Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Christmas bowl. Rap it up.

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Here it is.  Christmas day.  The presents have been opened.  The dinner has been eaten.  I have had a few alcoholic beverages, but not nearly enough to understand why my mother-in-law is holding a Tibetan bowl next to my head, softly gonging it to create a rather pleasant, yet utterly confusing, humming vibration.  How did I get here?  And why do I hear rap music?

How I got here was 15 years ago, meeting a hot guy in my Anatomy class.

Why I hear rap music is because my daughter was generously given a keyboard for Christmas.  Never mind that it’s 10 years old and has been sitting in my in-laws basement collecting cobwebs.  It’s new to her, and that’s cool enough for a six-year-old.  She has already become the next Eminem, and she’s only been playing with it for 10 minutes!  Prodigy.

While my daughter is becoming the next big rap star, my mother-in-law (from this point on, called ‘MIL’) is channeling her inner Tibetan monk, and healing my holiday frazzled mind with a bowl.

It’s not the kind of bowl I would prefer at the moment.

I survived a day of late arrivals and witnessed numerous counts of heavy petting by the brother-in-law with Girlfriend of the Moment (from here on dubbed ‘GOM’).  She’s a nice person, and I’m trying not to fault GOM for worshipping MIL and petting my brother-in-law.  Neither of these actions make any sense to me.   GOM seems to admire the grandmother of my daughter for cheating on her (MIL’s) husband, because MIL is “following her heart… hearing the call of the wild… mastering her universe…etc.”

And they both do yoga.  So, there’s that.

I don’t see MIL in the same light.  Yoga does not equal knowledge (though it is great for the bod).  Beauty does not necessarily beget higher cognition.

Exhibit A: Naomi Campbell.

That, and starving yourself makes you mean.

The heavy petters left soon after dinner.  My daughter’s eyes were glazing over with her impending chocolate coma and the realization that this period of eating sweets with reckless abandon has ceased.   The knowledge that there is nothing left to unwrap has dawned.   The dread over waiting an entire six months until the next Christmas has arrived.  Yes.  Six months” is what my daughter sobbed to me.  I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was going to be a bit longer than that.

The last to leave was MIL.  Instead of saying “goodbye” she said,

“Let me get my bowls!”

What she meant was her new, $1500 Tibetan bowls.  She told us they were really old, that’s why they were so expensive.  I’m sure that’s what they said in store at the mall, as well.

In she marched with her bowls.  I was seated on the couch continuing to drink.  Not nearly fast enough.  I have a rule not to stop until all in-laws have left.

Next thing I know, she starts bonging the bowl next to my head.

Softly.

Booooonnnnngggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg……………hmmmmmmmmmm………….

As the vibration was just settling down into a low hum, my daughter started rapping.

WAP BAP A RAT A TAP WAP BAP SMACK A LACK A

It was like the Beastie Boys were holding a concert with the Dali Lama.  It was awesome!  My MIL was stone cold serious in her attainment of a higher self, while my daughter rapped with reckless abandon.

After I composed myself by departing the room to add more vodka to my drink, I returned to find MIL sitting on the floor, my daughter sitting on the floor, three bowls between them, bonging away.  My husband was on the couch next to them, holding ting- shaws.  They look like mini cymbals attached to one another on a string. Of course, he was holding them at testicle level and booming, “I saw three ships come sailing in.” There was a symphony of bowl playing and ting-shawing going on in my living room (along with the random Christmas carol).  The dogs seemed to like it.

They were probably just happy that the rapping had ceased.

My MIL started telling me (over the healing sounds of bonging, gonging, and tinging) that massage therapists are using these Tibetan bowls now.  It is a huge asset to their businesses.  You fill the bowl with a little water, put it on the client’s back, and bong it.

“Well, that must be a lot easier on their hands.”

I AM a massage therapist, which she seems to never recall as she lists off the benefits of massage therapy to me.  I am thinking, if I put a bowl of water on my client’s backs, hit it with a gong, and call it a massage they might not want to pay me.

My bubble is somewhere between Mother Earth, and Mother Fucker, but I can’t seem to wrap my mind around Mother-in-Law.  Christmas at my house.  Don’t you wish you’d been there.

We could have shared a bowl.

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Orange Juice Jones

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I went to boarding school for my high school years.  On breaks, we returned to our sandy, over heated, oil drenched homeland, Saudi Arabia.  We reunited with our childhood friends and hung out with our parents, whom we hadn’t seen in nearly three months (wow.  imagine.  having a teenager…and getting three-month breaks.  that’s not really fair.)

We had changed.  We had boyfriends, or new boyfriends, new hairstyles, more ear piercings, and stories galore.  We rehashed our tales over glasses of illegal siddiqui (known during prohibition and still – for some reason – in the south, as MOONSHINE).  We would steal the evil 180 proof alcohol from our parents and meet at a house to imbibe and be ruthless teens, while hopefully avoiding going blind in the process.

I had a routine.  My parents would be watching a video.  I would sneak into the garage.  My dad had put his 400 lb tool box conveniently in front of the still room door.  For you novices out there, a still is what you use to brew your moonshine.  They are dangerous and a really bad idea.  That’s why we go to liquor stores and consume alcohol from companies that have to pass certain tests, in this country.  Chances are that a fifth of Baccardi won’t blow up your house, or make you go blind.  I pushed that tool box out of my way.  Was I super human in my quest to get loopy?  Nah.  There were wheels on it, silly.  Once that was a few inches to the side, I would squeeze into the still room and fill up a cup of siddiqui.  It didn’t take much.  Normally I would fill up a jar or a Tupperware cup, but one time I made the mistake of filling a styrofoam coffee cup.

The bottom fell out after 45 seconds.  Well.  Hmmm.  Wonder what it is doing to my liver?  It eats styrofoam.  Anyway, I am a teenager, who gives a damn.  I just want to have an illegal drink!  So, I grabbed another container to put it in, instead.

And off to the party.  Parents none the wiser.  I always added some water to offset what I had stolen.  Since they rarely drank, I think that by the time they got to their stash a few years later, it was 95% water.  I probably saved their livers.  Mine probably has mutant life forms attached to it by now.  Sorry liver.  I’ll make it up to you now by giving you all sorts of organic produce.

I arrived at the teenage drunk fest, siddiqui in hand, and ran into a guy who had orange juice.  Yay!  Chasers are a necessary part of drinking 180 proof alcohol.  There is no enjoyment factor, it is all about getting it down and attempting not to taste it in the process.  And so I began my evening.

Swig.

Oh GAWD… give me that chaser dude… QUICK!

Gulp Gulp Gulp.

Ahhhgggghhhh!  That’s not orange juice!  It’s orange juice CONCENTRATE!  So not helpful to my revolting stomach.  Of course, being a stupid teenager on a mission, I continued to drink it.  Durh.

Somehow I ended up back at home, very very very early.  My parents were still awake as I stumbled through the kitchen, looking for the bread-like equivalent to a sponge… hoping to absorb some of the alcohol.  I wasn’t even laying down and I was spinning.  I managed to get my drunken teen ass into my bed, and after writing the 80’s version of a booty call to my boyfriend back in the states, and cutting off a piece of my hair to mail to him, I passed out.  I only briefly woke up when I realized I had barfed in what was left of my hair.  I washed up, and went back to bed.  I’m sure it was the orange juice concentrate.

At the crack of dawn, my parents woke me to head out to run errands.  I managed to grab the milk before we left.  The gallon of milk.  Oh.  It tasted SOOOO good.  I just kept drinking it and drinking it.  I must have consumed half the gallon before we left.

Did I mention that I was in Saudi Arabia?  As in, the desert?  Not the most comfortable location for a hangover.  If you think they hurt in the cold, just hop in a sauna and see how you feel.  You feel disgusting.  Trust me.

I made it through the grocery store.  I groaned as my parents started munching on fragrant donuts.  I staggered into the gold souks.  It was shiny and pretty in there. Red velvet walls.  The smell of incense floated around my head.  über gorgeous gold hung from every wall.  For some reason it reminded me of intestines.  Aesthetically pleasing, yet kinda gross.

All the bling was messing with my guts.  Or maybe it was the milk.   My parents haggled.  The owner of the shop bargained.  They haggled more.

A wave of milk was rising in my stomach.  I fought hard.  I swallowed it down.  I did not want to mess up that man’s velvet walls.  And then my parents made the mistake of asking my opinion.

I ran.  It was just too much.  The milk and the orange juice concentrate.  The heat.  The smells of sewer mixed with donuts.  The haggling.

The siddiqui.

And there it was.  I ran to save the gold.  I ran to save the walls.  I ran to save my parents.  I aimed for the gutter.  Unfortunately I missed and nailed the sidewalk in front of the beautiful gold souk with what resembled cottage cheese.

Too.  Much.  Milk.

My parents laughed.  I sniffed.  They laughed some more.  The poor store owner came out and mopped up my whole evening of illegal boozing.  I crawled into the air-conditioned mecca of our car and covered my face.

All I heard from the front seat was laughter, the entire drive home.

I’ve learned some lessons in my bubble…

Number one: don’t drink homemade moonshine.  Not ever.

Number two: don’t drink concentrated orange juice.  Not ever.

And number three: never follow up a night of 180 proof teenage angst with milk.  It curdles.

I wonder if my boyfriend was confused when he got my hair.  Well, at least that was one thing I hadn’t puked on.

A nubbin and a wart. Sexy me.

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I was pregnant about seven years ago.  Actually pregnant exactly seven years ago, but didn’t realize it until New Year’s Eve.  That was when it was still just a secret, no one could tell, I didn’t feel like crap, it was MAGIC!  And then I began to grow and grow and feel more like a heffalump than anything remotely magical.  And, since I must talk about boobs in almost every post I write, let me tell you that my boobs also grew.  The got heavy, like big tender water balloons.  My husband was happy.  I was not.  I would find things in my cleavage, like part of my breakfast, or a small dust bunny of dog hair.  It wasn’t pretty.  I also couldn’t see all of my body anymore, because the milk makers were blocking my view.

One day I lifted one of my beastly breasts.  It was an effort, but I did it.  Just wanted to make sure there wasn’t any food under there either.  Something was rubbing against my giant bra, and it was annoying me.  I found a mole.  I didn’t remember having that mole before, and if you haven’t had the pleasure of being pregnant, you don’t know this: “everything” expands!  Even your moles.  They even seem to move as your skin stretches out.  It’s like watching an ever changing constellation of stars.

Mole stars.

So, I was a responsible person and called my dermatologist.  They checked my moles.  Nothing seemed suspicious.  Then I asked my (fortunately female) doctor to look at the sneaky one under my giant gonzaga.  She looked.  I held my boob up.  She got closer and looked again.  I kept holding my boob.  She put on her magnifying glasses and looked EVEN closer.  My boob remained up in my hand, a ways higher than nature ever intended.  I started sweating.  It was heavy.

“Oh,” she said, in a calm tone.

“That’s not a mole.”  hnuh?  What the fuck is it then?  Is it my partially reabsorbed twin?  Is it a tumor?  Is it a crumb that has become imbedded in my skin?

“No, no, not a mole.  That’s a third nipple.”

I snorted and exhaled and laughed all at the same time… dropping my boob in the process.

Thunk.

A third nipple?  Are you kidding me?

I said, as my face became more and more red, “Do you mean to tell me that I have a nubbin?”

She smiled at me, obviously feeling pity for the pregnant circus freak before her and said, “Yes.”

She proceeded to tell me that it was just bigger now that I was pregnant, and it would shrink up again after all the crazy pregnancy hormones retreated.  And so you don’t picture me needing a three cupped bra, let me just clarify, it was still a tiny thing.  No baby would have thought it was a nipple, trust me.

I don’t ever go to dermatologists with normal things.  What would be the point?  I find it much more entertaining to present them with something disturbing, that totally embarrasses the patient (me).  I do still go though, because having a yearly skin cancer screening is MUY IMPORTANTE!

I just went again, to the dermatologist.  It was a new one.  That’s good because if I saw the same one all of the time, they would probably be writing their own blog about me.  Yesterday, I went for a skin check.   AND to have another suspicious spot looked at.  This time it was on my butt.  Oh lord… I hope it’s not another nipple.

She (oh thank you powers that be for allowing another FEMALE dermatologist to enter my world.  I would have walked out if it turned out to be a man) asked me to pull down my panties.  It wasn’t on my cheek so much as just west of my butt crack.  Can this get any more mortifying?  Urgh.  So, there she is, with her high powered glasses on, staring at my ass.  I am attempting to go to my happy place.  It’s not working.

“Oh.  That’s not a mole,” she says – as I am overcome with deja vu.   I mean, I am happy because I don’t want skin cancer, but what the hell is it?  My second brain?  Figures it would be on my butt.

“That’s a wart.”

A WART?  On my BUTT!??!  I have never had a wart in my entire life, and I get one on my bum?  How unfair is that?

After she used her can of wart freezing miracle stuff, she shook my hand and said farewell.

“Have a Merry Christmas!  Thanks for coming in today!”

I smiled and said, “Thanks for freezing my butt wart!”

Nearly one year ago, my husband’s best friend was diagnosed with Melanoma, Stage 4.  He was 25.  This past July he died.  Melanoma is highly aggressive, but the earlier it is detected, the better your odds.  In my bubble I am fortunate.  I lived in the sun.  I am fair skinned.  I do not have skin cancer.  I do, instead, have a third nipple, and a now frozen off butt wart.  I’m embarrassed, but I am alive.  Keep your bubble alive, too.  Go see the dermatologist!

Bouncy Castle Belly Syndrome, a.k.a. Motherhood

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I’m supposed to be typing a grant application essay right now, but I am sick of research and dry writing.  I keep wanting to answer the questions sarcastically, and I hear that those people tend to not have a sense of humor.  I just wrote an entire paragraph about finding my special purpose in life, without giving any accolades to Steve Martin.  Just seems so wrong.

 

I have to write about something funny, NOW, before I get too serious!

Today, I needed a bath.  That’s not the funny part.  I often need a bath because when I sweat I smell worse than my dog does when she rolls in whatever that brown, matted, poo-looking stuff was on the trail.  It’s true.  I can’t even stand MY OWN SMELL, and you know that’s bad. I was hoping that my husband would take over the bed time routine for my kiddo, but I guess that “I’m gonna take a bath now” wasn’t a big enough hint.

I get in too soon, because I have a hard time delaying gratification.  The water isn’t hot enough, which always happens when I really want to sit in my own filth for a while.  At least if it’s scalding, I feel clean.  I sweat more, too, but I can’t smell it because there are orange scented  bubbles.  I open my book and read 4.5 words before the bathroom door opens.

“Mommy?  Are you taking a bath?”  hmmm.  No.  I am doing the dishes.  Naked.  In the tub.  While reading.  No fun at all.  Go away.

“Yeah, baby.  Go see what your daddy is doing.”

“Ohhhkayyyy!  Bye-bye, Mommy!”

I almost finished the sentence when the door opens again.

“Mommy? I brought you the cat.”

“Oh, thanks sweetie.   See you in a bit!”

“Ohhhhkkaaaaayyyyyyy, Mommy.” She locks the cat in the bathroom with me.  Poor kitty.

Almost began the next sentence when the door opens yet again.  My water is now tepid  from the constant draft.  The yummie orange bubbles are quickly deflating and their opaque sludge is forming a not-so-attractive film on the surface of my pathetic attempt at bathing.

“Mommmmyyyyyy?????”

“Yeah, baby?”

“Can I just put my feet in with you?”

“Well…. in about… ten minutes you can.  I’ll call you when it’s time.”

“Okay.  I’ll just wait here with the cat.”

(3 seconds pass)

“Can I get my feet in now?”

“Sure you can.”  What the hell.  I wasn’t actually reading.  I had considered shaving my legs, but I guess I will let the forest continue to grow.  Conservation.

“I’m just going to take off my clothes in case I accidentally get wet.”

“Do you just want to get in, honey?  (big smile)  Okay.  Just get in with me for a bit.  I’m trying to read though.”

What ensued from there was, well, I guess it was life as a Mommy… and I must admit it was pretty great.  I love that kid.  She starts skiing her plastic toys down my legs while I read an entire chapter!

And then the landing strip for the skiing plastic animals became my belly.

“Wheeeeee!  Splash!  Boing!”

It’s a good thing I love her so much, or I may have kicked her little naked self right out of my luke-warm bath after the comment that came next.

“Mommy! (this said in a manner similar to the joy of finding cookies being served for breakfast)  Your tummy is just like a jumpy castle!!”

“Wheeeeee!  Splash!  Boing!”

Now, I never ever ever had a washboard tummy, but a bouncy castle?!  Things have really changed.  In my bubble I am worshipped for my awesome skill of doubling as a bouncy castle.  Only for small plastic animals though.  As soon as real children try to bounce on me, I quit.  I will still double as a love seat, though.  A nice, velvety one, that kids shouldn’t jump on.

One person’s headlights, are another person’s painful boobies

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Yesterday, I looked in my bathroom mirror.  This only happens once or twice daily, as you can probably tell by the tortilla chip on my chest.  There I was. Wearing a thin sweatshirt under a thicker sweatshirt, because… duh, it’s winter!  There is a time of the month, each month, when women’s boobies get a bit sore.  If you’re a guy, sorry, but this stuff has been happening at least since Zsa Zsa Gabor was born.  People talk about moons, cycles, tides, currents, whale migration, and other natural events that are connected with a woman’s period.  For some reason, that makes me uncomfortable.   I’d rather think of it as this special human-only curse that DOES make it possible for me to have a baby, but also gives me terribly sore boobs that feel like over-inflated balloons that will pop if they even brush up against a wall – let along get smashed by a Gladiator inspired six-year-old, an inexplicable weight gain of what feels like 30 pounds overnight, a recurrence of my teenage acne, and cramps.

Sure, guys get to pee in bottles and cheer us on when we give birth.  We get cramps.

Men, one day your wife will suggest a vasectomy – when you’ve decided that you would either be an unfit parent, or the ones that you have are  reminding you that you are indeed aging and 72 year old dads of toddlers are just weird… DO IT!   We’ve done our part.  If you actually feel that your wife needs to be the responsible one and change her hormones or have her tubes tied, then you are not  a real man.  Real men get snipped.  Or they’re gay.

That’s coming from a sore-boobed woman, of course.

Back to the subject, I was looking in the mirror, and thought, “OH MY GOD!  I can’t wear this to pick up my daughter!  My nipples are gigantic!”  You see, they were already tender, so when I saw these huge protrusions coming forth from my clothes… I thought that somehow PMS had just mutated me into NIPPELA – Queen of Freakishly Large and Protruding Nips!  I had to hide these giant temperature gauges, in order to leave my house.  But then what?  A nipple reduction?  A steel plated bra?  Pocket warmers?

And then I noticed the thin sweatshirt that I had on underneath my other sweatshirt, had tassels hanging from the hoodie.   They had managed to work their way across my chest until they had perfectly aligned themselves with my breasts.

The giant nipples weren’t mine!  HALLELUJAH!!  Cancel the plastic surgery!

They were just the knots at the end of my hoodie ties.

In my bubble, clothes never end up being worn inside out (yep, at a party, my party), sizing stickers self destruct when you leave the store so you don’t sport them on the back of your thigh as you run errands, and nipples only protrude when needed.  AND, most importantly,  sweatshirt tassels do not hang with their knots at perfect mid-breast level.  No wonder it had been on sale.

I swear to tell the truth, with limited exaggerations.

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I am a nervous laugher.  I always have been.  If something makes me uncomfortable, I giggle… which often gives people the impression that I am NOT uncomfortable.  Go figure.  People tell me intimate details of their sex lives, I giggle.  People ask me heated political questions, I giggle.  I enter a church, I giggle. And, here’s a new one for me, I am selected for jury duty, I giggle.

I know, I know, it’s an honor to serve on a jury, it’s our democratic process at work, and blah blah blah.  You may think that in my finding humor with jury duty, I am being disrespectful.  Perhaps.  But, remember, I am a nervous giggler.  That’s my excuse.

I entered the courthouse at 8:15 a.m.  There was a small line of people, putting their belongings onto a conveyor belt, much like at the airport.  I watched the woman in front of me put her purse down, then offer to put her super puffy parka that was thrown over her arm on the belt.  The guard told her not to worry about it, and she went on through.  Then it was my turn.  I put my stuff on the belt, smiled at the guard, and he told me to open the top to my coffee cup.  I did as he requested, wondering what I may have been suspected of smuggling in my vanilla latte.  Maybe a grenade?  A shank whittled from my coffee stirrer? Wouldn’t it be easier to smuggle a weapon into a courtroom under a puffy giant parka, anyway?  hmmm.  I guess it’s my social deviant look that I have.  Really not fair, I even brushed my hair that day.

We were led up to a waiting room, where we waited for about a half an hour to be called down to the court.  Fortunately for me, I brought along my intellectually stimulating copy of Chelsea Handler’s book, Are You There Vodka?  It’s Me, Chelsea.  I sat there, reading my book with a big stupid grin on my face, while we waited for the judge to prepare.  I actually read a chapter about a Peekapoo licking a man’s penis.  It just seemed wrong, considering my environment.   The state of mind that book was putting me in was not helping my giggle retention at all.  Did I mention that I was nervous?  New situations do that to me, and especially ones in which I feel I am supposed to behave a certain way, but wasn’t listening very well while the rules were being dished out. I have a insanely short attention span.  I may have giggled.   Everything started to seem funny.  And of course, that was about the time we were called into the court room.  EEEEK!

Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea [Book]

We sat down again, because they don’t seem to want anyone to fatigue their butt muscles in a court of law, and listened to the judge give us directions.  Then I was called into the jury box with 11 other people.  It was a good 10 paces away!  My butt was pretty thrilled to experience some movement.  The closest I had ever come to this court room scenario was acting in a pimply faced classroom version of 12 Angry Men in 7th grade.  And watching Judge Judy when Fox was the only channel I had.  This wasn’t the same.  I focused on the smell of cigarettes pouring off the man next to me, instead of my nervous, sweaty armpits – thinking that his stench would surely overpower mine.

The judge read off the charges against the defendant, and while he was still talking I smiled and raised my hand.  He looked at me like there was a purple nipple with horn on it growing from my forehead.

“Am I allowed to ask a question?”  He stared.  Apparently annoyed with the social deviant in the second row.

“Can you explain 3rd degree assault?”  I knew what this meant, but thought that it could be beneficial to the other 11 people sitting up there with me.

“The trial has not yet begun, Miss.”  oooooh.  I was having some high school flashbacks.

“We will explain those charges after we decide on the final 12 jurors.”

Okayyy.  Seemed more efficient my way.

Then the questions began.  We each had to introduce ourselves to the court and give a bio.  You know, name, occupation, age, number of UFO sightings, that sort of thing.

I was feeling silly again, after asking a question in the middle of the judge’s ranting – and now I was even more nervous to be speaking since he had obviously already decided I was at least partially mentally handicapped.

There was a question about if you had children, and if so, what were their occupations.  My kid is a first grader.

“I have a six-year-old, and she’s a professional magician.”

In my defense, nothing remotely entertaining had happened yet.  I thought we could use a little levity.  A couple of hours later, I realized I had technically lied under oath.  Egads!  I mean, of course she’s a magician, but “professional” may be a stretch.

The judge was looking at me, quizzically, probably wondering to himself what kind of drugs I was on.  Caffeine, nerves, and CRAP!  I forgot to eat breakfast. Let’s add low blood sugar to that dangerous cocktail.

And then the last question came along.  It was “What do you listen to on the radio? What television shows do you watch?  What do you read?”

“I listen to music on the radio (just in case they may have thought I was a follower of small town Evangelical radio broadcasts).  I only watch comedy (OH MY GOD!  It’s like I am a pathological liar.  I watch the news.  I watch countless cartoons.  I watch Glee, and I don’t even know what category that fits into!). And I am currently reading Chelsea Handler.”

The guy on my right had graduated from Harvard.  I could tell he was impressed.  The woman in front of me snickered.  The judge said, “What?  What book? Who’s that?”

At this point I am wondering, what the hell is wrong with me?  Why is this stuff in my head actually coming out of my mouth?  Where did I misplace my filter?

I pulled it together and said, “Oh, she’s just a stand up comedian.”

Another lie.

She’s like a 35-year-old, rather slutty Olsen twin.  She’s got her hands in television, books, maybe even porn (I’m guessing).

She wrote this book here, in my hand, that is shaking a little because I am giggling a bit, in this oppressive, wood-paneled room, that is too cold, and gee my coffee is all gone, and I just read about a dog licking a man’s penis, and I really want to laugh because that is just so totally inappropriate while I sit here, possibly being selected to decide if this man is guilty of hitting a woman, while my butt is getting a little sweaty from all these questions.

I was not selected for the jury.

I was a little bummed, because I had already decided the guy was guilty (he had guilty eyebrows) and I thought that my supreme giggling powers would probably sway the decisions of my fellow jurors.   Too bad.  As I walked out of the courtroom, I realized that they had made the right choice in not selecting me, after all.  I was terribly hungry and would have voted for the death penalty if it meant I could have grabbed some breakfast.

My bubble may appear to be a democracy, but in actuality, it is a dictatorship.  I make the rules.  If someone has a questionable arch to their eyebrow, it means they are guilty!  If someone has a puffy coat, check them for a machine gun!  If someone brings coffee, let them in.  Ask for a sip.  And as you giggle, don’t shoot any of it out of your nose and most especially not into the coffee.  You may add some unwanted slip to the shank.

It’s possible that my bubble could use some decaf.

I Kissed Myself, and I Liked It

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I had watched countless videos on how to kiss.  They weren’t actual “how to” videos – but my best friend and I repeatedly watched scenes from Zapped and Grease, learning the expected moves.  We were experts with fast forwarding, rewinding, and the play-slow mode.  We would pause when John Travolta kissed Olivia Newton John.  We would watch Scott Baio tilt his head to the side as he expertly planted one on his leading lady.  We had it down.  Or at least my BFF had it down, because she actually had a boyfriend to practice on.  Me?  It was just the mirror or my hand until I was 15.  Up until that point, and probably for a long while after, I was only good at making out with myself.

My first kisser apparently had not studied those 80’s flicks as closely as I had.

It was my first fall away from home, at boarding school.  I had a fantastic roommate who managed to ask me, with a straight face, if I was okay when I woke up on my ass during my first night sleeping on a bunk bed.   I’m not sure how she kept from laughing.  She was a saint.  I dusted my bruised butt off, and attempted to get back up on that bunk.  I survived, without any broken bones and a small portion of my teen pride.

There was a boy, named Emilio.   He was a member of The Spanish Connection.  This was a group of Spaniards at our school who had parents that were diplomats for Puerto Rico, Spain, Columbia, etc.  I guess some of their parents may have just been normal people, but to me, they were all from mysterioso backgrounds, filled with intrigue and danger.  And the way they spoke?  Wow.  My name had never sounded so romantic, even when I imagined River Phoenix whispering it in my ear.

“Kreeeeesssstta!  How are you doiiiiinnng todaaayyyy?”

I just melted into a puddle on the sidewalk.  I have the same reaction to Antonio Banderas’s voice.  It’s a bit awkward to melt when you are watching Shrek with your kid.

So, there was Emilio.  He hardly even spoke English, but what he said sounded like liquid gold in my ears.  Someone told me that he wanted to meet up with me to go to the mall.  I missed the bus.  I told someone I wanted to talk to him at the Canteen.  He never showed.  Someone told me he wanted to meet me to go for a walk after study hall.  Our paths finally intersected.  We walked in the dark, trying some awkward conversation that neither one of us could understand. There were more butterflies in my stomach than in a field of wildflowers on a warm summer day.  Annoyingly, they were fluttering up to my cheeks, making me flushed, and around in my ears, messing with my hearing.  I think even my vision was distorted.  Where were we going?  It was so dark. We were heading over past the gym to the football field.  This couldn’t be good.  Of course, I wasn’t  thinking logically.  Those stupid butterflies were confusing me!   Instead, I was listening to the inflection of his voice, the cascading musicality of each word, not understanding a damn thing he said.  We sat down on a big mat.  I guess this mat was intended for some athletic purpose, but I have a feeling it served more as a soft and cushy seat for people wandering around after study hall, needing a make out spot.  And that was it.  He was not a player, I give him that.  There was no “baby, you’re so pretty, you could be a model, I get lost in those eyes, …”

Of course, maybe there had been on the way over to the mat of shame, but I couldn’t have understood it anyway.

Emilio placed his beautiful Spanish hands on either side of my face.  He looked into my eyes, and I looked into his… thinking only of Scott Baio and how he would kiss if he were in this situation.  A lean to the right?   Probably.  But what if he leans to the right at the same time.  Oooh, that could be awkward.  And do I wait to see if the tongue creeps on in?  Or do we just start like that?

Well, guess what!?!

It’s too late because after holding my face in his hands, and gazing into my eyes, he started to lick me.

Um.  I don’t remember this from my movie training. What do I do with this?  What if he licks out my contact lens?  How will I find my way back to my dorm? The licking continued as my mind grappled with what was happening.  Just as I started to realize that he had somehow at least found my mouth to lick, I also realized that one of his hands was no longer on my face.  It was on one of my floatation devices. I gently pushed it to my shoulder, as if that was the bump he had been looking for.  That hand seemed to have a mind of its own and it gravitated BACK to my floaty.  What was even more alarming to me was the fact that it started to seek out the bottom of my oversized t-shirt, to dive underneath.

What the?

First kiss night – let’s not go through the bases quite that fast.  One milestone at a time, dude.  I need more video learning.  Thankfully, time was up and I needed to return to my dorm.  As the saliva dried in an effervescent sheen on my cheeks, he walked me most of the way back, and said goodnight (or adios or something).  I slithered up the stairs in my dorm, finally reaching my room, and entered it to see my roommate sitting on the floor, doing homework.  She looked at my (freshly licked) face and asked me if I was okay (see, she really was a saint) and I proceeded to crack into bits and pieces.  Even the layer of saliva couldn’t hold me in place.

I did not feel like Sandy, in Grease.

I did not feel like Scott Baio.

I felt like some dirt ball had swooned me with his native tongue and then used that tongue to lick my face.  I knew he wasn’t going to be telling people I was his girlfriend.  I knew he probably wasn’t going to even look at me in the hallways.  And my roommate knew it, too.  She just held me while I cried and cried.

He turned out to be a great guy.  No.  Not really.  He was a total jerk, and followed through with each of our predictions.  It hurt.  I felt like Scott Baio and the cast of Grease should be charged with false advertising.  It was NOTHING like in the movies.  My hand and my own reflection had been much more rewarding (and still talked to me the next day).

Sometimes bubble headed thoughts lead you to expect more from life.  The perfect first kiss.  The amazing sixteenth birthday party (which MY parents completely forgot).  Your romantic high school prom (for another blog).  Even your magical wedding day.  None of these things actually turn out like you expect them to.  It’s much safer to keep such expectations from your bubble, and just continually be surprised.  You can’t practice for everything in life.  Ask my kissing hand.