Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Meezer Monday: Back Seat Driver

Derrick as a bumper car. Derrick meditating. Derrick stalking a giant fly. Derrick trying to eat a vegan chocolate cake...Derrick, Derrick, Derrick!

For someone painfully acquainted with the second-place finish in the ol' sibling rivalry race, I can't help but notice that the big guy has been taking center stage on Meezer Mondays lately. Bing is actually pretty secure in himself so I think he’d be OK with it if he, um, read my blog, so this post really is…surprise, surprise…gonna be all about me and MY issues!

For years I could turn absolutely any situation—depositing a check, getting my ID picture taken, going on a nature hike to observe reptiles and amphibians!—into a scenario where whoever's in charge is an authority figure that likes someone (everyone!) better than me. Weird, right? I’d trained myself to run out of the room whenever the concept of the Favorite surfaced its green-eyed (hey, I have green eyes!) head, but you can run away only so many times. It's taken me awhile to accept it, but—my field may be fallow while someone else’s is blooming, and that’s totally OK. I can always go in the corner and plant something.

As I said, it wasn’t always this way. Take, for example, the last day of my sophomore year in high school. We were free, and I had a perm, new friends M. and P. and silver sneakers…totally ready to rock Montauk. There we were at the beach, harassing some guy by asking him stupid questions (“Would you rather lick a cat’s butt or have all your thoughts show up on your head like that scrolling ticker-tape thing at the bottom of news shows?”), drinking beer in the sun (gross) and popping aspirin because it makes you photo-sensitive. And that was just from 2 pm to 4 pm!

After a dinner of—if I remember correctly my awful eating habits—French fries, Diet Coke and red hots, we were back at the beach as night fell. M. was hoping that the guy she liked would be there (100 points if his name was Alex!), and I was just happy that my teenage life was finally starting. So yup, M. disappeared with “Alex,” (Did I mention that P. and I were sleeping over M’s house? Oops! That is crucial to the story, peeps!) and P. and I started up a conversation with some prepped-out college student who lived in Montauk during the summer. Robin’s egg blue T-shirt? Maybe. Rich-boy beer breath? Positive.

Since we couldn’t find M and “Alex,” Entitled White Prep (EWP) offered to drive me and P. to some local bars to find them. His car was small and brown. His hair was brown, too, but otherwise unremarkable. I would have remembered if it were, because although I may have been too G-rated at the time to notice any manlier bits, it’s all about the hair anyway.

So EWP presented us with a challenge.

“Whoever kisses the best,” he said, “gets to sit in the front with me.”

DON’T EVEN SAY IT, OK?! YOU KNOW it was me who wound up riding in the back seat!  At the time, I was completely humiliated and I’m still sort of embarrassed even now to admit I lost, but you know what? He tasted like stale beer, wasn’t my type and I’d already honed my skillz during the fifth-grade Spin the Bottle party, when Rod Retana said I was the best kisser at Most Holy Trinity. SO THERE, EWP! SO THERE!

So I'm all silent in the back seat (I mean, what do you say after a defeat like that?), a 16-year-old loser in my silver shoes, as we returned to the beach to look for M, but there was no one there. I was so out of sorts I fell on the jetty and skinned my knees, ripping my pink Sasson cargo pants. Anyway, EWP offered to take us back to M's house, in hopes that she had returned--which I actually thought was pretty responsible of us.

But as as we approached the driveway, you could just tell that we were about to be screwed. M’s mom greeted us, swigging from a bottle and pointing at me and P. “You SLUTS!” she screamed, and made us call our parents and have them come get us at 1 am. P. was lucky that her sister answered on the first ring, but me…nope, my entire family had to come and fetch me, my brother driving, my parents in their pajamas, rosary beads hanging from the dash. “It’s going to take a long time for you to earn back my trust,” my mother said. There was no point in telling her I didn't do anything, and we were silent on the ride home. Except my dad probably shook his head and said "Gee whiz" or something. I was so guile-less I didn't even think about a) pretending that no one answered the phone and going to P's, or b) telling M's mom we'd wait outside and just sleeping on the beach.

My summer ended before it even started. I was grounded for most of it, and spent my days working at the local library…a teenage slut and kissing contest-loser reading Evelyn Waugh and Theodore Dreiser.

And, even though it’s no longer Monday and there hasn't been a lot of talk about meezers, I do feel obliged to honor the theme. Where's Bing been in Derrick's omnipresence, you ask? Right here…tap tap on left side where heart beats…where he always is.

With spear or bow, she wandered, and her goddess
Held her most dear, but no one's hold on dearness
Lasts very long.

Ovid, "Metamorphoses"

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