Saturday, April 29, 2006

A prom story

Darn you, Beth-Anne Lapsley. If I'd had even 1/10th less of a crush on you in 1987, I could have actually asked you to the prom, and I wouldn't be stuck telling the same damn story every spring.

I didn't go to the prom my senior year of high school. Or my freshman, sophomore, or junior years, either, but that seems to be less of a big deal.

And really, it's not that big a deal anyway, except that over the past 19 years, talk at this time of year always comes back around to prom season. It was still a little raw while I was in college, so I used to mutter my no-prom story through clenched teeth and duck out of the room to go watch the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The past 15 years in the news business, proms frequently end up the topic of potential-news-story conversations, like "How much are kids spending on limousines these days?" and "Can you believe how much kids are spending on limousines these days?" and even "When I went to prom, it was in my mother's 1984 Ford Escort, not one of those dang limousines". Nobody says reporters are always a creative bunch.

And my story now ends up as comic relief. I spent much of my prom night in my car in a Wendy's parking lot with Jonathan Blatt, with both of us complaining about how we couldn't get dates. (It might have been his car, now that I think of it. On the other hand, I believe they were both Ford Fairmonts, so the mental image is pretty similar). Then he went off to another friend's house to complain about the same thing, basically, while I went home and watched the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Of course, what never got said in the car was that it was my own fault I didn't have a date. I had wanted - planned - to ask Beth-Anne to the prom for roughly 786 weeks. I got to six out of the seven digits in her phone number several times before chickening out.

(It was that kind of crush. And yes, I did that enough that I still have the phone number rattling around in my memory instead of somewhat more useful information like my daughter's social security number.)

So, a couple weeks before Prom Ground Zero, I finally arrived at a plan that would involve my asking her in the hallway in between lunch and jazz band class (Do I miss high school? I do not.). And that plan was instantaneously dashed two classes before lunch, when Jeff Cohen mentioned he had asked Beth-Anne to the prom the night before - just as friends.

I spent most of lunch, if memory serves, slamming my forehead into my locker, which may account for my hairline today, or at least my inability to remember my daughter's social security number.

And I'm sure they had a fine time. I stayed friends with both of them afterwards, and my romantic life continued on that same trajectory for a while longer, as I also managed to not ask Beth-Anne to dinner or to the movies.

So Beth-Anne, I'm sorry. I still wish I'd managed to ask you to the prom. Not because I imagine my life would have turned out differently in any major way - I have a wonderful wife, the cutest little daughter on the planet, and an amusing story to tell every spring. And not because I'd rather tell a story about an actual prom experience, rather than a Wendy's parking lot story. ("...the cheeseburgers were terrific.")

I just think we might have had a nice time.


Anonymous said...

So I went to the prom in the back of the Chait Truck - actually an old, beat-up International Harvester van that spent most of its days delivering paper products (like those little cone-shaped things that come on the sides of water coolers) and still had quite a few samples rolling around on the floor. I think Zane's father may have driven, but I can't recall for was a long time ago.
- a reader in North Bethesda, MD

Anonymous said...

So, I'm eating lunch at work and decide to google my name, as I have in the past, to see if anything has changed. Now, googling my name requires skill. My mother made my life difficult by hyphenating my name and adding an "e" at the end of Anne. I start out spelling my name as my mother intended...and low and behold a correct spelling pops up. But what is this? I have never seen this entry before. I open it and see a very sweet blog from one of my favorite people from high school, Mitch.
Mitch was one of the funniest people I ever met. As strange as it may seem, it was with Mitch and our friend Joanne at an outing to the National Zoo, that I learned what a quahog was and that shrimp actually have personalities. He had a love for Robert B. Parker novels and could make you laugh until your belly ached.
So, Mitch, thank you for the fond memories of you and mostly, for remembering how to spell my name correctly; something that only my parents and husband know how to do.
And for the record and for a funny addition to your spring prom story...I would have said yes.

Mitch Teich said...

Well, hey, the hyphen and the "-e" at the end always seemed like the cool way to spell it, anyway. Not that I would have forgotten, regardless.

Thanks for checking in, Beth-Anne, and for being so much fun to hang out with at the zoo, and for the happy ending to this post.

(And thanks to Google for making it all possible...)