~Tuesday, March 29, 2016


His name was Johnson, although Johnson wasn't his real name. The rumor throughout high school was that he acquired the name Johnson because he masturbated too much.

I realize now that this probably isn't true.

But the rumor was that he couldn't stop touching his johnson. He bragged about the mark on his car windshield where one time he came so hard that he couldn't clean his semen off the glass.

I realize now that this probably isn't true either.

Johnson was older than me, but we were in the same social circle. The details are fuzzy now, but I think we were in the same math class. Either he had failed or I was in advanced math, but he was a senior in my class. We were also in the same after-school club.

I was always a little intimidated by Johnson. I considered him more popular than me and infinitely cooler than me. Despite these terribly awkward rumors about Johnson, people liked him. Teachers even liked him. I was shy, friendly, but mostly unconfident in myself. I never really talked to Johnson because what could we ever have in common?


One afternoon after school, I hefted my book bag on my shoulder and began my daily walk to my job. It was a short walk. The movie theatre was probably three-fourths of a mile down the road, on the other side of the park. Two traffic lights away.

Johnson pulled his car up next to me on the sidewalk.

"You need a ride?"

"Oh! No thanks! I'm just going to the theatre."

"I know. Just hop in and I'll take you there."

I looked at Johnson's beater car. "It's really not that far," I hesitated.

"I'm going that direction anyway."

I got in Johnson's car, bewildered. We've never been alone together. I'm not even sure we've spoken directly to each other, despite spending a lot of time in each other's presence.

Johnson pointed to the milky spot on his windshield. "That's the stain," he said.

"Really? Um, that is a far distance from your lap," I managed.

"Yeah, I really blew my load that time."

I looked out the window uncomfortably. I wish I didn't get in this car. I don't know how to talk like this. I've never had a boyfriend. I've never been French kissed with the exception of Spin the Bottle in eight grade. I'm pretty sure I didn't do it right then anyway. No boy has ever wanted to kiss me.

Johnson stopped at the first red light. I turned and looked at him.

His pants were open, and he had his penis out, stroking it.

It was the first time I had ever seen a penis.

"I have to go!" I screamed as I got out of the car. "Thanks for the ride!"

I ran from the car into the park. I would walk through the trees where the car couldn't reach me. I cried without being able to articulate why. I felt violated even though he never touched me.

Later that night I saw Johnson's beater car pull up to the curb in front of me. I was working the box office, so I was alone on the street surrounded by glass. I was exposed. I had no choice but to see him.

Johnson walked up to the glass. His face was full of remorse and I could tell he felt like shit. I wondered if I was the first girl he pulled this stunt with, or if I was just the first girl to react badly.

"I'm sorry," he stammered. "I'm... I'm so sorry. Please forgive me," he croaked.

"It's okay," I whispered through the glass, unable to use the microphone.

Except I didn't feel okay.


I never spoke to Johnson after that night. We avoided each other until he graduated and went off to college. I worked my senior year at the box office in peace.

Johnson reappeared 18 years later as a Facebook friend request. The next week a prank he pulled went viral on the Internet. He's married now, with a son.

He added my email to his work contacts and now sends me business newsletters. He also added me to his charity fundraising page. He runs for kids with cancer.

Fuck you, Johnson. It's not okay.

~Friday, March 18, 2016

The Thirtiest


I've been using that word lately as an adjective. As in, "This is the thirtiest I have ever felt." Life has become so different from my twenties that it makes my head spin if I stop too long to think about it.

"When did we become adults?" my coworker asked while we were taking an afternoon walk through the parking lot. "Like, if something bad happens, I'm prepared to handle it. I have money in the bank."

"I know! I was feeling spendy this morning, so I donated to a few charities because there was nothing I needed to buy."

This conversation is pretty thirty.

The first time I felt thirty was when I was out to dinner with my girlfriends. We were at a nice steak house in Buckhead and I had just been served my second glass of pinot noir.

"Our rescue dog has been showing signs of separation anxiety, so I enrolled us in doggy yoga," I told them.

The waiter's eyebrows shot up ten miles high so I stopped for a moment to think about what I had just said. I just said "dog" and "yoga" in the same sentence as a activity to do as if it were perfectly normal.*

That was the thirtiest I had felt for a long time.

Then my friend planned an adult coloring party. I packed up my books and my markers in my Thirty-One tote. As I was walking down the wooden steps to her house, one step was deeper than the others and I rolled my ankle pretty hard when I hit the step unexpectedly.

I was crying before I knew I was still alive. I knew I hurt myself pretty badly falling down the last couple of stairs.** Crying, I laid sprawled on the ground and called Abe, who had just dropped me off.

"My markers!" I wailed. I feebly picked them out of the grass as Abe returned.

"I'm so sorry. I should have waited to make sure you got inside okay," he said. As he was evaluating my foot, my friend approached. They helped me pick up everything I had dropped.

She held up the hummus container, which was flattened like a penny on one side, and said, "Well, I know where you landed."

And then for the foreseeable future I had to tell people that I hurt myself on my way to a coloring party when I fell down the stairs and landed on my hummus.

That, my friends, is the thirtiest I have ever felt.

*No but seriously, doggy yoga was great. They had aromatherapy and played some sort of calming-dog CD and the room was dark and I taught her downward-facing dog. She really enjoyed it.

*Y'all, I broke my tailbone and was on crutches for over a month. The doctor said I did the most amount of damage that I could have possibly done without breaking anything. It still hurts. I have to lay around like a Roman.