Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Vacation: Day 4. Unkempt faces ...

Under ordinary circumstances I'd not be pleased. It's 6:30 a.m. and the babe is tossing and sleep-crying. At 6:30 a.m. she's probably not going back to sleep if she wake-wakes.

But today Old Lefty is at capacity. A perfectly normal breast has completely hardened with liquid gold. I'd not be surprised if my nipple popped off like a cork, endangering every eyeball in the room, hell, neighborhood. 

I'll bite. I'll take a sorta awake baby and put her to work. I snatch her from her crib and settle in for the duration of a morning meal. Sure enough, she's up for the day.  

As luck would have it, Chuck gets up with her and I fall asleep mumbling:

"Dress her in her 'I'd rather be naked' outfit. It'll be comfortable for travel."

I wake two and a half hours later.


"Seriously," I tell Chuck. "It's so full, my nipple might pop off and bust through the windshield. ... Just so you know, I've already tested this joke today."


It's a long trip, the one from Duluth to my hometown. NPR airs a debate: "Was Edward Snowden justified?" and it makes the first third of the trip go quickly.

I mistake a man in a knit cap for a nun. An elderly gent passes us, half his car crunched like an aluminum can. We trail a State Trooper and wonder which of our fellow travelers is gonna get it. People zip by us in the left lane going at least 78. Nothing happens. Then: Cocked hat. Monster energy drink sticker in the back window.

"If not him then who?" I wonder aloud.

Still nothing.


"I trimmed my beard this morning," Chuck says after a bit of silence. 
"Oh, yeah?" I say. 
"Rochester doesn't fall in love with an unkempt face the way Duluth does," he says. 


We take a time out in North Branch to wander around outlet malls. We eat in an Arby's parking lot in Forest Lake. We test out a phrase we heard while watching the Olympics last night, but use it in different contexts:

"I had six Chinese Daredevils, blacked out and woke up in some guy's basement."
"One Fourth of July when I was 12 years old I lit off a whole brick of Chinese Daredevils."
"I had to drink three glasses of milk after eating those Chinese Daredevils."
"So then he asks me if I'll do the Chinese Daredevil, so I slapped him and stormed out."


Something about the combination of long car rides and fast food makes me long for a time when it was perfectly acceptable to chuck a bag of garbage out of a moving car.

"Just 1970s it right out the window," Chuck says.

We don't. Of course. But there is nothing worse than staining a car with the smell of Arby's. It's a lingering regret. Like cleaning beer cans off the coffee table in the morning. One eye shut. Head throbbing. Sun shining on the remains of a Crave Case.


We go to dinner at a Greek restaurant, seduced by the promise of flaming cheese. But by the time the saganaki gets to our table, it's been squashed. For shame. Still, my Falafel Pita is good and we manage to keep sharp restaurant objects away from the babe.


The Parents Pista have an Apocalypse-ready amount of wine. We enjoy a red.

"Here's to the U.S. athletes," I say, skiers skiing on TV in the background.
"Here's to Words with Friends," Ma Pista says.  

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