Protecting (sort of) KK's identity for that day when her eldest child gets unfettered access to Teh Interwebs.
Today is our good friend KK's birthday!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KK!
Since I've been so very busy these past few weeks and months what with the head parasites and then the stomach demons followed immediately by the mucilage-up-the-nose virus, and all that preceded by the most dreadful of all PSAD syndrome (political-seasonal-affective-disorder) which had left me in a funk of nihilism and self-righteous binging on high-fat foods -
not to mention trying to plan a Girl Scout camping trip -
I have sadly (and without any real good excuse) not tended well my friendship with my Dear KK.
It's my own fault.
I've been miserable and also highly-contagious. And frankly, since there are wide varieties of pharmaceuticals which can both alleviate symptoms and provide protective barriers between the funk and the funk-free (although, not phunk free), any really good and creative excuses (i.e. lies) are instantly done away with.
So how to make it up?
Well, I thought I'd go back to the beginning. Relive and retell the herstory of me and KK, and in doing so, prove that although I may seem to have drifted from our friendship, I still have the hull in site and am willing to paddle back through the flotsam and jetsam of everyday distractions to re-board, swab the decks, fire the engines, and sail off into the deep blue sea where we will pour buckets of gin and limes over each other as we enter the realm of King Neptune and leave our polliwog ways behind.
I first met KK on the deck of a party boat in New Orleans on the night before her debutante ball.
I had just graduated college and was road-tripping across the United States in my 1984 Dodge Colt. At a truck stop outside of Baton Rouge, I met up with a migrant cocktail waiter who told me about some quick-cash job opportunities working the deb party circuit from Louisiana through to Texas, and he promised to help me find work if I pretended to be his valet.
The night I first saw KK, she was in full blossom on the deck of a hired steamboat, dressed in a strapless plum gown, holding court with a Manhattan in one hand and a bowl of penne with homemade ragu in the other. Hailing from the Little Italy Eighth of the French Quarter, her parents were self-made noodle-makers who made most of their dough when Emeril Lagasse commissioned them to produce a Cajun ditalini for use in his gumbos. The night of the party, KK - the Dolce Praline - was regaling her guests with tales of her recent trip to Monaco where she worked with a charity for the homeless of Monte Carlo and, mostly, did a lot of "free-for-all" sunbathing to even out her tan.
She didn't speak to me that evening, but I did later hold her hair back as she graciously fed the fish of the mighty Mississippi with the contents of her stomach. This would not be the last time I would perform such a service, and many a ouzo-fueled evening later along many a European river, she would do the same for me.
It wasn't until years later in a basement bar in Prague that I would meet KK again. She was on stage under a single flickering light bulb, strumming a banged-up red guitar and singing throaty French chansons. When she called to the audience for "a real cigarette, no more stinking Gauloise!", it was my good fortune to have one last Marlboro Light smuggled in my backpack between the pages of a week-old copy of Le Monde. After her set, we sat at a small corner table and drank skunky pilsners all night, talking about life at home in the United States and braiding friendship bracelets with the beer bottle labels.
We busked our way back to Paris, stopping here and there in one town or another to take on extra work in a salt mine or as artists models, and finally parted ways when I headed back to Pennsylvania with plans to ride the crest of a new London dance fad and teach Macarena classes to awaiting club kids, while KK flew to Brazil to train as an aerial acrobat with the upcoming Cirque Du Soleil show, Nabos!
Fifteen years passed before KK and I again crossed paths, this time on an Internet message board for hysterical mothers-to-be. Both otherwise subdued and domesticated via household ritual and the demands of worrying about whether or not the soft cheese or lunch meat we just ate would rot our fetus' mind-to-be, we found and renewed our mutual creative outlet in typing long posts which outlined our Doomsday peanut butter stockpile program and imagined scenarios in which either A) a jet airliner nose-dived into Three Mile Island and I'd be forced to flee westward with my family to live in KK's root cellar or B) the "detainees" at Area 51 escaped and KK would need to hightail eastbound to hole-up in my laundry room until the advancing war machines were brought down by an uploaded man-made computer virus, or the aliens themselves succumbed mortally to an otherwise benign human virus, probably Roseola or Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease.
Our friendship this time was fast and firm and one that could not be severed again by distance or time.
Although, lice and screaming children have tested its warp and woof, let me tell you.
And so! Happy Birthday to my friend and yours, KK!
Here's to many more years together - though across the miles - and maybe if you're real good, KK, I'll post that photo of you being painted déshabillé in Bad Durrnberg.
And now, friends, please feel free to post in the comments your "How I Met KK" story or favorite reminiscence of KK. Let's make this a