I really don’t remember you. I know we went to high-school together, but neither your yearbook photo nor your name even jogs my memory.
And, you? They tell me we even went to middle school together too? Sorry, I don’t remember you. I wish I did; you seem nice.
And to you, the friend I have known since first grade. I know I am smiling and shaking my head, doing all of the right things, but I don’t remember a lick of this story. I wish I did – it sounds really funny. You say I was there?
Maybe it’s my
old advanced age that is effecting my memory. If you knew me in high school, which you say you did, then you also know I made some questionable decisions about the substances I put in my body. I do have some vague memories of faceless people at crowded parties, (sorry, I dont remember if you were there) getting alcohol poisoning. That’s stupid; I mean you’d think when you couldn’t stand up to pee anymore; having that 42nd drink would seem like a bad idea. And yes, there I was, judging you from the corner, because marijuana does not poison; marijuana enlightens. Clearly, you, my drunken friend, were on the wrong team. Chances are, however, that you at least remember who was at that party before your fifth beer. I, on the other hand, could not tell you who I was with or how I got home, let alone whose party it actually was. Remember this was the 80’s! Think Weird Science meets Risky Business plus the epic party from Sixteen Candles (Hey, Sexy Girlfriend!). That was pretty accurate for me, that much I remember, the details, not so much. (I am also forced to remind you that this is the second movie in which my boyfriend John appeared.)
I jokingly say I have “mommy brain” or my brain is like a sieve ( Thomas Dolby song, don’t worry I won’t leave you hanging.) I think all of that is true to some extent; however the problem lies in my almost total amnesia of anything prior to 1988. I’d love to blame it on the drugs ( which my auto correct wants to change to Druids – I would love to blame it on them too) the problem is, and don’t tell anyone I didn’t stop the drugs in 1988. Admittedly, heaviest usage spanned 1989-1993. When I say usage, don’t get all high and mighty (oh, that was funny!). All I did was inhale, with the occasional bout of Xanax maybe a hallucinogen of only the natural form (for those of you straight edge folks that would mean “magic mushrooms”). Yes I was also a judgey judger if you “rode the white horse” (that would be the cocaine or anything that required administering using a foreign body). Thing is, ya see, I remember 1989 to present day. But ask me to tell you a story, any story from when I was six, and I will look at you with a blank stare. I always suspected this. I had some other friends with memory lapses as we would reminisce about our high school years – yeah, we all did the drugs but as our stories would stretch back to jr high or elementary school your memories became quite lucid, while mine became a fog. That’s not really the right word. Absent. That’s the right word.
I would be lying if I didn’t cop to one or two memories, I remember my favorite 7th grade english teacher. Yes, I was already an English geek then, and reading “All Summer in A Day” by Ray Bradbury. Wow, if you haven’t read that one, you don’t know what bullying is. The things I remember are the things with the strongest emotion tied to them. That story was so intense that I felt the hurt inside of me. I loved Mr Weinke and hated him for introducing that story to me, it still causes me pain to remember, in my mind I am that girl locked in the closet. I also have vague memories of being bullied by the in-crowd (not how kids are bullied today) for breaking up (after the requisite 5 minutes required to establish a junior-high romance) whose heart I apparently broke. And from then on, I had 5 friends. I do remember our song, “Babe” by Styx. Dude, listen to the lyrics: that should have been your first clue.
I remember my best friend in 4th or 5th grade, her mom was an alcoholic trophy wife. They lived in a well-appointed shit-hole. I think the concept of cleaning was completely foreign to her. Although she was a trophy wife, he must have blown his wad on the trophy because housekeeper was clearly not in the contract. I also remember thinking she was beautiful. Her name was Roxanne (the trophy), and she smoked More cigarettes – remember those really long, brown ones? Ashtrays were full of them all over the house. They had this awesome stereo cabinet, in lieu of dining room furniture. When the song “Roxanne” came on the radio (Ah, thank you, Police for the period reference; this must have been 1979, so place us in 5th or 6th grade), time would stop and she would just belt that song out in her cigarette-induced rasp; in that moment, I worshiped her. Looking back the irony of that song being about a prostitute is not lost on me; I wonder if it was on her.
I also remember, I was probably ?, and my neighbors evil brother shot our co-owned bunny (Thumper, of course, because we were ? Your guess is as good as mine). The bunny survived; that showed him. I don’t know what happened to the brother, with any luck he became a Hare Krishna. I also remember the first time I had a tornado dream, these have been a reoccurring theme in my life, I have tied them to times I feel out of control. The first time I was…hmmm….I am guessing 11 maybe 12? I am trying to gauge my age by what car we had because in my dream I was sitting on the trunk of my mom’s car as I watched a tornado coming closer and closer to our house. I think I know the origin of this nightmare. Being a very sensitive child, and living in the midwest; the constant tornado drills in elementary school were very real to me. I was so sure a tornado would happen, and when it did I would be alone, without my family; scared to death in a hallway with a textbook covering my head.
Those are snippets of what I remember. But do you know what is missing? Adventure, funny stories, -good times, folks, good times. Why am I telling you? You are clearly not my analyst (ahh Woody, what I wouldn’t give for the days of analysts). But lately, my son, the wackadoodle pyromaniac has been asking me to tell him stories of when I was younger. You know, fun stories, stories of adventure, or better yet, mis-adventure. I have been at a loss. My sister has shared what she could, although being the evil older sister I was, she was not allowed to participate in my life, so the stories we share are few. I haven’t even admitted to her: I don’t remember the most “famous” one. I have tried to glorify the few stories I remember, but I have to admit, they’re pretty boring. They usually end with him saying, “And what else?” Then me saying, “That’s it, Honey.” Followed by “Oh, well will you tell me another story then?” Now of course the men in his life have much more exciting stories, and that might be the cause of his inquisitiveness. I don’t think he’s figured out yet that his sex is the destructive, living dangerously, lucky-to-be-alive sex. But as someone who has nothing to give other than “I remember loving to sit outside in my yard and picking apart mushrooms to see what was inside,” I’ve got nothing. He wasn’t even impressed with the tornado dream. I bet my analyst would be.
Just incase you can’t live without my musical references……
Seriously? He didn’t see it coming?