicacies.

                  When I return to the church two hours later for the Women’s Conference, Sister McRae is sitting at a yellow clothed table in the back of the gym, and she’s still referencing how delicious the yet-to-be-served food smells. Branches, dried flowers and a ceramic bird candle holder serve as the centerpiece of each table, with cherry cordial Hershey Kisses strewn about. Since many of the women don’t know each other, everyone is assigned to “birthday tables.” This separates Sister Mordue from us, but she’s close enough for Sister McRae to tap on the back repeatedly – her signal that she wants all of the candy Sister Mordue can wrangle from her own table. “I just love candy. I could eat it for breakfast,” she chirps as she concentrates on disrobing a Kiss. “I’m healthy like that.”

                      There are only fourteen female missionaries in the Pittsburgh area, and most of the women here tonight are just regular parishioners so the room isn’t suffocating under yards of wool like I had expected. Non-missionaries are dressed casually in pants and blouses, and I’m shocked to see one woman wearing a denim skirt which put a lot of exposed leg on display. However, one woman in a black jumper stands up at about 6’5” and looks out of place without a plow to follow and another is the spitting image of Chloe Sevigny from “Big Love,” so much so that I give her a good triple-take. She has long blonde hair, the sides of which are pulled back tautly and secured with a metal clip; an ankle-length denim skirt keeps her legs hidden from Satan’s eyes, and the rest of her body is kept chaste and pure by a white, high-collared blouse with short and puffy sleeves. I’m satisfied that at least two women confirm my preconceived notions of what I’d find at this Mormon dinner fest. (I consistently confuse Mormons with Amish, and expected to walk into an oil lamp-lighted corn husking circle.)

                     Before dinner, one of the church women queues up a video for everyone to watch. It’s a Pixar short, something to do with birds, but the TV is small and positioned at an angle that make my eyes throw up their hands in defeat. The rest of the room is enrapt, though; they laugh and sigh in unison and at all the right moments. Sister McRae, however, is not one to forgo conversation for television, so she continues to hold court at our table, speaking in hushed tones.  Mostly, she reminds us all of how hungry she is, and snatches more Kisses from the center of the table. She pops one in her mouth and her lips curve into a devilish smile. Glancing down at her stockpile of sweets, she reconsiders and slams down two next to me.

                        The video lasts only a few minutes, after which we’re given the green light to rush the buffet. Sister McRae gives her hands a childlike clap when the woman in charge suggests that the tables in the back go first. As we rise together, I’m enveloped in the familiar notes of Sister McRae’s perfume. I don’t know what she wears, but I distinctly remember it from the time I first met her last spring, when the sight of my child in the doorway lured her from the sidewalk to my porch – she said seeing his face was a sign that she had to come talk to me. The aroma reminds me of youth and Sunday school and scented plastic baby dolls. My inquiry is on the tip of my tongue, but I stop myself. I prefer to retain my blissful ignorance by thinking that it’s the scent of some divine marriage between the skin of baby angels and a bouquet plucked from the Garden of Eden, not something that the likes of Lindsay Lohan can walk into a store and purchase.

                       Even though she’s carried on for hours about the severity of her hunger, Sister McRae pauses and lets the occupants of Sister Mordue’s table and our own go ahead of her. I watch from further up in the buffet line as she socializes and doles out hugs to the women she knows. And if she sees someone she doesn’t know? She stops to meet them. I feel like she’s the Prom Queen of the congregation; or at the very least, student body president.

                        I’ve already begun eating by the time she weaves and winds her way back to the table. “Did everyone get something to drink?” she calls out to the two back tables, waving a bottle of water in the air. Not everyone did, so she sets down her food and returns to the buffet table. When she returns for the second time, she makes it as far as sitting down and forking in a few small bites of her salad before finding herself on a new quest after a harried middle-aged woman at our table makes the mistake of trying to share her own plate with her two-year-old son and muses aloud that she should have gotten him his own. Without needing to be asked, Sister McRae and her long wool skirt swish their way back up the buffet table. She comes back with a plate and a married missionary in her sixties. “Look who I just met!” she exclaims, before introducing Sister Mortenson to our table. She’s not from the area and doesn’t know anyone; I’m not surprised that Sister McRae took her under her wing.

                      Throughout the meal, Sister McRae pauses with her fork mid-air to act as the self-appointed go-fer girl and facilitate conversation (I have a sneaking suspicion that the soundtrack of our table would have been the song of needling crickets if it wasn’t for Sister McRae and her melodious voice). When she asks everyone around us if they’re enjoying their meals, it’s as though she cooked it herself from her very own recipe – she really needs the answer to be positive. She’s able to polish off most of her chicken, but the salad in the small Styrofoam bowl has gone limp under the weight of the dressing, and her potatoes have drowned in a sebaceous pool of congealed butter. But there’s still dessert for her to anticipate.

                        I keep waiting for the women I’m sitting amongst to converge upon my blackened soul with their Books of Mormon and Joseph Smith sound bites, but they mainly talk about normal things, like computers and Halloween costumes. I tell everyone of the pageantry-level abuse I endured  as a child from my mom, who insisted on crafting elaborate costumes for me from cardboard boxes, such as a Monopoly game board and a Hamburger Helper box. Sister McRae erupts in giggles and leans forward against the table. “That’s hilarious!” She says this genuinely, and often, to everyone, even when the punch line is only marginally funny; but they believe her, I believe her. She tells us she was always girly things, like princesses. I’m glad, because I can’t imagine her as a hooker or vampire.  

                          She doesn’t know what a blog is, so I, along with several other diners at our table, explain the concept. She shakes her head and her eyes are wide. “I just can’t imagine doing something like that, for any one in the world to see!” But she is current with burning CDs, enough to teach her mother how to do it, also. “Now my mom burns me copies of CDs, which is just so nice. I really appreciate it.” She goes on to explain that as a missionary, secular music is out of the question. “I can only listen to church music,” she says as her nose crinkles.

                       Sister McRae has a plan for life after her missionary work: get a job at a salon and go back to college for Spanish and maybe to brush up on her sign language skills. She’s never seen the show “Big Love,” and doesn’t even flinch while reapplying her lip gloss when I ask her about it. I imagine she has to deflect that question a lot while soliciting. “That’s a different branch of Mormonism,” she calmly explains. “We don’t believe in polygamy. It’s illegal.” I think to myself that I wish it wasn’t.

                        In the center of the room, she spots her friend Sister Tsunoda and rushes to greet her, nearly tackling her with a hug. They talk animatedly to each other and I feel like I’m watching two Sorority sisters, not Mormon sisters. A few minutes later, Sister McRae smuggles Sister Tsunoda back to our table and another of their friends, Sister Davis, gravitates over too.

                      The room gets quiet as the Mormon with the dangerously short skirt announces that they’re going to be scrap-booking before it’s time to watch the national broadcast of the Prophet. Sisters McRae and Davis pantomime exaggerated and over-the-top motions to each other from across the table while the woman is speaking. They roll their eyes and throw back their heads in a silent show of theatrical laughter.  It was an entertaining display, but if this was a high school cafeteria, I’d worry that they were talking about me. And they were, but only because Sister Davis was trying to ask her who the hell the sinner was.

                       “I’m really goofy, I know,” Sister McRae says to me through laughter when we are able to talk again. She has just finished showing Sister Davis the sign for ‘bored,’ which involves her grinding a finger into the side of her nose. Sister Davis opens her mouth and simulates an expression of incredulity, reminding me of a mother interacting with a baby. “That is not the sign for ‘bored’!” she screams. “You’re so making that up!” But Sister McRae insists that it really is the sign, and Sister Davis cracks up and says, “I can’t believe that’s real! It’s so you!”

                      “You sure picked the liveliest one of us to write a paper on,” Sister Davis later laughs. “Did she even tell you her name?” I toss Sister McRae a sidelong glance and admit that I wasn’t sure I was allowed to know. All of the missionaries refer to each other as ‘sister’ without falter, as though it’s a credo bestowed unto them by Jesus himself.

                      “Well, we’re really not supposed to use our real names,” Sister McRae stalls. But as I gather my purse to leave (the broadcast is about to begin, and that’s my cue to bolt), she stops me and says, “It’s Hayley.” Maybe she felt she owed it to me for warning her of the unhinged man who lives down the street from me (“Don’t knock on 3017’s door. I’m pretty sure the man inside is featured in several Psychology text books.”), but in my own little way, I feel accepted.

Aug 032008
 

 

This year, Henry had the pleasure of taking his two favorite kids to Warped Tour: his son Blake, and, well…me. I kept ducking while we were stuck in concert traffic because I didn’t want the surrounding carfuls of scene kids to laugh and say, “Oh god, that girl is going with her dad, how gay.” When we entered the parking lot, we drove past the drop-off area and Henry said, “God, those parents are so lucky that they don’t have to go in.” Then he tried to murder me with a look of disgust and resentment.

It was nearly noon by the time we managed to park the car. Blake didn’t have a ticket yet so he and I stood around idly outside the entrance to Post Gazette Pavilion while Henry went and bought his ticket. We were approached by the singer and guitarist of Uh-Oh Explosion, who were toting around a box of their CDs. Making small talk, the singer asked if Blake and I were “together.” Instinctively, we both took a step apart and emphatically answered “NO.” Trying to figure it out, he squinted his eyes and guessed, “Brother and sister?” We shook our heads. I saw Henry lingering a few yards away, knowing better than to walk over and lame-up the convo. I pointed to Henry and said, “OK, see that guy? That’s his dad, and my boyfriend.”

This kid (he was only 17) thought this was so fucking fantastico for some reason. “That’s so awesome! Like, talk about closeness. And you guys all came to Warped together!” He paused for a second, before sending my stomach to the meat grinder. “So do you guys have threesomes too?”

RECORD SCRATCH.

I was ready to whistle for the cement mixer to come and seal up my sex organs for real. So disturbing and awkward. I still bought their CD though, because what I heard sounded good and proceeds went to the animals. And what’s a little quasi-incest discourse in the name of stray cats, am I right.

Once we got inside, I was like a kid on Christmas. My eyes had a veritable scene kid feast as we weaved our way to the main stage, where Sky Eats Airplane was playing. Blake and I have the same taste in music — the more scream-y the better. Henry, however, shits himself when he hears hateful bellows, so he took this as an opportunity to go and find a set schedule and then conveniently lose us. Sky Eats Airplane was a good way to start the day.

In between bands, I got to ogle more scene kids. I was wondering why I was so fascinated with them when it dawned on me: If that scene was around when I was a teen, I’d totally have been the first on board. I used to make fun of them,  but now I want to like, write a book about them or something. I’ll start with Blake.

Averting the Hare Krishnas, we went to the Highway 1 Stage to catch From First To Last. Henry was all, “I’m perfectly fine standing all the way back here” and sent Blake and I into the crowd to get pummeled without adult supervision. Anyway, FFTL’s singer Sonny left two years ago and it was a little strange watching them perform without him. Their new material is a little too easy-to-digest and mainstream for my liking, but they ended the set with “Ride the Wings of Pestilence” which always makes me want to sacrifice a shack of Mexican prostitutes. And drink some of Henry’s blood.

Not interested in any bands playing right after FFTL, we walked around and looked at t-shirts and other merch for awhile. Henry, who had bragged on  the way there that he NEVER gets sunburned, started complaining about his nose getting burnt. He kept trying to sneak away and pose under trees in his signature old man-stance. Blake and I would pause and hunker down over the schedule, trying to determine which bands were must-sees and which ones we could skip without losing sleep that night. I kept trying to include Henry, but he would grumble, “I don’t know, does that band actually SING? Then NO, I don’t want to see them.” Perhaps Henry should have just went to that twanged-out Jamboree with Tina instead. Fuck.

 

  • The Bronx: I almost got trampled trying to push my way to the stage to see them, only to leave after ten minutes to run to another stage far away to see Alesana. They were really good and made me want to continually punch Henry in the balls. I always forget how much aggression I have until I go to shows like this. I just found out that they’re going on a tour of LA Mexican restaurants as a mariachi band and oh, who I wouldn’t kill to see that.
  • Alesana: They were playing on the main stage, and Henry was like, “Thank god, now I can sit my weary bones down!” So Blake and I begrudgingly sat down too. I realize that I enjoy bands less when I’m sitting, because I become too distracted with people-watching. Because of this, I don’t remember if I liked Alesana live or not. All I remember is that Blake picked up an Underoath CD release poster from the ground and gave it to me, making me  think he wanted me to keep it, so I ended up lugging it around all day in my backpack only to wind up throwing it away the next day.
  • Human Abstract: Another main stage band, but at least this time Henry allowed himself to be dragged down to the floor by the stage. I had never heard their music before, only seen the ads in Alternative Press for their new CD, so I really wasn’t sure if I was going to like them. Even aside from the immediate crush I developed on the keyboard player, I ended up liking them a lot. They were nice and heavy, but had an interesting melodic side as well. Blake thought they were just alright and stayed sitting down next to his old man for their entire set. This was also around the time that I considered slamming my camera to the pavement because it was taking such shitty pictures, but after Henry inspected it for three seconds, he deduced it was because I had a giant finger print on the lens. I didn’t hate my camera after that.

After the Human Abstract, it was nearly time for Pierce the Veil. They were the main reason I was there and all day it felt like butterflies were fornicating in my belly. It was either Pierce the Veil anticipation or the residual side effects of being asked if my vagina is friendly with both generations of Robbins. Henry once again stood in the sidelines, but I weaved my way as close to the stage as I could get. Which was fairly close since they were still sound-checking.

To show his unwavering adoration, Vic vowed to wear his Jaws shirt every day for the duration of Shark Week. He kept going on and on about sharks and I know this is going to make me look bad but I’m going to be honest: all I could think about was Tina’s vagina, gnashing against flailing legs. Thank God they started playing right after thhat because fuck — my mind disgusts me sometimes. And holy shit, their set was fucking fantastic. It was so good, that I didn’t even mind the heat or having two bitches dropped on me (thank God for Blake, else they’d have hit the pavement). They basically just play a blend of alternative rock, with some screamo-lite thrown in for scene cred, but what makes them stand apart for me is their lyrics. They’re smart, morbid, sad, and just overall clever. At the end of one of their songs, they segued right into a thirty second cover of “Bleeding Love” which was a million times better than the original we’re guaranteed to hear every time we walk into a grocery store. They also threw in a cover “Beat It” which was energenic and really fun to watch, and they ended the set with “Party Like a Rock Star” gone metal.

I did NOT want that set to end. Even Blake admitted that he was surprised how good they were live, and Henry was like, “Yes, fine, I liked what I heard all the back there in Parent Alley.” It was one of those moments where you want to call everyone you know and give them a hyper review in a shrill voice, but you know no one will give a shit. So then you’re just depressed.

We had a lot of time to kill after Pierce the Veil, so I bought a five dollar soft pretzel while wishing for once I ate meat so I could get a corn dog for $3.50 — the cheapest foodstuff there. Henry got nachos which looked like slop. Henry’s demeanor seemed to uncurdle a bit while he was coating his ‘stache with cheese sauce. He even smiled a few times and I think he laughed once.

While we were chilling out at the picnic table, Blake proposed that he move in with us. Maybe it was just the contact high of being with someone who actually gave a shit about music, but I declared that this was the best idea I had ever heard in all of my life, even better than my idea to direct porn, so now he might be moving in with us. It would make my scene kid research easier, for sure.

Blake was so sad that we missed Katy Perry while we were foraging for discounted sustenance. He even pulled his hat down low to hide the tears. But maybe it was because he saw kids he knew and was embarrassed of Henry.

  • Evergreen Terrace: I liked them alright but there was nothing mind-blowing that made me want to scour Ebay for rare memorabilia. However, during one of their songs, they chanted “I want you dead” and maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I thought that would be such a romantic sentiment to have engraved on wedding bands.
  • Classic Crime: Another band that sounds good in stereo, but didn’t hold my attention live. Instead, I stared at this really surly girl who was like an overweight scene Sami Brady from Days of Our LIves. She was climbing over rows of seats and even though she was struggling to swing her trunk-legs over, she didn’t let it deter her from scaling the next row, until eventually she lost her momentum and wound up clotheslining her crotch. It brought me joy, lots of joy.
  • 3OH!3: I wouldn’t have sought this band out normally, but we wanted to see the band that was coming on right after them, so we hung out for their set. I thought I was going to hate them at first, because that wave of white boy rap-rock-electronica kind of annoys me. But they ended up being so fucking fun and there was a really hot blond chick dancing on the side of the stage, so they kept my attention for sure. During their last song, it basically turned into a chaotic dance party on stage, and even Blake’s girlfriend Katy Perry was up there dancing with her man Travis from Gym Class Heroes (who I walked past earlier and wanted to say, “Your gf is a gaybo” but I wasn’t feeling assholey enough. Plus, I like Travis.). Anyway, I’m going to have 3Oh!3 play at my Sweet Thirtieth Birthday Orgy Masquerade. It’s gonna be tight.
  • Bring Me the Horizon: Blake ran into some of his friends right as they came on, so we were officially ditched. Henry and I hung around for a few songs, but Henry looked like he wanted to call out for his mommy, so I spared him. I really liked BMTH though — they made me want to fillet a cop.
  • The Devil Wears Prada: Sans Blake, things were pretty gay. I wanted to get closer to the stage but Henry was all OH HELL NAH so I was like, “Fuck this then” and went to buy a shirt instead. Henry, you pussy.

The day was coming to an end by this point, and Blake had re-joined us in time for Dr. Manhattan. I was torn, because they were playing at the same time as Norma Jean, side-by-side. And I love Norma Jean. Norma Jean blocked out Eleanore’s nerve-prickling coupon-cutting many a night for me. But I chose Dr. Manhattan, along with fifteen other people. It was sad! But you know a band is good when there are OTHER bands in the crowd watching them. And they were good — they were quirky and fun and energenic and they made me laugh out loud a few times. Unfortunately, Norma Jean was one stage over, luring people into their crowd. They had gigantic black beach balls and I won’t lie — I’m a sucker for a beach ball. At one point, I yelled to Henry, “Hey, do you want to go over and watch Norma Jean for the rest of their set?” but right then, two people left Dr. Manhattan’s crowd and the singer — in the middle of a song — stopped and yelled, “Hey! Where are you guys going??” It was so sad/cute/scary that I looked at Henry and said, “Never mind!”

At the end of their show, some of the bands in the crowd started chanting, “One more song!” but they weren’t allowed because of time constraints. So the singer started chanting back, “One more crowd!”, the retardedness of which made me laugh. I was also dehydrated, though. Overall, I was glad I stayed loyal to Dr. Manhattan, because their set was rewarding.

And that was it. We walked back to the car and already I started to feel the body-dragging effects of post-show depression. Then I thought about how all day long I had been talking about all the bands I wanted to see, but by the end of the night, all I wanted to see was Chooch.

Jul 282008
 

Henry wanted to get his son Blake out of the house on Sunday, so we decided what better way to be all familial for free than to go to the fucking flea market.

I had no coffee in my system; my head was thumping and a sour scowl was perma-etched on my face. Henry was all, “OK, this shit ain’t gon’ fly” so he went to one of the snack bars for a remedy, commanding Blake, Chooch, and myself to stay put where we were. As soon as he turned his back, we did what any other miscreants would and wandered off into the abyss of redneck unwantables.

“Who the fuck would buy this shit?” Blake mumbled as we pushed Chooch’s stroller past a table of romance novels and metal scraps.

“That guy,” I answered, as some loser handed over a fan of bills.

We continued strolling along, taking turns complaining about how gay everything was. Then we talked about Chiodos for awhile, which briefly lighted both of our faces, until it occured to me that we had been led too far astray and Henry was probably walking in circles, crying into a Styrofoam cup of coffee. So we hurried back to where Henry left us, but he wasn’t there. We then made the mistake of leaving the Abandoned Child Depot in order to find Henry, which was fruitless since he was doggy-paddling in the sea of beer tee’d bargain hunters, hoping to find us.

 
Fuck you, assholes!

 We made it back to our spot right as Henry called Blake’s cell phone. When he finally made his way back to us, we were all, “What the fuck, we were here the whole time, asshole!” Henry looked dumbfounded.

 

“I walked right past here and didn’t see you. Didn’t you see me?” he asked, eyes squinted with confusion.

“Probably, but everyone here looks like you,” I said. I don’t think he heard me, but Blake did, and as soon as Henry turned his back, we laughed like children.

We walked past one table weighted down with incredibly worthless junk, just as a very manly woman with the roughest smoker’s voice barked, “How much you want for that bottle of Eternity?” It seriously sounded like a knife-fight was happening in her throat. Her interest in a bottle of perfume tickled me so greatly that I was falling into Henry’s back from laughing so hard. She was with some social reject who had a lipstick print tattooed to his neck. God, what an asshole.

Just when I didn’t think anything could top those two, some broad petrified in makeup from 1975 began advertising loudly for the shitty cat nip mats she was shilling. “They make extraordinary gifts!” she called out jovially and I lost my shit all over again.

“Oh, they’re fucking extraodinary alright. I hope I get fifteen of them for my birthday. Motherfucker.” Then I thought about how much hate I had boiling in my belly, and I smiled.

Around the bend, some dumb ass colostomy bag of a broad was selling CDs and at the very top of one of the stacks was The Cure’s “Disintegration”. Henry pointed this out, probably thinking I’d go all Pollyanna and realize that the flea market really was a place for extraodinary gifts, but instead I grew angry. I mean, I was practically roiling.

“You don’t re-sell a Cure CD!” I bitched loudly. “WHO DOES THAT? An asshole, that’s who.” And I know that shitty old lady heard me too. SUCK IT, bitch.

It wasn’t until we fell upon some old dude slinging the mother lode of incense and natural soap that my edges began to soften a bit. I wasn’t too interested at first, until he stood up from the perch he had on his van and started teaching us of the miraculous healing properties of some shitty soap that sounded like “doo-doo” but was really something else that I just didn’t give a shit about. That was when I realized he was awesome. At first, it was because I thought he had a British accent, but then I think he was just slurring really bad from prolonged use of psychedelics. How nice of him to come to Trader Jack’s flea market straight from Woodstock.

“Buy some of this shit,” I hissed at Henry.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because that is one cool asshole.”

And so Henry bought some shit, that scared little bitch. He bought a whole heap of incense and found out later it makes him sneeze.

 
“This stuff is made in India. This ova’ here is from New Yorkkkkkkzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzsnore.”
Normally, I would try to be a little covert with my mean-spirited picture taking, but by this point I had adopted the “fuck a bitch, suck a dick” attitude and began walking RIGHT UP TO PEOPLE, stopping in the middle of the aisles, and holding my phone all the way out at arm’s length. Henry was not pleased. Especially when, afterward, I would justify my actions by shouting, “What? That person’s an asshole. They deserve this, and worse.”

 Yeah, you count that cash, you cock sucker. Bet it’s going straight into some yeasty g-strings, you sex addict. SUCK A DICK.”

Speaking of sex addiction (a very serious plight not to be taken lightly), there seemed to be a LOT of porn there this time. Large cardboard boxes marked ADULT DVDS XXX  in thick black marker were nestled smack in the middle of baby clothes and Care Bears. I desperately felt the urge to rummage and pilfer, but felt strange doing so with Blake with us. I’d like him to not speculate upon my sex life with his father.

 Apropos placement if you ask me.

 

I saw a produce-hawker go apeshit on a pile of empty banana boxes. I don’t know what got all up inside his puckered sphincter, but he was hurling the boxes out of the back of his truck and plowdriving them into the gravel. His face was red and his fat lips were a’quake with obscenities. I stopped to gawk for awhile, savoring the terror that was arresting my heart. Violence makes me wet.

 

 

 

More flea market assholes, plus Chooch and Blake.

 

There was some girl there who was clinging onto her youth even more desperately than me. Quite possibly the oldest scene kid ever, and ridiculously so. As she pushed a stroller past us, she giggled and very coquettishly said, “I like your piercings!” to Blake. After she walked away, Blake mumbled, “Dumb bitch.” It was high-five worthy.

 

 

The only cool people there. Aside from Blake and me.

 

Sometimes, for no reason, I would growl. Say, for instance, someone in a Kenny Chesney shirt would push past me, in a huge fucking hurry to look at fake designer sunglasses, my arms would get all stiff and I’d just fucking growl. Ew, grr.

 

 

Henry wouldn’t buy me this awesome Jesus Loves Me hat. Now I’ll have to find something else to wear to the church fair. My garter belt and a Cannibal Corpse shirt, I guess.

 

Later that day, Henry was telling me that his mom asked him to take her to the flea market next weekend.

I laughed, it was an angry laugh, and said, “I think I’ll sit that one out.”

“You ain’t kidding,” he said. Supposedly I’m banned for life or something.