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Monday, May 14, 2012

Our Scary Town of Dimwits and Inbreeds

  My mom and brother (The Prodigal Son) Daniel came to visit me a few weekends ago.  It really was fun, but of course, some good stories came out of it.
First of all for some background info,  The Daniel went to school and lived in the Raleigh/Cary area for a while.  He then moved to Italy, and now he is living near Washington, DC.  One thing that my mother and he both agree on is that he is really great.  I love my mother, and I love my brother, but I have come to accept the fact that if there is a disagreement between myself and my brother (no, between ANYONE and my brother) and the family becomes involved, then it will be decided that Daniel is right, or at least more justified to his opinion.  I don't mean to sound bitter, but the facts is the facts, folks.
So I am living in eastern NC.  Not a huge town by any means, but not all barren farmland either.  To give you a rough idea… in the city limits there are about 75,000 people and in the total county we have 135,000.  We are the home to a university, which between the college, grad school and professional schools dumps 25,000 more on top of that.  The Daniel is convinced that the movie Deliverance was set right here.  I mean, he really thinks this is the sticks y'all.  Saturday morning, he overheard Chris and I talking about a fancier restaurant that we went to earlier in the week… "Fancy for this little town, you mean?" he says?  "Well, no," I answer.  "I would say it would be a fancy restaurant anywhere… 30+ for an entrée, live band, different menu each night…"  So Daniel says, "Put on your Sunday best, kids, we're going to Sears.  This town has no idea what fancy is."  I explained to him that this town, although it is certainly no DC, has some areas that would compare to Cary, NC.  ...Some of the restaurants, neighborhoods, and shopping complexes, etc.  He laughed at me, "Anna," he says, "You have no clue.  lived in Cary."  Of course my mom overheard and told me to "lighten up, he lives in DC and so imagine how he must feel!  This must feel so small to him."

Later that day we went to the Shell station so The Daniel could get his car inspected.  The plan was, he would drop his car off and then we would all go in my car to the grocery store.  So Mom and I followed him there in my car. This is a newly built service station in a newly developed part of town complete with a free Internet café and cappuccino machine in the lobby for customers to use while they wait. Daniel, however, got a "bad feeling" from the place.  He said, "I don't trust these guys." Plans quickly changed as we all waited in the parking lot so that The Daniel could keep a hawks eye view on his car during the entire inspection process, including the part where the car sits in waiting for 45 minutes. 
The exception was when we walked to the movie theatre next door to the service station to see what was playing.  My mom and I had been sitting in my car talking as The Daniel stood outside watching his car wait.  He ducked into the backseat and demanded, "Get out of the car and walk with me to the movie theatre.  Why does this society feel like they always have to sit in a car?  It's really quite disgusting."   I looked at Mom, "I think he just called us disgusting."  "No!" she retorts, "He's right.  We shouldn't be sitting."  I think they were both right.  We shouldn't have been sitting.  We should have been WALKING AROUND THE GROCERY STORE and not hanging out in the Shell parking lot.  When I mentioned that to mom, she smiled and said, "His car is his baby.  You wouldn't leave Dean here at the Shell station  all alone to get inspected, would you?" 

Are you KIDDING me???

Here's the funny part.  I had the child locks on for the back doors of the Accord.  And Daniel was now seated in the back seat.  Mom and I got out of the front and started walking towards the theatre, as instructed, but he was still stuck in there.  He started pulling frantically at the handle to no avail, with his pitiful face pressed up against the window as we walked on towards the theatre.  I'm awful, I know, because I knew the whole time what was going on...  AND I was loving it!  Mom eventually realized we were without Daniel and we turned around, mom runs to the car and was shouting to him, "it's open, it's unlocked, just open the door…"   He's yelling, "It's child locked mom, open it from the outside!"  They were going back and forth, and I just stood there enjoying the view for a while.  The Daniel is very sophisticated and on top of his game most of the time, what with his European suits and his popped collars.  The irony of seeing him looking so imbecilic was irresistible after he had implied how disgusting I am.  Oh, and he WAS pissed when he finally made it out of that vehicle.  PISSED.  He said that that was a cheap shot that I took at him and if I wanted to disagree with him about the fact that I was disgusting I should have done so verbally. Because that's what intellectual people do, he declared.  They are not afraid to discuss and disagree.  Maybe the doctor told me not to walk, he upheld.  Simple-minded hick folks take cheap shots, I may as well have hit him over the head with my glass beer bottle he explained. Hmmm… well I DO live here in Hickville.

When they pulled his car into the garage to complete the inspection, The Daniel walked into the garage to stand over them and make sure no monkey business was going on (as I'm sure it often does).

The last morning of their visit, we went to breakfast.   We went to an independently owned steak restaurant that offers a Sunday brunch.  The Daniel said it looked like the Golden Coral.  He got the green beans off of the buffet, and then promptly flagged the waiter down for olive oil.  He said he couldn't eat green beans without olive oil.  The waiter found some and brought it to him. 
The Daniel then dipped his pinky finger in, put it too his tongue and commented on how substandard the oil was.  "I was expecting more," he says.  "In Italy you eat olive oil with everything.  Every self-respecting restaurant should have good olive oil.  It is a STAPLE…. You know I could run a place like this.  It would be easy.  Simple.  What an easy business to have."  (FYI he is an aerospace engineer.)  Shall I nickname him Kostanza?

The weekend ended and The Daniel left for home.  Mom gets a call on her cell just before she left…. It was Daniel.  Guess what?  He RAN OUT OF GAS.  Yes, seriously.  He was on the side of the highway waiting for Mom to bring him a gallon of gas.  I tried to hold it in, but I had to laugh.  Mom looked at me, "I think it really is funny!" she admitted. 
What's even funnier is that he really wasn't out of gas at all.  Daniel talked to Chris on the phone, and Daniel told Chris he wasn't out of gas, but his car seemed to be "straining" up hills, and gas was low, so he figured it was about out of gas, and he pulled over. 

Hey, he's the engineer.  I'm just the dumb hick. What do I know.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

INTRO<-- It's funnier than the title makes you think

PRELUDE:  (Written by me on Myspace several years ago when we first moved to town.)

After today, I have proven myself to be the picture of poor white trash... so my mother was correct after all!  I am expecting a call from Jerry any minute.

Sammy the dog has been pissing the floor since we moved to this university town last month.  I figured she was protesting the move.  She has actually warped the floor in our new kitchen with her urine... isn't that nice?  So I decided it was time to take her to the vet to rule out diabetes.

I load up the car with my over-tired toddler and the dog, who smells strongly of urine, and head out to meet our new veterinarian.  At the clinic, we park in front of a big window.  After Sammy gets out of the car, I go to take Dean out, only to find he has taken his shoes and socks off during the ride.  Holding Sammy's leash with my left hand, I put on Dean's shoes with my right hand.  I manage to half-ass the task and pick Dean up, when Sammy breaks free of the leash and makes a mad dash toward the highway.  I catch her by the back of the neck, and Dean and I go tumbling down on top of  her in the cement parking lot in front of the vet's office.  In front of that big window.

I peel myself off the ground to find that I have skinned both elbows and one knee, ripped a hole in my pant leg, and the knee and one elbow are bleeding.  (The baby's fine, didn't touch the pavement.)  Dean's crying.  I take my bloody self, complete with ripped clothing, my crying two year old who's clothing is studded with half-eaten Cheerios, and my urine-stank dog in to meet our new vet and his staff.

The staff, of course, have all seen me fall on my ass and I really think they may have been concerned that I was drunk or strung out?  Especially with the dog's piss odor invading the room, and my torn, bloody clothes.  Of course the first thing I tell them is, "be careful, the dog's snappy."

...So picture the scene, now, with my nappy self and sticky kid and stinkin' dog and the first words out my mouth are, "careful, she bites."  Imagine that sentence with a heavy southern drawl, and don't you think I'd easily qualify for Jerry Springer??  ..."Cayerfull, sh'baats..."  Yeah.

In the examining room, Dean threw the contents of my purse on the floor piece by piece, which the staff helped me pick up.  Sammy did test positive for diabetes and will be treated for it.

To end the visit with a bang, my keys had migrated to the bottom of my big mommy-purse, so before leaving, I set Dean on the counter to search for my keys (while the staff eyed us up and down).  As I am finally grasping my key chain, I feel a rope around my neck.  My two year old has one end of someone's nasty old dog leash in his mouth and he is looping the other end around my neck.  And the picture of white trash has been completed.

-written August, 2006, and published May, 2012

Anna Kate: I'm Anna Kate. I am a JAP (Jewish American Princess) who was born in NYC but has lived in the bible belt of the south eastern US for the last 20 years.  Except I'm more of a practicing Catholic if I had to claim a religion.  My dad was an OB/GYN and mom's a shrink, so you can't say much that will surprise me.  I'll let you form your own judgements on me, but I'll happily provide candid descriptions of everyone else I know.

Christopher: That's the husband.  He's the only one in the family who knows about this blog, so he will be reading this.  He is simply lovely.

Dean: our son, born in 2005.  Cute kid, sweet kid, socially kinda awkward.  IQ of 140 but athletic ability is negative 0 out of 10.  We've wondered if he's a little "soft," but he recently confessed to Christopher that he's noticing the boobs drawn into a cartoon in one of his "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books.  So now we're thinking he's just metro.

Allison: Baby Girl was born 2008.  Very adorable. Very alpha personality.  She likes to eat dirt when she thinks no one is looking but she does not have PICA. She has no fear except when it comes to cats, or people dressed in character costumes (like Mall Santa). Inspired by her fear of cats, her latest move is a cat-like hiss when she is being disciplined by an authority figure.  The Hiss includes baring of the teeth and narrowing of the eyes, along with the obvious "ssssssss" sound and direct eye contact.

So that's everyone who lives in the house.  Then there's the extended family.  This is where it gets fun.

Berti: That's my mom, the shrink.  (Well, child psychologist but whatever, right?) Mom is a little peculiar. And by "peculiar" I mean bat-shit crazy.  Everything she says is in a thick Jersey accent. (Oy wish yuw wouldn't make fun of muy, oy don't twak like that at owul.  Nwot at owul.)  She has absolutely NO appreciation for sarcasm so everything I say is perceived as just really mean.  Mom went to finishing school in Europe before college.  She thinks I am a classless shallow redneck, but she loves me in spite of that.  Mom goes off the deep end, often provoked by absolutely NOTHING AT ALL.  She will blame you for [random imagined offense here] and then lock herself in an adjacent room and cry audibly, then "go for a drive," and eventually confront you in front of whoever happens to be around (usually clients of my husband's, some new friend prospects, or neighbors).  Last time this happened it was because I did not properly greet her when she arrived at my home.  I had smiled, and said "hello" but did not stand up from the table, hug her, or invite her to eat with us.  I thought it was obvious that she was invited to eat with us... she's my mom, there was a place set for her, and she had just driven 4 hours to see us... I was wrong. The kids call her Nona, Italian for "grandma."

THE Daniel: The. One. And. Only. Daniel thinks Daniel is awesome, and my mother fully agrees.  He is the middle brother (I'm the oldest). This is my mom's favorite child.   Daniel is, literally, a rocket scientist.  He went to grad school on a full academic scholarship for aerospace engineering and lives in DC and has some part in designing space shuttles for NASA.  He spends most of his time passing judgement on people, and as far as I know lives alone and has no friends.  Except my mother, they talk every night.

Hello, Freud, How is Oedipus doing?

The kids call him "Daniel Daniel" because "Uncle Daniel" was too redundant for a two year old to pronounce.  Daniel is actually really good with the kids, like, 90% of the time.  The other 10% leaves you thinkin' "OMG he's being a douchebag to a 3 year old?!?"

Kenneth: Ken is my youngest brother. He's a very sweet kid but a little fucked in the head. (Thanks, Mom!!)  He graduated from college and then dropped out of grad school because of "math block."  He says it's like writer's block but for mathematicians.  So he moved back in with Mom where he has been "looking for a job."  It has been about two years now.  That must be a Really. Bad. Case. Of math block, yo.  Based on Ken's routine, one would surmise that the best place to look for a job is on gaming websites at 3am. Ken has Tourette's Syndrome (Yes, really, he does and he's on meds for it.  No, he doesn't randomly spout out curse words, that's so Hollywood.).  He's really not nearly as much of a loser as this paragraph makes him sound, I promise.  Kids call him Uncle Kenny.  He's great with them.