Friday, October 8, 2010

In which Calvin's parents don't like me

Calvin's parents didn't like me.

That was a shock.

I was not used to people not liking me when I was in college. Oh sure I knew I wasn't part of the cool crowd and in tenth grade, Sally D suddenly turned on me after I had been her BFF in ninth grade, but in general, I didn't inspire enmity in people. That I knew of.

The parents of my very short-term high school boyfriend, the one who turned out to be gay, loved me. LOVED ME. In retrospect, there were probably other factors at work, as in, they suspected their son was gay and didn't want it to be true for the sake of his desired career, which was military pilot. Even though he only kissed me once, although we spent several evenings alone at his house, watching the videos of Mork and Mindy that his uncle sent from the States, I never suspected he was gay. I thought he just didn't like kissing or he didn't like kissing me.

I digress.

Mr and Mrs Calvinpere did not like me.

I would hope it was because they didn't want their only child to marry too young and make a mistake and never have the glorious career for which he was destined and not because of me personally. I usually don't invite that kind of animosity in people.

Except for Primo's parents, of course, and his best friend from high school, George, who has also decided he doesn't like me. Many and varied are the reasons George does not like me: I blogged once that kids should be out of diapers by the time they are four; I am not Catholic enough (even though if I were more Catholic, I would not have married non-Catholic, lukewarm at best Lutheran Primo); and most recently, I pulled a practical joke on him that he did not think was at all funny and I think he is way over-reacting.

The good thing about George is that I can probably reason with him, which I intend to do. We will be in each other's lives for a long time and there is no reason for us to be enemies. Unless he decides that I am absolutely unlikeable, even after begging forgiveness for the joke, which WAS funny and had Primo's blessing. And George's wife, who also thought it was funny and if she didn't, she should have warned me AS SHE WAS HELPING ME TO EXECUTE IT.

So I will call George after he has cooled down and we will Talk About It Like Adults, which is something that could never happen with Sly and Doris, as they are not interested in liking me at all [See: I am a Bad Bacon Eater].

I would write more about George and The Joke but he is Primo's best friend from high school and he would be bothered if he stumbled on this blog. George! I like you! I want us to be friends, OK?

And if I ever write that bestselling memoir, I will not include any of the George incidents in it because of course I would write the book under my real name. Primo, who has his eye on that Key Biscayne condo, has encouraged me to publish now under a pseudonym, but what is the point of having a bestselling book if the people you went to high school with don't know about it? You know Jen Lancaster has to be feeling smug now that she is at the top of the NY Times (a New York City newspaper) list. Take that, suckers who fired me! she is probably chortling as we speak. And more power to her.

Ooops. I have strayed from my topic again.

When I met Calvin's parents, I sensed a certain coolness. I attributed it to his being somewhat of a mama's boy, although not from his end but from his mother's. He is an only child, but I don't think that is the situation his mother had wanted. He had never had a girlfriend and there had never been competition for his attentions before.

Still, they were nice enough to me. His dad built me bookcases when I moved into the loud sex apartment in Other Southern City, which, to my everlasting shame, I broke down and threw away when I moved from Other Southern City to Houston, where I had gotten a job, because I could not fit them in my car. I could at least have called Goodwill.

But I don't think they approved of me. I can't imagine why.

I ate Mrs Calvinpere's salad
We had dinner at his mom and dad's house. The table was round and small enough that the place settings were rather crowded. I, who had worked at the faculty club for two years and had set the table for formal dinners there, looked at the salad on my left and the water glass on my right. And the salad on my right and the water glass on my left. Which salad was mine? Which water? Logic dictated that the salad that was easier to reach was surely mine. Who would have a diner reaching with her right hand across to a salad on her left? Not I! And that was when I ate Calvin's mother's salad.

At the faculty club, we served the salads by placing them in front of the diner. So much for my fine dining table waiting experience.

I flipped a crab leg over my shoulder and spattered butter on Mrs Calvinpere
They took us out to a nice restaurant. I made the huge mistake of ordering crabs' legs. How does one eat a crab leg if one is not going to pick it up with the fingers and suck the flesh out? Open it along the side using a fork, of course.

If you stick a fork in a crab leg and then begin to saw it open, you are mimicking the forces used on a tiddlywink.

So when you press down on that crab leg in just the right place with enough force, the leg flips up and over your shoulder, spinning and casting off butter as it goes. The butter lands on your boyfriend's mother and on the pink silk blouse you borrowed from your roommate.

I used the Company Towels
I was at Calvin's mom and dad's house for supper. Needed to use the bathroom. The half bath was right behind the kitchen. The half bath had nice white starched lacy towels hanging on the rack. Towels that had never been used. Towels that were obviously decorative.

But my hands were wet. From washing, duh. I do not pee on my hands. Who does? Are the hand pee-ers the ones who get so bent out of shape about other people not washing their hands? Because if you don't pee on your hands and use your foot to flush the toilet (in a public restroom, natch - it's too hard to flush a home toilet with your toes), then there shouldn't be much of an issue, right? I got over my squeamishness about this issue after living in South America for two years, where there are not hand washing facilities conveniently located next to each outhouse.

I needed a place to dry my hands, but a battle in my mother's voice raged slow motion inside my head: Dooooon't uuuuuuse the Coooooompany Toooooowels! vs I need to dry my hands!

In retrospect, I should have just wiped my hands on my pants, which is what I end up doing half the time now anyhow, as those stupid air dryers never work fast enough. Doesn't it defeat the purpose of using less energy if you have to run through four cycles of the dryer?

I used the Company Towels.

The roof did not fall in.

But the next time I was at their house, there was a small stack of paper towels next to the sink.

I got the message.


  1. The concept of "decorative towels" is boggling my mind. Bad enough that they didn't provide a way for you to dry your hands; in addition to this, they had items of home decor that *masqueraded* as things to dry your hands on! How on earth were you supposed to know that? Didn't they see that these two problems could lead to a perfect storm of their guest--gasp--drying her hands on the fake towels?

    Do they have decorative knives in the kitchen that they don't use for cooking? Decorative sheets on the bed that they can't sleep in? Decorative dog food bowls sitting around unused while their dogs eat off the floor?

  2. Arvay, why yes they did have other decorative items in the house! The white living room carpet, for one. I almost stepped on it once to take a shortcut to the den, the room where I was allowed and Calvin yelped, "Don't walk there!"

    "Why not?" I asked.

    "Because it will leave footprints and my mom will get mad!"

    Not dirty shoe footprints - Lord have mercy, I have some home training - but A small step for man, giant step for mankind footprints, footprints in the sand footprints.

    In all the time we dated, I never once stepped into that living room.

  3. HAHAHAHAHA!! That's almost worth the temporary suffering just for the rest-of-your-life humor value!

  4. I had a neighbor whose house was like that; in all the years we lived next door to them we never (well, maybe once) went in the living room; hey, not that way at my house

    Donna (found you through samdevol link to the doctor dying article)

    1. Hello Donna! I'm glad to have you here.

      I've been around people who want to keep their houses as museums. It's so uncomfortable. My house is a place where people live. I don't try to ruin things - I do have coasters in the living room, but my possessions are not as important as the people in my life.


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