Outside

The temperature has dropped to a perfect 68 degrees and I’m laying on my back on the wooden floor in my apartment, staring at my dog who is staring at me. She’s sprawled across my belly, chewing her bone. I know we should take a long, luxurious walk, but we won’t. Inertia has set in and my mind is wandering through time, not space.

Meanwhile, as my job becomes a petri-dish of post-adolescent sexuality, I sit on the sidelines and observe. In my real life, I weave my own clumsy, mangled web of creative truths and short-term relationships with digitally matched mates.

It has me thinking.

I didn’t go to the prom when I was a senior in high school. Instead, I went to a punk rock concert with my friend, Sara (perhaps in the hopes of running into my perennial high school crush). The band sucked and we decided to leave early.

It was perfect New England summer night; a skin-head had parked himself on the trunk of my car and wouldn’t get off. “You’re ugly,” he spat, as I opened my door. I told him to take it up with my parents. I turned the ignition, his face leering at us through the rear window, revved the engine, and cruised about fifty feet before I floored the gas. It seemed to me that the kid floated in the air for a brief second before he realized there was no longer a car between him and the ground.

And thus my high school career began its slow fizzle to its end. There were no prom pictures, no dried out corsages or perfectly planned post-prom interludes – just me sitting on a pillow on a vinyl bench seat, navigating the big, blue Buick of my life.

***

My friend John gracefully volunteered to be my opening night date last week. He’s an invaluable friend, mostly because he’ll join me on any strange adventure I come up with. Plus, he looks good in a suit and I like drinking with him, so all was well.

He told me that opening night to a Broadway-esque show and an after party would’ve been a kicking first date for some lucky fool. My excuse: none of the thousands of seemingly sane eligible bachelors floating around in cyberspace were knocking on my digital door.

“The problem is,” the sound guy at work says, “you’ve been in L.A. too long. It’s supposed to be 50 dates in 50 states, not 50 dates in L.A.”

Perhaps he’s right. My study of daters on Southern California is ready to move North. However, I’m here working for a few more weeks.

John and I skipped out of the opening night party and ended up drinking at a dive bar. it made me think of the missed prom as well as both my ignored high school and college graduations, and any number of opening and closing nights I’ve spun through and run from. I suppose I’m more comfortable on the outside and fringes of organized, celebratory contrivances.

Or maybe I prefer to watch my past through the rearview mirror of a moving car as I steer toward my next big adventure. Pedal to the metal.

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