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Notes from a Walkman Junkie: Ursula & Me

June 18, 2009

Sometimes you have to break-up with a friend. Depending on the length and
depth of the friendship, this can be an extremely daunting task. Growing up,
I had what I always thought would be a lifelong friendship with someone. In
reality, this friendship turned out to have the shelf life of about ten
years (much like a Twinkie).

I met Ursula (you’re welcome for the cool name) in kindergarten. We got
along swimmingly from the beginning. The two of us shared many interests:
namely, sitting quietly and trying to be invisible. Our joint mantra was,
“Don’t see me, ignore me.” We were, thankfully, far less stagnant and
unimaginative outside of school.

Ursula introduced me to what has remained one of my favorite forms of
entertainment: horror films. I remember watching “Nightmare On Elm Street”
for the first time at her house. Everyone had gone to sleep and we crept
downstairs to watch the rented film in the middle of the night. Ursula fell
asleep half way through the movie, leaving me watching alone in sheer
terror. I spent the rest of the night wide-eyed, huddled in a corner,
hoping to wake my friend using solely my will (I hate waking people up).

We shared a fondness for music as well and spent a great deal of time
calling local radio stations to request our favorite songs. Ursula did the
majority of the requesting, as I have always been pathologically afraid of
phone calls. On one rare occasion, she actually convinced me to make
the call. I was requesting a song by Huey Lewis And The News. Ursula had
persuaded me to believe that the band was actually called Huey Lewis And The
Nudes. I have never enunciated a word more clearly than in that forced
phone request. “Would you please play “I Want a New Drug” by Huey Lewis and
the N U D E S?”

Our friendship continued to blossom in junior high where our common
interests (being socially awkward and wildly unpopular) flourished even
more. We accompanied each other on a few family vacations during those
years. I went camping with Ursula and her family a couple of times, never
escaping without some sort of injury ranging from mild to ‘could someone
please take me to the hospital now?’ On one camping trip, she managed to
fish hook me as she was casting her pole, and then later flung a flaming
marshmallow at me. The gooey fireball wrapped around my finger, causing me
to run around the campground screaming, “get it off me!” to fellow campers.

It was an equal opportunity friendship, however, as I too caused some
emotional trauma/bodily harm to Ursula. Once while vacationing with my
family, my father allowed us to take his two-seater sailboat out by
ourselves. My dad took us each out separately, giving thorough
instructions, “Blah, blah coming about…blah, blah.. I am the captain of
this ship”, etc. Needless to say, his instructions did not stick. On our
solo adventure, the ‘ship’ basically sailed us. Everything happened quite
swiftly. I shouted, “I think we are coming about, duck!” at which point the
sail knocked Ursula into the water (she did not duck as per my
instructions). I was turning the boat to retrieve her when I spotted
something hairy floating in the water and yelled something comforting like,
“Dear God, what is that thing!? Upon getting a better look, I was able to
identify the mysterious creature as a gentleman’s toupee. After several
passes, I finally collected Ursula and returned safely to my father, who was
aggressively gesturing the universal signal for ‘COME BACK!’ and muttering
words I dare not repeat.

I shall not describe the ugly details that concluded our friendship, but I
will say it involved a boy, a rumor, and a nasty phone call that led me to
beat up the phone from which said nasty call was received (not one of those
cell jobs mind you, I am talking rotary).

In keeping along the lines of break-ups, I leave you with this song by The
Wedding Present, an English alternative rock band that has been around since
the mid-80′s and is still rocking.


4 Responses to “ Notes from a Walkman Junkie: Ursula & Me ”

  1. jane on June 18, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Excellent – Higgins did provide us with some hilarious Dad Completely Coming Unglued stories – was this the same summer that you and Ursula took the rental car out? Love the post and the song.

  2. anne almirall on June 18, 2009 at 9:43 am

    IT was the very same…another story for another time. Thanks:)

  3. Jackson on June 18, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    No nudes is good nudes. Ok, so not really. Great stuff, lots of laugh-out-loud funny shit in there.

  4. Sara on June 18, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Ohmigosh! THE RENTAL CAR! Totally forgot about that! That was fabulous!