Barry Chapter One, Part XXVII

Part 27

 

Thus, as Sue and Melissa drifted off to sleep, I “Slept” with both eyes wide open in the dark.  As if ordained by the Creator ,Lisa was closest to me, and using her sleeping bag for padding rather than warmth.  I slowly rolled over so she was just within an arms reach. I moved my left hand like a crab or spider, inching toward my target, that being her hand.  I got an elbow instead.  If it was her left elbow she was on her back, if it was her right elbow she was lying on her stomach.  I slid my hand up toward her hand.  There was no resistance. She was asleep. Her hand was half open.  I decided to flip over again, thus putting my right hand much closer.  This time I found her fingers outstretched.  I was sure this was not by luck or coincidence.  I slid my hand into hers; she intertwined her fingers with mine, then curled our hands together.  This was the beginning of a two year romance.

Barry Chapter One, Part XXIV

Silence ensued.  It was the kind of pause that can  kill a co-ed conversation at that age.  I started to think it was going to be an early departure if the other tents were going that same way as ours.  They weren’t though.

I found out during the boat ride home the next morning that both the other guys stayed awake until the girls started to sleep one by one.  When all were sound asleep, both employed Thomas’ strategy:  wait out the whole tent, then pick the girl of your choice.  Both ended up making out quietly, and never got caught, nor did the girls raise a peep of protest, nor a scream, not wake up and kick the guys out.  And there it was:  a perfect example of mutually accepted lying.

As for our tent, the conversation jolted back to life.

Lisa:  Isn’t there a way to learn each other’s language and communicate in a way that is understood?

Melissa:  So you think men and women have entirely different languages?

Lisa:  It’s not so much different languages, as a completely different set of ideas about who is the right type, and how to date the one that’s right for you.

Melissa:  Maybe we worry too much about who is exactly right.  I still think people who hardly know each other can fall in love in an instant under the right circumstances.

Me: If both are hormonally distressed with  “Maximus Horny-Apes-Among-Us Disease, then sure, one glance is all it takes.

Sue: But it has a better chance of lasting if they’ve been friends a long time.  Love at first sight, leads to break-up at first fight.”

Barry, Chapter One, part XXIII

Sue: But that’s the problem.   Guys will date especially when its dating with sex, for a long time, maybe forever, without ever committing openly to the relationship.

Me:  I gotta relax, and unwind.  Lisa, can we grab some beers from your parents’ refrigerator?  I’m sure they won’t be home for a while.

Lisa:  But then everyone will want some, and my dad doesn’t keep count, but sometimes my mom does, and she’d notice if they were all gone.

Me: Why would I tell the other tents?

Sue: Oh you’re just rude.

Me:  Ok Ok, I’ll drop it, where were we?

Lisa:  We were at the different ways guys and girls approach each other.

Melissa:  Right.  Is it personality match, all about looks, blind luck?  I think the girls who think they are not pretty sometimes make things worse by adopting negative personalities.  Boys can still be jocks or even respected if essentially negative, but it’s harder for girls to pull off, don’t you think?

Me:  But the less pretty girls are rumored to be very eager to please, and loyal, so who would want to date a stick up cheerleader?” I insisted, noting that there were no cheerleaders in Lisa’s tent, albeit too late if there had been one.

(Oh, I surely stepped in it with that line. Three babes, and I’m talking up the merits of the also-rans.  What an idiot!  And looking back, what a wildly adolescent generalization.)

Barry, Chapter One, Part XXVII

part 27

 

With this Lisa looked at me, and without even having to put an upward-angled nod on her head, I knew her idea was to have us three boys boat home right away, even if it was 4am.

Me:  I’m fine without a sleeping bag, I’ll just crash over here on this side of the tent.

Lisa: Isn’t it better if you take your friends home . Your parents will be missing you.

Me:  I doubt that.  After a deep alcoholic sleep they will wake up and see the boat gone and figure out we’re out messing around on the lake somewhere.

Lisa:  You mean they don’t know you came down here at midnight?

Me:  Your mom knew, but otherwise, except for longer lines at the bar, I bet no one noticed.

Lisa: Then that’s worse.

Me:  Oh? But your parents have already come home, and they never even bothered ot look in on us.  If your mom was worried about what we were doing, don’t you think she would have come up to say hello?

Lisa:   Maybe.

Me: Well, either we have parental approval, or the other guys are asleep already, or both.  It’s more dangerous to try to get home in the dark than in daylight. I haven’t heard any of the girls scream, so it appears everything is under control, right?

Lisa:  I guess so Barry; you sure have a gift for persuasion.

Barry, Chapter One, Part XXII

 

“I don’t know, but it’s more fun with boys and girls than just girls, isn’t it,” I begged.

“It changes the conversation entirely,” Melissa quipped.

“But it doesn’t have to,” I said, thinking a mile-a-minute.

“But we were talking about boys,” Lisa said.

“So keep talking about boys.  I know about boys,” I said, knowing they would never be brave enough to bring up sex anyway.  Among the boys there was a culture of mutually accepted lies that ranged from tepid to kinky via imagination…but how could you fool a tent full of girls?

“Then why is it that all boys want from girls is to have sex?” Sue asked.

I know I turned red all over, but I also know this was a defining moment in my chances to date or never date Lisa.

“I think it depends on the boy.  Some guys really love their girlfriends, and not just for the sex either.”

“Oh?” Sue said.  “I think they say they are in love just to get sex.”

“Yeah maybe, but then what? The girls have sex and later find out whether the guy is really in love or not? Or the girl can say ‘No, let’s wait’ to test the guy, risking he may run off. I mean I have no idea what girls think, but people end up sleeping together, even if there are different reasons why.  As long as no one gets pregnant, I figure sex is fun for boys and girls.”  Ah, I was in full swing now.  Those early days of proselytizing “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex, But were Afraid To Ask,” off the balcony of my room paid off, and I didn’t have to lie!  Yet, at the time…:

(I so wanted this to be my final statement on the subject.)

Lisa: “But you said you had sex with Jeanne, but it wasn’t true!”

Me: “My God I’m the bad guy. I already apologized to Jeanne.”

Melissa: “That’s not the point, the point is, why are boys so hung up on sex?”

Me:  “And girls aren’t hot to trot?  What were you talking about before we showed up?”

Melissa:  “I was talking about Todd, not sex, or sex with Todd, but just Todd, you sex maniac.”

Me:  “So who do you like Sue?”

Sue: “Well I can’t decide.  I think one of them will ask me out soon.”

Me: “How can you be so sure?

Sue: “I have my ways?”

Me: “See, it’s these ‘ways’ you talk about , this is what boys like me are interested in.

Melissa: “The girls way is to get into the guy’s eyesight in as many different situations as possible.”

Lisa: “Well, it’s the way you present yourself to a guy.  It’s not just repetition, because a first impression can seal the deal.”

Me: “How many times has a seductive approach worked for you, or any of us though?”

Sue: “Boys are too shy, and you coujld walk up to them and hit them over the head with the frying pan of love, and they’d still miss it.”

The girls laughed.

Me: “But what is the goal? Dating?  Marriage? A Fling? Someone to hang out with? To go steady? I mean it’s confusing.  I think guys are less confusing, and take life as it comes.”

 

 

 

 

Barry, Chapter One Part XXI

“Barry,. I guess you know Sue and Melissa, they go to Harley with me.”

“Yeah, sure, are you all in eighth grade?”

“Yes, and thanks to your little newspaper, we know all about you,” Sue said, with implications.

“I doubt you know all about me, but everything in the paper was true, or people were lying to me.”

“Maybe it was,” Sue went on, as if she had been waiting for a chance to get after me about a newspaper that only appeared five times, and at that, over a year earlier, “but a lot of people got into  big trouble over what you wrote.  Is that why you switched from Harley to Allendale?”

“Wow, the Inquisition, brought back form 400 years ago to this very spot in time.  Well, what makes you the judge of right and wrong?  I admit I had a blast writing that stuff, but I did not mean to hurt anyone, and apologize if I did.”

“You’re asking me what make me the judge of right and wrong!?  You started it.”

“I tried not to be judgmental, was I saying there was anything wrong with dating or smoking pot?  I don’t think so.  And besides, my Dad liked the stories, which is why he took my typing down to his office and ran off the copies.  How was I to know it would get me “not asked back,” to Harley after seventh grade.  I mean Harley is a pretty wide open place.  You’re right, it was surely the newspaper that got me ‘not asked back.’  That was last year, and you’ve been waiting a long time to get this off your chest, so what else is on your mind sue?”

“My sister, who is a senior now, started dating one of those boys you listed as a pot smoker.  Now she gets high all the time,” Sue explained.

“Well did she date him because she loved him or because she wanted to try pot?”

“That’s not the point, she countered.

“It’s not?” quirried I.

“No it’s not, you stinking drama queen!”

I didn’t realize it then, but by stirring up trouble the year before, and having it re-stirred right then, I felt the tingle of excitement, only a child brought up in a largely dysfunctional, massively sado-masochistic household could ever get a kick out of.  Took all these years to work through the fact that pissing people of was my modus operandi for one, two, three decades or so.

(Now back to the action at hand)

“Well I believe that was her choice, and if not for me, maybe she’d have found a pot head that was not Harley material, if you follow me,” I quipped. “So have you smoked any yet yourself? On the other hand…”

“OK you two,” Melissa jumped in, “why not change the subject?”

Was she worried I’d pull out a joint (I had never used the stuff) or just a peacekeeper?

“Yeah,” Lisa said, “here’s a subject:  what was my mom thinking in sending you boys down here anyway?”

Barry Parts XI-XX

Flying Dutchmen and everything from E-Scows to sunfish round out the contingency (mostly old-school wooden catamarans) that raced on Sundays.  If regatta-day was quite windy I’d race a 14-foot Hoby Cat considered gauche and nouveau-riche by the wooden hulled catamaran owners, perhaps because they are lighter and quicker. My girth gave me a decided “keep-the-boat-flat”  advantage on heavy days during the two legs that require tacking, and, being a one-men operation, it was a test of both nautical and tactical skills.  On light wind days I’d race sunfish but not with much success.

So I got past the yacht club, then the pump house, a Canandaigua landmark and scene of an emergency pissing pit stop four years later, when the choice was pee in my car, or behind the “pumpa housa” as Dad called it.  Might have gotten arrested and had a permanent sex-offender for that type of move these days. The walk this day though, back in 1972, was anything but funny.  I’m sure I bothered more than one sunbather, gardener, t-shirted lawn mower with off-the-wall questions or unexpected behavior.

On the walk down the gravel driveway that served four “cottages” on Tichner’s Point I slipped and fell due to a small patch of moss, and that woke me up enough to be a little more presentable, emotionally, for the inevitable inquisitive “where is your father?” “How did you get here?” “Your hand is bleeding, let’s get some iodine on that, and a band-aid,” etc.  Mom, God bless her, had wigged-out multiple times by then, having suffered severe stress due to my younger brother being hospitalized at Strong Memorial Hospital for his first five years.  Oh Adam is a story in himself, and in Mom it caused “hyperactive micromanagement” fueled by regular alcohol ingestion a 50+ cigarettes a day nicotine fix, both habits her shrink called “self medication.” For what, back then, was called manic depression.  As if the Nembutal, Secanol, valium, etc. weren’t enough.  Turns out Mom’s brother became addicted to a variety of pills (handful at a time) due to bizarre misdiagnoses by one, two five, ten VA hospitals in the southeast.  Addiction. It runs in human dynamics as well.

“I’m serious young man, how did you get here?” mom asked in her familiar bark.

“I hitch-hiked, it only took three rides to get here.”

“Then where is your father, and why didn’t he pick you up at John Harrison’s office?”

“I guess I didn’t give him a chance” (an unwritten “Schmidt Men’s code” was to cover for each other) I said in sarcastic battle mode.

“Don’t lay that crap on me.  Do you expect me to believe you just up and hitch-hiked all the way here?  Do you know how dangerous that would be?  Never hitch-hike.  I’ve told you we never pick up hitch-hikers, and thumbing a ride is just as bad.  You could have been kidnapped, or worse!”

“Well Harrison told me to go where my heart told me to go,” I said to the straight-forwardest of my ability.

“Like hell he did!  What is he a quack? No!  He has a lot of books out and researched at Duke and UNC at the same time…you know, that’s unheardof.”

“Yeah mom and I know you love his motorcycle, but when he told me to follow my heart, I made a short stop at Martin’s until Mr. Martin came home, and then made it here by hitch-hiking.  You should be proud.  I forgot Dad (slapped in my face) was going to pick me up.  That hurt!”

“It’s not surprising your father hasn’t called by now.”

And on it went.  Later that same summer my folks had a blowout fundraiser for Project Hope, the floating hospital.  My dad’s band from the 50s in NYC came up for a reunion.  Wild line-up of 15 layers including two pianos, basses and trombones which took turns making the lower-register melody lines that, I swear, were magic.  Never a guitar, and that says it all.  Most of the band had regular gigs in New York still, so many years after the fact.  Their hit was called “I’m Feeling Lucky.”  Dad knew a variety of stars from Johnny Mercer to Lana Turner to Charles Mingus.

On this fine night in July, about 300 were getting smashed, listening to one monster setoff jazz out on the lawn, and, it was a year after the hitching-hiking incident, one of them was Dr. Cleo Alexander : the most flirtatious/pretty doctor anyone ever knew, or hoped to know.

So it was a big night, and here the mom of little miss sexy from the other private school up in Rochester saddles up to the three teenage bartenders…

“Boys, do you know my daughter Lisa?”

“Sure we do,” Thomas said. Thomas lived down at the other end of Trevor Court, and most of the time his family’s obsession with golf prevented them from buying a cottage at the lake, some 40miles away from their investment in the Country Club of Rochester.  It was a rarity to have him down for the weekend.  Also handing out drinks that night was Jerry, the neighborhood basketball and soccer star.

“Well,” Cleo continued, “she’s having a sleep-over down the lake.  The girls have tents up behind the tennis court.  Why don’t you go down and have a panty raid,” she said, slightly tipsy, but matter-of-factly.

The three of us, dumbstruck, looked at each other as if all our dreams had come true.

Jerry “Thanks for the tip mum,” as if British, and we were off, out of there, sprinting 35 yards to the dock, firing up the inboard/outboard engine on a 16-foot Glastron, not checking the gas lever, nevermind that it was pitch black, I had only been to their house once, ,and I couldn’t remember whether it  was three or four points from Tichner’s Point  to (and beyond) Rochester Point.  Of course, Menteeth Point was first up as a landmark. But, at just around midnight, only points were a guide, and damn it, which came first Rochester or Seneca Point?  I knew Seneca was a much more dramatic outcropping, and guessed correctly that Rochester was before Seneca.  Even better, we didn’t run out of gas.

“What the hell Barry, it could be any of these places,” Jerry chirped in the cool night air.  Canandaigua’s water only gets to about 67 degrees in a good august, so at night, the lake cools the air.

“But I know their dock is square and they have a boathouse with a bedroom over it for guests.  Sure enough this place fits that, and I know I’m right.”

“I hope, Thomas said in testosterese. “Throw me a line,” which he tied to a dock post in a hasty but accurate bowline.

“OK boys, here we go, but if this is the wrong house, we just turn and run, right?”Jerry asked.

“Right.”

As soon as we got up the steps I knew I had gotten lucky because I recognized the compound which included two wooden houses carved out of a hill that led up to the tennis court.

“You can hear them up there,” I said, pointing to the tennis court. At full pace we jogged up and Thomas yelled “We’re here ladies.”

They screamed, then one said “who are you, go away, this is private property.”

“Is that you Lisa?” I asked.  “Your mother sent us down here from my parent’s party.”

“Get out of here, she did not,” Lisa belched as she said.

“It’s Barry, I’ve seen your dad out at the jazz club, we’re just out late to have fun, we’re not criminals.

“Let me take a look at you,” Lisa said, as she unzipped a six-man tent, her flashlight ablaze.  “Oh bit’s you three, I see.  Well then, why exactly would your parents let you drive a boat so far at night? And why would my mom send you down here to ruin our slumber party?”
Never shy around  women, Thomas spoke the truth: “she sent us down on a panty raid..”

“OK, that’s it, get out of here!”

“But wait,” Jerry protested, that’s exactly what she said, but thatb doesn’t mean that is what we came down here to do.”

“I have an idea,” Thomas said.  “There are three boys and three tents, if we put one boy in each tent, that wouldn’t be a problem would it? Just to talk.”
“Wait, I’ll ask, “ Lisa said, walking back toward the tents.

“Nice thinking,” Jerry said, jabbing an elbow into his ribs.

“I’ve got Lisa’s tent no matter who else is in there,” I said.

“How do you figure that?” Thomas asked.

“My parent’s party, my boat, my lake knowledge, my pick,” as the snob in me woke up for a late night stroll.

“Oh what an ass, “ Thomas said. “Let’s shot rock, scissors, paper.”

“You and Jerry are free to play for the last two tent, but Lisa’s is mine,” I reiterated. “Since you have no idea who she invited, what’s there to fight over?

Lisa’s flashlight came back in graceful motions its owner displayed, seemingly at all times.

“OK we’re agreed you can stay, but no monkey business with my friends,” she said. I grabbed at her hand, she pulled it away, but I followed closely to her tent where Susan and Melissa were giddy with anticipation, or so it seemed to me. She re-zipped the tent, hung a flashlight by a cleverly constructed intertwine of bungie cords.