Monday, November 20, 2006

I Scare Boys. My weekend observation with descriptive detail…

A few weeks ago I spent a lovely afternoon with an older lady from my church. She’s got the short, spiky grey hair and the plastic surgery-tight face, and she’s also that matte brown color that inevitably spells out lots of money and lots of surgery treatments. Like her skin never had a chance to get over the shock of being lasered and nipped and tucked. Like she never had a chance to grow into age and wisdom. Denial. Wealth and perpetual youth. You know the type.

Anyways, I showed her pictures of my summer on tour with the band. We ate at a little place on the beach down across the way from the community college, right in the sand. I remember how difficult it was to sit down because the chairs would dig their legs into the sand and sink if you sat down or shifted your weight. In fact, I didn’t like sitting in the sand very much, because I got bites up my left leg to the knee from what I would presume to be sand fleas. They bite. Literally. It’s a pun. …Moving on.

After our little rendezvous she remarked casually that she had a friend who had a son who was very tall and my age, as if those were the sole qualifications in the world for en eligible bachelor that I might be interested in. Let me tell you, I’m not looking for love. I’m a lone ranger. I’m a woman who cannot be tamed.

At least not until I get out of college. Or college boys somehow magically transform and become mature overnight. Or I lose IQ points and settle for settling down. I laughed it off.

The next day I got en email in my inbox from my favorite old lady. The opening line read: “I saw Jane Doe* today for a face waxing for my trip to Acapulco.” (*name changed to protect the mother) The first thing I did was laugh really hard. I mean I laughed the kind of laugh that burns calories. And then I read the rest of the email out loud to my roommate, who was slightly less amused, having never met this scheming old lady. Well, she gave my email to the boy’s mother, her face waxer, who assured me that we should most definitely meet. I got set up on a blind date by an old lady and a boy’s mother. His mother. Who does this happen to? Me. But I didn’t sign up for it.

Now that you know the background, I can skip ahead to our post-church meeting and brunch. I sing with the band for church services, and I’m up front, singing with my acoustic guitar, so I saw him walk in from stage. He came with his friends as a social bumper guard. Sometimes they do that, you know, making sure that if they get completely rejected they have their little groupies to fall back on. The first thing I thought was something to the effect of, “props for the black shirt (even though you’re not confident enough to come alone).” Why? Because I like black. It’s classy and edgy and has a slimming effect on people like me. But apart from the black, I want to skip ahead to actually meeting the kid.

My winglady Megan and I walked out of the theatre toward the front of the school where church meets, and there he was, strolling toward us. If he was an animal he would be walking like a giraffe. He had the long stride and the slight hunch that told me right away that he was the kind of kid who was a little socially awkward around people like me, the confident people who approach such contrived meetings with the straight back head high shoulder width stance swagger kind of physical attitude. Plus I was wearing heels, which made me about 6’2. When you’re a girl and you’re 6’2 you’re entitled to a little bit of a swagger. Not the kind that makes people think that you’re the kind of brat they’d like to take out with a swift kick in the knee cap… but the pleasant, confident swagger. You know. Anyways, I can’t remember who extended a hand first, but we shook hands and said our pleasant little hellos.

He was separated from the pack and I had a full view of his herd. They were mulling about, always with a watchful eye on the exchange. I feel as if I shared in their amusement at the situation. I cocked an eyebrow and tossed a smirk in their direction. They were like 16 year olds at a dance. I was like… embarrassed. We got set up by an old lady and the kid’s mother.

Megan and I watched him while he chatted with us about where we’d be meeting for breakfast. I watched especially as he gestured with his left arm, initially because his watch caught my attention. I was like a crow to a shiny thing. And then I was watching his arm because the hand attached to it was shaking. His hand was shaking. He was scared.

Everything about him betrayed his nervous terror. His eyes were darting between mine and the wall and the floor and then my eyes again. His palms had been slightly clammy. His laugh was a little too quick, a little too eager and unnatural. I couldn’t trust him.

All of the sudden I thought back to our detective fiction class. What was he trying to pull? Was he the big guy, the sidekick, or the nobody? Was he trying to fill the gaping chasm of his unprocessed loss by attaching himself to me, the rocker blonde? Was our meeting triggering the post-traumatic stress of a social war he had experienced at his high school? In this noir world, I couldn’t be sure of anything except the fact that I couldn’t trust him. But showing his terror made him weak.

For the time being I had the upper hand. I would be careful in dancing with this kid and his cronies. I would watch my back and stick close to Megan unless she was going to double cross me.

Or maybe I freaking just scare the shit out of boys. The poor kid was shaking.


Chris Newfield said...

Lindsay this is quite good. really well written in the Long Goodbye mode. nice turn-around of the whole genre gender too. You are a great Girl Marlowe -the Mitchum version rather than Bogart.

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