Monday, June 8, 2009

most embarrassing moment

Anyone who tells you that their most embarrassing moment does not in some way involve sex is either lying or very, very repressed. In my particular case, we were in high school, and she was a cheerleader. I was on the math team. Actually, that sort of explains it all, right there.

It was sophomore year, towards the end of October. It must have been around 4:00 or so. I had just come out of a small alcove next to one of the mathematics classrooms. That was where the math club met, and where the school kept its two 8-bit Commodore Pet 2001 computers. In 1980, these were top of the line personal computers: 64 Kilobytes of memory, 40 character built-in green-on-black display, and the wonder of it all, cassette tape storage. The DNA of the 1990s Internet boom came together in rooms very much like this one.

I accidentally took the long way to my locker. The building itself was three stories high, in the form of a circle about 280 feet in diameter. It was a shining example of late 1950s-early 1960s Populuxe architecture, built expressly for the baby boom generation. I should have turned left outside the math room but instead turned right. When I realized my mistake I decided to just keep walking around the building until I reached my locker.

When I had completed about 60 degrees of arc, I heard the clanging noises of someone at their locker. I walked a few more degrees and there, there at her locker, there in a green and white Sacred Heart Fighting Irish Junior Varsity cheerleader's uniform, there was Rosanna, the girl I had a crush on. Cheerleader practice had just gotten out. She was putting away her books and collecting her jacket. She was a lovely creature with soft brown hair, large doe eyes, a sharp, quick mind, and a body that wouldn't quit -- wouldn't even take time off.

"American Gigolo" had been a popular movie that summer, and in it Richard Gere had a special way of walking toward women he was going to seduce. He'd place his feet in front of him instead of under him, if you can picture that, so that he leaned away from his direction of motion, as if he were too cool to keep up with himself. Transversely, his body slowly slid from side to side every three or four steps. It was a complex series of motions to master. It wasn't quite a strut, and it wasn't quite a lope; it was almost pimpish in its smoothness. That summer all the girls had a crush on him.

I walked up to Rosanna like Richard Gere.

A few feet from her locker I realized that the walk wasn't going to be enough. I had to say something to her.

"Hey, Ro. 'S up?"

"Hey hey, Patrick. 'S up?"

That call and response just about met my neurological capacity.

Without stopping or acknowledging her, I continued to pimp-roll down the hall until I was out of her sight. Then I ran to my locker. My God! I really spoke to Rosanna! The next day, like a cargo cultist, I repeated everything I could as exactly as possible in the hopes that the conditions would be right to meet her at her locker again. For the remainder of the week I'd leave the math room at exactly the same time every day, I'd turn right instead of left, and I'd undulate around the circumference of the building until I reached her locker. Most of the time she wasn't there. Having nothing better to do, I'd keep walking around and around the school until I "accidentally" ran into her, or figured I must have missed her. I became a locker stalker.

One day, just before Halloween, I heard her approach from the other direction. I adjusted my Gere strut so that I would be about 10 feet away when she reached her locker. I caught a whiff of her perfume, a sweet, syrupy teenage scent that gave me an instant erection and halted me in my tracks. How could I talk to her like this? I have enough trouble talking to her when it isn't like this. I stopped and leaned against a locker.

"Who's there?" Rosanna called out. I was trapped.

"Hi, Ro!", I said, pimprolling out from around the curve of the hallway. "It's just me."

"Oh, hi, Patrick!" she said enthusiastically, giving me a small wave. Enthusiastically? A small wave? Was I reading this girl right?

She gave me a smile. "'S up?" she asked. The phrase "'s up?" was a slurring of the question "What's up?"

What's up? If she only knew. "Not much," I said. "'s up with you?"

"Not much," she said. Then, suddenly, she poked her head up. "Guess what?" she asked, a big smile on her face.

You love me and want to run away with me? You want to bring me into your room and let me run my hands through your underwear drawer? Aside from that I couldn't guess.

"What?" I asked.

"Remember Theresa?".

I couldn't think of who she was talking about at first. "Oh, yeah," I said finally. I poked my right thumb over my right shoulder, metaphorically pointing to something that happened far away, or in the past. "She moved down to Alabama, didn't she? In the middle of last semester?"

"Right," Rosanna said, "her father was transferred there. Well, I just got a letter from her, and she said she's coming up to visit in a few weeks!!! Isn't that great?!!"

"That's GREAT!" I shouted. I barely remembered Theresa, but if Rosanna thought it was great that she was coming back, that was good enough for me.

"Well," she said, looking up from her bookbag, "gotta go. I'll see you around. Bye-bye!"

"BYE!" I shouted.

Two weeks later. I am prowling the corridors, hoping to catch her at her locker again. The last time, I had managed to exchange five sentences with her, and that's a conversation on a par with Moses receiving the Ten Commandments from God. I had to try again.

I was on my second orbit, approximately a radian away from her locker, when I heard the vicious clang of metal striking metal. BANG! I edged toward her locker. Another CLANG!

"Hi, Ro,", I called, when I was about 5 feet away. She tore the door to her locker open with a BLAM! and looked up. "Hi Patrick," she grumbled.

"'S up?" I quickly asked. "'S up?" was a big phrase that year.

"Nothing!" BLAM! She threw her books into her locker.

"What do you mean, nothing?" I asked.

"I just don't feel good, all right??" She was almost yelling.

"Okay, okay," I said. "I'm sorry."

She relaxed. "No, Patrick, I'm sorry," she said quietly. She glanced over her shoulder to make sure we were alone, then she put her face close to mine.

"It's just that I always get cranky when it's that time," she
whispered.

If you've got a real crush on someone, that person becomes your personal kryptonite. Whatever skills you have, whatever talents you've developed or possessed ab initio, you will lose the closer you get to your crush. The eloquent become mute, the graceful become gauche, even the mighty are humbled when they stand close to their infatuee. In my case my brain, my magnificent 24 carat seventeen jewel brain turned to soapsuds whenever I saw Rosanna. My reasoning power, the innate talent that let me perform calculus in my head, deserted me and left me believing that walking in circles like a mack daddy and dousing myself in Canoe was the way to Rosanna's heart.

I also lost the ability to understand common euphemisms.

I pulled my eyebrows together. I couldn't think. I pulled up my sleeve. I pressed the button on the side of my watch. The red numbers lit up: 4:07. This made no sense. She always got cranky at 4:07?

She noticed the perplexed look on my face. She loudly exhaled and whispered, "You know! That! Time!" I still had no idea. She sighed. "My friend is visiting!"

I got it! I gleefully poked my right thumb over my right shoulder, metaphorically pointing to something that happened far away, or in the past. "OH!!!! YOUR FRIEND!! The one from Alabama, right?"

1 comment:

C. Zaitz said...

I'd leave a funny comment about your funny post but I'm still choking on my own spit after reading it!