Monthly Archives: August 2011

U.G.L.Y. You ain’t got no alibi!


You see the ugly.

I can see it too, if I look for it.  I am looking for the pretty instead.

You smell the ugly.

I have a sensitive sniffer.  I smell it too.  If I plug my nose I can’t smell it anymore.  It’s easy.  Or I smell something else.  Something that doesn’t stink.

You don’t taste anymore.  You don’t like sugar.  You won’t eat chocolate.  You think honey is too sweet.

Honey is too sweet?

I like honey.  I like sugar.  I like to taste.  I am a super taster.  I will keep tasting, thank you very much.

I see the honey bees.  I thank them.

You see the yellow jackets.  You curse them.

You see the fat.  You see the wrinkled.  You see the age spotted.  You see death around every corner.

Yes.  It’s there.

I can see it if I look, but I have to look past the happy, the joy, the life.  I’m not sure why I would want to do that.

I see moments.  There are good ones.  There are bad ones.  There are stinky ones.  I am selecting the ones that mean something to me, and I am trying to only select the good ones.  Sure, the bad ones have a place.  It is a place that I can set them out for the sun to cook the good back in.  It is a place where the fruit flies will come and eat them up.  It’s a place where maybe they can marinate into something good.

Some are stickier than others.  They cling to my memories like a sludge.  Sometimes I think I have successfully powerwashed them away, but it seems that I missed a little speck and they start to regrow, sending spores of negativity over my memories.  I have to rewash them.  Maybe with extra bubbles.  Perhaps a scrubbie brush.  Send them down the drain.

At least I am trying.

Do you want your sludge to be washed off?  It is growing and growing all over what once was a shiny, happy, good smelling exterior.  I remember the good because it made me happy.

You were good.

You still are.

Just start to look over and around and through the ugly once in a while.

There is beauty in there.

Even if you have to plug your nose.

Moonshine and Hickies


We were young.  He was not my first boyfriend, but he was the first (and last) to write me a song.  He was the first to be insanely silly.  We were innocent together, and I laughed more than I thought was even allowed in a teenage relationship. My regular group of friends didn’t understand my new relationship, he was not a part of that group.  Not that we were cooler, by any means.  We just thought that high school was a time for drama and end-of-world scenarios.  I needed a bright light.  They could see it.  He didn’t wallow.  He bounced.

Like Tigger.

We bounced through our time together, listening to music, telling stories, as I gradually corrupted his sweet soul by introducing him to the alcohol of my homeland.  Siddiqui.  Moonshine.  We got loopy together, and boy, if I thought he was silly sober, drunk was like stand-up comedy hour.  I was so crazy in love, having so much fun, that I smuggled booze OUT of Saudi Arabia for him to have the opportunity to taste a beverage that could make you blind and possibly tear an actual hole in your liver.  If you aren’t familiar with Saudi Arabia, it is a dry (Muslim) country and alcohol is highly illegal.

To bring into the country.

From outside the country.

I’m sure there’s not even a law about bringing it out of the country because that doesn’t  make sense.  Why would anyone be that stupid? You can buy the real stuff on the other side.  Stuff that will probably not eat the bottom out of your cup. Stuff that will only make you blind if you drink 8 bottles in a row.  But, I thought I was just so damn special, I wanted to share the often lethal crap I drank at home. The question was, how to smuggle it out.

In the 80’s we used some nasty liquid chemicals to clean our contact lenses. (Seriously.  We had to clean them.  They were so expensive that you made one pair last a year.) We had these little containers that they would sit in, and you’d pour some bubbly acid over them to allow them to marinate overnight, magically cleaning them and prepping them to be popped back into your eyes the next morning.  This was all entrusted to a teenage brain.  I don’t even know what AoSept was, but it was not a nice liquid.  Once, in a moment of sheer brilliance – while attempting to become a pot head (a career move that didn’t pan out) – I mistook AoSept as saline solution and squirted into my dry eyes.  This is the same developmental brain that is trusted with driving, often while texting, always while day dreaming.  Makes you want to stay home.  I screamed like someone had ripped my eye right out of my head, and shoved a cup full of salt in the raw open hole.  Still, it was probably not as bad as the moonshine we drank in Saudi, so logically I decided to smuggle it out in an empty AoSept bottle.  It was a plastic, squeezy thing, and I spent the better part of an evening gradually sucking the Siddiqui up from a glass and into the container. Fortunately, I was smart enough to empty it out first.  Like swapping poison with poison.

Somehow I made it all the way back to New Jersey with my AoSept-Moonshine.  I felt so mighty, above any school rules, displaying it with my other toiletries in my dorm room.  I felt I was truly “winning.”  (see Charlie Sheen?  “winning” is often correlated with behaving like a stupid ass.)  My boyfriend was impressed.  Well, he was probably just drunk, but I translated that into impressed.  And then we got horny, as teenagers do.  I mean, that kind of horny that ONLY teenagers can manage.  Like being satisfied with a quick squeeze, or a brief grope, or a bare skin sighting.  That was all it took!  Confusing, and exciting, and confusing again. Weren’t the teenage years a blast?  Especially when a giant constellation of zits would pop up just from being groped one too many times in a particular area?  Or when a hickey appeared the next day, but you couldn’t remember receiving a hickey because you were drinking too much contact lens fluid?  That was fun. This was that boyfriend.  I never had so many hickies in my life (other than the ones I had given myself as a kid, as I practiced what I thought would later be considered “kissing”).  I’m not even sure why hickies are a part of the whole sex category.  I mean, you put your mouth in one spot and suck on it until you cause vascular damage?  Is that where spider veins come from?  Are all those damn hickies we got as teens waiting beneath the surface until our 30’s and 40’s to pop up in an even less flattering, and far more permanent form?

I cry, UNFAIR!!  Where’s the humanity?

I want my spider veins to be a result of Johnny Depp’s stubble irritating my skin too much.  Not that I have spider veins.  Or Johnny Depp.

We were teens.  Add some 180 proof alcohol.  Slap on some hickies.  Life was good.  We were at a boarding school, parents were not around.  Life was even better.  There was a school event taking place.  Everyone was there.  Except me and my hickey giver.  We snuck into my dorm room to do what we did best.

After rolling about and having the safest sex around (the kind with your clothes on) for nearly long enough to wear holes in those clothes, or at least create a friction fire, there came a sound.  No.  I didn’t fart.  I was more embarrassed of such things in those days.  There was a sound in the hallway.  Everyone was supposed to be at the event, everyone besides us and other random couples who were probably doing the same thing that we were.


Probably just the wind.  Or an ax murderer.

Back to business.  We don’t want this fire to burn out!

There it was a again.



We sat perfectly still.  I mean, layed.  My door was locked.  What were we afraid of?  We were afraid of being kicked out of school.  Of having our smoldering pants detected.  Of being caught being teens.

“It’s okay.  I locked the door.  We can relax.”

Relax?  Well, not exactly.  We continued trying to suck each other’s teeth out.

And then there was a new sound.  More voices, footsteps, and a jingle jangle that distinctly resembled keys on a key ring.

We froze.

Our hormones were having a hard time switching from sex thoughts to fight-or-flight thoughts.  There was a ridiculously long moment in which neither of us could even move.  This must be why the people having sex in horror movies always get killed.

And there it was:  the key in the door.

“What do I do?”  My hickey giver started running around the room in circles, looking for a place to hide.  Of course, there was nowhere.  I was such a slob that my closet was crammed full of dirty laundry.  I spun my head around.  There was a window.  Maybe I should push him out.  I looked out, and besides the fact that it was one story up, there were people outside.  People.  Tours.  Prospective students.  I guess a current student falling onto their heads might be a bit disheartening.

“Just sit there and act like nothing is happening,” I suggested, displaying impressive skills at thinking under pressure.  Yes, my instinct in the wild would be to play dead.  I’m that sort of person.

He did.  He sat on the bed.  Probably with a pillow on his lap.  I sat at my desk, trying to look normal, pretending that my hair wasn’t all over the place and my clothes weren’t smoking.

The door opened.

The student giving the tour looked at us in shock.  The family touring the school looked like they could smell the smoke of our friction fire.  No one commented on my hair.

“Um.  Oh.  I didn’t know anyone was in the dorms right now.  I’m sorry.”  Said the poor student, struggling to come up with a way to make this seem like a normal part of life at our school.  Like we had been studying.

“Hi!  Welcome to Blair!”  said my giver of many hickies.  Tigger.  Always personable.  Outgoing.  I was just happy he didn’t stand up to shake their hands.

“Uh.  Yeah.  Welcome.  We were just talking.  Where is everyone?  Are we missing some sort of event or something?” I wisely pretended.  I’m sure they were fooled by my 16 year old acting abilities.  This was a school where boys weren’t even allowed into the girl’s dorms.  If we had any functioning brain cells we would have just thrown a dress on him and pretended he was a chick.  Anyway, the family looked embarrassed and the student giving the tour looked embarrassed and we looked like we’d been caught with our pants down.  Our work there was done.

No one had noticed my AoSept.  Winning!