Monday, April 11, 2011
Easy Breezy Beeze
She is beautiful, and hilarious, and SOBER, as she does not drink, because she "never acquired a taste for it". I mean, as a Junior, who could ask for a better little sister? She drove my ass around constantly, whether it was to run me to one of my random booty calls (just kidding, I was dating YOU, Brad, and we did not consummate our relationship until our wedding night Mom, Dad, and GIRLS one day when you read this) or picking me up from Lynaugh's because I was too hammered to walk home. Beeze was always there, laughing right along with us and never complaining. She would stay out late with you and never make fun of how stupid you were the next day, no matter how suspicious you were or how badly your head hurt. She was the ultimate sober buddy.
Beeze grew up in a large Catholic family and she was surrounded by people who instilled in her this insane self confidence that I have yet to come across, again, in my adult life. It is my theory that the coolest girls are the girls that grew up surrounded by brothers because they were never allowed to indulge that annoying "princess side" that brothers are always eager to squash out of you. Beeze is the sort of a guy's guy channeled in a girl's body - like Cameron Diaz in Something About Mary. She loved all things girl - like makeup and clothes and boys, but there was a realistic side to her that was so appealing because she was just easy breezy. Nothing really bothered her and there was never any drama, and if there was, then I paid close attention, because it was always very valid and definitely a good story.
I became Beeze's roommate halfway through our Junior year because my roommate contracted a venereal disease that involved tiny bugs in her nether regions. Anyway, I was totally freaked out and I called home from one of the totally private house phones located at the end of the hall in the sorority house. We were not allowed to have phones in our rooms and cell phones were a future phenomenon that had not been invented yet.
"Heeelooo." my Dad said when I dialed my house, frantic.
"Dad. Oh my God, my roommate has crabs and she is accusing ME of giving them to her and I am freaking out and I don't know what to do."
"Hold on. Let me get your mother - JOOODDDDYYY!" he yelled.
"Who is it?" my Mom yelled back, as caller ID had not yet been given birth to. I always hated when she asked who it was when I was still living at home. It's not like she screened her calls. She ALWAYS took the call, she just always asked who it was, first.
Today, with advancement of caller ID, she looks at the phone for a long time (I'm talking like 5 rings, she must set the thing to go to voicemail on like seventy rings for this very reason) and then once the numbers come into focus because she is holding the phone the appropriate distance to accommodate her nearsightedness, she goes, "Oh!" all surprised and excited and then presses "ON". Every time. I watched her do this 100 times over Spring Break. It was maddening. Actually, there is a tape of her doing this on a loop, that they would use at Abu Dhabi to torture prisoners, but it was outlawed by the UN because it was considered, "cruel and unusual".
"Johnna's on the phone and she says her roommate got a fish or something."
"What?" I hear my mother pick up the phone and then the familiar sound of her pulling out a Winston from her pack of cigs, lighting it, and then exhaling.
"Honey, what's wrong?" she exhales again. "Hang up, Pat."
"No I think I'll stay on for this one," he smiles across the line. I hear someone commentating on golf in the background.
"What's wrong? Are you okay? How are your grades?" classic first question from my mom when I was at college. I could be calling from jail and she would ask me how my grades were, before she asked what I got arrested for.
"Oh my God. All you care about is my grades. They are fine. It's my roommate that is the problem. She just told me that she has crabs and I am freaking out and...."
"Wait a minute, Pat, did she say crabs? Like she got a crab as a pet? I don't understand. I think that is against sorority policy. You aren't supposed to have pets in the sorority house. I read all of the rules last year and I am pretty sure that is one. Let me see if I can find that paperwork in my desk."
"Don't get kicked out of that house, now, Johnna, we are not going to get an apartment for you and we have already paid for the year." No one is listening to me. I mean, do they really think I am calling about my roommate bringing home a crab in a terrarium? How did this get this far?
"Are you guys listening to me? I said my roommate has crabs, as in, like, the venereal disease, and I am terrified that she has given them to me and I do not want to live with her anymore and I am calling you for advice and all you seem to care about is if I am going to get kicked out of the sorority house because I have a pet! This is not a puppy we are talking about. We are talking about little bugs that crawl on your private parts for Christ's sake!'
"I'm hangin up," my Dad says, as the volume on the television increases.
"Okay, so are you itching or anything, honey?"
"No, I went to the Student Center to the doctor and he explained that the only way that a crab can transfer to another person is if it JUMPS to the person while they are having intercourse."
"Okay. So you haven't had intercourse with your roommate have you?" my Mom is laughing now.
"This is NOT FUNNY! Why are you laughing? I swear to God, I knew I shouldn't have called you guys! I am hanging up!" I am hyperventilating now.
"Okay. Okay. Don't hang up. What? What'd you say?" She is talking to my Dad, now who has entered the kitchen with his interest peaking, I am assuming. My Mom covers the phone and they have a muffled conversation that I can clearly hear where she explains my office visit and my dilemma to my Dad. "Hold on, your Dad wants to talk to you."
"Johnna," my Dad yells, as if I am calling from Bangladesh. "Listen. I was in the Army. If you had crabs, you'd know it. Here's your Mother."
"We gotta go, honey, Norletta and Terry are meeting us at Frisch's and your Dad doesn't wanna be late. Call us if you start to itch. What? Oh, and your Dad says to put oil in the car. What? He says tell Brad to do it. Okay, hon. Love you." Click.
Curiously, I am simultaneously relieved and hysterical at the same time. Now, Beeze's roommate had JUST left halfway through the year and we had just had a conversation about how excited she was to have her own room, because she had shared a room with someone her entire life and she couldn't WAIT to turn her stereo up and do whatever she wanted.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers was blaring from within her room and I was sure I was hearing the pounding of dance movements as I knocked on her door.
"Hey, what's up?" She is smoking a cigarrette and blowing it out the window while ashing in a Mountain Dew can.
"Beeze, don't tell anyone but my roommate has crabs and I cannot live with her anymore. She is accusing me of giving them to her and she borrows my clothes all the time and I am totally grossed out and furious and well, I need a place to live. Can I move in with you?"
Beeze's face fell for just a second, but then she recovered and goes, "Go get your stuff. You can have the top bunk." LOVE her for that. That was just one of those moments where you just fall in love with a friend because they have done such a selfless thing that you question whether or not you are even worthy of their friendship.
It is interesting to note, that not only has the universe changed in terms of cellphones and indoor smoking, but female grooming habits have come full circle, as well. When my roommate was describing how she had to go to the pharmacy to get this kit that included a small comb and disinfectant gel, I had to hold back my gag reflex, while trying to appear concerned and empathetic.
Today, porn stars and Playboy Bunnies everywhere have spearheaded the new female grooming habit movement that have rendered crabs obsolete. I laugh out loud when I think that what would be the obvious solution today, did not enter any of our minds at the time. It would be like shaving off all of your little girl's hair if she contracted lice at school.
Sometimes, "advancements" in technology or hygiene just sneak up on you and you do not have the time nor the energy to absorb what has happened. Let this post be a reminder to us all. It is always fun to reflect upon the days when body hair was considered "normal"and when you used to have to pull your coiled telephone wire around the corner and whisper so that no one found out that your parents were more interested in devouring a Big Boy, than indulge your imagined venereal disease hysteria.
When there was an outbreak of lice at our elementary school, and there were daily announcements coming home in my girls' backpacks indicating another victim in their classroom, I had the same gut response that I had in the sorority house that day. As I was combing through my children's hair in the direct sunlight in my front yard before school to try and identify nits, my oldeset daughter, Hallie, started to tear up and sobbed, "Are you going to shave all my hair off like you told your friend on the phone the other day?"
"Oh, honey, I would never do that. I was just making a joke like I do sometimes when I am stressed out. We'll just get that little comb and that special shampoo and everything will be fine." I reassured her.
But my instinct was to run to my nearest friend's house and ask her if I could move in for a while. Is that wrong? Who knows, maybe in the future everyone's head will be shaved because it is considered unsightly and not in fashion. You just never know. I guess I'll just wait to see what the exotic dancers of the World do.
My recommendation to you, today, is to always have a lice kit or two on hand and to check your children for nits more than periodically. I like to check mine as they wait for their carpool in the full view of their peers as they walk by our house on their way to school. But that's just me. I've got issues.
Pic above from my Kappa Reunion last Spring. The girl with crabs is in the red. Just kidding, Jen. (Ohhh, I'm gonna pay for that one.) Beeze is on the far right. We are all going on vacation together this summer for a long weekend. It is on a boat, with a captain, but something tells me that Beeze is going to end up driving.