Seventeen

img_2433

I’ve been staring at this photo for a while now. The way I would stare in a mirror while screaming Bloody Mary.

Who is that? And more importantly, whose pearls are those?

A twist of fate and a scheduling conflict will take me back to Miami next week – coinciding with my high school reunion. So, in an effort to mentally prepare for the terrible community play rendition of Hot Tub Time Machine that I’m about to headline, I rummaged through a box of mementos, read cringe-worthy letters and found this, my senior year portrait.

At first glance, I was reminded that while I was taking this picture, my boyfriend was sitting in the waiting room with the promise of reaching third base on the ride home. He was adorable, gentlemanly and sweet, but terribly flat chested and had a penis, which eventually caused our demise.

When I looked closer though, the me from 1996 had a prophetic message embedded in my eyebrows – one that only took twenty years of hindsight to actually see it. Unlike what I thought about myself at the time, I was pretty damn unhideous. I would even go as far to say that I was pretty cute. Yes it’s a cliche, teens and their self-esteem issues. But I’d truly look in the mirror and see an out-of-place monster. How terribly sad.

On the bright side, if I had that face today it would be riddled with HPV, so I guess it worked out.

The other non-hideous things about seventeen were the rest of the know-nothings that I befriended. The valedictorian. The nice guy. The Goody Two-Shoes. The bad ass. The comedian. The rebel. The weirdo. The rich girl. The super rich girl. (I went to private school.) The artist. The Goth. The drama queen. My secret girlfriend. They were glorious. Each one. Raging with hormones, broken out with acne and hiding torn hymens from Jesus. Together we made up a super diverse version of The Breakfast Club that could have been made for Telemundo after dark.

But that was then. Next week we will be reunited for an episode of Oprah’s Where Are They Now, where the impulse to undo our high school stereotypes will most likely lead to boring each other with talk of investment banking, bibs and breakfast nooks. But as much as my body recoils with the thought of being trapped in a boring conversation, my FOMO is too powerful not to be there. And I’m willing to bet that in the midst of polite conversation, I’ll see a glimmer of the shitheads we once were. And I’m also willing to put money on having to hold someone’s hair back at the end of the night.

It was Catholic school for Christ’s sake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do oreos and nuns have in common?

Eat me.

I went out on a school night this week. Tuesday, I think it was. Yeah, Tuesday. Because it was the previous Thursday that I swore that I would never drink again. Well, drink between the work week. No, I promised not to drink a lot between the week. I don’t know what I promised, really.

I was making the promise while walking up and down Miracle Mile, in heels, desperately trying to sober up. Or, maybe it was when a group of “out-of-town” guys who had “just come from the ATM,” mistook me for a high-priced escort. Although, by the state of my mascara, they probably thought I was just a ten dollar hooker.

I was serious about this promise. Until my dear friend called me to say hello and I answered, “Tuesday, drinks, perfect.”

When she asked me to pick the place, I used an app on my iPhone and it spit up the name of a bar in the heart of downtown Miami on the corner of Shady Street and Purse-Snatcher Avenue. It sounded like a guaranteed good time.

As soon as the bell rang at work, I headed over to my new favorite bar. I valet’d my car at the crack house down the street and walked toward the bar in with my super-sized Coach purse in my hand and Dolce and Gabana glasses on my face. You know, in case of paparazzi. Because the bar didn’t have a door, I took the opportunity to stand at the doorway and take off my sunglasses in slow motion, you know, like in the movies, I even shook my hair side-to-side. That shit is really hard to do, by the way, at least in slow motion.  

However, instead of hundreds of urbanite hipsters squeezing around, there two guys in ties and an old, married couple. And me. So, I quickly mounted a stool and ordered a beer.

I knew I had to take it slow. There was no way I could walk around this neighborhood if I needed to sober up. At least not without getting attacked by real hooker for trampling on her territory or getting bitch slapped by a pimp for not getting into the backseat of a Pontiac.

That and my friend hadn’t gotten there yet.

There’s nothing more unpleasant than meeting a friend for drinks and finding them drunk without you. I mean, that’s just rude. And there’s no catching up. You can’t possibly catch up to a drunk person. That’s a myth. There I’ve said it. If you get to a place and everyone is drunk already, just turn around and go home. If not, you’ll be called a bore and end up holding someone’s hair while they puke on your sensible work pumps.

 Well, about an hour later, my friend, who had finally arrived, and we were deep in conversation about…office supplies when all of a sudden we were approached by another woman.

“Hi, sorry to bother you,” she said.

As I turned to look at her and tell her it was cool, I recognized her. I mean, I recognized her face. Not having a face recognition app on my phone, I had to search my brain for memories. Scary enough, she knew my full name and I couldn’t even come up with the time period of my life where we might have crossed paths. Immediately I felt panicked. Especially when, trying to jog my memory, she said the phrase, “It was my first time.”

Oh boy, I thought. What did I do now.

Luckily, it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. It was worse.

Apparently, it was the first time she had heard a “religious” talk or testimony. And I was giving it.

I know.

There was a time in my life when, well, I was a practicing Catholic. And, I wanted to be a nun. In full habit. Super nun. I wanted to be Kathy Najimi’s character in Sister Act. I wanted to talk about God and heal the world. I wanted to do good and spread the love. It wasn’t until I realized that what I really wanted to do was make it with Whoopi Goldberg that I dropped the whole nun thing and the whole religion thing for that matter. 

A few friends know about this time in my life, others can’t even conceive it happened. And now, there was this woman. This woman who said, “I remember, in your speech, you said how you were like an Oreo cookie. Hard on the outside and soft on the inside.”

To which I responded, “Jesus Christ! Even back then I wanted people to eat me!”