Ahhhhh, September. The beginning of fall.
I was once accused of being like “every other leggings-wearing white girl” by one of my white friends when I professed my love of fall. I remember my response: “Oh, I’m sorry, racist asshole. I didn’t realize that black people don’t wear leggings or enjoy fall. My mistake. Do you know if Mexicans enjoy fall? Asians? I’m just wondering because obviously I need to get my stereotypical ducks in a row before I embarrass myself by commenting that I enjoy fall again.”
From then on, this certain person kept her damn comments to herself if she happened to be in the vicinity and heard me enjoying the small things in my life a little bit too much for her comfort. Surprisingly enough, we’re no longer friends. Was it something I said?
Ah, well. You win some, you lose some, that’s what I always say.
Fall, to me (and every other leggings-wearing white girl, apparently), means crisp, gorgeous Saturday mornings on my back deck with a book and a cup of coffee; cool nights in the driveway with neighbors, a mini-fire pit, cold beers, and the sounds of our kids running all around us, making memories; pumpkin patches; apple picking; and my husband grabbing the asses of my good friends…
…wait. What was that last one?
Maybe I should back up a minute. Or two years, to be exact.
It was fall of 2015, and I had just cleaned my bathrooms, so on a break from work that Friday, I sent out this text message to all of my neighbors:
My shitters are clean and it’s a gorgeous day. Those two reasons alone are enough for a neighborhood shindig this evening. Our backyard. Tonight. Be there or be square. By the way—this is a group text so don’t talk a bunch of shit on anyone unless you want them to see it.
(If I I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: It’s a wonder I have any friends. But when I once asked my best friend about it, she gave an answer that made complete sense: “Because you’re fun. And you’re ridiculous, too, so you make everyone around you feel better about themselves because no matter what they do, it can’t be as stupid as some of the shit you do.” My chest puffed up with pride at my best friend’s explanation, and to this day, I’ve never forgotten it. I’m so blessed.)
That evening, everyone gathered around the little fire pit that my husband had just gotten from Lowe’s. We were roasting marshmallows for s’mores, everyone in a jolly white-person fall mood, when I announced that I had to go to the bathroom and I would be right back. My little sister Joanne (not her real name) was visiting, and she followed me because she had some really good gossipy story about one of our old friends that she wanted to share. (It was actually probably about our older sister, but there I go again trying to make us look just a little bit nicer than we actually are.)
After I’d gone to the bathroom, my little sister and I sat on my bed for a moment, chatting, until my husband ran into the bedroom, his eyes wild. “Shay!” he said to me, frantic. “You know that hoodie that you always wear? The one with—" here, he paused for a moment so that he could motion horizontal stripes with his hands "--the stripes?”
I eyed him quizzically and looked over at my little sister to see her doing the same, an amused smile playing on her face. “Um, yeaaaah?” I said slowly, trying to figure out what the problem was. “I let Kim borrow it.”
My husband nodded one time quickly, as if that statement made perfect sense. “Okay,” he said, nodding once again. “Okay.”
My sister and I exchanged glances.
“Okay,” my husband said again. Then he met my eyes. “Well, I thought it was you from behind. And I THINK I might have spanked Kim’s ass.” He stopped a moment, a hopeful look lighting up his eyes. “OR I might have come up a bit short because I realized it wasn’t you at the last second.”
My little sister and I burst into giggles. “Well, did you explain it to Kim?” I asked. It seemed a pretty obvious thing to do…
My husband shrugged. Gave me a blank stare. “No. I ran away.”
This is when my little sister and I lost it, picturing this 6-foot-tall, burly husband of mine getting freaked out over his mistake and turning and hightailing it to the bedroom to find me so I could fix it.
After we’d wiped the tears of hilarious laughter from our eyes, my little sister and I made our way to the fire pit, where we explained my husband’s mistake to Kim and her husband, Mike.
Kim threw her head back in laughter. “I was wondering if that’s what had happened,” she said. “But when I turned around to give him shit about it, all I saw was his back as he ran up the stairs and into the house!”
For the rest of the night, Mike teased my husband and me by saying, “I get to smack Shay’s ass now, too, right?” to which I would respond, “I thought everyone knew mine was always up for grabs…”
I thought I saw Mike shudder…he’s a good sport and all, but we’re all pretty close friends and maybe I’ve complained about my chin whiskers and smelly farts a little bit too much in his presence. I’m pretty sure the last thing he wants to do is play a little grabass with me, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to make a neighbor feel good about herself by going along with it, right?
In any case, happy fall, y’all! May the leggings-wearing, fire-pit, ass-grabbing season begin!