Black Eye Please

by LaTisha Conto

Simply put, I’ll admit that I’ve gone too far this time. What I’m about to say is going to be worse than the time I responded “why don’t you ask him how many Jews his grandparents killed” when my friend had confessed she was nervous about what she would talk about on a date with her new German love interest. It may even be worse than the time I responded to the news that a man had just jumped to his death outside my place of work with a sincere “good for him”. Worse still then the time I said ‘why don’t new moms just hook babies up to IVs for feeding so they can sleep through the night’ 

I’ll admit that by now, at twenty(edit), I’ve become very comfortable with the “did she just say that aloud” looks, and, in fact, I usually believe that those looks indicate I’m probably saying what needs to be said. But there are times I offend even myself. There are some times that I say or do something so vile and offensive it penetrates my insensitive armor and hits with a “what is wrong with me” punch in the face (I wish). 

That is the exact thought that hit me (though, unfortunately, lacking of any brute force) just the other day at Starbucks. There I was, happily ordering my venti-mocha-non-fat-no-whip-and-no-foam, thanking my lucky stars (though, unfortunately, not seeing any) that I didn’t have to argue with the barista about whether or not foam does indeed show up on a mocha. 

SIDETRACKING: 

Baristas, it’s not that I want to seem like a frigid bitch, but please believe me when I tell you that I have been ordering this drink, exactly this way, everyday, for close to ten years. When I tell you that sometimes you add foam to my mocha it means sometimes you add foam to my mocha. So to be helpful, and just so that we are perfectly clear, I let you know that I DON”T WANT ANY MOTHERFUCKING FOAM ON MY MOTHERFUCKING VENTI MOCHA. When I take the top off of my cup I want the liquid inside to look as smooth as a lake void of wind and boats. Got it? 

BACK TO THE POINT:

So…I’m ordering my drink, thankful this barista hasn’t started the no-foam argument when I notice she is sporting a big, beautiful, deep purple black eye. I’m sure she’s embarrassed to be working, rightly thinking that her patrons are staring at it, judging her, assuming that there are only three ways this girl came about this black eye: Abusive relationship (“poor thing”), auto accident (“probably her fault, kids”) or, walked into a door (“abusive relationship, she thinks we don’t know, poor thing, probably her fault”). Not me though… nope. All I’m thinking is: nice…where can I get one? And even worse, I turn into a jealous monster, so envious that she has a beautiful black eye and I don’t that I want to throw a tantrum right in the middle of Starbucks. Now I’m wishing that she would have said something about the foam. After all, it’s entirely possible that she got her black eye in an altercation with a previous customer. I remind her, “I said no foam on my mocha”, hoping she’ll say something snappy and try to knock my block off. No such luck, she responds in a very polite tone, “Yeah, I wrote it down”. (At least now I know how she got hers- “doormat”) 

And now for that thing I said I would say that would be far worse than anything I’ve said before…….. I want a black eye! I do! I think they are incredibly cute! 

After that day I started to see black eyes everywhere! At the Starbucks by my work I saw an old man with one. I started to think Starbucks was the new fight club, and wondered if maybe all I needed to do was walk up to one of the customers and say “I want you to hit me as hard as you can”. Hmmm….. I decided I didn’t want to chance it, asking a perfect stranger to assault me could put them in an awkward situation. 

I was driving home a few nights later and all I could think of in the car was the black eye. I had heard allergic reactions can cause black eyes and thought that this would be the best way; a do it yourself black eye. I got nervous, I confess, after realizing that allergic reactions can also cause bloating, and hives- reactions I became all too aware of when in the ninth grade after downing two giant bottles of Robitussin I became aware for the first time that I was allergic to codeine- hives and hallucinations make for a very interesting, yet irritating evening. I wasn’t ready to take on hives or hallucinations in the name of a black eye… Yet. I nixed the idea.

My mind wandered to my kitchen. Perhaps greasing the floor and then slipping and hitting my eye on the counter? It seemed a little risky. I didn’t want to mess up and accidentally kill myself. The last thing I want is a headline: Girl trying to give herself black eye ends up blue: dies. Though I think it would give my friends excellent material for my eulogy. 

So, as I’m pondering the various ways to get my black eye, the one I so greatly deserve, I see the blue and red flashing in the rear view. I always get nervous when I get pulled over by the cops, believing that I must have done everything wrong short of killing a cat, always scared that they’ll throw the book at me. AH! But wait! In this case I was hoping they would throw the book at me! And hit me square in the eye with it! 

The cop came to the car and tapped on my window “Do you know why I pulled you over?” 

“To beat me senseless with your nightstick? Aim for the eye! For the eye!” 

In actuality I say, “Yes, my headlight is out.” 

After explaining to the cop that, as I have no man in my life - father, father figure, or shitty boyfriend - these tasks, the changing of a bulb, become difficult to handle, he lets me off with not so much as a fix it ticket. As I’m driving off I realize the answer to both of my problems: A man! If only I had a man in my life! He could change my light bulb and knock my block off! (I kid. Men should never, never, never, never hit women.) 

The next day, saddened by the lack of resource in my life I saw a truly disturbing image. I was walking outside of a store in Larchmont Village and there she was- a small child with a black eye. Even she had one! Goddammit! What do you have to do to get someone to give you a black eye in this town? 

Black eyes were everywhere! I saw a fresh one at the bowling alley bar I frequent. An old man who said he fell down in the parking lot. Too many Kettle sodas I’m guessing. A couple days later my friend text me that she was (ugh) having dinner with her grandma who was sporting two very large black eyes. I texted back: I’m so jealous!!!!!!!!! I haven’t heard from her since. 

It kept me up all night. I barely slept, obsessed with this idea of needing to have a black eye, but not wanting to get hurt or let someone hurt me in the process. I think that means I was making progress in the love/hate myself arena. 

Anyways, next morning,  as I peered into the mirror a smile broke; I had what appeared to be two slightly blackened eyes. And there it was- the do it yourself black eye! All you need are bags under your eyes and a lack of sleep. 

And if, by making light of such a serious issue, I have offended- you know what to do- Come by my house and punch me in the face!