I stopped sucking my (right) thumb when I was six years old, but to this day, if I have one of those brief lapses of “which hand is my right, which is my left” I can solve it by instinctively raising my right thumb to my mouth. And then trying to look really casual about it, like I was just thinking, like some man in a catalog.
I didn’t stop sucking my thumb at night until I was like 12? 13? Maybe even older than that. We tried that stuff that you can put on your finger nails that tastes like vomit to make you stop biting your nails, but I can sleep through anything, including licking that right off. Then we tried a bandaid, but all that did was cause me to sleep-eat a lot of bandaids. So my mom used to tape a sock to my hand at night until I broke the habit. Slumber parties were a terrifying proposition to me at that age.
Anyway, I use my index finger and thumb to make an L shape with each hand; the one that looks like an L is left.
Cathy Schmelzer couldn’t believe it when she read in the newspaper that Terry J. Dunlap Sr. — a firearms instructor — had accidentally shot someone. “Oh no, he’s done it again!” she said she thought to herself. Schmelzer, 50, was Cathy Hessler, a 14-year-old Pickerington girl, when she was accidentally shot in 1977 by Dunlap during a Halloween hayride.
“Up until he shot me accidentally, it was very informative, very well laid out,” he said of the class.
We were cleansing ourselves of Eric. We knew that this year would be different. We knew the purpose of this diary was to plot revenge. We wondered how much our understanding of life and true love was defined by The X-Files. We weren’t sure if we found her G-spot, but it was really dark. We were confused about the exact definition of “sausage party.” We wanted to be fun and sunny and bubbly, but not too perky. We hoped we could trick a boy to dance with us. We wanted to earn enough money this summer to buy a fun hat. We wrote a poem from the viewpoint of a soldier on the beach at Normandy, because as a teenage girl, we really got that. We were annoyed that we couldn’t be mad at Mo because her grandmother had just died. We reckoned if the world ended today, we wouldn’t want to have spent our last day cleaning our infected ear piercing. We loved Jim, who was tall, illiterate, and liked breakdancing music. We lost our virginity to side two of the Raiders of the Lost Ark soundtrack, on repeat. We were saving up for college and a leather jacket. We were annoyed that Mom’s big thing was that intelligence is so much more important that looks. We made a list of things we liked that included white, lace, jazz, black, treble clefs, Gumby, Phil Collins, satin ribbons, Saks Fifth Avenue bags, corners, and mustard. We spent our week working on our Latin project, going to confirmation class, and crying a lot. We wondered if people still went to college during the Civil War. We figured the worst that could happen was that he’d explode. We broke up with Jared because he gave us 14 carnations for Valentine’s Day and thought it was a dozen. We resolved to be nice to everyone, even geeks and snobs and bitches; even Tanya Sampson. We figured that maybe we were a genius and they wouldn’t know until we were dead. We are CRINGE.
I set out to run for an hour this morning. I didn’t have a plan, decided to just noodle around some streets until I’d run for an hour. If you’ve ever seen me emerge from a subway station and try to “get my bearings,” you know how bad of an idea this is. This is how I get border-line-panicky lost within a mile and a half of my house.
I left my apartment and turned left. Usually I turn right, but hey today is a new day, man. They’re setting up for the Giglio Feast, so I made a mental note to return next week for a hot Italian sausage. I giggled at “hot Italian sausage.” I was a quarter mile into the run. Things were going so well.
There was a film crew shooting something outside Union Pool, under the BQE. I rolled my eyes at it and ran through a group of PAs mostly just to see if they would try to stop me. They didn’t. I turned left on Metropolitan thinking maybe I’d stay on that for awhile.
Two streets later I took an impromptu right onto Leonard. My dad’s name is Leonard. It seemed like a good reason to run on that street. Leonard dead ended at some point. I didn’t take note of the name. I turned left and cut through some housing projects and headed, to my best guess…east? for a few blocks until I hit Bushwick Ave.
At this point I started feel vaguely off course.
I jogged a block down Bushwick Ave then hung a left at Johnson Ave because it made me laugh because I am 12. I then ran into Graham. Graham! I’ve heard of Graham! I was quite pleased with myself. I turned right. Two blocks later I passed Meserole Street. The YMCA is on Meserole, so I could end up there and have a place to pee. I sort of had to pee. I decided to keep it in the back of my mind.
Stayed on Graham for awhile, noting at one point with mild alarm that it intersected with Grand. In my poor, directionally-challenged little brain, Grand and Graham run parallel with each other, not perpendicular.
Mild alarm began to linger, as did need to pee. Decided to turn around, head back to Meserole and go straight to the YMCA. Took a 50/50 gamble at Meserole and turned right. Four blocks later Meserole Street dead ended. Not at the YMCA.
I was confused.
I doubled back and there’s Leonard again! Good old Lenny Street here to save me. But which way should I turn? I once again turned right and ended up at the same dead end as earlier. Really had to pee. Was running out of time. I spotted some sort of elevated roadway and headed towards it, thinking in my pee-addled mind that it was the BQE overpass. It was the J train. Huh.
Eventually a series of turns down streets that had nice trees lead me back to mother fuckin’ Leonard Street. This time I turned left and before I knew it (because I was only ever, like 4 blocks from familiar territory), I was back in familiar territory. At this point I was super curious about how the YMCA could be on Meserole Street even though it dead-ended nowhere near Greenpoint, so I headed in that direction. Turns out the YMCA is on Meserole AVENUE. Not cool, Brooklyn. That is some Queens-level BULLSHIT right there.
I peed at the YMCA. Was so sweaty that I slid off the toilet seat and smashed into the stall wall, startling the person in the stall next to me. It was 6:30 in the morning and I was off to a great start.