Friday, March 21, 2008

Ponyboy

When I stepped out, into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman, and a ride home.

-Ponyboy, The Outsiders

The last thing I remember before falling asleep, was the ugly girl sidling up beside me in her own sleeping bag. Matt Dillon was saying something on the big TV, but I wasn't really paying attention.

I was 13, and primarily concerned about moving my sleeping bag away from the troll without looking overly insensitive, yet motivated by my mortal fear of being discovered by anyone the next morning in anything like close proximity to her.

Surprisingly, I was at church, on the floor of the large utility room usually used by the college kids. It was an ill-conceived co-ed sleepover; well chaperoned, but amateurishly organized. Mobs of pre-teens, who lacked my insomniac fortitude, had already sacked out in the high school hall on the other side of the wall. The night owls remained in the college hall, and were watching the Outsiders on VHS.

I didn't get it. Boys with dirty hair and no apparent parental influence were run-amok. I lost interest and slowly succumbed to the siren call of sleep.

The next morning, I smelled bad, as 13 year old boys often do. I reconnect with my pals, who had been separated through the poorly-executed nocturnal sorting system.

They looked like shit.

I did too. Hair ahoo. Clothing, grease stained and rumpled.

And this is where the addle-brained adult scheme broke down. See, there was a purpose, a method to this madness. The plan was, having fed us junk food and entertained us with Jesus-approved family fair, depriving us of sleep and comfort for 14 hours, they were to load us on buses, not unlike cattle, and drive us out to the newly developed burbs in the city of Chino.

Now, for those of you who did not grow up in or near eastern LA County, Chino is the place where cow shit goes to die. It is rich farm land in the middle of a megalopolis. The dairies are vast, prolific and subsidized by the government. The billions of manure-producing cows are outnumbered only by the billions of Mexican farm hands hired to handle them.

And in the middle of this stinking fly-infested shit stew, someone decided to built massive tracts of upper-end suburban subdivisions.

Suburban subdivisions, of course, mean potential tithing worshipers, so we were bussed in to hand out Baptist-related promotional paraphernalia to the new neighbors.

This plan, of course, was problematic.

The day was hot, and the bus had no air conditioning. The permeating odor of cow-ass was only overcome by the collective stank of a thousand unwashed 6th graders. Said 6th graders, having been subjected to the previously-noted overnight activities and denied any form of civilized bathing facilities, looked for all purpossd like the last rag-tag refugees from some medieval children's crusade.

This, combined with the fact that 60% of the development had not yet been inhabited, led to a colossal let down, and a fair degree of collective complaining.

As for me, when I stepped out, into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the church bus, I had only two things on my mind: I had to pee, and I wanted a ride home.

8 comments:

  1. Lucky Red8:42 AM

    Wow. That movie was banned by our Priest if I remember right... had you been raised Catholic, the same event would have taken place, except for the movie would have been staring everyone's favorite ex-mouseketeer, Annette Funicello, dancing at a beach party and you could have smoked Swisher Sweets with me on the hood of the Priests' new Caddie once the adults all fell asleep...


    Stay gold, ponyboy, stay gold.

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  2. And don't forget Chino is home of lovely outlets of our penal system, prompting the local term "Jail City".

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  3. Lucky Red is right, except my Catholic friends and I would have likely had some alcohol to sip on too...maybe something else to smoke

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  4. ...wow... from Brian's memoirs: "My Days in the Jim Jones Youth Choir."

    And, according to the fine folks at Wikipedia:
    "Chino is home to the world famous John 3:16 trucks of Dairyland hay co that are famous for spreading the gospel of Jesus all over the state of California."

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  5. (to the tune of Jesus Christ Superstar)...

    JEEEE-SUS FREEEEEAAAK...
    JEEEE-SUS FREEEEEAAAK...
    MISTER GIN AND TONIC WAS A
    JEEEE-SUS FREEEEEAAAK...

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  6. Jesus5:09 PM

    We miss Mr. Gin & Tonic. We may have to put his heavenly mansion up for sale...

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  7. Jesus: Do you really want him back? I don't think there's any redemption for him at this point....just sayin'

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  8. Anonymous4:35 PM

    Chino is considered "the hood" in the show the O.C.

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Be compelling.

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