It’s been crazy. Since my work week ended last week, I’ve been running wide-open. Steve and I went to that show on Thursday, everybody was home Friday/Saturday and it was a carnival of chaos around here, we went to some snooty suburb of Philly on Sunday to attend a cookout for Toney’s cousin’s kid, and I got called into work early yesterday for a training class.
There’s been no down-time, whatsoever, and it’s starting to make me a little goofy. I think I’m only a couple days away from smiling all the time. And I can’t have that.
Toney has a cousin in Philadelphia. They grew up in Nevada, but ended up living near each other in Pennsylvania. Sorta like me and Steve: still living close to one another, many hundreds of miles from where we started. Weird, huh?
Anyway, the cousin is married with a couple of kids, and resides in a very upscale neighborhood where people probably wipe their asses with imported lace. One of their neighbors has many acres, and keeps “exotic animals.” Like ostriches and llamas, and possibly pterodactyls.
Toney sees them every once in a while, but I haven’t been to their house in four years. It’s a cordial, but not exactly close, relationship.
Their oldest kid just graduated high school, and we were invited to their big blowout celebration. Toney wanted to go, and I wasn’t passionately against the idea, so we went. It would be something to do, we figured, and there’d probably be good food and plenty of beer, etc.
So, we plugged their address into the GPS unit, chose “British female” (Penelope), and hit the road. We always have trouble finding their house. After exiting the highway there are roughly five hundred turns, and we get lost every time. But we put our faith in Penelope; she’d take care of us.
And she did, except she chose a route with lots and lots of stoplights. After we got off the Pennsylvania Turnpike we drove for at least thirty miles(!?), through town after town. We must’ve passed twenty Applebee’s, and fifteen Fashion Bugs along the way.
But Penelope took us to their front door, without incident. And it was quite a shindig. They had several tents set up in the yard, a movie theater-grade popcorn machine, a sno-cone maker, three long tables overflowing with food, and barrels of icy soda and beer.
And within fifteen minutes I remembered why I haven’t been there in four years. Toney’s cousin was friendly, but everybody else ignored us. They all knew each other, and made no effort to engage anyone outside the Circle of Familiarity. I tried to start a few conversations with people, but it was a wasted effort. Even Toney, who can talk to a pine tree, was having trouble breaking through with these people.
It’s a completely closed society at their house. It was all coming back to me now…
So, after an hour of trying to be friendly, the four of us just sat at a table on the patio, and nobody paid us any attention. We had a little food, and some of it was good, and some of it was not. The so-called pulled-pork barbecue was beige and shockingly bad, and I sneaked a mound of it into the trash. Blecch. I think I ate an off-white aorta.
And the accents of some of those people carve a hole straight through my soul. I don’t know what it is about it, but my entire body goes rigid. It’s sorta like Carmella Soprano, run through a nasal passage, or something. It causes my entire central nervous system to cut in and out.
And there was a guy I remembered from last time. He’s all bombastic and sure of himself, and fancies himself an expert on Disney World. That’s obviously his “thing.” He’s the go-to guy for Disney information. East of the Mississippi, anyway.
I sorta recall writing about him four years ago, and he was holding court on the exact same subject on Sunday. “I’m tellin’ ya, October is the best time to go to Disney. Trust me on this, October is the time to go!”
I couldn’t believe it. Is that the only thing he ever talks about? When they lower him into the ground, his headstone will probably read: Father, husband, and friend. He looked like Frankie Valli, and knew a lot about Disney.
We were there for about two and a half hours, and finally told Toney’s cousin we were leaving. I was braced for her to launch into a campaign of objections, but it didn’t happen. I think she had so much going on, she didn’t even hear what we were saying.
When we got to the car, I asked Toney to check the GPS to see if we had it set to “shortest distance,” instead of “shortest time.” She monkeyed around with it for a few minutes, creating five thousand beeps, and we took off.
And we drove and drove, through even more small towns than last time. What the hell, man? We drove for an hour, and still weren’t on the Turnpike. Penelope was really starting to get under my skin.
Toney finally snatched the thing off the windshield, and started up with all the beeps again. And she learned that we’d somehow checked a box beside “avoid highways.” Heh. The thing was trying to get us all the way home, on back roads. We’d probably still be driving, if we hadn’t checked it.
And that was our Sunday.
On Monday morning my boss’s boss called and asked if I could come in at one o’clock to attend a four-hour “change management” seminar. Which is exactly what I went through at my previous job, two weeks before I was laid-off.
I’m not really a fan of the change management…
My notebook is loaded up with stuff, but I’m going to stop right here. There’s always tomorrow, right? Well, not always, I guess. But so far there’s always been a tomorrow… I’m hoping the trend continues.
The Questions of the Day: What accents or dialects irritate you beyond all reasonableness? Are there any? If so, tell us about it in the comments.
Also, what U.S. city do you believe is the rudest? The only time I’ve ever proclaimed an entire city RUDE, it was Philadelphia. But that was years ago, and I’ve had a few pleasant experiences there since. So, maybe I wasn’t being completely fair?
If you have anything on these subjects, we’d like to know about it.
The T-Shirt Lady just sent an email, literally five minutes ago, telling me the shirts are ready. So, I’ll be picking them up on Thursday, my next day-off. Here’s the link, once again. Order seven or four today!
See ya tomorrow, my friends.