My best friend Kathy, the one from Valdosta, Georgia — she bought a Ford Explorer cause its big and she’s just a slip of a thing — is driving my car (not a Ford Explorer, alas, but don’t take that to mean I’m a slab of a thing, no siree). I’m sitting in the passenger seat, and The Drifter is sitting in the backseat eating grapes. We’re on the stretch of I-10 between the 26th Street exit and Lincoln Blvd when a cop car appears out of nowhere, flashes its lights and signals us to pull over.
I’m freaking out, more of a freak out than usual, because Kathy doesn’t own a drivers license, something about how driving is just too, um, involved and boggles the mind a bit too much for her liking. So I turn to her and command her to break out the Southern accent and square dance her way out of this conundrum: “Sweetie, you’ve got to make the man think that you live on a plantation in a mansion called Tara, and that you do nothing but sip sweet tea on the veranda while the help picks corn. Got it?” The Drifter remains perched in the backseat, grinning, relishing the fact that he gets to be here to watch all of this unfold.
The cop approaches the car, leans down into the window on my side of the car and screams, “Boogie!” Turns out that the cop is actually a gay man dressed in drag using the cop car disguise to pull people over and invite them to a rave in West Hollywood over the weekend. “You precious little things!” he says. “Ripe for a party, don’t you think?”
Kathy, overcome with delight, starts going on and on about how much she just loves a good party, you know? I mean, a party is just a great way to meet new people and to have really interesting conversations.
Kathy continues to talk, and talk, and talk… and talk, and I’m starting to fidget because I have to get to work, and she just keeps talking. The Drifter, a veritable lump of futility at this point, is simultaneously trying to see how many grapes he can get into his mouth at one time and giggling, knowing that I have to get to work and that Kathy isn’t going to stop talking. His shoulders go up and down with each giggle, the way his shoulders are often known to behave. Grapes and giggles. Giggles and grapes.
Just when I thought I’d had about enough, a swell of girls from my elementary school show up, girls I haven’t even thought about in over 15 years: Maggie Rima, Rachel Reeves, Nicole Radford, and the entire Elmore Park Packers Pee Wee Cheerleading Squad. They surround the car and start thumping the windows, demanding apologies for that one time I pulled her hair and that one time I kicked her dog and that one time I accused her of stuffing her bra and that one time I stole her Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie.
I’m totally overwhelmed, what with the badge-wielding drag queen, Kathy’s endless monologue on the advantages of wearing vintage leather to dinner parties, The Drifter’s incessant cackling (how can one person eat so many grapes?), and the crazy coalition of angry girls encircling the vehicle. Why can’t they just leave me alone? Just leave me alone. Leave me alone. Leave. Me. Alone. Exasperated, on the verge of explosion, I scream, “FUCK!” out loud and sit straight up in bed, waking up The Roommate and every dead person in LA County.