Sunday, July 15, 2012

World Peace has a new mascot

                As you know I have been buzzing around town in the ‘neck truck since my sister left in her newly purchased car o’ mine.  It hasn’t been too terrible but I am simply not a truck person.  There are specific things about my Daddy’s truck that aren’t standard on most Ford Rangers that require skills and patience that I just don’t possess.  For example, the tailgate lever (?) handle (?) thingy is missing so you have to reach in the bed of the truck and pull one metal rod one way, whilst twisting and pulling another metal rod in order to open the tailgate.  If I were that mechanically inclined, I would be an engineer instead of a bureaucrat, I assure you.  Well, maybe not, but at least I would be able to give more information to the computer help desk at the hospital other than my computer is black and I am in room 110B, Building 5.  I always tell myself that the sigh of pity that meets my repeated requests is simply “noise on the line”, which I understand is a computer term.  Right?

                You would think that someone who had been "tailgating" on more than one occasion would be more familiar with the inner workings on the gate on which we tailed, but I tailgated at Ole Miss and those gates are not of the Ford Ranger variety to be sure.  I had to let down this particular tailgate to remove his scooter so I could see out the rearview mirror.  When that machine is in the back, it looks like I’m being tailgated by a riding lawnmower that floats – like the skateboards they promised would be around in 2012 in the movie Back to the Future.    There is also the issue of the back side window.  His edition, which is ironically called a king cab, is not royal by anyone’s definition as there are roll-down windows.  I didn’t even know they made those anymore.  And it’s not like his truck is a 1921 model; it’s a 2002.  Who on earth, besides apparently my Daddy, would buy a vehicle with roll-down windows?  Okay, there are those people, but I am simply not one of them.  I never realized how many times a day I need to roll down my window.  I assumed it would be slim to none since I do not frequent drive thru fooding establishments nor do I litter, flip someone ‘the bird’ or smoke or any other behavior that would require someone to lower their window.  However, attempting to use the drive thru car wash, valet parking at work, freeing the random insect that somehow decided to ride shotgun or escaping the fumes of my father have all happened with alarming frequency.

                As I have the soul (and taste) of a trust funder but the spending habits of Scrooge McDuck, I was torn on what sort of vehicle to purchase.  I wanted it to be something that was stylish and attractive but not so expensive as to induce nausea each month when the payment was due.  I know that Dave Ramsay says you should buy a car with cash, but I could not stomach driving that truck any longer.  Some of my outfits simply refused to travel in that particular vehicle.  I have had to return to my room to change out of anything overtly preppy as the pastel chinos and even the saddle oxfords stood their ground, so to speak, and ever so gently lead me back to the closet, signaling the denim and khaki that they were substituting.  I almost said, “Substituting for this inning”!  A sports metaphor. Can you imagine?  This morning, in fact, my Brook Brothers baseball cap leapt from the shelf and onto my head as the word on the street was “Dustin’s going somewhere in a truck!”  Quelle Horror! 

                I had completed quite a bit of online comparing gas mileage, body style, level of awesomeness, etc.  I wanted a Mercedes for the sole reason of saying I had one.  That’s the only reason to buy a car like that.  If people were honest, they would admit that is the main reason you buy luxury goods is to show others that you can and they cannot.  I have a Louis Vuitton wallet.  It cost a ridiculous amount of money and it’s not even leather; its waxed cotton.  But I bought it because it made me feel fancy.  Am I that guy?  Apparently.  And the only reason I paid full retail is that LV has no outlet.  I love nice things but I do not like paying full retail.  My Coach attaché was purchase on clearance at the Coach Outlet, people.  All my Brooks Brothers clothing was either procured at the outlet mall or a thrift store.  The only other item for which I must pay full price is Spanx.  I need these undershirts to keep my post-weight-loss-pre-plastic-surgery midsection in some semblance of a midsection, y'all.  Plus, those people are doing the Lord’s work.  Can I get an amen?  Oh, really?  Ninety eight percent of the people reading this right now either have purchased, are currently wearing or really, really want Spanx.  If I was the only one, the inventor wouldn’t be something like the 3rd wealthiest woman in America.  Just saying.

But the clothes and accessories are minor purchases in comparison to buying something like a car.  That is serious money, dear readers.  Not to get all street on you, but that’s a lot of Benjamins just to feel fancy and be obnoxious.  I can be that guy for much less money, do you hear me?  I was that guy in my Chrysler Concorde.  Full disclosure, I was that guy in my ’77 Plymouth Volare.    I’ve always been uppity according to mi familia (that’s Spanish).  See?

                So I bought a 2013 Hyundai Sonata.  It looks somewhat like an S-class Mercedes and it is fat and full of cool things and I got a great deal and I am happy.  So happy in fact that when I returned home my Daddy asked me to fry some chicken.  And I said yes!  I have never fried chicken in my entire life.  I have eaten more than my fair share but I wasn’t really paying attention to how it was prepared.  Apparently he had been wanting some chicken for quite a while and was waiting for me to be in just the right frame of mind to agree.  It seems that last Sunday, Norah Jones, she of “Don’t Know Why” groovy bluesy fame, was interviewed in Parade magazine.  She talked about how her mother used to cook fried chicken when they were growing up.  I guess Ravi Shankar, her father, either married a woman from the South or his real name was Reggie and he cooked it himself, because the recipe that was remarkably similar to my mother’s, according to my father.

                So I bought buttermilk, flour, and oil on purpose and without too much shame.  I always have a little; its residual shame from when we lived in the motel in Texas when I was in high school.  Man, I’m being all “Oprah Moment” with y’all today.  Anyway, I fried it up with some onion rings and turnip greens and cornbread and sauerkraut with smoked sausage.  I apologize to anyone whose cholesterol just rose reading that sentence.  Apparently I have become even more of an old Southern lady but that, if we’re all being honest, is no longer a surprise and has become somewhat expected and actually a bit stale, as a disclosure.  Am I right?

                The best part about the fried chicken incident was that it gave me some interesting insights into my family.  I now know why my mother ate very little at supper; she was full from the snacking while cooking.  I personally “taste tested” about 4 or 5 onion rings and ate more "goodies" than I should.  Goodies are the crumbly pieces of crust that fall of the chicken.  My Daddy coined that term when I was very young; I had forgotten I even knew that word.  I was also forced to apologize to my Daddy for always making a mess when he fries something.  I was all OCD in the kitchen today and still managed to get grease on a number of surfaces including my suede saddle oxford.  I know, who on earth fries food wearing suede?  Just you Dustin.  Lastly, it puts my Daddy in a most festive mood; on par with someone who has won $20 bucks on a lottery scratch-off. 

From within the haze of chicken grease (apparently I got the scald just right), he has volunteered to watch both “Queen and Country”, a BBC documentary about my favorite royal QEII, and Drop Dead Diva, an over-the-top sitcom on Lifetime TV.  Maybe they should serve fried chicken at the UN and solve all these pesky world issues in one fell swoop.  Maybe they should serve it to everybody in America and end all this partisan bickering.  Paula Deen for President, y’all.  The country will be too full to fight! 

I do believe that deserves an Amen from somebody. 

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