Que Sera Sera

Run’s House:

Due to a small delay, I’m staying with my parents for a few extra days before we hit the road. It’s nice to have a few more days to see people and hang out, but living at my parents’ house again is really weird. It’s even weirder because my brother has gone away to school now, so it’s just the three of us, and I have the whole upstairs to myself, so I find myself keeping a running list in my head of the good and the bad.



So it’s a little surreal and trying at times, but it’s nice to have extra time with people. And it was totally worth it all because last night I went to the fair with Tony and Emily and Lauren and ate corndogs and fried pickles and frozen cheesecake dipped in chocolate on a stick, and I could feel my body expanding like the universe, and saw a butter sculpture of Elvis, and sang “Happy Birthday” Marilyn Monroe-style to a local newscaster, and then I rode a mechanical bull in front of about 100 shouting vaqueros, so I think my work here is done.

No sleep til:

Today I sold my car. Now what am I supposed to have sex on top of?

Man, I hope someone laughs at that, because I’ve been waiting to use that line for weeks.

I’ve spent the past week packing every single thing I own, sorting and dividing it all into half-hearted little piles of maybe give this away? or should this go in storage? or oh god what am I doing with my life is this a bad idea? That was going nowhere fast, so thankfully my mother intervened. Much like Herbert Kornfeld, my mother has mad organizational skillz, and I’m pretty sure she shoots math straight from her wrist, so she was very helpful in devising a multi-layered packing plan utilizing all the letters of the alphabet as well as many numbers. This makes for a superb hyper-organized packing system, but it also makes for many rolled eyes when the actual application of this system is in play. Evidently YOU MUST PACK THE LETTERED BOXES BEFORE THE NUMBERED BOXES OR TIME WILL STOP AND LIFE WILL FREEZE AND EVIL WILL OVERTAKE THE EARTH. Kind of like the plot of Legend.

Anyway, thanks to this highly-specialized system and the sheer brute strength of my father, brother, and a few excellent friends, everything got loaded onto a truck this morning, and I am now writing this while lying on my stomach on the floor of my empty apartment. I am going to miss this apartment so much. I wish I could bundle it up and bring it to New York with me. I will miss you, hardwood floors, and I will miss you, arched doorway into the living room, and I will miss you, fireplace, and I will miss you, wonderful giant bathtub, and I will miss you, pretty hand-painted kitchen tiles, and I will miss you, crystal doorknobs, and I will miss you, balcony porch with the view of the downtown skyline. Toilet, you’ve been annoying lately and frankly, we’ve never been all that close, but I’ll still be sad to see you go. Red porch swing, we both know I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ll miss you most of all.

So, the bags are packed and the car is sold, unless I just jinxed it somehow with my awful joke, so now in the next few days I just have to say goodbye to every single wonderful friend I know and leave the place where I’ve lived all my life, and then drive across the country with both of my parents until we end up in Brooklyn, where we’ll unpack and move stuff around and probably have some minor crisis that will be remedied by a trip to the hardware store, and then after a day or two my parents will hug me goodbye and drive back to Tulsa, and I’ll kiss them and cry and wave, and then go back inside my new apartment and maybe sit on the bed and cry a little bit more, but at that point, I’d like to be able to go put on some shoes and go out and do something fun, so let me know if you know of anything.

The worst that could happen is that it doesn’t work out and I end up right back here, right?

Items Found Upon Cleaning Out My Car, A 1995 Honda Accord Coupe That Seriously Didn’t Look Like A Bag Lady Lived Inside:

Give me a minute:

So, my move date is in less than two weeks, and I’ve been a little stressed lately. I seem to respond to stress by becoming an emotional powderkeg and also ridiculously nostalgic, because one minute I’ll be fine and the next I’ll be like OH MY GOD BATHTUB I’M GOING TO MISS YOU SO MUCH. The other night Emily mentioned baby elephants and I totally started crying. It’s insane. It’s like I’ve become someone’s teary beery uncle at Christmas, and I’ll be hanging out, just sitting on the couch or at the bar, and someone will say something funny and we’ll all laugh and I suddenly want to grab everyone I know and give them a big hug and then hide them in my pocket. I’ve even started missing people who DON’T EVEN LIVE IN THIS STATE, so if you know me and you live far away and you get some long rambling message on your phone, just tell me to go to bed and call you when I get to New York.

That said, tomorrow night there’s going to be the hugest going away party ever at the skunkhouse, so if you’ve ever met me, come on out. Emily called today to say that Tony’s already taken the sheets off the guest bed and put them on the floor outside the door so I can sleep where I fall. All of my current in-state roster of friends will be in attendance, along with rumored appearances by former co-workers, people I might or might not currently be kissing, my childhood best friend who is 9 months pregnant, and my first high school boyfriend. Even my parents might drop by for a little while, and I guarantee you have never seen anything cuter than my mom after two margaritas. Except for maybe baby elephants. Oh my God. With the eyelashes! I have to go now.

Progress as promised:

Yesterday I did both crossword puzzles in the newspaper, worked on my car in a garage while listening to classic rock, did calligraphy, helped an 11 year old write a speech and make campaign buttons and posters, and showered twice. This made me feel a lot better about the day before, when I slept until 2 and then sat around reading and eating ice cream in my pajamas.


Almost a week late, but here are the kissing contest winners. Finally. Sorry it took me so long to post, but I’ve been busy doing a little kissing myself. I’m sure you understand.

I thought it was interesting that almost all of the entries could fall into five distinct categories: hot (read: lesbian), sweet, funny, childhood, or disasters. I’m not exactly sure why I received so many stories of awful terrible disastrous kisses when I asked for your best kisses, but they definitely made for some entertaining reading. Thanks to everyone who sent one in for sharing your secrets and shame and degradation and, you know, love or whatever. Also, to the girl who sent the one about making out with another girl up against a bathroom stall, I think you stole that from my diary. Call me!

THE WINNERS, in no particular order:

“Colleen Johnston: Spring of 1988

I was on a 7th grade field trip to Washington DC via train, which took a solid 20 hours. And the one thing 7th graders want more than anything is the lack of parental guidance. This gave way to spin the bottle at about 1:00am.

I wasn’t a great-looking kid by a long shot, but even awkward kids had to spin the bottle, and it was my turn. I took the Blow-Pop out of my mouth and spun the bottle. It pointed to Colleen, a red-blooded, honest-to-God, real-life cheerleader. She was hot property, and the only reason any of the guys were playing spin the bottle in the first place.

Even though she didn’t want to, Colleen leaned over to my lips, and gave me a French-kiss. I was a statue. I didn’t do a damn thing mechanically, and feared what she must think of me. Afterwards Colleen said, “Mmm… Fruity.” I was confused at first, but then I look down at my hand. I put the Blow-Pop back in my mouth, hoping she’s come back to fruit country. She didn’t.

Fifteen years later, it’s still the best kissing compliment I’ve ever received.” —Jay

“It was the summer of 1984 and I was 14 years old. My parents had dropped me off at the Santa Clara County Fair with Mark, my first real boyfriend. We had been “dating” for three weeks and hadn’t kissed yet. He was 16 and tall and tan and beautiful and quiet and already damaged by his life. I was rocking my new acid-washed denim skirt with a floral/striped pastel shirt and he looked dreamy in his white Miami Vice jacket, black t-shirt, white pants with the cuffs rolled up and Topsiders without socks.

Our usual, boring, junky fair was transformed into a slice of heaven because I was there with him. We saw the animals, wandered through the exhibitions and watched all the little kids riding the rides. The air smelled like funnel cakes, manure, corn on the cob and dirt – in the best way. I was shocked to see him blow his entire first paycheck from Taco Bell on me! He bought a blown-glass rocking horse, a stuffed unicorn, earrings and other trinkets. I felt so grown up and mature.

Part of me kept wondering if he’d kiss me, he was so beautiful – perfect lips, black hair, light blue eyes… but I wasn’t sure if he liked me that way. After a while, my feet got sore so we found a bench out of the way of the crowds. We sat there holding hands, watching the sun go down, watching tired parents round up their sticky kids, watching the old people shuffle over to the bingo hall. All the while, my mind was racing… should I make the first move? Did he just want to be friends? Did he already know that I loved him so very much?

He startled me when he asked me what I was thinking. After I recovered and found the nerve to look up at him, he was smiling at me in that amazing way that made my stomach hurt and my heart pound. I wasn’t sure what to do but in my head I was screaming “please oh please oh please oh please” … and he did.

God I loved him.” —Laura D.

“When I suggested she at least try the beef jerky before she turned up her nose at American “cuisine”, she laughed.

We stood in line at the Circle K, idly poking packages of corn nuts and pepperoni sticks.

“I can not believe you actually eat this.”

“Ok, let’s drop it.”

She raised an eyebrow and muttered something in French I couldn’t quite understand.

Later that night, we slow-danced to a fast song, and stole the cue-ball and the 8-ball from the pool table. Walking home from town to the employee living quarters took about half an hour, and we’d invented a game to pass the time.

“I’ll bet you a kiss goodnight that I can make it home in less throws than you,” I told her.

“This is the fat’s chance.”

“Ummm…it’s ‘fat chance’, not ‘the fat’s chance’.”

“Whatever. You understand me, yes?”

“I do.”

“Then shut up and throw.”

She beat me easily. Somehow I lost the cue ball in a ditch, but she always managed to find the 8-ball no matter how far it bounced into the woods.

We stood in front of her room. I had my hands in my pockets, and she had her hand on the doorknob.

“So, you’re leaving tomorrow?”

“Yes. First New York, then back to Marseille.”

“It’s too bad I didn’t win.”


We hugged each other good night, and told each other we’d write. I retreated to my room.

It was her breathing that woke me up. I opened my eyes, and saw her standing in my doorway with the light from the hallway behind her. She shut the door. Slowly, she leaned over my bed.

“Hello,” I said.

“No, not hello. I came to say goodbye.”

She kissed me briefly, then again forever. She stretched out next to me, and put her head on my chest.

“I don’t want you to leave,” I told her.

“I know.”

She got up quietly, and left without saying anything else. I wiped her tears
off of my face.” —AMA

“I was 15 and so was she. We sat next to eachother in choir and sang in madrigals together, two little alto girlgeeks; when we sang together, no one could tell our voices apart. She had curly strawcolored hair and a hint of her mother’s incomprehensible Scottish brogue. I was in love. I had a boyfriend. So did she.

I slept over her house three, four, five nights a week in the summer. Her mother had 9 kids (nine! kids!), and she was one of the last four remaining in the house; no one really watched what was going on, and I don’t think they even noticed I wasn’t one of their own. On the fourth of July we stole a bottle of her mother’s merlot and watched the fireworks on a playground behind our old elementary school. I broke the cork on the bottle, so we pushed it in, instead of pulling it out. She kissed me between chewing on cork bits, and promised to never speak to me again if I ever told anyone.” —bellis

“The Best Kiss I Ever Received*
a true story
by Joshua Norton II, Emperor or the United States
& Protector of Mexico

The best kiss I ever received was from a stripper named Jane Doe. And by that I don’t actually mean to say the BEST kiss, because really the best kisses most of us receive are from the people we really love—and those are the good “coming home” type kisses that make all the “that time I had hot sex in the ladies’ room at Gethsemane Lutheran Church” kisses in the world seem like sitting home alone playing Nintendo on a Saturday night—comparatively speaking. So what I’m really talking about here is the most interesting kiss I ever received. And that’s Jane Doe all the way.

Jane Doe was this girl who had a major crush on a good friend of mine, John Galt. And John was kind of a Jane Doe fan in his way, but John had a girlfriend whom he had no intention of cheating on. So one day John and I were sitting around talking at a party and Jane walked up and, out of the blue, sat down in my lap. Which was strange, since she’d never said two words to me before. But she sat down in my lap and asked did I want to go to Vancouver with her that weekend because she was headed up there to watch her friends do their sketch comedy mojo in the Vancouver Comedy Festival. But since I’m not a complete idiot it was pretty obvious that she was just trying to make John jealous so he’d do something rash, and this was the part where John and I had a telepathic conversation:

Josh: Hey, she’s obviously just trying to make you jealous.
John: Obviously.
Josh: Yeah. But, so, listen. I’m coming up on a year with no nookie here. Would it bother you if I—
John: Not at all.
Josh: Cool.
John: Won’t it bother you? I mean, that she’s just trying to make me jealous?
Josh: It would if she were fooling anyone.
John: Oh. Good point.

So that was when I looked at Jane and said, “Sure, I’d love to go to Vancouver with you this weekend.”

So the trip to Vancouver was a little strange because Jane clearly had an agenda, and clearly couldn’t work up the nerve to follow though on it. Which, I mean, whatever. I was getting a free trip to Vancouver out of this so I was pretty careful not to crash her buzz with a lot of expectations about what was or wasn’t going to happen.

But we get up there, watch the shows, go back to a hotel where we’re supposed to sleep on the floor with a bunch of other people from Seattle, and suddenly out of the blue Jane decides she wants to go back home.

“All the way back to Seattle?” says I?
“Yeah,” she says.
“Okay,” I says.

And then we drove all the way back to Seattle, arriving back at her place at, like, four in the morning. And, in the spirit of not having a lot of expectation, I offered to catch a bus home.

“No,” she says. “I’d like you to stay.”
“Okay,” I said.

Then she looked around the apartment and asked if I wanted to take a bath with her.

“Okay,” I said.

And then we took a bath.

But now it was a challenge. So all the way through the bath in her big old clawfoot tub, I kept my hands to myself. I didn’t respond to the nudity or the closeness. Just sat down in the hot soapy water and talked about the show in Vancouver like nothing out of the ordinary was going on. We washed off, sat around and talked about this and that, and shared a glass of apple juice. Then we dried off and climbed into her bed and went to sleep.

The next morning she let me use her toothbrush and said she was going to be out of town next week, and would I mind house-sitting her apartment and feeding her cat.

“Okay,” I said.

And she made us breakfast.

And then, finally, after a bath, two days together, and a night in bed—right before breakfast—she kissed me.

It was a pretty good kiss.”

* more or less

The uniformed may ask:

Tonight, while sitting on the couch eating pizza with Erin and Brian and watching The Cutting Edge on WE, we played one of my new favorite games, something I like to call “What’s D.B. Sweeney Doing Right Now?”

Feel free to play along at home!

You’re my family tree:

I spent my holiday weekend in Dallas, Texas, with the shirted side of my family. Most of the time not spent in shopping malls or eating meat was spent drinking margaritas by the pool, or in the pool, or sometimes, to mix it up a little, by or in the hot tub. This might sound kind of hot, until you remember that it involved three generations of one family in bathing suits.

I learned some interesting things, like if you get my family drunk they all admit to having seen ghosts, and the fact that Meth Lab Amanda was indeed involved with an actual meth lab, and that evidently the whole Olsen twin thing is genetic, since both my 19 year old brother and my 16 year old girl cousin admitted to a fascination as well. I also learned that it really troubles my mother when I talk about eloping. Other things I do that trouble my mother, for those of you playing along at home: leaving the house with wet hair, leaving the house with dry hair, wearing this lipstick, not wearing lipstick, talking to my brother about his new fraternity, not talking to my brother about his new fraternity, breathing.

However, on the drive down I had some quality one-on-one time with my brother, which was nice and unexpected. I always reach new depths of uncool around my brother, and somehow turn into someone’s dorky uncle and say things like, “So, I hear you pledged DUI,” and he just sits there and stares straight ahead, but this time I overlooked his eau d’ Keystone Light and he overlooked my total lack of finesse, and we had a great conversation about college and movies, and even a spirited Van Halen singalong, despite his hangover. Also, my brother has some excellent ideas as to how he would run against and defeat Schwarzenegger. I don’t want to give it all away, but it mostly involves buying all the billboards in California and covering them with posters from the movie Junior. This boy is going places.

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