When most people consider moving from a house to an apartment, they see it as a step down. Like ordering creme brulee and getting a dish of plain vanilla soft-serve (WITHOUT the all-important sprinkles) or something.
I won’t lie: I felt the same way. In October I moved from a three-floor house with a yard full of my roses into the FBI Surveillance Van where I shared all walls with other individuals whom I figured were always up to some nefarious hijinks. I even thought of getting a black light to ascertain if there had been any semen stains on the walls from previous tenants.
(Lazy + too – even for Your Aunt Becky – creepy = not gonna happen)
But I didn’t know quite what to expect beyond dorm living, which had been my only real experience living outside of a single home, and we ALL know the hilarious hijinks that go on in those dorms.
It took a bit to warm to the idea – being reprimanded by the self-appointed friendly neighborhood garbage police for not properly breaking down my boxes after moving in did NOT help in any way to reduce my paranoia – (personal motto: just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you) but slowly I did. And my neighbors? Well, they’re FULL of the awesome.
(pointless sidebar: not NEARLY as full of the awesome as YOU, Pranksters)
Kitchen sink busted? Call maintenance.
Car battery dead? Ask aforementioned maintenance guy to give you a jump.
Need counseling? Talk to The Twitter.
Slowly, I got into the groove of living life in the FBI Surveillance Van, even if it did mean I shared my bed with children who, despite their relatively diminutive size, managed to abscond with both space on the mattress and all of the covers. The mornings I’d wake up shivering cold and half on the floor I dubbed “cozy,” rather than “dude, where’s my sleep?”
Things took a turn for the better once the pool opened. The home previously known as mine didn’t have a pool, unless you counted the three inch plastic baby pool, which I, of course, did not. Even if I’d wanted a pool, I knew better than to actually have one constructed – growing up with an in-ground pool is enough to scare you out of your mind. I saw more dead animals each spring than I ever dissected in my biology classes, which is saying a LOT.
I’d not given the FBI Surveillance Van’s pool much thought at all – I hadn’t really wanted to take a dip on my own without my kids (who really wants to feel like the creep by the pool?), and as there was only one of me and three of them (two of whom couldn’t swim), I didn’t feel entirely safe bringing them, either. But once the weather warmed up, the chants of “MAMA, CAN WE GET SOME CANDY? IT’S CANDY DAY, MAMA!” turned into “MAMA, CAN WE GO TO THE POOL? I READ THE SIGN, IT’S OPEN.”
Then I cursed the public school system for teaching my child how to read and tried to recall where, exactly, one purchases a swimming suit and those floaty things for kids.
With great trepidation, I filled my ugly-ass beach bag (which has been around the world to various and sundry disgusting beaches) with towels, goggles, floaty things, and sunscreen and decided that it was high time to work on my tan and teach the kids to swim, which is no easy feat considering I’m not a swim instructor and I don’t even play one on television.
The kids bounded on ahead, ring things around their waists, trying to avoid the red-wing blackbirds dive-bombing their sweet heads while I trudged behind them, lugging approximately 847464 metric fucktons of pool shit.
It took them awhile to warm up to it – and by “them,” I mean “Alex,” who is ALWAYS hesitant to try new things – but slowly, they inched their way into the water with Dan and I keeping an obnoxiously close eye on them. Eventually, the sun decided that it was high time for me to take a rest on one of the germ-laden pool chairs and so I did.
It was then that I saw him.
Not an unattractive guy by any stretch of the imagination, somewhere in his mid-to-late sixties, he was simply sitting and drinking with his buddy on the other side of the pool fence, trying to catch some rays. Which wasn’t too far from what I was doing, excepting that I had a swimsuit on and wasn’t drinking alcohol.
The problem was, I couldn’t honestly ascertain whether or not he was wearing clothing or not. His shorts very nearly matched his torso, which meant that he could have easily been wearing a shirt. In fact, I figured he was. No one has skin quite that color. No one.
Or so I thought.
I was, I admit, intrigued by how closely his body resembled one of those brown body suits that fancy-pants surfers wear, and wondered why on earth he was wearing it not on the beach, but on the banks of the gnarly Fox River. I shrugged it off, thinking of sprinkles and cuppity-cakes and went back to resting quietly.
Just nearing that sort-of slumber brought on by intense sunbeams, it smacked me upside the face in a nice, neat mushroom print:
He had puffy nipples.
If he had puffy nipples hanging out, then he wasn’t wearing a bodysuit.
That was his skin.
“Dan,” I whispered frantically as I dipped my legs into the water. “I think that guy is wearing a skin shirt.”
“Where?” he asked.
“Over outside the pool area. DON’T BE OBVIOUS!” I replied.
He pretended to be checking out something in that general direction for a few moments before returning to face me.
“Babe,” Dan said. “I don’t think that’s a shirt.”
Half the pool turned around at the audible SMACK that my jaw made when it hit the concrete.
“That’s his… skin?” I asked.
Dan nodded and chuckled at my reaction.
“He’s like a walking poster boy for skin cancer,” I said, awed.
“When I grow up, I want to be JUST LIKE HIM.” I stated firmly.
“Tanned like a leather hide?” Dan asked, eyes still smiling.
“YES. I’ll be too old to give a fuck.”
“It’s good to have goals, Becky. I think you should put that on your bucket list, alongside “tango with Elvis impersonator,” Dan snorted.
“You’re so weird,” Dan laughed. “Now get in here so we can have a proper squirt gun fight.”