at some point i just knew, bodily and instinctivly -- like a stomach grumbling, a seering headache, a urethra on the losing end of a blow torch -- that this night would require a certain level of spandex. my first vision is spandex and inline skates. no, spandex and roller skates. no, normal footware. a leotard and an off-the-shoulder sweatshirt and a sweatband cinched across my forehead.
"do you have a leotard," i ask jcrew on friday.
"a LEOTARD?!" she responds.
"yeah. a leotard," i ask. "preferably shiny sky blue."
"why would i have a LEOTARD?" she asks.
because of everyone i know, you are the only person i can think of who would not not have a leotard, i think.
"you took ballet," i remind her. lo, did she take ballet. its all i heard about when she was taking ballet and it took just a crosswind and the smell of bacardi to make her bust out a recital.
"but i didn't wear a LEOTARD!" she answers.
"oh," i respond.
"oh wait," she says, pure glee, eyes glowing, spittal forming in the corners of her mouth. that proctor thrill of pending mockery and the smell of vomit filled pom poms. "i have just the outfit for you."
as soon as she says the word "sequins" i'm sold.
in the latter part of the 1990s, jcrew's danceline was met with financial woes. all the moves, but not enough money for a truly salacious wardrobe to match the kicks, spins, gyrating, moral flexible behavior, pulls off a bottle of whisky hidden beneath a bed, and shimmies. not enough wherewithal to travel to scanlon and see what the pros were sporting this season. the group orders something functional: one piece, shiny, with an attached short figure skating skirt. think mary lou retton in drag showing horses at the county fair.
perfect for me to wear to geek prom. i buy keds and matching ankle socks and a swath of fake blonde hair that will, hopefully, turn my head into my little pony's ass.
pre-prom, chuck and i are getting into character in room 223 of the holiday inn rivercentre. he is wearing a powder blue sportcoat, a shirt that was skinned off the backside of a pretty, pretty pier one couch and electric blue sketchers. his hair is wet with a pubescent amount of gel. and his hair? his hair is amazing. and if he is attacked by a wildebeast outside the xcel center, a swift head nudge to the animal's midsection should spare us.
me? i pull the outfit from my duffle bag.
"HOLY SHIT! YOU'RE GOING TO WEAR THAT?" chuck asks. his voice sounds like the burlap blanket he plans to wrap around my thighs to prevent indecent exposure. but once i slip into the garment he realizes all the things that should be covered are. this is legal attire from a person who wasn't legal when she originally wore it.
geek prom is at the science museum. and at first blush, it is an uncomfortable collection of awkward combovers, zubaz and barrettes and headgear, one piece space suits. i go for a summit pale ale. chuck downs a mind meld -- a vodka based drink that, happily, matches his coat.
we watch a science experiment involving dry ice and a racquetball.
we watch a talent show that involves ani difranco-eque poetry, a recitation of the 50 states sung in alphabetical order, a milli vanilli impersonation, a double jointed leg and juggling.
i have another summit pale ale.
i have to time my bathroom break. let my bladder completely fill before i'll allow myself the discomfort of stripping down this layer of spandex. so when chuck has to go, we stand between the men's and women's room and he unzips me to a comfortable point and we part.
while in the bathroom i hear an uproar. like maybe someone is break dancing or doing something that involves an xbox or a macintosh. i zip quickly and when i come out i realize i've missed the event of the night: the geek streak. six exposed winkies, sprinting from the men's room, across the stage, out into the main area of the museum and back to the bathroom. not only that, but chuck's camera's battery has died, so he's missed the documentation.
the men are back in the bathroom. and so is the st. paul swat team. each time the door cracks, the room reveals serious faces of men who -- just two minutes ago -- were doing a live performance coinciding with the museum's human body display. they were, i guess, all maced into submission. because that is what you do to dangerously naked sprinters in st. paul.
when the men file out of the bathroom, hordes of geekily dressed people converge on them, chanting "free.the.geeks. free.the.geeks." cameras are flashing and people are hooting and the men are escorted to another room where they are issued tickets for indecent exposure. the only indecent thing about it, as far as i can tell, is that i missed it because i took that moment to pee.
the rest of the night unfolds to the sounds of an ELO cover band called ELNo. they bust out the song "just like heaven" -- which will henceforth be referred to as 3 minutes, 23 seconds of chuck dancing around with a funny look on his face.
i lose my fake hair while dancing to my favorite song. this affects me in a strange way and i spend the rest of the night scouring the floor for something that looks like a blonde rat. [later i find it resting on a table. dead.]
we drink at the hotel bar. we talk about gun control. some girls from chicago try to get fresh with my boyfriend. we get hungry.
after the bar closes, we walk to mickey's diner and settle into a booth still wearing our geekware.
"are you in the roller derby?" our waitress asks me.
"no," i tell her. "danceline."
in my head, i assume that she knows i'm in costume. that is, until after we pay and she says "do you have to dance again tonight?" and i realize she thinks i'm just another st. paul skank humping a pole in the basement of halftime rec.
to my right is a table of people dressed in scrubs. when two of the men go outside to participate in a common street brawl, i say to one of the women: "you guys are so grey's anatomy." "i wish," she snorts. "then at least i'd be having sex."
"i'm sure you'll have sex soon," i tell her. "you're not ugly."
here chuck whispers something to me and i'm forced to correct myself: "i'm sorry," i tell her. "i mean, you're very cute."
we leave with our intestines spilling bacon, hash browns, one chili omelet and one cheese omelet. in the morning, this combination will hurt more than any drinking expedition could hope to hurt.
i'm having contractions. one minute i'm watching "the break up" on hbo, the next minute my body has seized up and i'm sprinting to the bathroom. dear mickey's diner, you may be a minnesota institution, but you hurt me.
we have coffee at the cosmic cafe on snelling.
my next contraction happens with a copy of the onion in a bathroom located down the steps-that-smell-like-pee and around the corner.
we get bagals from cecil's deli on cleveland.
we go to apple valley to watch the parents pista and brother pistas load a trailer. we agree to the visit with strict guidelines that i do not want to be forced to carry or pack anything. for the most part, this is obliged.
we decide to do something we can't do in duluth. we're searching the strib for movies at the lagoon or uptown theater.
"sculture garden?" brother pista asks.
"how about a play?" ma pista asks.
"cabellas?" brother pista asks.
"menapause the musical?" chuck points to an add.
i nod toward ma pista:
"i think we're living it. now. if only she would sing ..."
most people pretend they don't hear me.
we go to the movie hot fuzz.
chuck has a rachel and i have a spicy chicken sandwich and we both get tator tots at the uptown.
we travel back to duluth.
thus concluding my first two first days of vacation.