Monday, August 01, 2005

Rise and Shin

It's lunch. I'm enjoying a nice bowl of lentils (and then I'm going to hop out of my Birkenstocks and kick the hackey-sack around for a while) in the newly appreciated allure of my cube. Three gray armpit-high walls may not seem like much to you, but compared to my ride to work this morning it has all the safety and nurturing warmth of a marsupial pouch. Y'know, minus the mucus or whatever.

It's Monday and I was less than thrilled about once again hopping on the sad, slow pony ride that loops the scientific publishing carnival. The king size box of Nerds in my bag did bolster my spirits a little, and combined with the new purely decorative, incredibly tacky belt I was excited to wear I mustered up the go-go to actually board my train.

The Metro-North was typical: a couple of snorers, a loud talker, an unidentifiable and disturbing gurgle or two. Today, it was the subway that got me. The six train was particularly late and unusually crowded when it finally arrived, but with my wily ways I was able to cram inside and snag a pretty decent spot, albeit a standing one. People got off at 33rd street, but then jammed on again (with luggage! I mean, come on!) at 28th, leaving me smashed against the far door. When we screeched into 23rd street quite a few people got off. I took immediate advantage of my new elbow room by turning around to look for an open seat.

I didn't find a place to park my ass, but I did come face to face with a kid who thinks I am one. His name is Justin, we went to high school together, and once, at our eighth grade dance, I hauled off and kicked him square in the shins.

In my defense, my shoes weren't particularly pointy and I was defending my friend's honor. I was appointed matchmaker that night and charged with the hefty responsibility of navigating the dance floor, infiltrating the boys' side of the cafeteria, and, on behalf of my wimpy friends, requesting that certain objects of adolescent affection dance with their corresponding adolescent affection emitters. I am suave. I had several successes throughout the evening. But try as I might, I couldn't get Justin to dance even a couple of Boys II Men verses with my remaining unpaired pal.

She really liked him. She had liked him for all of middle school. I still, to this day, have a box full of notes about how much she liked him and how she might die if she couldn't sit with him on the bus on the field trip to see Guys and Dolls starring Jamie Farr.

I tried asking politely. He said no. I tried wheedling. He laughed at her. I tried the "it's only one dance!" logic. I tried coercion. I would've resorted to bribery to spare my poor friend's feelings had I been in posession of a single dollar, but I had spent everything I had on Pixi Stix and Pepsi. When he refused to even look at her after a good ten minutes of real effort on my part, I was forced to return to the estrogen side of the gym to console my friend with the fact that no, Justin didn't want to dance with her, but she shouldn't mind too much because he had a festering boil of a zit on his chin.

Ten o'clock rolled around and our parents came to pick us up. On my way out the door I saw that Justin was on the payphone. Unable to let the eighth grade come to a close with the scales of justice unbalanced, I walked up to him, tapped him on the shoulder, and punted his tibia. Presumably he was on the phone with his mother, who presumably also heard him let out his girly howl.

It was this Justin who got on the subway at 23rd street. I can't say we had much of a relationship after the dance. I'm pretty positive that he recognized me this morning, but we didn't exactly hug and shoot the shit for the rest of the ride. Instead of a Cinderella-style reunion in which my foot exactly fit the scar on his leg, we actually turned our backs to each other, pretended we were total strangers, and ignored the fact that his elbow was in my kidney until 14th street.

He jumped on an express. I looked down at my feet. I'm wearing really pointy shoes today.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow thats kinda wild... i guess the guys are lucky you dont kick them in the balls ... that would elicit a much more permanent girly howl ..LOL so you like kicking huh

2:09 AM  

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