Monday, August 15, 2011

The Sisterhood of Bad Pants

In case you didn't notice, a lot of my "material" comes from family gatherings. More accurately, listening to the multiple conversations that take place at gatherings and noting that I am not the only one in this world whose humor as twisted as an old, angry spruce tree. It is also validating.

"I didn't have chance in hell," I think. "We're all this f*cked up."

Yesterday was no exception, whatsoever. We were seeing my cousin and her daughter off before they made their journey back to Florida (Paula, you should stay, I have a list of 10 reasons why and I will post it to your public wall on Facebook). Of course, the food was predictably delicious and gastronomically punishing--slaw with bacon (thanks, Dad), baked beans, enough grill meat to choke a horse and, naturally, fermented liquids of all kinds.

Oh, and Jell-o shots. Not surprisingly, those bad boys got the tongues rolling. A lot. All seated lazily, listening to the rain pound on the roof, my mother pipes up in between bites of a massive piece of blueberry cake, crumbs already covering her sweater about three bites in.

"Nina (cousin), where did you get those Capri pants? They're the perfect length, the perfect color, the perfect fit. I've been looking for a pair like that forever."

We all waited for the answer to this universe-changing question.

"Wal-Mart, I think." It was that easy.

My mother shook her head, the piece of cake now down to about half the size of her head.

"I have such bad luck with Capri pants. I really need to just get rid of the white ones for good."

Of course, everyone is confused at this point except for my father and I who are laughing uncontrollably at Boni's latest exploits with the cursed white Capri pants. The day before, my folks took a nice little fishing detour to the Stockbridge Bowl. The story (at least part of it, the other part I can't bear to even tell), goes that my father left my mother in charge of holding the little skiff while he backed the trailer into the water. It was a total of three minutes, at most, before he got back to the boat. My mother was there, waiting for him, but she was soaked to the waist with water. She does this often, by the way. One minute she will be walking by a window and the next she is gone. Usually laughing uncontrollably on the ground, or set of steps or driveway that has mysteriously claimed her. But she's not clumsy, of course. She usually blames her shoes or the dew or something...

"I'm not even gone more than a minute and here you are, tw*t-deep in water," he exclaims. Nothing more is said, just maniacal bursts of giggling on the ride home. And this isn't the first time. Boni has disappared, bike and all, into the perennial gardens of the Red Lion Inn, taken headers on stairs, the impact of which has made me gasp expecting to pick her up in pieces at the bottom. Winter has us all on edge because she has to walk 20 feet from her house to her business and her destiny on that patch of land always hangs in the balance.

Fortunately, we as a family, understand clumsiness. Apparently, on the same day as the Loveboat incident, my cousin was also attacked by the clumsy fairy. Something about a wine cooler getting knocked off a couch. But, it doesn't stop there, not in my family, no, no. The wine cooler then manages to spew out and cover the wall before dripping down said wall and behind the couch.

These are mild incidents, people. And these genetics keep coming back. My younger brother deliberately dumps coffee on his shirt most mornings because "it's gonna happen anyway." This is a child who managed to drop a giant box of nails on my father's foot WHILE he was driving a log truck! Even my own little cherubs, once they get on their feet, cannot seem to handle themselves with any kind of coordination. We have watched Lucian, while innocently playing a balancing game on a curb, suddenly fall, no fly, and then fall into the front bumper of an F-250 and pop right up again, brush off his shirt and say, "I'm OK!" Like he's surprised or something. The rest of us are still in shock, surprised that his head is attached to his body.

"Oh, he'll grow out of it," is my mother's mantra. I just look at her, look at the bruises on her shins and her arm brace and her white Capri pants and shake my head in doubt.

"Sure he will."

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