January 30th, 2011
I was just thinking how easy it is now to “spy” on people: You look up your ex on Facebook, peruse his/her family photo albums, watch people’s Twitter streams to see what they’re doing any given second of the day, and read blogs of people you haven’t met, but know intimately just the same. The web and social media make secrets not so secret, and it seems nearly anything is public knowledge.
But back in the day, good old-fashioned spying really did the trick.
Especially where crushes and boyfriends were involved. Sure, now one just need look up a Facebook status or check Foursquare to see what’s up with your special someone, but “spying” used to require more exhausting legwork.
Like when I was in high school and my friend, Belladonna Martlet, harbored a secret crush on the wrestling coach with a lame foot. He lived in a house with three other coaches and we thought it’d be a good idea to drive over to their place and peer into the windows to see if they were talking about Belladonna or mooning over her picture or I don’t freaking know what we thought we’d see.
About four of us girls ended up outside the coach’s house one Sunday evening, tiptoeing and shushing each other as we ducked and covered behind a smattering of bushes leading to a sliding glass window in the back of the house. A blue light glowed from the inside and we headed in its general direction, ending up crowded below a living room window sill. Belladonna popped her head up and scampered right back down to tell us all the coaches were hanging out watching “Matlock.”
But we stayed to spy some more, hoping we’d catch them in some kind of Belladonna-idol-worshipping ritual or I don’t freaking know what we’d thought we’d see. I think one of us even said something stupid like, “Are they talking about you?”
And right about then, we heard something at the sliding glass door a few yards away. Our childish tittering stopped abruptly as we looked up and saw four coach men staring out at our gaggle. Well as you can imagine, us girls popped up and ran like hell. A few seconds or maybe minutes later, the door opened and soon the chase was on. We ran our little hearts out, pursued by three athletic men in their 20s, while I suppose the lame-footed wrestling coach kept watch.
I am telling you right now that I have no idea how we eluded capture, but somehow we made it back to Belladonna’s Buick LeSabre, fired that baby up, and hightailed it out of there, gasping as Belladonna lit up a Virginia Slims Menthol Light and sucked its sweet vapors into her overtaxed lungs.
Those were the days.
Of course, I didn’t learn my lesson, and about eight years later found myself in a similar position on behalf of my best friend, Elisa. She’d been dating some schmoo, and after not hearing from him for a couple of days, listened to my chicken-brained idea to go drive by his apartment. Well as luck and idiocy would have it, there was a prime parking space right behind his place, so we thought we’d poke around a bit, like any proper dipshitty girl detective might do. At some ridiculous point, I scrambled up a dumpster to get a better look inside his place.
He was watching “Friends.”
All seemed well and non-cheaterly, so I scampered down the rubber dumpster top and fell smack dab into some metal-clangy thing that completely signaled my presence. Dogs began to bark, lights began to flicker, a cold wind of bad investigative technique began to blow.
We hightailed it out of there as Elisa fired up a Marlboro Light and coughed its smoke into the chill Chicago air.
It was probably a year later. Another guy, another spy mission gone terribly awry. This one was for Elisa again. She, I and our friend, Maile, sat in a car in broad daylight outside a White Hen, smoking, waiting for Elisa’s boyfriend to emerge. We were in Maile’s car, because we didn’t want him to recognize Elisa’s vehicle. (Smart, right? Except for that broad daylight thing.) Well emerge he did, and as Elisa and Maile analyzed his gait, hand contents, and general possibly-shifty demeanor, loudly I might add, I tried to point out to them that the sunroof was open. Except that it came out, “The moon! The moon!” I don’t rightly know why, but my mouth could not form the proper words. So they’re trying to decipher what it is I’m garbling, while my brain continued to mix up its synapses, and my mouth persisted with saying “The moon! The moon!” to my increasingly irritated pals.
All this is going on as the boyfriend walks right past the car with one insane occupant shouting “The moon! The moon!” and the other highly-recognizable-to-him occupants yelling “WHAT? WHAT MOON? What is wrong with you?”
It was all very surreptitious and spyerly.
I don’t really have a moral to this story other than “Don’t Take Me with you on Spy Missions,” and “Thank God for the Internet.”
Also, and perhaps most importantly, “Don’t Smoke.”
Because The Moon.