Thursday, January 1, 2009

attaccabottoni



...is an Italian word that knows no English synonym. It translates to: A doleful Bore who button holes people and tells sad, pointless tales. (Noun.)


Here, I'll use it in a sentence: my first year playing for UW women's ultimate team, half of the girls were straight up attaccabottonis. Practice was like a series of ducking drills to try to avoid the pitiful stories flying around, lest one hit you and demand the sort of awkward stuttering response of 'Oh...gee....Katie...no no, I'm sure he WILL leave her and come back to you! Engagements don't mean anything anymore!"


These were the same dreary gals who held a prayer circle during a tournament party when the rest of the teams were enjoying Humbolt's special cookies and wandered around getting stuck in bathrooms. ("I tried every door, man! I can't get out!)


It was so bad that, what with my inability to stop talking, I was in fear of becoming an attaccabottoni myself. So after two years I applied to transfer to Hampshire college, an ultra-ultra-ultra alternative college in Massachusetts. Enough of rainy Seattle and its soggy inhabitants! I flew back East and took a tour of the place the day before the decision deadline.


I'll never forget it. When I asked "So what do you do for fun?" Zoey, my personal guide (by default; I was the only one on the tour) answered brightly, "We do full moon ceremonies." And I asked, "Well what about the other 29 days of the month?" She looked at me blankly.

We passed the dining hall and I inquired about the food. "Well," said Zoey, looking embarrassed, "it's catered from the Hyatt Hotel, a cog in the workings of the giant corporate, capitalist MACHINE!" And then her girlfriend, who had joined us by this time, piped in "But there are Vegan options."

Well, thank Goodness for that.

And finally, perhaps the nail in the alternative coffin, Zoey pointed towards a field near the dormitories. "During finals week, we plant hundreds of pinwheels in that field. And then we take acid and stroll through them."

Ahh.

I thought back to the absolute highlight of my freshman year at UW, which was watching Jason Tabert and Rigel Berg spend five long minutes puking into the same toilet at the same time, Jason giving the "rock on" sign with his hand throughout. Perhaps if I had gone directly from the ultra-ultra-ultra alternative high school to the ultra-ultra-ultra alternative college, I would have fit in better. Shit, yeah, I would have ruled that place let's be honest. But my one year at the ultra-ultra-ultra normal University of Washington which spits its students directly into the same "giant corporate, capitalist MACHINE!" (helllloooo Microsoft paycheck!) that Zoey had bemoaned, seemed to have ironed all the full moon pinwheeling acid trip fun straight outa me. It was time to face facts: I had become the type of person who willingly chose Starbucks over the trendy n' hip cafe right across the street because the baristas were more friendly. And the cups were always seasonally appropriate.


At the end of the tour, My dad leaned down and said into my ear, "I support you and any decision you make. But if you go here, they will call you Brittney and nail you to a cross."

And so I turned my back from Hampshire college and the direction it would have set my life in. (Although John Krakaur did go there and I don't hear him complaining. But he does live in Seattle now.)


The end of this pointless tale into which I have buttonholed you is that I'm glad I did not transfer. Because that year a smokin' hot miracle occured by the name of Lisa Niemann. The two of us quickly clawed our way to the top of what was then the failed state of UW ultimate. We moved into The Apartment of Eternal Youth and Beauty and set to work changing the tune of the team. By way of personalized cookies for everyone at practice and inappropriately-themed outfits at parties (see below) we created a fun, productive and anything less than wholesome environment that proved toxic for most of the attaccabottonis.



By the time pre-season was winding down and we woke up in a sea of paper money after the University of Oregon's ultimate party of the year that we had won by --you know what? I don't know who reads this any more so never mind---most of them had weeded themselves out.


We also almost* won nationals that year.



*Damn you Stanford Superfly and your beheamoth giantesses.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think I love everything about that team photograph.

Jason Tabert said...

1) yes the cups are always seasonally appropriate, though more and more i find myself avoiding starbucks and braving the assholish baristas for an actual better cup of coffee

and 2) i don't remember the rock sign at all hahah, but I do remember being "responsible" for Rigel *not* getting sick

and 3) i'm marginally interested in a full-moon pinwheel acid trip

That is all.

Melina said...

Jason, how could you not remember? You were the one who taught me the 'boot n' rally!'

Ali said...

Starbux may have awesome, seasonally appropriate cups, but they are the DEV-eeel. Remember that the next time you get a friendly cup of coffee. Also, the baristas are running to the back to talk about what a tool you (and all Bux customers) are whilst they add "funny" (mint! almond instead of vanilla?!) flavors to the whipped cream.

PS-I heart the pink outfits.

Melina said...

Ali I had a secret suspicion that occurred. And to be honest the cafe I went everyday was not Starbucks but Zokas and the barristas were pretty genuine, in fact one of them took me on his sail boat and gave me energy healing one day for free. Only in Seattle!

Melina said...

PS Ali it isn't whipped cream it's just "whip". Right?

Ali said...

I think it's whipped cream. Cause it is whipped. cream.

Melina said...

I heard a rumor that the reason that they ask "do you want whip?" instead of whipped cream is that it's NOT REALLY A DAIRY PRODUCT! But hey you'd know better than me.

Ali said...

Oddly enough, Starbux whipped cream is real cream whipped throughout the day with nitrous pellets and vanilla syrup.

PS. this is the last Bux comment I shall make.

Ryan said...

hey, that bathroom had a lot of doors....and one of them (the one that led to the outside world) was hidden.

AND....

I wasn't the only one who go lost that night.

Melina said...

"Try that door!"
"I already did, man, it's the closet!!!"

Sebby said...

So much for ever being President...

PS-Joey is the only reason to watch Friends.