Have you seen the movie "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World?"
Well, I went on a date with Scott Pilgrim early in September.
I mean, not really. It wasn't supposed to be a date, and it wasn't really Scott Pilgrim. But it was with this 24 year-old guy that was Scott Pilgrim's dead ringer (with darker hair). I'd met him at a mutual friend's housewarming party and we talked about jobs. I saw his potential and was offering career advice.
He invited me to a bonfire the following week with a bunch of friends. I'd told him my age thinking that'd be all I needed to establish that it was NOT to be a date. Repeat. NOT A DATE.
He picked me up reeking of cologne and I immediately thought uh oh, he thinks this is a date.
We then picked up his younger friend (a kid who looked adolescent enough to be my son) and I tried to be chatty but he only grunted minimally, his face a mask of terror. After 45 minutes of this stilted conversation, we arrived and the friend peered at me hesitantly before getting out of the car, asking the only question he had all evening: "HOW old are you?"
Uh, yeah, I didn't feel awkward AT ALL.
So, all three of us walked over to the fire and observed a hundred drunken teenagers rioting wildly around the flames. Scott looked from me to to his terrified friend and back to me and awkwardly suggested, "Do you want to see the train car?"
The train car. Yes, I want to see the train car. Actually, I want to see THE car. A car. ANY car. Something with wheels which can go down the street in the opposite direction of arrival. Like, towards my house.
But that would make me a shitty guest (date?) and so, grateful for something to do besides take note of inebriated youth, I followed Scott and his terrified friend to a corner of the property which housed an ancient railway car covered with vines. We climbed onto a makeshift "deck" and I shifted nervously on the rotting planks before peering inside. Hazy figures huddled together behind a thick cloud of smoke, singing softly. Warmth at their camraderie fleeted across my heart before I realized what they were doing.
Greeat. A train car of kids getting high. Awesome. The awkwardness returned.
We carefully backtracked over the dilapidated platform down a rusty broken ladder while I mentally calculated my last tetanus shot. Then we awkwardly grabbed some seats by the fire so we could awkwardly not talk.
Terrified friend began drinking. I saw his face loosen slightly from a tight rictus of fear to shy smile. Suddenly he stood up. "I want to go swimming!" He exclaimed, and ran after 30 other people who had darted impulsively into the thick, black woods.
Swimming? Drunk? Scott and I looked uneasily at eachother. "Um, maybe we should keep an eye on your friend," I said. "I mean, it's not totally safe to mix alcohol and water."
"Yeah. but I don't know how to get to the lake so we have to hurry and follow them."
We began running after the youngsters into the darkness. We caught up to them on a narrow path which suddenly disappeared. "Watch out! We're on a cliff!" someone said. A collective hush of nervousness went through the crowd and we all stopped, strung our hands together, and resumed smashing through the brush single-file. Every once in a while, cries of pain filled the air from the thorny brush or twisted ankles.
I suddenly realized I wasn't following any of my normal forest protocols, which is to maniacally identify from a great distance any leafy substance which might contain the thing that turned the left half my face into a bumpy, scaly mess of fire all those years ago. The first vacation I would have in a year was scheduled for the following week and I quickly imagined it spent heaping calamine lotion onto a shroud of poison ivy blisters.
We finally got to a sliver of shoreline on the lake and (why I didn't expect this, I don't know) almost everyone immediately ripped off their clothes and dove into the water.
Everyone, that is, except me and Scott and terrified friend, who handed me his sneakers and slowly waded in, jeans and all.
Scott looked at me affectionately on the beach as nubile bodies streaked from shoreline to water, splashing and flirting and shrieking.
|Channeling Kelly LeBrock from Weird Science.|
He put his arm around me and smiled.
I pointed to his arm, unamused. "THIS," I said, "Is a bad idea."
"What's a bad idea?" he asked, nuzzling me.
Me: "THIS." Pointing again to his arm. "There is too much of an age difference."
Scott: "But my parents have an age difference and it hasn't bothered them."
Me: "Yeah, but you can't bring home a girl to meet your mom who is your mom's age."* (*Not that bad actually, but close enough.)
An exodus from the shore began and we trampled through more brush on the way back. This time one of the hands I held was the small, cold hand of the terrified friend who suddenly turned expressive from alcohol. "You're so beautiful!" he exclaimed, over and over. I wondered if I was the first to hold this wet hand, and gently guided his both innocent and incoherent form carefully past the thorns while Scott led the way.
And that was my adventure as Kelly LeBrock for the evening.