It’s that time of year again. The sun is bright, the flowers are in bloom, and the air is thick with love. Ah, spring! Couples stroll arm in arm downtown and gaze at each other in cafes over club sandwiches. Women wander about the grocery store in their sundresses and sandals, picking up sweet smelling bouquets. Men drive their convertibles with the tops down, winking and waving at passersby. People everywhere are gardening and picnicking and sunning and bustling.
Spring has a way of tempting even the declared indoor fanatics, like myself, out into its midst. I won’t garden because I don’t like dirt and I won’t bustle because I’m not the bustling sort. I won’t make moony eyes at some man on a café patio or grope them on a crowded sidewalk because I hate PDA. (And also because groping a stranger is called sexual harassment and is frowned upon in most areas.) But...I will wear sundresses and sandals, give men in convertibles the middle finger out my open sunroof, and eat outside (after thoroughly checking the area for bugs and bird shit).
What can I say? I like buildings. Air conditioned, clean, nicely decorated buildings. While most people are lazing about the parks, I’m exploring other options.
For instance, I’ve been working at the makeup store, shopping, organizing my closet. And I’ve been to the library the last two weekends – browsing through the shelves, taking pictures of the architecture, and just generally wandering the floors in a state of barely suppressed glee.
But after excitedly talking about my adventures and showing some of these pictures to my cousin’s boyfriend Dan (wrongly pegging him as a kindred spirit) at a get-together on Saturday night, and listening to him laugh at my excitement, it was established that: Not only am I hopelessly indoors-y, I’m a geek. While they had pictures of ‘fun’ (that’s a silently sarcastic ‘fun’), outdoorsy stuff like walks and softball...I had books. You would have thought I’d suddenly pulled a zipper down from my forehead and revealed myself to be an alien.
My cousin Tim and his fiancé Elle were sitting across the room, my cousin Christine was on the floor in front of me, and Dan sat next to me on the couch. We’d all been drinking quite a bit and when that happens “the stories” come out. Christine and Tim, seeking to redeem my geek status in the eyes of their other halves that didn’t know me as well...or embarrass me beyond repair, began the downward spiral I like to call: “Do you remember the time...”
This is a common practice with everyone in my family and people are subjected to it whether they’ve heard “the stories” before or not. But if they haven’t heard them, the excitement in the room is akin to a well-timed fart – faces are red, laughing is loud, and pointing is possible. I’ve participated many times in the telling of “the stories” for other family members; it doesn’t just happen to me. But I do seem to be the favored one.
Christine and I have been competing against each other for this and that since we were kids and sometimes when “the stories” start, things get ugly. I believe this happens through no fault of my own and is most likely due to her feelings of inadequacy in the presence of my superior intelligence. Or an overlapping of childhood jealousies and copious amounts of Whisky.
It all started on equal footing:
Tim: Hey Al, tell Elle about the time you showed up drunk at the airport with no bra and no luggage.
I happily told the story of my public shame and smiled while Elle and the others laughed. When it’s just a competition to see who can outdo the other in terms of hilarity or shock value, I’m fine with that.
Christine: You think that’s bad? How about Alyson’s 21st birthday? She ended up taking care of me!
Translation: I’ve totally been drunker than you.
Me: Yes. I believe you were the one outside the bar swinging round and round a light pole, in front of the cops, with your stripper heels in your hand singing “woo woo woo woo woo” like a slurring ambulance siren.
Translation: I will always be funnier than you. Even when it’s not an anecdote about me.
Everyone laughed and “the stories” continued.
We talked about the time Tim got drunk and pissed in the laundry basket and the kitchen trash can. We talked about the time I was almost eaten and/or molested by a fat drug dealer. We talked about the time Christine got up and pissed in the middle of her bedroom floor while her boyfriend yelled at her to stop, to no avail. We talked about the time Tim had sex with a girl on the living room floor and one of our roommates sat next to him, naked, and talked to them the whole time. He didn’t even pause. Did I mention I was on the couch? Awake.
Elle and Dan didn’t contribute any stories of their own. They couldn’t have gotten in a word edgewise anyway. But they seemed to be enjoying themselves and I was sure their faith had been restored in my general badassness. They could now over look all the alien library chatter.
Elle: Damn girl! I should’ve known you back then.
Translation: You sound way more fun in these stories than you’ve been since I met you. What happened?
I don’t know which story spawned the decline into the downward spiral of doom and “Alyson’s a giant whore” Ville, but it was very sudden and brutal. I was like a fucked up Dorothy. Picked up by the tornado of the past and transplanted, with my slutty red slippers, to the yellow brick road to hell.
Christine: Do you remember the time she slept with that dude in the tent in Amber’s backyard?
Christine: Oh! Oh! Do you remember the time she tried to give what’s his name a hand job in the car?
Tim suddenly jumped up from his chair and pointed at me with an expression akin to the look catholic priests give altar boys. It said, “Your ass is mine.”
Tim: Oh! OH! NO! OHMYGOD! CHRISTINE! Do you remember that party we went to at your boyfriend’s house? When he lived upstate?
I was lost. Where was this going? What party?
Christine: GASP! YES! That was the night she locked herself in the bathroom with my boyfriend’s brother and then he came and got me because she was puking everywhere!
Me: Ha. Yeah. That was a rough night. *cough*
Christine: I still can’t believe you were in there with him.
Me: Shut up, rug pisser.
Tim: That’s not even the half of it! You remember what happened on the ride home?
Ride home? Ride home? Have I blocked this...was I blacked out? What is he ta...ooooh motherfucker. Don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it don’t say it.
Christine: GASP! Tell them!
Tim: We got ready to leave and I was sitting in the back seat of the car with her friend, who was passed out, and
Me: Shut up! Let’s talk about something else!
Elle: Oh, no! We have to hear it now.
Tim: And she was up front with her friend’s boyfriend and he was driving and
Me: SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!
Tim and Christine were laughing so hard they were crying. Caught in the rare trap of reliving a moment I’d sufficiently blocked for years, I was horrified. I rarely blush, yet my cheeks were burning. I wished I could take my immediate reaction back because it only fueled the fire. My protests were more potent than the other two insisting that they must know the end of the story.
Tim: And the 30 minute drive took two hours... because she was giving him a blowjob and he didn’t want to go home! I was half passed out and didn’t even realize what was going on until later when we were dropped off, but at some point in the middle of it her friend woke up and asked for a cigarette and Al gave her one and that’s how my pants had a huge burn hole in them. And when we finally got back to the house the first thing Al says to me is, “Oh my gawd. I gave him a blowjob for, like, two hours.”
Christine: Did you at least stop when you handed her a cigarette?
Everyone was howling with laughter. I put my hands to my burning face and looked down.
Tim: And then she slept with him when
My head popped up and I glared at him.
Me: Hold the fuck on! She WANTED me to sleep with him. She begged me to sleep with him. They had some kind of weird fetish thing and he
Tim: Yeah, that’s true...
Christine: Yeah, I remember that. She tried to blame you for the whole thing when the friendship ended. Dude, she hated you.
Me: Humph. They were crazy and I was hopped up on pills and booze and weed. Doesn’t count. And if it did, it would be "slept with them", not "him".
Elle: Oh my god.
Me: Sigh. Can we talk about something else now?
Elle: Two hours?
Me: I guess. I don’t really remember anything about it other than the fact that it happened. Sigh. So...anyway.
Elle: But TWO hours?
Me: Listen, I’ve gotten a lot better since then.
Dan: (finally offering something other than just laughter) *grin* Persistence!
Everyone laughed and I was relieved. When I got up to leave shortly after that, around 12:30am, Elle gave me a hard time.
Elle: Stay here! Have another drink!
Me: I’d love to, but I’ve got to get back. I stopped drinking a while ago so I could drive.
Elle: You’re always running off.
She’s right. I don’t really party anymore. I “can’t hang”. I manage to get drunk and I’m out of commission for two days. I can’t even play "Do you remember the time" right anymore, don’t even compete with them! I didn’t tell the story about how Christine got the herp from an ex and walked around shaking a huge container of baby powder into her underwear. (Because that’s totally a treatment.) And I didn’t tell the story about the time Tim lit himself on fire or when he was fucking that girl that looked like the love child of Carrot Top and Tom Hanks.
I’m not the girl in “the stories” anymore. I suppose I’m the geek.
And really, I’m ok with that. After hearing and (sort of) remembering that story for the first time in years, I’d much rather be the chick that roams the library and gets excited about skylights and murals than that other person. Or maybe there’s a healthy medium?
Who knows? Now that I'm all adult and shit, maybe I’ll even get over my issues with dirt and start gardening. I might be a little different, but I’m still persistent, right? If I can give a two hour blow job, surely I can plant some fucking flowers.
Dressed in a white shirt with my hair combed straight
Here in my black shoes and me without a date
Me without hindsight, me without
When will change come, Just like Spring Rain
1 week ago