Sunday, June 15, 2008

If it's not one thing, it's your mother

Shout out to Kimberly, Amy and Suzanne! Why We Wax won "audience favorite" for a short in the Winnipeg Film Festival. It also won Best in Show or something like that in Phoenix.

I like to think I my participation in the project helped land these awards.
I like to think a lot of things.

According to my mother's horoscope, long term influences indicate that she will be undergoing transformative and liberating changes from last month until Dec 2009 (according to my favorite astrology site: I expect she will since Granny is dead, if not buried.

Actually Granny won't be buried at all. We are thinking about driving out to Tahoe after Velvet graduates from High School next June. That would be nine people in a van from NYC to Tahoe, 10 if you include Granny's ashes. The experience would fall somewhere between The Trip to Bountiful and A Family Hostage situation. Actually, when we originally watched the video of The Trip to Bountiful some years ago, my brother, my father and I thought the movie itself was like being held hostage. Beautifully acted and written, with excellent character development - but absolutely nothing happened. We kept hoping Geraline Page would fall through the steps of the old house just so there would be some action. I'm sure my sister wasn't there or we would have been reprimanded for being ignorant, insensitive and generally unappreciative of all the talent involved. It is Horton Foote, after all.

I'm not sure what comedian originally compared family vacations to family hostage situations, but I adopted the description instantly because it captures our trips perfectly. Mother won't fly. She's done it twice in her life and that's enough for her. So any time we go on a trip together, we've driven. Christmas 1984, the family was able to go to Disney World in Florida because my Grandfather finally died (dad's side - not at all related to Granny the Ho). He was an alcoholic nightmare, but for reasons no one understands to this day, my father required us to spend major holidays with his family until Pop died and we all rebelled - my mother leading the charge.

At some point in Mississippi, I had to pee like a race horse and my mother, a power driver, never ever turns around. She also has well established standards for bathrooms on the road. Easy access fast food restaurants are Mother's first choice bathroom stops, and for years, we could all rely on Stuckey's. They are long gone, but Mother still uses Stuckey's as the Road Trip Bathroom Standard.

No bathrooms that met my mother's criteria graced the countryside in rural Mississippi that night in 1984.

I was 25, which means my brother was 18 and my sister was 23. The family was picking up her fiance in Gainesville along the way and my sister, who shall remain nameless, was very concerned that my brother and I would irrevocably disgrace the family due to our offbeat sense of humor and liberal use of bad words. When we were traveling through Mississippi looking for a bathroom, her boyfriend wasn't there and I cussed up a blue streak since my dang mother wouldn't turn around for perfectly good, albeit Brand X, bathrooms. Along the way, we passed a grocery store called the Jitney Jungle and laughed so hard that the pee crisis became desperate.

Eventually we came to Biloxi - where the road runs into the Gulf. By this point, the entire family was hollering at my mother to stop at the first opportunity which turned out to be a gas station that had the nastiest bathroom I have been in to date. Worse than restaurants in Chinatown or the ladies' room in KGB Bar (Sorry, Denis, but everyone knows your ladies' room is simply awful).

As it happened, that place in Biloxi was so tacky that there were three condom machines in the Ladies' Room. I had never seen a condom machine before. Nowadays Mayor Bloomberg has made free NYC condoms available all around the city on account of Safe Sex. Velvet and his friends like to see if they can get past the bouncers in midtown bars to collect NYC Condoms and then hand them out to tourists on 42nd Street. Velvet is creative and charming in every way. At the time, however, I was highly offended that my mother had brought about this situation all because she won't turn around for nothin'.

On that same trip, my sister used the F word for the first time. We were in front of the Hall of Presidents watching the little airplanes paint the sky with colored smoke. I can't remember what I said, but she said, "Fuck off, Patricia" so loudly that the crowd paused a beat to check us out. And my sister was a very prim English teacher back then. It was quite a milestone in our family history. I'm not sure if it's an honor, but it is certainly a distinction that people who never cuss have used the F word for the first time in their lives to tell me to Fuck Off.

When my mother the broke the F word barrier, she was also yelling at me for something I said when I was living with them and going to grad school. That was the same year that my mother delivered the famous line: We're all trapped in our own personal Hell, Patricia, and nobody wants to hear about yours.

My mother is a brilliant character.


Blogger Fallen angel said...

I'm very happy that you have started writing for yourself again. Not only is it well done and amusing, but it is you to the nth degree. But learn to spell, my double degreed little petunia, or fuck off. (I of course an cursing for the first time here)

June 15, 2008 at 1:26 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

I swear I always spell check twice - and everyone needs an editor. That's why editors still have permanent jobs while writers have to work freelance.

June 15, 2008 at 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Double-degreed" should be hyphenated.

June 16, 2008 at 12:47 AM  
Blogger Kitty said...

Is your mother's astrology related to Uranus or Pluto? The former is liberating, the latter transformative. Does she know her birth time? If it's a little out the experience from now until late 2009 could have already begun. Sorry - I got a little planetarily carried away there.

Cool post though: I have yet to hear my mother ever use the 'F' word. I heard her sister (my aunt) use it for the first time just recently. I thought it splendid! x

June 16, 2008 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Kimberly M. Wetherell said...

I am certain that we would be nowhere without your brilliant contribution to the film. 'nuff said.

Mr. "Breathe-through-his-ears" will forever and ever be referred to as such thusly for ever and ever...

And let all God's chilluns say: Amen!


June 17, 2008 at 2:50 PM  

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