Saturday, August 1, 2009

Ruckus On State Street: The Montpelier and Worcester Diaries

Last Sunday, I put $10 worth of gas in my car, filled my tire with a slow leak up with air, and loaded Alli and Emily into the Civvy for a girl’s getaway day to Montpelier. There are some things that girl friends have to do with each other as mandatory summer friend-community service, and road trips are one of those things. We had an iPod full of summer driving songs, sunglasses, cell phones, and a need to all get out of town. It was one of those days that just feels amazing for a reason you can’t put your finger on.

By now, I’m a champ at driving 89 into Montpelier and getting around town. Because parking was the only thing that I hadn’t done before in the city, we decided to take the easiest option out, park at Shaw’s, and walk. We figured we’d be killing two objectives in one go—getting some exercise, and window-shopping. We stopped in to Splash and Spangle, which is basically Montpelier’s answer to Burlington’s Bella Donna and Queen Anne’s Lace. A rock shop (and by “rock,” I mean those things you find on the ground, but of the pretty variety) on the corner of Main Street and State Street caught Alli’s eye, but unfortunately, it was closed. That’s what you get for going city-hopping on a Sunday.

Capitol Grounds, however, was open and bustling. I ordered a Capitol Chill—their version of a Coffee Coolata—with hazelnut flavoring from a barista who looked so familiar it weirded me out until I came up with the only excuse possible—she was either one of Perfect or Cait’s Facebook friends whose profile picture, and so, face, I’d seen before. We both gave each other curious looks, so I think the feeling was mutual. That’s the one weird thing about Facebook—far-flung friends of friends aren’t strangers anymore when they’re staring you in the face on someone’s comment wall.

After getting our iced coffees and such to go, we wandered right past Perfect’s place of employment (and no, my curiosity did not get the better of me and I did not peek into the front windows like I wanted to so badly,) and to the State House’s lawn and front steps where we followed Alli’s idea to “really stir up something crazy so if Perfect or John hear about it, they’ll know it was us,” and put my native Vermonter’s tax dollars at work by turning it inside-out to be our “we’re twenty-somethings with a camera and taste for adventure” playground. There were cannons to be climbed on, statues to mock, lamp-posts to swing around, marble to be danced on, trees to be climbed…you get the drift. If there is one thing that you cannot accuse me of, it is taking myself too seriously. I still love to play like a little kid. The pictures posted here from that day are proof of it. The first thing I did upon approaching the lawn was to kick off my flip-flops and go skipping off, shoes, coffee and Ralph Lauren purse in hand.

We spent about an hour lounging literally on the Capitol, having girl-talk, sorting out the world’s problems, making lewd and salacious comments, and generally soaking in the gorgeous and finally present sun’s rays. As we started our trek back to the car, a motorcyclist checked us out so hard he almost tripped his moving bike over by overcompensating. We laughed openly at this, although I think that we all know that while we may make fun of guys for doing this now, there’s going to be a time down the road when it doesn’t happen anymore, so secretly, or not so secretly, we cherish it now.

Not so cute was the old flat-black-painted pick-up truck of three twenty-something guys. It was cute the first time they passed us heading out of town, as the half-naked and attractive guy in the passenger’s seat hung a little further out the window to grin at us as we grinned back at him, maybe a little too convincingly, because when they passed us again on route 12, passenger now hanging his upper body out of the car to get a good look at us, they pulled over, let us pass, and then pulled out behind us. And proceeded to follow us almost all the way in to Worcester. Normally, Alli, Em and I are pretty cool customers—it takes a lot to flap Alli, whose father is an ex-UFC fighter and who herself can take down an over 200 pound man singlehandedly; as for myself, having too much bravado for my own good and an ex-Marine for a father who taught me a thing or two, “fear” usually isn’t a word in my vocabulary—but after the flattery of this event wore off, it left us rather worried. Thankfully, I knew two different ways to get to where we were going to the Pots, and one way travelled right past John’s mom’s house. It was decided that if the followed us up Minister Brook Road, we would pull into John’s driveway, hoping he was there and all 6-foot-one, lanky sapling body and sweet nature of his could save us. We would go to Perfect’s house, just up the road from John’s, only in the utmost dire situation. The idea of landing unannounced on his doorstep that had never been shown to me, merely explained where it was, chilled me more to the bone than the idea of having to tell three Montpelier guys to back off at a local swimming hole. Alli, the official road trip video girl, got this entire episode on tape. Possibly the most self-telling moment of this entire situation was when after I bombed across a bridge under construction to try and put space between the Civvy and the black truck that remained close to my bumper, Alli caught my distress mantra on tape.

“John, be home, be home; oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please,” I chanted under my breath, and then after glancing back into my rear-view window, did the only thing that came naturally to me at that second: opened my mouth and wailed Perfect’s name is distress.

“PEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERFEEEEEEEEEEEEECT!!!” (Um. Ok. Granted, I yelled his real name and not his nickname, but you get the idea.)

Perfect, all 6'3" and 204 muscular pounds of him with his voice that sounds like it originates around his kneecaps, could certainly give our pseudo-stalkers pause. Perfect, with all the time I spent next to him, reassured me by nothing more than proximity. Perfect, the hulking manbeast of sheer strength and belly laughs, still is categorized in my mental Rolodex under “Protector.” Perfect is still the first person I think of for help when in a crisis.

…And Perfect was at home and so, out of cell-phone range for receiving any calls either about our needing to be rescued or to meet up to swim with us.

Luckily, the pick-up truck of men pulled over when we crossed the border into Worcester, probably thinking that they’d followed us far enough with us showing no signs of stopping or pulling over. We continued to the Pots happily, if not shakily, passing John’s house—sans a John, so that plan wouldn’t have worked—and went swimming in the refreshingly glacial waters. Knowing that the plan had been to try and meet up with Perfect and/or John to inject some testosterone into our Girl’s Day, Alli and Em both kept a close eye and question on my well-being when that plan fell flat due to Verizon’s lack of cell phone towers on Worcester Mountain. What bothered me even more than the fact that neither of them were there was the fact that I had inadvertently stumbled upon the fact with the “help” of the guys in the truck that Perfect is still my go-to guy in a time of need. I still, maybe foolishly, rely on Perfect to protect me, get me through things, and be there for me, when in reality, I don’t really know if I could trust in him to do those things for me.

In the long run, however, it seemed maybe better off that the guys hadn’t met us. We all ended up getting creepy little crawly bugs from the stone waterslide in our bathing suits, and there was a lot of bare ass being shown as girly shrieks pierced the air, prompting me to come up with the term “Beasty Cave” as a synonym for “vagina.”

“You know,” I said to Emily. “That’s where I keep my pets. Sometimes, a one-eyed snake even lives in it.”

On the way home from Montpelier, after working myself into a righteous anger with Alli and Em about how Perfect was now “officially avoiding me” or so it seemed since it had been bordering on a month since we had last seen each other, I received a text from a perfectly contrite Perfect.
“Sorry,” he said. “I was out of service all day! How was it?”

I can’t go from rampantly pissed to cooingly pleased with him so quickly. It’s bad for my health. Or, at least, mental stability. I have also since decided that Perfect owes me the last four shots of my vodka that he got drunk off of and an orgasm. Then we can call it fair.

Meanwhile, my roommate Kim’s younger brother and friend have been living with us for the past week, which I’ve actually greatly enjoyed. Men you can tell to pick up their shit and not have to feel bad or sugar-coat it. In fact, sometimes, they even wash dishes, take out the trash and vacuum without being asked. Louis and Matt are both 17. I sense great promise in their futures as boyfriends and husbands. Watch out, ladies.

I’ve loved having them around for a few reasons. One, younger men are what I call “great soft-assassination flirting targets.” Basically, you can practice your game on them, let them hone their skills on you, and everyone feels good without feeling like they need to follow through on anything. These 17 year olds know I’m not going to decide to just hop into bed with them—as I said to Alli, “You have friend standards, and I have statutory rape standards.”

I may feel this way because it seems that younger men are less intimidating. A 23 or 24 year old I never would have slept with the second time I met him, but Perfect was 19—and so, safe to me. I felt no need to impress him or pretend to be more mature and less raunchy; in other words, I felt no need to be someone who I am not. In my past dating experiences, especially with older men, I have always morphed into some weird hybrid between who I really am and who I think they want me to be. It never goes well.

Secondly, I’ve realized that a lot of my straight male friend’s advice is coming from a different age group than Perfect is in. Most of my guys are 20+ with life experience behind them and a little more maturity. Living with two almost 18 year old boys has given me the sounding board of the younger set.

“Why,” I would ask them. “Would a guy be so into you, make plans to see you, keep in touch with you every day, do all the cute things he’s supposed to, and even more, and then suddenly say he needs to stop? Why would a guy go on and on about plans with you if he was only going to break up with you a few weeks later? Why would he say things like, “I’m looking for a relationship,” and “It sounds like you need a good relationship with a good guy—I’m a good guy,” and “I’ll visit from college,” or “It’s a 3 and a half hour drive, but would you visit?” or “Wait until you see how jacked I get from all the lifting I’ll be doing,” or “Maybe I’ll have to come and travel with you when you’re studying abroad in the spring”?”

“Because he wants to get in your pants,” Matt said matter-of-factly.

“I’m going to be blunt with you,” I told them. “We’d already been there and done that. He started saying these things after.”

“Oh, then that’s completely different. He really liked you, then,” Matt amended his statement. “If he was still making plans to see you and saying that to you after he got what he wanted, than he really meant it.”

Do you see what I mean? Most of my guy friends are too old and have too much tact to say things like “when he got what he wanted.” But it’s the truth, isn’t it?

“Distance scares guys,” Louis added. “Especially when things get serious. If he really likes you and you live 45 minutes away from each other now and it’s going to be more once he moves, then he’s going to get scared about it not working out and him getting hurt.”

“Is that why he jumped ship so quick?” I asked.

“If a guy really likes a girl but thinks he’s going to get hurt, yeah, he’s gonna get out of what he thinks is trouble. Believe me, I know. I’ve done it,” Louis told me. “You need to let him know you’re not scared.”

I think I see the logical equation of the younger male: feelings + distance = scared, so run away. This varies inversely with the logical equation of most females: feelings + distance= work at it and try harder to prove you care. Hmmmm. Our math does not seem to compute, here.

Speaking of Perfect, and 3 posts back, as with most of the supposed meetings with Perfect as of late, it never happened. (But thanks for all the input, though! It was so heartening and really appreciated in my time of indecision!) He and his Amazonian friend were already gone from Church Street and at the UMall by the time I got my shit together and texted him. “I feel like the end of the world is going to happen before we see each other again,” I told him. “Or, at least, you know, the beginning of school. Well, I’ve got to go home this weekend, but I’m sure we’ll be back to Montpelier sometime soon. And you owe Cait and I a girl’s visit to Burlington, sir!”

Suddenly, the atmosphere in our conversation changed completely with the register of his next text. “LOL, why’s that, haha?” he asked. Ok. So. Let me tell you something about Perfect. Picking up attitude in his texts is actually very easy. A single “ha” means displeasure, annoyance, or he’s humoring you. A stand-alone “haha” is his trademark—it’s in almost every text he sends, somewhere. (He’s just a very laughy and exclamation-pointy person.) An “LOL” is more coy. He’s genuinely pleased with something. And an “LOL” and “haha” together or a winky-face is Perfect for “flirting.”

I was flabbergasted more than anything. What am I supposed to say to that? I know the start of a flirty Perfect text when I see one. I know an opening for sexting with Perfect when I see one. And I hadn’t seen one since June. Frankly, I was more happy to know it’s still on the table than anything—I was worried it wasn’t even still in the dining room. But really? Now? Now he wants to get all flirty and hear about how miserable my life has been without him and how I want him back?

I did what any self-respecting girl would do: I weighed my deep desire to tell him yes, I really missed him, and he should visit so that we could ravage each other everywhere we were supposed to—the party shower, his 4Runner, my already broken-by-Perfect bed—with the amount of perverse pleasure he would get out (or off on) knowing the wanting he caused me. And so I sent him back this:

“Because we both miss you and SOMEONE is always busy or MIA when we go to Worcester, that’s why, hahaha!”

For the records, I only use “hahaha” when I’m trying to lighten my texts or add a flirty edge. I’m sure he knows this by now, too.

“Ok, I get it, LOL,” Perfect sent back, keeping the same tone, and it made me wonder, did he really get it? Really? Did he understand at all what I’ve been going through and meant by “we miss you” really meaning “I miss you but am too chicken-shit and wary to say it yet”? Did he really mean to open the “way we used to text” back up and dredge up Memory Lane? Does he really want to know why I want him to keep visiting and stay in my life? I hope so. I hope he really got it. And I hope I don’t have to say all of this alone.

As we wound our conversation down, he promised to come visit soon. He said he’d be around next time we came to Worcester. He even said he’d come up to go clubbing if we could work out a copasetic time. Hmmmm. It’s a start. Is it a start? And how much time do I have to get my lines ready? Maybe while I’m home nannying this week I need to start practicing saying “I miss you, and I miss us.” It’s not that hard—“I miss you, and I miss us.” “I miss…”



  1. looks like you had a fun trip... glad you got rid of those guys..

    i know what you mean about being able to read texts like that.. funny how a ha and a haha can be such a difference!

  2. thanks for following my blog! You're the first one! I got so excited when I saw!! Feel free to leave comments.. it will make my day! :)

  3. AverageDiva-- I went to post a comment to your latest post, but I couldn't do it! Are you sure your comments are enabled?
    So sorry to hear about you and Java-- believe me, I know how it feels, but if his behavior before the end was any clue as to what immature acts he can be capable of, I'm sure you'll find someone better for you. No lady should have to take that kind of bullshit from someone who supposedly cares about her, and good for you for telling him what he lost.
    I wish I had your balls!

  4. Oh, your post was wonderful, and that trip sounds like it was such fun!

    Love your blog!

    Be sure and pop by & leave a note! And follow-- I will return the favor, hehe.