Wednesday, August 22, 2007

in the summer of 1996 ...

summer 96 skinny armsthings started to get pretty fun when i was 20. i had recently stopped acting like a co-captain of the lourdes high school track team, and more like what i imagined the person on my fake ID was like: monica mueller. 28-years-old, straight and tame brown hair, brown eyes. a little taller than me and indiscernibly heavier.

truthfully, i rarely used my fake ID. partly because, at age 20 i looked more like a 15 year old and less like a woman negotiating with 30. and partly because i feared i'd run into monica mueller at mcmurphy's some night. i'd have to convince her that i was her, obviously, and that she was someone else altogether and that she had better figure it out before i called the cops.

but i liked the idea of having the ID, and the way the man at the liquor store on lake street in minneapolis stopped asking to see it after i eventually became recognizable as monica mueller, friday night case of icehouse afficianado.

i came home from college in the summer of 1996 a bit wilder than i'd been in the previous 19 summers. i still had a curfew. 2 a.m. and this was as strictly enforced as when my curfew was midnight. it involved not being a milisecond late. waking my parents for a brief and nonintrusive sobriety test. turning off the outside lights.

luckily, my parents were gone a lot that summer.

on the weekends, my friend chris had huge parties at his mom's house on the banks of the zumbro [scumbro] river in oronocco, minn. we drank red dog. i never gave anyone a dollar, i just helped myself to the cooler. boys streaked. we sat on the docked pontoon, hoping deep conversations would turn to deep kissing. we were catty about girls we didn't know. we listened to a lot of van morrison. we ate a lot of doritos.

summer 96 on the zumbro

i woke one sunday, splayed across my bed like a crucifixion scene. my brother needed to borrow my car. i told him the keys were in the pocket of the jeans on the floor. he dug in and pulled out a night's worth of bottle caps and counted them in his palm.

"seven, eight ... holy crap, christa," he said. "nine beers! no wonder you're hung over."

here i pictured the bottle caps i'd drunkenly flung into the scumbro and thought: you don't know the half of it, bud.

"you better not let dad catch you drinking," he warned me. "he'll kill you."
i believed him. later he told me that my car smelled like farts and yo burgers. this i also believed. i was working that summer at a golf course restaurant thats signature draw was the yo burger.

***

after i wore out my welcome on the scumbro -- i was drinking a lot of the boys' beer, but not really contributing anything monetarily or physically to pay my way -- a small group of us took to camping at state parks within a 6 hour radius of rochester. our first stop was rice lake camp ground.

here we had a bit of drama that encounters any small gender-mixed group of 20 year olds who are camping at state parks with vodka hidden in their trunks.

i was in love with db.
db was in love with princess linda.
princess linda liked db, but she also liked dong and couldn't decide between them.
dong told us he liked princess linda, but eventually he would instead date people named things like "mike" or "henry".
back at college, db and i had taken to sloppy drunken make outs.
but for the summer, i knew that i was not his first choice.
fanny had a boyfriend back in south dakota.
we set polish's watch ahead two hours so he would go to bed early and stop making us listen to alan jackson.
first we made him take our photo.
i took to db's fraternal twin brother ab.
ab didn't necessarily like me. but he thought i was okay for the summer.


summer 96 rice lake

***

we also went to lac que parle. same group, with the addition of fanny's boyfriend. [years later i'd be plenty bummed when he ended their three-year relationship via email while he was in amsterdam].

we picked up the boys in fanny's dad's van. the mystery machine. the three of us in back, the boys in the front. before we'd left the city limits, fanny, princess linda and i were schnockered from the vodka we'd dumped into the lemonade container, then transfered to arizona ice tea bottles.

halfway to lac que parle, we stopped to pee.
in the gas station's bathroom, we wrapped our arms in toilet paper and pretended we were burn victims.
even then, in the back of the van giggling, the boys did not know that we were drunk.

summer 96 burn victims

we swam in a lake. we floated on inflatable sea horses. when ab came up out of the water, his goatee was green with goose shit. later we would learn that this lake is the goose shit capital of america. every goose's favorite porta potty.

summer 96 mystery machine

summer 96 lac que parle

the mystery machine got a flat tire.
we broke the frying pan we used for a jack.
with nothing to use to cook the eggs, we played baseball with the eggs and broken frying pan.
we drove home on the spare at about 45 miles per hour. i got mustard on fanny's favorite bib overalls.

summer 96 lac que parle

***

my parents were home more often now on the weekends. but instead of returning to my intial fear of these keepers, i choose to push the boundaries of my curfew. i'd tiptoe in at 4 a.m. and i'd get caught because this happened to be the exact moment my dad was getting a glass of water.

i was warned once.
i was warned twice.

one night i ended up at ab's house. his family was out of town and we were watching a movie and making out on his couch. around 4 a.m. he told me that college was starting soon and he didn't want this relationship to continue. he'd been at st. john's, i'd be at st. thomas. our schools, afterall, were rivals.

annoyed, i went home. my parents were sitting on the steps of our split level home. mom in a pink robe. dad pissed.

i'd had a few drinks and when they asked me why i was late i said:
"i lost ka-track of time."
"you what?" my dad said.
"i lost ka-track of time," i slurred.
"you lost ka-track of time?" he repeated?
i nodded and walked down the steps.

i was halfway down when my mom screeched: "OH CHRISTA! HAVE SOME PRIDE!"
i rolled my eyes and went into the bathroom. i wondered what she meant by that. i looked in the mirror:

my shirt was on wrong side out.

5 comments:

mage2001 said...

that summer must be on Fannie's mind too...
she has mentioned the "burn victim" escapade a couple times in recent months.
huh.

fannie said...

we're incredibly happy burn victims.

first mate said...

right on ... post!

Add to that my first cigarette, some local beer filled baseball games, and Cannon Falls campground, and that WAS my summer of 1995
[only because 96 I was drinking legally and realizing it's not all THAT, that is until I realized how to do it right … rum … yum ‘hic]

amy a. said...

long live the scumbro! i think i had the exact same pair of overalls fannie did back then. yeah, you should call me about planning the partay!

viciousrumours said...

Ahh....by 1996 I had a three year old. This would have to be summer of, well...any summer pre-1992 really. As you get older you'll look back and do a lot more eye rolling too.