The time I didn’t realize I was friends with twins.

In 8th grade (1998), due to a couple different reasons, I had to switch schools three months into the school year. Not only did I switch schools, but I was now in a different school district, so I was surrounded by people who didn’t know me (with one exception, a girl I’ve known my entire life was also a student there and was thrilled to know I recognized her). Starting a new school with a clean slate is honestly pretty annoying, especially when you inadvertently become popular. This was during the height of my goth years but just before the Columbine school shooting, so I walked into that school in all black, weighted down with silver jewelry, wearing a black trenchcoat. You’d think the new kid was from outer space, I got a TON of attention. Word spread immediately that I was “a witch” because this was during the time I studied Wicca, so a large chunk of the school wanted to be my friend either because they thought I was awesome or because they were afraid I’d turn them into a frog.

There were a large handful of people who were almost comically nice to me, they made it a point to say hello to me every single day and their face would brighten when I said hello back. One girl in particular sticks out in my memory because it took me the entire year to realize there were actually two of her.

Every day when I got to school, a tall black girl would practically fall from the sky and wave while cheerfully saying hi to me. She was skinny, pretty, always wore a puffy jacket, and always had her afro tied at the very top of her head like a pineapple. Then later in the day, usually during our lunch break, I’d see her again, this time in a different jacket, and she’d say hi again.

I’m sure you can already see where this is going.

I just assumed she’d change into a different jacket at some point during the day, maybe one was lighter than the other and she only liked the bigger one in the cold mornings, or maybe she’d switch back and forth with a friend she liked borrowing clothes from. It never occurred to me “she” was actually “them,” because I only ever saw one at a time. It took me the entire year to realize they were identical twin sisters. One day toward the end of the school year, I saw them both together for the first time and tried to play it cool as they both said hi to me while we passed each other. Then I just stopped walking and laughed at myself for never realizing the girl who mysteriously changed jackets during the day was really two different girls. I’d never learned their names, so it’s not like I was constantly calling them both by the same name, and it’s always been a problem for me to tell identical twins apart, I just can’t do it. So because I hadn’t seen them together until that moment, I never realized I was always saying hi to two girls and not just one.

Wreck This Journal: In progress part V

Cover this page using only office supplies.

Glue random items here.

Tongue painting: Eat some colorful candy & lick the page.

Collect fruit stickers from fruit you bought.

Collect fruit stickers from fruit you bought.

Collect the stamps off of all your mail.

Collect the stamps off of all your mail.

Moving from Los Angeles to Montana. (Part 7 – Things I don’t miss because they’re here too.)

I did an entry listing things I miss about California, I also did an entry listing things I don’t miss. So here’s a list of things I don’t miss about California because Montana has them as well.

Billboards

Sort of. Los Angeles is pretty much a sea of traffic, billboards, and tall buildings. Here in western Montana, especially small cities like this one, there are minimal billboards to avoid blocking the view of the sky.

retna billboard

Seagulls & pigeons

It’s almost weird seeing seagulls here, I only saw them near the ocean, but they’re around Flathead Lake as well. Pigeons aren’t actually in my city, I think the hawks eat them all, but I see them in much bigger cities.

Pigeons

Trains

Farmer’s Markets

Sort of. The one here in town should really be called a craft fair, I’ve yet to see any actual food being sold, it’s more of an outdoor Etsy.

Panhandlers

Not in this city, but there’s plenty of people begging for change in Kalispell and Missoula. Usually claiming they need gas money or they’re a veteran in need, and it’s impossible to know who’s telling the truth.

Wildfires

Not that I’d ever miss those.

“Was that fireworks or gunshots?”

I now live in an open-carry state where fireworks are legal, so we play this game a lot.

AIM usernames from childhood.

I kind of hate BuzzFeed. The “articles” are awful, but their videos are good time wasters and occasionally, actually funny. I just came across this one of people explaining their childhood AIM names. If you don’t know what AIM is, you’re probably too young to be reading my blog because I bet I keep mentioning all sorts of stuff you don’t know about. But it’s an instant messenger program that’s surprisingly not defunct yet, instant messaging was texting before texting was even a thing. Except online. I feel really old trying to explain instant messaging because wow. It’s bad enough I keep accidentally typing “messenging.”

My first AOL/AIM name was TwiggyHEH. I loved Twiggy from the band Marilyn Manson and HEH are my initials. Except after a while I got real sick of people asking what HEH stood for and then trying to ask what my whole name was, so I decided it was time for a new name. I think we got AOL when I was around 12 or so, and by this time, I was 14 and the movie Strangeland came out. I absolutely loved the movie, and quickly grew annoyed with my parents suddenly constantly asking who I’m talking to online because they were worried a totally cool guy was going to ask me to a party and then chain me inside a cage or something. Obviously now I completely see where they were coming from, but back then I was a stereotypical teenager saying things like “Geeze Mom, I’m not stupid, I know better than to just go to some random guy’s house.” To give myself credit, I never tried saying “I’m not a child, I’m fourteen!”

There’s a band that performs in the movie. Their name was Bile, and the song was called In League. I really liked the song. Here’s where the explanation gets both hilarious and embarrassing. This is the first verse of the song:

Pretty boy with a gun, bang-bang, fun-fun.
Pretty girl with a knife, watch your back it’s your wife!
Heroin, load my blood, shoot-shoot, fun-fun.
Pretty girl on ecstasy, now she wants to fuck me.

My new username came from that last line, I became PrettieGurlOnXTC. Or maybe PrittieGurlOnXTC, I can’t remember. I knew how to spell but it’s not like that’s the worst part about the name. I chose the line where a chick on drugs wants to bone some dude. Seriously, 14-year-old Heather?! Oh I don’t want people asking what my full name is but let me make them think I do drugs instead. Brilliant, kid. That hadn’t even been my intention, I wasn’t trying to pretend I did drugs, it was just a name. Much like all the teenage boys with 69 in their names even though you knew they were still virgins. I just liked the song and for some reason, that was the line I ended up choosing for a name. I did end up making a friend because of the username, his name was Jerome and he also had a username based on a lyric from the song. His was also misspelled but I know that was because AOL had a character limit. I want to say maybe BileThingWitNoHed, something similar to that.

Another year or so later, I grew tired of the drug questions, and came up with yet another username. This time, I came up with the name ToFeignReality. I have no recollection of how exactly I came up with that, but something about how people say things like “Get your head out of the clouds and join reality.” I don’t remember anyone actually saying it to me, but I was thinking of it, and from that came my own thought of “Well, what if I had my own make-believe reality?” And somehow I was intelligent enough as a teenager to think up To Feign Reality. I can’t remember a time I’ve ever used the word “feign” in everyday conversation. Not to say I don’t use “big” words, I just don’t use that particular word. I’d never come up with anything like that now, I try to think of simple things. I’ve been Heatherface for years, which I came up with after watching The Emperor’s New Groove and couldn’t stop laughing at the “LLAMA FACE” quote. I’m now finally starting to get sick of that name, but I haven’t been able to come up with much else. Sure, there’s JustSomeBroad which I’ve chosen on a few websites, but it’s usually taken. Ideally, I could just sign up as Heather on any site and be done with trying to think up usernames.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

ferris wheel

Back in August 2011, Mom and I went to the Orange County Fair. I’d never been before, and Mom hadn’t been in years. She was really excited to see the animals, especially the piglets. We also saw the gigantic horse and steer, followed by looking at pygmy goats which were adorable and just hilarious to see after looking at two animals that each weigh around 3,000 lbs. There were also regular-sized goats, chickens, rabbits, llamas, and a few others I’m forgetting. Despite the heat and my getting sunburned, we had a blast!

Every year, the fair has a weekly deal where if you donate a particular thing — books, clothing, canned goods, etc — then you get in free, and the ticket gives you access to one free ride. Since we took part in the deal and could go on a ride for free, mom and I started looking around for one we’d want to go on. I’d expressed interest in the giant ferris wheel, but I’m deathly afraid of heights so part of me was hoping we could find something fun that wasn’t so far up in the sky.

Unfortunately, most of the rides are really high or the kind that spin you around and around (or both), and mom suffers from motion sickness so I wanted to be able to find a ride we could both enjoy. After jokingly pointing out all the stomach-churning rides and half-heartedly contemplating a couple of the kiddie rides, I finally decided to conquer my fear (for the day, anyway) and go on the ferris wheel.

The sign says it’s approximately 150 feet tall, and standing on the ground staring up at the top with a fear of heights makes you feel like it goes all the way to outer space. I knew if I didn’t go on it, I’d regret my decision and probably sulk. I didn’t want to sulk, I wanted to be able to walk away saying “I did that!”

I did it. And I’m so glad I didn’t chicken out. I was 150 feet in the air and wasn’t even scared, the anticipation on the ground was a million times worse than actually being on the ride. We definitely did not reach outer space, 150 feet doesn’t look so high when you’re up there and not freaking out like you had been two minutes prior.

Being at the top of that ride with my mom sitting there with me has been one of the greatest feelings of my life so far. Even the annoying teenagers in the passenger car next to us didn’t bother me, the boys were stomping and causing it to sway to scare their girlfriends. The best part is mom enjoyed the ride too, I was so worried the swaying would upset her stomach but it was so smooth we barely felt it. The whole day was fun, but going on that ride was an incredible experience. I felt so free.

The time my diabetic grandfather tried to sneakily eat candy.

zadi

There’s this snack called Halva, it’s usually served as a candybar or in bite-sized chunks and it’s made out of sesame seed paste. I abhor it, I think it’s absolutely disgusting. My paternal grandfather loved the stuff. One of the best memories I have of him was when I was 13 and went to Israel with both him and my grandmother. There was this deal with a tour company, if you flew to Israel and brought a teen to have their bar/bat mitzvah, the teen flew for free. I never wanted a bat mitzvah, but I ended up not having a choice in the matter, though I did enjoy the trip a little. I feel I was too young at the time to really appreciate it, but it gave me one of my favorite memories of all time.

I’m going to pause here and mention I called them Bubby and Zadi, which mean grandmother and grandfather in Yiddish.

During the second week, I caught a horrible cold. It was so bad that one day Bubby decided they’d both stay in the hotel to help take care of me, even though by this point I was just sleeping a lot. She went downstairs to get food for me and came back with a plate full of Halva, and another plate full of stuff like bread & butter, pickled herring, and cherry tomatoes. I devoured that plate, didn’t go near the Halva. While I ate my lunch, Bubby was fussing with something across the room, probably packing away some souvenirs. While she was preoccupied, Zadi sneaked a piece of the candy and sat at the table happily munching on it. He was diabetic, so Bubby rarely let him have anything sweet. She came back over to see him eating it and shrieked that he’s not supposed to eat it and shouldn’t have taken such a big piece, and while she was trying to take it from him, he grumbled and fought while trying to finish it. I have this very clear picture in my mind of Bubby trying to grab at the candy while Zadi held her at arm’s length, trying to finish the Halva as quickly as he could, with a determined and grumpy look on his face. I’m hoping I didn’t laugh then, but every time I look back on that trip and remember that moment, I laugh out loud.

It’s been 15 years since he passed away, but I know he laughs right along with me when I remember the defiant look on his face while he tried to cram the rest of the candybar in his mouth.