REST STOP RENDEZVOUS

October 11, 2010

There were several “Leigh” stories that came from my Australia trip. I’m a moron. I do stupid stuff all the time. It seems to be heightened when vacationing, as my mind literally is in the clouds. How I have not been pick-pocketed or robbed is a modern-day miracle. I walk around with a big goofy grin on my face, looking up at the sky, practically wearing a sign that says: “I have hundreds of small, unmarked bills in my unzipped pocket right next to my camera and passport, please take them!”

During my Australia trip, my friend and I made our way to the Outback. We opted to join a tour group as a means to coordinate and make sure we saw everything we wanted to. We were at least 20 years younger than the other tourists in the group. Everyone called us “the girls.”

Awesome.

Part of the tour involved long treks on a bus travelling across hot deserts of nothingness. The silver lining was the “rest stops.” Australian rest stops basically consist of a diner, some caged exotic animals (kangaroos, ostrich and emu are exotic to me!), a gift shop/convenience store and bathrooms. We were on the last leg of our trip to Alice Springs when we stopped at a rest stop that the bus driver informed us was well known for its milkshakes.

Ding, ding, ding!!! Folks, we have a winner!!!

I quickly scarfed down food of some nutritional value, then eagerly waited in line for a milkshake. I ordered a HUGE Oreo-type milkshake. It was delectable. I then decided to hit the washroom real quick before we got back on the bus. I was eagerly sucking on my milkshake straw like it was my lifeline to air while trapped in a pit of quicksand. Heaven!

About 30 minutes after we left the rest stop my friend and I decided to look through the pictures on my camera. I went to grab my purse at my feet, where I had been keeping it.

Hmm, that’s odd. No purse.

I looked behind my friend’s feet. No purse.

I checked the pockets in the seats. Nothing.

Panic began to set in. I jumped up and looked in the overhead bin. No purse. I started tearing through the bin and our seats like they may have been hiding bits of cheese. My heart was pumping rapidly as I realized my purse was not there. I must have left it in the bathroom … at a rest stop … in the middle of the desert!!!!!

I was SO transfixed by that god damn milkshake that I left my PURSE hanging in the restroom stall. And in my purse was my camera (the only one of the trip because my friend had broken hers right before I arrived) and my wallet housing my IDs, passport, money and credit cards. Oh my god!

I tore up to the bus driver like my ass was on fire and he was holding a bucket of water. I’m a rather unbalanced person so on my frenzied journey I bounced and swayed into all the seats and people. I’m pretty sure I may have broken some of these geezers’ faces with my pumping elbows.

“We have a problem!” I panted to the bus driver. “I think I left my purse at the rest stop.” I wiped at the sweat dripping down my face like a tweaker coming off meth. “You think?” he asked warily. “Well, it’s not here.” I said. He informed me he would try to radio to another bus in the touring company that was several hours behind us. They could pick up the purse and I could get it in Alice Springs. Unfortunately, because we were in the middle of the f’ing DESERT, the radio was not working.

There goes that option.

I did have one thing working in my favor. I was a nubile twenty-something woman in a sea of old people. My (semi) pert breasts and taut skin were a welcome sight for this red-blooded man who had actively been flirting with my friend and me the entire trip. He offered to turn the bus around and go back to the rest stop so I could get my purse.

I almost jumped on his lap to thank him before I remembered he was driving a bus full of people. I opted to clap and smile instead.

When we got to the rest stop I hurled myself off the bus on a dead run to the bathroom. I ran through every stall.

NOTHING.

My heart stopped as I fought back tears. How could I be so stupid? Damn you, milkshake, damn you!

My feet dragged as I left the bathroom. That’s when I saw my friend sauntering toward me holding … my purse! Someone had found it and given it to the convenience store workers. Hooray!

We ended up getting to Alice Springs about an hour late. Fortunately, everyone on the tour was very kind about the whole situation. I offered to meet everyone at the local casino to buy them a drink later that evening.

What did I do instead? We checked into our hotel and I accidentally passed out super early and did not, in fact, buy a single person a drink.

I am going to hell.

Sober Contemplations:
When in a foreign country, it’s probably best to not have ALL your IDs, credit cards and your passport in ONE area. Any moron knows this. Second, when opting between holding onto your MILKSHAKE and holding onto your PURSE, hold onto your purse.

Seriously. It’s not that complicated.

All I can say, though, is thank you dimples and DDs. Once again you have come through for me in a clutch.

Jiggle jiggle, giggle giggle, oh la la!

On top of being an alcoholic, I am a female. I am also human. I like to be touched. I especially like massages.

I’m not sure if I just have horrible luck or perhaps am more in tune to noticing when strange things occur. (I can be quite observant!) Regardless, I have way more stories about massages than, I would guess, most people. Why, you may ask, do I continue to get them a few times a year? Ummmm … because they feel AWEsome. That’s why.

Also, as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized the only way to ensure human contact on my never-touched-by-strangers regions is to pay someone to touch them. Sigh.

My first massage experience was when I was 13. My best friend celebrated her birthday with me and our other two best friends at a nearby salon. Her mom let us pick any service we wanted!!! I was in quite the conundrum of what to choose. Unfortunately, I grew up in a house with one of the most unfrilly Moms around. My mom doesn’t like shopping, doesn’t wear makeup, doesn’t paint her nails and up until just recently had never stepped foot in a “spa.”

My one friend and I opted for massages. I was led to a dimly lit room with soft, soothing music piping out from invisible speakers. The room smelled of lavender. I felt like such a lady!

My molester … I mean, my massage specialist informed me I could disrobe “to my comfort level” and climb under the blanketed cot. I was 13 so naturally I left my underwear on. Hell, I may have even left on my bra. At that age I was awkward and not yet comfortable with my body. Not as comfortable as, say, a 31-year-old alcoholic may be.

I believe the last time I got a massage I informed the massage therapist that she didn’t have to leave the room when I changed and told her no sheet would be necessary. Then I spread my legs apart and showed her the strange rash developing on my labia minora.

Ok, again, being dramatic, but there is quite a difference in comfort levels at 13 and 31!

As she began to rub out the non-existent stress in my yet-to-have-any-actual-responsibility back, she started to work her way down to my lower back. I am being lulled to a state of relaxation.

As I am dreamily fantasizing about being asked out by the current 8th grade stud of the moment, “Perhaps to dinner at Applebee’s…hmmm, they have such a good Oreo shake…and fries…mmm,” when suddenly I am jarred from this fantasy as I feel my underwear being ripped down.

My butt cheeks clamped together like a nutcracker on a walnut. What the hell was going on? My rapist then started kneading my clenched butt checks like a baker taking out her frustration on pizza dough.

Having no idea what a real massage entailed I was thinking this was part of it? I wasn’t very comfortable, hadn’t found my real voice yet, so I just let my ass be pummeled like any good girl should.

I was relieved when she finally lost interest in my derriere, whipped my underwear back over my tired booty and told me to flip over.

As she was working on my left arm she began to ask me about my “accident.”

“What accident?” I responded cautiously.

“Well,” my molester haughtily retorted, “it’s clear you’ve fractured or seriously dislocated this arm before. What was it? A car accident? Bike accident? What?”

“I’ve never been in a car accident before,” I stammered, scared as she started to get more aggressive with my virgin epidermis.

“No. You’ve had an accident. I can tell!” she responded.

Seriously lady. There is about to be an accident in about 5 seconds. This accident will involve me urinating all over your stupid cot in your stupid lavender-smelling room with the stupid music that sounds like I just dropped into a cave of bumblebees and Native Americans.

When I rejoined my friends apparently my face was drained of color and I refused to talk about the massage. I think it was not until about an hour later over pie slices at Bakers’ Square that I came clean about my molester/massager pulling down my underwear and massaging my butt.

“Did your lady do that to you?” I asked my friend, my eyes filled with hope.

“No way! Ew!” she responded as she wrinkled her nose in disgust.

To this day my friend’s Mom still talks about the “incident” at the salon and feels terrible about my first molestation experience being under her watch and her dime.

Sober Contemplations:

If you are a massage therapist working on a 13-year-old girl who leaves her underwear on, do NOT rip them off. Do not even go close to her pubescent butt.

Do. Not. Go. There.

This will freak her out for several years.

I repeat: Pulling down the underwear of a 13-year-old girl will FREAK. HER. OUT.

I did not go for another massage until about 15 years later. And, of course, trouble ensued….

To Be Continued

TABLET OF MORONS

September 20, 2010

Based on my stories to date, you might not believe me when I tell you that I was a pretty good student. School always came easy for me, to be honest. I went to class, did the required reading and managed to not log many hours studying at the library. I was lucky, as this afforded me way more time to black out and take up chain smoking.

I even managed to graduate from the University of Illinois with the highest honors possible. I was a Bronze Tablet recipient, meaning my name (along with the names of 199 others) will forever be on a tablet on the library’s wall. You will see after this story why this was clearly some sort of mistake. An administrative snafu, one might say.

Graduation gown pickup day arrived, so I went with one of my roommates to get our garb. Back at the apartment we giddily paraded around in our gowns. When my friend put on her honors tassles, I ripped open my bag to get mine.

That’s when I noticed something odd: My tassles were all knotted up. Just my luck! I thought I had gotten a bum tassle and I showed my roommate, who agreed. I suggested she help me “fix” the situation, so we began the task of unbraiding the tassle. We noticed there were even pins in this knot. How weird! We were almost completely done with the task when my other roommate came home.

“What are you guys doing?” she asked innocently.

“Oh, of course I got a bum tassle so we’re fixing it.” My other roommate looked at me quizzically as she grabbed the plastic bag the tassles had come in.

“Leigh, um, we have a problem,” she said while studying a piece of paper.

“What?” I asked irritated. “I’m almost done with this unbraiding business!”

“Um, it was supposed to be braided. Look at this,” she said as she handed me the piece of paper.

Yeah, it was supposed to be braided and apparently would then be pinned to my shoulder. My stomach dropped to my feet. I started shaking and sweating! What had I done?!?

I desperately started flinging the tassles into some sort of makeshift braid. I can put this back together, right? Right?? Right???

My roommates tried to help me put it back together, but after about 20 minutes we realized this was not going to happen. I mean, I wasn’t an Eagle Scout. The only knot I’m able to successfully tie is for a noose, which I willingly use on … no one. (What have you heard?!) I burst into tears, how was I such an idiot???

I called my mom crying, telling her what had happened and that I was NOT going to the ceremony. I refuse! My mom informed me that this was not an option, and suggested I go back to the gown passer-outers and explain to them what happened.

Begrudgingly, I went back with my frayed tassles and attempted to explain the situation.

“Um, yeah, hi, so yeah. I didn’t read the instructions? And I kinda unbraided my Bronze Tablet thingy? See? Yeah. So, can I like, get another one?”

The woman looked at me like I had just asked her if she would like to swim in a shark tank while covered in blood.

Her response? “I have no idea what to do. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and this has never happened. Let me talk to my manager.”

She then went over to a man, who I presumed to be her manager, and in hushed tones they discussed my “situation.” He came over and again asked me to explain in detail what happened. Do I have to relive this again???

I managed to get another Bronze Tablet honors thingy. But not before being told NUMEROUS times how this had never happened in the history of their employment at “Cap and Gown” company. And how lucky I was that they happened to have an extra one.

Seriously, I already felt like a big enough idiot, don’t rub it in!

My parents did get to see me graduate, thankfully.

After much unnecessary drama, I might add.

Sober Contemplations:

I graduated in the top 3% of the entire graduating class at a Big Ten university. How is it possible to earn straight A’s yet not READ DIRECTIONS? I mean, at no time during my Tazmanian Devil unbraiding and cutting of pins did I stop to think, “Hmmm, maybe it’s SUPPOSED to look like this.”

Honestly, not only should they have taken back my graduating honors, but they should have taken back my degree! Clearly I’m not fit for … living.

How I can walk, talk and breathe all at the same time is a question I ask myself often.

MARIO ANDRETTI

September 10, 2010

I was 16 years old and officially driving the summer before my junior year of high school. My best friend’s birthday is in July. For every birthday her parents bought her a Sara Lee cake. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had this cake, but it’s seriously one of the more delectable things I’ve ever put in my mouth. I’m not sure what they put in that frosting, but I’m guessing ecstasy is a main ingredient because it just makes you feel full of love!

So my friend called me up and announced, “The cake has arrived!” I didn’t even bother to answer as I hung up the phone and announced to my parents, “I’m going to get cake!”

My parent’s house has a little one-lane driveway and on it that day were several cars. Unfortunately, my car (a pretty sweet 78 YELLOW Oldsmobile Cutlass that resembled a tank more than a car) was one of the first ones in the row. Last in line was the beat-up conversion van my dad was driving at the time.

Sidenote: This van went on many a road trip. We later discovered there were two GIANT holes in the floorboard. It was well on its way to being a Flintstone car! It’s amazing no one fell through these holes, to be honest.

Anyway, the conversion van was last in line so I asked my Dad if I could borrow it, which was no problem at all. I raced to the van and hopped in, taking a second to wipe off the drool that was pooling in my lower lip.

Cakeville, here I come!!!

I put the car in reverse and hit the accelerator, practically racing time to get out of the driveway. We’re talkin’ wheels spinnin’ and smoke billowin’! I did not even bother to check the rearview mirror. I’m so short and the van was so big that I couldn’t see out of it anyways!

Suddenly I heard BOOM! CRASH!

I quickly realized I had just reversed the van into our neighbor’s car…and I was going full speed. I was that excited to get cake. I freaked out as I realized that I have crushed the neighbor’s car. I pulled the van up a little and put it in park in the middle of the street.

My dad came running out of the house yelling about how proud he was of me. “You bleeping idiot! What the bleep were you looking at?! What the bleep are you doing? What are you a bleeping moron? Are you bleeping blind???”

I instantly started crying as the neighbors and the guests from their DINNER PARTY came running out from the backyard to check out the source of the loud crash and yelling.

Yep, that was me. Reversing out of a driveway going about 80 mph in order to inch a bit closer to morbid obesity and diabetes.

Of course, this little fender bender did not stop me from going over to my friend’s house for cake. I managed to convince another friend to pick me up. I was so embarrassed and did not want the neighbors to see me, so I hopped the fence in our backyard and snaked through neighbor’s yards in order to be picked up at the golf course about a block away.

Sigh.

I was that hard up for Sara Lee cake.

Sober Contemplations:

The only reason you should be going 80 mph in reverse in a conversion van is if you are being chased by a serial rapist/killer on PCP.

But seriously, have you ever had Sara Lee cake? It is SO good. I would hop any fence, anywhere, to get my mitts on a piece of that sugary goodness.

And then when I’m done have the strange desire to dance with glow sticks and scratch my own arms for hours on end.

DAMAGE DOWN UNDAH

August 29, 2010

In February 2009 I took a trip to Australia. I have a close friend who lives there and decided it was time to visit her.

I absolutely fell in love with Australia! This is more of a sidenote, but I seriously cried for days after returning home from that trip. I started looking for jobs in Australia, as well as looked into selling my condo. I loved it there, and often daydream about going back.

My friend was born and raised in Australia. Aussie all the way (Oy, Oy, Oy!)! We traveled all around seeing as much as possible in 16 days. (For anyone thinking of going to Australia, seriously, give yourself at least a month.) One of our stops was in the Queensland Goldcoast area. Our first day there we decided to walk down the beach and figure out our day as we went along, as I often like to do while traveling. I’m more of a “wing it’ kind of person. As in buffalo, fried, sweet and sour…you name it (as long as I can dip it in ranch or blue cheese dressing).

As I sprawled out on the sand like a lubed up beached whale, I decided I couldn’t take the heat anymore and suggested to my friend that perhaps we should take a dip. The waves looked rather menacing and I’m an awful swimmer, but I ran and tumbled into the waves like a seasoned Jesse White Tumbler. As we frolicked in the salty surf we talked about taking surf lessons AND maybe renting boogie boards. We were positively giddy and although we were just standing there, in my mind when I reflect on that moment I felt like we were holding hands, jumping up and down and giggling like schoolgirls. Herman’s Hermits “I’m Into Something Good” may have even been blasting from a non-existent stereo. This is how life should be!

Then, all of a sudden, I felt a searing heat on my legs. It felt like someone had just branded me with a cattle prod. At the exact same time my friend and I both began shrieking, “What is this?” It felt like weeds around my legs, which I kicked off and ran out of the water. It was the most intense pain I remember feeling around both my calves and thighs. We ran to our towels very confused and jumping around in pain. Our conversation sounded a lot like this: “Owww. Ouch. What the hell? Ouch. Fuck. Ouch. This really fucking hurts. What the hell was that? Ouch. Fucking hurts. Ouch!”

We surmised that we had been stung by “stingers.” At a loss for what to do to end the pain, we decided to run to the nearby surf shop where we were greeted with tan, laid back surfers who did not seem at all concerned with our plight. “Why don’t you wee on each other” one smug bloke said with a smile. I think the perv just wanted to watch. I winked and handed him our room key, then we ran to the local McDonald’s (in our bare feet I might add – I have a VERY big problem being in public with bare feet – this is how much pain I was in). We asked for two big cups of ice and alternated rubbing ice on each other’s legs, cursing as well as laughing at our situation.

I’m pretty sure I also bought a cherry Icee. They are so delicious! And also…um…I hear…um…they help with jellyfish stings?

My friend had lived in Australia her entire life (26 years), swimming in the ocean HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of times and never once been stung by a “jelly.” The second I come into town, we are swarmed by them.

We decided to forego the beach for the rest of the day and instead went back to our hotel to swim and nurse our wounds. As we were walking back to the hotel we saw the no swimming signs dotting the sand, as well as hundreds of Blue Bottle jelly fish that had washed up on shore. Apparently the sign hander-outers had forgot to put a sign in the sand where our asses were planted. Great.

Our legs seriously were on fire for a good 24 hours. I figured two of those little fuckers had wrapped their 4-feet tentacles around my calves and thighs. I actually had a scar around my right calf for a few months.

Sober Contemplations:

I literally invite disaster wherever I go. My friend who LIVES in Australia had never been stung nor known anyone stung. Yet, I go swimming in the ocean for two minutes and like a magnet attract hundreds of the creatures to come frolic with me.

For anyone who is stung by a jellyfish in Australia, the only remedy I found was to go out and drink excessively, dance and hang out with some 18-year-old boys.

Yes, I am smiling creepily right now.

JAMBOREE

August 20, 2010

I’m trying to expand my storytelling to include experiences that do NOT involve me being a total alcoholic. You should know that I actually hold down a full-time professional job and have numerous hobbies. I mean, I actually read. Like books and stuff. It’s crazy, I know. This noggin is more than just a hat rack, people!

However, I do tend to invite strange things into my life. Odd people talk to me about odd things and I do not know why. I must have an inviting look (glassy eyed, drooling, slumped over with dried vomit on my shirt).

I also am a complete klutz, and the two coupled together make for some interesting stories. If I had a camera following me around, it would look an awful lot like a creepier version of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Except instead of some little kid swinging a bat into my nuts, I’d somehow be using a homeless midget as a nunchuck and smack myself in the face with “Person I’m Barely Taller Than.”

Back to the story. Something I have always loved is music. I may have a horrible memory, so I will not be able to recite to you the names of songs, albums, year they were produced, etc., not even to some of my favorite bands. Regardless, whether at work or at home, music is usually always playing. I love going to concerts and discovering new bands.

My love of music started at a rather young age. In high school I went to numerous concerts, although truth be told this usually involved getting drunk or high beforehand and trying to not get arrested. My junior year I attended a “Battle of the Bands” at a CHURCH drunk AND high. My boyfriend at the time had to hold me up, as I couldn’t walk.

At a church.

I managed to not get hit by lightening that night, but I’m pretty sure that is the reason I hear a clap of thunder anytime I step within 50 feet of a church. It’s a warning sign. I’m afraid my invitation has been revoked.

So a large group of us attended a jamboree of different bands put on by a local radio station. This was the late 90s, so it was mostly grunge rock. I had my normal costume on of oversized thrift store clothes and pigtails. The cherry on top was my construction worker boots. My friend used to call me “Alternative Grungemaster Leigh.” I certainly dressed the part that night.

At this Jamboree I am stone cold sober. Being the little shit that I am, I eagerly agreed to “go up” to crowd surf. While multiple man hands were grabbing at my teenage crotch and chest, I felt someone tug on my shoe. Then my foot felt lighter. Someone stole my shoe!

Gravity eventually brought me back to dry land, and I really had no choice but to walk around the rest of the night with one shoe. A few minutes went by and my 5’2” frame was trying to not get trampled by the sweaty giants surrounding me. Then, all of a sudden, BAM! I got kicked in the face by someone crowd surfing, which caused a bloody nose explosion.

I clamped my hands on my face and began running with ONE SHOE to the nearest washroom. I have to go through masses of people and it took some time. My friend helped me stop the bleeding, but unfortunately my shirt was already covered in blood. My face essentially looked like it had just given birth. In the meantime, my white sock was now turning a strange shade of brown.

I was looking hot.

So as my friend and I made our way down the stairs back to the mass of people, I totally wiped out on my ass down the stairs. We are talking legs in the air with me flying right behind on my well-endowed ass. I was wearing one shoe, my shirt was covered in blood and I wiped out on the stairs.

This all happened within about ten minutes.

As I dusted myself off and made sure all of my appendages were in place, an usher pulled my friend over to ask if I was drunk and perhaps should be escorted out.

I was sober. Unfortunately.

Sober Contemplations:

So in one night I managed to lose a shoe, get kicked in the face (causing a massive nose bleed) and then top it all off with a banana peel-esque tumble on concrete stairs.

All in one night…while sober.

Do you people now understand why I drink? At least if I’m drunk I don’t remember the incredulous looks of judgment and pity I get from strangers and friends alike.

What would you think if you saw a 16-year-old girl running around a concert in oversized clothes picked from the garbage, in pigtails, with ONE construction worker boot, shirt covered in blood and using the stairs as her own personal slip n’ slide?

Yeah. You’d drink too if you were me.