First I notice this guy Sam, classic Long Island but a bit on the skinny side. Confident, painfully jewish-looking and proud of these facts. He's talking to a gorgeous Asian girl whose name should have been Melinda, but wasn't. That's just how white this girl's teeth were.
"I dunno," says Sam,"You just don't see that many New Yorkers in Greek life".
"Yeah...now that I think about it...there wasn't really anyone from New York in the frat scene at my school..." says Melinda (...sorry, I can't help really wishing that was her name.)
"It's because New Yorkers are just more independent," Sam adds,"New York makes you tough, self-sufficient".
"Yeah...its funny, whenever I go home now, everyone's like 'oh, you've turned into such a bitch!' and I'm like...'no...it's just..this place', really".
I laugh: oh look- friends!
I join in, "It's a necessary quality".
"Survival skills," Sam adds, "You just can't do that whole Greek group mentality".
"Exactly....hi, by the way, my name's Marie".
"Pleasure to meet you" We shake hands, happily and arrogantly, and I turn to Melinda. "and what's your name?"
"Christine," I repeat, then nod, "I'm Mona"
"I mean...sorry about that, I just gave you two different names. When I came to college, I started using my middle name".
She doesn't even blink. "So it's Mona and Marie?"
"Yeah. You can use whichever".
"Ok" She sticks with Marie. Christie, an instructor, comes over with safety belts.
I point to the corner, "That's my friend Jay. He's on the phone, he'll be over in a second."
"No problem. Did you guys already sign the releases?"
I laugh, "Yeah, just now...well, Jay still has his..."
Jay walks over, "Sorry about that..."
"It's ok.... here, put this on".
"It's tight!" says Jay.
"Yeah," Christie says, in that very-calm-instructor-way, "Tell me you have trouble breathing, and I can loosen it. I can take your form, by the way".
.... hard to keep a straight face, when someone says that.
"Is this your first time?" she asks.
"Ok, well- we'll throw both of you guys in right after this girl, everyone else has already had a turn. I'll just teach you some basics first, and some safety precautions..."
One hit of adrenaline and a little while later, I'm happy (excited, tilting my head a bit back and my chin up and talking way too fast).
"That guy has good handstands," says Christine/Melinda.
"Yeah, I really want to try some," I say.
"Ok, come on," I gesture over to Sam, too, "We'll go Greek- let's all do them".
Sam laughs, and I step over to an empty spot. Christine follows, then looks at her hands, "Oh, wait, I shouldn't... my wrists".
Fucking individualists, I think, smile at my private joke.
I do a handstand, stand up,
"I kinda want to do a backwalkover now, too....but, you know, if I didn't get it, I'd have to keep trying over and over till I got it,"
"What's wrong with that?" chimes a guy, listening in.
I smile, "Nothing....You get dizzy."
Christine laughs, "I could do that, I think". Flips over.
"Nice!" I say, "Ok, well I have to try it now...."
Success, but messy. I strained my shoulder, a little, the second time, but I still got a damn good handstand afterwards...