The Hard Cap: Part I

Friday, February 10, 2012 | 2 Comment(s)

a few weekends back i headed to sunny san diego, california for a psychology conference and to visit an old friend who i was counselors with at a Jewish sleep-away camp in southern California.

there are many many funny aspects to our relationship, but how we met is probably my favorite.  As i have mentioned previously, in high school i was very active in my jewish youth group.  like, vice president active.  and so, like many of my peers, i went on a summer trip to israel after my junior year in high school.  On said trip i did my best to  get in touch with both my jewish roots and my make-out roots.  Like so many teen-tours before and since, the adolescent sexual tension on these trips often boiled over into super intense frenching sessions.  yah, i said frenching.  i'm not saying that things didn't go further, but while the tongue-swapping was rampant, i didn't get the sense that too many people were getting too R rated.  Least i never got to hear about it.

One particularly sexy weekend off, left me adventuring around Jerusalem with two girls from another group.  One was the younger sibling of my older brother's best friend from when he was on the same trip.  Her name was(n't) Gina.  The other was a friend of hers from Arizona (not) named  Lisa.  You have to remember that 16 year old me was not the "relationship expert" you see before you today.  The 16-year old me was desperately trying to grasp the logistics of the situation unfolding before him. 

I hooked up Gina.  Which is to say we made out a bunch.  Potentially even while rolling around.  I remember being a small-town Massachusetts kid totally infatuated with this whole "very California" vibe going on.  And while I certainly also wanted to make out with Lisa, I was content to put my eggs in Gina's basket, so to speak.

Soon after exiting make-out central, it was bedtime, and because it was the "free weekend" the staff was off as well, so Lisa, Gina, and I push a couple beds together and hunkered down for the night.   I wish i could tell you i said something awesome.  Sometime like, "be sure to cuddle up, so no one falls off the bed." I wish i could say that i pulled the double yawn arm around move.  I wish i could say i rode the tricycle.  The truth is, i didn't have it in me.  I had just made out with Gina, and in my "good-guy" brain, trying to sneak a 3-way right after gettin some seemed like a huge no-go.  Looking back, it should have been a no brainer.  I didn't make out with Lisa, or even Gina, that night.  But i thought about it.  Oh, i thought about it. 

I thought about it so much that i had to go run back to my own room in the morning to change before breakfast.

Like in so many high school romance stories, Gina was totally using me.  I can't say for certain what  her intentions were in the moment, but after a few attempts to meet up post that weekend, it was clear that the feelings left with the sunrise.  I remember being sad and a little hurt, but not decimated.  Shortly after that weekend she met and began dating Aaron.  Both of them would be with us at camp the following summer.

I was convinced that going to California to be a counselor was a good idea by a good friend of mine who, through no coincidence, also worked at the camp.  We'll call her Miriam.  Cause that's her name.  Considering I had no ties to camps in the east at that point, and there were a whole bunch of people in California I wanted to see again (and its california!!!).  A few weeks before camp begins I get a call from Miriam.  The co-counselor list is out, and she's calling to tell me who mine is. 

"So, you're co-counselor is Eric.  He's a year or two older and from what i know he's a really good guy."

Not very descriptive.  Also, she said the entire update with a tone.  the tone i call "the implied but" tone.  (Not to be confused with other butt tones.)  "What's the but?" i asked.

Miriam: "Well, last summer when you hooked up with Gina . . . 

Me: " ... yes..."

Miriam: "Well, she was kind of dating Eric at the time. "

Me:  "So, you're telling me that my co-counselors ex-girlfriend cheated on him (unbeknownst to me), with me."
Miriam: "Correct."

Me: "Peachy"

There was one additional variable.  and one can't be measured in terms of how much influence it had on how events played out.  If you remember, Gina moved on to another man that summer, and he, Aaron, also decided to come across the country (we ended up going to college together) for Cali camp.  One big happy family.  Gina, Eric, and myself all worked with the same age group.  A lot of group contact.  Aaron, was spared, and i believe was given a slightly younger age group.

I first night that Eric and i spent in that tent i remember clearly.  It was still staff training as Eric lay on the bottom bunk, me staring at the ceiling from the bunk above.  Silence.  More silence.

I don't do well with silence.  i'm a communicator.  A talker.  Always have been.  And so, what else could i do but begin with, "so, . . . Gina huh. . ?"  

"yah," he replied, letting out what i would learn to be his signature exasperated-sigh-giggle, "Gina."
We were pretty much best buds after that.  He was the bad cop to my good cop.  the voice of reason and responsibility to my nighttime storytelling and adventure walks.  And it turned out that us becoming such good friends was pretty much the worst thing Gina could have asked/hoped for.  I wouldn't say we were outwardly mean to her.  But the underlying tension . . . her betrayal of Eric, he discarding of me . . . were palpable during our area meetings.  And Eric and i totally promoted it, unflinchingly.  We essentially were given the opportunity to make Gina sleep in the bed she made, and we made sure that she did.  All summer.  For the most part we left Aaron out of it.  I don't think he knew she had a boyfriend at the time either.  And he seemed like a really nice guy.

It was a fun summer. 

So, travelling back to Cali to visit him and his 3 kids this January was an accutely different experience. 

to be continued . . . .


  1. What does "The Hard Cap" as a title mean??? Or do I need to wait and read part II to find out??

  2. Oh man, I know what that means.