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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sigh No More

It strikes me as things happen to me during life it is most often accompanied by a soundtrack.  Sue G  my Jr year is most certainly U2/Rattle and Hum.  Sarah K a bit earlier had much to do with rap/wigga 80's stuff.  There was a time I could rap Eric B and Rakim and Run DMC effortlessly.

With Lisa G my senior yr it was all about classic rock.  And some current hits thrown in to keep me current.  I remember many nights driving home late on weekends listening to Z95.  Going to a Catholic school in West Jersey was odd in that many friends, and in this case a girlfriend, lived 15 to 20 miles away.  Interstate 78 was still new and it connected townships like never before.  And the freedom my parents gave me was astounding.

My sister, 7 years older, was a bit of a troublemaker.  She drank, she smoked, she had fast moving boyfriends and really did not give a shit.

When I rolled in to high school much later, with more of a head on my shoulder, my folks looked the other way.  I was an athlete.  I had good, well meaning friends.  And, with the exception of a smart mouth and arrogance, I stayed out of trouble.

So, when I used some savings and paper route money to purchase a 1979 jade, green Chevy Monza...  naturally I was gonna drive that bitch.

And I was going to stay out late.  I did not drink.  I would always be careful and drive relatively slow.  And I would usually be in the same place.

Lisa's folks had divorced a few years before I met her.  She grew up in Hunterdon county in far more affluence than me.  I remember a few dates in her family, divorced folks and older sister/younger brother took me out to eat.  It was a birthday celebration or something and the parents were putting on the unified front thing.

Two things happened that night that I can never really escape.  First, I was amazed we were all together out for a dinner.  And I mean there was white linen on the tables and candles.  Gone was the fountain drink dispensery and pizza by the slice.

No, we had to order from a menu and bring wine should the adults want a drink.

When the food did arrive, and I still would love to know how I handled the ordering part, I distinctly remember Lisa condemning me for my table manners.

I had no idea which fork was required for salad.  Strike one.  In fact, I am fairly certain I had never had a salad to that point.

My folks always had salad, don't get me wrong.  But I would politely decline and move on.  Perhaps there was a bowl of cereal I wanted more.

But, when I failed to eat my steak correctly...  that was the one that did not go unnoticed.

I had cut a piece a bit to big and took a small bite.  I put the fork back down so anyone who wanted to look saw a bitten piece of flesh hanging on my plate.

Um, uncool.  She laughed and kept her embarrassment pretty subdued.  But I was exposed.  And I think I have been trying to live it down ever since.

And the soundtrack played on...  Black Crowes "Jealous Again" stands out.  And now, National's "Afraid of Everyone."

"I don't have the drugs to sort it out."

I would drive home, 2, 3 in the morning, dozing off listening to songs.  Trying hard to stay awake.  Thinking back to what had happened the hours before.

How can I be driving up to my girlfriend's house every weekend without ANY adult supervision???

We would play music, play games and always end up in bed.  Hours and hours of adult, mature behavior from two kids who barely knew how to tie their shoelaces.

There was no pretense.  There was very little conversation.  There were problems...

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