This weekend I was invited to give a talk about my zines at SMFA in Boston. So I dressed up like myself in 2003 and read from my mallgoth zine. Then we opened up the floor to questions.
Someone asked me about being a second generation Latina and retaining cultural authenticity. I realized that in my life, the arbiters of cultural authenticity (either in punk or with regards to race/ethnicity) have been white people; and they usually only question my authenticity or that of others when their authority is being challenged. Just the amount of arrogance it takes to assume any authority like that, especially when it comes to a culture that's not your own, is astounding.
I may not be the biggest punk or the best at speaking Spanish, but those factors don't deter me from participating in those communities and making some kind of impact. After the serious discussion, we simmered down and talked about embarrassing middle school stories. I wish I could do these talks a lot more often.
Later on I went to party with my hosts, Ximena and Julia. I stammered a bit while ordering ropa vieja y tostones at the Cuban restaurant, but my new friends didn't judge me. In fact they made me feel so, so welcome by showing me around Jamaica Plain and introducing me to other Latinos. We went to a house party where I pretty much hung out in the kitchen with craft beer and talked up a storm with whoever walked in. It was great. I haven't had that much fun in a while.
But let me reveal the utter irony of what I'm about to tell you: the morning that I should've been at orientation I was grooming Rain, the palomino pony, when the barn phone rang. "PAISLEY! You're not busy, answer the phone!" So I did, and it was Tia from the GS Council office. "Suzanne? Wow! Just the person I wanted to speak with. Okay, so I called the barn because I was hoping you'd be around to give me your contact information, because it's the last day that the magazine gave me to get it. Yeah-- Skirt! magazine wants you to be featured in their Girl Power section, so next week they will call you up to schedule an interview and photoshoot. Sound good? Okay, great! They'll call you on Monday. Thanks!"
Skirt!-fucking-magazine! Not only does everyone's mom read it, but everyone's mom in Florida, too. When I asked Donna why Girl Scouts chose me to be in it, she started saying how I was an inspiration to young girls what with my article in Bridges and the rap group and my status as camp counselor. Seriously, WTF. Didn't they make a big deal about not hiring me two months ago after finding out that I sneaked out of camp? To prove to you the irony in what I've just shared, let me tell you everything I've been able to do at Girl Scout Camp. Because good role models have:
-Made late-night calls to boys at Girl Scout Camp
-Run naked at Girl Scout Camp (okay, I left my towel in my tent and nobody was around, but really, it was out in the open)
-Gone skinny-dipping at Girl Scout Camp
-Helped create a Burn Book a-la-Mean Girls about the uber-mean waterfront lesbian couple known as BREEzore at Girl Scout Camp
-Learned how to booty-dance correctly from the "low-income" (code name for black) girls at Girl Scout Camp
-Smoked at Girl Scout Camp
-Made the record for amount of visits to Shalom at Girl Scout Camp-- 5 times
-Stole Girl Scout cookies to take to Camp Shalom boys at Girl Scout Camp
-Wrote my camp name all over the barn at Girl Scout Camp
-Broke curfew at Girl Scout Camp
-Was in a car that got pulled over by the Fuzz for going 80 MPH at 1 AM-- only 2 miles from Girl Scout Camp
-Raided the kitchen at 4 AM at Girl Scout Camp
-Told my twelve-year-old Puerto Rican twin Elycia that sitting on the sink, breaking it and then signing it at Treehouses was fucking punk rock-- at Girl Scout Camp
-Made friends for life at Girl Scout Camp-- I mean seriously, who ever even cares to talk to coworkers outside of work?
And Sweet Jesus, I'm so exhausted from it all.
After a couple hours of Cocoa Puff taking pictures of us with their staff boys mingling and attempting to woo, their director lady invited me and Beaches (other counselor in picture) to go to Shalom to drop off a picture CD with all the pictures. Shortly after arriving at camp, the girls-- including Elizabeth Agnew's little sis Lucy-- bragged about holding boy's hands and whatnot and urged us to upload the pictures so we could advance into Shalom, pronto. All the camp knew by dinner time that we saw them, and that we were most definitely visiting. Eeyore and Breezy tried every reason to not let me go but Chomper totally brushed them off and gave me time to get an outfit together. Beaches, Sheena, Diddi, Stooge and I all got gussied up and prepared to visit Shalom, my third reunion. And what did we find?
A mass football championship among the boys, and a dance in their gym. Yes, a dance. Before we got to steppin' a crowd of Shalomees came to ask us questions-- they asked us if we lived in trees, if we had cookies, how much we were paid. The female dorms were plastered with Teddy Geiger, Drake Bell and High School Musical posters. The little girls put on a show for us involving Elvis impressions and told us we were pretty counselors. We asked how many more boys there were before they dragged us into the basketball court. The lights were off. I danced to ridiculously cheesy songs like "Miss New Booty" with no shame because dammit, I was at Camp Shalom and by invitation!
The DJ called out to us from the turntables and urged the boys to come dance with us. In less than 5 seconds they all rushed in and we all jumped and danced in one big mass of campers, together at last with no freaking Girl Scout rules. All I heard in the dark was screaming and our own echoes of baby you're all that I want, and you're lying here in my arms... I'm finding it hard to believe, we're in heaven... The fact that I was on my two hour break and not my night off killed me, it was so Cinderella. When I left it saddened me so, almost as much as when an older counselor had urged all of us to stop "grinding" to that new Nelly Furtado song because it was just a little risque. Today at the staff meeting they finally pulled a new rule up from their asses saying that we could only leave the camp on our NIGHTS OFF, and not during our two hour breaks.
I smiled because I took advantage of it all, and it was great
but also when Andre called up around 1 AM. Yeah, I was a little bummed that I missed the interview with Peaches, but now I'm so happy because his call has really made my week. He's still my best friend, after all
I called Ben back, a week after I said I'd call him and he was in Puerto Rico. Curtis is pretty much out of the way now, and even though I like Ben as more of a friend now it'll be easier telling him now that I don't have someone waiting on me to say so. You know what I mean?
Call me a jezebel. Tuesday we have a field trip to Skate Station and I swear I'll charm some innocent bystander, and if not then on Wednesday night I'll call up Brittany and we can lasso up some scene kid to take back to camp as my pet-- how dehumanizing
I crack myself up. But tomorrow I'm going back to work with confidence and in style, now that I know red's my shade. Nobody's fucking with me this week,
Theater camp this week, with a whole bunch of crying, homesick 4th graders. Lauren and Twig were being really fucking evil this week, and when I stayed at Lauren's last night I made sure she knew she was being nasty. Queeny was being nasty too, which eventually lead to drama on Wednesday in which she quit after Eeyore totally bitched her out in front of the kids for canceling swim time. Honestly if Eeyore really knew shit about running a production she'd understand that when you have a show the very next day your props should be ready by then, too. But then if Queeny had got her head out of her ass and realized that they needed to be working on props and not messing up their lines for an hour, she wouldn't have had to quite the fucking swim time. But whatever, it was her big power trip of the week. I silently cheered Queeny on when she said "I fucking quit" and walked away. Eeyore tried to act like I was a liar two hours later when the girls went on to swim time and my unit leader said I could go ahead and take my night off an hour early because I've been so stressed. I was in the shower when Eeyore comes walking into the bathroom asking me "Why are you not with your group? If I ask your leader will she tell me she said that you could get off early?"
I have a dirty mouth, I've sneaked out of Kateri to go to Shalom, I drink, I've smoked, I stay out late with boys and yes I'm fucking pissed that I was the only one who was confronted about it when hired when other counselors have done the same. But if there's one thing I am, it's not a liar. Brittany (aka Tre Cool, barnhand from last year) and I hauled ass outta Kateri, and I had a big fucking smile on my face because Eeyore found out she couldn't say shit to me once she left the bathroom and my whole unit was outside. I wouldn't ever abandon my girls. Brit and I went to Keystone looking for corn nuggets, eyeliner, and scene kids, and when I told her all about this hot mess she was like, "Well, that's why I didn't come back to work there." Before she dropped me off at 11 we took an "accidental" detour into Camp Shalom-- we stopped at their lake, got out of the car, hocked huge ass loogies to spit out and kick dirt over. Even though they did give us a fireworks show at Fourth of July, I still just wanted to say I did something bad ass
I just might hang out with Brit every night off.
The play turned out fine, some girls forgot their lines but it was all okay. Twig and Lauren decided to leave in the middle of the production to clean the unit, and complain about it after the play, so I just let them go back and continue cleaning it by themselves again. I was so mad because not only were they extras but the girls wanted them to see it, and I was so tired of Twig and her need to gather sympathy from everyone for the shit that she gets herself into. I feel sorry for nobody. And that's exactly what I'll tell them in my staff evaluation on Sunday. I just want to do my job. I shouldn't have to give a shit about my coworkers, because I think that's what's been making everyone quit left and right. And frankly, I'm very close to doing it myself
Remember that shit about the Kateri myspace? Well, Council read everything we said, everything. And because of the myriad playfights with David resulting in me calling him a fucking asshole (because he drew penises on John Lennon and the Hitlers on CIT photos) they think I have a problem with profanity. Such a problem that I might just start going off on Brownies in sailor-talk. But there's more.
They told Chomper and Miss Donna not to hire me, period. Because they found out about last summer's midnight escapade to Shalom. Honestly last year I didn't think I was coming back, and I didn't think of all the grief they'd be giving Chomper this year, and I definitely didn't think I'd be working at Kateri at all when I sneaked out of my tent with Lauren and Ashley.
But apparently, Gateway Council had to go take it up with the National Chapter of Girl Scouts. Because not only did we manage to escape through the gates of an ACA-accredited Girl Scout camp but we also trespassed into another, which could put me liable to GSUSA in case I were arrested. It would soil the reputation of Kateri as a camp, as it pretty much tarnished mine at council. They all still regard me with a sort of fascination because of the articles and the rap group promoting Girl Scouts, but even then I'm still the Godless girl with the potty mouth.
This embarrasses me, now that I'm older. I'm still hired, thankfully, because of Chomper, but I know that many of those women must be really, really disappointed in me regardless of my age then and my age now. Even I know I haven't changed that much (I planned on actually trying smoking at Blueberry Fest tomorrow but my drug test is the next day.) Was pissing at Shalom really worth all this nonsense? I don't even think so, it's such a good story for the kids
So, now is the time that I stop writing in the men's kiwashi and stealing Rice Krispies from the kitchen. I have to be responsible-- though it pains me that my status as bad-ass girl scout has morphed into bad-ass girl scout who's been CAUGHT-- I think I'll be fine. This summer was made to grow, and if anything it should be me that does the growing.
My first week as staff will be spent on a motorboat with teen campers and waterskiing, kayaking, canoeing and sailing. I don't think I'll mind, I'm still a Bunkhouse girl at heart but I'm sure the horses don't miss me.