Monday, July 10, 2017

Ch 5 Christmas day Doris alienates the only neighbor they know and we can't borrow a turkey baster after theirs gives up the ghost and there is nowhere to buy one on Christmas day

We start cooking supper mid-afternoon and it doesn’t take long before there is Drama.

As in, the turkey baster bites the dust.

How does that happen, you ask? I am guessing it has something to do with the quality of the product in the first place. Buy nice or buy twice is what I say and I am the original skinflint. Buying poor quality goods is a false economy. You always spend good money on shoes and mattresses. Apparently, you also always spend good money on turkey basters.

Doris opens the oven, reaches in with the baster, aspirates the liquid, and squeezes it over the turkey.

The baster melts. The half with the tip suddenly flops over at a 90 degree angle. A droopy, floppy baster. Not a pretty sight.[1]

Sly: Where’s the phone book, SB?

Me (whispering to Primo): Who’s “SB?”

Primo: It’s one of my dad’s nicknames for my mom.

Me: What does it mean?

Primo: “Shit bird.”

Me: What?

Primo: Yeah. Shit bird.

Me: Your father calls your mother “shit?”

Primo: I think he means it affectionately.

Me: No! By definition, the word “shit” cannot be used to indicate affection. Never ever call me anything like that, please.

And then I wonder about the other Big Issue here – who keeps a phone book anymore? Do you have a phone book? As soon as I get mine, I put it straight into the recycling. I hate the waste and wish there were a way to tell the phone company not to give me one. I never use it. I look information up online.

The only people who have phone books are parents. BlessHerHeart, I’m sure my mom has a phone book. My grandmother does, not that she needs it: After more than 90 years of living in the same community, she knows everyone’s phone numbers by heart.

Sly and Doris have a phone book. Doris finds it after searching through stacks of magazines and papers stuffed between the piano and the wall.

Sly calls Target – they are closed – and then Walmart, the store he loves to hate. He and Doris are big union supporters and think Walmart is a horrible place. Sly belonged to a union when he was a college professor and is a staunch union man.

In word.

In deed, not so much.

Primo: My parents hate Walmart. They say they boycott it, but they still shop there.

Me: Why do they hate it?

Primo: The employees aren’t unionized.

Me: Neither is Target. Do they fake boycott Target?

Primo: I don’t think so.

Me: Why don’t they shop somewhere else? There are a ton of stores around here that aren’t Walmart or Target.

Primo: Walmart has the best prices.

Me: Clearly, your mom and dad are willing to suffer for the cause.

It doesn’t matter. Neither store is open. Can you believe it? A store not open on Christmas? Me neither. You would have thought they would have stayed open for all those last-minute baster emergencies.

Me: Can’t we just borrow one from your neighbors?

I don’t know why we didn’t try this option first.

Sly: We don’t know any of them.

Me: You don’t know any of your neighbors? Haven’t you been here for four years?

I met my immediate neighbors within a week of moving into my house.

Doris: There is Joan next door, but we can’t ask her.

Me: Why not?

Doris: Because she’s a total shit who won’t even look me in the eye anymore just because I wrote a letter to the editor[2] about something she didn’t like. What a bitch.

Me: What did you write?

Doris: It was just something about a local issue. She’s absolutely wrong, of course. How anyone can hold her views, I don’t know. When the letter was printed, she saw me outside and turned around and went back into her garage without saying a word. She hasn’t spoken to me since.

Me: That seems kind of harsh.

Maybe Joan overreacted. Maybe she took that one letter against months – years? – of knowing Doris. Maybe that wasn't fair. Can’t people just get along, even when they disagree on politics? You can disagree without being disagreeable. I have heard.

I am resolved not to argue with Sly or Doris. Keep this visit pleasant. No arguing. No tension. I will do my part and more to eliminate the stress. My response to everything has been, "Hmmm" or "Well" or “I see.”[3] Neutral, non-agreeing responses. If that doesn’t work, I will hide in the bathroom.

Doris: I just want to ram a pole up her ass!

Maybe Joan wasn’t over-reacting.

Me: Oh. Well. Excuse me. I'm going to the bathroom.

While I am in the bathroom, Doris calls Stephanie, who drives over with her baster.

[1] And this is where I should insert a joke about Sly’s Viagra.
[2] From another letter Doris wrote to the editor – [redacted]
[3] Except just now when I asked why they didn’t know any of their neighbors after four years.


  1. The letters to editor quotes are too remembers.

    Best wishes,

    1. Thanks, Luna. I thought I had edited them enough, but I guess not. The full quotation will be in the book, though!