Monday, January 10, 2011

The Tale of Molly and Holly

A long time ago, I worked at Sam Goody in Quail Springs mall. I met a lot of interesting people at that job. Tony, the guy at the shoe store downstairs, and Jennifer, the girl from Claire's, wound up being a couple of my closest friends for a while. I had a coworker named Holly who was pretty cool, too. Holly was new to the store and liked all the music I liked and we had a good time working together. One time, she asked me to hang out with her outside of work.

She suggested Frontier City, an amusement park in Oklahoma City, because she had a season pass and there was some sort of special where season ticket holders could bring a guest for free. I told her I wasn't really that into rides because I'm a super scaredy cat and, though I'm sure she was a bit disappointed, we agreed to take it easy and only ride the rides I could handle. I did want to stick around until sundown and ride the Ferris wheel, though. I hadn't ever been on one before and it looked sedate enough for my taste.

The first time hanging out with someone is a pretty big deal. You don't know how much you will actually have in common or what you're going to talk about or anything like that, and if the meeting doesn't go well, you usually don't get a second chance. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing, but decided to just relax. I mean, we got along swimmingly at work, and we spent a lot of time socializing when things were slow, so it wouldn't really be that much different, right?

We met up at the gate and, as it was Oklahoma in the summertime, our first stop was to fill up Holly's special cup with something to keep us hydrated. She had purchased it at the park and it entitled her to cheap refills. It held about half a gallon of Dr. Pepper. We shared it while we walked around the park and refilled it once or twice throughout the day.

We had a great time. We chatted as we walked and never ran out of bands to agree about. Holly looked cool because she knew the way around the park. I looked cool because one of the regulars from work recognized me and let us ride the go karts for free. Holly, as it turns out, loved the go karts but never got to go on them because they usually cost eight bucks to ride. I knew we would be best friends after that.

The sun started to set and we headed over to the Ferris wheel. Unsurprisingly, there was a pretty long line. Lots of people had my same idea. The line zigzagged back and forth, cramming as many of us as possible into a small space, making optimal use of the bit of land allotted for it. After all of us had been in the 90-something degree heat and humidity that day, it wasn't particularly pleasant. The smell of hot people rose to my nostrils. The gallons of Dr. Pepper began to swirl in my stomach. Holly asked if I felt alright. I was determined to ride the Ferris wheel, and we were so close to the front of the line now. Maybe we wouldn't make it on with the next group, but we'd be high above the city and away from the crowd soon. I told her I was fine. But my stomach did not agree.

As the people in front of us moved to board the ride, I told Holly I needed a restroom. We turned and weaved our way back through the tightly packed people and, just before we made it out, it happened. Gallons of Dr. Pepper came spewing out of my mouth with the force of a thousand tsunamis. I ran for the toilet, stopping to barf over railings and into trash cans all the way across the park. I made it to the restroom in only enough time to wash my hands and make a pitiable effort at tidying up my shirt and hair. Holly waited for me outside.

"Sorry," I said feebly. She didn't know how to respond. We walked back to our respective cars and headed home.

And that is how I hung out with Holly exactly once.