Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pivotal Moments, Imp Edition

On this day, my 41st birthday, I remembered a funny/terrifying/sick/exciting moment in my life, back in 1986, when I was only 13 or 14 years old. From about the age of 12 I was told that I could pass as legal, able to buy at least cigarettes and, if I'd been ballsy enough, possibly even alcohol. I only ever pressed my luck with the smokes, ever, but at this tender age of 13/14, I hadn't even dared to buy cigarettes on my own, at least not without the assistance of a forged letter from a "mom" in "poor health" asking a cashier to let her child buy the cigs for her. The 80s! So crazy, right?

At this point in life, I'd frenched two boys my own age and flirted with a boy far too old for me at a Rush concert I'd attended with, I shit you not, my middle school science teacher and classmate Julie. The strange events that I am relaying here happened sometime in that twilight, somewhere between middle school and high school, to a person who was, at best, only barely able to grasp what was happening to her then, or at that moment, at the KC Hyatt (I'm guessing).

At that time, I lived with my grandparents at 2390 Hood. My grandfather was the secretary of his local Typographical Union. There was a meeting of some sort in Kansas City, where awards were given out, and all of the typographical sorts were driving in from miles away to participate. To their credit, my grandparents not only took me along (road trip!) but allowed me to play my music (cassette tapes, YES) most of the way, both there and back. They endured hours of Duran Duran, Culture Club, and (I admit) a nauseating mount of Stevie Nicks for 6 hours of driving, to and fro. Hats off, grandparents. Hats. OFF.

Other than the excitement of visiting a BIG city, the trip was terminally boring, as most adult things are. BUT. BUT (and you knew there would be a BUT), there was this one thing... On the first night we dined together in the hotel restaurant. Imagine an outdated restaurant in maybe something that last saw a renovation in 1975. We sat in a center table, eating meatloaf and veggies surprise. At a table in my view alone (my grandparents were facing me) there was a very attractive man eating alone. He was dressed business casual and VERY interested in me. Over the course of the meal I got to know him in the way he most certainly intended: Room number. Wink muthafuckin wink. Being an imp, bored, and enjoying poking sticks at things, the next day I managed to get away from my grandparents with the thinnest of excuses (lost in time). I made my way to the hotel lobby and dialed that hotel number. He answered. He was not shy about his intentions. As a thirteen year old fool, it was HIGHLY interesting. The man could tell something was off, obviously, and finally asked the question he should have considered previously when he saw me eating dinner WITH MY GRANDPARENTS. How old are you? Did I lie? Nope. THIRT. TEEN. (bitch) There was a lot of throat clearing, hrming and hmmming, but before I could hear the next bit my grandmother found me. She was angry and inquisitive. I lied, lied, LIED. I was just PLAYING on the phone gramma! What's the big deal gramma! Of course, 20/20 hindsight tells me it could have been a big deal, indeed. It wasn't, ultimately. We went back to our boring (?) lives in Wichita with no scrapes, scars, or innocence lost. But I never forgot it. Because it could have gone a different way. And the narrative could have been so much darker. And that, my friends, is the cost of looking 25 at 13. A blessing (!) and a curse.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank god for grandma

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just one more thing. i too had the same identity problem. at 11 i wore a b cup. at 12 a woman tried to broker a hookup for me with her 25 year old son, with my mother no less (yes your grandma). needless to say mom was shall we say horrified. she told me about it which upon reflection was grossly out of character. somewhere between 11 & 12 she angrily took me aside and told me i could no longer sit on uncle jim's lap (not a relative-friend of dad's.) what she was angry about was a birthday card that was too adult (goggle eyed guy saying something like hubba hubba or whatever. then when i was 13 i went on a trip with a friend and her family. one stop was a campground in upper Michigan by a lake. a 17 year old boy was very interested and being stupid i let him talk me into meeting him behind the restrooms after dark. he of course tried to get in my pants but i was saved by my friend calling my name. so you are not alone. in spite of myself i managed to stay a virgin till i was 18 when my ex boyfriend got me drunk and raped me. now if i'd only learned my lesson and never drank again i'd have saved myself a lot of grief. being sexually attractive to males was the bane of my existence till i finally quit drinking, smoking and men in 1983. too bad i didn't wise up sooner. i hope this is helpful to you. i love you my heart. mom

3:11 PM  

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