Saturday, July 19, 2008

Between My Legs

Ruby’s visiting. Good. Cause see, I’m supposed to be going out more and meeting people (read: getting laid) since my life at the Jersey shore has become a little too solitary. With my friend visiting, I have more impetus to get over my social issues (read: I hate people) and have some fun (read: getting laid).

So I pull out a sexy, little dress from my closet, one that hasn’t seen the light of day in quite some time because I’m either wearing ripped jean shorts and a tank top or a wetsuit. While Ruby and I drink wine and apply makeup, I dance around my room, trying to convince her Fall Out Boy is not a bad band (she’s remains unconvinced.)

When we get into my truck, I start feeling this strange fluttering between my legs. I tell this to Ruby, to which she responds, “Overshare.” “No, really, Rube. Something is going on down there…oh my god, there’s something between my legs!!” I start screaming. “It's not me!” Ruby yells back, showing me her hands.

I open my legs and this giant moth comes flying out from under my dress. Not a little, poofy pantry moth – a big ass, Silence-of-the-Lambs-style moth. I kid you not! Ruby is my living proof. You can ask her. Apparently, my cute dress had been in the closet a little too long. I’m screaming, Ruby’s screaming, the moth is screaming (real quiet-like). It’s bouncing between my wide-open legs as I scramble to open the window. It flies into our faces and we freak out even more. Ruby falls out of the truck, laughing and screaming. The moth flaps off into the sunset, flustered and homeless.

I’m laughing but real tears start emerging. The symbolism is too great. What next? A cloud of dust? Tumbleweed? Ruby tries to be empathetic but is laughing too hard to be much help. I guess I’ve had my first summer encounter after all. Nobody said it had to be with a human.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Surf Lessons

I stand by the shoreline, watching this man struggling to get up on his surfboard. It’s very frustrating for me, since I surf. He’s just doing one little thing wrong. But I’d have to swim out to tell him. No. Let him figure it out. Ah…I couldn’t!

I swim out to the sandbar.

“Hey, I hope you don’t mind me telling you this but you’re doing one little thing wrong. Let’s fix it!”

He’s not annoyed at all. He looks rather odd. Good-looking but almost to a fault, with these dazzling white teeth and shiny soap opera looks. Not my type but whatever.

I show him what he’s doing incorrectly: he keeps trying to stand up on the board before he actually catches the wave – a common beginner’s problem. He needs to paddle harder then get up. So I show him how it’s done. He’s as good as gold after that. After a while, I feel a deep urge to commandeer his surfboard for a few minutes.

“Hey, do you mind me catching a wave or two on your board?”

“No, that’s fine.”

So I leave him on the sandbar and paddle out far, where the big waves play. I catch a few. Then a few more. I do realize I’m being a little rude but oh well…I’m always nice and whatever. I look over at shiny soap opera dude and he’s talking to a group of people on the sandbar. He must know a lot of people here, I think. That’s strange. I’ve never seen him before.

I paddle back to him and overhear some kids saying to him, “Hey, nice meeting you, Mr. Guttenberg.”

Steve Guttenberg, film actor. the dazzling white teeth and LA waxen looks all make sense! Plus earlier, he had mentioned how being in the water was very “Zen-like” for him. People around here don’t talk like that. You could get you’re ass kicked for Zen.

I give him back his surfboard.

“Cocoon.” I say.

“Yeah and a few other movies.” he says.

“No doubt.”

We resume our lesson and at this point, he’s doing pretty well. I feel proud of my handiwork. He catches me looking off into the distance, at the bigger waves.

“You can take the board again if you want.”

“No, that would just be too…but I didn’t think the waves would be so nice so I left my board at home and you know what? I will. Thank you.”

And with that, I paddle off a second time on Steve Guttenberg’s board. I catch some nice waves and he happily body surfs the smaller, sandbar break. I could tell he was feeling really Zen. Me too.

Steven Guttenberg and I play well together.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Bloody Bike Incident of 2008

"One dollar? Are you serious? That's a great deal! I'll take it...howabout 75 cents?" (I like to haggle.)

That's how the incident began, innocently enough. At a yard sale in my suddenly overpopulated home by the sea. The score? A sealed box set of Led Zeppelin tunes. 4 cassettes in total. (I know, CD's would have been cooler but as luck would have it, my old vehicle only has a cassette player. And believe it or not, I actually like the scratchy, thick sound of cassettes sometimes.)

Okay, back to the horror story. Old lady selling box set has nothing to put my score in except this over-sized, white plastic bag. She says she'll find me something smaller, it's too big. I don't care, I tell her. She gives me a look of warning, foreboding. I ignore it. She ain't the boss of me.

I climb on my old, trusty bike, put on my iPod and start flying back home, excited to read every boring detail in the linear notes. I'm flying along, flying along, dodging the myriad of tourists and their 200 screaming children, ready to have a "fun" day at the beach. I'm dodging cars and riding aggressively the way I always do.

Suddenly, oversized plastic bag gets stuck in the front spokes of the wheel and suddenly, I am airborne…swoosh! It's always such an interesting feeling when you’re in an accident. Time really stands still. I must have been up there for 5 minutes, I swear. Hmm…how should I fall, I ask myself. I know! I think I’ll fall the way I always fall...well.

I can't seem to come up with "positive affirmations" to tell myself, like "You are worthy and special." "You have hot legs." "God loves you more than the next person." But I can say this about myself: I fall well. I relax, let go. I don't brace or get tense. I let my reflexes do the work and I take a backseat and watch. Of course, I get hurt like anyone else. I just don't get as hurt.

So after an eternity of mid-airness, I land. No, it was a skid, actually. The human body can skid, I note to self. When I finally stopped, I just laid there. (This is part of falling well. Don't get up. Your spine could be in 8 pieces. Just lay there. Relax a spell. Who cares what you look like?)

I turn my head around gingerly and see two soccer moms unhurriedly approaching me. I think to self: Huh. If I saw somebody spill out like I just did, I'd pick up a run, not a goddamn saunter. And these women are supposed to be teeming with maternal instinct? My ass.

When they finally approach me, they ask the inevitable, "Are you alright?" Don’t be sarcastic, Miss Mann. Don't shout enthusiastically, "You know what? I'm MORE than all right. I'm GREAT!" I simply say, "I don't know."

They lift me up and I'm bleeding. Everywhere. A lot. My arms. My legs. The palms of my hands. They look at me nervously. I'm fine. I tell them how I fall well. It’s just something I do. I tell them I can’t manage daily living, relationships, family, finances or my overactive, constantly worried mind, but I seem to fall well. Nobody can take that from me. (Well, I didn’t tell them that. I’m telling you.)

I look at my bag and it's ripped, the contents strewn everywhere. My iPod is fine, thank goodness. The women pick up the tapes and the linear notes and stick them in the bloodied bag. "It's all for rock and roll" I say to no one in particular.

I get back on my bike. It’s making a funny noise. The frame is all messed up but I need to get home. I am now a living, breathing bloodied horror story amidst the plump, lily-white suburbanite families rushing to the beach. I pull up to the first traffic light and plead for it to turn green. No such luck. A woman in a massive SUV next to me looks over and I see her mouth "Oh my god!" behind her closed tinted window. A child crossing the intersection looks at me in terror, grasping his soccer mom's hand. I feel like a vampire out in daylight.

By the next intersection, I'm feeling a little more comfortable with my new, nightmarish look. I decide to up the ante and drag a bloodied palm down both of my cheeks, in downward streaks, like war paint. Which feels kind of appropriate here. These people are nothing like me and I'm nothing like them. But the worst part is that they take over my home and act like I'm the foreigner! Sometimes when I walk on the beach with my surfboard, I get these crazy looks. Like people are really shocked that a female is surfing. I think, "Wow, this is really outside the box for you and your little world, isn't it?"

I get home and the visiting tenants across the street are drinking coffee out on their porch. I decide to act like nothing is wrong, just for kicks. "Hey, great weather we're having. I hear it might storm tomorrow though." They look at me in bored shock, if that's humanly possible. I jump in my outdoor shower and watch the red slowly turn pink.