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 XIII

emotions chart

emotions chart

“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.”

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Featured Image is by Anna Podris.

Barry Chapter One, Part XII

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.

Barry, Chapter One, Part XI

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.

Barry, Chapter one, Part X

I was distracted by a variety of colorful yet confusing items as diverse as a potato bug and an F-150 pick up whose driver missed me by inches while honking his horn.  Where was I the middle of the road?  His truck was white but appeared to change colors over and over after the near-hit.

So in a flat between rises, just before the Canandaigua Yacht Club, I switched to the left side of the road.  It was close to my beloved lake, and maybe I could see cars coming better.  The sun was also different in 1972, and the heat not so pervasive.  You could easily sail, and I did, all day bare-chested without numbered SPF sun goop on (since it hadn’t been invented).  In fact we put on baby oil or Coppertone to ATTRACT more sun.

The yacht club had the largest fleet of wooden-keeled catamarans in existence, as they made fantastic racing boats on a lake where the wind changed directions all the time due to the surrounding hills.

Barry, Chapter One, Part IX

A four mile walk is not bad for a 14-year-old, though I had been over 200 pounds since I was 10.  Between 19 and 29 I never felt fat, though hit 330 at one point.  At 29, a member of the International Peace Walk (we were trekking through Russia for peace) told me it was nice to “have a person of size” on the walk, and right then (15 years later) I felt fat; but no one noticed my size again for another 20 years (girlfriends and wives included) until I moved to Korea, where lookism and the horrible looks one gets if chubby are augmented by comments like this one:  I was sitting with a retired opera singer and her photographer husband in his restaurant “museum” in Damyang.  She was about 70 years old.  The very first thing she said to me was not “hello” or “Anyon Haseo,” but, “when are you going to lose your weight?” I informed her that I had lost over 23 kilos (that’s over 50 pounds) in the last five years (taking me down to near 240 pounds) and at that point I thought she was going to faint.

But I progress.

Barry, Chapter One, Part VIII

So I put my clothes on while Cathy stared right at my groin.

“Do you need a ride to the lake, we’re heading down now,” he said.  Now Mr. Martin was a second Dad.  He knew all about the emotional fights that emitted loud noises toward his kitchen door.  He hadn’t fully gotten over the times I had chased Ann all over the two yards and beyond trying to get a kiss.  “Kiss Tag” in my mind…terror in hers, I’m sure.

I refused the 45-mile ride out of embarrassment.  Canandaigua didn’t seem like a long way to hitch hike that day.  My mind was split between going to Canandaigua and the  idea that I was free to do anything that day, having been sprung from both parental and super-ego barriers, I was, by any measure, out of my mind.

Thus I didn’t remember how I walked a mile down east avenue to get to the I-490 Linden road on ramp.  And still don’t remember much about the man who got me as far as Victor, the philosophical, if not geographic halfway point to Canandaigua.  From there, another universally-sent ride got me to the northwest corner of the city of Canandaigua, located at the north end of the westernmost of the picaresque Finger lakes.  It was probably anything but a beautiful drive for the 50s couple who picked me up in Victor.  They would have left me by the cornfield on the far side of Boughton Hill if it was up to the driver.  But, the second happy-to-help lady in a row  saved the day.  She managed to get me calmed down enough so I could tell her I lived on West Lake Road, and it was at the beginning of this 20-mile road that I was dropped off.  I got out and started walking, but my outstretched thumb wasn’t working anymore.

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featured image by Anna Podris, Raleigh, NC

Barry Chapter One Part VII

So, using the “follow your heart” command I took my semi-psychotic self up to the attic, where parties with Mark and his older friends introduced all of us to better music, alcohol, marijuana and kissing.  There were drinking, smoking and kissing games, with variations that inevitably led to the older attendees laughing at the younger ones.

I don’t remember taking my clothes off, or how I ended up lifting and dropping the barbells that made enough noise for Mr. Martin, who was home form work to pick up his youngest daughter, Cathy, and who had come into the house without me hearing it, two stories up.  But he heard it and came up two flights with Cathy close behind.

“I wonder what that was,” she said, and I recognized the voice without realizing I was buck naked.

“Put your clothes on Barry, what’s going on” Mr. Martin asked, somewhere between furious and humored.

Barry, Chapter one, Part IV

Thoughts, a mile-a-minute came into my head, as I had been given official license to do whatever I wanted.  I didn’t notice the walk home, past “Catholic row” where children outnumbered parents by an average of five to one.  I didn’t stop by to see Derek, Jim, John or David as I swung down Georgian Court, a road Mom called “The Gaza Strip.” She being resolutely ethnocentric and “World War II conservative.”

I hung a walking left onto Trevor Court, in a neighborhood (The Barnard Tract)n recently made famous in a book showing just how closed off one rich family was from the others, but this was never true for the kids, back in the 70s.  No. There were pick-up sports games in all three academic seasons.  Summer found us at Canandaigua Lake, visited by cousins, and many others.  The Martins next door got a summer spot near us at the lake also, but were not always at my parents big blow-out parties.  Then, in an act of coincidental synchronicity, the McQuaids bought the ranch house my dad had built by himself (minus plumbing and electricity) 25 years earlier.  It was south of us and on the east die of the lake, near Bare Hill, the Iroquois meeting place.

Barry Chapter One Part III

“If you’re going all the way to Clover Street, that would be super.  I live near the corner of Clover and East Avenue,” I boldly announced at circus barker volume.

“Oh we can swing that way right honey?” she said, with a look that acted like a nudge. Leaned back and imagined I looked relaxed, even if running on 14-year-old testosterone.  Ten minutes later, maybe less, there we were, in the very green and well manicured neighborhood.

“Thanks,” I said, closing the door of their white 1970 AMC Ambassador. Funny door handles, kind of square, that pulled open like the latch to an old freezer, only sideways.

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