I started off writing horoscopes for a lesbian ezine. Everything was fine until the previous editor became consumed by a vagina she was consuming. The remaining lesbians consulted the oracle and chose me as their new content generator. I gladly accepted, as I thoroughly enjoy free drinks and wearing a VIP lanyard at every girl party around the country.
I would greatly appreciate your support in my new adventure: BOUND
I’ve returned to the place where I made most of my messes.
This was a con I never weighed before accepting a job at the same place where I went to college. Every day I battle the ghosts of my late teens and early twenties, which is the last challenge I expected to have with this new job. From the gazebo that bears my initials, to the love triangles drawn within the walls of the student union, around every corner, in mostly all the buildings built prior to 2000, there is a memory that causes my heart to sink. Luckily, it’s just me and the walls that remember. And really, more so the walls. I hardly remember what I say when I’m saying it, let alone the mischeif that is at least a decade old, but boy did those walls keep accurate records. Every time I see one, they narrate stories of my past, like the one of the duck that got into my Alka Seltzer.
And that’s just one campus.
What will happen when I visit the other campus where I took my journalism classes and got into much more than just Alka Seltzer? Those walls will undoubtedly scream, “Quitter,” among other adjectives. It was during this time that I was earning a ridiculous sum of money, or so I thought, from the Miami Herald. I wasn’t even old enough to drink, but I didn’t need to, I was intoxicated with adulthood. I had press credentials around my neck and a vagina I finally figured out how to operate. School simply couldn’t compete. I had trouble making a one o’clock class, but no trouble starting my shift at 5am, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. The jobs that followed, a non-profit, another news station, another non-profit, flowed money to my bank account and filled my calendar with events and happy hours that flowed my money back out of credit cards with limits that I can no longer qualify for today. The little bit of cash I did have, I used to enroll in a class or two, but then, when work consumed my nights and weekends, I’d forget to officially drop them, plummeting my GPA to a number that should be my interest rate.
Among all the false F’s I accumulated, I did manage to attend and complete other courses with A’s. Two years after my originally scheduled graduation date, I had enough credits to earn a Bachelor of Arts in English.
I didn’t attend commencement. I felt I had nothing to be proud of. Plus, my parents and I were estranged at the time, and, most importantly, I had to work that day.
More than a dozen years have gone by and, although I’ve made some pretty bad mistakes, no other project or venture has been more of a scarlet letter than school. My transcripts read like a criminal record and the admissions committee of those programs I previously applied to probably saw me as a recidivist felon. But, now I’ve returned to the scene of the crime and, to add insult to injury, I’m surrounded by eminent figures in their respective academic fields that require large walls, similar to the one I climbed to get away from campus police, to fit all their degrees and accolades. Doctors and deans and chancellors and professors – and me. Now more than ever I need to undo the mess I made so long ago, so that the next time one of those walls tries to retell a shameful story, I could nail it with a well-earned degree.
Half a dozen ships sailed out today. I was on none.
My suitcase is empty and stored in my closet. My toothbrush is standing at attention, in its holder. I do not have a frosty drink or a cigarette in either hand. My ship phone does not have a caller on the other end asking for a bottle of Blue Label and tofu hummus. As a matter of fact, I don’t have a ship phone. I just have a cell phone – good for making calls on land.
This is the second time I leave ships. The first time, I cried. Like a baby. But then again, I was a baby. This time, however, was different. I left without looking back. For fear of whiplash and awkward conversation.
The golf cart whisked us away from the gangway, (me, some big-shot vice president and none other than the CEO,) to the car that would eventually take us to the airport.
A few hours before my departure, I, wearing a cocktail dress and heels, belly-flopped into the pool and did a backspin on the ledge guests use to pretend they can walk on water. It’s the same joke, every cruise – especially if they purchased a bucket of Bud Light. While soaking wet, I picked up a yellow “Caution When Wet” sign and with it, walked around the entire ship dripping wet. All of this was captured on surveillance cameras and, for good measure, I had two friends use their cell phones to document my act of mayhem.
After making it safely from the pool to the crew bar, I decided to return to my room for a quick shower and wardrobe change. Once dry, I ended up taking shots of Jameson; catching french fries with my mouth from across a table; getting lifted on a chair, while three non-Jews sang Hava Nagila; and avoiding eye contact with Rebecca, the highly intoxicated and mentally unstable guest. There’s always a Rebecca on every cruise.
And then, that was it.
I woke up the next morning, packed my bags, tied up loose ends, said my good-byes, and drove away with the president. I did take some things with me (It’s only fair, they got to keep my bonus). Namely:
Being surprised by a seal in Ketchikan.
Running around Sorrento like we owned the place.
Getting caught by surveillance throwing an illegal cabin party.
The client’s face when I made shots appear as the song “Shots” played.
The teen idol I chased up four flights to keep her safe from the multitude of fans not running behind her .
Wearing a white uniform and stripes for he NoH8 campaign photo shoot in the middle of the ocean.
Getting lost in the hallway with the Captain.
Getting caught in a rumble that included: three ship security guards; two private security guards; one retired Coast Guard officer; one four-striped officer; and one very delusional woman.
Sailing with down-to-Earth bands, singers and celebrities that treated their fans well.
Making friends from all over the world.
Bon voyage ship life! You’ve been fun. I will racont your stories in oral and written form, but as for now, you and I must part ways. Like Marc Anthony and J.Lo’s split, ours is an amicable one. Even though in private, like Marc Anthony and J.Lo, we used to beat the shit out of each other and then attempt to make babies while chain-smoking menthol Camels.