Saturday, January 31, 2004

tangents, misconstrued thrice
Russ's is one of those chain restaurants in suburbia where the median patron age is 57, chewed-on crayons sit on every dimly lit booth, and there are small kissing children with funny hats on the sign.
Beppe and Grandpa are very disappointed to be informed that Russ’s closed down several years ago and has now been replaced with a billiard room.
Callahan’s is a little farther down the road; a little closer to the highway exit. It’s one of those restaurants where the patrons are, for the most part, short and squat with squishy faces; where there are pies sitting in a fluorescent display booth ready for you to take home even though they’ve been stale for three days, and where the table placemats consist of advertisements from local businesses—“Alice’s Gift Depot—Gently Used Wedding Dresses and Lots Of Star Trek Memorabilia!” “Ladies’ Workout Center—100% Safe And Effective!” and even an advertisement for the placemat, “Want Your Business Here? Call 269-***-**** (Leave A Message, Please).”
“Thanks for putting our toilet on,” my father says loudly to his father-in-law. This has been a three-month ordeal, taking the tile out of my sister’s bathroom and putting it back in again; plus and minus a human waste receptacle. This night was the Final Capping, and there was much flushing to celebrate.
Perhaps the waitress overheard that comment and thought it was odd, but I was too busy staring at Grandpa’s three-day beard to notice. A bit like Sean Connery’s, I decided, except more gray and less cheekbones.
In front of me sat a salt and pepper shaker with no salt and pepper, but all of the Smucker’s Concord Grape Jelly you could want. That is, if you wanted 26 packets of it. I counted, twice, while I waited to order my strawberry cheesecake and they waited to order their sandwiches.
“So,” says Beppe. “You guys should drive down next Sunday. Our church is getting the best men’s choir in…in…all of Grand Rapids to perform.”
I was disappointed. I was hoping for something a little more exciting than that.
“Oh, they’re very good,” she continues, the her dyed-yellow hair glistening under the buzzing light, “They practice religiously once a week.”
Ha! I thought. Pun! Pun! I didn’t say anything.
I watched Grandpa dig in to his congealed mashed potatoes. “Woo!” he said. “I was very hungry. I only had a couple of eggs for lunch. Woo!” He pronounces it “ay-ggs”.
Mom starts an awkward conversation about our spring break plans (“Don’t airplanes cost money?”, asks Beppe) while my sister eyes my shortcake. I poke at the warmness of it. It’s rubbery and bounces back. The strawberries have solidified themselves to the ash-gray plate. I tell her she can have it, provided I get a sip of her Sprite.
The waitress stood up from the table she shared with her boyfriend and asks and doesn’t listen about the quality of our food. “Great”, she says, and sits back down across from the guy with the skinny face and U of M shirt. She hums the new poppified train wreck of a Liz Phair song under her breath, but I can still hear her from over the twang of early-70’s Eagles that’s playing over the loudspeakers.
Grandpa continued to stuff down food. He had finished the potatoes, the four slices of veal (he boxed up the fifth), the soup and salad, and was now moving on to rice pudding. Beppe didn’t seem to notice. The rest of us looked on sickly at him. I dip my pinky into my ice water and feel the hard shell of skin that forms against the cold, wishing that this dinner could be over. I start buttoning up my coat for good measure.
My sister has given up on my cheesecake, and Grandpa says it can’t be that bad. He takes a bite and promptly says, “Well, it’s time to go.” Dad picks up the bill as thanks for “putting the toilet on.” Like it’s a pot of coffee.
As we walked into the parking lot the waitress in the short skirt runs after us.
“Someone forgot their food!” she cries, high heels slipping on ice.
“Woo!” said Grandpa, “Glad you caught that one!”
And it’s not funny at all but they both start laughing. I shut the car door.
Oh, you could laugh and laugh until you realize that Callahan’s is the Irish version of Russ’s, and they’re out of baked potatoes tonight (the famine hit hard).

Fresh squeezed by melly at 10:35 PM

i am a bad girl
-i have broken a callous
-i have eaten junk food when i have been told not to
-i have given away my secret
-i have not posted here because i'm having too much fun at imfilter.
redesign coming tomorrow. real post coming tonight! hurray, ect.

Fresh squeezed by melly at 6:10 PM

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Usually, the call occurs in our house around five twenty in the morning. My mother finds out earlier because she's smart. However, the tense process begins the afternoon before.
Snow needs to begin falling at a near constant rate by five pee emm in order for there to be any chance of a snow day. It needs to continue with stamina all through the night. Here in Portage, (especially during MEAP testing season) there needs to be at least a foot and a half of snow on the ground in order for school to be called off. More specifically, a foot and a half of snow needs to be on the roads--and the snowplows are venomous, so this is rare. We call this the magic 18 inches.
(Not related in any way to those porn mails you've been getting.)
According to lore, it also helps if you wear your pajamas inside out in order to appease the snow-gods. Some believe you should also pray for a day of long tests and hours of homework, but I don't think reverse psychology works well on higher beings.
Once the call comes, however, you are free to spend the day lolling about in bed and watching cheesy movies on video, provided that you finish your allotted amount of Shoveling. On snow days, Shoveling is as hallowed as arduous amounts of community service.
And so as I stood in the driveway with the snow seeping in to my tennis shoes I began to daydream because the endless whiteness has a way of making you bored even in the nip of the air and you begin to see things like little red Nissans driving across the ice of your mind. I could elaborate by telling you the details of my birthmark and his laugh, but that's enough run-on sentences for one day.

Fresh squeezed by melly at 8:02 PM