I shit you not.
It was shortly after Mom died, and Dad and I were out eating at some restaurant in the mall. (At that time it was the “high-class” mall. Close to 30 years later, it’s now the ghetto mall.) The 80's-tastic kind that had the pseudo-wrought iron bars that separated the moneyed masses (who could afford a sit-down restaurant) from the roving teenagers (who were relegated to finding sustenance at Orange Julius). The fact that I considered a restaurant in the mall as the epitome of haute cuisine, I won’t get into now. (Though they DID have the red and white checkered plastic tablecloths, complete with red-glass candle holders. Tres-chic. That’s me, class all the way.)
Anyway, Dad wasn't paying attention to me for a second, so I took my chance, and the bars looked big enough for my head to fit through. (What can I say? Apparently I was having a Laugh-In moment. I loved that damn show.)
The flashes of memory that I have of that time usually contain some sort of restaurant – I guess Dad didn’t want to cook much. Can’t blame the guy. Lord knows I wouldn’t want to cook, or try to referee a 5 year old.
I remember one time (at band camp), wanting to be a “big girl”, big enough to go to the restroom “aw by myself”, but then after traversing the tribulations of finding a non-icky toilet, one that didn’t smell like mold, hermetically sealing the toilet, then maneuvering my short-ass self onto the toilet, I find myself screaming for help, because I was too small to open the floor-to-ceiling stall door by myself. For hours I tried to wrench open that door (though it was probably more like 45 seconds) just so I could prove that I could do it on my own. I think it was at a Coco’s. Dad had to come in and open the door for me. I felt like an ass.
There are many instances of me doing something dumb in public, in a restaurant. Oh hell, I still do that to this day. (If you’ve eaten out with me, or just have seen me eat, you know this. It’s one of the reason’s I steer away from light coloured tops. And I always ask for extra napkins. Shit, I really should have my own travel-bib.)
Back on point – I *thought* my head was big enough to fit through those bars. And it was. Reversing my head, and ears, back out through the bars though? A bit trickier. Apparently ears easily bend one way, but not the other. I was able to get out (as evidenced by me typing this to you now from my bedroom, and not from that same booth in the restaurant), but it was only because the waitress (and Dad) buttered up my neck, head, and ears with butter (shit you not, they buttered my head with those single-serving pats) in order to pull my head-strong self out of those bars.
Did I learn my lesson? Not really. Sometime within the next year, I did the same thing. Except this time I wasn’t publicly humiliated.
Friends of the family lived in a two-story apartment, which had the metal-latticed staircase frame. Their kid, who was the same age I was, and I were playing. He wanted to play cops and robbers – where he was the cop, I was the robber – and wanted to handcuff me to the frame work. Before he could, though, I did THE SAME DAMN THING. This time though, I realized my ears wouldn’t break if I just held my breath, pulled back quickly, and bit down my tears. There was no way I was going to let my head get greased up again. The back of my ears were a bit tender for a while, but nobody else (except for Cristian) knew of my humiliation. Well, until now at any rate.
To this day, I have this overwhelming urge to stick my head through railings. Weird? Very. Yet, I still succumb to that stupid temptation of, “hey, it looks like I can fit my noggin’ through there …” Just a few years ago, I found myself sticking my head through the second-story railing of the apartment complex I lived in. The view was superb.
I guess I like to look at the world from different angles, with a heavy metal safety guard. Then, as now, I just … I just want to run, fly kites, wrestle, jump, and play. You really can’t do that when your head is shoved up your ass. Or stuck between bars.
I’m coming home. No … I AM home.
Anyone have any butter?