Josh tagged me and asked that I write five things about myself that most people don’t know. So…
1)In 29 years, I’ve had two valid psychic predictions. (I say “valid” because I often make unsubstantiated psychic claims.) Both times involved a car crash. The first time, my mom was picking me and my best friend Shannon up from Ravenscroft. Ravenscroft is a private school in Raleigh. No, they do not play Quiddich there. Anyway, I had forgotten my lunchbox or my umbrella or Shannon, and we needed to go back. Before I let my mom turn outside the school gate I emphatically made her buckle up. I probably referrenced a 4th grade safety video. She was annoyed but ultimately convinced–I explained it was a gut feeling– and about 30 seconds after the “click,” a woman in a porche plowed into us from behind and split our Volvo in half. Later, we soddered it back together because everybody knows Volvos are virtually indestructable, and like lizards, can regenerate parts. Shannon’s mom took us to McDonalds and bought me a Garfield mug. Then Shannon and I went wading for crawfish in her neighborhood creek. I explained the vision while we waded barefoot. My mom never mentioned it.
The second psychic car vision occured the following summer. I used to swim for the Springdale Aqua Bears (shut up) and had morning practice. I would get up, eat cereal, pray for rain, and watch “I Dream of Jeannie.” One night, I dreamt there would be a car crash on Leesville Road, right outside the pool. I was so nervous I couldn’t watch TV. I biked to practice early and told some of the other girls in my age group I felt a wreck: meaning, hey, I don’t feel like a wreck but I feel a wreck coming on. No one took me seriously because I was shy and sucked at relay races. Well, about ten minutes into our 500 meter warmup, with my head underwater, I heard the impact. We all ran to the street dripping wet. No one was hurt, but both cars were totaled. I explained to my coach I had known all along and I’m pretty sure he asked me to work on my breaststroke kick out.
I’ve never had a successful vision since.
2)Since we’re on the subject of 4th grade, that was the year I got pinworms. Completely disgusting, but I feel the need to put my dignity on the line, since I report celebrity bathroom behavior. A lot of kids get pinworms, even kids at rich private schools named after birds. I discovered my pinworms at home. I remember staring in the toilet and silently crying. Was this my period in disguise? Menstruation was never described that way in the picture book my nurse mom read to me. I told her two days later–yep, that’s right, I spent two days itching from the wriggling creatures, which, by the way, are nocturnal–and she took me to the doctor, explained pinworms weren’t my fault, and assured me they would go away. She was right. The best part of this story, the part I’ve never told another living soul, is that a week later I went to Camp Seafarer and used my pinworms to impress my 4th grade crush. His mom was also a staff member so we had lazy days to amuse ourselves before the other campers arrived. I pulled him aside and said: “Wanna know a secret?” Of course he said yes. So I invited him into the bathroom after I’d gone and SHOWED HIM THE WORMS. He was totally enthralled. We were best friends for at least a week.
3)I should just stop now, shouldn’t I? I got my period in 5th grade. At the Morehead Planetarium. This might be my favorite story ever. I was standing in the dark, encased in the solar system, underneath a styrofoam Pluto when Pluto was still a planet. And I felt it. Like a car crash. It was the most other-worldly way to come into womanhood. And it was such a powerful metaphor that it’s probably the moment I became a poet.
4)Two summers ago I broke my pinky toe after drinking. I have no idea how, or when, it happened. But I refused to wear the bulky unfashionable boot cast, and instead, went to Sketchers and bought cute wedges. I cut the pinky toe out of the right shoe. It miraculously healed a few days before I was set to climb a volcano in Nicaragua.
5)I was an Indian Princess. This is the father-daughter equivalent of Girl Scouts. My tribal name was White Dove and I named my dad Bald Eagle, because he was bald. I liked puns, even then. I wore a leather vest and a sharks teeth necklace, and instead of badges, I earned feathers for my headdress. For years I camped and identified trees by their leaves and respected the talking stick. I still try to implement the talking stick at my current job but it’s not working. Even my best friends haven’t heard much about my Indian Princess days. Once, I tripped off a pier and Shannon’s dad dove into the ice-cold waters to save me. He was wearing a headdress.
Ashley, tag, you’re it!