Thursday, June 15, 2006

Tribute to a flash in the pan

By the time senior year of college rolled around, I found myself living with the fabulous Lo (not to be confused with the less fabulous J. Lo) and wonderful Wynne. Wynne and I had been bff's since freshman year of high school and Lo (and fabulous others:) came around freshman year of college. We moved into a cute little yellow house on Harding, strategically close to our fave bar, The Cellar. Our place had a nice little yard and a porch swing. It was very cute and sweet. Upkeep not being our college-town landlord's bag, it was also so run down that only not-very-picky 21 year olds would have lived there. Enter us: not-very-picky 21 year olds.

Looking back, it's a good thing that the hardwood floors were kind of crappy and the kitchen linoleum was worn. Otherwise, we may have felt bad about having a huge party right after we moved in. We had bands playing in the basement, a keg in the kitchen and people everywhere. It was a FUN party. Bands were playing NAKED. People were rocking out, people were laughing, people were outside on the porch swing, enjoying the beautiful Virginia summer night.

Most of the people there were friends. Our friends from school, maybe a few locals, and of course the two skinheads I'd befriended earlier in the summer, Jason and Chris. You'd think being skinheads, they'd be named Killer and Yaywhitepeople or something like that. You'd also think they'd have no hair. But they were former skinheads, you see, and so had hair and, as for the names, well, I guess they were just uninventive.

As a superfeminist superprogressive Women's Studies minor, you can imagine I was a bit conflicted about hanging out with these two 6'4" muscular tattooed guys. I was conflicted about it. Truly. But, this: it was all so convenient. I met them when they moved into the apartment below me (before the move to the little yellow house). I was on the balcony smoking a cigarette and saw them moving their very few belongings in. In a rare bold move, I yelled down to see if they'd like some wine. They were quite game. Seeing hair, I never would have suspected that they were skinheads. They'd just moved up from Florida and chose Blacksburg because Chris' brother played football for the Hokies. They also chose to move to get off of heroin once and for all. They were clean at least that summer. I know because I hung out with them. Every day. I mean, not only did they live right there, but they also had about as much time on their hands as I did: TONS.

We'd go to Ton 80 every night and get pitchers of black and tan and shoot pool. Every night. We'd watch Oprah. They'd tell these wildly exaggerated stories wherein they were the heroes. Some of the stories were funny and others I found terrible and offensive. And told them so. They were loud and caused trouble and I witnessed it all. The cops didn't like them--and even came to my house one night to tell us to shut the hell up. The nighbor who called them on us came by the next day and wondered what happened to me, "You used to be so quiet and respectful. What's going on?" I could only lamely shrug and apologize to him, leaving me to wonder why and what, in fact, had changed? Why did I hang out with these guys? Well, they were funny, which is about the only requirement I had. More so, though, they were exciting and dangerous and super hot. I had a thing for Jason. A big thing. He, I'm pretty sure, had a thing for me, too. A small thing (ha ha), but a thing nonetheless.

Good thing his sort-of-still-but-mostly-ex-girlfriend of four years who lived four short hours away never found out about us (did I mention we had a thing?); she'd have kicked my ass. I'm not saying this for drama. I am saying this because, when she came to visit Jason for what I think was weeks, she kicked other people's asses. At our fun party with naked bands playing at our cute little yellow house with the cute little porch swing.

Her name was Candy (no lie) and I was (rightfully) scared of her. She talked a lot of smack and knew that my friend M "loved" Jason and wanted to beat her up because of it. She ended up punching my friend K instead--who just happened to be the wrong place at the wrong time at the party. K, I am proud to say, punched her right back. And then the boyfriends got involved. B and Jason were pummeling each other in no time in our cute little front yard. Jason called to Chris to jump in and help him. Candy was yelling and egging it on, K was crying and wanting it to stop--like all of us.

I recall it stopping as abruptly as it began. Jason, Chris and Candy left. We then convened to the upstairs with K and B and a lot of us, really, to kind of sit for a minute, wipe some tears, talk some smack. I was full of apology for all the badness I had brought in. [Sorry K and B.] But the ex-junkie/ex-skinhead crew was now gone and tears dried up and the whole time the party continued. I think we all returned to it. I did.

In the kitchen later that night (party still in full swing), a tall blond punk rock kid came in for a beer. I was cleaning idly (I think) and we got to talking. Nice guy, in college like me, a year or two younger, jeans, jacket with pins in it, blue eyes. Very kind. We talked about school for a minute and music for much much longer. Then we started kissing and he stayed over and we were psyched about each other. We stayed in bed until 5:00 the next afternoon, just hanging out, recovering from the drink and lack of sleep and feeling all cozy and comfy and excited--apparently leaving Lo and Wynne to clean up the party mess. [Sorry Lo and Wynne.]

Turns out my little punk rock pal was an engineering student and was doing an internship two hours away for the semester; he was just in town for the weekend for fun. He stayed over again that night and I woke up with him at 5:00 the next morning, sending him off with a thermos of hot coffee. This was pseudo-before-email. We exchanged addresses and wrote letters. I visited him. He visited me.

This didn't last long but it was sweet and I have fond memories. He was a nice college boy after a summer of skinheads. The skinheads who beat women. A few days after that party, Candy came over crying immediately following a fight she and Jason had. He hit her (again, like always). The police were called by his neighbors. She left, coming to the little yellow scene of the fight she'd caused with another woman. A fairer fight. [Right.] Except it was all unfair and now she was here pleading with me to let him know that she didn't call the cops and she wasn't mad anymore and it was all okay. [Right.] [Witness the crux of my summer-long conflict...lifted now by my curtailed contact with them and new contact with a blue-eyed punk rock boy.]

I thought the best thing about him was his introduction of Descendents to me. Writing this now, I guess this is.


Blogger Lo said...

OMG, that's a blast from el past. I only vaguely remember that (musta been the beer). And I don't think I ever knew those jerky guys were skinheads. Eeeewww. Sigh...
good times.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Madelyn said...

Oh but they were funny as shit -- in a dangerous sociopathic way, for sure -- but laugh out loud hilarious. In retrospect tho, perhaps it was in an "at them" not "with them" sort of way. Like an exaggerated kind of nervous laughter. I wonder if they are in jail.

ah, Blacksburg.

8:02 AM  
Blogger joestrummerlives said...

I seem to recall several parties where that narrative is the same, only with different characters. So many fights, so much beer...

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anj said...

wow....hadn't thought about that night in forever! my memory of that night is quite fuzzy. sooo many parties and fights! did we do anything else?? not sure how we all ended up with degrees...

6:05 AM  
Anonymous sara said...

was that the night i first met laureen by telling her that there was a sight in her yard? although I seem to remember that girls name was cammie, with the frog tattoo on her neck?

11:44 AM  
Anonymous sara said...

was that the night i first met laureen by telling her that there was a sight in her yard? although I seem to remember that girls name was cammie, with the frog tattoo on her neck?

11:44 AM  
Blogger newyorquina said...

I love this story. How it wanders endlessly around one particular evening and ends with music. In the end its all about the music.

Btw, jordan of Pigeon Toes fame, check my blogroll loves your blog!

3:40 PM  

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