#ICYMI: “I Really Did Want To Ride the Roller Coasters The Next Morning” (an epic coming of age story)”

#ICYMI, from earlier in the week: I Really Did Want To Ride the Roller Coasters The Next Morning…

BACK IN DECEMBER I GOT UP ON STAGE AND TOLD THIS STORY at The Moth, one I’ve told any times through the years, and since the crowd at The Moth was 200+ people, I figured I might as well post it here, too. It is epic, it got a lot of laughs, and lord knows I’ve spilled much private stuff at this blog anyway! Seriously, though, it was a definitive and formative experience.

IT’S SUMMER, 1984 AND I’M A FEW MONTHS SHY OF TURNING 17, and working in a supermarket. At that point, just before the start of my senior year of high school, I previously only had one girlfriend. So when a short, round cashier at the supermarket I worked at took a liking to me, I was just happy any female was interested at all. Then she told me she was 22 years old. Whoa. An “older” woman!

I quickly found out she was pretty experienced at making a guy’s pants get tighter. We were quite the talk of the supermarket; she was called “cradle robber” on more than one occasion from several older stock clerks. It was also quickly obvious that I wasn’t the only stock clerk the she took a shine to, perhaps very recently, possibly simultaneously.

After about two or three weeks together and with things moving in a much more physical direction, she gets the idea that we should drive to New Jersey and go to the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park…and stay in a hotel. Whoa. And, uh-oh..

After not-really-convincing-my-mom that I was only going because I wanted to ride the new Lightning Loops roller coaster, my round girlfriend and I ambled off in her small, rusty 1975 Mustang II with a four-hour drive ahead. As if the relationship wasn’t emasculating enough, we  took her car, and she drove the whole way. I remember the drive just dragging on and on because of traffic and I quickly ran out of things to talk about, getting dizzy from a mix of anxiety, exhaust fumes and her perfume. Anxiety? Yes, due to the fact that what was probably going to happen that night was very likely going to happen, i.e., “holy shit this is finally going to happen!” I was getting increasingly nervous with each passing, rattling, mile.

We get to whatever motor lodge we got to and it’s nearing 11:00 pm and despite me suddenly becoming very talkative it quickly became apparent any conversation was going to be very limited and clothes were going to be removed. Of course, being sixteen, I was just excited to be in a motel room. For a minute, while she was in the bathroom, I had to resist the urge to jump up and down between the double beds.

Looking back, the whole scenario was playing out like a mafia hit in a movie. I’m a nervous, sweating guy in a crappy, late-model car, on a long ride to a seedy hotel in New Jersey –  followed by panicking and crying in the bathroom (o.k., the crying didn’t happen but for the sake of the joke, go with me here).


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