Friday, June 2, 2017

Ch 1 Saturday I meet Stephanie, who is lovely, even though she does not serve her children brown rice, take them to museums, or use proper grammar

Primo takes me to meet Stephanie.

She. Is. Lovely.

This is how it’s supposed to go when you meet the relatives of your boyfriend. Unless you are a truly horrible person, which I am not, relatives are supposed to be gracious and welcoming.

Heck, even if you are a truly horrible person, relatives are supposed to be gracious and welcoming. Sure, there can be trash talk later, but not to the new person or to her boyfriend. You are supposed to be nice to the new person, even if she is horrible. For one thing, you never want to force your relative to defend his horrible girlfriend. People will dig in their heels if they feel they are being attacked and might stay with a horrible girlfriend just out of spite.

Wait. “Spite” is the wrong word. More like, just out of, “I don’t want you to be able to say, ‘I told you so!’ to me, so I am not going to break up with her.”

But I digress.

When Stephanie opens the door, she hugs me and says, "I finally get to meet you! I have been so looking forward to this! Come on in! What would you like to drink? Do you want a snack? Michael! Maria! Come here! Say hello to your Uncle Primo’s girlfriend!”

The kids hug Primo and then shake my hand, look me in the eye, smile, and say, “Nice to meet you.”

Stephanie: What can I get you to drink? I have diet Coke. Regular Coke. Orange juice. Milk. Beer.

Me: Diet Coke would be great.

Stephanie: Are you hungry? Andrew! Get Goldie a diet Coke and some of those cannoli we made yesterday!

Whoa. Food and drink the second I cross the threshold. I like her.

Primo plays Monopoly with M and M. Stephanie and I talk. How did Primo and I meet? Are we getting married? We don’t know yet? We'd been dating for a year! Come on! How can we not know? Where am I from? What about my family? Could Primo and I come over for supper?

This is the sort of welcome I hoped to have from Sly and Doris. You know. A welcoming welcome.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Ch 1 Saturday Sly tells his favorite story about his childhood that helps me understand him, just not in a good way

When Sly was a little boy, his teacher made some grammatical error. Sly corrected her.

Sly: And she was upset about it!

Me: Maybe she didn’t want to be corrected by a second grader.

Sly: But she was wrong! And I was right!

Me: Maybe she thought you were being disrespectful.

Sly: But she was wrong! And I was right!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ch 1 Saturday Doris makes a pie for Primo and I try to become her BFF but it doesn’t work

This could be a Bonding Moment between Doris and me! We are going to make a pie for Primo.

I know! I will ask Doris for pie-making advice! Everyone loves to be the expert, right? She will get to teach me and it will give her all the good feelings about me and hey, the pendulum will start to swing the other way.

Of course, I already know how to make pie. I make excellent pie. My grandmother taught me and I know not to overwork the crust. I know how to make pie.

But – I also know that being a Know It All is not the way to ingratiate yourself with your boyfriend’s mother, so I will be a good little sous chef and ask her questions about how she makes pie so she can be the Expert Sharing Her Knowledge. Letting other people be the Know It All is not a bad life strategy for getting along.

Except – do you know how hard it is to be quiet when the alleged expert is doing it all wrong?

Lord have mercy, Doris! It is NOT THAT HARD to make a damn pie!

But she is my boyfriend’s mother and someday, she will be my mother in law. I want to be friends with her. I do it her way.

Even though she is wrong.

Me: What can I do to help?

Doris: You may peel the apples.

Me: Where is the potato peeler?

Doris: I don’t have one.

Me: Oh. OK. Then – how do you peel the apples?

She hands me the old blunt paring knife I used to smash the Imitrex last night. I flick it against my thumb and regret my stupid, stupid offer to help.

Me: Primo actually likes the peel.

This is the truth. This is not just me being lazy. It’s partially me being lazy, but it is also the truth. We never peel apples or potatoes when we cook. First, a lot of the vitamins are under the skin. Second, the skins taste good. And third, the lazy part.

Doris: No he doesn’t. I always peel the apples when I make pie for him.

Me: Yes he does, Doris! I’ve made apple strudel with him and he specifically said we shouldn’t peel the apples because it would taste better that way.

Oh wait. I don’t actually say that last bit because it would be stupid to fight with my boyfriend’s mother. 

Instead, I bite my tongue and peel the apples with a dull paring knife that still has Imitrex powder on it.

Monday, May 29, 2017

In which Primo does not want to give a ride to Capital City to some weird guy

Primo: This guy wants a ride with me to the party convention.

Me: So? Isn't that the environmentally responsible thing to do - to carpool?

Primo: Yes, but he's really weird.

Me: Like how?

Primo: Well, he always asks people for rides - he doesn't have a car.

Me: Why doesn't he take the bus?

Primo: I don't know.

Me: What kind of job does he have?

Primo: I don't know.

Me: How old is he?

Primo: I don't know.

Me: How can you not know these things?

Primo: Because I don't know him! He asks perfect strangers for rides!

Me: Oh! Yes, that's a little presumptuous. Have you given him a ride before?

Primo: Yes, and that's why I don't want to do it again.

Me: What has he done to reciprocate?

Primo: What do you mean?

Me: I mean, how is he returning the favor? When I was in grad school, in one of my classes, my professor talked about their being three principles that are constant across all cultures: the taboo against incest, the principle of hospitality, and the principle of reciprocity. It's part of our social contract - that you don't expect to get a favor without giving a favor. Does he buy you a coffee? Does he offer to help pay for gas?

Primo: Nope.

Me: He is not doing it right!

Primo: And he's just odd. The first time I met him was a few years ago - that night at the mayor's campaign party -

Me: The one where your car was towed?

Primo: Yes.

Me: Yeah, that was fabulous.

Primo: It was raining that night. I don't know if he walked or took the bus or what, but he was wearing one of those dollar store ponchos.

Me: OK. To keep the rain off him.

Primo: Yes. But he kept it on ALL NIGHT LONG. He was inside. There was no rain. But he was still wearing his rain poncho!

Me: You can tell him that I am taking the bus to meet you in Capital City and we are spending the weekend there so you can't give him a ride. This guy is too strange.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Ch 1 Saturday - Sly offers the master shower to Primo and me and I throw up a little bit in my mouth as images of Sly and Doris naked in the shower come to my mind

You guys, this is so, so gross. SO GROSS! Who does this?

Sly is already up when I get up. He says, “If you and Primo want to use our shower instead of the guest bathroom, go ahead. It fits two. Doris and I shower together all the time.”

The Viagra conversation, taken to another level. The man who knows I am uncomfortable with the idea of sleeping in the same bed with his son in his house thinks I wouldn’t mind taking a shower in his bathroom with his son while he is in the next room.

When I brought my college boyfriend home, my dad asked him if he wanted to play chess. He never offered us the shower in the master bedroom.

1.      If I’m not comfortable sharing a bed with their son under their roof, what makes him think I would be comfortable taking a shower with him under their roof?
2.      The image of Sly and Doris naked together in the shower flashes into my head and makes me a tiny bit sick to my stomach. I don’t want to imagine about my own parents naked. I definitely do not want to think about my boyfriend’s parents naked. I shake my head, trying to evict the picture from my mind, but it sticks there and haunts me.
3.      I have showered in the nastiest of showers in the nastiest of motels in Latin America. I have stayed in motels where the shower is covered with mildew and the sink is gray, caked with grease and old whiskers. I used those facilities because I had no choice. It was use a nasty shower or be dirty with the sweat of a 21-hour bus ride over bad Paraguayan dirt roads where the toothless drunk next to me kept falling asleep on my shoulder and the passenger behind me threw up in his seat and the bus driver refused to clean it up, telling me that it was not his responsibility.

I can take a lot, but my shower tolerance has been used up. I am not squeamish about many things, but showering in a tub that has not been cleaned after the previous occupant has used it unless the previous occupant is my sister, my brother, my mom, my boyfriend, or one of my best friends makes my stomach turn.

Showering after someone I don’t even know and risking finding their body hair on the shower floor or in the soap would make me betray my country.

Showering in someone else’s shower WITH MY BOYFRIEND is – I don’t even have the words.

“No, the guest bathroom is fine, thank you,” I answer.