Thursday, June 30, 2011

Whether whips and chains excite me is exactly NONE of your business. Tipper, you win.

We've been spending a lot of time in the car, listening to the radio. Radio on Maui is pretty limited - we have a few amazing DJ's who really put their heart into it and support local musicians as well - which is fabulous. And every day, it's getting better - MUCH better. A landmark day for me was the morning that I heard Mumford and Son's for the first time while taking the kids to school. Blew my mind. The music, and also that I had heard it on a fairly sedate station that usually plays a lot of classic rock. The times, they are a-changing.

But a lot of it is still pretty lame. And heavy on the ukulele and the reggae.

So when we got to my hometown on the East Coast, I tuned the dial to the station I listened to most as a teenager. The one where you could call up and get on the air and make an attempt to be witty and coy with a bored DJ who is stuck there until midnight fielding calls from giggling 13 year olds. Mostly top-40, nothing too groundbreaking, and you hear a lot of the same songs over and over and over again. I wanted to know what the kids were listening to these days.

After a few weeks of hearing the same 40 songs in heavy rotation, I found myself humming along, really listening to the lyrics for the first time.

Houston, we have a problem.

I hate to say anything, because I am all about freedom of speech and I still think of Tipper Gore as that uptight bitch who tried to ruin music for everyone. One of my favorite songs in highschool was the Anthrax song with the chorus that began: "you fucking whore". I am not uptight, about music or much else, actually. A little OCD, sure. But I can live and let live.

However, my living has been dialed back a bit, now that I have kids of a certain age. Now that my 6 year old daughter keeps singing Katy Perry and Lady Gaga songs in the bathtub, I am starting to FREAK OUT A LITTLE BIT. I am just waiting for the day that she prances out of her room covered in roast beef from the deli drawer. The photos in my people magazine make it clear that life without MTV is a very good thing while my kids are young. I just don't want to answer their questions yet. I'm not ready. And what's more - I don't know the answers. However, because we are not living in a bubble, and because I am not going to listen to Raffi for one more minute of my life, it's getting harder to avoid addressing some stuff I would rather not address at the present time. This point was hammered home during a recent drive to Target.

I was cruising along the highway, listening to a catchy little tune by Rhiannon, when it hit me like that 18 wheeler that was passing me on the right. (Which, by the way, is a post for another time.)

Now, of course, I had heard a bit of the hype about her latest hit. Something about it being gratuitous and overtly sexual. And I thought "Whatever. Get over it. Call Tipper Gore, I'm sure she'll lend you her ear." I am an independent woman. A free thinker. I say "fuck" all day long and I can't see that changing anytime soon. I can handle some song about sex sung by that cute little Rhiannon. And since she is still linked to the terrible incident with that ex-boyfriend of heres, how bad could it be, right? She's JUST SO SWEET.

And then Rhiannon told me that sex was in the air and she loved the smell of it, and I stopped singing along.

Frantically, I tried to think of other words I could possibly sing instead, so that my daughter could grow up with the same skewed version of song lyrics that I did. (I mean, honestly - do you know the actual lyrics to "Iko Iko?" OF COURSE YOU DON'T.) Then while my mind was still reeling, Rhiannon informed my 6 year old that whips and chains excited her, and Lucy's eyes grew round. "WHAT DID SHE SAY?" Lucy's mouth was hanging open in the backseat. Max looked up from his video game. "What? What did she say?"

Great. Now I have the hormonal, prepubescent boy tuned in too. That is wonderful. This is just great. And Rhiannon WOULD NOT SHUT UP. She repeated herself, in case my children might have missed it the first time.

Just to be clear.

Just in case there was any question in their formerly innocent little minds.

I changed the station - which is exactly what I had suggested Tipper and all the other complainers should do. Don't like it? Change the channel. And I did. But there were still questions coming fast and furious from the backseat. And I will tell you right now - I had no idea what to say. Frankly, I was still trying to come to terms with the time warp I had just traveled - I was now the grownup, completely freaked out by graphic lyrics? HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED.

A few minutes later, we went back to the radio station, and thankfully, another song was on. Apparently, this clown woke up with a tattoo that looked like Zach Galifianakis. I just shook my head. You had to admire the brass balls of writing those words - never mind having them rhyme.What the HELL rhymes with "Galifianakis"? "Pocket", apparently. The fact that I have now heard this song approximately 6 THOUSAND TIMES IN TWO WEEKS says a lot about the music playing on top 40. Super catchy, but these lyrics are going to put me in an early grave. I think I am going to start a satellite radio station - because this is too nuts for terrestrial radio - where I edit all the song lyrics and play these hits - over and over again - in a vacuum of G-rated lovliness. (No g-strings required, thanks.)

As I was dreaming of what a huge market I could reach, intentionally misinterpreting hit songs for the masses, another song came on. This one is celebrating laziness, by telling us, in chilling detail, exactly what goes on behind closed doors when a guy is home alone. I think we all know what happens and frankly I think men should attempt to keep this on the down-low. Because honestly? It's just not that attractive, what you all do when you think no one is watching. And this song celebrates every disgusting detail. "Turn the TV on, throw my hand in my pants.....cause in my castle I'm the freaking maaaan."

Well. You just keep telling yourself that, chief. You tell me you're going to find a really nice girl and have some really nice sex - but really nice girls don't want you singing about it on the radio. And they certainly don't want the sounds that they make broadcast for all to hear. My 10 year old thought it was hysterical, however. Thanks for that. Here's a hot tip for you - if some girl is screaming out "This is great" during sex, than you are either 1. paying her or 2. doing it wrong. Because I have had some great sex - and I have never screamed out anything coherent, ever, when it was any good at all. But I guess that would really rhyme with p90x, would it? And what exactly is that, anyway? Is it like Viagra? because honestly, I would be advertising that either, man.

I cannot believe I am going to say this, but it's true. I miss "Baby Beluga". I really, really do.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This is why I shouldn't be allowed out

Went to visit a friend today, and while I was sitting on her sofa having a lengthy discussion about whether she was going to buy a bigger car - and if so, which one she should buy - her husband came home from work. I had met him at least once before, but it had been a brief meeting and he certainly wasn't expecting to find me on his sofa. His sofa, after all, is a long way away from Hawaii.

I smiled and waved. "Hi, nice to see you again - sorry, was I parked in your spot?"

He smiled and closed the door. "Hi, yes, nice to see you." He paused. "Do you have an accent?"

I was confused for a moment, and he seemed confused too - he was standing there in the doorway looking at me, waiting for an answer, and then suddenly it clicked. I get this a lot, actually. I have this feather hair extension, and at least once a day someone will ask me what that is in my hair. Is it a highlight? A clip? A barrette? I mean, it was sort of unusual for someone's husband to notice, and no one had ever called it an accent, but hey - he's married and has 3 daughters. Maybe he notices these sorts of things? Sure, I have an accent!

"It's feathers" I explained. "Braided into my ha-" "No, honey" his wife spoke almost simultaneously, as we both looked even more confused than before. "An ACCENT."

"Oh." I paused for a second. What had we been taking about? Oh yes, the car. Parked in his spot. But it wasn't a Hyundai Accent, it was an SUV. How weird. Had we been talking about Hyundais? No, definitely not. Huh. Was there one in their driveway? Who the hell parked an Accent in their driveway? "OH. Sorry, no, I don't have an Accent, I have the green S-"

"NO." Now, she was laughing at me, and I was completely confused. What the fuck was going on? The husband was still standing in the doorway, and now he was looking at his wife as if to say "Your friend, here? Is a moron."

And really, who could blame him. But wait a minute.


Oh, if only I had some exotic accent.

Or a Hyundai.

But no. If I understood his question - which now, I think, I finally do - the "accent" is part Rhode Island, part Boston, part Texan (don't ask, but he was a cute boy who left his, um, mark, as it were - a mark that also includes a secret love of country music) and part island pidgin.
I don't pee, I shishi.
I'm not done, I'm pau.
Futhahmoah, I pahk my cah, and I like my cawfee extrah extrah (extra cream, extra sugar).

In short, when I open my mouth to speak, you honestly have NO IDEA how I will mangle what is going to come out. But now? I am intrigued. And so, in the interests of maintaining an air of mystery, I am now going to develop my "accent" even further, so that when I return to Hawaii I can really wow them with my missing r's and lilting "ayuh"s and any other wicked pissah shite I can scrounge up to keep them guessing.

Meanwhile, I'm taking this damn feather hair extension out. I'm tired of explaining it to people.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Losing Face on Facebook. Unfriending is such sweet sorrow.

A few nights ago, I was having dinner with girlfriends, and discussing the recent status changes of a friend, actions that had transpired for all to see on facebook.

Well, not "all". For instance, not me. Because as someone who does not carefully monitor her number of friends, I had unwittingly been unfriended by this person at some point. But not just unfriended.


I am not sure how it came to pass that someone I had not seen more than two or three times in 15 years had decided that my presence - not just in their friend's list, but my very existence on facebook - was so offensive that all signs of me needed to be removed from their facebook experience.

But it got me thinking.

I am pretty weird about facebook. I accept friend requests from friends - people I actually spend time with or communicate with regularly, and also people who I may not spend time with now, but that I have known since my childhood. Sometimes I "friend" a business or public figure. Basically, my firends list is comprised of people I care enough about to not offend by denying their request, and my, well, my friends.

The chick who sat three chairs behind me in homeroom that I never exchanged more than a bleary "Hello" with? Notsomuch.

I also refuse to friend my mother (sorry mom), my aunts and uncles, or kids. My facebook is an over-18 affair, but shall soon be upgraded to "over-21" because somehow I got a few minors in there, and I certainly don't want to give those sweet impressionable youth any bad ideas. I rarely friend parents of my children's friends, because quite frankly, I doubt they would let their kids sleep over after seeing some of the hijinx documented in words and pictures on my page.

As a result of my carefully curated (and yes, after going back and forth, I think it's the right word) friends list, I let it all hang out on facebook. Apparently, too much of it was hanging out for this person's taste.


Listen, I will admit it - I'm hurt. Mostly because I feel like it was unnecessary. I mean, if you want to hide someone's posts, you can just click the little box next to their post and select "hide all posts" - which I do for people who POST IN ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME and also for people who post long rambling status updates about things I don't care about.

Because I am so relaxed about what I post on facebook, I am careful about the friend requests I accept - I know that my lifestyle is not something everyone is comfortable with. But I count among my friends people from all backgrounds - liberal to conservative - and for the most part, they just roll their eyes at my antics, or join in. I hardly ever send friend requests, because honestly: I can't handle the rejection.

And, because of that fear of rejection, I rarely unfriend someone. I lose a few people during every election cycle, mostly because I don't want to offend them by telling them what I really think in the "comments", but also because after I learn of their beliefs, I realize that I will undoubtedly offend them in the very near future with my own posts. It's like that old saying: "if you don't have anything nice to say, unfriend them before you say somthing offensive."

But blocking them? Let's save that for the stalkers, the ex-spouses, and your boss.
It's hard to accept that I offended or annoyed someone so thoroughly that they had to unfriend me. It's impossible to accept that I am such a boorish asshole, I needed to be blocked. Unfriending is to blocking like screening calls is to blocking calls. You block calls from a specific phone number because you don't even want that person to be able to hear your voice on the answering machine.

You can erase someone from facebook, but you can't erase them from the planet. Sooner or later, you're gonna run into them in the A&P, and I can assure you - it will be awkward.

Oh yes, I intend to make it a very uncomfortable experience INDEED.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As it turns out, you can go home again.

We staggered off the third plane - we were 17 hours into this adventure, and looking pretty ragged. Lucy (who's six) was sprawled in a stroller I had the foresight to bring with us. Max (after much convincing) was wandering behind me, bleary eyed and ashen, through Logan Airport in Boston. My stomach was hurting so much - either from hunger or greasy lo mein two airports ago, it's hard to know for sure - that I was unable to stand upright, so I pushed the carriage with my forearms, draping my entire upper body over the handle as I walked slowly towards baggage claim. Lucy was whimpering and holding a blanket around her neck.

And then we saw the first sign of home. And suddenly, both children were wide awake clamoring for a chance to really embrace the local culture. I was so touched.

It was definitely time to make the donuts. Or at least, time to eat them. But not me - I was still trying to straighten up to my full height. Whatever was going on in my stomach would not be helped by fried dough coated in chocolate frosting, or a foam cup of coffee.

So the kids went wild, and I paid, then retreated to some chairs over in one orner of the lobby, where I plugged in my cellphone and began announcing my triumphant return to the motherland of aggressive sports fans, cut-throat driving, artisan beers and full-fat foods, fried and drenched in butter.

I really needed to get my stomach issues straightened out, because Dunkin Donuts was just the tip of the iceberg (lettuce).

Our ride was stuck in traffic, and I needed a break from traveling - at least for a short while. So we sat there and watched the state troopers threatening people who dared to linger at the curb, and the assorted Massport employees arguing about the Bruins, expletives flying coated in the thick Yankee accents of my heritage. I was home, and it felt so good.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Third Airport's the charm - unless you get on the wrong shuttle.

And here we are in the FANtastic Seattle airport.

Glorious Sea Tac.

I love this airport.

We were here for less than 30 minutes.
24 of those minutes were spent frantically trying to find the "N" gates.

I thought we were headed in the right direction, but we seemed to be the only people heading to the "N" gates. This did not bode well. As we headed down a flight of stairs and found ourselves in the underbelly of Seatac wandering narrow, windowless hallways, I started to get nervous. We had stuck to our "don't do anything until you find the gate" plan - but I had to pee.

I had to pee a lot.

Suddenly we rounded a corner and found ourselves on a train platform.

This trip was going Harry Potter on my ass. There's a train at SeaTac? I had No Idea. And I am pretty sure that despite countless flights through this airport, I have never ever needed to ride a train or a bus or any sort of public transport aside from the occasional escalator. This was all very strange, and twinged with the otherworldliness that begins to develop when you are overtired, high on MSG, and desperately needing to find a bathroom.

There was another sign, but it didn't say anything about "N" gates. or "N" terminal.

The panic ratcheted up another few notches, and so too did my need to pee. Obviously, I should have taken another Xanax before deplaning. And I definitely should have peed.

After a while, the train pulled up and the doors swished open and there were people inside. Real live people that totally didn't look like droids and/or zombies.

Well. Maybe a little.

So the train took off, and I was trying to read the little map thing and the train voice was "ding"ing and "bing-bong"-ing to warn us of the  closing doors and the approaching platform and the next stop and meanwhile none of those things had anything to do with the "N" gates.

I started to sweat. I checked my watch. 14 minutes until boarding.

The train started moving again, Lucy clung to the pole while standing on her tippy toes and circling slowly, like only a child of mine could. Max was watching me desperately looking at the map. "I think it's next, mom." he reassured me.

Since Max talks out of his ass a lot, his words didn't really bring me a lot of peace of mind. But I had to agree - the map said "N" was next, and when we pulled up I saw the sign for "N" and we ran for it. We had a ways to go, and an elevator ride, and then another hike to the end of the terminal - but we were in "N" country, and we could finally pee. I found a family bathroom, opened the door and ran inside. I was peeing before the door even swung shut behind me, so desperate was my race to beat the forces of nature.

A moment later, I pulled the door open and found my two children standing frozen, rooted to the spot where I had dropped the carryons and let the stroller roll into the wall. "Mom" Lucy asked "where's the gate?"

Ah. I had broken the "gate first" rule. Their world was rocked by my departure from our agreed-upon plan. "It's right around the corner!" I tried to sound confident as I began to edge around the corner to take a peek.

And there was our gate.
And they were boarding the airplane.

There would be no time for a snack or a magazine. I turned drill sergeant, opening the bathroom door and directing them in and out, shouting instructions about flushing and hand washing while I gathered up the bags and rescued the stroller from the corner where it had come to rest. Thus relieved, we headed for the gate, bedraggled and hungry but victorious.

We had one more flight left on our itinerary.

One More Flight.

The dreaded red eye.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sitting on the floor of the airport eating chinese food. Not all it's cracked up to be.

Here's the thing about living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

If you want to go anywhere besides another island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you gotta get on a plane for a real long time.

A Real. Long. Time.
Long time.

And you know, I guess when you don't have little kids, you can just pop in some ear phones, pull up your hood, and take a nap. Or drink until you pass out. Or watch movies. Or work.

I spend the entire 5+ hours making trips to the bathroom for not only myself but each of the children, rooting around for snacks in our carryons, taking sweaters off and putting sweaters on, threatening the kids to keep their socks on, begging for more than a small cup of water every 2 hours, figuring out how to use the onboard entertainment system and then finding the right adapter to make our earphones work in the airplane plug (is it a one prong, or a two prong?) so I don't have to buy earphones again.

I can't drink alcohol, because I have to get these kids off the plane, and then find another plane, and then get on that plane. And so I sit and pop ibuprofen and try to keep everyone distracted - including myself. My claustrophobia kicks in around hour 3 - usually during a beverage service when I realize that not only can I not walk to the back of the plane to pee if I need to, but I am in a tiny, confined space miles up in the air over the ocean.

And that is when I stop taking ibuprofen and start taking Xanax.

I love Xanax.

When we finally get off the plane, the first thing we do is figure out where we need to be to catch our next flight. We don't pee, or eat, or buy magazines.

We find our fucking gate. Sometimes, this is easier than other times.

So we get off the plane in scenic Oakland, and we find our gate (it was one of the easy times - HALLELUJAH) and we check the time. We have about 20 minutes until boarding begins for our next flight, and the only thing I can see for food is a counter serving chinese food.


I set down the bags, tell the kids to sit and stay, and walk over to check out the options. It's not like I had any options - we were eating whatever it was they were serving - but I was hoping there would be something recognizable. And maybe even some vegetables.

There were egg rolls, and some orange chicken of questionable age. Sort of congealed looking. Yum.

I just didn't think I could handle a flight with nothing but orange chicken in my stomach. So I leaned in and smiled. Real Big. "Hey there, is there any chance that you're going to be bringing out some beef and broccoli?"

Jackpot. No one ever smiles at airport employees. Especially not the skinny, skittish teenager at the chinese food counter. I stepped to the side, waited for just a few minutes, and before you could say oyster sauce I was holding a box of freshly made beef and broccoli.

And that beef and broccoli was a masterpiece.

I felt like I had won the lottery. I swaggered back to the gate leaving everyone else in line to fight over the orange chicken, and gathered the children around me on the floor.

It was like a vision of the Madonna and child(ren), hunched over the foam takeout container sucking lo mein and fighting over the fortune cookies. I got a cramp from sitting all bent over, and Max filled up on noodles while the food was cooling down. But it was food. It was fresh. And it was good. As soon as they started boarding, we had to wrap it up quickly. I unfolded myself, straightened my legs gingerly, and started gathering napkins and chopsticks wrappers. Lucy stood, and stretched, and glanced out the window.

Her jaw dropped.

"Mama?" her voice was incredulous. "What honey?" I was distracted.

"MAMA?" she said again - louder this time.

"What sweetheart?" I looked up. She was pressed to the window, wide eyed. Max stood behind her, and was frantically waving me over.

I tossed the leftover noodles in the trash, and walked over to join them. And there, in the window, was a remarkable sight.

The Tinkerbell plane.

We were flying on the Tinkerbell Plane. The kids skipped onto that damn jetway. I couldn't figure out why they were so excited, until I realized......they thought we were going to Disneyland. On the Tinkerbell plane. The one that said "Disneyland" on the side.

I broke it to them gently. Not only were we not going to Disneyland, this wasn't going to be the last airplane of the night. Neither piece of news went over very well.

And then Lucy struck the final blow.
"Mom? I'm hungry again."

Fucking chinese food.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

6 time zones, 5 bags, 4 airports, 3 airplanes, 2 kids, and Just One Mother

Every year, this is how it goes.

I buy the tickets in February, during my post-holiday-pre-birthday-nostalgia.

In the future, if someone could talk me down off the ledge before I whip out the credit card, I'd be grateful. It's not that I don't want to come back to my home town, and see friends and family - it's just that I don't ever want to do it alone. Ever, ever again.

But I have done it before, and chances are I will do it again.
Because I need the material. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Flying from Hawaii to Boston with my two kids gives me PUH-LENTY of material. And I am sure once I recover from the jetlag and the mild starvation and the pinched nerve in my hip from sitting down for 18 hours, I will be able to recall a few precious nuggets. But at the moment, all I can remember is a long, parched, uncomfortable, dirty experience.

We got to the airport early. That had not been the plan. In fact, I am notorious for breezing up to the gate 15 minutes before departure. Online check-in is pretty much the most amazing wonderful development in the history of internet travel booking. I never check bags, and I certainly don't stand in line at the ticket counter. So when we brought suitcases with us for this trip, it was a novelty. Therefore, I allowed for some extra time to find a porter, and hand off the bags - but not 3 hours. 3 hours early was not what I had in mind. Due to scheduling conflicts, Sami had to drop us off early. I hadn't planned for that. And I definitely didn't plan on arriving so early that the ticket counter was still CLOSED.

The porters weren't taking the bags, because the airline's computers were down. The counter agents weren't taking bags - even ones that I had already checked in and paid for - because the airline's computers were down. So there we sat, for 90 minutes, perched on our luggage like fucking refugees, just waiting for someone to get us out of there.

When we finally handed over the bags (underweight - wahoooo!) and made it through security (a feat that was much easier without my extremely swarthy, middle-eastern, bearded and long haired husband who always requires a "bonus" screening) I went straight to the Bux and got a frozen coffee deelight. Good thing I got the venti, because that was the only food that I ate for approximately 36 hours.

Wait, I'm lying. I had 2 bags of snack mix and a cookie.

Our assigned gate was all the way at the end of the terminal. We were so early that some of the lights in that wing weren't on yet. We were so early, none of the people-movers were turned on. In fact, we were the only people to be seen. So we walked. And walked. And trudged. And slogged. And the last few gates we even limped a little. We got to the gate so early that Max was concerned that we were at the wrong gate. He was panicked at the thought that we might miss the flight. And quite frankly, the thought of arriving 3 hours early and sitting at the correct gate and still missing our flight didn't sound great to me, either. His fear was not unfounded - we've done it before.

Yes, really.

So sitting alone at a really isolated gate was a bit unnerving. But eventually, people arrived. And more people. And then a few of those folks started tossing around a basketball, and another couple of guys opened instrument cases and started jamming, and before you knew it, there was a PARTY going on at gate 39.

We were definitely in the right place.

We were going to OAKLAND, baby. But only for 47 minutes.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The strange days and wild nights of a derby wife

In honor of LGBT Families Day, I thought today would be the perfect time to explain (or at least, try to explain) the phenomenon that is Derby Wives. Because there are many, many types of families out there, and one type of family is the derby family. I am going to attempt to explain this without offending lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals or Mormons, but they all come into play here
I am not making light of the importance of speaking out for equal rights, and celebrating the members of the LGBT community who are raising kids - and certainly doing it with more style than I am. But not everyone has kids. Not everyone WANTS kids. Kids do not a family make. There are many ways to create a family, no kids required.  Roller Derby is like one big, huge, crazy disfunctional family. And you may not know this, but roller derby flies the rainbow flag. We just love rainbows. And unicorns and glitter and guyliner. In fact, I can't think of too many sports that are more LGBT-friendly than roller derby.

The basis of the derby family is, of course, the team itself. But within the team there are unions.

Derby Wives.

Some derby girls may not have kids, but they do have wives. And roller derby families are like the Mormons of the sports world in that players have multiple wives, and spread the gospel of derby everywhere they go: come to a bout, subscribe to 5 on 5, volunteer, attend an afterparty, and they just know that it is only a matter of time before you share their devotion to the sport. They travel all together in vans and hand out fliers and live by their own set of rules because they know the truth and if you would just listen for a second, and take this jello shot and maybe put on a pair of fishnets, you would know the truth too. Derby for life, bitches.

When I first heard about derby wives, I didn't really get it.
Was it a lesbian thing? Because this is roller derby, after all.

And yes, lesbians do have derby wives of course - but thank god, the straight/bi/transsexual girls can have them too. I don't think guys involved with roller derby have derby wives, but I'll look into that and get back to you. Like I said before, we are a very open-minded group.

As with most things related to roller derby - it's all a bit hard to explain. You kinda have to be there to understand how perfectly responsible women - adults - can put on a pair of roller skates and come unglued. Because it just defies all reason. One minute, you are a mother of two with a minivan and a mortgage and a master's degree, and the next minute you are half naked at a bar with people signing your tits and doing shots of tequila out of your bellybutton.

Not that I know about this from personal experience.

And this sort of mayhem is exactly why derby wives are a good idea. Derby wives serve many, many purposes - on and off the track. From keeping tabs on your whereabouts to holding your drink/purse/skate bag during potty breaks, applying makeup before bouts and holding back your hair while you puke afterwards, sharing beds, meals, and gorilla tape, running interference with weirdos and supporting each other in all things derby. It's not necessarily romantic, more of a mutual commitment to each other and the sport, and participating in the sport together.

Some teammates have chosen permanent derby wives - partners on and off skates, united in their love for derby and mutual admiration of each other - while others are still single, either because they haven't met that special someone, or because they are desperately planning a proposal that could possibly top this one, the derby proposal upon which all other proposals are based:

We traveled to another island for a bout this weekend, moving as a group - "the amoeba effect" we called it - ensuring our safety and keeping us on schedule. Taking it further, those of us who did not have a derby wife were partnered up with "temporary" wives, to share a room, be sure no one got left behind, and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everyone had someone looking out for their physical and emotional well-being.

It all started out so well. And it all went downhill from there.

My failings as a derby wife became clear when my wife woke up covered in black permanent marker signatures. I will say this - I was *also* covered in black marker. And the trouble began long before someone broke out the jumbo-sized Sharpie.

The bout itself was a blur of tension and excitement, the venue filled with a very devoted home town fan base - and not our hometown. And after the game we reconnected in the parking lot before heading to the afterparty. We needed to let off some steam. As afterparties go, this one was spectacular: it had an outdoor bar with a smoking area, they set up a buffet o'fajitas in a back room, the band was paying Violent Femmes covers, and there was a tray of jello shots. Actually, there was more than one tray.

And that? That right there? THAT is where the trouble began.

I personally did not have any jello shots, because I had a plan: two drinks, and then switch to water. I followed that plan but the plan did not allow for dehydration, an empty stomach, and the ridiculous amount of aloha being passed around. At some point, I ended up dancing between a couple that may or may not have been happy about my presence in their derby sandwich. The entire episode was well documented and I am pretty sure I can never hold an elected office now that the debauchery has been aired publicly. It was a long night, but the next morning as my poor wife lay on the bed while I straddled her and attempted to scrub off the ink with a baby wipe between sips of water, I realized that as terrible as I felt and as surely as I had failed her by not preventing the body graffiti, I had no regrets.

Well, maybe a few regrets. Maybe that I hadn't had a few more wives to help keep my shirt on.
It takes a village. Or rather, a family.