When I was in high school, I had a chance to date the prettiest girl in Texas and had no idea. But I’m getting ahead.
There was no access to indie films in my hometown. In the theatre we mostly had Hollywood blockbuster films like Back to the Future and the alternative on late night cable, horror movies such as “The Fly”, both of which I watched multiple times. I didn’t know that there was a career path called “filmmaker” until my sophomore year in college. The arts, overall, were not very prolific in Tyler and I wasn’t any exception so, people who had any kind of involvement with the entertainment industry were out of my league.
Stacy Outhouse was on the cover of seventeen magazine like eight times. Her brother Jason and I were in the same Sunday school and physical science classes our sophomore year. She was only a freshman but even at that age, she easily beat out all the other girls in our entire 5A high school). One Sunday afternoon, I was at the Outhouse homestead where Jason and I were studying for a test and simultaneously rockin’ some pearl jam from the Singles movie soundtrack. Suddenly, Stacy (a Southern Belle) comes bouncing into the kitchen right past the table where I sit. As she goes by she chirps, “Hey Blake”! I look up kind of surprised because I have no idea she even knows who I am. I say, “oh…uh…hey Stacy”, pause to take in her radiance and then, as she glides over to the refrigerator, I look back down at my books. She opens the door to the fridg and says, “I’m going to get a capri sun”. I raise my head again with a kind of blank look and say, “uh..oh…ok”. Not taking the cue, I look back down as she leans against the counter, pokes the straw into the drink pouch, and takes a sip. Then she says, with a little emphasis, “Do you want a Capri Sun”? I look up again, not picking up on the signal, smile and say “Um…no thanks. I’m ok”. I look back down and she takes another sip. This time with more emphasis than before she says, “are you SURE you don’t want a Capri Sun”? Again, swoosh….right over my head. I say, “Uhhhh. Yea…I’m pretty sure. Thanks though”. At this point Stacy gives up and says, “Ohhh Kaaay” and bounces back out of the room. After she’s gone, I think, “that was weird” and almost ask Jason “what’s up with your sister” and “does she have some kind of juice problem we need to have addressed”? But I keep it to myself.
In college, memories of the past get pushed aside because there’s so much future to think about. After graduation, my busy schedule slowed down a little and memories of the proverbial glory days start to filter back into my mind. One Saturday, late morning I decide spontaneously to take a photography day trip into the Texas hill country. As I’m driving down the highway, the memory of that day pops into my head. I recall Stacy and her Capri Sun and as before I think, “huh that was weird”…..then the light bulb goes off. No sooner than I realize my mistake, do my eyes bug out of my head, my foot lets off the gas and I let out a loud,”Awwwwwww” while my eyes and hands grope mindlessly around the dashboard for few seconds looking for the flux capacitor button so that I can go back to 1993. Once I come to my senses and remember that flux capacitors are fictional (and worse, even if they had been real I never would have sprung for the option), all I can do as I coast down the highway is smack myself in the head with both hands and exclaim, “Son of a Bitch”!
I was so disappointed with myself that day that I didn’t feel like doing any photography, so instead I pulled over at a roadside bar in the quaint hill country town that I was passing through. I sat there for an hour nursing a single beer while designing a flux capacitor on about a half a ream of cocktail napkins. From a distance, out of the corner of my eye, I can tell that the bartender is eye-ballin’ me with an annoyed look on her face. She declares, “Don’t worry about me. I was fixin’ to go out back an cut down a entire forest anyways”? At that, I realize that I had probably used one too many napkins about a half a pint in to the project and feel obliged to tell her the story about 1993 and the prettiest girl in Texas to make up for depleting her paper stock. She sympathizes and says, “Ooohhhh…that’s rough” and then jokes that, “all the cocktail napkins in the world aren’t going to make up for that bonehead move”. As she replenishes the dispenser, I retort, “I beg to differ. The flux capacitor is real. The trick is that you have to get all three dots lined up just right”. She glances down at my work and notices that every napkin sports the exact same drawing. Feeling the unasked question behind her raised eyebrow, I remind her that “Practice make perfect”. With a flirtatious tone and bemused look she implores, “Uh-huh…and what happens if you mess up the dots”? I say, “You just turn into a giant insect and start throwing up a lot”. Then she blurts, “Ahhhhhh! I think our flux capacitor goes on the fritz every Friday around happy hour”.
Image “Flux Capacitor” Copyright Dave Coustan – Creative Commons Attribution License. Image cropped