The indecipherable ranting of a half-blind Russian immigrant

Month: May, 2013

My Best Friend is Getting Married

My Best Friend is Getting Married

My best friend since I was 12 years old has been Kim.  I’ve had a lot of best friends before and a lot of best friends afterwards but unfortunately they can’t compete with Kim.  They weren’t there through my super awkward phase (not to be confused with my continuing awkward phase which is just something I’ve come to accept), they also weren’t there for the coming of age shit.  That’s the crucial stuff: the drugs, the booze, the sexual bumbling.  Or the even more crucial stuff: my parent’s divorce, moving, legal woes.  And we managed what very few people have managed which is an ongoing friendship that has transcended lifestyles, distance, and the inevitable growing up and often moving on.  In two weeks I’ll be in Kim’s wedding as her only bridesmaid.  I couldn’t be more honored.  If the roles were reversed I wouldn’t hesitate to make her mine and I’d do it knowing she’d do a better job than I ever really could.

I’ve known Kim since elementary school.  We went to a small country school and Kim’s family was pure country.  Ranch and all.  Her father might as well have been John Wayne.  To me he already was.  The year we became friends was a particularly difficult one for me.  Between my parent’s marriage dissolving, the impending sale of our home, my inevitable relocation, puberty, and generally how fucking horrifying 7th grade is for anyone, I was kind of a mess.  Kim and I were far from cool in the eyes of our peers.  Too lowly for the rich kids of Plainview, too rowdy for the nerds of our own turf.  We’d spend our lunch breaks pretty much being weirdos.  She listened to Sir-Mix-a-Lot and talked with fervor of how much she wanted to rid herself of her virginity.  I thought she was crazy.  I was a pretty nice kid who was totally afraid of sex and more inclined to listen to the Beatles.  But for some reason she liked me, and since she was one of the few people who did, I accepted it.

When the divorce was finalized I kind of withdrew.  Other than a couple of old friends of mine, I didn’t really tell anyone where I was moving to.  Bound to my depression and ready to spend the summer in solitude, I was shocked to find that in the middle of summer I got a call from Kim.  She hunted me down.  I think mostly to brag about a boy in Idaho she had gotten to second base with, but her persistence won.  From that moment to our junior year in high school we were inseparable.  My worried nature and her confident rebellion were an interesting match.  We’d sneak out of her home on many occasions, into the cool night air.  We’d scam as many beers as we could from her sister-in-law and pack them into snow occasionally lining our jacket pockets four beers at a time past her unconcerned father.  We’d plan makeout parties scouring the land for any available boys willing to play our ridiculous games.  We’d write silly songs and come up with silly sketches.  Watch Crybaby every day for a month straight.  Find almost any possible legal way to get high until we discovered marijuana.  She always the ringleader and me the funny and easily influenced sidekick.

18 years later, despite everything changing, nothing really has.  I’ve learned that about the good friends I’ve had in the past.  I’ve gone from seeing Kim every day for the better part of a decade to not at all.  Years even.  Then moving in with her in Hawaii.  Then going back to a couple of phone calls within a year.  But every time we’re together it’s like we were never apart.  It’s always right where we left off.  Very few people in this world will know you as fundamentally as your best friend in high school.  Inherently you are the same person you were as a child.  Your reactions to things, your fears, your impulses.  I’m very fortunate to know someone who knew me then.  To keep me in check.  To tell me when I’m being an idiot or to give me confidence when I’m rife with self-doubt.  And while Kim is one of many I’ve been graced to have this type of relationship with I’d have to say she was the most important.  Because I was a strange teenager and every strange teenager needs an ally.


That One Time I Ate a Bunch of Mushrooms at an Outdoor Music Festival: Part I

That One Time I Ate a Bunch of Mushrooms at an Outdoor Music Festival


I’m inside of a box.  An unpleasant box.  And under any other rational circumstance I would not be in here longer than need be.  I’m trying to read something on my phone but I know it’s going to die soon and I know that this is a fruitless effort to try to find answers to a menagerie of splintered questions and I can’t really fucking read anyway.  I look into the tiny mirror, at myself bathed in the strange orange glow coming through the vents above.  I’m smiling, I’ve been smiling the same shit-eating grin for the last two hours.  Around the time I ate the shit-born fungus that landed me in this port-o-john to begin with.  This is night one and thankfully my new playhouse has yet to be the domain of filth and discarded g-strings that will greet me on day three.  “Welcome to Psych Fest 2013 Cheryl Couture.”  Wait.  What?  I didn’t say that.  Either way, I’m not prepared.

It all began when I was talked into purchasing tickets to the weekend event by a friend.  Of course we would need some drugs.  It is a Psychedelic music festival after all.  That part was easy.  I had underestimated the endurance it takes to commit one’s self to weekend-long experiment in brain dismantling.  That Thursday I managed to get drunk, only to wake up and get drunk again the next morning.  Wearing the clothing I wore the night before and carting the phone I hadn’t bothered to charge, I drunkenly inhaled a good portion of mushrooms with the same enthusiasm and vigor I reserve for eating a plate full of french fries at 2 in the morning.

Carson Creek Ranch, on facts that I only assume, has never carried a festival clientele.  I picture hay rides, kayaking, weddings, and team-building getaways.  Upon entering I immediately fell in love with the ambiance of an adult circus but I blame that emotion on the effects of malt liquor and marijuana.  I ran with intoxicated exuberance to the river and found a natural amphitheater.  I quickly shed my friends and made my way down the hill and to the small pier at the back of the stage.  The sun had not yet set, Tamaryn had just began to play, and the sound of a 757 descending on Austin-Bergstrom (just due south) was completely muted by guitars.

It was halfway through Warpaint when the psychedelics began to overpower the booze.  And it was there I turned to my friends and said, “I’m going to the bathroom.  I’ll be right back.”  They wouldn’t see me again for hours.  I always know the moment I’m fucked up.  It’s always the moment I stay in the bathroom a little too long, usually talking to myself in a mirror.  I emerged from my plastic castle and decided to go on an exploratory mission.  The river was nice.  I should try to get back there again.  Unfortunately I found the Dos Equis tent before that.  Surrounded by horrible sand.  Sand filling up my boots.  Half naked women trying to sell beer and log-themed jousting to an audience of zero.  Lights.  Televisions.  This wasn’t the boat I wanted to be on.  Nor did I intend to board the Red Bull Lounge vessel.  I made it back to my favorite spot, the tiny pier, just in time to hear Om.  I caught the eye of couple who’d been drinking and they joined me.  My left hemisphere deep in the nocturnal sounds of river life and my right engulfed by doom metal.  I convinced my new friends to come see the rest of the Raveonettes set and then charged up the hill at rapid pace losing him to tend to the limitations of her footwear.  I peaked as those Danes peaked and the marriage of the two was the highlight of that weekend.

Right before Black Rebel I found Doug.  It was like kismet.  At least at the time it felt that way but in reality finding Doug outside of a beer tent is business as usual.  We listened to the show arm in arm swaying back and forth.  Stealing cigarettes that I normally don’t smoke from every dippy hippy who tumbled past us.  Doug recanting every hit and every miss of every song.  And me spilling every sip of beer down the front of me.  Unfortunately the sleepiness of daytime debauchery began to creep up on me.  When the boredom of watching Doug try to find the rest of our party and scam more beers became too much I found a group of strangers and fell asleep on their blanket.  I woke later to find the blanket gone and myself surrounded by empty beer cans.  I had finally resigned myself to a life out there for the evening.  Despite the desperate desire to take a shower, I felt like it was a pleasant and mild enough evening to play into my deepest hobo fantasies.  I had even stashed my pocket knife inside my bra earlier that day in partial fear that security would try to take it.  Just as I turned on my phone in one last attempt to connect myself to the world of the living my ride found me.  There in a shitty field, surrounded by half-dead drunks.