October 30, 2009 by 8junebugs
Somewhere between here and Atlanta, there’s a skinny blonde woman driving too fast in heels that would make my spine crumple in protest after about three and a half minutes.
Said skinny blonde was my roommate for a year out in Dublin, California. In the 90s.
I still can’t say that without laughing a little. I had a roommate. As a grown-up. In a decade that has wormed its way onto the classic rock playlist.
Because Pearl Jam totally belongs with the Rolling Stones? Meh…well, maybe.
Tammy and I worked together at Electro-Test, Inc., where I was a long-term temp (doing various admin and marketing work that taught me to never have anything to do with trade shows again) and she worked in accounting. I needed a new home at about the time her roommate was moving out, so a mutual friend hooked us up and the rest is faded and frequently misremembered history.
I was unaware then that this friendship would last a freaking DECADE.
I mean, seriously? On paper, we don’t make any sense. We’re nine years apart in age. I’m the stay-home-with-a-good-book type and Tammy can dance all night and still look fabulous rolling in for breakfast. We’re worlds apart on make-up and hair and general appearance upkeep — thank god we had our own bathrooms. She smoked, I didn’t. (She might still…I don’t know.)
And, oh, our decorating styles? Not. Even. Close. Dude, I banged my knees on the corners of that goddamned glass coffee table so many times, I almost wished someone at one of our parties would get lit and smash through it.
No such luck.
Plus? She kept acquiring pets that could eat my pets. I kept rats, back then, and they were the first pets to enter the apartment. Tammy brought home a bearded lizard she named Drazil. Then she rescued a cat we dubbed Maestro after the local bar.
We weren’t the perfect roommates — when the lease was up, we went our separate ways. This isn’t an opposites attract story.
This was the year that taught me (eventually, in retrospect) that people don’t have to have anything in common to really enjoy and care about each other, and that people with a lot in common can be crueller to each other than they would be to an enemy. (With an enemy, you fight fair.)
It was also the year I learned to make strawberry daiquiris with coconut rum. Good lord, have you ever had those? It’s like drinking those lovely red-and-white-swirled candies, only eventually you fall over and your liver swims up and sticks a little white flag out your ear.
I don’t know how many parties we had. It seems like so many, but it couldn’t have been, right? I mean, Halloween was the really big one (I was a jester with rosy cheeks and Tam was Tina fucking Turner — SEE?!), and it was on Friday night, after work. That was the one where we went kind of all out and I made ghosts out of white fabric and papier-mache goop, and we lit the whole house with candles. Even the bathroom!
Which was a colossally stupid idea, let me tell you. Our place got SO hot. And that jester costume included a hat, and I wore it over a black bodysuit. Oh! And with my black suede boots — tall, but flat, and totally in style again — with little bells I’d sewn on the toes.
Tammy/Tina, of course, could just be all fabulous and flash her jean jacket open to cool down.
The next morning, we woke up dead. Tore up, as they say, from the floor up. (Tam was the first to teach me that phrase, in her lovely Georgia Peach accent.) Nothing, praise dear sweet Baby Jesus, had gone up in flames from all the candles, and I don’t think anyone did anything that came back to haunt them later (which was not the case for the previously thrown Labor Day party, of which we shall not speak).
The kitchen floor was wicked sticky, though. Seriously sticky with stuff stuck to it. We hoped it was just from spilled drinks, but…no, we were pretty sure. It seemed like it would take three attempts to mop it clean, though.
Plus? We were dead. Who would come back from the dead to mop a floor?
The year before, I’d gone into the Castro for Halloween, and I told Tammy about it in my morning-after monotone — about the outrageous costumes, the huge but safe crowd, the gorgeous drag queens who towered over me, and how I’d seen Jesus three times in one night. She was enthralled. (Being from Georgia, she was a little short on drag queen experiences.)
We rallied, and looked at the kitchen floor.
“Fuck it,” we said, then donned our costumes and headed for the city.
The plan for this reunion weekend is somewhat loose. Depending on when she gets in, we may have dinner downstairs at my usual place.
Tomorrow, we’ll stroll the Avenue. She’ll go apeshit and spend a paycheck in the doggy boutique and bakery I haven’t even told her about yet. I suspect we’ll have lunch at Cheesetique and pick up a selection of yummies for the evening.
Tomorrow night, Rick Springfield will be on Californication, playing himself. If one of us remembers, we’re totally watching it. Rick did a show at Maestro — I didn’t go, but Tammy did, and talked about it forever, so it’s LIKE I WAS THERE. Obviously, we must watch the show.
Tomorrow night may also be when we haul out the old photos (which G reminds me are not “pics” because they do not yet exist in digital form).
Sunday, we’ll be at Perry’s for the drag brunch, then we’ll hit Old Town. We could do a bit of siteseeing in between, I suppose…then a leisurely dinner at a local place.
I haven’t seen Tammy in six years — the last time was my wedding day, and I was stressed out and…busy. (She did swing dance with my dad, though. That was amusing.) I’m pretty sure this visit will be more fun.