In World Civ I learned that I could stick out my tongue at an old memory: In eighth grade American History, we heard about a general named Hooker. I called a friend’s attention to the name, and giggled. She frowned and told somebody else I was laughing at the guy’s name.
Well, now Dr. Williams told us that the term “hooker” for a prostitute came from this guy, who was known for visiting them! I just loved the poetic justice of this.
Phil told me once, when I saw an open garage door and nobody around it, that S– had almost no crime because the populace was mostly made up of blue-haired old ladies. Soon after, Phil mentioned this to Dave as he drove Dave and me to school, and Dave told him that there was too crime in S–.
I have since heard that Dave was right. My current city has the same thing: We have crime, yet people keep leaving their garage doors up, or car doors unlocked.
Maybe in junior year, the college installed a huge gumball machine in the Campus Center lounge. It must have been as tall as a person. There was a contest to guess how many gumballs there were in it.
I don’t know how often people used it, but it was quite a conversation piece. Astrid said on Sunday, October 17, 1999 that though people did buy gumballs from it, the same gumballs were in it the whole time it was in the Campus Center.
Since the rest of us didn’t remember it, it was obviously after 1996, when most of my friends and I had graduated, when someone punched a hole in it and started a fad of grabbing handfuls of gumballs. Twenty-five cents was hardly a lot, but being free seemed to make them more enticing. One of Astrid’s Phi-Delt sisters would take a bunch of gumballs to sorority meetings and offer them to everyone.
Bruce Springsteen’s song “Streets of Philadelphia” came out around this time, a song of haunting beauty.
Jennifer eventually broke up with Mike. Senior year, she began to date a guy named Jason, who had also dated Cindy and Catherine; Jennifer would one day marry him. They are still together to this day, posting pictures of their kids on Facebook. So I suppose it was just as well.
The new songs “No Excuses” by Alice in Chains and “Every Generation Got Its Own Disease” by Fury in the Slaughterhouse had a mystical sound that couldn’t be beat.
I heard “Generation” a couple of times on the radio, probably Lazer 103 or 93Q, but it was rarely played despite its musical superiority to most of the other songs they played.
Phil now had a confession for me: that he’d had oral sex with two of his girlfriends. He still considered himself a virgin and “oral sex” only a name; he explained that without penetration, it wasn’t really sex. I had always considered it sex.
There was no chance of pregnancy with oral sex, but he didn’t do anal sex (as much as he wanted to) because there was. However, his admission still bothered me. It was still intimate, nearly as intimate as sex–maybe more so.
I remember sitting in his parked minivan and saying, “It was supposed to be me!” He wasn’t supposed to even have oral sex with anyone but me, the one he was to marry (see here, and how Christian kids are taught that virginity is a special gift to be saved for your future spouse, and we were already planning to marry). I was hurt and devastated, and he felt bad about it.
I also told him that, whether it was really sex or not, I still didn’t want to do it before I got married. I believe he struggled with the question of whether or not he was really a virgin, and I didn’t want to go through the same thing myself. I wanted to be able to say unequivocally, “Yes, I am a virgin.”
I didn’t want to be what Ron Hutchcraft on Saturday Night Alive, that radio show for teens which I’d listen to on Christian station WFRN, called a “technical virgin.” He didn’t go into much description of what he meant, but I figured this fell under that heading.
(Of course, Shawn and Phil both had gotten me into things which made me already a “technical virgin.” But that’s already been covered in the sophomore year chapters.)
On Tuesday, March 22, Phil and several of my friends left for Choir Tour. They wouldn’t return until about the 29th. It was awful being away from Phil, and without many of my friends at school, it was even worse. I counted down the days until he’d return.
Barb, who I believe was now engaged (she’d marry during the short time we worked together at an insurance company in 1996), asked me in World Civ how I was taking it. She could barely take even a few days without her fiancé.
I was to stay with Phil’s parents when Spring/Easter Break (they were combined that year) began the evening of March 25, and when he came home, he’d take me to Indiana. We would go back to school on April 4, the last day of Break. Since his family had such odd eating habits and I didn’t cook, I was afraid no one would feed me, but they did.
I spent my days at his house playing 93.3 on my jam box and doing my homework in Phil’s room. Phil’s parents complained about me shutting myself away, but I had to get my work done, and this way had the least distractions.
It was also a special time for me, because the music and the sun barely coming through the yellow Venetian blinds (which I may have actually rolled up at times) and the book On the Road gave everything a particular, relaxed feeling. The song “Shine” by Collective Soul was brand-new and played quite a bit during those days. I loved it because the musical crunch seemed to fit On the Road so well.
When Phil finally returned one night, waiting for me on his couch as I came out of the bathroom, he was like a stranger to me, which was really weird. I almost didn’t want to look at him. But I was glad to have him back again.
He had stories for me, such as going through Indiana (the choir tour was in several states) and seeing all these Bob Evans restaurants. To me that was normal, but it reminded those Wisconsin kids of one of the guys on Choir Tour. He had the last name Evans, so this inspired jokes.
I also learned either from Phil or, more likely, my friends, that on Choir Tour, “Home” is the house you’re staying in that night with your tour roommate, “Home Home” is Roanoke, and “Home Home Home” is your home with your parents.
I had a yellow piece of paper with the directions to South Bend written on it, the ones my parents had given me over the phone while I was at Phil’s house. I kept it in my coat pocket. Phil’s dad said to me just before we left, “Watch him and make sure he goes where he’s supposed to.” Even his dad knew he had a tendency of going the wrong way.
When we stopped at the McDonald’s on one of the Tri-State Tollway oases, I got a map of Chicago. Phil said we didn’t need one, and chuckled at me for getting one, but I said we should listen to my mother’s advice and get one. (We did use it eventually. I don’t remember if we used it this time, but we did on our way through Chicago in September.)
Phil had these tapes–Monty Python routines and Jerky Boys routines–that he liked to play all the time. They were funny the first time, but he played them ALL the time. Then he wanted to play them on the way to my parents’ house. I said we’d play it some on my jam box, but after that, I wanted to hear my favorite Chicago stations!
He didn’t seem to understand that playing comedy routines over and over again is not quite as easy on the nerves as playing music. The jokes get old, after all.
We also played the song “Witch’s Invitation” on my Carman CD because Phil had heard of it and wanted to know what it was like. He didn’t like the part about a Dungeons and Dragons game set up on the witch’s table. I think it ruined how he felt about the whole song, which I thought was unfair because it was too good to be condemned just for that one line.
(Of course, in 2006, I listened to the song again and decided I didn’t like it, either, or the rest of the CD. The song stereotyped witches as Satan-worshippers when most of them don’t even believe in Satan, stereotyped witches as some sort of freaky horror show rejects, and lumped an innocent role-playing game with Satanic things. Then it presumed to say what will happen to the souls of witches (many of whom are peaceful and caring), when only God can judge that. The Eastern Orthodox say that we don’t know the extent of God’s mercy.)
I liked to influence the dreams of my cats and dogs, such as making them purr or barking at them. My ex Peter sometimes acted out dreams, and I’d do things like scratch a notebook to see how he’d react. Now, during Spring Break, Phil had a couple of interesting dreams which he acted out, while I helped. One night, Phil went to sleep and had a dream which he acted out in some ways, such as giggling and kissing. He dreamed that he and I had sex, though I didn’t help with that. Then he was so sad, even shedding a tear or two I believe, because he’d taken away my virginity.
So I woke him up, but he still thought it had really happened. I told him it was just a dream and I watched him have it. He said it was I who had been dreaming that he was dreaming, and that it had really happened. But I finally convinced him he’d been dreaming, not me.
Of course, I did not yet have a clue that this was all a ruse, that he was awake the whole time, pretending to be asleep.
One night, Phil and I talked about when we wanted to get married. We didn’t want to wait until I graduated. He was already taking on extra classes so he could graduate only a semester after I did, instead of a whole year. We talked about marrying during my senior year and living in the new apartments, which Phil said were meant to also be married-student housing.
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)
Table of Contents
December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?
April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign
October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:
Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams
June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:
July & August 1994: