[about the author]
i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish,
i work crossword puzzles in ink.
i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie
izzard. can't decide, really.
i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really
i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.
i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.
i never play dumb. never.
i am way too hard on myself.
i am a change agent.
i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.
i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.
i am militantly pro-choice.
i am pro-adoption.
i know a little bit about alot of things.
i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.
i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it.
i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.
i have been known to hold a grudge.
i have hips.
i am not my sister.
i am lousy at forgiving myself.
i am an indoor kind of gal.
i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.
i am 32 flavors. and then some.
the mojo is strong in this one...but he could use a little hair product
heading home on the metro on tuesday, i finished up the best american short stories of 2002 anthology. i closed the book and decided to try and catch a quick nap.
just as i’m closing my eyes, i hear a voice.
“so, was your short story collection a good one this year?”
i open my eyes and look up. there, smiling down at me is a…um…young man…probably about 14 or 15.
“um…yeah, it was actually very good. much better than i expected, truth be told.”
“i like reading anthologies myself. mostly science fiction. i’m looking forward to getting started on this year’s edition of the year’s best science fiction. i hear it’s over 500 pages this time around!”
at first, i think this is all just fine and dandy. and then, as my newfound othodontically-challenged friend is waxing rhapsodic about the year’s best science fiction, it dawns on me: this kid is throwing a rap. at me.
this kid with the unfortunate eyebrow and the toughskin jeans, clutching his bookmarked copy of star wars: destiny’s way is trying to put the moves on me.
this, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of my life. this is always the guy who hits on me. and, by that, i do not mean that i am some sort of jailbait magnet. no, i’m talking about the geeks. a term i use with nothing but love and affection, by the way.
while other teenage girls were basking in the glow of football players making grand gestures, like spray painting their name on the inside of the train tunnel in my hometown, i found myself being paid tribute in much…uh…loftier ways.
i distinctly remember a sunny day in my ninth grade year, lounging on the lawn of my junior high school, as a small cadre of boys approached.
it was the guys from the rocket club.
“we’re going to launch our first rocket next week, and, uh…we wanted to know if you would come and watch.”
“and, uh...if we could name it after you.”
i put down my book and look up at them, squinting into the blinding reflection of the midday sun off of their collective aviator glasses.
“you want to name your rocket after me? why? why do you want to do that to me?”
“well, duh,” the smallest one piped up. “you’re only the smartest girl in the whole school!”
these were my suitors for pretty much the rest of my life. the av club guys [ed. note: a unique brand of bird, the av guy]. the model united nations guys.
it’s not that they weren’t great guys. it was just that you wanted to clean them up a bit. literally, sometimes. and take down the enthusiasm for overhead projectors just a tad. buy ‘em a members only jacket. it’s okay to be a geek [trust me: you’re talking to the queen.] but, you don’t have to look the part. i mean, if you’re a bookworm, you should definitely get the whole natural selection dynamic.
and, now, here’s this kid, probably president of the chess club at his school, trying to sweet talk me on the metro. i guess you can dress the geek queen up in chic clothes and a trendy haircut, but you just can’t get the stench of it off of me. it’s my destiny.
of course, the new twist here is that i could play mrs. robinson to this benjamin braddock. not necessarily in the “would you like me to seduce you” kind of way. maybe more in the “let’s see about a dermatologist appointment and a trip to abercrombie & fitch" kind of way. perhaps more of a henry higgins to his eliza doolittle.
at any rate, i suddenly notice that the boy wonder is not traveling alone. his parents, in matching old navy zip-up fleece pull-overs and fanny packs, are standing behind him. they are exchanging troubled glances.
how can they stop this nabokovian tragedy unfolding before their very eyes?
the father, thinking fast on his feet, reaches up a hand and pats his son on the shoulder. he says to his wife, “honey, i don’t think michael is drinking enough milk.”
as the color rises in young michael’s cheeks, i feel indescribably bad for him. i suddenly have the urge to invite him to sit down and chat. or to plant a tongue kiss on him. or, at the very least, to tell him that i’m really really sorry about the fanny packs.
of course, most of those things would get me arrested and thrown into a cell right next to mary kay la tourneau.
michael’s mother is chiming in now. “i think you’re absolutely right. michael, sweetie, you haven’t been drinking nearly enough milk.”
michael isn’t making eye contact with me anymore. i think even a sci fi geek like michael can sense that, if you’re trying to score with an older woman and you’re getting cockblocked by your parents…well, to say that things aren't going well would be akin to saying that jar jar binks wasn't the highlight of the star wars saga.
“and why do you say that, mom? why do you think that i haven’t been drinking enough milk?” he asks sarcastically, while staring at the floor.
“well,” she stammers. she obviously was not expecting to have to make her case. “well...i drink more milk than you do!”
she smiles triumphantly, as though she has just cured cancer right there on the red line train to shady grove.
slowly, michael’s eyes rise from the floor and lock on mine. he’s looking right at me as he opens his mouth.
“well, you drink more vodka than i do, too. maybe we should focus on evening up that score instead of milk.”
i smile at michael and he smiles at me. his mom isn’t saying anything now. i suddenly have the urge to go ahead and give michael that tongue kiss, even at the risk of being incarcerated. or, at the very least, to slip him a note on my way out, giving him my number. telling him to call me when he’s legal.
but, i pussed out.
i just hope my encouraging and appreciative smile was enough for michael to know that he’s going to do just fine. because smart girls like me love a guy with a mouth full of wiseass.
even if they do read science fiction anthologies.
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