Sunday, April 1, 2012
Cornbread and Public Indecency
The inherent differences between my father and I have never been quite as obvious as they were this weekend. I arrived at the San Jose airport returning from a week-long project management certification for the government and I was wearing a basic travel outfit of colored chinos, white oxford, white Jack Purcell lace-ups and a grey cardigan because something’s got to absorb the boldness of mi pantalones (that’s Spanish). For this trip, my chinos were fuchsia. Fuchsia is the physical manifestation of the word awesome. Now, you don’t have to dress like me in order for me to refrain from judgment but when my Daddy rolled out of his truck to let me drive home, he was wearing his redneck uniform (jeans with suspenders, pocket t-shirt and Tractor Supply hat). And this, I truly don’t mind. However, the addition of house shoes with no socks was a bit much as was the fact that his pants were not buttoned or zipped because, I assume, he couldn’t be bothered after his pre-airport toileting. I’m not sure I even want to know the reasons why.
After we got home and I unpacked, he reminded me that since I was away for his “day to pick the groceries” that he wanted to pick where we ate dinner. I was too tired to cook so I heartily agreed and left to go get the BBQ pizza and wings he had seen on a commercial. I guess he is susceptible to suggestion, too. Maybe that’s where I get it.
On the way back from Round Table Pizza, I stopped to get our drinks (Coke Zero for him, Snapple Diet Peach Iced Tea for me) at the quickie mart down the street. When I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed a woman with her pants completely pulled down. Like all the way down. I saw more of her butt cheeks than I have of my own. And she was urinating. Squatting beside a gas pump. Visible from the street. Without shame. I thought at first I must be hallucinating as this is just not something I expect to see even in California, land of the heathen. And then we locked eyes. The amount of confidence she exuded could have gotten her a career in politics had her lot in life been a different one.
I parked and walked inside and said to the cashier, “You know that woman by the gray pickup is urinating in your parking lot?”
The cashier said, “Dang, man, I told her our bathroom was ‘Employees Only’ but she could ignore the sign and use it anyway.”
After I paid, I left still not believing I had seen what I had seen. I couldn’t wait to get home to tell The Dad and then we could laugh about how gross people are and maybe he’d remember some misbegotten adventure with some heinously white trash cousin and we’d be set for dinner time conversation if I included my extensive knowledge of the behavior of sketchy folks. Sometimes at dinner, we read because there’s just not a whole lot to say between two people who have nothing in common but their lack of commonalities.
After I told the story, he just looked at me. I said, “I still can’t believe it.”
He replied, “There oughta be a law.”
I said, “I think there has to be.”
He said, “I hope so. I mean, businesses shouldn’t be allowed to have an ‘Employees Only’ bathroom.”
I stared and said, “THAT’s what you got out of my story?”
He looked confused and said, “What?”
“You think the weird thing was the bathroom rules and not the woman who stripped half-naked and tee-teed on the side of a gas pump facing the street?”
“What’s the big deal about that?”
“You’ve done it before, haven’t you?”
“I see what you think about me.”
“Answer the question please. Have you or have you not urinated in public?”
“I won’t dignify that with an answer,” he said with more disdain than is warranted from a person who considers potted meat an amuse bouche. My assumption was based on the fact he was eating it when I got home knowing full well I was en route with dinner. Excuse me, SUPPER.
I wasn’t sure what else to say so I just stopped talking while he pouted. Then we shared our pizza and wings and the ensuing indigestion. Nothing says uncomfortable like two people attempting to burp in silence.
I felt kind of bad so this afternoon I made cornbread. In a cast iron skillet. Just like a Southern woman, which is fine except I am not a woman and do not remember purchasing said skillet. Where would one obtain this item, anyway? Aren’t they just always there in a southern family, like grits for breakfast or crazy relatives? I try to tell him love isn’t buying things but apparently I think love is cooking things. Otherwise I have no explanation for my behavior.
These latent abilities in the kitchen are a little closer to my roots than I am comfortable admitting at this juncture. I need to go put on a smoking jacket and cravat and read something really pretentious, just to be on the safe side. Full disclosure, I would need to buy a smoking jacket and cravat, but I could just go sit on my sun porch and silently judge people while pretending to read French deconstructionist philosophy or, at the very least, the Andy Warhol diaries.
He really enjoyed the cornbread.
He never did answer my question.