We lived in a relatively posh house for Tucson and for being in our twenties. Our house backed up onto a house rented to college students. Between the houses were 7-8 foot brick walls. And the neighborhood was like an echo chamber. Sound bounced back and forth so you could hear everything.
The kids were entitled brats. Drunken entitled brats who drove luxury SUVs to campus. They’d sit on the wall dividing our properties and scream in the middle of the night just to hear the echo. Their parties were bad on a good game night and nightmarish when the Cats lost.
Yeah, the parties were dumb, but the real problem was that you couldn’t escape the noise. For as expensive as those houses were, they had no insulation. Those kids might as well have been in the bedroom with us. The giant master bedroom that we filled with Ikea furniture because we were young and stupid ourselves. Only in a different way.
D hated those kids with a passion but he did nothing about it except call the cops. He just grumbled and drank. He was never much for confrontation, that one.
But I was feisty in my youth. One night around 3 am, I was like, “Fuck that noise.” We’d called the cops from every number we had and still nothing. All of the neighbors probably had, too. Except for that house, everyone in the neighborhood was relatively sedate with jobs and dogs and all kinds of responsibilities. So, completely fed up, I went to the backyard in a t-shirt and chonies, turned on the hose, and sprayed everyone down in the backyard. I heard a girl’s voice exclaim with wonder, “Oh my god, it’s raining.” They just sat there, on the wall, enjoying the sudden downpour. They took all the joy out of my revenge. Or at least I thought so at the moment.
Eventually the cops came with patty wagons. Full regalia. The kids tried to outsmart the cops by TURNING OFF THE LIGHTS AND HIDING. You could hear crying. You could hear whispering. One chick said, “I don’t have ID, officer. I didn’t have a purse that goes with this outfit.”
As they started pulling people out of the house, I heard a guy scream into the night, “Are you happy now???”
I was. I really was.
For the next week or so, I’d ring their buzzer on my early morning walks. And then I’d run around the block. Or maybe D did. I can’t remember. When you’re married, sometimes your memories blur like that.
I’ve never been as old as when I lived in that house. My time spent there was focused on crepe parties and art work and jewelry and being respectable. To whom, I don’t know. I spent my twenties being 35 and my thirties being sixteen. Maybe I should decide what my forties are going to be now that I’m in them.
I had my first sketch class tonight at UCB. It was a rollercoaster of emotions. Someone’s ringtone went off before class. Four notes at most. Before I had time to think consciously I blurted out, “That’s The 1975.” That’s just how my brain works. I’m never at the helm, never have my hands on the reins, never charting a course and following it. I just blurt things out and then realize I said them. If there’s any upside to that it’s that I’m always in earnest. And my thoughts are a lot kinder now than when I was young and completely unempathetic.
We watched Key and Peele and Mr. Show sketches and talked about the game. I wanted to pinch myself. Not since college when I took film class after film class have I felt such immediate affinity for the subject matter. “You mean I get to do this? Like, for reals?” I was blown away.
The agony began as we had to participate. I talk too much and think too much and pretty much am too much. And I feel like I suck at group dynamics. Still. I may also suck at the whole sketch thing too. I don’t know. But there’s only one way to find out.
I feel overexposed lately. I’m meeting too many strangers and performing too much. It’s different when you fuck up in front of people who’ve seen you do well. When strangers see it, they talk to you afterwards like you’re some feeble-minded sycophant. Twice I’ve been asked who my comedic heroes are and twice I have responded with a resounding and hearty, “Uuuuuuum….” Me, the one who never shuts up. They just looked at me like I was a dummy.
Anyway, all this is to say that I’m trying. And there’s gotta be something worthwhile in that. I want to try, if not for me, then for all the people who never have the chance to do this but would go balls to the wall if they could. I spent so much of my life trying to be who I thought others wanted me to be. Sort of living in second gear. Maybe it’s time to take this brain out on the track and road test her.