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Posts Tagged ‘Hanging Out’

Seventh Grade Gangster Of Love….Part 1

In The 70's on April 27, 2021 at 5:57 am

‘Seventh grade is gonna be a trip!’ Jackie exclaimed, holding her paper schedule out to compare with mine. We had Mr. Gates twice that year- once in the Fall, and again in our last semester. Jackie and I didn’t share every class, so we were thrilled when we found we out had Metal Shop- together! as our final class of the day on Wednesdays and Fridays. This meant we could hang out in Mr. Gates class, barely do any work (he didn’t care!) and leave school together-we could catch the bus, or better yet- walk home and wait for the after school shenanigans to find us.

Nathan Hale: The ‘Junior Jail’

By the time June arrived, both Jackie and I each had boyfriends. Jackie was seeing a guy named Mike, who worked at the car wash on Westport Avenue, and went to Norwalk High. He was a much older man, a tenth grader. He wasn’t ‘to-die-for cute’, but he was one of those guys who, the better you knew him, the cuter he got. Mike was 16, and had a banged up brown Pinto which we loved, as he drove us around town endlessly, a delicious taste of the freedom we, too, might have when someday we got our licenses. Imagine- you feel like going to the beach-and you just go! Need something at Bradlees? Bam! You’re there! We were thrilled to go anywhere with Mike, and we’d tool around listening to WABC radio through his tinny speakers, singing along to “Band On The Run’ and ‘Bennie and the Jets’, and smoke our cigarettes like the high school kids we idolized. Mike was also known to bring us to Carroll’s and buy us 35 cent hamburgers, and sometimes, even fries to split, depending on how his tips went that day. Jackie, we both agreed, had found herself a catch, and I was glad to be along for the ride. Even if I wished Mike would invest in an 8-track player and some new speakers.

Lots of cool guys worked at the car wash..

Meanwhile, I was ‘dating’ Joey Baducci (by dating I mean: standing next to him at the pool hall and sometimes letting him kiss me -closed mouth of course!) I’d first met him at the beach, a few weeks earlier when Jackie, Mike and I were hanging out in the crowded beach parking lot on an early Friday evening. I was bored out of my mind, drinking what was left of a warm Shasta Root Beer, trying not to look at Jackie and Mike who were making out like Mike was leaving for the war. They had been promising for the past forty five minutes we were going to Carroll’s and I had skipped dinner in anticipation, grabbing only the soda as I sprinted out of the house.

Hanging out with these two could turn into being a third wheel on a dime- as soon as the kissing began- and nothing says ‘you don’t have a boyfriend’ as clearly as watching another couple make out, so I finally decided to walk over to the snack bar, and then maybe the pier. The sun was easing down on the horizon, a fiery orange ball, casting flame colored shadows across the sky, washing out the brick walls of the Calf Pasture outbuildings.  Soon it would be dark.

I started off across the lot. Somehow, Jackie noticed I was on the move (she must have come up briefly for air) and insisted that they come with. Whatever. The love birds trailed me like I was dropping crumbs, as I clomped along like a show-horse in my new white clogs. My flared hip- hugger jeans were extra long- so you couldn’t actually see my new clogs, but you could sure hear them. Any louder and I end up tied up to a lamp post! My halter-style denim vest- which tied behind my neck was nothing if not tres chic, showing just a hint of tanned cleavage. (Years later, I’d see this exact outfit on an undercover cop posing as jail-bait on 20/20)

Anyway, I could vaguely hear someone calling my name above the crowd. Or at least, someone was calling out ‘Lisa’ to any of the fifty thousand Lisas who were hanging out at the beach in the mid 70s.  But sure enough, I noticed Tony Baducci waving his hands at me. He was standing in front of a line of sweet muscle cars-Camaro, Chevelle, Camaro, Roadrunner- with a crowd I didn’t know. Mostly high school guys, probably gear-heads. They always had the best cars.

“This way, guys” I said to Jackie and Mike, gesturing the change of direction like an air traffic controller guiding a plane to the gate. The two of then walked arm and arm, forehead to forehead (hurl!) barely glancing over, then veering clumsily like loopy contestants in a three-legged race. Almost inevitably, a carload of boisterous teens almost ran into them, and the words ‘Watch it, D***wads!’ echoed out behind me. Glad someone said it. You would think this would stop them, but they hardly noticed. 

I approached Tony, who was acting overly happy to see me, as if we hadn’t just been together in classes all day hardly even acknowledging each other. Tony had longish, shaggy, brown hair, big brown eyes and a crooked nose that somehow made him look cool. In fact, he would have been boyfriend material if only he had been half-a-foot taller.  We didn’t run in the same circles because he lived across town from me, on the far side of the school district. Though this would matter less and less, and eventually not at all by the time we had cars -right now- at fourteen, it was important to keep your friends close by for convenience sake. Phone friends were good- don’t get me wrong- but you needed someone to traipse through the woods and smoke cigarettes with- someone whose house you could escape to when all hell broke loose in your own. In other words: someone within walking distance. Jackie was my close-to-homegirl.

Smoking: Why do it alone?

“How you doin’, Lisa?’ Tony asked excitedly when we walked up. “What are you doin’ down here?”

Like I was the last person he’d ever expect to see, despite the fact that what seemed like the entire junior-and senior-high schools were here at the beach. If there was a more popular hang-out, it was yet undiscovered.  Tony was smiling kind of weird and kept glancing at the guys standing behind him, who all stared at me with laughing eyes. I shrugged my shoulders, pointed at Mike and Jackie, who stood behind me sucking face and brilliantly said “I dunno……..just hangin?’ I mean- what is anyone doing down here?

Abruptly, Tony said “Lisa- this is my brother, Joey” and pointed to a guy standing to his left. A tall, sun-drenched guy-much older, maybe even 20 (!) with long, dirty blonde hair, wearing jeans, no shirt, and holding a Budweiser pushed him forward, and all of the guys laughed. Joey looked irritated and put-upon, but he held his hand out and I shook it. He was taller than me and wearing a blue silkscreen ‘Keep On Truckin’ t-shirt. He had thick brownish-red hair, afro-ish in texture and style, a sprinkle of freckles across his nose and cheeks, and a noticeable resemblance to Tony in his brown eyes. 

Joey was a stylish kinda guy…

“Hi!” he said flatly. Then he stared at me. Uncomfortable silence followed, and threatened to take over. 

Suddenly- someone’s car stereo blasted to life:

“Some people call me the Space Cowboy….(doodoodoodoodoodoodooodo) Some call me the Ganster of Lo-ove (doodoodoodoodoodoodoodo)…Some people call me Maurice…..(whit-wooo)….

We all jumped, like cats in response to any sound or movement. My heart thumped out of my chest. The stereo, which belonged to the shirtless wonder sounded awesome, once the startle passed. His car was a sweet silver Camaro SS, with black stripes on the hood, jacked up high like a toddler in her mother’s high heels.  It had shiny silver rims, Cragars all around. It was my dream car and my dream stereo.  

In order to hear ourselves talk, we had to move away from the stereo’s force field, so the five of us walked away from the car until the music was at a reasonable decibel. It was quite the voyage.  (Which was an homage to the intensity of the Camaro’s sound system!)

Halfway across the parking lot, we could once again hear ourselves talk. Tony got the ball rolling by telling Joey we were in Metal Shop together, and eventually Joey started talking a little. He had a nasally voice that brought to mind Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.  Maybe he had a cold? Joey told me he went to Norwalk High, was in tenth grade, and was getting his license next Saturday morning. I asked him if he had a cold, and he said not that he knew of.

“Wait’ll you see his car, Lis!” Tony said suddenly, to which Joey blushed and said “It needs work, but….”

To the left of me,  Jackie pulled her mouth from Mike’s with an audible ‘pop’ and said “So- are we goin’ to the snack bar or what?” wiping the slobber off her chin by rolling up the bottom of her t-shirt (hey! I see you went with the white bra covered in tiny red roses…now I can sleep) and wiping. I guess all semblance of order was out the window for her. 

“Ummm…I was waitin’ on you!” I said defiantly. Tony, sensing we were leaving blurted out: “Hey Lisa. Gimme your number” At which Joey elbowed him hard and spit “Don’t!” under his breath…Good Lord! These two were not on the same page.

Paper mixed with little specks of candy …mmmm!

I told Tony my number was ‘in the book’, along with what street I lived on. It’s not like any of us had pens or paper anyway. I wasn’t even clear on who was going to call, or even why, but the situation seemed harmless, so I went with it. Let the future me deal with it.

I said ‘Later!” then me and the lovebirds headed to the snack bar, where I bought a pack of Candy Buttons with my paltry change while Mike shared a red-checkered cardboard box of fries swimming in ketchup with Jackie, then devoured a delicious looking yellow Scooter Pie. My stomach growled. I had planned on catching the sunset, but by the time we walked the pier, the sun was already gone, leaving in it’s place a dark gray sky. We did however, see some impressive pails of bluefish and snapper, caught by the old men on the docks with bamboo fishing poles. Men with leathery, brown faces, who spoke only Spanish and whispered ‘bonito’ as Jackie and I strolled by, abruptly turning away at the sight of Mike. I was so hungry by now that I mentally pictured grabbing one of the fish in the pail and eating it cartoon-cat style, pulling out a complete fish skeleton when I was done and tossing it off the pier into the Sound.

The Pier

 

Jake Chronicles: Part 6/ 4/29/15

In My Stories, PRINTED, The 80's on April 29, 2015 at 2:08 pm

I make my way through packed room, crossing the front of the stage, then up the stairs that lead to the second level. It’s very crowded but I’m on a mission and push my way through. I wonder if Carly is still at our table and am happy to see that she is, and bonus- she’s been joined by Jess and Blue. Jess’s white blond hair stands out like teeth under a blacklight, and I note he’s wearing his Jack Daniels T-shirt with the sleeves I personally cut off. His white leather jacket is hanging off the back of Darla’s chair. “Beer Drinkers And Hell Raisers” by ZZ Topp is blaring from the speakers. We’re all shaking our heads a little, in time with the song. Darla holds her beer up high in the air during the chorus- because clearly, this song is about her and she wants everyone to know it.

“THERE YOU ARE!!” she bellows when I approach the table. I nod, validating her astute observation. Nothing gets by Darla. Blue looks at me with wide eyes, open mouth and her hand splayed over her heart. I know I owe her a story.

“Are you done humping it up in the parking lot?” Jess asks, as he stands up and points to the empty seat next to him. I shake my head, and give him an insincere smile. I take the seat, folding my hands together atop the table, like the Principal at a parent-teacher conference.

“You shoulda seen her out there” he yells to the girls “She was really goin’ at it!” He slaps his knee, and chugs from a Bud bottle.

“That’s NOT what happened!” I say loudly. “Jesus!”

“Where’s Mr. Suave? He leave you hangin?” Jess asks, laughing.

I ignore him, and lean into the table, motioning  Darla and Blue to come closer. Jess stands up, and says he’ll be right back. “I don’t wanna hear any of her Penthouse letters” he cracks. I give him another fake smile and the finger.

“Anyway!” I say to our little huddle, inside which we can hear ourselves if we really lean in.  “That was The Guy! The Guy on the Bike!” Blue nods in quick succession, while Darla asks ‘Bi-cycle? What bicycle? Who are we even talking about here?”

“Tsk! No! Not a bicycle…’ I say, exasperated. ‘I’m not scoping out bicycle riders, Darla! I mean- what am I-  riding around in my car checking out guys on ten speeds?” I say this as if it is as impossible as me flying to the moon, and just as preposterous. The truth is, I’ll scope on any guy, anywhere. Driving, walking- you name it. The only real criteria I have for a guy is ‘existing’.  I mean- who am I kidding?

“OOOOOH!” she yells, finally recognizing who I’m referring to, “You mean that fox on the rice-burner you were telling me about!”

“Shhhh!” I say, looking quickly around for eavesdroppers, like anyone would care, like anyone could even hear us over the music if they did. Which they don’t.

“No, Darla- really- you’ve gotta SEE this one! I mean- yowzah!” Blue shakes her wrist, flapping her hand back and forth, validating my taste. “How’d you ever meet him, Sam?”

“It’s so funny- you won’t believe how it happened!” I say, shoring up my tale, convinced it’s the most random sequence of events ever. Just imagine: two people, constantly checking each other out around town-when- big twist! they run into each other at one of  the only three local bars people in our age bracket gather at. Still, that didn’t stop me from weaving a dramatic yarn, like a ghost story told around a campfire, with cute guys and motorcycles instead of diaphanous ghosts and witches brooms.

When I  finish, careful to supply every detail and nuance from ‘saw him speeding into the beach all foxy and what not’ for Darla’s benefit, all the way through to the random bumping into each other in the crowd here. I lean back into my chair, throw my hands up: mic drop!. What can I say? I’m fascinating. Blue squeezes her arms together and giggles, while Darla holds out for a high five. I don’t notice this right off (so taken as I am with my own story) that when I finally do high five her back it’s awkward and clumsy and doesn’t quite connect.  If this was a movie, we’d have to do another take. But Jake would still be the star.

As if on cue, he strolls up to the table with a drink and a beer, and hands me the drink. My heart races. His presence is so in my face-he stands apart from everyone else in my eyes- I’d swear he’s more three dimensional. Almost like he’s in color, and the rest of us are black and white.  He leans in to whisper in my ear, his ass practically in Darla’s face. Her and Blue are literally pointing at it and making duck lip faces. Darla’s pantomiming a squeeze. I kick her under the table. Thankfully,  she straightens up and flies right. Blue follows suit.

“Listen- I need to leave with my friend” Jake says, his voice deep, tickling my inner ear, giving me goosebumps. “Can I get your number and call you tomorrow?”

Can you? I nod my head and reach into my purse, holding a finger up, hold on a sec. I pull out my tiny brown leather address book, embossed with a braying unicorn. (Underneath its hooves, it reads ‘The Unicorn’ in case I mistake it for a regular horse) I flip through, looking for a blank page, which I  rip out sloppily, it’s edges jagged which faintly bothers me; I wish I could scissor that off- (I have a sprinkle of OCD, only a dash, really) I find a pen at the bottom of my purse and write my name in extra swirly script (script is one of my specialties) and add my number. I’m actually trying to make my handwriting sexy which may be certifiable. (oooh!…when I saw the way you looped that  ‘S’ I knew you were the one for me! A classic love story)

I feel like I’ll be competing with a stack of other girl’s numbers, though, so I put in the extra effort. I fold the paper and pass it to him. He leans down and whispers in my ear “I’ll call you tomorrow, foxy”, and actually play- bites my earlobe gently. I shiver. He walks away-a vision of hotness as the three of us track him. As soon as he is just out of range, we all start swooning, slapping the table and clucking like hens. We all agree-wholeheartedly-that he is one buff motherf*cker and just ‘oh my god!’

On the upside, now that he’s gone, I can finally be my effing self, my voice suddenly a few decibels lower, my posture less stiff, relaxing into my chair, the relief of no longer being watched from afar by a potential lover and his opinionated friends. I hadn’t realized how clenched up I was, subtly posing, holding in my stomach, boobs up and out proudly, like flags. But the evaluation is over, it seems I’ve passed and now it’s time to slouch- and party. Let the drinks and expletives fly!

Jailbreak:Part One

In The 80's on April 3, 2012 at 11:20 pm

The following Friday morning was an ice cold, sunny day. Why was it so freakin’ cold this year? I want answers!  Jess and I had spent the previous evening bar-hopping (including the Pines where we laughed with Louie about his drug induced jig, something that was approaching legendary status) Jess and I slept late.  We didn’t have to be in Bridgeport until three o’clock, to pick up the mysterious jailbird Jax. Evidently I’d told Angie that she could come along as well, and there she was, calling me at ten am sharp, waking me up in the process. Didn’t she realize I had the day off?

Thanks so much for that, Angela Marie!

“Where are you?!” she roared “Aren’t we going to get Jax?”

“Jesus, woman!! They don’t let him out until three!” I fumble around the nightstand for my cigarettes and lighter. “Hold on a minute!”  I put the phone down, use the bathroom, then quickly brush my teeth. I can’t enjoy a morning cigarette without first freshening my breath so that the cigarette can dirty it back up. I return to the bed, prop up my pillows and lounge back down. I can hear Angie’s voice through the receiver long before I get it back to my ear. She’s knee-deep in a conversation with herself. 

“Whoah, whoah, whoah- stop the clock!” I say. “Who the hell are you talkin’ to?”

I light up a Newport. Angie stops abruptly.

“What?! Haha! I’m talkin’ to you, dummy!” she says, cackling.

“Well- I haven’t even been here- I went to brush my teeth. What are you babbling?”

“Oh! hahaha” she giggles. “I was just tryin’ to tell you how cute Jax is. Wait till you see him!” I’d seen Angie’s version of cute before. It pretty much encompassed all males, everywhere. Discerning, she was not. 

“Well, Angie….I can’t wait to meet a cute guy who’s fresh out of jail! Sounds like marriage material!” I laughed.

“Oh, Sam!” she sighed “He’s only in there for motor vehicles stuff! Reckless driving, Drag racing-that kind of stuff. Nothing big. It’s just that no one would bail him out! Not even his parents! And they live in Westport!” 

Westport was a town over, and everyone who lived there was assumed to be extravagantly rich.

“Well, if he’s only in there for driving like a fucking maniac, maybe running someone over?- dare I say- he sounds perfect!”….I blow smoke rings to amuse myself. I imagine a hot rod barreling through the beach parking lot, crashing into and leaping over parked cars. Flying through a flaming hoop. A bevy of cop cars in hot pursuit, sirens blaring, red and blue lights spinning like cyclones.

Angie sighs.

“Okay” she says, “but I’m tellin’ ya- he’s foxy!…Anyway- when are we leaving?”

“Probably around one-thirty” I say “I gotta call Jess. Then I’ll come get you. Be ready!” I demand.

“Oh, I will be!” she cracks, “I can’t keep Queen Sam waiting!”

“That’s right!” I say, meaning it.

………….

I roll up to Angie’s a little after one. I pull into her condo complex, follow the road (and annoying  speed bumps) all the way to the end of the development where she lives and stop in front of a huge barrier of freshly plowed snow. I beep the horn, and out she flies, from between a break in the snowdrifts. She dances out, goofing around, dressed flamboyantly (as usual) in a dazzling mixture of fabrics and textures. Hot pink long sweater, thick black belt, black leggings, scrunchy boots, bright glittery scarves piled on, and clunky pastel bracelets. Her signature spiky brown hair (kind of a Carol Brady long shag with spikes) is on point, and she wears lots of makeup. Darla’s an extrovert and she dresses boldly.  I  opted for a neon green sweater, Guess jeans and spanking white high-top Reeboks- the kind with the velcro. My hair, longer, but also spiked on top- is Aqua-netted to within an inch of its life. 

Angie’s hair as modeled by Joan Jett

She jumps into the front seat, her presence sucking up all the air. “Sammy, baby!!” she exclaims, leaning into me with an air kiss, and strong hug.

“HOW’S THINGS? WHAT’S GOIN’ ON? WHAT ARE WE LISTENIN’ TO? LET’S GO!”

She’s all in my space and louder than hell. She means well- even when she drives me nuts. Which is often. I check the rearview and pull out onto the snowy main street to the opening riffs of Van Halen’s ‘Little Dreamer’. Darla immediately starts playing a violent air-guitar, elbowing me hard in the process. I give her a look. “Move…over there, will ya?” I say, gesturing towards the passenger door. The Caddy has huge bench seats, and she’s over here on my side.

“Sorry!” she says, laughing. She scooches over. Then she turns down the music. Before I can stare daggers she says “I gotta tell you about last night!”

“What?” I ask, mentally trying to trace down when I last saw her the night before. Was she playing pool with a crowd of people?

“Well….I kinda hooked up with somebody” she says, eyes glittering. Oh brother. What now? 

“Yeah?….and?……”

“Do you know that guy William Post?” she asks. I do. He runs with a New Wave crowd. 

“Yeah, sorta” I say.

“Oh, Sam!” she says, hands clapping together. “He’s SOOO cool!”

Darla falls in love every other week, and although I know it’s her business, I think she moves fast, then gets upset when these guys don’t stick around. I’m worried  she’ll get knocked up, and end up having a loud-ass baby she can’t possibly raise, and then I’ll have to step in and help her, which…yikes!

“I hope you used something!” I say.

For someone who’s as active as Darla, birth control seemed to be an afterthought. A She’s tried the pill, but didn’t remember to take it. I’m completely pro-choice and know without question that I wouldn’t have a baby unless I could afford it (and I take my pill…) but Darla says she could never end a pregnancy ‘because it wouldn’t be right!’. Her Mom is very religious, so I see where she gets it from, but I just can’t fathom bringing a life into the world because an invisible man in the sky says so.  

“Yeah- I was thinking…’ says Darla. “I really need a diagram”

I start laughing. “Really? I thought you knew what you were doing in that area! What don’t you know how to do?”

“Well- would I have to go to a doctor to get one?”

What? Doctors are passing out sex diagrams? I’ll have to get one at my next check-up. 

“Don’t you have that Helen Gurley Brown book?” I could swear I saw it in her room: Sex and The Single Girl. Though I’m still not entirely convinced she reads. She has borrowed books from me, but conversations about said books are suspiciously vague. And annoyingly, I always have to go in and physically get them back.

 It suddenly occurs to me what Darla is saying.

“Oh my God! Do you mean you need a DIAPHRAGM?” I ask, shaking my head and twisting up my face.

“YESSS! That’s what I said!” she chirps. Oh God. Here we go again…Sometimes when I’m with Darla, I expect springs to start popping out of my head. Or hers. Boing! Boing!

——————————-

Jess is outside waiting when we pull up. He’s wearing a brown leather and lambswool bomber jacket and acid washed jeans, arms folded from the cold, taking furious drags off a cigarette. When he sees the car, he flicks the butt into a snowbank and rubs his hands together until the car pulls up to exactly where he stands. I feel like I’m landing a plane, the snow crunching under the tires, while getting as precisely close to Jess without embedding him in the snowbank on the side of the road. Don’t come to me and make it easier, dear friend-I am here to serve you!

Jess opens the passenger door and starts laughing at Darla.

“What the hell are you doin’ here?” he says. He sounds nasally, like he has a cold.

“Go on! Get yourself in the back!” he says to her.

“No way!” she booms back.

“Sam- Tell Her!” he says, hand on his hip. He’s serious.

“Oh, for God sakes, just get in the back! You can have the front after we go to Bridegeport!” I tell Jess.

He sighs and squeezes into the back seat as Darla holds her seat forward dramatically and Jess purposely pushes all his weight against it.

“Hurry up!” she groans, like the weight of the world is on her. Finally the door is shut. If we’re the Three Stooges, I think -at least I’m Moe.

 

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