I opened my locker, looked at the Joan Jett picture I had taped to the inside. I placed my Anatomy and Physiology book on the top shelf and took out my Computer Science notes. Do you wanna touch? Do you wanna touch me there? Yeah! I loved that song. It rang through my head as I grabbed my notes for last period.
It was March 1984. I had two months left of high school. Then what? I was working as a clerk in the toy department of the local department store. I was gay and closeted. I lost myself in friends, music and fantasy.
Finally the last bell: Off to the parking lot where the neighborhood kids all climbed in my car, large enough to fit an entire community. We drove the five or so mile trek back home. I didn't have a tape player so I couldn't listen to Joan Jett, nor would I with a car full of peers. She wasn't cool enough. Besides I hadn't quite converted all my records over to tape yet anyway. The radio blasted static. My car, a 1973 Buick Century, was factory equipped with only an AM radio. My father, a couple years prior when this car was the "family" car, had installed an auxiliary FM receiver which was screwed into the base of the dashboard. It's wires hung out the back tripping your foot on the gas pedal as you drove. The FM reception was awful. It was only with a kick and then a smack or two to the bottom of the receiver that finally the Eurtyhmics would take over the scratchy fuzz emanating from the one speaker in the center of the dash.
Each school day ended early. We got out at 1:45 pm. Something about bus schedules, and what not, with the Junior High and elementary schools. I didn't mind. I was a morning person. I didn't care that first period started at 7:08 am. "Hola Luisa. Que tel?" Yet Spanish that early was still a drag. By two o'clock we were stopped at the convenience store where we would pick up our allotment of candy, soda and snacks and head on over to my house for General Hospital.
What was it with that show? I never really liked soap operas, and have never watched one since but back then the Luke and Laura dynamo dominated high school conversation. If you wanted to be "in" the in crowd you needed to know what was going on with the Noah Drake and Laura's many replacements. Now don't get me wrong. It's not as if I was "in" the "in crowd". I just wanted to look like as if I was but then again I think half the high school did too. Acceptance. It's such a powerful motivator.
With a group of friends slung around my family's den we would watch Blackie and the Riff Raff quarrel over the new lead singer, Frisco Jones. Wonder who was the real Grant Putnam? And did he really love Celia? I think he secretly wanted me. And then there was Scorpio...what about him? I fantasized that one of these leading men would whisk me off into the sunset where we would have a life of adventure, wild sex and 2.5 kids. So what if we were both men. Did it matter?
I struggled to find my identity. I needed to find a girlfriend. That's what all the other guys were doing yet I couldn't bring myself to ask anyone out. I really wanted Frisco, from General Hospital, to take me to see Beverly Hills Cop. Yet reality set in: My sister fixed me up with a friend of a friend -- a girl of course. I hated it but persevered nonetheless. Don't get me wrong. She was nice and all but I just couldn't bring myself to...well...you know. It lasted a couple of months till I finally broke her heart and asked for my 14K gold (plated) chain back. I never really gave it to her anyway. She sort of took it one day as she just wanted her friends to see her wearing her "boyfriend's chain". Besides it looked better on me.
At some point in the year, I began to become my own person. I traded in the boat for a 1973 VW Super Beetle. It was more to my liking plus it had a real FM radio. I didn't care that there was no heat. I liked it. I stopped watching General Hospital and began to focus on the real men on the college campus.
I began to think...maybe I could have a good life.