Sunday, July 26, 2009

Skirmishes in the Cultural War

“Suddenly, something was slipping away so fast that we had not had time quite to register what it might be. All we knew was that it was irreplaceable. The way ahead seemed dark. Somewhere along the line optimism seems to have perished. Neither of us could identify this feeling of apprehensive melancholy.” Germaine Greer

I’m old enough to revisit my old haunts and realize that was another life, another person. I’m just back from such a vacation with Tech Support Guy, and “apprehensive melancholy” is a fair description of what we brought with us as we returned home.

Once upon a time, I lived in the perfect suburb where all the mommies dressed in matching velour jogging suits and tennis shoes, and enrolled their children to private dance lessons. I once hosted a wedding shower for a neighbor. Invitees included a number of neighboring mommies who brought their inherent superiority along with their gifts. My friend, who was getting married for the second time. also invited a few of the waitresses who worked at one of the local bars owned by an enterprising hippy where she was employed as chief accounting officer. There was a bit of tension between the color-coordinated mommies and the skinny waitresses who were the prototype of women who go out in packs for girls night out, drink a few too many appletinis and yell whoohoo a little to loudly.

One of the skinny waitresses excused herself to secretly do cocaine in the bathroom. When she returned, she did a wonderful impersonation of Julia Child. In an uneven falsetto, this is more or less what she said: “Today we’re going to make toast. First you pour and drink a glass of a crisp white wine. Then, you put two slices of Wonder bread in the toaster, have another glass of white wine, push the toast down, and have another glass of white wine. When the toaster starts smoking, you take a fork and carefully tease the toast up with one hand while drinking a glass of white wine with the other hand.” The impersonation ended in an imitation of a drunken Julie, her speech slurred beyond comprehension, passed out on the floor.

The waitress did a really good Julie Child. By this time, me and my friend both realized there were controlled substances involved. The mommies realized there were aliens in the midst of their private suburb and began to squirm uncomfortably.

Fortunately, the party began to break up about then. The mommies it seemed, all had carpools to pick up from Montessori school, or bridge club, or yoga.

And don’t get me started on the baby shower another neighbor gave my friend later that year. We played that game where each player got a small handful of raisins. Taking turns, we each told of some experience we’d had, such as riding a cable car in San Francisco. As I vaguely recall, players who shared said experience had to give up one of their raisins. The object was apparently to earn the most raisins. So, one player said she’d cheated on her husband. One of the skinny waitresses then proceeded to admit she’d cheated on her first husband. Tossing raisins across the circle one at a time, she continued that she’d cheated on her second husband, her third husband, and her current husband. Good times.


oldcrow61 said...

This is hilarious! I love it!

chaiselongue said...

Sounds as though you were lucky to get out of that suburb! I enjoyed your descriptions but would HATE the reality.

colleen said...

Great story - nothing like a little bit of rub to challenge self satisfaction, social or otherwise.

You were brave going back. I don't always have the heart to revisit past haunts.

James A-S said...

Hang on a moment. I don't get the raisin thing.
If I have been in a cable car (or, indeed, cheated on one of my many husbands) I have to give you a raisin? or do you give me a raisin if you, too have been in the same cable car? It seems a terribly complicated way to get more raisins.
Would it work as well with cashew nuts or even prunes?
Or am I overcomplicating things, here?

Frances said...

I am ashamed to say that I have just discovered this blog of yours. The link you leave me is for The Havens, I need to read both. You are brilliant and the description of the party made me felt I was there with you. Maybe I was. But was I a waitress or a mommie? BTW, I forgot to say, happy third blogaversary! :-)

Frances said...

Okay, I need another cup of coffee. Please forgive that comment, or better yet, delete it. Still brilliant though. Okay, the part about the Havens was in error. Man, I am getting senile.