Monday, July 27, 2009

We put the "fun" in dysfunctional

As it turns out, a “fun family reunion” is not an oxymoron, even if you are all crammed into the Courtyard Marriot in Beckley, West Virginia. (Never heard of it? Not surprised. ) Here, a few requirements to keep things running smoothly:

A good response to “How’s the job search going?”. Mine consisted of “Well, my parents had to pay for this plane ticket to get me here soo…” The conversation ended rather quickly after that.

Scattegories. Makes the hours between meals fly by! (Though I don’t need Google to tell me “wooie wooie” disease doesn’t exist. Nice try.)

Tequila. One aunt brought hers in an earth friendly stainless steel thermos, but a water bottle shoved in your tote bag works just as well.

A handy sweater. As in “good thing I have this handy sweater!” when your grandparents insist you are freezing cold. Which they will. Every. single. time. they reach over to sweetly pat your hand.

An outing to Jimmie’s Place. One of about four bars in Beckley, it has no windows and a bartender with teased bangs named Charla (pronounced CH-arla. She’s named after her dad, Charlie. Go figure.) The price of seven people drinking Bud Light for three hours? $25.00. Wonderful West Virginia, indeed!

Teaching seven year olds the Art of the Prank Phone Call. (Even if their prank calls merely involved them shouting “hola amigos!” before dramatically hanging up. Apparently this was intended to “confuse” the caller. I have a feeling they were already pretty confused.)

A DUI checkpoint, just to keep things exciting. We didn’t get stopped, but only because the po-po were breaking it down. At 11pm. Luckily the driver had been nursing one Corona over a three hour period, but it got everyone’s heart rate up a little.

Note to self: while peach cobbler is delicious, eating half the pan is a bad idea and may induce vomiting. Also, thinking you can keep up with your fratty nineteen year old cousin while drinking Jack and Cokes may result in you getting a little toasted and calling him a “d-bag”. Sorry Reilly.

I Heart You, NY (well, most of the time)

I just spent the smartest $125 of my life on a window air conditioning unit.

Open summer windows allow some to lull themselves to sleep to the buzz of cicadas, the sound of ocean waves breaking on sand, or the next-door neighbor’s yapping dog.

Instead, as I peel off my sweaty restaurant uniform (whoever mandated black pants in July is a sadist) after a ten hour workday and bus ride home, the sweet sound of vomiting drifts towards my ears. By “sweet”, I mean it sounds like this girl drank about a gallon of Smirnoff Ice and is now suffering from the drunken, splattering sort of retching. Hitting-the-concrete-and-bouncing-back-up-kind-of-retching. i.e.: Disgusting.

Something our broker failed to mention while we signed our lease: my window’s direct proximity over the garbage disposal area would result in many a jolted wake up on garbage day, as well as a smattering of projectile vomit. Oversight, indeed.

Despite the nausea, I have to admit this is also what I love about New York. Only here would I pay $1,000 in rent to hear vomiting out of my window and have a view of a toilet graveyard from my back patio. The biggest difference between the Big Apple and Anywhere, USA is that we’re all in this together. There is no privacy or personal space. On the bus ride to work I am usually sandwiched between a homeless man who apparently bathes in his own urine and woman toting a Birkin who probably bathes in Evian. We cannot retreat to our suburban cocoons of cars, malls, or privacy fences .

So I’m sleeping more soundly these days thanks to the soft hum of my window unit. But some mornings I can still hear the clink of bottles as the recyclables go out. And like a good New Yorker, I just roll over and fall right back asleep.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sweet Summertime

Summer is definitely different in the Big Apple. Here, a few of my seasonal requirements:

1. LifeSavers Wint-O-Green mints. Don't ask, but I basically freebase them.

2. Road trips. To anywhere, really. As long as we're on the open road and I'm not behind the wheel.

3. The smell of Coppertone. This one is a given, but luckily New Yorkers slather in on by the truckload, being so pasty white as they are. It's practically floating in the air.

4. Sailboats. Preferably Sunfish with bunches of giggling campers in them.

5. Swimming pools. In lieu of anything closely resembling one in this concrete jungle I call home, I've settled for the rooftop deck at my gym. Close, but no cigar. What are you supposed to do when you get all sweaty? Marinate?

6. The hum of a lawn mower. Now I settle for muffled sirens.

7. Icy-cold A/C as I'm huddled inside watching mindless television. Real Housewives marathon, anyone?

8. Lake Wylie, SC.

9. Iced coffee. (Is a gallon a day too much? Thought so.)

10. Outdoor/daytime drinking. It's a lot easier to justify that Blockhead's margarita marathon because it is just such a beautiful day outside! I am simply enjoying the weather.

It's funny how a move to New York will make you appreciate the simple things. What are YOUR summer checklists?

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