Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Back to life

posted Tue, 03 Aug 2004

It’s such a jolt to return to my real life. Why can’t I be on vacation all the time? Why can’t I be one of those trust-fund brats? I would definitely be better at it than the current crop: I wouldn’t be doing outrageous things to shame my family. Instead, I would be doing Good Works and Making the World a Better Place. All after sleeping late and going to the gym and meeting my girlfriends for lunch, of course.

But this is not my lot in life. When Tom – the leader of Harpo’s band, found out my mother lived near the Broadmoor, he said, “Wow. She must be loaded.”

No, I said. Au contraire. If you know anything about the military, you know people don’t join to get rich. And my dad was career Air Force. It wasn’t until later in the conversation when Tom’s socialist leanings emerged (and he wasn’t even ASHAMED of them!) that I realized that he really probably didn’t know a darn thing about the military and maybe did think people joined to get rich.

Nope. People join the military for many reasons, one of the main being (at least in my dad’s case) a desire to serve his country. And for adventure. But that’s OK. I joined the Peace Corps to Serve Mankind and for adventure. Those are not mutually exclusive goals.

As usual, my mom was the hostess with the mostest. We arrived at the Denver airport this morning with enough food for a week. I read a book about the Donner party a few months ago. They were not as well prepared as Harpo and I were. My mother is under the impression that food is not to be found in airports. But in her defense, anything she makes is far better (and cheaper) than anything I could buy in the airport.

She comes by this belief honestly. My grandmother sent me home once with a Crisco can full of cookies. I have learned with my grandmother that it’s easier just to agree with her and then do what I want anyhow. In some cases, I agree with her and do what she wants. In all cases, it is easier to agree with her than to argue with her. So there I was, walking through O’Hare with a Crisco can tucked under one arm. A Crisco can will not fit into most suitcases, just in case you have never tried this for yourself.

This morning we got off easy – I just threw the Spanish tortilla, the cheese sandwiches, the blueberry muffins, the pound cake, the chips, the chocolate-chip cookies and the grapes into a plastic grocery bag, which does not draw nearly as much attention as a Crisco can.

The good thing about having all this food is that it is available if I get hungry. The bad thing about having all this food is that it is available even if I am not hungry. Remember that my people Do Not Waste Food, so I just cannot bear to throw anything away. Usually, I just give it to Harpo. On our flight to Denver, though, he didn’t finish all the expensive airport trail mix. He wasn’t willing to stuff the leftovers in his bag, though, so I just tossed it into the trash. I was tired of carrying it. He was stunned. “I can’t believe you threw away food! I’m telling your mom. You are in such big trouble!” He can be a bit testy when he is hungry. He got better after I got him a double shot of espresso from the airport TCBY.

Did I mention the very cool feature on the rental car? The radio dial shows the station number, call letters and type of music. (I still haven’t figured out what ‘hate’ music was.) You can SEARCH on type of music! They had rap (no thanks), country (yes!), all varieties of rock, including aging ‘60s hippy rock, R&B, oldies, etc. My car is paid for. I will not get a new one until it is more expensive to repair than to replace, but when I do, I want a radio like that one.

We had lunch at Amanda’s Fonda yesterday, which is a Mexican restaurant near Manitou Springs. There are photos of what appeared to be famous Mexicans all over, but upon closer examination, I realized that they were trying to sneak in some non-Mexicans. Martin Sheen – Spanish. Mark Anthony – Puerto Rican. Please. I am a gringa and I know these things. Yes, I am slightly more familiar with latino culture than most Americans, but this is akin to trying to pass off Princess Di or Nicole Kidman as Americans. Latino does not equal Mexican just the way Anglo does not equal American.

Lunch was good, though. The true measure of a Mexican restaurant is the salsa and the regular burrito. If those basics are done well, the rest will be good. The salsa was so delicious that I was eating it with a fork. Harpo looked pointedly at the chips and told me that perhaps I might want to eat the salsa in the more traditional way, but I am not a big salty snack person and don’t want to waste calories on tortilla chips when there is chocolate somewhere to be found.

I must check my email and pay bills. Au revoir.

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