“Lately I’ve turned into the 11-year-old girl I never was,” I explained to Jenessa and Mark during dinner at Luna Park in the Mission. The 11-year-old I was was studious, awkward and very concerned with sculpting my bangs into the perfect Aquanet wave. The 11-year-old I’ve become is giggly, girl-crazy and—apparently—a troublemaker.
Case in point: After stashing my suitcase at Jenessa’s place in Oakland, we went around the corner to catch Dr. Strangelove at the Parkway, a theater that plays old movies for $5 and sells beer. We met Jenessa’s friends Johanna and Carly outside; they’d already bought tickets and started drinking, and we were ready to do the same.
“Sold out,” the chick at the ticket counter informed us. She turned to a guy nearby who seemed like he might be sneaking in and gave him the third degree about his ticket. It turned out his friend really did put the tickets under “Fred” even though he’d thought they would be under “Jonathan.” Or something.
Jenessa and I returned to Johanna and Carly, heads hanging.
“Hey,” said Carly, “I’ve heard that the other movie playing here is really good—Night Watch.” She winked one of her large brown eyes repeatedly, and I thought maybe she was having mascara problems. I hate it when that happens.
“The Russian vampire movie?” I said. “I heard about it.”
“Maybe you should get tickets to that one,” said Johanna, who seemed to be having similar mascara issues.
“Ooohh,” said Jenessa, nodding. “And then maybe we should go visit you in your theater.”
This was not about mascara, I realized.
I should interject to say that Jenessa, whom I’ve known since third grade, is probably the closest thing to a “bad” friend that I have. Don’t get me wrong: She is a Fine Upstanding Citizen. She works as a counselor and is getting her second graduate degree. But approximately a third of her body is covered in tattoos and yesterday she was heard to utter the phrase, “Hmm, this is the first time I’ve been to this bar not high on coke.” [Note to Blog Police and Jenessa’s parents: She meant Coca-Cola, of course. The girl used to have a serious sugar problem.] It all started when, circa 1985, she rode her bike all the way down the block after her mom had explicitly said that she was not to leave the driveway.
Jenessa giggled. Johanna giggled.
“The seats are really wide,” Carly said. “We can push them together.”
Which meant, my little moralistic brain calculated, that we would only be breaking the rules, not actually screwing anyone over. So if I said no, it would be because I was a goody two-shoes, not because I was a good person.
So we did it. We snuck into Dr. Strangelove huddled beneath the wide flap of Carly’s faux fur coat. And five minutes into the movie, I fell asleep—no fault of Dr. Strangelove’s, it had just been a really long day.
One could take this as proof that crime doesn’t pay, but when I awoke an hour and a half later, I felt refreshed and delightfully devious.
We stood outside the theater, saying our goodbyes and reliving our crime like boastful mobsters sure to get caught. Except we didn’t.
“See,” I said, “I told you I was turning into my 11-year-old alter ego.”
“Next you’re going to go steal something from Walgreens,” said Johanna.
“Maybe some nail polish,” I contemplated.
Johanna studied her chipped nails. “If you do, buy me a finger.”
Maybe not Walgreens. But Wal-Mart could stand to be hit by giddy, 11-year-old Robin Hood with glittery pink fingernails. Right?