Saturday is my 20 year high school reunion which is ridiculous to say aloud. It seems just an eternity ago that I was a goofy but unintentionally cool (in hindsight) weirdo that attended Santa Monica High School. My style of dress alternated from punk (almost solely because thrift stores had the cheapest clothes) and a homeless-jock look which comprised of tattered, paint-splattered sweatpants and hand-me-down tshirts. I was the MVP of my basketball team and was even approached to play ball on a partial scholarship to Cal State Northridge; however, I couldn't figure out in my 17 year old mind how I was ever going to cover the partial not paid for . . . that aside, girls ball bored me. Back then they coached girls to play a mind-numbingly slow type basketball, just as Dr. Naismith had intended I'm sure, and if we had worn skirts for a uniform (might as well have), they would've stayed neatly in place. BTW, we were called The Lady Vikes. Do I really need to explain my disdain for this name or the endearing nicknames we were called? I couldn't wait for the girls season to be over so I could practice with the boys varsity team which I was invited to do by the coach in my junior and senior years. In 12th grade someone gave my mom a pair of pink and white striped dolphin shorts (um,1985, hello) which I snatched up because they bore my favorite quality in clothes: Free. I didn't really realized that the boys team saw me as a girl . . . until I wore those shorts to practice. Later I would think, Did I really wear pink and white striped dolphin shorts to the boys' varsity practice, in a sauna like gym where they were practically sweating sperm and running layup drills with hard-ons? Why didn't I just complete the outfit with a New Balance half top, high-heeled Cherokee wedges and a feathered roach clip in my hair? Because I didn't get those for free, that's why.
My best friend in high school and still one of my closest friends, Betsy called me yesterday about the reunion. She said, "I don't have any shoes for Saturday." I said, "You don't have shoes other than flip flops and sneakers." "That's what I just said," she said. I visit Betsy once a year to bear witness to her fantastic, adventurous life in Lafayette, a lush and quaint suburb above Oakland.
This is how Betsy lives her life. That's her and her man, Jim jumping off a 10-story building apparently, into Utica Lake.
Betsy says, "How's the vegan thing going?" I haven't seen her since last November which was pretty much the exact beginning of Holiday Gorge 2004. The first night of my visit, she and I gorged ourselves at the Peruvian phenom restaurant, Limon in SF. We ordered page three of the menu. Maybe some of page four. I said, "I've discovered that veganism is a breeze for me. I love it." She said, "So, are you all skinny now?" I said, "Well, maybe 5lbs lighter." Fucking only 5lbs gone when I eat unprocessed plant-based stuff all day long even if I'm still working on that "portion" thing. "My skin is amazing though," I admit. "And my hair looks great."
After Betsy and I finish our conversation, and before I can snap my cell phone shut, I sprout 3 or 10 new pimples on chin. One is right above my lip which hurts like a bitch. great. That's always the way, isn't it? The one time you brag about yourself and it immediately goes to shit as the words leave your mouth. I was on hair-loss watch the rest of the night. Ten minutes after the phone conversation, my stomach bloated up in happy anticipation for my period.
I love my husband because he’s kind of a dick. But he’s soft with me and his lip quivered at our wedding. I love my daughters. They’re brilliant and funny, and I’m here to kick down mountains that get in their way. I’m a vegan, and all is right in my world because of it. I can still beat the neighborhood in HORSE because I have a bad-ass set shot. Justice is served well through fair food, and scarcity would be a myth if we shared more, damn. Yo soy una mezcla which leaves me mixed up sometimes. My commute bike’s name is Loops and she’s my favorite kind of car. I wish I had written Chronicle of a Death Foretold. I’ve endured 54 hours of tattoo work. But above all, I fiercely believe in the underdog.
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!" - Kerouac (As told to me by Marigoldie)