Wednesday, August 09, 2006

watch how they just disappear when we're far away from here

I recognized your silhouette as you walked out

This one will drone on. Consider yourself cautioned in advance.

A lot was made some time back about a certain Super Sweet Sixteen episode on The Root of All Eye Bleeding MTV, featuring two twin Indian-American girls. Many seemed genuinely horrified and somehow personally offended by the twins’ behavior. I have to tell you that I finally subjected myself to a re-run of this nonsense last week. I didn’t find myself enraged because:

  • The entire basis of the show is to witness overindulged youth throwing an obscenely expensive party to celebrate that they managed to make it to the ripe old age of 16 without flunking out of school, getting themselves knocked up, or choking on the plastic toy in the cereal box. I’m not sure why it is somehow more offensive because they are Indian.
  • Granted, these are extreme depictions, but anyone who knows a teeniac or two knows that some of them dream of reaching this level of obnoxious self-involvement. If some of my cousins had just a wee bit more cash at their disposal, they’d be giving these twins a run for their money.
  • A group of raucous punks crashed the twins’ party.

It’s that last part that triggered something, reminded me of why I have both questionable taste in men and why I never quite fit in with any of my Indian friends growing up. The girls on the show were dramatically appalled that the punks crashed the party, and even resorted to calling upon security. In that way, even those two jacka$$es are better Indian daughters than I am.

When I was in high school, my parents were always suspicious of any guy who called the house. There were two equally pathetic things about this. First, most of the guys that were calling were doing so to ask a question about some homework assignment. And secondly, these 6' tall EBF guys were afraid of my 5’3” mom and dad. Anyway, when I was nearing the midpoint of my high school years, I had just about had enough of this paranoia, and decided upon a new approach. One boy arose suspicion; five boys together posed a dilemma. I know this logic sounds a little insane, but it actually worked.

So started the beginning of an era of what I like to call TMI with the guys. Such are the perils of befriending a pack of teenage boys though. While my parents tolerated this, it was still abundantly clear that I was under a tighter watch than other teenagers in EBF. The Apaches, as they called themselves, were well aware of this, and in an uncharacteristically protective manner, would usually look out for me in this regard. If they knew things were going to kick up a notch at a party, they’d send me packing. And sure enough, on such evenings, as I left cursing them out for expelling the girl from the crew, the police would show up. It was EBF, dudes. Kids could be sitting around drinking white wine spritzers over a chess game and the cops would still appear to break it up.

But every once in a while, the Apaches would forget that I had strict parents. Or maybe they didn’t forget, but savored the idea of having a little fun with that fact. I had the Apaches, and my friends Pam & Jackie over for an early dinner once. Of course, since I was a kid, this was no more complex than spaghetti. One of the Apaches, Craig, asked me what he could bring. I suggested bread. He brought a loaf of white bread. That night, my parents were throwing a typical dinner party, uncles and aunties trading verbal one-ups, comparing their supposedly perfect children to each other. Pam & Jackie were still over; we were watching some chick flick in the basement. Around 10 pm, my mom suddenly appeared downstairs.

“Come up here please,” she demanded in a whisper laced with rage. I complied, climbing the stairs. When I got to the top of the stairs, she whispered, “There are boys at the door. For you.”

To get to the door at my parent’s house, you have to pass the sitting room where all the uncles and aunties hang out. There was no getting around this. I opened the door and immediately, the Apaches, all five of them, filed into the foyer. As if this were not scandalous enough, they were inexplicably soaked from the knee down. Oh, and definitely drunk. My mom stood glowering at me. Craig murmured, pleased with himself, “Hey… what’s going on?”

Now was not the time to be amused. Not with the uncles and aunties all watching. So, I did my best impression of my mom and crossed my arms in front of myself. “My parents have people over. You guys can’t come in.” This was kind of a stupid thing to say given that they were already inside.

Craig lingered in the foyer, scratching his head. He finally raised his head, looked at me, and asked, “Well okay, can I at least get my bread back?” All of a sudden, I really was angry, but not for the appropriate reasons. I marched back to the kitchen, and my mother actually followed after me- she was ill equipped for this situation of five drunken teenage boys standing in her house while she had guests over. After handing the loaf of bread over, I showed the Apaches the door, and off they went, I later discovered, to continue their evening of pool jumping around my neighborhood. When I told Pam & Jackie what had transpired upstairs, they were completely infuriated on my behalf, that these dudes were so insensitive.

But the thing is, even at the time, I knew it was hilarious. Even at the time, I knew the Apaches were far more interesting than anyone else I was going to speak to that night. When the punks crashed the party on the MTV show, I saw their floppy hair, their t-shirts, and immediately recognized them as the Apaches. These were my people, the people you pursed your lips at, but secretly were charmed by. I had other friends in high school that were supposedly closer and sweeter to me, but there’s only one entry I still remember in my high school yearbook.

When this silly show triggered the memory, I dug up my yearbook to re-read the entry. And this is what Craig wrote in its entirety:
    The problem with you is that you don’t realize the value of a loaf of bread or an Apache visit. Other than that, you’re sort of okay in a weird way. We have been close over the years, you have to admit. Maybe I should have asked you to the prom instead. I mean, we did whoop it up on the dance floor, and your parents did like me for a little while (5 seconds). Be forewarned- the Apaches will come again over the summer. Arghhh!

And if you convert currency from high school, this is just about the most awesome gem you can ever get from a guy. The Apaches never did make a return visit though. We all got as far away from EBF as possible and lost touch. But I still have a soft spot for bad boys, because I can never think of them as really all that bad.

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