“You know I never like to interfere… but…”
I recently returned from a 4-night trip with several of my sisters. This, our fifth biennial sister trip, was in Ventura CA. (For the archivist: Traverse City, MI, Harper’s Ferry, WV; Santa Fe, NM; and Savannah, GA.) Thanks to one sister’s timeshare, we enjoyed sunsets over the ocean as we sat and read our various books and newspapers, drinking good red wine and looking up to chat briefly about whatever we were reading. With four of us, we could enjoy a single conversation, whereas when all six of us get together, conversation groups generally break down into smaller units.
We had time to whine about our various family and home trials and tribulations, to discuss the amazing (and not-coincidental) differences of political opinion between us sisters and our brothers and boy cousins whose opinions range from uncompassionate conservatism to wacko conspiracy theories. We spoke about our various states of health, getting old, dying, shepherding aging pets and elderly in-laws “across the rainbow bridge” and toward the light. For several days, it didn’t suck at all to be me.
Here’s the thing about spending time with sisters. We easily slipped into intimate conversations, tapping the same veins of family history, dumb jokes and reminisces to provide context. Some things you can talk about only with people who understand on such a deep level you don’t have to qualify your statements with “I love ____, but…” We shared our favorite punch lines like “Liquor? I hardly knew her!” and “Do I remember the minuet? I don’t even remember the men I f*&%ed!”
We waited too long, drinking mimosas, for our overpriced lunch at an otherwise delightful sidewalk café in Santa Barbara. We exercised our privilege as white women of a certain age and laughed too loudly, shocking the locals. When I got a box for my leftover lunch, I took the “complementary” tiny metal sauce dish that came filled with cream cheese. Well, I’m never going back there.
We (I) drove our rented Chrysler PT Cruiser over several curbs, while lamenting the awful turning radius. The hatchback trunk smelled like pot, you could see daylight between the closed passenger side door and the frame. The final insult was that the electronic key had a dead battery, and I was inconvenienced by having to actually use the key in the actual lock. How primitive! Can you blame me for punishing the car by driving into curbs?
While I’m casting blame, I also blame M1 for nixing the red Mustang convertible we could have had in lieu of the PT Cruiser. I have to assume it would have had a tighter turning radius and/or a functioning remote key. I blame Tech Support Guy for not letting us use the Prius with gps navigation, causing me to mistakenly enter Camp Pendleton Marine Base, where we were waved through by the 12 year old Marine guard at the gate who didn’t bother to notice we didn’t have a base parking sticker. I’m also pissed at Huntington Library for being closed on Tuesdays, as was the Norton Simon Museum and the Gamble House all in Pasadena. The picture of the Gamble house front door (below) was taken through the window on the patio behind the house.
We shared our favorite vulgar and unladylike synonyms for manure, or at least my sisters did when remarking upon the quality of my driving. We agreed that if, in any given conversation, the speaker forgets a crucial noun, the words “werewolf” or “tugboat” would suffice; and to our considerable surprise, this shortcut made conversations much more interesting. We visited the Mission in Santa Barbara and mused over the sanitized history of how the devout friars committed genocide on the natives in the name of the Lord. I scored the most tasteless souvenir: a credit-card sized 3-D picture of Christ on the shroud of Turin, that morphs into a lovely white man’s face – presumably that of an alive Christ - when you wiggle it in your hand. Priceless!
I wore my cheap pedometer all during the trip and logged 5k steps each day! Then I lost it – the pedometer, not the steps. Then I found it folding laundry this morning – it had been washed and dried and seems to be fine: 298 steps so far today. All in all, a very good sistertrip.