Monday, February 13, 2006

Guilt Trip to the Past

When I was 15 I had my first “real” girlfriend. By real girlfriend I mean that we fought, we made up, we hung out together every spare second of the day, we were “in love,” and she had a car.

Yeah, she was an older woman. 16 to be exact. It was a typical teenage romance. I made a lot of passes at her, she deflected the most inappropriate ones. We talked on the phone until 2am. We both had emotional problems. My biggest emotional problem at the time was that I just couldn’t get enough of her emotional problems. And trust me, there were plenty. But it wouldn’t be a true high school relationship without the drama.

To protect her identity I’ll call her “BS.” Not to mean, mind you. Those were her initials. They might still be. I don’t really know.

Anyway, since BS had a car (a car which she would let me drive, until one day her father found out that I was doing it – without a driver’s license. That was an awkward confrontation let me tell you). I no longer had to rely on my mom to drive me to social events which meant that for the first time in my life, I was a free man! Well, relatively free. I still had to rely on BS for a lift (thus began my unrelenting dependency on the charity of women…who didn’t give birth to me).

BS was always late.

I hate being late. But when you don’t have a car or a license (and when your girlfriend’s dad threatens you with bodily harm if you ever drive her car again without one) you have no choice but to put up with lateness. My only recourse was to pour on the guilt. Sulking usually worked. And I can sulk like a freaking champ.

Until I was out of high school, I used to go to my father’s house in Wheeling, West Virginia every summer for two months. Two months is a long time for a 15-year-old. It’s excruciating for a 15-year-old in love.

The summer was coming fast. I was supposed to leave town in a couple days. That meant that I had very little time to spend with BS before I would have to endure 2 months without her, sitting at my father’s house crying at the radio, waiting for love letters in the mail and writing bad, bad poetry (that rhymed).

But we had some big plans, BS and I. Every second until I got on the plane was going to be spent together.

One night in particular, we had a lot of time to spare. I was very excited. I was a man who was about to go away for a 2 month tour of duty in West Virginia. It was like I was going off to war (if you’ve ever swam in the Ohio River, you’ll know that there was a chance that I might not return alive). And we all know how women treat men who are going off to war.

I was going to be one lucky boy that night, I knew it.

But BS was late.

I was running out of time. When you’re 15, sex can be a time-consuming endeavor. There’s the sex itself, which doesn’t take much time at all, but talking the girl into it can sometimes take all night. There’s a lot of planning involved.

BS’s lateness was cutting into valuable “convincing” time.

There’s something strange that happens in the mind of an adolescent male when they can see sex on the horizon only to see it slip further and further away. It like being a child on Christmas day and realizing that you’ve opened all of the presents under the tree and while you have gotten fifty pairs of socks and twenty hand-knit sweaters, Santa was cruel and refused to bring you that one thing you’ve looked forward to playing with all year – a vagina (with kung-fu breasts).

It’s just like that.

So as the hours kept crawling by, I continued to re-apply my cologne and got angrier and angrier.

When BS finally showed up, she was 4 hours late and I smelled like a Greek brothel. The latest she had ever been. And I was feeling more indignant than I had ever felt before (and that’s saying a lot for a teenager). I was like the Pope at a gay pride parade. So angry in fact that I just sat there in her passenger seat and sulked with the ferociousness of 20 men!

Of course, being a teenager herself, she couldn’t just let me sit there and pout. She had to know exactly what I was feeling. I would think that it’s pretty obvious what I was feeling, (I mean she was 4 hours late to pick me up on the most important night before I had to go to West Virginia and possibly die! She would never see me again and then wouldn’t she feel bad about missing those 4 hours!) but BS had to be sure.

“What’s wrong?” she asked as sweetly as she possibly could.

“Why were you so late!” I accused.

“I was hanging out with Crystal and Lisa and we…lost track of time…” was her response.

“Lost track of time?! How do you lose track of 4 hours?! What are you, a character in an H.G. Wells novel?!” I would have shouted, if I had ever read the Time Machine and if wasn’t so blinded with rage that I could still be clever.
“Well…the truth is…that Lisa’s mom caught us…stealing.”

BS had been notorious for doing things that she wasn’t really supposed to be doing and I was notorious for laying heavy crap on her about it. Really heavy crap.

“Yeah…we stole some money out of her sock drawer and…we got caught.”

Well, this was my chance. My shit-headed chance to make BS feel so small that she would never be late to pick me up ever again (if she ever decided to put up with me and my self-righteousness anymore. No! Screw her! She was late, not me!). I went into a tirade about trust and responsibility. And I was really good.

BS felt like crap about stealing Lisa’s mom’s money. She broke down in sobs more than once. I was feeling pretty proud of myself. Very holier-than-thou. After 2 hours of sitting in the parking lot of my apartment and arguing, we were finally ready to get the evening started. BS had progressed to crying fits. The kind of jags that didn’t require any direct stimuli to start. Just a thought would do it.

As she drove to our friend’s house, bawling intermittently, I sat there with a shit-eating grin on my shit-eating face. I had really outdone myself this time. But she shouldn’t have been so unapologetically late, should she? And she should definitely not have stolen that money from Lisa’s mom’s sock drawer.

BS was still crying when we got to our destination, Lisa’s house, the scene of the crime. BS was still crying when we walked through the front door.

In fact, BS was still crying when all of my friends jumped out from behind the furniture and yelled “surprise!”

As I stood there looking at the big “We’ll Miss You” banner that stretched across the living room I felt like an ass. A huge ass.

But there was something else on my mind too. I just looked at BS, drying her tears, and thought to myself, “what kind of fucked up moron uses ‘I got caught stealing’ as an alibi for setting up a surprise going away party?!”

The most perfect fucked up moron my teenaged eyes had ever seen, that’s who.

It was a long two months in WV I tell you.

I don’t miss high school.

Fun Fact: I’ve held off on this story for a while now because I was attending a surprise party for Vince and I didn’t want him to catch on that something was up.

The party was a Chuck-E-Cheese’s. Sure, Vince is turning 35 (in two days), and that place is like my own personal hell, but Vince is my friend so I went happily.

Besides, I wanted to see if anyone would show up crying.

They didn’t.

Damn. I’m the only asshole.

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