like a high school keg party, but in your driveway
i realize this is going to come as a huge surprise to all of you, but i wasn't a member of the popular clique when i was in high school.
i know. shocking, isn't it?! oh, sure. the kick ass rack, still in its adolescent stages, held it's allure, but trust me. i was very much the female equivalent of brian johnson.
("well, in physics we...we talk about physics, properties of physics.")
i was a brain/basket case always on the cusp of being kinda cool, just a hair away from legitimately hanging with the princesses and the jocks, but spending most of my time with the criminals (who were the most fun despite the anxiety i had about associating with them then).
being popular wasn't really my goal for high school. in all honesty, it was simply easier being the brain/basket case.
easy enough that i've opted to retain that title in my adulthood.
("uh, excuse me, fellas? i think we should just write our papers.")
however, growing up and becoming an adult doesn't mean you can leave the clique arena behind. i realized this week that, for me, it has simply transferred from high school to my happy little cul-de-sac.
the arrival of spring means my neighbors have emerged from the caves they nested in all winter. after a few deep stretches and belly scratching (god please, let that have just been a belly scratch hairy neighbor did a second ago...) the street transforms into the love boat and the neighborhood cruise director is already hosting lots of gatherings on the lido deck that is his driveway. garage doors stay up, lawn chairs pop open, perhaps a boom box is cranked, and beer flows as the circle of mischievous jocks and princesses partake until the sun sets. they talk loudly as they get a tiny bit drunk, and perhaps remember to pay half-eyed attention to their future criminals as the younger set wreaks havoc under the street lamps.
and i sit out in my yard (the equivalent of the back row of saws in shop class, let's say) and i watch. because we don't drink, don't smoke, we were pretty quickly disqualified from the social gatherings within a matter of weeks of moving here. summer nights mean miller time here. drive down our street on trash day and you'll note the players by the empty beer cases tucked jauntily in the recycle bins. apparently, we don't look like the millers.
(an aside - i'm not against drinking. i quite enjoy a drink here and there. but i have been known to then have quite a lot of sex after having quite a lot to drink, so i save these periods for special occasions such as birthdays and holidays and not spread it around the neighborhood, all willy nilly like)
("yeah, but it was only...was only because i didn't want her to know that i was a virgin, okay?")
tonight's gathering included the following members of our neighborhood clique -
- the foreign exchange student - years here, but still with the distinct yet unplaceable accent. a laugher, the foreign exchange student is always willingly accepted into the fold because you just assume that in a year, they'll be gone so it doesn't matter what you do to them. this isn't the case in a neighborhood clique, of course, but by now it's accepted.
- the stuck up girls - these are the girls who were princesses in high school. talking to the serfs was a chore, so they simply didn't. this is a trait they've held onto, so there will be no waving as our minivans pass on the street. should you accidentally make eye contact in the grocery store, let their spontaneous yet intent study of the various cartons of yogurt serve as your signal that there will be absolutely no pretend prattling.
- the "out to stud" jocks - past their prime, these men will get an occasional wild hair (usually after plenty of miller lite) when someone grabs a basketball or football and they'll kick their bravado into overdrive. loud, never empty-handed (the cooler they carry over serves as an extra chair if need be) and often married to the stuck up girls. after a game or a lull in the conversation, they'll pick on someone who dares drive down the street just a bit too fast.
- the neighborhood spicoli - his passive/aggressive/passive nature makes him a time bomb of fun. this is someone you only see during the evenings as he saunters out, barefoot and bleary-eyed, from whatever it was he was doing in his basement prior to the siren's call of the first pull-tab.
ok, i admit it. i read this and it sounds like i might be pining to be a member of my suburban neighborhood's popular clique, and sure, for a time, we attempted an allison reynolds makeover so we could comfortably hang with the jocks and the princesses. but we gave up when it became clear some cliques can't be busted up or into. when it was over, we didn't consider each other friends. when you move into a neighborhood, like in high school, you just deal with what you've been given.
and that's fine, because honestly? i'm pretty happy as the dweeb.
("you see us as you want to see us...in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.")
and yes, i just gave myself a smiling, self-congratulatory punch on the arm.
further cementing that dork status, of course.