Friday, June 1, 2012

Orange you glad?

Spending my adolescent years from fourteen to eighteen in Tampa, Florida was kind of like living at a giant teenage carnival. There were plenty of convertibles for me to ride in, beaches for me to play on, warm, lovely oceans for me to splash in, and endless kissing booths full of boys, boys, boys.

We lived in a subdivision called Northdale, which sounded way fancier than it was. On our street was a happy mix of families with teenage kids, little kids, and retired people. Everyone knew everyone and we all looked out for one another. When Hurricane Elena came for a visit in ’85 the whole ‘hood barricaded themselves in our house for a “Hurricane Party” – no power – which meant no AC, lots of booze, and duct tape over all of the windows to keep the glass from crashing in on us.

Hurricane parties ruled!

Fresh & Fruity.
Toward the entrance of our illustrious subdivision was a giant orange grove. Rows and rows of beautiful, fragrant trees with bright orange balls that hung like Christmas ornaments and swayed in the gentle warm Tampa breeze…sigh.

The orange grove was known for something else besides growing oranges…it was also make out central.

It made perfect sense, big tall trees, soft cushy grass, and zero adults for miles.

I would watch others pair up on their bikes and take a ride on up to “the grove” knowing there would be more than fruit picking going on. These orange-hook-ups were going on mostly during my chubby “ain’t Lori a great pal” years and I was terribly jealous of my girlfriends who were asked by boys to ride their bikes up to the grove.

Here I am.
Rock you like a hurricane.
 Finally I was asked by a boy, Mark, to “ride bikes” up to the grove. I felt like a girl at a ‘50’s sock hop, a wallflower who was finally chosen to dance. I nervously huffed and puffed lagging far behind Mark on my ten-speed, licking my lips in the hot Florida sun trying to remember how to properly French kiss a boy.

When we got to the grove Mark took my hand and led me far into the grove to a secluded spot. I could tell he had been there multiple times before, he knew exactly where he was going. I wouldn’t be surprised if his mail was being forwarded there.

We sat down in the crunchy grass, it wasn’t soft and pretty like I had imagined, and got down to business.

From what I remember it wasn’t romantic at all, very mechanical, very awkward, kind of wet and sloppy. I looked up at the bright green leaves of the trees against the bright blue Florida sky and wished I was standing back in front of my house being bored with my girlfriends.

After about 45 minutes of drowning in saliva I decided it was time to go – so it was back on our bikes and back to Northdale Boulevard in the Northdale subdivision by the Northdale Court shopping center.

That was my one and only trip to the grove – go figure Mark didn’t ask me again.

Oranges would never taste the same to me, knowing what was going on from where they came from.

Heat lightning in a bottle.

An orange that I can stomach right now is Insta-Dri nail polish in Heat Flash (perfect name) by uber-popular girl Sally Hansen. It’s juicy, shiny, and delicious. Bright and bold, this polish is my new summer-go-to, and unlike me back in the day, it is fast ~ drying that is.

You just need one coat of the stuff and it dries in 60 seconds (truly!) This shade of orange is hot as a pistol right now, and is perfect on tan fingers or peeking out of sandals on summertime toes.
I have to admit when I painted the first stripe of polish on I though of Mark, and of the orange trees, and the grove.

Orange you glad I didn’t touch his banana?
I certainly am.

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