Phone conversation a few weeks ago...
Em: Just read your blog post about Supermodel. Very nice. [sarcastic tone] I like how you acknowledged you've had friends for much longer.
Me: I tried to be sensitive to that.
Em: When are you going to write about me? We have lots of good stories.
Me: I did write about you.
Em: I know, but something funny.
Me: I will. Sometimes what we think is funny doesn't translate well to a blog post. But, I will. Maybe I'll write about the time we got our under-age consumption tickets in college.
Em: Just don't make me sound stupid. You always make me the dumb one.
Me: Naive. There's a difference between stupid and naive. Like the time I thought I had an enlarged prostate. I'm an intelligent person, I was just naive about anatomy.
Em: I don't know... I know how you are...
Me: You were always a little more naive in college, it's endearing. We have to have a shtick. Trust me. I won't make you look stupid.
Northern Arizona University - Flagstaff, Arizona - January 1986
Em and I met. She was a freshman, I was a sophomore - a classification I carried longer than most students. We lived in Cowden Hall, a cruel name for a dormitory that unfortunately for years had a reputation of housing the heavy and socially inept. Girls like Em and me helped change all of that; I think we made the "den" proud.
We loved The Boogie Boys - Fly Girl. We changed the lyrics to "Fun Girl", and sang it loudly whenever it played. We were fun, not too fun [if you know what I mean], just the right amount of fun.
The Halloween Party
We were invited to a large Halloween party at a popular co-ed dorm. Because, even though we lived in Cowden, we were fun girls. I talked Em into renting costumes. We waited too long to go to the rental shop so there weren't many choices within our price range. I spotted two bumblebee costumes. She wasn't wild about the bees. It was a hard sell, but I told Em we'd look cute and a little more feminine with red lipstick and red bows on our antenna. She agreed.
I drove a yellow VW Super Beetle that was almost too small for Em, me, and the bee costumes. I could hardly drive and shift, and Em bitched the whole way to the party about how ridiculous we looked and how she hoped no one we knew saw us crammed in my car.
We got to the party and were mortified to see all the sexy costumes. Sexy, sexy, sexy. Sexy devils, sexy cave-girls, sexy princesses, sexy mimes, sexy rabbits... SEXY. We were not sexy. Em glared and said, "I told you."
It was hard to dance. Our costumes made crinkle noises, like a diaper, and when a guy asked one of us to slow dance, he couldn't get his body close enough. All of our cool dance moves for fast songs were lost in the costumes. We didn't look cool or sexy.
Em and I had words a few times that night. I remember walking to the bathroom, I overheard a group chatting, Did you see those bees? I think they were fighting... Yeah, but I saw them hugging like they were making-up. It was kinda cute. Not sexy.
My car was essentially Em's car too. One weekend she wanted to drive home to Scottsdale to see her parents. I chose to stay in Flagstaff, so she took the car. When she left Friday morning she mentioned she wasn't feeling well.
I got a call from Em on Saturday night...
Em: I threw up in your car.
Me: OH NO! How did you do that? Who throws up in a car while they're driving? God, Em.
Em: I'm sorry. I pulled into my parents' driveway and I couldn't get the door open fast enough. My mom's been cleaning it.
Me: You threw up on the door? There's all those nooks and crannies. This is awful. PLEASE make sure she gets the smell out. I can't believe it.
She returned to Flagstaff on Sunday, her virus was gone, and the car was clean and didn't smell like vomit. I love Em's mom.
We had a little trouble every now and then. A little academic, a little financial, a little mild-lawbreaking... but we were having fun!
Here we are waiting for an "appointment" about a little trouble. The sign on the wall says something about shoplifting. For the record, this appointment had NOTHING to do with shoplifting or breaking a law. Our dorkiness charm got us out of the bind.
Em and I got arrested for underage consumption of alcohol. I was 20 and Em was 19. We had been at a bar where a fraternity was hosting a party. We both got in with the same fake ID -- a Hispanic girl named Lupe. It was easy... because we both looked so Hispanic.
At midnight we decided to go to a different bar for after-hours dancing. No ID required. I drove us across town and flew into the parking lot of our new hotspot, almost hitting a police officer. I parked and pretended nothing happened. Em said, Oh shit, as the officer approached.
I passed several sobriety tests -- I don't know how -- and was given a ticket for underage consumption. Em got out of the car and confessed to having had "one drink". Riiight. She was given the same ticket. When she answered all the questions for the officer, she lied about her weight and I corrected her. We had an argument about our heights and weights in front of the disbelieving cop. "That's enough, girls," he said.
We chose not to tell our parents and deal with the trouble on our own. Our court date was set and we were hopeful and confident that things would work out in our favor. We'd learned a VERY valuable lesson and planned to tell the judge just that. I even wore my glasses so I would look smarter and dorkier. [That's my Bug behind us.]
I was called before the judge first. I looked at Em, gave her the nod, and whispered, "Don't worry, just follow my lead."
Things did not go well, the judge was tough. I cried, I explained, I apologized... and I was fined $480. The judge dismissed me and I looked over at Em as I exited the courtroom and as her name was being called. She looked at me like, Thanks, idiot.
Em received the same fine. Now we'd both have to tell our parents.
Here we are after court.
20 Years Later...
Em lives in Arizona with her husband and son. We don't get to see each other as often as we'd like, but we talk on the phone frequently. We afford each other full "range of motion" and provide a much needed soft landing for one another in this world of prickly surfaces.
In a prior post I shared that Em was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in July 2007. She remains cancer-free and I remain indescribably thankful and relieved.
I better call Em to make sure she doesn't think I made her look stupid...