So, months and months ago, the big plan was to be napping drunk in a hammock in Guatemala when I turned thirty. What with shuffling for work schedules and natural disasters (Please ease up for a while, God. Amen.), we decided to head for Belize instead. We’re leaving tonight.
While I’m gone, you’ll find posts about our visit to Australia that I was too damn lazy to post about when we got back.
Australia! They have giant rats that carry their babies around in tummy pouches. Aussies! Very similar to Americans, except more in touch with their mortality due to the myriad poisonous things surrounding them. Stay tuned.
Me: The bedroom is cleeeeean! (I spin with my arms outstretched, then extend one leg behind me, lifting both arms to the ceiling.) Super clean!
Bryan blinks at me from the bed.
(I pause with my leg in midair, then repeat the gesture, more dramatically, with the opposite leg.)
Bryan remains unmoved.
Me: (Hopping onto the bed.) Bryan! Fake ballet is some of my best material.
Him: Yes. It’s a rich tapestry of comedy.
My sister, my niece and I are looking at photos of our newborn cousins. Bryan and my nephew, Trevor, are wrestling a few feet away. Trevor is shouting C’MON! I CAN TAKE YOU! C’MON! The girls begin to coo over the baby photos, Oooooooh! What a sweetie, and Trevor wanders over to look. His eyes widen, and he says in a loving, high-pitched whisper, Ohhhh! Babies! C’mon, little babies, I could take you!
-What goes good with the cider?
-Scotch. Or the Maker’s is good too.
-No brown booze. That was the first thing I got sick on, and now I can’t touch it.
-That’s probably for the best.
-I don’t know. I wish I could drink it, it’s kind of a cool-chick thing.
-Eh. I think it can be one of those girls who like things boys want them to like situations. Like, Oh, I almost prefer butt sex.
-Bikini waxes? After the first few times, you barely even feel it!
-Making out with other straight chicks.
-I actually love stilettos. I think they can be comfortable once you’ve found the right maker for your foot.
-I don’t really like other women though. They sort of see through my whole deal.
-I just have trouble trusting them.
I turned thirty today. To celebrate this, my best birthday ever, I have a story for you.
When I was 17, I got a summer job and saved up a modest amount of money for a car. I was searching, fruitlessly, for a VW bus that didn’t smell like pot or konk out on the test drive, when I happened upon an incredible, candy-apple red Karmann Ghia. My stomach hit my shoes.
I’d never been interested in cars, beyond their practical applications, but if I were a car, this was the car I’d be. The thought of owning it made me want to go-go dance in the parking lot, yodel from atop the highest peak, grab startled strangers and kiss them on the mouth.
My mom said no.
She called it a little, red, moving coffin. I pleaded, reasoned, cried, and finally wandered around forlorn for a week or so. Then she had to take an unexpected trip, I had no car to get me to school while she was gone, and she acquiesced.
As I’ve often said since, when you’re a seventeen-year-old girl with a red sports car and a matching cheerleading uniform, there is very little you can’t have. I drove the car through high school and into college, replacing practically every part along the way, until a tree branch fell on the top and broke most of the windows. I was way too broke to fix it, so I sold it to some guy for $400 and fought nausea when they towed it away.
To this day, I recognize the distinctive putt-putt coming up a street, and I make Bryan stop and watch them go by. Then I wipe a single tear from my eye, and we continue on our way.
This morning, Bryan and I decided to have a birthday breakfast together, and he went to fetch our car, which was parked several blocks away. He came upstairs to get me, and as we descended the stairs, he asked if I wanted to drive. “Not really,” I said. We opened the front door, and he said, “Are you sure?”
It’s pouring and windy outside. A young man sits alone at a cafe table beneath a meager corner of the roof. On the table, he’s arranged his cigarettes, his coffee, and his diary. He gazes meaningfully into the distance, waiting to be observed.
Why do all the mortuaries in California look like Southern plantations?