One Non Prom

1984 was my senior year at Tascosa High School, which is located in Amarillo, Texas. Amarillo is where I was born and raised, and by the way, has been mentioned in many a country song because it just sounds like the name of a town that you would hear in a country song. I’ve said that before but felt like repeating it because it’s a good line, and what if someone didn’t get to read it the first time I wrote it.

I wasn’t a typical seventeen-year-old girl all aflutter about boys or going to football games or dances. Well, maybe the boy part, but attending school or any of its related functions did not hold my interest, which was a big factor in my being grounded my entire freshman year. There were many reasons for house arrest, including my hard head and sharp tongue, but basically, it was because neither my teachers nor my mother seemed to care that I already knew everything.

That isn’t an exaggeration either it was actually the entire school year. My sentence wasn’t handed down all at once. I was just never able to make parole. Which, unfortunately, helped prove my mom correct – she could indeed play the game longer.

My next three years of academia, if a public school can be considered academia, went a little more smoothly thanks to the lessons learned during my incarceration, which were “think before speaking because some people obviously don’t appreciate dry humor.” and “the importance of sitting quietly and pretending to give a shit even when you do not.”

Senior prom rolled around one month shy of my 18th birthday and seemed juvenile. It was only 26 days before I would be a grown woman, and so it seemed silly to go. Besides, I was bashful and awkward and pretty sure that no one would ask, which they didn’t, but it’s fine because that’s what helped me develop my theory that not going to the prom is a way more interesting rite of passage than going.

Imagine how many great love songs or works of art we’d have been denied if everyone fit in as a kid or went to their prom. Thank heaven Vincent Van Gogh was a redhead, which is never appealing to girls in their teens, so you know that guy didn’t go, and if he had, there might not be The Starry Night.

There had been talk about perhaps going as a group with my best friends Jo and Jonathon.

Jo and I had been friends since the 6th-grade. She was a tiny little cowgirl and was funny and sweet, with some rough-and-tumble thrown into the mix. Her older brother was a bull rider, so she spent a lot of time at rodeos and around cowboys. My mom always compared her to a Banty rooster, roosters used in cockfights because they’re scrappy and will fight to the death. That may not sound very flattering, but actually, it is and was a pretty accurate comparison. “Give in” or “Back down” were not phrases in Jo’s vocabulary.

We met Jonathon during sophomore year. He was our gay friend that we didn’t believe was gay despite having met him in drama club or the fact that he was designing his own clothing line at fifteen years old and wanted to be known only by his first name, like Cher.

We ended up not going as a group because Jonathon was asked to the dance by some random girl who also had no gaydar. I don’t know her name or anything about her, really, except that she didn’t lose her virginity on prom night.

Jo went with a guy that we knew from church. Hers, not mine. Jo’s family belonged to the Church of Christ, and mine were Methodist, but I’d tag along with them most Sundays because her parents would take us to eat at The Sizzler afterward.

Church of Christ is hardcore. They are rivaled only by the Pentecostals and those religions where you have to marry your grandpa’s best friend when you turn twelve years old or get your period, whichever happens first. So, I’d sit in Sunday school every week and listen to them tell me I was going to hell because I wasn’t baptized in their church, but then I’d get chopped sirloin and fries when it was over. So, it was totally worth it.

Initially, it was a shock because Methodists are a very mellow people who like to think we mind our own business. After all, it doesn’t count if you say it under your breath or out of the corner of your mouth. We enjoy a nice brisket and macaroni salad. And we love God, but come on, let’s not lose our minds about it. We sit quietly with hands folded, paying attention during the sermon so that we can be out of there by noon, and we just pray that nobody goes up to the front to accept Jesus during the benediction because that’ll tack on at least an extra 20 minutes.

May God be with you. And also, with you. Gotta run, see y’all next week.

On Prom night, I volunteered to work my boring part-time job at a clothing store in the mall and learned a valuable lesson that I wouldn’t really understand until years later. A dance is just a dance; it only lasts one night. But a job, no matter how boring, is something that, for the rest of your life, can be used to get you out of going to all kinds of undesirable functions like brunch and Christmas at your boyfriend’s parent’s house.

Happily Ever After

One morning, around the age of forty, I woke up, and my boyfriend of fourteen years said, “Honey, I have some bad news. I’m breaking up with you.” So, I said, “Well, then here’s some more not-so-great news, you’re fifty, and bigfoot isn’t real. Enjoy living with your parents.”

I met Scott in my twenties at a show we were both doing at a comedy club in Los Angeles. It was 1995, in the midst of the OJ trial madness, which doesn’t really matter except that we saw Marsha Clark, the lead prosecutor, at a bar later that night which was kind of weird. She has super curly hair, by the way. After that, we made out in my car until the wee hours of the morning, which led to us spending the next decade and a half of our lives together.

For the record, I don’t normally make out with men I’ve just met. Okay, sure, a couple or three times, but a lady can’t allow such behavior to become a habit. However, it could not be helped because he was charming and funny and handsome with big blue eyes. So, it would have been rude not to.

It was at the bar that evening when he revealed his interest in Sasquatch. And, it wasn’t the “Oh isn’t that intriguing but we can talk about something else now if you’d like” type of interest either; it was the “this is going to monopolize your entire life, so his baby blues better be worth it, sister” kind of interest.

At least he told me about it upfront, so I knew what I was getting into. One time I went out with a guy for about a month before he casually mentioned an assault charge for hitting his ex-girlfriend, but it wasn’t his fault because he was coked-up. That is some information that would have been useful earlier.

Scott wasn’t some wing-nut bigfoot hunter that lived in a mud hut off the grid. He was from a good family in The Valley, had two degrees, was incredibly intelligent, and never lost at Trivial Pursuit so, people always accused him of cheating. Well, if you consider education “cheating,” then yes, he was indeed a cheater.

At times, he and his intelligence could be quite insulting. He once asked if I’d ever heard of carbon dioxide and if I knew what a pine needle was. “Yeah, it’s a needle from a pine tree, jackass. Got it.” “And as for carbon dioxide, that, of course, is the last thing you will inhale if I decide to hold a pillow over your face in the night.”

There is way more involved than one might assume when dating someone who believes in mythical creatures or aliens. The big thing is knowing how to tell your family and friends in such a way that doesn’t make him sound insane and keeps your parents from thinking you’re in a cult and then hiring someone to kidnap and deprogram you.

Also, there’s lots of sleeping out of doors with the fear of being ripped to shreds by a bear while you pee in the woods. Because that’s where you have to pee. There are cameras that need to be hung in trees in hopes of capturing an image of the elusive beast crossing a stream or molesting a hiker. Grainy videotapes to watch repeatedly until you pretend to see what he sees. Stories to feign interest in. Random hair analyses. Animal scat to identify. Scat means poop if you didn’t know. Plus, all kinds of books, keychains, posters, statues of hairy beasts, and giant plaster cast footprints in your house that have to be discreetly placed so that normal people don’t notice, but where your partner can still gaze at them longingly and feel safe.

Our first romantic getaway together was at the hill. “The Hill,” as it was sacredly referred to, is located somewhere in Northern California, and it’s where Scott believes that he had an encounter with Bigfoot. It’s strange, but I’ve never been able to remember exactly where it is despite our numerous visits. My mother once told me that women forget the pain of childbirth, otherwise, they’d never do it again. Perhaps that applies to this.

“The Hill” was called a hill because it wasn’t as big as a mountain, but it was pretty freaking close, and we didn’t just drive by and look at it. Nope, we climbed it in the rain. Sometimes on all fours through the dirt and the mud and the muck. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a scrappy Texas chick who can roll around in filth with the best of them, but after a certain age, you’d kind of just rather not.

But I was a kid then and madly in love which is a tragic combo. Because you make allowances and do things when you’re young and head over heels to please the other person and be supportive. This is lovely, but it sets a tone in a relationship that’s hard to change once you’ve grown weary of always being a good sport and would prefer not to sleep on the ground when you have a California King and only one week a month at home. But you do it because you feel guilty that you’ve been on the road telling jokes trying to make a living.

Even though that wouldn’t be an issue if you were a man, it would just be your career and perfectly okay. But it’s not, because you’re a woman, who he doesn’t think is that funny anyway (not in his top 10 favorites. That’s a quote), despite the fact you have a Comedy Central special, and he does not. And, society says you have to be a nice girl, please everybody so, once again you sleep on the ground.

Then one day, you’re thirty-seven and say to yourself, “Fuck the ground and double fuck society.” And to him, you say, “Go have fun, and I’ll be here when you get home.” Which doesn’t really sit well once the tone has been set.

So at some point, you’ll wake up, and your boyfriend will say that he has bad news. And, it’ll be sad until it isn’t. Just trust that the sun will continue to shine and the stars to twinkle, and you shall more than survive.

I heard that Scott has a new girlfriend, and they moved up north. Perhaps close to the hill, but I don’t know because I can’t remember where it is, but where ever they are, it is my sincerest hope that the three of them live happily ever after.

It Stands to Reason

Much of my day is spent at the kitchen table periodically staring out the window. My apartment, in this tiny 16-unit complex, is on the second level and sits at the end of the 15 steps it takes to reach the top floor. I’m aware of how many stairs there are because I count them whenever going up or down. It’s not OCD, just seems like information I should have in case there’s an emergency or someone were to ask.

My view is of the courtyard, which reminds me of the one from the 1990’s soap, Melrose Place. Only without the pool, wealthy neighborhood, and good looking tenants. But we do have wild jasmine that grows in the spring and summer, so that’s cool.

From my perch, it’s possible to see and hear all the comings and goings without being spotted. Which I would find disconcerting if it was someone other than myself lurking in the shadows.

Fortunately, I’m harmless just curious.

And, if I’m being honest (which I am, cause why wouldn’t I be?) I’m not really looking to see, just looking to look. Killing time and daydreaming.

My computer is on the dining table which is why I’m also there. It’s where I like to write, or pretend to, depending on which way the wind is blowing.

I never sit at my desk. I’ve tried but it reminds me too much of school or a job. Nothing will ever get accomplished if I feel like it has to.

A kitchen feels good and familiar. Plus, that’s where I keep the food.

Once I watched as an older neighbor was taken away in a body bag. He’d only lived here for about a week and we never met, but it was still sad.

What I’m waiting to see is someone tumble down the stairs. Not because I want them to get hurt but because it just seems logical.

For 17 years, I’ve seen people carelessly bound up and down with hands in pockets, wearing flip flops, arms full of laundry and talking on the phone that’s tucked between their shoulder and crook of their neck, and yet not one face plant or even anything close.

It makes sense that at some point this lucky streak will come to an end.

Since I have nothing but time these days I’d like to see it when my theory is proven correct.

I’ll keep you posted.

I’ll Make this Quick…

Below is a challenge that’s been making the rounds on social media for a while. I’ve been tagged a few times and have always removed it as frantically as if I’d been hacked and hardcore porn was posted on my page and, to make things even better, the day before I’d finally accepted my mom’s friend request.

ChallengeAccepted #24hrs If I tagged you, don’t disappoint me. If I didn’t tag you, please, no offense. I tried to choose people I thought would make this challenge fun!! Too often, women find it easier to criticize each other instead of building each other up. With all the negativity out there, let’s do something positive! 🌟

Upload 1 Picture of yourself… just you!!!! Then tag so many beautiful women to do the same. We will build ourselves, instead of tearing us apart. 💋💙🥰
copy and paste…

Here’s why this is awful.

Now, although I do appreciate the irony of saying let’s build each other up, while simultaneously tearing each other down in the same breath, these negative “women hate women” stereotypes are stale and detrimental. Especially to girls and young women and is definitely not my experience.

My life has been full of fierce, brilliant women who are supportive and loving and badass.

Yes, let’s celebrate and empower each other! But that ain’t what’s happening here, folks.

I know, I know… it’s just a silly FB challenge so who cares, right?

Everyone should, that’s who.

If you’re a woman, have a daughter, a mother, a sister, wife, girlfriend, friend or have ever met or loved a woman, things like this should matter to you.

It’s full of heterosuggestions and propaganda (finally, I get to use the word propaganda. Goddamnit that’s sweet).

It’s ye olde divide and conquer, if you will.

I’m not saying a stupid social media challenge was written by some dude in a black helicopter trying to pit women against each other so men can take over the world. But I’m also not not saying it.

How will we (if you’re a human, I’m talking to you) ever build a world of equality and love if we continue to perpetuate these tired clichés?

We won’t.

That’s the point.

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