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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

on a weeknight?!


last night i had to attend a teen dance party. it's all part of my job this summer as a fancy interim coordinator.

(on a side note, the director told me yesterday over lunch that i had signed a full year contract with the department. oh. "i thought it was only through august." he laughs. very loudly. and longer than i was comfortable with. "heh, no." more laughter.)

so the dance party was hosted by my group of kids and the region's top 40 radio station. it was nothing short of awful. i busted a few moves for pure comic relief and then resigned myself to texting people i hadn't spoken to in months.

since i had transported two of the girls, i got to hear about how much they thought the party sucked during the drive home. since this was making me feel even better about how i spent the past three hours of my life, i opted to change the topic of discussion.

"why didn't your sister come, tatiana?"

"she's on punishment." kiara piped in from the back seat.

"what'd she do?" i asked.

"i dunno, but it was real bad 'cuz she's in trouble for the rest of the summer."

"well, didn't you ask her what she did?"

"no." tatiana had no interest in elaborating.

"aren't you curious? i mean, she's grounded for the entire summer? it must be bad right?" i pleaded.

"i guess. if i asked her, she'd just tell me to mind my own business anyhow."

i was really shocked by this. apparently i'm more nosey than my youth activists. before i could insist any further, she turned the conversation toward her crazy events from the previous evening. this is something i was completely unprepared for.

the two girls settled in to explain how tatiana almost got jumped by some girl while ordering chinese food late last night.

"you were out at 11?! on a weeknight?" i mean, yeah, it's summer, but come on! it's no secret that this city is known for it's ghetto-tastic qualities.

kiara ignored me and begain. "i was outside with mines and tati was in there wit' Mr. Ling..."

"wait," i interrupted. "mines? are you talking about your boyfriend?" the girls laughed in agreement. "you have to translate these things for me."

"miss kris, you crazy!" they call me miss kris. and yeah, i am a little crazy.

"so anyway," tatiana took over. "this girl came up cuz she thought kiara was my sister and then when she saw she wasn't, she thought she could fight me."

i interrupted again. "you still confused miss kris?" kiara was laughing again.

"well, why did this girl want to fight you?" these girls clearly needed some tips on good storytelling.

tatiana sucked her teeth as she tried to gather her thoughts. "well, it kinda started with remember that crazy old man that lives with us?...she was makin' fun at him the other day and pappi is crazy. so he was like 'i'm gonna kick that fat bastards ass!' and started runnin' at this girl. and pappi's crazy and he gets this look in his eye and you just gotta run."

oh. ok. i didn't bother asking anymore questions. i was now giggling along with the girls.

"so mr. ling sees that this bitch..."

"tatiana! you ain't supposed to say that!"

" girls are so good!" i say to them and allow tatiana to finish telling her story of fighting a girl at the chinese food store at 11pm on a weeknigh in the ghetto.

"...and he calls mommy and my sister. and then kiara calls hers."

i couldn't help myself, "wait. mr ling has your phone number?"

"yeah, errbody got my phone number!" tatiana says to me.

oh. ok.

i resolved myself to silence as tatiana and kiara took turns telling their highlights of the story. it all ended in what i imagined to be a crowd of people spilling into the streets in the middle of the night. mr. ling with his portable phone, yelling incoherently to tatiana's mother, who i'm sure must have translated instincitvely as if talking to Lassie. then boyfriends ran up, in outfits to match their girlfriends, to show their undying support of tatiana and kiara. when the mother and sister of tatian arrive, they're in their skivvies, rollers in their hair, more fired up than a bull in a bullfight.

all on a weeknight. in the middle of the night. thank god for mr. ling.


At 7/28/2005 12:35:00 PM, Blogger Paul said...

My favorite part of this story is where you start texting people you haven't talked to in awhile.

That just got me, that moment of the story -- cause I totally could feel for you, sitting there in a dance, and just bored out of your mind, thus doing something you hadn't done in ages.

Really well played.

At 7/28/2005 01:06:00 PM, Anonymous Neil said...

If that's a "typical" night for these girls, I can only imagine what the sister did that got her into trouble.

At 7/28/2005 03:55:00 PM, Blogger kristine said...



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