Friday, March 24, 2017

Three and a Quarter Outrageous Things

I am the kind of woman you don't really want talking to your children. I'm a bad influence. Really.

The other day, I got my copy of Jenny Lawson's new doodle book in the mail. You Are Here. I proceeded to draw the me-dot on the title page with the little arrow and the crazy maze around the me-dot and then I added a Jenny dot, imagining that we were both there, somehow, making a connection. Jenny's an artist and I am not and it showed but still, it made me happy. There's something about doodling in a book that is illicit and wonderful.

See, what did I tell you? I find myself telling kids that I like graffiti and marginalia in library books, but only if it's good stuff, only if it adds to the situation. Actually, I hate graffiti that denigrates anyone or claims a spot as a drug drop or or just tags a business with ugly spray-painted words like 'fuck' or 'shit.' Can't these people be a little more creative with their curses? And I hate, absolutely detest when people edit library books or write stuff in the margins as if they are the better author. Write your own book, ass-wipe.

I told you I was a bad influence.

So, I thumbed through Jenny's book, pausing at the cat page at which point Blitz jumped up onto the book and pressed his butt onto the page. I tried to take a picture of the irony with my phone, but Blitz batted at my hand and jumped off exactly as the fake-shutter sound clicked. All I got was a blur. You couldn't even see the page or the cute striped and spotted pajamas my kitten wears.

Then, I flipped some pages again. It said "YOUR TURN." On the previous page, Jenny advised that I should write down five outrageous things that I've done.

Did my mother put you up to this, Jenny?

Four things popped immediately to mind, not necessarily in this order.

First, I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back in one day. Sixteen and a half miles. I carried two cans of Dr. Pepper and two Snickers bars in my pockets. I wore a pair of Keds tennis shoes. I made it out alive.

Don't you hate when you're playing truth or dare and someone picks truth and you tell them they have to admit to the most outrageous thing they've ever done and they end up bragging about something like that?

I do too.

But here's the thing. It did feel outrageous. It was stupid because I was so incredibly thirsty on my way back out. If not for the occasional spigot, I would have been in a world of hurt. And the next day, I had to sit in an airplane for six hours to return from my business trip/Grand Canyon hike and my calves seized up completely. I had done a total of zero hours of training to prepare for this hike. So, when the seat belt sign went off and we were allowed to exit the plane, I had to do it on tiptoes because my heels absolutely would not stretch flat to touch the floor. That night, I saw that I had ten tiny bruises under my toenails because they hadn't been cut short enough for my Keds. One of those toenails almost fell off it became so separated from the nail bed. It still grows in a little wonky, as if the hike permanently shifted the nail to an odd angle.

Yeah, when you hear that whole story, it really is a little outrageous, isn't it? Now go read Girl in the Woods where a woman hikes thirty miles a day through the desert and mountains to go from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. Now tell me my sixteen and a half miles, my Dr. Pepper, and my Snickers bars weren't inordinately ridiculous.

So, number two of the outrageous thing I did. Hmm.

The Grateful Dead concert on the beach in Santa Barbara California when I was twenty-three...

Oh, I can not tell you about that. I've only ever told one person the whole story, though by today's TMI standards, by Amy Shumer standards, I'm a colossal bore. 

Someday I will tell you that story, but I think I need to be fifteen years further along my timeline to when people won't believe me any more. Have you ever noticed how old ladies get very very innocent as they get older. Or rather, our perception of them does. No, they couldn't possibly have been to Woodstock or participated in the gay 20s or been a fan of Betty Friedan or Erika Jong. I remember getting embarrassed by the relative fluff of a romance novel my grandma gave me when she was done with it. Grandma, how could you? I could never get through watching an R-rated movie in the same theater with my mother without falling apart either. But I refuse to get totally innocent when I go gray.

Fuck that. I did things.

But I'm not going to tell you about Santa Barbara, not yet. Nick is only sixteen. He's pretty mature, but he's not ready to hear the truth about his mother. Not yet.

So, I couldn't write about the Grateful Dead concert into Jenny's book. I just couldn't. What if somebody read it? What if I forgot I wrote it and donated the book and someone connected that story to the real me?

You know, I really am a little bit boring about sex. Sorry. I just am.

So, onto number three.

There was the time I ran the team marathon with my Lockheed crew in Central Park. Yes, I think I can tell you this. Each of us ran our 2.6 miles and overall, we did pretty poorly. I was never a fast runner, so I slowed the whole crew down into obscurity. Did they really think we were going to win?

Yet it was a gorgeous day in New York City, the springtime that happens one day and is over the next. Blue sky. Sun. A cool breeze. And Tom brought a couple of six packs of beer. Tom brought beer to every event. Tom also tended to moon the women in the group and fall over after consuming his six packs and he would just lie there with his pants down, giggling, while the rest of us tried to figure out who was going to drive him home and who was going to follow along in his car.

That afternoon, I was in no condition to drive Tom's car home either and I learned a cruel truth about businesses near Central Park only after I realized I had no money left to spend. Many of them absolutely will not let you use their bathrooms unless you buy something.

Well, fuck.

You guessed it. I peed behind a bush in Central Park when I was twenty-four years old.


Then, for number four, I could tell you about the time moments before I had back surgery. They'd given me some kind of heavy narcotic but this happened before they anesthetized me completely. I told dirty jokes while lying nearly naked on the operating table, filthy jokes, jokes I could only tell after having four or five beers with my girlfriends.

Here's what I remember. They rolled me into the room on a gurney. Then, six people used the sheet under me to lift me onto the operating table. It was frigid there. They told me that the cold kept bacteria from growing.  I asked for a blanket. Instead, they started pulling the gown away from my body. Then, they injected something into my IV drip and suddenly I was no longer afraid or cold. Embarrassed?

Why the hell would I be embarrassed? I felt as though I'd peed myself. Did I pee myself? It didn't matter.

You know, I'm not entirely certain if I peed myself or not.

Then, I asked my gorgeous young doctor if I could tell him a joke. He said, "Why not?"

It was the one about the penis and the tennis shoe. Everyone laughed.

Then I asked them if they knew why bunnies didn't make any noise when they had sex. When I told them, they laughed again.

Hell, I was good. Maybe I should do standup.

Michael Jackson's other glove?

Another laugh.

A nurse said, "Doctor, shouldn't we get on with it?"

She looked kind of stern behind her mask, as if I'd had too much to drink in a public place.

But my sweet doctor said, "Do we have to?" He had such beautiful eyes.

Then, the anesthesiologist leaned upside down over my face and asked me to count backward from one hundred. It was all so very funny. I counted to 98 before my eyes rolled into the back of my head. I was still giggling to myself when I silently reached 96.

The next day, the doctor walked into my room and told me a filthy joke before he told me my surgery went very well. My mother had arrived and sat upright at my bedside.

When he left, she said, "That was completely unprofessional. Do you have any idea why he'd think to tell you nasty jokes?"

And I said, "I have no idea."

There you have it, three and a quarter outrageous things I did.What have you done? Are you willing to admit the truth?

Thank you for listening, jb

No comments:

Post a Comment