The first half of my senior year of high school pretty much sucked.
I’d just moved back to Southern California from Montana, I knew no one other than my dad. It took most of that first semester for me to find some people that I could hang with.
One of my first friends was A. I met her through a kid in my pottery class (which I almost failed cos all of my shit kept getting stolen), and even though she was a tiny goth girl and I was anything but, before too long we were inseparable.
I spent many nights at her house (usually tall me would sleep on the tiny love seat, while 5’3¾” A would get the big couch) and many weekends were spent at shows.
This is us at one of them:
We usually had no trouble finding anything to do, but for some reason, Spring Break had us drawing a blank. We weren’t beach people (she was a goth, hello?) and had resigned ourselves to just driving around until we stopped for coffee or juice or something.
Then we got a call from our mutual kinda-friend T. He’d heard on the radio that Barenaked Ladies were playing a free show that night at the Universal City Walk, so we decided that’s what we were going to do…even though we didn’t particularly care for them.
This was BEFORE One Week blew the fuck up, and while they weren’t a nobody band that no one had ever heard of, they weren’t BBT theme writing superstars yet, either.
A drove (cos I didn’t have a car) and T and I were both (for some reason) sitting in the front seat of her Taurus. If you rode in A’s car, you had to play The Game. No, not that Game (which I just lost), but a different game.
- When driving at night, keep an eye out for cars with one headlight.
- The last person to smack the roof of the car must remove one item of clothing (yes, even the driver).
- Socks count as one item.
- So do shoes.
- Your clothes can not be put back on until you’ve reached your destination and EXITED the car.
By the time we arrived at UCW, we were all pretty much naked (and A had lost her nose ring).
This was the point that we realized…
WE WOULD HAVE TO PAY FOR PARKING.
Yes. The three of us were sitting there topless and mostly bottomless in the front seat of her car, and we were going to have to give money to an ACTUAL PERSON while trying to hide that fact.
Quick change to the rules:
- If at any point it’s required that you must pay for parking, both driver and passenger can put their shirts back on so as to not attract suspicion/result in police being called.
Since we weren’t sure who was going to have to pay, A and I put our shirts back on and just put our purses (A always carried the LARGEST PURSE IN THE WORLD) in our laps. T just sat there kind of hunched over and hoping no one would notice that he was mostly naked.
We paid, and as we were getting ready to drive into the parking structure, we heaved a sigh of relief…until A shouted at the parking attendant “WHAT IS POKING ME IN THE ASS?!”
It was the nose ring she’d lost several paragraphs earlier.
So we made our way to the remotest section of the parking structure and got dressed again, the whole while T was begging us not to look at him, and then made our way to where the show was.
Since we weren’t really fans of the band, our attention waned easily and A and I decided to go play in a nearby fountain.
While we were frolicking (I never said I was a good influence, okay?) we noticed some people from one of the local alternative radio stations walking by (Y107, if you were wondering – it doesn’t exist anymore) and I nudged A.
“Hey. Look. Let’s go see if we can get free shit?”
So we ran up, barefoot and soaking wet and proceeded to beg for swag.
They asked if we were fans of the band.
We lied and said we were HUGE fans.
They asked why we weren’t watching the show, if that was the case.
We lied and said it was because we’d seen them and ran to catch up to get free stuff (only a partial lie, okay).
They gave us stickers and some other stupid stuff.
They gave us passes to the after party upstairs at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Somehow we’d talked ourselves into this big party that was full of all these famous LA people we didn’t know. All we cared about was that we were 17 and had just been given free access to all kinds of yummy food and musicians.
I totally flirted with the bassist, introducing myself to him like this:
Hi, my name is [REDACTED] – like the [REDACTED] song?
His response was “Oh, hi. I’m Jimmy. Like the…um…like the Van Halen song?”
To which I giggled and said something stupid like “Hot Jimmy, INDEED.”
Yeah, I don’t know where I thought I was going with that, either.
I don’t really have a great way to close this story. It was an awesome night, one I’m surprised I made it home alive from (especially cos we played The Game ON THE WAY HOME COS WE LEARNED NOTHING).
I recently reconnected with A on facebook and it was almost like the last 17 years that we haven’t been in touch didn’t exist. We talked about this night and I joked that I might blog about it.
She asked me to please do so, and said she would love to read it.
Then I logged on today and there was a status update posted on her account by her boyfriend. He found her sick and incoherent this morning. She’s got a brain bleed pressing on her language centers and several smaller tumors.
I wish I’d found her again sooner.
I wish I’d written this sooner.
I want her to be okay so she can read this and know that I’ve never forgotten how much it meant to me that she took a chance on being my friend. That I wish I’d had more time with her to know her as we are now. That I had those 17 years where we weren’t in each others lives back.
Please, if you can – I am not a praying person, but I am sending all of my good, healing energy her way tonight. If you could do the same, I would be so grateful.