Friday, September 12, 2014

back in san diego, thank god

I step into the restroom stall at Chicago O'Hare and push the button for a new toilet seat cover. For some reason I sit down before it has stopped moving and I slide quickly to the left and almost crash on the floor. If this is any indication how the rest of the day may go I will head directly to the bar and stay there for a really long time.

I am back in San Diego, thank god. After a hot summer baking in the Iowa corn fields I need to be somewhere with a little culture, some place that sells really good beauty products and decent Indian food. I am sitting on Susan's beautiful new grey Italian leather couch made in China and playing with the recliner buttons.

We go next door to the neighbors' wine party. There are sardines and garlicky hummus and a delicious bowl of fresh tuna seasoned with yellow curry, quiche dotted with mint, a small bowl of walnuts and creamy dip bursting with colored peppers and tiny bits of salty olives. And meatballs. The house is a museum with framed art stretching all the way up to its high ceilings. The furniture reminds me of Rosemary's baby's neighbor: big and clunky and darkly satanic. I sit on the couch, all green velvet and carved wood and my legs stick straight out in front of me, such is the lot of the short girl. 

 By the third glass of cabernet I am feeling warm and really swell in this strange little house. The hostess is flamboyant and likes to hug. Her necklace is lovely, large flat stones laced together and striped with blue and purple rainbows. Helena* wears heavy black eye liner and her grey hair is sleek and pulled back with hairpins, she's pretty in a coquettish AARP way. Hel is in her 70's and her boyfriend of three years rearranged her furniture on their first date. He tells me later in hushed tones that he has three sons, two of them dead, one shot nine times in the back by the police when he was eighteen years old. "And they bragged about it," he says.  Mario, the young man from Guadeloupe, talks about his planned trip to Spain. He will ride his bike cross country. I do not know people like these back in I-O-way.

Raymond sits next to me, neat and prim in khakis and white sweater and has given only one word replies to anything directed at him. Suddenly he touches my bare foot and exclaims, "I love your long skinny toes! They're so pretty! I love your toes!" His drunk wife is sitting next to him and he pulls off her sandal and says, "Look at Norma's short stubby toes! I love your toes!"  I don't know what to do.

And then that same wife blurts out, "so what are we going to do about these immigrant children coming into our country and bringing all those diseases?" Mario makes a small choking sound. He's eating meatballs. Susan's husband Jim is a staunch defender of the oppressed and racially insulted and he quickly takes the stage. "These are the same people who cut your lawn, prepare your food and watch your children." Damn, this is getting good.  Susan doesn't want to do this political haggling with a roomful of wine-soaked friends and she's right. Cheap entertainment is well, cheap.

*the names have been changed to protect the utterly clueless

1 comment:

Arizaphale said...

The BA has toes like yours. I, unfortunately, have toes like the drunk wife :-(. Hopefully that's where the similarities end.