Yep, I used to look like this. Sorry mom.
Last weekend I went for Thai food with an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in ten years. We sat in the quiet restaurant for about two hours, laughing and reminiscing about all of the stupid things we did together when we were younger. At some point we must have gotten a little, um… loud, as the waitress seemed to keep her distance and the other tables cleared out pretty soon after we arrived. Haha! Just like old times…
Mai-Ling and I met way back in 5th grade, in Mr. Flory’s class at City Honors School (we were big smartypants-es!). Our unlikely friendship was initiated when I decided to shoot spit balls at her in the middle of class. How this disgusting act led to us being friends is beyond me… But nonetheless, a friendship was formed and we were inseparable throughout the rest of our adolescence.
Over the course of our friendship there was one common theme that continued to pop up: We did really STUPID shit together. Like, really, really stupid shit.
The first time Mai-Ling came over to my house, we conjured up a brilliant idea to go in my swimming pool. Now, this wouldn’t be considered “stupid”, except for the fact that it was the middle of WINTER. The pool was covered in a sheet of ice and we took it upon ourselves to climb up onto the deck and proceed to walk on the frozen water. Brilliant! Lucky for us, my mom soon spotted us from the kitchen window & yelled at us to get the hell out of the pool. Good thing she caught us before our friendship/lives came to a cold, abrupt end. Thanks mom!
As we got older, our hi-jinx got even dumber.
Mid-90's. Yeah, we were idiots.
Believe it or not, we *did* graduate high school!
Like most teenagers, we spent a good deal of time at the mall. In particular, the mall arcade. On one occasion, while playing air hockey, we decided it would be fun(?!) to steal the air hockey puck. Um…? Yeah. So we did just that. We smuggled the yellow plastic disc out of the arcade and walked across the hall (aisle? - other side of the mall) to kick the puck around. Oh, but not before writing “We stole this puck ?/?/94” (unsure of the date) in black marker ON THE PUCK. (Again, brilliant!) So there we were, kicking the stolen disc around — which was loud — clink, clink, clank… Until a security guard strolled up to us and we got *busted* (despite me oh-so-cleverly trying to hide the puck under my foot). Our guilt was literally written all over the puck, so we were thenceforth banned from the arcade for life. Ugh. Only us.
The absolute STUPIDEST THING of all the stupid things that we did can be summed up in two little words: The couch.
Ah, the couch. Imagine if you will, an old, beat-up couch perched on the side of a road. Its thick, tweed-ish fabric, a lovely plaid mix of green, brown, and white. A relic of the 60′s or 70′s, its glory days were long gone and it was destined to be taken away by the city trash collectors. Orrrr was it? — Enter Wendy & Mai-Ling, two young girls with time to kill and pastel lighters in their pockets — a dangerous combination.
When we first came upon the couch, I began jumping on it like Billie Joe in Green Day’s “Longview” video. I think I was stabbing it with a knife as well. (Hey, I told you we were stupid.) Once I got my fill of jumping & stabbing, we did what any teenage girls would do(!), we lit a tissue on fire & threw it on the couch to see if it would burn. To our dismay, the tissue quickly incinerated, but the couch remained in tact. We picked up a cushion and discovered a tag that read “inflammable”, which we assumed meant “cannot be burned”. (Ugh!) So we lit another tissue for giggles, threw it on the couch, and walked away. We got about 20 feet, turned around, and saw them — the FLAMES! The couch — the inflammable couch — was engulfed in flames! We freaked the hell out and began running away… We ran and ran, ending up in my grandmother’s back yard. We took refuge behind her shed, afraid to move. We sat there motionless, on a dirty wooden plank, as the sirens approached. Police cars and fire engines whizzed by on the streets surrounding us. We threw our lighters over my grandmother’s fence & prepared for a lifetime in jail.
After about a half hour, once the smoke had cleared (har har), we ventured out from our hiding place and went back to my parent’s house. When it was time to take Mai-Ling home, my mom drove us right past the scene of the crime. The couch was no longer a couch. It was a charred, blackened frame. My mom noticed it and said something like “Wow, someone burned that couch!”… Yeeeah… someone.
A few days later, we went back to pay respects to our dear, charred friend. We managed to find a scrap of fabric that somehow hadn’t been burned & took it home as a souvenir. And yeah, I still have it:
RIP - the couch.
As dumb as we were back then, I don’t regret any of it. We had fun and (hopefully) didn’t hurt anyone else in the process. Today, we’re both responsible adults who have yet to spend a day in jail. We live in houses with inflammable couches and they’re safe. We don’t walk on frozen water and we’ve outgrown the urge to steal air hockey pucks. Yep, we turned out pretty damn awesome.
Probably the most recent (and sadly, blurry) photo of us, circa 1999 or so.
Now that we’ve rekindled our friendship, I truly hope that we never lose touch again. I want my two little rosebuds to know Auntie Mai-Ling and hear all about the silly things that she & mommy did when they were young. (And to know that I’ll kick their little asses if they ever try to repeat them!)