Miss Me


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I used to know a Miss Delaware. It was a while back.

She had a charmed life.

She was smart, savvy, ambitious, beautiful, charming, and was in love with a wonderful man. She joined the pageant as a joke and found herself wrapped in a ribbon and on a road trip in a ball gown. Two years later, she moved to New York, became the face of a line of lingerie, and married the man of her dreams, all while maintaining her six-pack stomach.

I sat next to her at a party once. Someone was video-taping and they stopped on her. She was eating a strawberry, her lips curled around the tip, contrasting reds. A voice murmured from behind the camera. “Beautiful,” the voice said. “Look at that.”

The camera turned to me. I glanced nervously towards it and then away. I slid into the leather sofa and tried to smile. Lisa Loeb played on the stereo and the voice behind the camera cracked. “Reality Bites.”

It’s not easy being me.

***

Last week, I felt pretty good about ditching Rhode Island for Delaware. The palpable loneliness of the “hope” state felt suffocating, to say the least, and Delaware, whose motto is “liberty and independence,” fits right in with my unique outlook on life. Though it is possible that my own personal attachment to liberty and independence is the very reason that I’m still single after all these years.

Bill O’Reilly might protest this leap of logic, seeing as all single women want to be taken care of in the World According to Bill.

But I digress.

I also like Delaware because it’s two and a half hours away.

***

IMG_0850I have a plan.

Plan A.

“Wannameetyou13” wants to meet me. He’s a self-proclaimed helpless romantic who wears his heart on his sleeves and likes my eyebrows and is the BEST in the GALAXY at kissing.

He seems very enthusiastic.

So, the plan is – I’ll email him until he asks me out. And then I’ll take a train to Wilmington and go on a date.

I thank him for his compliments on my eyebrows and tell him I’d be happy to meet for coffee.

“Good morning sexy butt,” he answers. ” I wish you were here now and just cuddled up next to me so that we could watch the rest of this Battlestar Galactica Marathon together. Or maybe we could watch something you like, too.”

Plan B: There is another man, recently separated, who likes leafy green vegetables, sock puppets, and the aurora borealis. He’s not ready for a relationship yet, but he wants to get out and about and start talking to female people again.

I have a scheduled day off from work. The plan – make a date, go to Wilmington, have the date, go home.

But, wouldn’t you know, he’s busy tomorrow night.

Plan C: I’ll take the train to Wilmington. Visit the museum. Walk the waterfront, check out the neighborhood I’ve decided that I live in, find a date somewhere along the way, and drink a martini, not necessarily in that order.

Plan D: If Plan C fails, revert back to Plan B.

***

Nicki’s stuck on the Miss America contest. She’s called me every day for a week with updates.

“Did you know that Miss Montana is autistic? And has a speech impediment?”

“No.”

“I thought you should know,” she says and hangs up before I can thank her for this pertinent information.

“Miss Iowa has Tourette’s Syndrome,” she says without even saying hello. She sounds worried.

“Everyone has their cross to bear,” I offer.

“Miss District of Columbia is having a double mastectomy.”

“Oh, my god. That’s horrible.”

“D.C.’s not even a state.”

She calls later that night.

“Miss Maine lost fifty pounds so she could compete in the pageant,” she says with what sounds like awe.

“Good for her. That’s great.”

“Don’t you understand?”

“I’m afraid I don’t.”

“I’ll call you later,” she says, but never does.

***

At work, we tune in to try to see Miss Montana’s comedy routine, but since she’s not in the finals, they don’t show it. We watch one of the beautiful girls answer a question on legalizing marijuana, stating succinctly that she feels strongly that marijuana usage should be limited to recreational and medical uses only.

This would not be good for the leagues of the domestically challenged who use marijuana as a cleaning aid.

On the upside, if the Miss America contest is any indication, it looks like we are becoming a more tolerant society. And even if the contestants still look the same, it is clear to see that each is proud of her unique dysfunction.

***

I few days later, I call Nicki back, just to make sure she’s okay.

She is.

“I’m thinking of running for Miss America 2014,” I tell her. “My handicap will be – age.”

“And you’re short,” she adds.

“And a little funny looking,” I concede.

“A triple threat. What will you do for the talent portion?”

“Complain.”

She nods over the phone. “Okay. Let’s practice. ‘If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?'”

“I’d have a bigger apartment.”

“You’re supposed to say ‘world peace.'”

“I don’t think they say that anymore.”

“World peace. Say it.”

“World peace. I’d want world peace. Love and tolerance and world peace.”

She’s silent on the other end.

“Are you still there?”

“… so would I.”

How can something so beautiful be so far away?

“I’ll let you know how Delaware goes.”

“I thought you were going to Rhode Island.”

“I changed my mind.”

“Of course you did.”

 

“And I might change it again.”

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