[Great...anyone have a fix for old No Doubt? Oh, wait, Trencher, there we go. Thank you iTunes Shuffle! Anyway, not bathos, just cobwebs, etc.--TBO]aka: The Croquet Game
Early in A Walk in the Dark
(my first solo show, for those who don't know) I share a bit of story about when I first came to the States--suburbs of Denver, to be exact--and getting a crush on the blonde blue eyed girl who lived across the street from my uncle.
The bit of story ends with me talking about the day I spent sitting and laying on the sidewalk waiting for her to come out of her home (she never did on that day).
Hindsight being 20/20, I spent some time taking a look at not just my (oh-so-pathetic) behavior, but the circumstances surrounding this incident.
I know I've spent some space here whingeing about having no love-life role models to fashion myself after (I used to think it was Woody Allen's characters in his own movies, and to an extent, that's true--no gf's with multiple adoptees for one thing--but I've come to realize that, actually, it was Albert Brooks' character in Broadcast News
that I imprinted on. Not the best of choices, come to think on't.), and this is a prime example of when someone should've come up to me and said "hey, bubby, wtf are you thinking? You need confidence, and this ain't it." Assuming that my PR family would use Jewish nomenclature, of course.
The nature of my uncle's home: Every street had one, the home that was never landscaped, was run over by weeds, used that fake reddish rock stuff. Yeah, my uncle's home back then was that home. The crush's? The very opposite. I can only imagine what her parents were thinking when they noticed their little Aryan perfection pal-ing around with the hispanic boy from that house (take any racist editorials with a grain of salt, please). I do know they thought that she played with me a bit too much (or so she said that they'd said), and encouraged her to play some more with the other kids from the neighborhood.
Things get murky, not sure what's real and what's made up.
But there is one particular event that I remember vividly, and that still kinda haunts me to this day: The Croquet Game.
Up until this day, I had never, ever played croquet, and the rules were perfunctorily explained to me as best as possible, considering the language barrier. Also playing that day: The all-American boy next door. You know the type: plays quarterback really well, also blonde and blue eyed, the very picture of everything that's supposed to be right in the world. I came to hate him and his ilk.
So, the game's going on, and I'm picking it up as I go along, eventually it is explained to me that if your ball makes contact with another person's ball, you could hit it away or take a mallet's length from that ball and shoot again. Somewhere in the translation, I got the impression that the preferred thing to do was to take another shot. The crush had been the one to explain it to me, and she took the free shot.
And so did I, I kept hitting other balls, and taking the free shot (displaying the lack of cut-throat mentality that afflicts most immigrants
, until they're given that first, cold, hard lesson in UStian philosophy: "Always look out for #1") and I was actually in the lead, heading towards the last wicket.
Then the all-american boy hit my ball. You know what he did, and you know it wasn't to take the free shot. He launched me into the neighbor's lawn. He and the crush laughed so hard...
You know how I am about perceived injustices, and here was one that was wrapped up in the humiliation of being laughed at and by someone who I'd been attaching romantic feelings to...
I blew up. Big. I called him a cheater, and still they laughed (likely at my accent), I slammed the mallet head into the ground repeatedly, and eventually, I started crying at the frustrated nature of the exchange (I was young, and still not familiar with the UStian preference for sublimating emotion...Exceptions to the contrary did not exist in Colorado, nor Germany, nor Seattle, by and large). I'm sure I said something about her being my friend, and not elucidating that I was objecting to being laughed at.
This essentially killed everything. The crush's parents' suggestion about not playing with me became outright mandatory, and I never hung out with her again. When I did see her around, the all-american boy wasn't far behind. Then they started holding hands, and this became the first big imprint on my romantic life in the US...No wonder I identified with that Brooks character so much.
Over time, the crush's (whoever it was) choice of the other instead of me came to be seen as an complete rejection of everything I was*, which essentially justified whatever reaction I had to that event. Looking at it from the crush's POV, this probably came to be seen as a weird reaction to her being happy, and I likely created a lot of alienated women for no reason whatsoever.
The crush scenario has repeated itself a few times over the years, and my reaction to it is not what it once was, thank the gods, but sometimes I wonder and hope that, for once, I am right in my thinking that I've outgrown making anybody uncomfortable.
The vehemence I feel at that moment of discovery, however, that may have lessened in intensity, but it's still there. Usually depending on how much energy I've invested in getting the gumption to ask.
As usual, things are so much better for me and everyone else when I don't get stuck in my head, and thankfully that has become the norm of late.*-Never mind that as "crushes" they never knew where my head was at, they were supposed to automatically pick up on it, and choose accordingly. I know how crazy and stupid that sounds, so I don't want to see a bunch of comments going "you need to pipe up" because I know, okay? I love getting defensive before anything is actually said.-tbo