Monday, January 21, 2008

Do Over

There are a lot of things in my life that I’d like to do over. We all have things that we regret, but mostly I’d like to explore and recreate some of the moments in my life that I’d just like to have the opportunity to do over, whether it be a small moment or a large event. Things that I’d love to go back and tackle with the benefit of the learned wisdom I’ve gained throughout the years and the small amount of self respect I’ve managed to amass just in the last few years of my life. This post is about a small moment, but one that has played out in my mind countless times, and always accompanied with a twinge of regret at what I could have said and done, but didn’t.

I wasn’t a popular gal in high school; not very many friends and not even a trace of a boyfriend. I was the smart one, the band president – you get the picture. Well prom rolled around and there I was, dateless of course. So what were my options? I wasn’t so down on life that I wanted to skip the whole thing. I felt I should experience it. After all you’re only in hell – I mean high school once. So I allowed this “friend” of mine to hook me up with this guy that she worked with at the local grocery store. He was my age but from a neighboring town. Seemed like a good idea. He needed a date for his prom, I needed one for mine, and there was the added benefit that we didn’t know each other – no preconceived notions, no caste system/clique expectations from fellow classmates, etc.

I was less than thrilled when I met him but what’s a girl like me to expect? His face was as flat as a pancake and pinched in at the nose so much that I wondered how the kid could breathe properly. He danced like an ape and kissed like a Labrador. I’m not even exaggerating that one. I literally had to wipe my face off with my sleeve. His tongue was like an unattended garden hose with too much water pressure flailing around inside my mouth – ugh, it was awful. I decided not to post his image on here simply because I didn't want to fight off the urge to puke everytime I viewed my own blog.

We did the prom thing. His prom was tolerable since I didn’t know anyone. My prom was barely tolerable. I spent half the night thinking I would have been better off on my own and the other half wishing that I had screwed up the courage to ask the guy who was going with my best friend. I’d always had a little thing for him, and he was being the sweetest geek in the world to her. There were a few moments where I contemplated taking out her knee with a tire iron and then locking my date in the band practice room so that I could try and steal him away. Shameful, I know, but there it is.

Anyway, onto the point of my story. This guy and I kind of sort of dated after the prom. Not that he ever took me out or anything. Just called me or I went over to his house and watched TV or played pool. I don’t think either one of us really liked each other but we were such desperate self-loathing high school cast offs that we clung to each other pitifully. One afternoon he had invited me over and when I arrived found a couple of his friends – whom I had never met before since he never took me anywhere – playing pool in his basement. I waited for an introduction and instead the first thing one of them said to me was this: “Oh is this her? You were right, she’s not fat at all!” and he had this smirk on his face. I can close my eyes right now and see that smirk. If I were ever in a position where it was absolutely necessary for me to kill someone. All I’d have to do is imagine that asshole’s face and that smirk and I’d be able to strike the final blow with such unmerciful accuracy and rage that you’d think I was a trained assassin.

And what do you think that pile of steaming dog shit that I was “dating” did? He kind of smiled his own little mini-smirk, led me into the other room and didn’t say a thing in my defense. Now when I look back on this event of my life, I’m not really mad at him, or even the asshole. I’m mad at myself. Mad that I just stood there and took it and didn’t say a thing. Mad that I didn’t just turn around and walk out. Mad that I subjected myself to such humiliation and that a part of me was convinced that I deserved it or at the very least shouldn’t expect any better.

So what would I do if I could recapture that moment? If I could replay the DVD of my life and skip back to that chapter how would I react? Well I’ve given it a lot of thought over the years and a lot of scenarios have come to mind but I think my favorite is this: Instead of looking down at the floor I’d stare right at prom date boy with a look that said “are you seriously not going to say anything to that”, then I’d clear my throat and say, “Oh is this the friend you were talking about? I don’t think he’s an idiotic asshole at all!” Then I’d turn around triumphantly, walk to the door and say, “Well, it’s been a regrettable experience, why don’t you find someone else to slobber on with that huge cow tongue of yours.” Of course they’d be standing there aghast at my retaliation. A shaft of light would come in through the window and highlight both my inner and outer girl power and beauty, and they’d forever live to regret insulting such a woman. Somehow the stereo would magically turn on and Aretha would be shouting out R E S P E C T as I slammed the door.

What really happened was that I didn’t say a thing, and I stayed there as if nothing had happened. My only form of revenge was never calling him back and he never called me and that was the end of it. Pathetic I know, and that’s why now when it comes back to mind, I just replay my newly improved version and everything is right with the world. If I’m having a particularly bad day and that memory pops up I’ll even add in a good knee to the groin and that always makes me feel better.

Look at me! I was HOT. I’ll never be that young or probably that skinny ever again, and I wasted it on that guy. Ah the regrets of youth. Speaking of regrets, check out the linebacker-esque shoulder pads in that dress. Hey, it was the early 90's - what do you expect.

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