This was for me one of those adult moments involving a choice. Do you shrug your shoulders and say, I couldn't get it to work either, or do you tell the woman she spent the weekend trying to open a wine bottle with the broken knob to the dishwasher?
Use the word y'all, and before you knew it, you'd find yourself in a haystack French-kissing an underage goat. Along with grits and hush puppies, the abbreviated form of you all was a dangerous step on an insidious path leading straight to the doors of the Baptist church.
When the week was over, we went to Paris. There are any number of stores there that time seems to have forgotten. At one of them I bought five rubber noses. That's one for every serial killer I read about while I was in France.
Then the flight attendants, garbage bags in hand, glided down the aisle, looking each one of us square in the face and whispering, without discrimination, Your trash. You're trash. Your family's trash.
Across town, over in the East Village, the graffiti was calling for the rich to be eaten, imprisoned, or taxed out of existence. Though it sometimes seemed like a nice idea, I hoped the revolution would not take place during my lifetime. I didn't want the rich to go away until I could at least briefly join their ranks.
Whereas our other grandparents asked what grade we were in or which was our favorite ashtray, Ya Ya never expressed any interest in that sort of thing. Childhood was something you endured until you were old enough to work, and money was the only thing that mattered.
One of the things we laughed about was an old episode of The Newlywed Game. The host asked the wives, What's the most exotic place you've ever made love? He was likely expecting The kitchen or On a tennis court at night, but one woman didn't quite understand the question and answered, In the butt.
I find it ridiculous to assign a gender to an inanimate object incapable of disrobing and making an occasional fool of itself. Why refer to lady crack pipe or good sir dishrag when these things could never live up to all that their sex implied?
I looked from face to face, exaggerating flaws and reminding myself that these boys did not like me. The hope was that I might crush any surviving atom attraction, but as has been the case for my entire life, the more someone dislikes me the more attractive he becomes.
Given the choice between four perfectly acceptable movies, they invariably opt for a walk through the Picasso museum or a tour of the cathedral, saying, I didn't come all the way to Paris so I can sit in the dark. They make it sound so bad. Yes, I say, but this is the French dark. It's… darker than the dark we have back home.
It's astonishing the amount of time that certain straight people devote to gay sex—trying to determine what goes where and how often. They can't imagine any system outside their own, and seem obsessed with the idea of roles, both in bed and out of it.
Dad wants to talk about her death—he needs to—but unlike the rest of us, who yak incessantly about our feelings, he has no vocabulary for it and is reduced to the clichés you'd find on a sympathy card. It's like not knowing a language.
I thought of those people on the bus, going from one shitty place to the next, expecting nothing to change but the landscape. Soon I'd be sitting beside them, sharing my potato chips and thinking of them as my kind of crowd.
Do you have a feel for the guitar? Do you have any idea what this little baby is capable of? Without waiting for an answer, he climbed up into his chair and began playing Light My Fire, adding, This one is for Joan.