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Don't go to North O

Part of a series on dating.

|| Don't go into the basement >>

For those of you not familiar with the geographic/economic distribution of the greater Omaha metropolitan area, let me make this very simple:

North O is a bad place.

The locals joke about it, but there's a section of North O with a murder rate almost ten times the national average, and there's an average of 6.5 grand thefts auto per day in one particular police precinct's assigned beat.

Now, when I first moved to Omaha, I didn't know how bad it was. I mean, a bad hood is a bad hood, you can tell by looking most times. But, a bad hood doesn't mean bad people necessarily, so I was willing to give it a shot. Not to live there, of course, but to date a girl who did.

Let's just call her Marissa, because that's a good name.

I met Marissa when I was at one of my now-habitual haunts, a restaurant in downtown Omaha, eating there. She was too, with two of her girlfriends. She waved at me, and I leaned across the aisle, we talked a little, she gave me her phone number, and then they left.

A few dates later, and I was fairly happy with her. She seemed well-read, was funny, happy-go-lucky, and overall a decent yin to my yang. We hit it off enough that I considered us to be "dating". Saw each other regularly. It was good.

She lived in this big house in North O. At one point it'd have been magnificent, but a hundred years and many tenants had done what those things tend to do. She lived with a couple of guys, and there always seemed to be five or six "friends" in spare bedrooms or couches or whatever. I'm cool with the bohemian lifestyle, and assumed they were just people crashing. No big deal. The parties were decent, nobody ever stole anything from me, I had no issues.

A month or so went by, and we were out at an outdoor concert for some crappy local bands. She asked me if I minded if she smoked up. We had talked on date three or four about weed, and I'd explained that I personally didn't care who smoked what, but my boss definitely did, and I couldn't even be around it. At the time she had said something to the effect of, "Oh, okay. No big deal, I'm not, like, a pothead or anything. I won't even have it in the house if you aren't comfortable with that."

It had seemed like no big deal. I'd certainly never seen her with any, or smelled it on her. I was pretty sure her roommates were stoned most of the time, but I never heard or smelled any of it. I assumed she'd talked to them about it.

So we're at this concert and she asks, and I tell her I'm not comfortable with it. She said "OK, I'll just go somewhere else for a minute," and pulls out what is easily a half pound of weed, so she can root around in the rest of her purse for the skins.

To say I was a little taken aback would be quite an understatement.

She disappeared for ten minutes and came back totally ripped. She didn't smell like it, but the grin and droopy eyes and slurred speech would have told me enough even if she hadn't. I learned later that she had perfected the stealth-toke and was in fact totally ripped almost all of the time.

What had been a sneaky, if well-intentioned hiding of her extensive pot smoking would, over the course of weeks, erode into something that I could absolutely not risk being around. I decided it was time to be over and done when, in my fumbling around for a shoe under her bed, I found almost ten pounds of weed, half of it bricked and the other half already dime-bagged.

I didn't say anything, but got right the fuck out of there right after breakfast. She called me that night and asked if I wanted to go out, and I told her that not only did I not want to go out, I had found the weed, told her I knew she was dealing, and that it was over and done. She was shocked, told me it wasn't hers, that it was her roommate's, and that he kept it in there so his dog wouldn't get into it.

I was willing to buy it, because the dog really was a terror and had chewed the pockets out of my clothes more than once, and was known for destroying any sort of plastic packaging that could be found - he'd open up cabinets to chew up Zip-Loc bags.

I was still a little hesitant, so I told her no, maybe this weekend, that I was still pretty pissed, and that I wouldn't be staying there anymore. She said she understood, and that I could drop by anytime and we could drive out somewhere to grab dinner or see a movie.

I stopped in Saturday night about ten, and there was nobody in the livingroom, which was weird because I'd never seen the livingroom without at least one or two people sleeping in it.

I got up to her room and found her in the middle of a gangbang.

I wish I could say that I kept my calm and just turned around and walked out, but in my shock I hollered something to the effect "What the fuck is this shit?" and she immediately stopped her moaning and jerking and said "Oh no!" which was all it took to break the spell and get me running out to the car. I drove half a block before I had to pull over and puke.

Every single shock photo slide from the STD portion of Sex Education in 8th grade was replaying in my head. I knew it was only a matter of time before I lost my junk in a wet, malformed crater made up of every possible infection, or it simply rotted off completely.

I went to the doc Monday morning, and when he asked "SO, what seems to be the problem?" all I could say was "My ex-girlfriend was banging like ten dudes." He looked genuinely shocked, then tried not to laugh, then commented on my frankness and ordered a battery of lab tests. I managed to not catch anything. It was a miracle.

Two days later, she texted me asking if I wanted to talk. When I didn't respond at all, she told me, by way of explanation, that "Weed always makes me horny, and you hadn't been around for almost three days!" At which point, I laughed and thought to myself, "Goddamn! That must have been some good weed!"

Two weeks after that, I got a text message from her roommate. We had gotten to be O.K. friends, up until I found out about his huge, felony-sized stash of pot. Turns out he was wondering where I'd been, as Marissa hadn't said shit to anyone. I told him I couldn't be talking to a dealer, at which point he said something that confused me.

He said, "Well, but can you and me still hang out and stuff?"

So it turns out, yeah, it'd been hers after all, and I'm a giant idiot.

And on the topic of gang-bangs, all he had to say was, "What? You didn't know? That's, like, her thing."

As much as I'd like to tell you there's a moral to the story, there isn't.

Except maybe, "Don't go to North O."

|| Don't go into the basement >>

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