Sunday, July 17, 2011

My New Nickname

I was at a film festival the other day wearing a lanyard nametag on a string.  The wind started blowing, twisting the nametag into a sort of noose.  Batting the thing around like a cat, I walked into the door (and I mean INTO the door) of the festival venue, bruising my knee and dropping my purse in the process. 

A lot of stuff went everywhere.  Classic.

The festival people saw me.  They tried to look away, but how can you ignore a trainwreck?  Especially when she is screening her film momentarily for your brand-new festival that you hope goes over well in the community.  And she's wearing heels on your stage.

I'd like to say that this kind of thing is a rarity, but the truth is, friends, I do not ooze grace.  And while I'd like to think that people view me as a Jackie O archetype, the truth is closer to Junior Samples.  If he had a purse that he dropped a lot, that is.

Keeping that preface in mind, let me tell you about my new friend.  We'll call her Geneva.  If you know Geneva, you'll know that this is really her awesome nickname.  And if you don't, well, she'll just be Geneva from here on out.

Geneva and I met here in my small town.  Like me, she's an artist.  Like me, she bakes bread.  Like me, she likes Steel Magnolias and can quote liberally from the script. 

This was looking like an answer to my "Dear-God-why-can't-I-find-a-friend-who-will-not-wince-when-I-want-to-mainline-cookie-dough" prayers in recent days.

When I told her of my battle with weight and ongoing desire to look like a Kardashian while retaining my brain and maintaining residence at Toll House, she sympathized. 

"I go to Weight Watchers," Geneva said.  "You should come."

Weight Watchers.  Ugh.  I had always envisioned this concept as a place where multi-level marketing meets a tent revival.  With fat girls who sigh a lot.

"Oh, I just go for the weigh-in," said Geneva.  "I have discovered that I have to pay $13 a week to hear someone tell me how fat I am.  It motivates me."

See why I liked her instantly?  She's snarky.  I like that in a broad.

So I decided to join Geneva in what I now refer to as the 'shame-based weigh-in.'  And it's been pretty good so far.  One week, I gained a pound, however, and the next week, I made sure I peed twice and removed my nail polish before stepping onto the scale.

We just go for the weigh-in, and then we stand outside and talk.  I wear the same thing every week to make sure that my clothes are not factored into the weigh-in -- a little sundress that I wish were littler, but you get the idea. 

This past Thursday, Geneva stood by my mini-van while we shunned the meeting part of Weight Watchers and caught up on the various goings-on in our community.

While we were chatting and avoiding such platitudes as 'It's not the minutes that you spend at the table that make you fat; it's the seconds" and going over the exact points value of a 3-inch-by-3-inch piece of cornbread, I got stung.  In the middle of my back.  By a bee. 

And as luck (or Weight Watchers karma) would have it, I failed to have an epi-pen.  Because I had changed purses.  Because everything falls out of my old purse when I get rattled.  Which is often. 

I'm pretty allergic to bee stings.  Once my hand swelled up the size of a baseball glove.  No kidding.  And sometimes I wheeze.  It's very sexy.

Geneva saw me wince.  Her maternal instincts kicked in, which upped her ante on my BFF scorecard.  "Are you okay?"

No, God, no.  I was just stung by a bee.

"A bee?  Are you sure?"

This part is where I shunned all new friend decorum.  You really aren't supposed to show too much skin until you've at least peed together in a one-throne ladies' restroom. 

I hitched up my dress and invited dear, sweet Geneva to take a look.

"Oh, I see," she said.

I told her I was very allergic.

"Do you want me to drive you to the hospital?" 

No, just ride with me.  I would drive myself.

In the course of sixty seconds, I had not only created a situation where my new best friend had to trust what would probably be impaired driving skills, I had flashed her.  In the parking lot of a church where we go for Weight Watchers meetings. 

But, in true best friend style, Geneva ignored my uncouth and accompanied me to the Emergency Room.  I think she rather enjoyed watching me become sedated on Benadryl. 

I couldn't believe I wasn't swelling more.  Apparently we had gotten there just in time.

"Maybe it was just a little bee," she postulated.

And then she laughed.  "That is what I am going to start calling you.  Little Bee."

Like me, she also gives people nicknames or uses existing ones.  Geneva's a keeper.  A Little Bee Keeper.  Thank God she swore to never mention me whipping up my dress in front of God and several fellow small-town Watchers of Weight to anyone.      

But I suspect that she will call me Little Bee until I die.  And that brings me great comfort.

Now if she ever get strangled by a lanyard, we're in big trouble.