I met my best friend, Jessie Heiss, in kindergarten, and we've stuck together ever since. It's not that we're exactly the same, because we're not. Jessie was always very good at sports, dance, and acrobatics. While I, on the other hand, had to drop out of tumbling class because I couldn't execute a cartwheel to save my life. But, we complimented one another very well. For instance, I always did my homework, but I just never wrote down the assignments, while Jessie hardly ever did her homework, but she fastidiously copied it down. I would frequently have to call her to to find out the assignments. Stretching the phone cord into another room, she would hurriedly whisper, "Page 93, do questions 1-10," so that her mom wouldn't overhear.
We do have a lot of similarities, like our love of talking and telling stories--and also, apparently, our voices. In high school, we were in the same Anatomy class that met just before lunch. I, who have always had a talking problem in school, tended to socialize while I did my work, but for some reason our teacher, Mrs. Pritts, never knew it was me. She would whip around from the board, yelling, "Jessie! That's enough talking. You owe me ten minutes of lunch!" Jessie would try to protest, but Mrs. Pritts would sarcastically come back with, "It's never you, is it?" She didn't know how right she actually was.
Jessie and I have had more adventures over the years than I can count, from pretending that our sticker books were computers (think Penny from Inspector Gadget) to battling "shock rays" in pools (believe me, it was scary), but this particular event lives on in infamy.
To set the scene, we were in junior high, and Jessie had invited me to go away for the weekend with her family. The plan was that I would spend the night at her house on a Friday night so we could leave bright and early the next morning to go to The Beach water park and King's Island. Now, it is important to know at this point in the story that even though I was in junior high, I couldn't fix my own hair. (I know this may sound absurd--perhaps I will get back to the reasons for this in another entry...) We were going to go to the water park first, so in preparation, my mom had French braided my hair, thinking that even if it got messed up while I slept, it would just be getting wet anyway.
Upon waking up, my hair looked insane. There were pieces sticking out everywhere, the braid was barely intact, and I just overall looked in a state of disarray. I wasn't worried too much about it though, because I thought it wouldn't matter once I went down the first waterslide. But...it just so happened to be overcast and on the verge of rain, so Jessie's mom decided that we should just skip the water park altogether and head directly to King's Island.
This is when I started to feel a little upset. No one wants to walk around a crowded amusement park with his or her hair looking like a crazy homeless person's, but especially not a 13-year-old. While waiting to get off of a roller coaster, a boy pointed me out to his group of friends, yelling, "Do you see that girl? Look at her hair!" to which they responded with hysterical laughter. Not cool, not cool at all. I wanted to melt into the seat of The Beast and die.
Thankfully, it begin to rain, and this tamped down the worst of the stray hairs, but this is when Jessie's problem began to surface. Prior to leaving for the trip, her mom had put her tennis shoes in the washing machine to freshen them up. There must have been some leftover soap in the cushy soles because as soon as they got wet, soap bubbles began to squish out of her shoes with every step. Her shoes were foaming like a rabid animal and leaving a trail of suds that Hansel and Gretel would be proud of.
You can picture the two of us--me with my dreadful hairdo and Jessie with her froth-encased sneakers--a sight to be seen. At this point, we did the only thing we could think of to salvage the day--head to the recording studio to create a souvenir cassette tape of the two of us singing a slightly off-key version of "Blister in the Sun" by the Violent Femmes. When the pimply teen aged boy working the booth asked us the name of our group, we looked at one another and instantly knew--"Suds and Hairdo." We would stick together forever.
(Happy Birthday, Jess! Love you!)