Monday, January 30, 2012

Snap Crackle Pop

When I was 11 or 12 I began my experience of going to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. In 6th grade, I was asked to go to a Bar Mitzvah of a girl who was a year above me. I felt not only honored, but super cool, as I was the only 6th grader going. The service was in the morning, and the party was later that evening, so the time in between needed to be filled. My mother arranged for me to go over to one of my friends houses that was also invited so she could do errands and stuff. (I mean, I guess, I have no clue…)

My friend (we’ll call her Zoe for the sake of anonymity) just moved into a monster house in a fancy part of my childhood town, so the house was pretty empty. Especially the basement.  So here’s the math: an empty Saturday afternoon, an empty house, an even sparser basement, and two friends. Add two pairs of roller blades and you’ve got the equation for a brilliant 4 or 5 hours.

Zoe and I strapped our roller blades and began zooming around the concrete cellar. No longer was our Saturday mundane, it was filled with purpose zig-zagging in between the metal poles keeping the house up, kicking a soccer ball to one another and laughing about nothing in particular.

Zoe and I were gliding all through our grey concrete kingdom when she kicked the soccer ball to me as I was going backwards. I dribbled the ball in between my feet for 2-3 seconds when I literally rolled into a metal poll, frantically grasped at the air and fell back, my right wrist and arm falling underneath the weight of my body and hitting the ground first. The first thing I felt after I fell was warmness all over my body. Then a searing pain set in and I just lay there screaming at the top of my lungs for a good 20 seconds. (Side note: my scream is one of the most heinous, banshee like shrills that no one really needs to hear. It awakens the dead, causes blood pressures to rise and can communicate with whales off the coast of Nova Scotia.)

Zoe’s mom appeared at the top of the stairs and looked down at me crying my fucking eyes out on the floor. I think I recognized the look in her eyes as terror. Not in the sense of: oh this poor kid, but more like: oh my god how do I get this kid to quit screaming/her parents are going to kill me. After I had given my vocal cords a sufficient exercise, Zoe and her mom helped me up and we made our way to the kitchen to put some ice on it.

My mother was called, and I sniffed and moaned until she got to Zoe’s house. Since Zoe’s mom and my mom were friends, they chit chatted and laughed for a bit before having to deal with the invalid: me.

My mom looked at me, and asked me if I could turn my wrist; it was her way to prove to herself and me that I was fine. I got half way through the wrist twist I yelped the way I imagine Old Yeller did when he got shot. My mom sorta got impatient, and then she was like: you’ll be ok Margaret. Just stay here a while longer because I need to run some more errands and catch the 4 o’clock mass. Catch the 4 o’clock mass? What the fuck? I sniffled and felt betrayed and also understood, because after all, we were catholic and to put up a fuss about my Mom going to church would be like saying I thought I was greater than God, in which case I would get struck down by lightning, die and get dragged down to hell. I certainly didn’t want to go anywhere besides home, so I sucked it up and tried to play video games with a pillow and ice packs under my right hand. (that went over really well, obviously.)

When I did get picked up later in the afternoon, my parents wisely decided to not let me go to the Bar Mitzvah. Instead, my father convinced my mom that we go to the hospital. We sat in the waiting room for what seemed like forever.

Finally my name was called and the doctor walked my mother and I down an empty corridor with sterile lighting. We got to the end of the hall and we were brought into a huge room with one single table in the center of it. The doctor asked I sit up on the table and began speaking to me in a saccharine tone trying to loosen me up. If there is one thing I can’t stand (even as a child) is when people talk down to others, no matter what the age. I was already in a pissy mood and this douche bag is trying to pretend like the world is all sunshine and lollipops.

The evil doctor then proceeded to try and tickle me to see if that would distract me from the matter and hand. I curtly said: don’t touch me. That made my mom uncomfortable and she said briskly: Margaret. Like: Margaret, mind your manners. This asshole is trying to tickle me and be weird and you’re concerned me being snippy to him reflects on your parenting skills? Bullshit.

So seeing I wasn’t taking to any of his tactics he read and studied in school like 50 years before, the pig doctor said ok, Margaret. On the count of three I’m going to readjust your wrist, ok? Me: ok. fine.

So he was holding my wrist with both his hands and went: one…*CRACK* and re-set my wrist. That mother fucker didn’t even wait til 3! If I thought I was in pain when I actually broke my wrist…this was about 20x worse. I didn’t even do the shrill banshee scream, more like a deeper yelp. All set! The doctor exclaimed cheerfully. If I had the power, I’d have snapped his stupid neck right then and there.

So I guess the bottom line is: don’t roller blade in a basement. That’s just dumb.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Guess Where I'm Tattooed?

When I was newly 19 I got my first tattoo. I was so scared before hand I puked. Not because of the pain, but the ramifications of it: would I be disowned? I’m fairly certain my father would either disown me or at least saw off a limb. 
I went with a good friend and we got--wait for it--matching tattoos. Yup. On our lower backs. Little did I know that in about 3 years Wedding Crashers would make the term ‘tramp stamp’ and ‘bulls eye’ pop culture references and every chick with one was thereby cheaper than those without. Well, after the first one I was hooked. Each year of college I would go to the same shitty tattoo place in the village (how cliche) and get a new little doodle, because that’s what they were: doodles. By my senior year in college I was getting discounts. 
The last one I got in college was on my was an oval shape with lots of swirls--kind of like an ornate easter egg. I vowed to my friends my parents would never know about this, because it would just be too much. never ever. 
How does that old adage go? Never say what??
After I graduated there was a little bit of a party we held at my parents home...good friends, their parents, uncles, aunts--and lots of champagne. Like, maybe--too much champagne. At one point I recall walking through the kitchen to and my oldest friend was teaching my father how to take a tequila shot, and my one of my uncles (who shall remain nameless...) was taking flaming shots. 
The party was in full swing and somehow I found myself in a private little circle with Ryan and Esme, my two oldest friends, and my parents. I was giddy with champagne, and each of us were laughing and happy; i was so filled with love and laughter that I figured now was as good a time as any to reveal my latest piece of art work. I prefaced it by saying: Mom, Dad: in front of my two oldest friends who I know you love and that love you, I want to show you this: and preceded to lift my shirt up and show them. I thought Ese and Ry would have my back, but, as they were on either side of me, and my parents were directly in front of me, Ry and Es, looked at each other and as if they were opposing magnets, sprung off in different directions, leaving me with my two catholic parents. My mom looked at me in disgust and my dad just smirked and shook his head and walked away. 
Word to the wise: never divulge to your religious parents new tattoos, because your best friends will run and hide. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Thumbs Up? Nope. Thumbs down.

A rite of passage in every teenage suburban life occurs when they take receive their drivers license. Mandatory classes after school with a science teacher that had difficulty pronouncing his r’s, so when he’d say ‘rules of the road’ it would come out ‘wools of the woad’. Hours spent driving with an instructor with a penchant for Dunkin' Donuts, and would make you, the student, drive to Dunks and wait while he'd buy two (TWO!) crullers and coffee. The smell of a Medium Regular and the cruller were enough to drive off the road.  Let's not forget the actual driving test. 

Ah, the drivers test. The closest DMV to my hometown was about 25 minutes away. Staties (Masshole speak for state troopers) administered the vehicular exam. Joy. As if having a burly and probably miserable Statie next to me wasn't enough stress, let's add Adrienne in the back seat. 
No matter what anyone says, staties give everyone fucking heart attacks. Sure, they're there to serve and protect--blah blah blah; yet there is a distinct odor of condescension surrounding their being. From the moment we got in the car, my knees were shaking so terribly I could hardly feel the pedals. Everything was going fine, (well, as fine as can be expected considering a man that seemed to think dressing up like an SS officer 365 days of the year was sitting to my right and my mother was in the back seat trying her best to not say anything...which for Adrienne is like, the biggest challenge of all time...) 
I was passing the test when the statie asked me to complete one more task of backing up in a straight line. I was focusing on accomplishing the task at hand, when the nazi exclaimed: stop the car, miss. What? What did I do? Nothing. Ma'am: (to my mother in back) you were coaching your daughter. This test is ended, you have failed. What?! I cried---I didn't even see her! I was only giving her a thumbs up! my midwestern mother whimpered. No matter. All her pleading made the evil man's resolve strengthen. 
My mother cried the whole way home while I just stared out the window. I was consoling her! Don't worry, mom. It's ok. No really, I'm fine. Know when you're so angry you can't cry? Yeah. 

Who should I be angrier with? My mother trying to give me a stupid thumbs up or the fact that I exclaimed to everyone at school why I was going to be late. Just kidding! I failed because of Midwestern enthusiasm!
3 weeks later I got my license. In Lynn. The cop asked me to take a drive around the block. And that time, my father went with me. 
Listen up, kiddos: going in for a driver's license? Superglue your parents' hands to their goddamn pants.