Ulysses Update #5
I didn’t read any Ulysses yesterday. Sue me. I didn’t drink enough on election night to have an actual hangover, but I still managed to feel foggy and headachey and tired for most of the day, so I guess I had an optimism hangover? I don’t know. Anyway, I looked at the book and my brain said “But I am le tired,” so I said “Well have a nap and then
fire z missiles!* read the book.” But I didn’t have a nap so I’ll have to get to it later. Whatever. I’m already ahead of where I thought I’d be so I figure it’s okay to take a little time off but I promise I’ll get some reading done today and update you tomorrow. I know you can barely wait!
I was looking through some old journals earlier for blog material because I love nothing more than wallowing in personal humiliation (in case you couldn’t tell) and I came across this part where I declared that something was “totally bogue.” I smiled so hard at that. I miss ridiculous slang from days gone by, really, I miss it so much. In fact, while on the subject of ridiculous slang from days gone by, even though this phrase never ever appeared in any of my early-90s journals, I’ve had this thought before (and have asked a few people about it) but would now like to ask the entire internet — well, the very small portion of it that reads my blog — why the hell did we ever stop referring to it as “knockin’ boots”? Because really. That just seems like such a bad idea, not referring to it as “knockin’ boots” when we could be referring to it as “knockin’ boots” and also do you like how I keep referring to it as “it” like I’m 12? Awesome.
So, please explain why this phrase fell out of vogue for it makes no sense to me at all. For my part, I am never referring to sex as anything other than knockin’ boots ever again. MARK MY WORDS.
(Please don’t mark my words too carefully because I will probably forget about this in a week or so.)
Right, so anyway, I was looking through my journal and other than finding “totally bogue” I found evidence of my early teenage notion of flirting, juxtaposed with evidence that I have always been completely awkward. Please note this journal snippet, circa 1994:
I know I keep not writing in here and there is no way to catch up on all that has happened but I am not telling anybody this ever so I have to write it in here or I might die. So okay last month our seats got rearranged and I had to sit right next to HIM and it was horrible. I told all my friends that I hate him but I do not hate him AT ALL. I don’t have to sit next to him anymore because someone else is in between us now but he is right on the other side of her every morning and I cannot concentrate on anything and it is just terrible, but before she was sitting there and we were right next to each other he was always really nice to me and he would talk to me and I could never say anything because he makes me so nervous. Like he would talk and I would just stare at him and say something dumb like “Yeah” and then I would turn around so he would leave me alone. I think he thinks I don’t like him but he probably doesn’t care.
Anyway today we had a forensics tournament. Regionals. And when we got there I put my stuff down and I looked up and he was standing right next to me and this is why what happened is so terrible. I had my coat on the table and I reached in one of the pockets to get a hair tie out. And I found it and I pulled it out and I don’t know but it was wrapped around a tampon!!! And he was looking right at me and I was like OH MY GOD but then it would not go back in my pocket so I just had to pick it up and then I didn’t know what to do because he was still looking at me and I was looking at him and I was HOLDING A TAMPON** so I just said “Hi” and it came out sounding kind of mean and then I had to go away.
In case you were wondering, my middle name is AWESOME. In all caps, just like that.
And now, to make this post even longer, I have to write a bit about Sixteen Candles. Do you remember that movie? Of course you do. And admit it, there was a time when you thought Molly Ringwald was a snappy dresser. What’s that? No you didn’t? Liar.
I mentioned this in the comments when I guest blogged over yonder several months ago (when I also wrote about a journal snippet having to do with a boy on whom I had a crush… history repeats itself!), and I note a theme in my adolescence having to do with my crushes on boys, which is that I’m sure I would have preferred death over having any of them know I liked them at all. And not just death, but a violent death. I’ve gotten over that in my old age, at least to a degree, but aside from the fact that I am still pretty much a total dork, I think Sixteen Candles informed my notion of relationships way too much.
If you’ll recall, it’s a simple story: girl has a crush on boy, boy finds out, girl gives her underwear to a geek, boy comes to get girl and they end up sitting on a table with a birthday cake in between them and they kiss (and I always wondered how they did that without unintentionally setting themselves on fire).
Anyway, I think because I saw this movie way too much, I believed that despite the fact that whoever I had a crush on at any given time could NEVER EVER KNOW, he would still somehow find out, probably while having a conversation in his kitchen with Anthony Michael Hall, and then we would live happily ever after, birthday cake optional. (Now I am of course thinking of Eddie Izzard and cake or death, which is even funnier with Legos.) This never happened though, because I’ve realized that if you work your hardest to pretend that you don’t like someone, that person will believe your actions. And Anthony Michael Hall will not discuss you over martinis in the guy’s kitchen. This is perhaps a terrible flaw in the shape of things — not enough Anthony Michael Hall. Or martinis. One or the other.
I really didn’t intend to be serious at all because I’d much rather make fun of myself, but I just now thought of a question: what is it, the nature of feelings or the nature of being human, that makes it so hard to work up the courage to admit to another person, “Hey, I like you” and has anyone ever actually died from making such an admission? Probably not, and yet even if experience has taught us that getting past that initial hurdle does not lead to death — it occasionally may lead to incredible disappointment, but it turns out even that doesn’t kill, not really, because it’s always better just to know — it still somehow seems so impossibly difficult sometimes.
I occasionally replay the moments of my past in my mind, the ones where I was brave, and the ones where I scurried off in humiliation, tampon clenched in my fist. (I’m sure that last thing only happened the one time. I’m sure.) I may no longer act as though I hate the ones I like anymore, but I still have a bad habit of hoping my own Jake Ryans will figure it out on their own. They never do, though, it seems. Sigh.
*Yes, that is a reference to this, because I am not only a nerd, I am an old school nerd.
**I underlined that part about 15 times.