Thursday afternoon GJ texts me to let me know she’s only 30 minutes outside of town. Me? Why, I’m at a small dive arcade with two small children, the eldest of which screaming “Fiery Fist of Pain!” because he spies a run down roller coaster outside. Rather than expose GJ to that, I offer to meet her in a drug store parking lot because I’m classy like that.
GJ kindly insists to meet up at the arcade since her children might find it mildly entertaining. I warn her with buzz words like “lame” and “salmonella poisoning” but do not go so far as to mention the dead cockroach in the women’s bathroom or the “Play at your own risk! NO REFUNDS!” signs hanging about. I also decide against telling her about the hi-hop dance tutorial DVD that the teens tending the arcade are pretending not to watch every time I re-enter the lobby. That spectacle will be a nice little surprise for her.
I’ve always pictured what it would be like to meet my very first blogger face to face. I imagined that I would spend hours obsessing on what I should wear. I would apply extra shine elixir to my hair and maybe even splurge on a festive mani-pedi for the occasion. I would breeze through the doors at the Starbucks where we have arranged to meet and the whoosh of the double doors would create a small breeze that would blow my hair back dramatically. Of course the sun would graze my face in such a way so that my Bare Minerals foundation would do its job and make my skin appear flawless. All of this, of course, happening simultaneously as music from a cool new band that no one’s even heard of yet is piped through the speakers.
How. It. Really. Went. Down.
I’m in the women’s bathroom arcade, the one with a lock on the outside of the door, not the inside with my two children. I’m bent over desperately trying to pry my four-year old and 18-month old off the floor and shouting things like, “Don’t touch!” and “Mama’s gonna lose it!” because both children are trying to touch a dead cockroach that has gone belly up, literally. This is the fourth trip to bathroom because both kids were fixated on the dead insect. (I always thought cockroaches were indestructible.) I know people outside the bathroom can hear me because I can hear them “working” and practicing their righteous dance grooves.
I say “working” because all those damn kids did while we were there was stare at their iPod Touches, practice hip-hop moves and suggest that I drag myself, and my two kids to the McDonald’s next door to retrieve coins because the arcade, that houses machines that run on quarters, had only 75 cents in their till.
I kick open the bathroom door and my purple flip flop goes sailing into the air. There is no breeze, no sunlight, just the sound of my four-year old yelling “I DON’T WASH MY HANDS! EVAAAAH!” echoing throughout the arcade.
I see a semi-familiar face standing in front of me and I loudly squeal, “Green Jello!” and limp on my one flip flop to bear hug her in the hopes that my raised voice and intrusion of her personal space will distract her from noticing my nappy hair with unkempt roots and stained track pants. Again, classy.
I’ll never know if my distraction worked because within the first two minutes of meeting GJ, her delightful husband and awesomely adorable daughter, I made sure to point out the dead insect, my overgrown roots and my face sans Bare Minerals OR any trace of lip gloss. Gah!
I’m sure the rest of our meeting was just a slice of heaven for GJ. I mean who wouldn’t just love standing around and watching my children go up and down a playground slide, bang their fists on an aluminum door and shout, “Look what I can do!” as they begin kicking their feet on the same aluminum door.
Although our meeting was brief, I’m sure I’ve made a life-long friend in GJ. Of this I am confident, even given the fact that just a few hours later I barraged her with a string of text messages where I did all of the following:
- Accidentally called her an ass
- Invited her to “my place”
- Uninvited her to “my place” because that sounded sort of skeezy
- Re-invited her to my place solely for the purpose of showing her my freshly washed AND conditioned hair going so far as to hint at the possibility that she could smell my fresh hair if she were so inclined
- Bragged to her about my hair now being shiny and full of bounce
- Apologized for being braggy about my shiny, bouncy hair