I attract people who fall through the cracks of society. I can’t go a day without interacting with a very strange person. It’s as if I exude a pheromone that only Prozac users can sense.
I was particularly potent one evening when I attended a Christmas party at Roberta’s house. Roberta is a friend of my mother’s. Roberta also throws many parties. One advent season, my family was invited to spend an evening with her and other guests at her Jingle Mingle.
Roberta is a very good hostess. She makes sure wine glasses are full at all times, makes sure plates are filled at all times, and makes sure that chit-chat is being chattered at all times.
Her love of chit-chat vexes me. There isn’t one evening that I can spend in her home without being forced into listening to someone complain about their ailing body or brag about their new German driving machine. As if I gave a crap.
On that specific evening, I was led to a staircase in the back of the apartment. Seated upon the steps were two women. One was a plump old lady who was dressed in the finest Dress Barn outfit money could buy. The other, a vibrant, youthful woman, was dressed in a black pants and a grey sweatshirt that said Yale. I was instantly attracted to her; because I am a college-whore.
"This is Karina and her daughter Yulianne," said Roberta with a smile.
"Hello," I said as I watched Roberta take off into the party, leaving me with the two staircase ladies that were banished to the back of the house.
"Hello," said Karina, the Dress Barn enthusiast, in a very Eastern European accent. She was clad in a cacophony of chunky jewelry. A huge CZ on her hand, four strings of faux pearls around her neck. Her holiday-theme sweater that the Dress Barn had puked up instantly annoyed me; the snowmen peppered around her torso had on scarves that stuck out from her like spines on a sea urchin. It looked like the sweatshop workers who had sewn these lovely pieces together had also hot glued feathery, white tufts of material onto the ends of the scarves. The tufts slowly billowed up and down in unison with Karina’s lungs. I bet she had the RuPaul Supermodel song on repeat in her head as she waltzed through the room with her tufty-snowmen. "Sashay shante ." "This is my daughter Yulianne," she said as she gestured towards her daughter.
"How do you do?" I asked, my eyes fixated upon the four magical letters spanning her bosom.
Y-A-L-E. It invokes daydreams and fantasies in my mind. If I were to graduate from Yale, I could have any job I pleased. I could walk into Condé Nast Publications, go right up to my job interviewer and say, "Hello darling. I’ve just come all this way from New Haven to meet you, and I think I like it here. This is no Sterling Library, but it will do." And then the interviewer would swoon over me and offer me a six-figure salary on the spot. If only...
"So you go to Yale?" I asked Yulianne.
"No, no. I work there."
"Doing what?" I pried.
"We both work in accounts payable," chimed in Karina. "Of course, it’s nothing like what our old life was like back in the old country."
With my altar boy face on, I asked, "What do you mean?" not realizing that I had just invited the human equivalent of the Encyclopedia Britannica to verbally recount the history of Romania to me.
By this time I had zoned out so much that all I saw in front of me was a blob who talked like Dracula and was dressed like one of santa’s elves. My manners, though, kept me from rising to my feet and choking her with her fake pearls to end this Balkan soliloquy.
"It was lovely," continued Karina, "but Communism forced me to take my daughter and my family to safety. We came here, and now work in accounts payable at Yale to make a living. If only you could have seen me in my glory, my boy."
I felt like plunging the toothpicks from my cheese-cubes into my eyes so I would have an excuse to terminate this conversation. I didn’t come to a jingle mingle to have my ears boxed with tales of sorrow. Yes, I felt sorry that Karina and Yulianne were ousted by the USSR, but what the hell?
"Oh my, I’m so sorry," I said. "If you’ll excuse me, I need to relieve myself." (I always use my metabolic activity to get me out of situations I don’t want to be in)
About an hour later, the Romanians found me hiding near the Christmas tree. They sat down next to me, and I immediately noticed that Karina’s tufts were undulating again. The women began their blabber again, but this time, I was liking what I was hearing.
"You know, my boy, Yale is full of stupid shits. Yes, they come to work with me in accounts payable and I truly wonder how they got in. You would have such a good time at Yale," she says. My head was nodding up and down and my pearly whites were on full display.
"Yes I would," I said.
"You know what?" said Karina, "We should take you on a tour of Yale. Yes, that would be good. We can meet some professors and some of my friends in the admissions department."
"Yes, that would be very good," I said.
At last, the Jingle Mingle had come to an end, and I was pecking the cheeks of the Romanians, telling them how much I looked forward to seeing them again, "and don’t lose my number!". On the ride home, my eyes were on the rearview mirror, imagining a Yale decal stuck onto the back window.
In mid January, I got a call from Karina. "Yes, yes, we will go to Yale, but first you must come to my house to eat. I insist." The date and time were set. If getting an edge on Yale admissions meant having to listen to two Romanian women yap the night away, then so be it.
The day finally arrived, and Roberta, her boyfriend and I were standing at the Romanian’s front door, waiting for the doorbell to bring someone to let us in.
"Hello!" cried Karina. "I’m so happy you’ve come." Within two minutes, our coats were off, our derrieres were on the couch, and we were sipping tea with the old lady. "You will like Yale very much," said Karina. "The campus is so...". She was interrupted by the creaking of the stairs. That’s when the man came down.
He came into the dining room and yelled, "WELCOME!" I wanted to know who forgot to sedate him before the company arrived.
"This is my husband, Alexander," Karina said.
He ushered us into the dining room and then took his seat at the head of the table, right next to me.
I noticed that Alexander was even more of a freak than his first impressions gave away during dinner. After anyone finished a statement, he would say, "Jeeesus Christ, that’s fantashtic."
"Oh, I can’t stand chemistry. I stay after everyday, but I can’t get anything higher than a C!" I complained.
"Jeeesus Christ, that’s fantashtic."
"Oh my God, the other day I paid my oil bill, and it was $200 more expensive than last year," said Roberta.
"Jeeesus Christ, that’s fantashtic."
"Kill me now," I thought.
The oddities continued through dinner and into dessert. That’s when the last Romanian was introduced.
"Where is Pop-Eye? Eh? Pop-Eye, come to Poppa!" cried Alexander.
"Who the hell is Pop-Eye?" I wondered.
Suddenly Karina and Yulianne joined in, yelling "Pop-Eye come! Pop-Eye come!". Their cries turned into girlish squeals of glee when an tiny brown Dachshund meandered into the dining room.
"This is Pop-Eye, the best dog in the world," said Alexander as he held up Pop-Eye in the palms of his hands.
"WOW!" I said, just to please.
"You like Pop-Eye?" asked Alexander.
"Yeah, a lot," I answered rapturously, hoping the conversation would turn from canines to Yale.
"Then you will be glad to hear that he is the most God damn cleanest dog in the world," replied Alexander.
"Is he?" I said.
"Yes, this is the cleanest freaking dog on the face of the Earth," said Alexander as he grabbed Pop-Eye by the torso, flipped him upside down so his head was in Alexander’s lap and his ass was in full view. He then took his index and middle fingers and began to rub the dog’s sphincter. Around and around. Around and around. An anal massage for Pop-Eye.
He stopped, put his fingers to his nose, and said, "You see no smell."
He then held out his fingers to my face.
Hell no. Even Yale isn’t worth a sniff of pooch ass.