I know what we should do! We should get a tent, go to that place in upstate New York with the naked dancing, and just CUT. LOOSE.
I have this group of really great girlfriends who love to get together and enjoy a glass or ten of wine. Eventually, one friend or another says some variation of the above.
The alpha female of the group (*cough* my sister) then pulls out her phone and starts pointing around the table, “WHEN ARE YOU FREE. WHEN ARE YOU FREE. WHEN ARE YOU FREE. OKAY….DONE.”
In these moments, I turn into a spastic owl puppet, my head spinning a full 360-degrees. I’m suddenly the only person who can see in the dark, wondering when the light will shine again.
As my little bird noggin spins like a top, everyone around me screams, “OH MY GODDDDD. BARRY CAN WATCH THE DOG AND I’LL TELL MY BOSS TO GO SCRATCH AND I’LL GET THAT SALSA FROM WHOLE FOODS AND YAAAAAAASSSSSS OH MY GOD YAASSSSSSSS!!!!!”
My heart starts racing. Once again, I’m becoming:
Chief Long Memory.
Chief Long Memory, ironically, is the member of the tribe with the least amount of responsibility — no kids, no mortgage, no sick ferret. In these moments, she sighs heavily, straightens her understated though decidedly fabulous headdress and gently reminds everyone what happened last time we thought signing up for horseback riding lessons in Tijuana on Cinqo de Mayo was a flawless endeavor.
“Um, hey, guys, yeah, it’s me. I was just thinking, I don’t know, remember that time we all spent 48 hours scraping neon pink vomit off our bangs –bangs which we did not have when this adventure began– and we couldn’t find Claire for, like, six weeks? I mean I don’t want to compare this latest discussion to the decision to film SHARKNADO 6, but, you ladies aren’t giving me a lot to work with here.”
Take, for example, road cycling. For the past year, I’ve been trying to, er, broaden the group’s collective appreciation of what it means to ride very uncomfortable bikes very long distances in very inhospitable weather.
I figured my case rested on facts included in this post and this post. (The CliffsNotes version: a 60-mile race in frigid rain with two flat tires and one fall, and a 30-mile epic Arizona mountain climb in oppressive heat with no water.)
What I didn’t realize: the untapped potential in pointing out the hazards of simply dressing for these hellish excursions.
Janeen is the member of our tribe who’s usually gleefully responding, “ALL THE TIMES!!!” to my sister’s, “WHEN ARE YOU FREE.” Where others go right, Janeen goes left. Where others say “Hell no,” Janeen says, “I’ll bring bean dip.” Despite what you’ve heard me say so far, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Janeen makes my project manager heart go thud. Janeen makes things happen in a way I haven’t seen since Britney and Justin at the 2001 American Music Awards.
Lest you think Janeen’s an irresponsible wild child, she has every single one of her sh*ts together, working one of those smarty-pants jobs my bird brain can’t even understand, raising three children, and running a household in a lighthearted yet no nonsense way that would make Mary Poppins proud.
I mean, she even turns watermelons into sharks, paints like Bob Ross, and curls her hair before meeting us for lunch, for crying out loud.
This is precisely why I should have known that Janeen would serve as my ultimate ally in the Chief Long Memory campaign.
“Oh my god you’ll never guess what happened to me this morning,” she said the other day, tossing her purse down wearily and taking a seat at the dining room table. The tribe stared at her, sipping our wine. She looked…frazzled.
Janeen never looks frazzled.
“I was in the car, all ready for the bike ride,” she began, “but then I realized I had to get Kid #3 something to eat. Mom guilt blah blah. I went back inside…to TOTAL BATSH*T CHAOS.”
She drew a long breath and continued.
“Shoes everywhere. EVERYWHERE! I trip, almost break my neck, get to the kitchen and find an ENTIRE BAG of bagels devoured by the dogs. Then I screamed at Kid #2 about the shoes — it was not my finest hour.”
By now we were all nodding sympathetically and filling her glass to the brim.
“Then I decide to go upstairs to grab my arm warmers,” she says ominously.
“And now I’m late as hell, so I’m trying to hurl myself into them. I can’t get the damn things on, they’re so tight. I’m tugging and tugging and tugging. I finally get one halfway up my arm, and then as I’m giving it one final tug….
“I PUNCHED MYSELF IN THE FACE.
“I CHIPPED MY OWN TOOTH. I chipped. My own. Tooth!”
I managed to stop laughing long enough to ask, “Did you still ride?!”
Janeen answered with this photo:
On second thought, I may still have my work cut out for me in convincing this group to stay inside and do jigsaw puzzles with me.
What kinds of trouble are your friends stirring up?