If you want to feel like you are even a little bit hip…you’re still totally not.
Still great fun.
Thank you to the people at Gizoogle.net for redefining “cats” on Wikipedia forever.
While the past few years I’ve not deigned to think about this monster, I came across this post in my drafts folder where it doesn’t belong. It belongs out here, in the public air, because this sack of shit is still out there. And I have nothing to hide from anymore.
Fuck you, Robert Seckington. The only thing I suffer from now is the embarrassment I have from any connection with you. My dick will always be bigger than yours and here is where you can suck it.
“Boo-fucking-hoo! It’s so fucking hard to be you!” I remember him so clearly screaming in my face.
And one of the very few times I dared argue with him, I weakly responded, “It is, actually.”
One reason why it was so hard to be me was the fact that the 6’2”, 230lb mass of violent rage was screaming in my face and ripping a door off the hinges yet again. He did that so often in the 5 years I endured this that I became the only non-contractor in town who can hang an interior door with razor-sharp precision.
I also became someone adept at cleaning melting ice cream dumped into my dresser drawers, a sweeper of my shattered appliances from the kitchen floor, a great organizer of the camping gear I had to keep in the trunk of my car in case of emergency shelter, a hyper-light-footed walker among eggshells, a professional ignorer of blatant evidence and gut-feeling-denier of obvious cheating, the bottomless swallower of unfathomable humiliation.
I still don’t get why I was the one who had to put the doors back up. Considering the rest, though, it was hardly the biggest concern.
I don’t know what in particular spurred that comment during that bout of narcissistic rage but it usually didn’t matter. It would happen no matter how hard I tried. Looking back, the sudden randomness was only his whim; and often a way to get me out of the house so he could groom the newest girly supply of the month.
It only just finally now got through my thick skull that a lot of his instability (from my point of view, that is) came from his upkeep of his many single profiles on numerous dating sites he just “hadn’t taken down yet”, threats that I don’t come home for a convenient number of days, his “none of your fucking business” responses to my questions of who he was texting at 6 a.m., the vicious, cruel degrading rants about everything I did (wrong or not), his “solo” trips he outright denied me going with him to baseball games and drives to Idyllwild, to his repeated trips to the bathroom carrying his phone but never once flushing the toilet were clear-to-everyone-else signs that I was a chump.
I say that with the utmost love and respect for myself.
I was a chump; a sap. I’d been had. Whatever weird Svengali-like control this asshat had over me (not “whatever”—there was no doubt at all. It was lies, intermittent reinforcement, gaslighting, and threats) kept me there, unable to catch my breath long enough to get the hell out of there. I was duped into thinking I was in love. Once hooked, I was only something to work out on.
Not just that but the constant, barely-contained disappointment in my talents and gifts; things he was so proud of in the beginning. The under-his-breath “pfft–typical” comments and sneers when I couldn’t explain why there wasn’t peace in the Middle East. The small, leaking spiritual cuts I was inflicted with over and over again kept me crippled and dependent.
That kind of degradation eats away at a person’s confidence and destroys their soul. Living that way; made to feel like a disappointment, isolated, afraid, confused, and alone by someone you loved so much makes life not worth living. You can’t believe they can find more ways to hurt you until they do. Until, finally, they get so disgusted with the shell of a human being they made you, they discard you because of it.
Yes, discard you. Like trash. And they won’t tell you why. They’ll tell you everyone else agrees with them about how worthless you are, but they won’t tell you why now. Just that the market umbrella you bought, after they asked you to, was too “ghetto” and how they wouldn’t allow your “nigger-shit” in their house. When you tell them you can’t stand them saying those things, you’ll find yourself sobbing full-wracking sobs and feeling like a truck ran over you as you pack up your shit while he ignores you, whistling on his merry way to his date with the real estate chick near his office he’d been grooming for months.
It’s unreal what these people, these narcissists, do to a person. It’s cruelty beyond what you imagine people could inflict. You can’t prepare for something you don’t know exists.
As almost as bad as the abusive, malignant narcissist are the fence-sitters. Some could argue that the “flying monkeys” the narc sends out to the world to lure you back in or torture you from afar are worse but they are almost as easy to spot as their abusive intentions. The fence-sitters are the ones that reinforce the erroneous belief that it is all your fault, or that you’re making a mountain out of a molehill, because they suddenly retract, don’t react, don’t want to get involved, or suddenly don’t want to muddy their hands. They’re the ones who tell you that, “well, there is two sides to every story,” and “everyone deserves to be happy,” and “maybe you’re just having trouble letting go,” when it is outrage you need and comfort you crave from having to endure the monstrosity committed by someone who you thought loved you.
After reaching out to my abuser’s fence-sitter, the one who counseled me through the outrageous yet unceremonious way I was discarded like trash, the one who reported back to me all of my abusers actions at work, kept me up-to-date so I could leave the house safely, the one who has herself been keeping records of his felonious acts, responded with such a dismissive, bland disregard later on that made me shudder in confusion and doubt. Makes me wonder how deep the deception runs. I didn’t know.
I sure as hell know now. It’s taken me a good year to connect the dots, to heal out of the damage he caused, to even gain the strength to get the help I need. But I have. And like everyone I talked to who has had anything to do with him, that’s how it goes. Unfortunate for us. But it does get better with time.
Time enough to get my voice back.
One of the best tricks in a narcissist’s arsenal is to deny their targets’ strongest qualities by diminishing them into obedience. One of my strengths has always been my voice. Outspoken and unafraid, I will tell it like I see it. I’m always me. I’m loud and I’m usually right. I’ll proudly admit when I’m wrong but be prepared to prove that I am first. But my voice was one of the first things to get quashed. Can’t have an “uppity bitch,” as he liked to tell me, in the harem demanding rights. It had to go.
It’s also one of the last things I seem to have gotten back.
It is coming back, though. In shaky squeaks and timid ‘ahems’…for me anyway…but it’s coming back. Good thing, too. I’m funny as hell.
And as I “me, me, me, me” into the quiet air, it comes back still.
And this time, it’s going to be clearer, stronger, and louder than ever.
Call me Veronica…because there’s a new sheriff in town.
-I found this in my drafts folder. I don’t know where I was going with it but it’s kind of awesome. Enjoy-
Here’s the thing that pisses me off.
Okay, jeez, I’ll amend that.
Here’s one of the myriad things that piss me off.
It seems that we as people are expected to weather everything with courage, grace, control with manners lest we face the wrath of everyone around us; for over-reacting or reacting badly regardless of the crimes against us.
Recently, I was reminded of a group of friends with whom I’m still in contact. Not so often, and some more or less than others. There hasn’t been a real break of this 30+ year friendship but a definite distance as such. Of these friends, I have felt, and possibly decidedly so from some, abandoned by. Because of circumstances at the time resulting from:
It’s that last part that gets to me. I can take accountability for a lot of the things I did carelessly, deliberately hurtfully, callously. I cannot take responsibility for having reactions to things that are reactionary.
Because, you see, it is hypocrisy in its finest form to be upset over another person’s reaction to that person upsetting them. Got it?
Who is the worst in this scenario?
Random human I: I slept with your wife.
Random Human II: Omg! F**$%&% Y*$!, you mother f&*%*%!!!! You ruined my life! I hate you!
Random Human I: You are abusing me verbally. I refuse to allow you to treat me in such a manner. As I condemn you in my holier-than-thou calm demeanor despite my ruining your family.
Random Humans 3-100+: Yeah, Human II is scary and violent. Stay away from that jerk. Shun him!University of Science, Mo Only Studies Dept.
If you chose Random Humans 3-100, you are correct.
“But, wait! There’s no way anyone would act that way,” you’re thinking, appalled reader. “Human I cheated with Human II’s wife! No one would be on Human I’s side!”
But I can tell you, as in every study in history proves, 99% of humans side against the person with the louder voice regardless of the logical outrage.Institute of Mo, Bullshit expert
Humans are social animals whose main survival extinct is to strive to be a part of the herd, despite how much they say they don’t.
Granted I’ve known a lot of shady people in my life. Yet, it has never been the conventionally, obviously shady people, the ones who’ve picked my pocket while twisting the knife in my back, who have been the most deserving of shun. Nope, the most worthy and unpunished have always been those who had really no excuse.
Because, it’s been those closest to me, with cramped, knife-twisting fingers, that I’ve been able to forgive.
Because, if we haven’t all made mistakes. We deserve the punishments we’ve gotten and can forgive the oversights of others because of it. It’s what makes us learn how to become empathetic. It creates the understanding that we need to treat other as we’d like to be treated. I think there’s some kind of prayer like that.
I don’t care what you believe, listening to Darth Vader read anything is awesome!
I’m not a Christian but I do believe in the sentiment of the Lord’s prayer as much as I believe in the solid foundation of the Golden rule; (another oft-misquoted-yet-never-followed) rule of basic decency.
In summary, forgive people for their general misdeeds because you’ve made them, too. And with that, treat them as you would like to be treated; with empathy, kindness, and the understanding that you may be way the fuck off in what you think you know. In other words,
Think for once. You may not be right.
Good, basic standards for not being a hypocritical dick. You’d think, anyway.
Don’t worry, Freud, too, is flailing his dead arms in frustration.
It’s not those who have trespassed against me I have a problem with. In fact, I admire their courage.
It’s those who fucking went along with it.
I’m not going to blame every single thing I’ve done to hurt, or injure, or insult my fellow humans on my crippling, horrific, life-ruining hormonal condition that has gone undiagnosed, mis-dosed and disregarded for 37 years. That would be ridiculous.
Because sometimes, I’m just a fucking asshole. No bones about it. Sometimes, I’m a heartless, cruel motherfucker. But not nearly as often as you think.
Which brings me back to “Random Humans 3-100+” in our quiz scenario. Described by a shit-ton of mixed metaphors:
It’s been my experience that humans, in their social ways, would rather throw a squeaky wheel under the bus in order to smooth their collective fur.
There is only every cult, Nazi youth, or horrendous mob-mentality and wars of all sizes as example throughout ancient/modern history and current events to prove my point. People would rather hear what they want to hear, continue how they’d prefer to continue, rather than stand up for what is uncomfortable.
I truly believe that most people are cowards. I think they’d rather shut your mouth than listen to your truth.
Because you’re loud and it’s almost 7pm and Wheel is on.
I know, I know. Literally every single person in history who’s aged through the year 20 has repeated this same rant. All the way back to the ass-whooping Aristotle got from Plato because of the same annoyed whoopin’ Plato got from Socrates.
But repeated as it may be, it doesn’t make it any less true. We rant about it because nothing changes.
Because 99% of us would rather watch Wheel.
I had a point. If anyone can figure that out, let me know.
As I opened the throttle of my scooter to the fullest, purple fluffy cup-holder flowers fluttering in the wind, I tried to catch the 1980’s brown and tan Town Car that came drifting through the entrance gate. The gate guard said the car had “Neil Diamond” stenciled on the window. That was enough for me and I jumped on my ride and took off.
Actually, I fumbled with the massive combination lock, yanked it away from the bike rack, hit a couple bikes on the way out, picked my scooter up and angled it towards the handicap ramp, finally remembered to turn it on…
Then I took off.
You’re wondering, “why the 80-year-old American icon Neil Diamond would be driving himself around in a 1980s Town Car on a Monday in an RV resort with his name stenciled on the side?” It’s because there was no way he would be. I thought that, too. I was chasing the car because there is a very talented Neil Diamond impersonator who has performed at our resort and I was hoping to make the photo of him, myself and the car a potential gift to my sister. The Campland impersonator is no Super Diamond but judging from his extensive plastic surgery, he is definitely dedicated. Good enough for me. So off I chased.
I zipped along the rows of RV sites, the place was nearly empty, but I couldn’t find the obnoxious baby-shit-brown Town Car. I checked my phone and got word that he was gone as mysteriously as he had come.
Seconds later, I was told that it wasn’t the impersonator’s car I was looking for. It was truly the original Neil Diamond’s car. Or rather, it was his 27-year veteran chauffeur all by himself in the real Neil Diamond’s car. How the ranger at the front gate got that information out of the dude in less than 30 seconds is beyond me.
Because there’s no way any of it is true, logically.
However, there is no logic where I work and stranger things have happened there. Things that I’m witness to and I’ve only worked there 5 1/2 years.
—Imagine the stories I’d have if I weren’t a newbie. Answer: a much more popular blog. —
So I searched for someone else to legitimize this outrageously ridiculous Diamond story.
Lo and behold, the story was backed up by other long-timey employees that Mr. Diamond would have his driver drive him through the RV resort every once in a while when he lived in La Jolla. I don’t know why. Probably because no one cares at Campland who the hell you are. -Just ask Eric Clapton.-
Ever since my exciting lunch break, I’ve tried to find Internet-proof of the car, driver, Neil Diamond being anywhere near there, Neil Diamond being able to drive, or if he ever has had possession of a baby-shit-brown Town Car…and nothing. Yet, I can’t rule the story out. I would be less surprised to find out it were true than if it weren’t. It’s an odd place full of mystery and people confident with self-deluded detachment from their amazing stories.
And it’s not the story I came to tell. It’s about my trusty electric scooter.
I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, what?”
Exactly. Stay with me.
Riding my ridiculous, stick-straight, white with purple-flowered cup holder that flutters in the breeze, is the most fun you can have in public. It’s so silly and so stupidly, hilariously, innocently NOT badass that you just have to give up any pretense of cool and embrace that dork label that will now follow you around for the rest of your life. And you’ll do it with a smile. A huge, dopey, goofy smile. And it’s totally worth it.
Okay, it’s not just my goofy scooter. It is all electric, sit-down scooters that are fun. And there are a lot of electric scooters that are actually badass. Mine just happens to not be one of them.
I actually purchased the scooter because of a strange daily ritual the Winter residents of the RV park enjoy every evening. It’s also silly and ridiculously innocently fun. And I wanted in.
Every sunset, they gather their golf carts together and convoy with each other along the beach, through the park, at around 3mph, to drink cocktails and wave at people. That’s it.
It sounds really stupid because it totally is. It’s stupid and hugely fun. It’s refreshing to laugh that hard when doing absolutely nothing.
I was allowed to join on a few cruises but I wasn’t an official member. That really burned me up.
To join the gang, I was lacking the one thing that would enable me to be considered into this elite club; a golf cart. So, as someone who frequently disregards rules, it came to me… poof, scooter!
There are people in this world that mere mortals such as ourselves can never compare. You know what I mean. They are tougher, braver, more pioneering, simply badder than we’ll ever be. We can only be blessed to know them. No offense to those who think they’re the most awesome in the room. Compared to people like these, you pale and you know it. Accept it. There are people who are better than you.
Three of these more awesome people I have been blessed with knowing are firefighters. They aren’t just firefighters, they are smoke jumpers, hot shots, and whatever the hell we call the scary-ass thing Mikey did.
The first is Diane Pryce, the sweet, very feminine sister of my ex in Santa Barbara who was the first female smoke jumper in California and the second in the country. She trained in Alaska as the only woman in a cluster of angry men resentful of her biological ability for attracting grizzlies to their camp. She spent the rest of her life pioneering how women were portrayed and respected in that hugely male-dominated role. She retired into a job doing air-traffic control from a plane over forest fires. Because, of course she did.
The second is a gentle, former-neighbor of mine, Tommy, who taught trainee smoke jumpers how to parachute into wild fires. Think about that. He TAUGHT people how to parachute…INTO…forest fires. One of the people he trained to do so was Diane Pryce, though I met them separately and in different parts of the state.
The third is Mikey. THE toughest man I’ve ever known who isn’t my father. Mikey earned his pension by –ahem, get this– extinguishing oil rig fires in the Saudi Arabian desert…in the ’80s.
What the holy fuck!?! There’s badass and then there’s that.
Well past retirement age, he can still drink us all under the table, throw a blanket over us, then go off to kill Sasquatch with his bare hands. I can barely eat rum cake without falling asleep and he’s complaining that Las Vegas goes to bed too early anymore.
It’s his golf cart with the Santa stuck to the dash in the other photo. And cracking me up as we circled the RV park.
So, as is fitting of someone that fucking tough, he has one of the more badass scooters ever made.
It looks mean, like a chopper of the Harley Davidson variety.
Mine does not.
Let’s just say that George Christie isn’t begging for my recruitment. Because my little stick of a scooter is as dorky as they get. Yet still as much fun and with more giggles. Because you can’t help it.
One instance that sticks so clearly in my mind is hearing my friend giggle with her husband like a couple of 6-year olds when riding my and Mikey’s scooters, trailing behind our golf cart convoy. These two have lived lives, they’ve seen things, he’s even a real life rock star, yet that happy, innocent laughter they shared when scooter-riding is still contagious when I think of them.
Yes, Mikey’s chopper is as cool as the dude who owns it. As is the dude riding it in the photo. My little white dork scooter pictured in the upper right (being ridden by my friend) of the photo, however, does not make me, or anyone riding it, cool. It’s totally worth it, though.
And it did allow me entry into the golf cart club, too. That’s all I wanted.
So, as I sped through the empty lots of Campland searching for the babyshit-burrito-colored Town Car, determined to get a selfie with any “Neil Diamond”, I realized I had one of the biggest smiles on my face. Usually contemplative and grouchy, I was giggling and felt like I spent some time in the most valuable way. It’s curious what can make someone like me appreciate life.
Who knew it would be a white, stick straight scooter with a fluffy purple-flowered cup holder? I sure didn’t. Had I known, we’d all have a fleet by now.
There’s a phrase, when begins, can guarantee shivers down my parents’ spines. It sounds innocuous to start but will generally lead to them hearing something they would happily rather never know. My sister and I do it anyway. Because we think it’s funny and we can be dicks. But it’s not just my sister and me, but our friends, friends of friends, exes, former employers, former teachers and professors, and occasionally local policeman (I’m exaggerating that last part but not by much) will repeat this dreaded phrase to my far-too-forgiving parents when they’re least prepared for it.
Case in point: this is a comment made on social media from one of my actual college professors when I posted an article about my alma mater ranking #8 among the top party schools in the country…
All told, all compared, we were pretty good kids though. And despite our antics, we’ve both turned out somewhat functional. Well, one of us has but she doesn’t have her own blog. I’m kidding, of course. I function as well as she…just, um, differently. But I digress.
Anyway, the dreaded phrase is this:
“It was a long time ago so I can tell you about this now…”
Look, parents, teenagers are sneaky fuckers and there’s little you can do about that. You just have to hope you didn’t raise them to be idiots or hope you didn’t treat them like shit forcing them into catastrophically bad decisions.
If they did act out, just remember, they’re young, impulsive, and think they’re smarter than they are. They’re kids. Other than that, if your kid turns out to be a piece of shit, it’s your fault. It totally is so stop blaming your kids for your shitty parenting. If they’re functioning as adults, good for you; you did that, too.
Anyway, I’m trying to tell a story here.
And it was so long ago that I can tell this story now.
There was this one time I went to go party in Tijuana.
I went to TJ with a friend we’ll call Katherine when we were both 16. I’ll call her Katherine because it’s totally her name. Katherine Hare. I went with Katherine Hare and it was her idea. We did the (sorry Mom and Dad), “we’re spending the night at each others’ houses” thing to have an excuse to drive the 40+ miles to party in Tijuana night clubs and return way past curfew; as in morning. That part wasn’t unusual and it was common for many in my high school class.
What made this time unusual was that she left me there.
She and her boyfriend got into their expected fight and took off to either make-up or break-up as usual. As if anyone else cared. I cared, though, because they were my ride.
I actually don’t remember how I got back to where my car was 40+ miles away. I think I chatted up some other group of wayward teens who lived somewhere near my intended location. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened but it doesn’t matter what I forgot because what I remember is what makes the story.
Around 3 a.m., I got dropped off, somehow, at my truck. I couldn’t go home because that would screw up my alibi so I went to the house of the dude I was dating at the time. We weren’t serious but it was fun to hang out together. He used to pick me up on his dirt bike that had house stereo speakers duct-taped to the dirt bike from where he would blast Iron Maiden from a car tape deck also duct-taped to the handle bars. Fun, it was. Classy, it wasn’t.
Around 3:30 a.m., I get to his house and wonder how I’m going to get in without waking his parents. His room had a door to the yard I could get into if only I could get there.
The only thing in my way was a ten-foot fence that was armed with broken glass glued at the top to keep kids from scaling it.
Clearly, they hadn’t met me yet.
I climbed the adjacent tree, balanced myself with all the ballerina-grace I had at the time (I was a ballerina at the time, the grace part is suspect) over the broken glass deterrent, and leapt to the ground. I made it without broken bones but unaware of how cut up I was. I shook myself off and sauntered to his outside door…
Of course, it’s locked.
I take a deep breath, turn and jump up grabbing the tree branch, swing my legs over the spiky fence, fall, land on my back over a trash can or beer keg—who knows—and lie there watching the world spin for a good ten minutes.
Desperate and now covered in leaves, torn clothes, and blood, I do the unthinkable.
I try the front door. It’s unlocked.
I braille my way along the dark hall towards his room and thank the goddamn lucky fucking stars that it’s not locked and open it.
His door to the outside was a glass door so the moon that had silently mocked my fence-adventure shone through as bright as the police flashlight I assumed I’d be in sight of had this door not been open. Bright enough to notice the two figures in this guy’s bed. I know we weren’t serious but we weren’t openly dating other people either. At least that’s what I thought.
Having already hitched a ride back from Tijuana, scaling a ten-foot, glass-laden fence and almost breaking my back, I was in no mood for this. Literally. I didn’t care. I was confused enough to actually put my outstretched hand onto her face in case I was making this up in my head. Then I put it on his head, then hers again.
Now clear on what was actually going on but too exhausted to care and with nowhere to go, I curled up on the floor. Yes, I simply curled up on his floor and fell asleep.
About 5 a.m., I notice that the other girl was gone. I didn’t mind. I was now freezing, covered in leaves, torn clothes and bloody but I jumped in bed anyway just to get warm.
I found out years later that she was actually awake and watching as I touched her face. The only reason I thought she was asleep was because she was frozen in fear. He was snoring like a chainsaw and blissfully unaware of the drama she thought was happening. She must’ve been confused beyond comprehension when nothing more than a shrug came from me finding her in his bed. Years even later, still to this day, she and I are still friends. I can imagine she never would’ve thought we would be the moment my hand touched her face.
About 2 hours later, the guy started to stretch and yawn. He turned into me, smiling happily from snuggling a warm body, his eyes closed. And like a scene from a movie, he opened his eyes to mine, recognition and realization actually shaping in his eyes, and said, “HOLY SHIT! DID I PARTY WITH YOU LAST NIGHT?”
I said no.
But before any other conversation took place, this guy’s mom comes bursting in the room demanding that he take all of his “shit and leave like the ungrateful bastard son” he was by bringing home all these girls to her house.
—I am so not making any of this up.—
Seeing as I’m fully clothed, it didn’t take more than a second for me to flatten myself against the wall and creep out amidst the screaming accusations and denials of their particular dynamic. I make a break for freedom.
It’s weird. Lately, I’ve been losing my keys. Like a lot. I never used to lose my keys ever. Until recently, I could count on one hand the times I’ve even misplaced them. But lately, it’s a daily occurrence. Which makes me more grateful that I didn’t have that problem then. I had my purse and my keys and bolted to my truck to make the trek back home and salvation.
The hope, the dream, of every misbehaving kid is that if we’re going to get caught, we hope to at least clean up the mess enough before authority finds out to mitigate the actual severity of the misbehavior.
That’s the dream. That’s the desperately-wished-for.
“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!?!?!” I’m greeted with at the door. “Katherine has been calling looking for you!”
Yes, Katherine. The unthinking, clueless, mind-boggling stupid idiot of a friend who abandoned me in a foreign country had called my mom to ask where I was. Despite our clearly defined and agreed upon alibis.
I had rehearsed in my head what I was going to say to Katherine during my ride back from Tijuana with whomever was gracious enough to take me back to my area. I rehearsed how I was going to apologize to my parents when I was lying half-broken over the empty keg after falling out of the tree.
At this moment, I couldn’t have given a fuck.
At this moment, my mom, God bless her, took one look at me. She saw the leaves in my hair and torn clothes, barefoot with shoes in hand, and my look of “don’t even bother” on my face, and knew right then and there that she didn’t raise an idiot, just a teenager, who had just been punished more than any lecture was going to accomplish.
“Go to your room and go to bed.”
I squeaked out a ‘thank you’ and trailed twigs from my hair up the stairs.
I can’t think of a time I’ve ever been more grateful to anyone than that moment. There are a lot of philosophical reasons why, and explanations as to how much it touched me that she respected my ability to learn from my own experiences, but those things are all mushy and deep with the feels.
This was just a story to preface another one. One I can’t remember and seems kind of moot now.
No matter. There’s someone I need to go thank right now anyway.
I met Phil one night at a bar called “Rocks” on State Street in Santa Barbara. It was a good bar/restaurant that lasted for quite a few years. As far as Santa Barbara restaurant life-spans, that’s a millennia. My friend, Jessica, and I were friends with the owner and we spent many happy hours there depleting the bar of their olive stock. —shut up, we were really poor.—
At Rocks one night, this handsome man chatted me up and we ended up making a date for the following week on his sailboat in Ventura.
I arrive at Ventura harbor and Phil’s boat. The sailboat’s cabin was already occupied by two stunningly beautiful women, Erin and Lynn. Both who, I find out later, were there to size me up. As is my go-to, though I couldn’t surpass them in beauty, I did make them laugh—I do a great impression of trying to back up a 43’ sailboat out of Ventura harbor—and from that point on, we were all friends.
One day, Erin and Mikhail (her then boyfriend) set sail on their even larger sailboat with Phil and I as passengers for a 3-hour tour to the Channel Islands.
I hope you’re getting the reference.
We sail out through the channel towards Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands carried on the strong Santa Ana winds blustering us towards the horizon at a furiously-hot pace.
Once there, we find a shaded, calm cove for Erin to wake board–dive for pearls/hunt for pirate treasure/save every whale shark in existence–whatever adventure she does on a daily basis. Mikhail and Phil have drinks on the deck in the gloriousness of the shimmering daylight…
While I awkwardly fumble around for something to stop the cataract of blood that is now violently forcing its way out of my body like it, early or late but always inconveniently, does every month. Because I’m me and, if things went smoothly, I would cease to be me.
And, yeah, it’s a gross detail but a necessary one to contrast that while I’m trying to shove coasters in my shorts because it’s the only thing I can find to stem the horrible tide,
Ms. Pro-Windsurfer/photojournalist/USskiteam/whalesharkprotector is effortlessly wake boarding in a way one could only see on ESPN, and filmmaker Mikhail and entrepreneur Phil are casually discussing how they’re going to assuredly and quite literally save the world.
The Gilligan reference starts making sense now, doesn’t it.
My only hope to maintain any dignity I may have is to go back home soon so I can attend to this typical over-the-top, slapstick, Molly-type moment of a normally (for other people) fair-weathered experience.
Because we are. This was only a 3-hour tour, after all.
It’s Sunday and I don’t have anything keeping me rooted to the shore (except for work on Monday), so I settle in to a great afternoon. Having effectively yet comically fashioned whatever-it-was I did to fix my womanly problem, I do what I feel is my honor and privilege to do and entertain; both intentionally and not.
Then it starts getting late.
I’m pretty sure there are people back on shore who might be missing me if we don’t return me by at least late evening. It’s downright dark now and I politely inquire as to when we’re going back.
“Can’t. Santa Anas,” is Mikhail’s response.
“Yeah. Off-shore winds. We can’t sail against that. I mean, come on.” He smiles and makes another drink.
“Well, um, I should really call someone then.”
“Can’t. Sun spots,” Phil says. He’s the only one with a cell phone in the early 2000s so he clearly knows what he’s talking about.
“What about ship-to-shore radio?” I ask. I didn’t know shit about sailing but I’ve heard about radios.
“Can’t,” Erin says smirking though I bought it anyway, “Island is in the way.”
None of their answers seem quite legit but I accept them as truth. I’m in no position to argue with these world travelers.
I kept up the worry for a fast minute as it didn’t take me long to give up on going home that night. Besides, we were having too much fun pretending we were pirates that I was okay with it. Okay, I was pretending we were pirates. We’ll be home tomorrow, work be damned. After all, no one can blame me for sun spots.
The next morning, I wake up to Bloody Marys, visits from random sailing-types also seeking out a shady cove, and a glorious sun.
It’s suggested that we hike to the top of the hill on this protected, no-humans-allowed island. I, again, quietly suggest we try to get a hold of someone on shore in Santa Barbara. Hell, I’d settle for someone in Ventura knowing I was still alive at this point.
They’re having none of it. On the island’s beach, Mikhail is putting rocks on his chest claiming he’s trapped under a landslide and can’t captain the sailboat back home.
“How are we going to call anyone to save you if we can’t call shore?”
“Oh, never mind. I’m fine.” He giggled and jumped up, rocks flung aside, to start up the steep hill. I’m ignored and left to either follow or twiddle my thumbs.
I do take a second to begin to think this might be a setup.
I do enjoy the illegal hike, follow Phil’s asthmatic wheezing (another tip off that we weren’t far from help considering his lack of worry) towards another glorious view. From that vantage I can see California’s Central Coast and have a quick, twingey thought of who might be worrying about me. I care as much as the thought is fleeting.
We return to the boat to engage in an extremely competitive and somewhat frightening game of Pictionary. In addition to being beautiful inside and out, Erin has competed her way to the top of everything she’s ever tried and her accolades are very well-deserved. The list is exhaustive and I won’t get into it here. You can here, though.
And apparently, Pictionary was something she wasn’t going to come in second at either.
I say with pride that she can win everything else in the world but no one can beat me at Pictionary. I only wish I kept that drawing of Barry White that ended the ill-fated game amidst nefarious accusations. It was a draw. I won the game, she won at pouting.
TUESDAY! I wake up suddenly to what felt like gentle waves rocking the boat and the hum of a well-maintained motor I didn’t know the boat had.
I know what you’re thinking, “How the fuck did you not know the boat had a motor?”
I didn’t. It was a sailboat. I knew about the sails! Stop judging me. I know other stuff. Jeez.
Mikhail is at the helm (see, that’s something I know), and Erin is filming a pod of a thousand dolphins surfing alongside us. Phil is smiling, sipping a mimosa with his leg up, as I creep out from the cabin.
“We’re motoring back? We’re MOTORING BACK?? OH MY GOD.” Giggles then outright mocking me competed with the sound of the happy motor.
It was hard to be mad at the great time or the great people on the deck smiling and enjoying the day despite my kidnapping and collected plotting against my return. If I were ever to be Shanghai’d, I couldn’t have asked for a better one.
There were a lot of concerned then angry messages when I finally got home. I deflected them by being an ass about it. I’m sure I’m over it.
20 years later, we are all still friends. Though they are a tough crowd to keep up with.
Phil can be found selling giganto-yachts in New Zealand or Monaco or Tahiti or… somewhere, I forget.
Erin is still doing everything more exciting than any of us can imagine, just ask Richard Branson.
Mikhail, though, had to one-up everyone by accidentally flying his helicopter into a glacier. It sucks that he left us but if there’s a way to go, that’s pretty much the most badass way to do it.
Me? I’m writing stories and taking the frequent naps they refuse to in honor of all them.
Someone’s got to.
Geoff, the Santa Barbara boyfriend of 10 years, the chick-wrangler or “Sport-fuck” as his friends used to call him in my presence, was not one to keep his pants on when he should. Seeing as it’s been more than 15 years later, he and I are good friends and I don’t begrudge him the, um, multitude of indiscretions in which he may or may not have indulged.
The indiscretions so plentiful that it was reported in the local newspaper.
You could wonder why I would put up with something like that and I don’t blame anyone for wondering that. The answer is simple: I didn’t know at the time and how could he not? In a town with a population of only around 30,000 permanent residents, 90% of whom are female, it’d be almost rude of a man this beautiful to not indulge.
And it has been over 15 years. I really couldn’t care less now. We’re past it, so should you be. I appreciate your righteous anger, though, dear reader. If anything, I’m impressed that anyone could have that much energy or time in their day.
I only report that previous detail because, goddamn, it was in the fucking newspaper!
But I digress. This is just a story about a time.
There was this time when we went to a movie.
One normal night, we went to go see Golden Eye, Pierce Brosnan’s debut as James Bond.
As we’re walking through the doors of the Arlington Theatre, I excuse myself to make a bee-line to the ladies room. Geoff meanders towards the outside patio; doing the agreeable nod that we’d meet out there.
I find him holding a martini and grabbing stuffed mushrooms off a passed plate. It looked great, albeit odd for a random movie night, but I graciously accepted a martini off a tray held by a smartly-dressed waiter.
We wordlessly enjoy our good luck for whatever conceivable reason this was happening; not wanting to say anything lest saying it makes it stop. I look up and notice that everyone mingling in this little quaint outside patio was far better dressed than we. We were no slouches but we weren’t dressed in tuxedos and evening gowns. I also notice that Pierce Brosnan was about 5 feet away from us.
“Look!” I point with my pinky finger towards the doorman checking off names but otherwise turning away many people not on his coveted clipboard list. The doorman who let us through because our dismissive, belonging attitude–due to the fact we didn’t know we weren’t supposed to be there in the first place–gave us unquestioned credibility.
“We just walked into a movie premiere.”
Giggling at our stealth and trying to find ways to shove martinis and steaming hot mushrooms into my purse, we followed the elite crowd into the theater to watch the best James Bond ever portrayed.
–Oh knock it off. This is my story and my opinion. Get off your Connery.–
Two hours later, we stumbled out of the theater; stunned by our luck, and dazed by the many martinis…and also having hatched a plan.
Lightbulb lit, for the next few months, there wasn’t an event we couldn’t get into. We arrogantly strutted our way into gallery openings, elite polo gatherings, exclusive Montecito galas, and one hilariously successful entrance into the world-famous Sky Bar at the Mondrian hotel in Los Angeles to meet Geoff’s “agent, Jaime Bemis” whom he had conjured out of the air.
We had a great time. We really did. And, to this day, we both look back at it as a triumph.
It couldn’t last though. The problem with faking your way through life is that, unless you’re a psychopath, you can’t keep it up. Microexpressions, fatigue, and anxiety show through the facade. It makes pulling this kind of thing off harder and harder. You just don’t have the energy to do it anymore anywhere.
And when you’re trying to pull this kind of thing off in a town of only 30,000 people, most of whom know one of you really well by now, eventually someone is going to write up your story in their local newspaper.
It was an old Reddit post I only recently came across that made me think of this story. The Reddit story is funny and a huge relief for all of us thinking we might be alone in doing stupid shit.
And stupid shit is what this blog is made of, god damnit.
After I was gifted by my wonderfully generous father, David E. Knop, a car, my former-boyfriend, Geoff, and I decided to take our new-used Toyota 4Runner, with our adorable dog, Chimi…
We decided to drive up the amazing El Camino Cielo road that rings the mountains around Santa Barbara.
Good idea, of course.
Except that our decision was made after spending an entire day at Butterfly Beach in Montecito under the hot, hot sun.
Butterfly Beach was about 100 yards from our apartment. Once, I went swimming there to “exercise” at 9 am. I say, “exercise” because I have no idea what the hell I was thinking. With no one on the beach to point and scream instead of saving me, I came way too close to being Great White fish food. I only saw how close when I made it to shore to find that what I was swimming alongside of was a huge, dead sea lion with a man-sized hole chomped out of his middle. But that’s a story for another time.
Usually, it was me and Geoff and Chimi and a foot-long sub sandwich from the Greek-Italian Market and a 12-pack of Coronas.
It clearly sucked.
This particular day was a long day in June. Around 5 pm, perfect weather and my perfectly-tanned ONLY front-side of my body (yes, just perfectly-tanned front, totally white ass,) was fried. My half-tan was due to the awesome chairs I’d found that were too comfortable to get up and flip over. They were so comfortable. I miss those chairs.
By then, Geoff’s perfectly-tanned tennis-perfected body had had enough of fending off the coeds flirting with him. That’s “hims”– plural. Both Chimi and Geoff.
No one apparently.
On a rare day off work I had once, I took my dog to the beach. He ran off because he owned that beach and it was normal. I expected him to come back to settle into his palapa we had to make him every time out of sticks and usually my beach sarape. Fluffy black fur wasn’t the best at keeping a tiny dog cool.
I hadn’t even noticed how far he’d run off, as it was so quick, until I spotted some 20-year-old in a microscopic bikini holding my dog in her hands.
I stood up, walked over, “Um, excuse me, can I have my dog back?”
She says, “Oh, you know Chimi?”
I didn’t punch her. I swear.
I just took my dog and went home to wait for Geoff. And maybe carefully rearranged his things. All of his things.
The day in question, we hosed off a happy, sandy Chimi and jumped in the new-used 4Runner.
We drove up the picturesque, windy roads, full of excitement. And way too many Coronas for which I’m ashamed of admitting. We found our perfect spot in the wilderness to camp with the glorious views of this magnificent place.
We pass out peacefully. And except for one sudden terrifying moment when the coyotes tried to lure Chimi out of the open back of the 4Runner, we slept like 3 logs. Lulled by quaint animal noises and crickets and the musky-sweet scent of ocean and night-blooming jasmine.
Morning, we woke up to find that we’re not in a secluded spot in the country.
No, the sound of slamming car doors woke us up to the fact we were “camping” in someone’s front yard.
Morning came with us hauling our half-tanned asses out of a trespassing charge.
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Meet Molly. Our newest and only star at holyshitnotagain.com.
And there’s something about her that just makes you want to smack that smug smile off her face. Cheat on her, smack her around, lie to her face, and she’ll keep coming back for more. No one knows resilience like this little filly. She’ll give you presents, make you delicious meals, cater to your every need without you ever doing anything but treat her like shit.
She’s perfect for anyone who:
Don’t worry, she’ll believe your lies. And, she’ll stick around long after you think you’ve exhausted all forms of degradation. One thing that Molly has, it’s resilience. She’s in it for the long haul, regardless of how temporary you’ve decided it would be without telling her.
Get her before she regains any self-confidence. The pickings are ripe here at holyshitnotagain.com.
You can be the next asshole to swoop up this charming piece of whipping post if you act fast.
Be careful, though. She has had some good men in her life and there’s a chance she’ll remember that fact before too long.
Behold the competition:
Applications accepted now! Don’t wait. Time’s running out. Offer ends when she finally pulls her head out of her ass.
Clearly what I was picturing.
But where is the fun in that? And I’m not doing this embarrassing stuff for my health.
I realized today that though I may not be the world traveler I used to be, I may not work the exciting jobs anymore, I may not have to travel to Stockholm for awards (I never did that,) but there is rarely a dull moment once Mo puts on her shiny shoes.
Today, those shoes were flip-flops and the moment was a dangerously hilarious 5-minute ride on my brand new-used electric scooter.
I figured that since I now live as close to work possible without actually living in it, I should keep the obnoxiously $4.25/gal price of gas out of my car and at the pump where it belongs. Because $4.25. A gallon. This is just plain ole regular gas, too. Nothing fancy. Just $4 goddamn dollars per gallon. Anywho….
Not only do I live about 6 blocks from work, the parking around my little apartment is so bad that I’ve walked halfway to work by the time I found my car. The 3 block “coast” into work seems a little wasteful after that. That’s not to say I’m walking there routinely. Pffft. I mean, come on. I didn’t practice loafing around all these years to start “exercising” now. That’s just plain foolishness so stop suggesting it.
So, I figured the on-sale, open-box, mildly marked-up, reject, stand-up scooter was a reasonable solution to my walking-allergy.
However, there were a few things I didn’t consider.
Because, of course I didn’t.
I’ll share those things with you now.
2. I haven’t worn normal pants in 4 years.
3. I need to find a backpack to fit all of my needs that won’t make me too top heavy and tip over in a light breeze.
4. Spending about 4 hours online finding the perfect, overpriced backpack causes me to get distracted and wander off.
5. It’s important to check to see what kind of tires your new scooter has. Mine are air-filled. Make sure they are filled with air. This is key.
6. It’s true that our balance gets compromised the older we get. Especially when carrying a thermos of wine.
7. I don’t know how to ride a stand-up scooter.
8. Stopping when wearing flip-flops going downhill on a scooter you don’t know how to ride in the first place may make you rethink your plan.
9. Buy a helmet. Take 10 seconds and actually strap it to your head.
All important info. Trust me.
Anybody got any gas money I can borrow?