It's a Derby weekend.

And worlds will collide.

A bunch of people from my department are going, totally independent of me. I mean... they know my Derby plans and they know that I skate most nights but what they don't know is how real Derby is.

I'm totally going to avoid them, of course. Not really. These are my peers and they are taking children. I've got big drinking plans, so avoidance will be mutual. They don't want to be on the track anyway and I wouldn't be anywhere else.

The good thing is that because of my eternal flame for Coffee Man, I was planning to wear a dress and to not drink myself TOTALLY stupid. I mean.... if I see him and announce my not-empty threat to seduce him and steal him away to New Mexico and I don't put a little effort into my appearance, he might not be so game as he would be if I wore a dress. Also, he might not take me seriously if I am obvisouly intoxicated.
I mean, I think he might look at my undying love for him as being a little pathetic if I didn't brush my hair and wear 1 pound of eye make up instead of the usual 3 pounds.
I mean... not that he's going to have a choice here.
It's a kidnapping that I've got planned, you know?
It's not like running away together and eloping or something.

This is sad, sad, sad.
I am probably old enough to have baby-sat for him when he was a toddler and I was a tween. "Tween" didn't exist as a word when I was actually a tween, hanging out with Monica Dyson at the YMCA and thinking I was hot shit because in only two more years, I was going to be a lifeguard!
It's possible that while Coffee Man was learning to count, I could have been furiously writing in my journal about how much I loved Jim Cusack and how in two years, I was going to be a lifeguard and I would be cool, even though I would have to work for Jill. I wouldn't rule out poetry from me at that age and I wouldn't rule out me writing it furiously on a Saturday evening when my mom called down to my ultra-basement lair, which had decoration that included both a Jefferson Airplane poster (original from my dad) and my dollhouse that I still played with. Even though I never would have admitted that to my friends.
I was a late-bloomer, no doubt.
But not in the journal department.
And so I could totally have been writing about lifeguarding and Jim Cusack in my journal right before my mom was ready to drop me off at Coffee Man's parents' house for me to baby-sit him.
And I would totally have been hoping that he didn't take his first steps on my watch because I was never that great of a babysitter.
Hence the lifeguarding, which I, in fact, later rocked.

Although I have no idea of his actual age, this whole thing could have been perverted if we'd met in high school.
Well, while I was in high school, anyway.
Not that I know how old he is.
I just assume he's a Wunderkind of Coffee Power that will only be revealed to him on the most special night of his 24th birthday.

I have big plans for him and given that I am making him out to be a theatre major (because he's so pretty) with a knack for poetry (because he's shy) and a room that has an eclectic collection of posters (because he's brilliant), no bed frame (because he's poor), and only an over-head light (because he's a 'he'); none of those things can stop me from loving him.

Oh crushes. I imagined all kinds of things for Jim Cusack. Like he was going to come to my prom in six years, or that he shared a lively Irish family life with dogs and brogue and tea kettles. Little did I know that he was a major stoner and that I should have listened when Todd Herter told me to stay very far away from him. Jim developed a major substance abuse problem, got clean, got married, had a baby girl, and died of cancer. For the record, we were never actually together.
There was an indiscretion but a very innocent one. Not what you would think - you would have thought we were a thing.
We were just close but not in that way.

So It was the summer after my junior year and I stayed in Wisconsin. Jim was living outside of Chicago. I haven't spent a lot of time figuring out what happened but I've decided to not to pick that early closeness in my life apart to figure it out. He's dead now and to be honest, I was SO naive and SO happy to remain that way and there was just a lot I didn't know about. To this day, I don't want to think that I might know about it if it all happened now.

The long story short is that I went down to get him out of the bad spot where he was and brought him back up to my place. I was living in this summer housing called French House. During regular school, it was where all the kids who were Francophiles lived. It was a great big house with only about 8 bedrooms. It was really, really cool to live there. But shortly after I brought him out of Chicago, I realized that he couldn't stay. A few days after I told him that, I was blearily stumbling to the basement to get the laundry I'd left in the dryer over-night and I saw feet sticking out from behind the bar.

Once I had been resuscitated, I had a temper tantrum , had to be resuscitated again, and made him leave on the bike he had stolen from a park down by the Rock River.

You know that feeling of being watched? you hear people describe it on shows like "Unsolved Mysteries" and sometimes in drum circles.

That night, I was partying across the backyard with my friends who lived in a house similar to French House. We were on the porch, smoking and drinking Huber Bock Beers, doing Goldschlager shots and talking about how awesome it was going to be to be seniors. That feeling was one of the creepiest feelings I have ever had, ever. I even raised my voice when the subject turned to Jim. It was not hard to do with the Goldschlager and all. Just in case he was within earshot, and to this day, I know he was, I spoke loudly into the night that he needed to leave my private liberal arts school campus. And my friends drunkenly agreed. I mean, this was MAJOR drama for us.
Back then, Little Sarah had been a nickname for a very long itme and it came from the lifeguards I knew when I was 13. I felt like he and I both knew that he did not in any way fit into a private liberal arts school campus and since I wasn't really Little Sarah anymore, I didn't want him to fit in there.

Almost off the subject, I just remembered that my friend Diana and I were talking that night about how we were both going to score a freshman guy in the fall and make them love our school, right off the bat. Apparently, at least one of us still has the whole thing about younger men.

This is the only time I've ever felt it and it's fucking creepy.
Two days later, I got a call that he had hopped a train and was in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He wanted me to come and visit for the weekend.
I said yes but this time, I changed my mind before I got in too deep.
We never spoke again.
It's all good, I'm sure. That was a long summer, a long time ago. Plus, Jim is dead, you know?.
There was this creepy guy in Springfield, Roger. he had been friends with Jim when they were in high school and Roger, at the time that I saw him lurking in my bar, was rumored to use the date-rape drug. A couple of years after I had moved back to Springfield, Roger stopped by Chelsea's and my table at the Brewhaus and casually mentioned that Jim was dead.
I happened to run into his mom at a tanning salon like two weeks later and she told me the same thing.
It was weird.

I had an enormous, wishy-girl crush on Jim, too. I handled all of the fall out from ending up being friends with him but I have to admit that if I'd gotten to choose, I would not have become as involved as I did with him. I don't mean involved physically because that was something weird, too. We weren't really like that.

I think he looked at me and forever saw a little girl making moon eyes at him as he described his senior prom tux, or showing off my solo at my upcoming ballet recital while waiting for my mom to pick me up from swim practice.
Jim Cusack was a lot of things but he wasn't a pervert and I think he always felt more protective of, than attracted to, that little girl.

I guess that's the good thing about crushing out as an adult.
I definitely will not be doing any ballet for Coffee Man, especially not out of context.
I still do embarrassing things because that's the nature of a crush. Your sense are heightened and your dignity can SEEM lowered. You might be fidgeting around his work in your sweaty tee-shirt and ignoring your dog who is cowering in the shade of your shadow. Maybe while you are walking away, your low-rise skirt starts to fall off your ass while you are trying to untangle three of your dog's paws from her leash so she can pantwalkpantwalkpantwalk home.
Maybe these things seem embarrassing or make you feel self-conscious but I think that as you get older, the more likely you are to realize three things:
1. They are nothing compared to a chubby 12 year old practicing ballet at swim practice.
2. Crushing out on a guy about whom you know very little is a really alive feeling.
3. Being yourself, even with your bra sweat, is thousands of times more attractive than being a perfectly composed piece of art at a fancy bar.

I bet my mom wishes I had been a better babysitter than I was lifeguard.
Things might have been easier for me if I hadn't hung out in the seductive and fast world of lifeguards.
On the other hand, if I'd spent more time playing Candyland with three year olds, instead of being in a pool with high school kids, I might have been even more dumb about dudes who are no good for me than I already was.

And for the record, I make up everything about Coffee Man except for how much I am delighted when I see him.

arizonasarah at 9:31 a.m.

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