Sunday, August 31, 2003

Aggressive Angela

Ah, for the days when I was young, chaste, and chased. I still laugh at this. I met Angela in my night music theory class. The next year, we had another class together -- Piano, I think? Angela was a temptation straight out of the fiery flames of you-know-where. Quite appropriately, the woman was hot. She was exotic, she was ripped right out of my fantasies, she was 12 years my senior, and she was on a frickin' mission -- and I was it. This is from my journal, since there were no blogs in 1992. 

OKAY, SO I HAD just gotten off the phone with that Amazonian beauty, the one I had a thang for in high school but was always too intimidated to talk to, but I met her after high school and got her phone number. You know how that goes. So I called and she was happy to hear from me. Until I let on that I hadn't found a summer job yet, and was pretty broke, plus I had just wrecked my car. Then she suddenly found a reason why she couldn't talk to me any more.
Oh well, next on my list: Angela. She'd been trying to reach me. She is the usual gabfest, talking about anythang and everythang: her ex-husband (she calls him “What’s-His-Name”), her kids, her mom and mom’s widowed friends, her radio career, her trip to Mexico, her interviews with famous Latin singers, her school grades. And then she stops.

And in that creamy Spanish-accented voice, comes that question I always dread:

“I’ve been telling you all about myself. Tell me a little about you.”

“Um. What do you wanna know?”

“Anything. Everything. Your background? Your childhood? How do you think?  What do you want to do with your life? What do you think about?  What do you dream about when you daydream? Do you daydream? Do you have sex dreams?”

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Angelic Angela (a retro-post)

 PURSUANT TO MOVING, I've been cleaning out. This means finding all kinds of surprises from the past. This is a journal entry from 11 years ago (which I cleverly recycled into a "creative writing" piece for English Comp). I've titled this "Angelic Angela" because there's another Angela who was somewhat naughtier -- her story will follow.

June 1992

SO THERE I AM, home alone on a Friday night, and doing, of all things, a jigsaw puzzle.

I'm 18, it's the middle of summer, my parents are a thousand miles away cruising the Carribbean and my big brother's out somewhere, probably doing keg stands, and I've got the whole damn house to myself: the starting premise of a million crazy teen party movies. But I'm not a party guy. I'm actually feeling pretty antisocial; I don't want to go anywhere or see anybody. I'm usually like that. Give me a good book, a puzzle or a piano and I'll amuse myself for hours. Other people? Meh.

So it actually annoys  me for a minute when Angela, an old high-school friend who's home from college, calls me around 8:00. Maybe I'm annoyed because she's disturbed my peace; maybe, in part, I'm feeling guilty for not having been in touch with her sooner this summer. Over our entire freshman year -- she being at an out-of-state school, me being in Chicago -- she'd written about six letters to my 1 or 2.

So I tell Angie I'm busy, and that I'll call her back as soon as I can.

About an hour later, after I finish the puzzle, I call her back. She wants to go out and do something, or just hang out and chill. I tell her I'm broke; what does she have in mind?

"I don't know," she says. "Let's be creative."

I laugh and say all right. She wants to pick me up in ten minutes, but with a little haggling I get it up to 25. I don't feel like rushing.

So when the bell rings I open the door, expecting to see the old Angie from high school: the plain-faced, kinda nerdy girl with the mousy dishwater blonde hair pinned back and the nondescript, ill-fitted clothes.

But no. There standing on my porch is this lanky supermodel.

Not only is she wearing a touch of make-up (?!) but she's wearing some very form-fitting denim shorts. Suddenly, she's got miles of legs. Hips! And other good stuff. Hot damn!

So we jump in Angie's silver Dodge Aries. We have a lot of talking to do. But she wants to drive by the Jewel and cash a check. I go into the store with her, feeling a bit weird, as I always do when out in public with Angie. I guess I should explain: I happen to be black and 5'6"ish, and Angie is white -- very much so, with freckles -- and 6'4". (And yes, she did play center on the high school basketball team.) You can call me too self-conscious and a conformist or whatever, but trust me, you would've felt a bit like a circus act too. But, I just deal with it.

Neither of us is hungry, so she buys us a couple of Snapples and asks where we should go. It's about 9:30. I suggest the park over on Leavitt in Flossmoor. We go there and hang out and talk and play on the dark playground like a couple of oversized kids. After about an hour we notice that familiar Chevy Caprice silhouette creeping down the street toward us.

The cop stops in front of the playground, blasts us with the million-watt light mounted on his car and informs us the park is closed. He demands we show him ID as proof we're of age. Yes sir -- sig Heil! We display ID, though I feel tempted to give him a Nazi salute as he drives away. I'm sure we were the strangest twosome he'd ever seen.

So back in the Aries. I don't know of any all-ages place to go this time of night, and it'd feel weird to invite her to my house. I think of a place with a little more privacy: a condo complex located by a large pond. We get out and sit on the mowed grass, not too far from the water's edge.

The air is still and hot and in the distance lightning flickers mutely. We sit reclined side by side and we talk and we joke and we laugh and we tickle each other and I go take a leak over in the bushes and we talk some more.

We keep talking and by and by, something in her thaws out. The timid, reserved, girlish Angie melts into loose, languid, playful, a bit goofy, like she's been drinking--although all she's had is a Snapple. Her normal pinched little-girl voice has dropped about five notes and become husky and womanly. Before long she's lying there in my lap, almost drifting off to sleep (thwarted only by the ferocious mosquitoes). And I'm noticing that I'm not just there with my nerdy high-school girl-buddy: I'm there with a lanky, sexy supermodel with this sexy, husky voice and long, graceful, bared neck and she is warm and soft and right in my lap. Things start to happen -- the type of thing that happens to an 18-year-old guy when a beautiful girl (or anything, actually) is in his lap. And I'm kinda hoping she's not feeling it, but I'm kinda hoping she is. And I know how easy it would be for me to kiss her on the side of her long, graceful neck. How easy. If I did, she wouldn't stand a chance.

All through high school we've had some degree or another of friendship. But this is really the first time we've been together alone -- let alone this close. Neither of us is touchy-feely type. With me, at least, it's temperamental. I'm always reserved. Moreover, we are both Christians. I had kept it platonic in high school, knowing she had a thing for me, feeling the tension, not knowing how to handle it. With plenty of my own self-esteem and racial-identity issues to deal with, I felt even more awkward with Angie because of our double difference. I didn't want to call any more attention to myself than necessary. Plus, she was still a nerd back then, while I was trying to climb out of nerddom and get in with the cool kids. In hindsight, all dumb reasons to blow someone off like that. But teen-agers, by definition, are dumb and self-absorbed.

Wow, she smells good. Feels pretty nice, too. Part of me, the fun part, says go for it. The other part, the sensible part, says, sensibly: Don't make any promises you can't keep.

The sensible part -- maybe you call it the inhibited part -- wins this round.

I ARRIVE HOME at 5 a.m. Later that day, my brother asks me where I've been all night. "Oh, with a girl," I say with a mischievous grin, just to see the look on his face.

FALL 1996: I'm finally about to graduate college. I've recently gotten into a relationship, and it seems to be a really good match. During this time, out of the blue, I get an invite to Angie's wedding.

Since I can't schedule worth jack, I have absentmindedly set up my third date with the new galpal on the same night as Angie's wedding. There's no way the galpal can come to the wedding, but I don't want to call off what promises to be a pretty hot date (she's cooking dinner, and I'm bringing a big bottle of my favorite merlot). I end up leaving Angie's reception early to make the date -- two hours late -- pissing off both women. If I could do it again, I'd call off the date.

After the ceremony, I get into the reception line to greet the bride with her groom (who, unlike me, is height-appropriate). The new hubby, Brian, all smiles, says to me, loudly, in front of everybody: "So you're ____?  The one Angie had the big crush on in high school?"

Angie turns red--and under my brown skin, I'm surely turning red too.

But how strange, I think: What if that had been me? I still woulda felt a little like one-half of a circus act. We'd've probably found fame on daytime TV talk shows.

The new galpal and I ended up being together for the better part of a year. After me, she married, divorced, and moved to LA.  Then six years after our breakup,   she moved back to Chicago, looked me up, and we got back together. Didn't work out.

Angie and her Brian, a minister, ended up as foreign missionaries, and last I heard they're pastoring a church in Iowa. As always, I'm poor at keeping in touch.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Animal magnetism (a retro-post)

TUESDAY: You know how they sell pheromone perfumes and colognes for sexual attraction? Pheromones definitely work. What they don't tell you is that everybody already makes their own pheromones, but we wash them off, disrupting the natural pH of our skin with harsh soaps, which in the long run actually makes your body odor worse. Then we use chemical antiperspirants that block our sweat glands, which is unfortunate because that's where pheromones are secreted from. If you stop using those chemicals, you may see interesting things happen. You may notice people acting differently toward you. 

I'll relate a few instances from today. Now, I'm not bad looking and I'm used to women looking at me. But normally, unlike us males, females are smooth and discreet about it. They don't break their necks turning their heads to stare at you. But, today they're being just a bit more aggressive, and maybe it's the pheromone thing.

I get on the Halsted bus headed downtown and I see a lady I know from the local library, who smiles at me. 

Then I pass another sister who's kinda thickish and pretty. She's eyeing me, and as I take a seat just behind her, she turns her head to look at me. Then she turns her whole body around, so she's halfway facing me. Ignoring her, I take out a newsletter that I received in the mail that day, and I start to read it. 

After awhile, she asks me what I'm reading. I tell her it's a Bible prophecy newsletter, the contents of which I do not necessarily subscribe to. We start talking about Revelation, and morality, and wars, and stuff like that. There's really a lot that I could say, but not really being in a conversational mood, I don't want to unload a whole lot on her.

Turns out she's married, but she is interested (she claims) in finding an "intellectual brotha" like me for her girlfriend, who always gets caught up with dogs. (Well, I think: Obviously, she likes dogs; who am I to interfere?) But the sister has to get off soon and we just exchange a polite goodbye.

Oh, that meeting? Turns out I got the date wrong, or I didn't receive the notice that it had been cancelled. Total waste of time. But, a typical ADDventure.

So, I get on the Madison bus heading back downtown. There are a couple of real get-o lookin girls, maybe H.S., maybe college freshmen, in the back row. One is chunky and dark-skinned, with a beehive hairdo dyed loud red. I sit a row in front of them, although around a corner in the little recessed nook where they can't see me.

Suddenly I see a head pop around the corner. It's the red-beehived one. She just gawks at me for several seconds. She says nothing. I keep my mouth shut and gawk back. I don't think I even smiled. Maybe I should have raised an eyebrow or something; I didn't mean to come off like a total tool.

Now That was cute. Even if she wasn't that cute.

But the cutest was on the Red Line. Between the bus and the Red Line, I grab a salad at McDonalds, then head down into the subway. Once on board, I take that little single seat in the back of the car behind the door. I've got my salad from McD's out and I'm digging into it. The dude sitting across the aisle is a 39ish looking dude I've seen around before, probably on the train. He keeps looking at me.

Dude asks me, "That's one of those salads, isn't it? One of those McDonald's salads?"

I nod yes. "They're pretty good." I look back down to my salad and my Conscious Choice, and continue reading about Rudolf Steiner and the Waldorf schools.

  We see the usual cats pass through, hawking socks and CDs and stuff. But the most interesting visitors entered after we passed Roosevelt. Actually they came bursting through the door from the car to the back: a very dark-skinned but very odd-looking female, acting a fool, followed by some similarly silly brothas,  all whoopin' and hollerin'.   They pass me, run down the aisle, open the door at the other end, and disappear into the next car.

I see the 39ish guy keep looking at me. Then I see him sitting there jiggling his leg back and forth. My, he's restless.

A few minutes later, the door at the other end of the car opens again, and back come the woman and the rambunctious train of guys following her--loudly shouting, as before, headed back toward me. I wonder what they were all hopped up on. Upon getting a better look, first thing I notice is, the boys are feeling all over each other. Then I notice that the girl's face is awfully mannish. They pause to open the door by me. The guys turn and give me a saucy look. The one in back of the conga line reaches forward and fondles one guy in front of him. Then they disappear back through the door into the other car.

Passengers shake their heads and laugh amongst themselves. I keep reading and eating my salad.

Around 63rd or so, the guy sitting across from me, perhaps emboldened by the previous display, gets out a pad of paper and starts writing.

When we get off at 95th he hands me a folded sheet of paper. "Here, this is for you."

I almost want to say no, but don't have the heart. I take it and say thanks, then jet and run up the stairs as usual, then head out to the east side of the station to catch my bus.

The note reads:

I Don't mean any
Disrespect, but I
could'nt help to
notice you.
If you are not
offended, Please call
me. My name is

I have to say I wonder why on Tuesday nites there seem to be so many of these types on the Red Line. I've noticed this in previous weeks. Do they have some type of meeting every Tuesday night too?