Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
While enrolled in kindergarten at Hollywood Beach School in Oxnard, California, I rode a bus that would pick me up on the corner of Island View and Glendale Avenue at 8:05 a.m. sharp. I woke up one morning with the sun shining a little brighter and hotter than it usually did at wake-up time, and realized I was late for school.
In a panic, I ran to my mother's bedroom door, which happened to be locked. Though I knocked several times, there was no answer. I picked up a pair of khaki pants off the floor that seemed extremely large, but identified as pants nonetheless, put on a green and blue striped polo shirt from the day before, shouted a hurried good-bye to Steve Martin (my trusty invisible friend), then ran down the street barely making the bus and tripping over the pants I had to hold up with both hands.
I spent the morning in Mrs. Brooks’ class wondering if my mother was alive, feeling extremely embarrassed about the pants and the multiple, yet unavoidable, accidental exposures of my red and white Mighty Mouse underpants. Mrs. Brooks took me in to the principal’s office who made a call to Sleeping Beauty who, minutes later, whisked me away in her speedy 1970 cherry-red Toyota Celica sport coupe. "Here I come to save the day!" If only underwear could talk.
I happily spent the rest of the day with her in silence. After exchanging the pants (which turned out to be my five-foot-five mother’s) for yellow terry cloth shorts, I played with Matchbox cars and a Tonka dump truck that matched my shorts in our sandy backyard, both knees conspicuously covered in cat shit. She sunbathed in her favorite black bikini, filling the backyard with her sweet coconut scented Hawaiian Tropics suntan lotion, and when it was time to go inside, she wincingly washed my knees off with the hose, as per what had become old family tradition. I giggled as usual, because poop was, and still is, very funny.
* * *
I learned that day how to carefully determine which clothes were mine and which were hers by holding them up to my body and looking into the mirror prior to putting them on my body. I learned to brush my hair before I went to school and, more importantly, to never tell a teacher, nor a principal, my mom had a thing she called a "hangover".
Side note: That night I dreamt the devil, a short and stubby cartoonish-looking red fellow with a beer belly, red cape, and matching red pitchfork, had jumped the fence with full intention on harming my mom. As she sunbathed in her black bikini, unaware of the imminent danger, I hit the devil in the head with my Tonka Dump truck, and he vanished in thin air. I killed the devil and, thankfully, my mom knew nothing of it.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
My mother didn’t become an early riser until years after I had moved out of the house at eighteen. I recall as a youngin' her more than occasional late night drinking binges would knock her out until late mornings, early afternoons, which would open doors to a curious world of investigation for small children. It also created a sense of total self-reliance in me that I would never be able to shake, which would later annoy the hell out of friends and many a chivalrous fellow attempting to win my affection.
One morning, whilst living in beautiful, sunny San Diego, my mother and her sister, Chris (who was staying with us at the time while my father was away on active duty), had enjoyed a few too many Michelob beers the night before, causing them to snooze past the legal breakfast hour, Pacific Standard Time. I, in an effort to get started on a productive day, climbed out of my crib in a charming pink one-piece footsie pajama (of which was filled from the ankle up with unknowingly trapped, yet very hopeful absconding turd balls), then proceeded to take Aunt Chris’ favorite bottled fragrance, Charlie, out of the bathroom cabinet, out the front door, then on to brighten up the neighborhood by “making all da plants smell weal pweddy.”
A helpful, caring neighbor (who apparently wasn’t a fan of Revlon’s most popular scent) used the very tips of his right hand fingers to guide me back to the front door of our home, likely plugging his nose with his left hand in order to protect himself from ingesting the stench of a wandering, perfume-wielding fugitive.
My mother learned to keep valuable liquids out of the reach of children, to latch the door chain before going to bed at night, and to cut the feet off of all one-piece footsie pajamas in order to provide liberation for refugee turds and their accompanying odors.
Side Note: I wouldn't suggest ever plugging "pink footsie pajamas" into google's image search.
Friday, July 13, 2012
Wanted to share a beautiful song written and performed by my gorgeous, super multi-talented, fellow aspie friend, Rudy Simone. In response to bullying (not just for those on the Autism spectrum, many others can relate), I so appreciate that it touches on this touchy subject that has and is affecting so many of us and our youth. It's nice to have an advocate that's been there.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
The world would be a much kinder place if friends and family would simply consult one's Amazon.com wishlist prior to purchasing a gift.
An animated exclamation such as "I just knew you'd love this!" has the potential to be a truly intelligent sentiment or an epitaph to an otherwise perfectly acceptable trinket (for someone who enjoys genuine rabbit fur on fake kittens).
Monday, June 25, 2012
“Let’s play a game! Awe you weddy? Who’s undo my bed?” I yelled out as I jumped up and down on my “big-girl bed”, flailing my blue Beatrix Potter themed bed sheets, causing tiny cyclones amongst the coloring books and assorted messiness sprawled on the floor.
“Nobody.” Julie answers. Such a Julie answer, always years ahead of herself.
“Awe, come on, just twy an’ guess.”
Julie slowly knelt down, hesitantly peeked under my bed and replied with an expressionless freckled face, “A shoe.”
I’m now aggravated beyond belief. She’s not my friend anymore. I’ll never talk to her again, ever, if she doesn’t try to guess. “Guess a name. Anybody’s name.”
“Nooooooooo! It’s Steve Moutain! Steve Moutain is undo my bed!”
I, of course, was referring to my future husband, at least in my dream world of a brain, who’s poster hung over the head of my bed. In his dapper white suit, black tie and handkerchief, and unforgettable green and yellow rubber trout slightly poking its head out of the lapel, he was cupping his hands together, mouth open, as if genuinely exclaiming, “There you are! I’m so happy to see you!” In fact, that is exactly what I imagined him to be saying every time I entered my octagonal shaped bedroom and looked at him hanging there on the wall, so comforting, so loyal, so safe.
“Who’s Steve Mountain?”
It wasn’t until second grade when I insisted on properly pronouncing the word “fart” that I’d begin to pronounce my “r’s” like a real-live human being from planet earth. I couldn’t fault her for mistaking “Martin” for “Mountain” (although, I believed the choice should have been quite obvious).
“It’s not Steve Mountain. It’s Steve Moutain. He’s behind me on the posto! I’m a Wiiiiild and Cwayzay Guy!” My earliest celebrity impersonation, performed unrestrained to no avail.
Julie, apparently, had never seen Saturday Night Live, which was not an optional viewing choice in our home. It was a requirement. I don’t know what kind of standards they were operating on in her home, but I certainly was not impressed. Steve had hosted SNL an unprecedented seven times by the time I turned five, just enough times for an obsessive child to become, well, pretty obsessed with him. He’d also had a cameo in Jim Henson’s The Muppet Movie (another obsession of mine), playing an insolent waiter. I sometimes wonder if I attached to Steve as I would have my real father, who disappeared when I was three.
This was my first time allowing anyone into my little “Steve Moutain” secret world, although thankfully, Julie was such a logical thinker, even at three, it seemed my strange choice in sleeping partner passed right over her sophisticated little head, never to be mentioned again. I blushed uncontrollably - a characteristic I, to this very day, have never gained control of.
Being five years old, and having the idea that a thirty-seven year old man with white hair and a dashing sense of style and humor was under my bed is probably something I should discuss with my therapist, as most would find it a tad on the creepy side. (I can’t say I would have minded it in my older single days, although I can’t imagine him feeling all that comfortable hiding under there day after day at his age – he has things to do, after all. The man’s a genius.) What was he doing under my bed? Well, hiding, I suppose, until it was time to go to sleep. Then he would crawl up onto the bed, give me a warm squeeze, then fall asleep next to me, making “the dark” not such a scary locale after all. Steve Martin was my comforting, invisible friend.
Either we’re all born with a “type” or my pal Mr. Martin set a precedent for me that I’d take with me in to my adulthood. He had those eyes, the ones that hold a great intensity, as if they are so interested in what is before them that if not for the physiological build of the eyelids, they might jump out and explore, maybe even gobble you up. Jerry Lewis had those eyes, George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Jim Carrey, Peter Sellers, and the boy I had a seven-year crush on through junior high and high school (although unlike the others his seemed to dim with age, possibly due to being deemed “Most Likely To Succeed” in the sixth grade yearbook – that’s a rough one to uphold). You can almost read their brains. Creators. It’s as if an entire library lies right beneath the surface of them and I want to dive in through the pupil, make myself comfortable and meditate on each and every word. The sorrow, the joys, the crushing embarrassments, I want it all, and I can remember I was drawn to those eyes even as a little girl.
Julie had a yellow gingham blanket she affectionately named “Meemers”. Julie refused to sleep without Meemers. Meemers couldn’t play the banjo, tell jokes, nor juggle kittens (at least not with any prowess). Meemers was an acceptable security item for a three-year-old girl. My choice, an accomplished actor/musician/comedian . . . not so much. Though in secret, I was convinced I was the coolest kid on the block and I didn’t need that stupid nightlight anyway, thank you very much.
Excerpt from chapter five | dear mr. fantasy | Everything's Hunky Dory: A Memoir