Thursday, 9 October 2008
Confessions of a Teenage Stalker, or The One That Got Away . . .
I think when I was around 13 or 14, I realized that I was never going to be one of the most popular girls at school or one of the "In" crowd. I was a pretty good kid though, and never one to buck the system or flaunt the rules my parents had set out for me. I hadn't yet really discovered boys in any appreciable way and being a "good" girl was still very much what I wanted to be.
I can remember the first time a boy asked to walk me home from a dance. I was 14, and I refused to let him hold my hand. Not because I didn't want him to, but because I knew my parents would be watching from the front windows of our house, and I didn't want them to see me holding hands with a boy. I wasn't allowed to date until I was 16, and so I thought they would freak out if they saw me holding hands with a boy, the end result being I wouldn't be allowed to go to a school dance again, for a very long time afterwards. And so . . . I managed to maintain my parents faith in me, whilst at the same time securing my position as a card carrying member of the "Geek" squad. The next few years were hellish, to say the least. The boy went back to school and told everyone about me not holding his hand and that meant to the rest of them that I had to be a lesbian. For the whole rest of the time I was at that school I was haunted by that, and teased mercilessly. Girls didn't want to be my friend, for fear I guess of being painted with the same brush and boys . . . well . . . I got past it, you always do. We moved a few years later, thankfully and I left it all behind.
When I was 15 years old I had a best friend named Linda Wilson. She was a rather chubby girl, a fellow geek, and she conveniently lived just across the backyard from me. She was the only girl in her family, so she got to have a bedroom all to herself. I loved to go over there and wallow in all her stuff. She had everything a teenage girl could want . . . ie. her own record player, and a little gaily coloured carrying case, full of all the lastest 45rpm records! We wiled away many an hour on Friday nights in her room . . . listening to all the latest pop songs, eating popcorn, sharing dreams, and practicing all the latest dancefloor moves we had picked up from the previous Saturday afternoon's American bandstand show. (Not to be missed, upon pain of death!)
She always had her bathrobe hung on a hanger on the back of her closet door, and we used to practice slow dancing with it. (Rather embarassing to think of now) Oh, the many slow dance dreams we played out with our faces held next to a dark blue terrycloth shoulder . . . sigh . . . We spent many, many hours together . . . talking about our hopes and our dreams for the future and what it held, and giggling all the innocent giggles of young girls who have not yet experienced their first kisses and first young beaus.
We spent hours thinking about boys, and wondering about the mystique of the popular girls who never seemed to have a problem gaining their attentions. Then one day, it seemed, we came up with the perfect solution to all our problems. I discovered a book at the local drugstore . . . "How To Get A Teenage Boy, and What To Do With Him Once You Get Him." At only $1.95, it seemed like a really affordable solution to our problems in attracting a handsome member of the opposite sex!!! Not only that, it appeared to have all the knowledge necessary to keep him . . . once trapped!
We hurriedly returned back home to gather our pennies . . . local track records were broken as we raced back to the store, arriving breathless, to plunk our hard earned cash down on the counter. We could hardly wait to get back to Linda's 8 X 10 room and learn all the secrets held within it's pages of teenage wisdom. (We couldn't go to mine, I had a nosy younger sister hanging about . . . one that would eavesdrop and interfere with all our plans! Horror of all horrors!)
Up in her room, we pored through the pages of this book, scanning it from cover to cover, memorizing illustrations and hoping to learn all the secrets of the male mystique, and the mysteries surrounding them. We read out loud to each other and took notes and studied all the wisdom held therein.
Not to be one left behind, or called a slacker, I already had my first victim picked out. His name as Philip Moore, and he was a Senior and getting ready to graduate. He worked at the local newstand/sweetshop and to my naieve, sweet little teengirl mind, he was the next best thing to a popstar, with his flowing dark locks and big brown liquid eyes. The idea that a Senior would never look twice at a junior never occurred to me . . . I had "the" book that was going to secure for me, forever, the secrets of gaining male attention and company! With all the rapt intent of a lioness preparing to hunt it's prey, I memorized all the steps in the book so that, once Monday morning rolled around, I would be more than ready to put them into practice . . .
And put them in to practice I did. For several weeks, I followed every step Philip Moore took. When he went in to class, I was behind him . . . when he came out of class, I was in front of him, probably breathless and sweaty from having to dash down the halls in order to be where I needed to be whenever I needed to be there. I haunted his every waking hour and probably his dreams! His every step was dogged, his every movement catalogued, so that I knew exactly where to be and when. Then finally, one day, I was practiced and ready to make my ultimate move . . . a big step . . . a HUGE step . . . I was going to say hello.
I spent half a day following him and setting up the perfect moment to spring my feminine wiles upon him and when the time was right . . . there he was walking towards me . . . I gathered up all my courage and managed to croak out a single syllable . . . "Hi!" . . . as he sauntered by. He stopped briefly, looked at me and said "Hi" back . . .
I was positive I had finally cracked it . . . he was in love and the world was my oyster! Philip Moore had said "Hi" to me . . . I was in teeny bopper dream heaven!!!! The thought that he probably felt he knew me, after my having shadowed his every move for days and weeks, never occurred to me. I had flowered under his gaze, stepped up to the plate and batted a homerun! I had finally been noticed! (In truth, how could he not have noticed! For days I'd been like a rash that just would not go away!)
Needless to say, I never did manage to get Philip Moore to ask me out, and it was quite a few months before I started to date anyways. He was a good exercise though, to cut my feminine teeth on. It was doomed from the start really, but then, why settle for the moon when you can reach for the stars! (the story of my life!) Years went by, and Linda and I remained friends until long after I married my ex. Then, with the passing of time, and many many moves and locations later, we managed to lose touch. I wonder where Linda is now and if she still remembers "The book" and the hours we spent together as friends. I wonder if she married and had a family. I wonder if she ever thinks of me, popcorn and brownies, girlish giggles, dancing with hangers and if she ever dreams of the "one" that got away . . .
They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach! I wish I'd known this "truth" back then . . . it would have saved Linda and I alot of trouble and embarassing moments . . . who knew?
* Artichoke Baked Chicken*
Quick, easy, elegant and delicious this always garners ooohs and ahhhhs when I serve it. If you like artichokes as much as I do you are going to love this one! It’s a real winner!
1 large jar of marinated artichokes, drained, rinsed and chopped
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup good quality mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Pre-heat oven to 190*C/375*F. Lightly grease a baking dish. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place in the baking dish leaving some space between each.
Mix together in a bowl the artichokes, cheese, mayonnaise and garlic. Mix well and then spread over the chicken pieces, making sure to cover them all over. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until the juices run clear. Try hard not to overbake them so that they stay moist. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.