Saturday, July 12, 2008

Country Comes to Town

My mom, aunt and cousin will be spending the weekend with me. My cousin is coming late, of course, so she won’t be getting here til tomorrow.

But my aunt and my mom arrived today. It took them forever to get here. We’re going to see Kenny Chesney on Sunday, who is from our hometown. My mom thought, “It’d be nice for Kenny to look out at the crowd and see orange,” so she wants us all to wear Tennessee t-shirts to the concert. I think it’s nice for Kenny that we bought tickets to his concert. They wanted us to match so they stopped at three, count them - three - Tennessee paraphernalia stores until they bought four matching Tennessee t-shirts and four matching Tennessee cowgirl hats. Which, evidently, will be our costume for Sunday. Oh, the hilarity that will ensue.

Tonight, however, was hilarious all on its own. They called me soon as they got off at the exit for my apartment, even though they weren’t going to my apartment - they were going to a hotel. My mom asks me where their hotel is. I say, “I don’t know, Mom, is it the one you stayed at before?” She said she didn't have directions, and that I needed to look it up. "The Sheraton Atlanta Downtown," she said. So I turn my computer on, and she asks me what the address is. “Mom, I just turned the computer on. It needs a minute to boot up.”

“Her computer is booting up,” she explains to my aunt, “Well, we don’t know where to go. We’re turning on Spring Street because I don’t know what road the hotel is on.”

“Ok…well, it’s not on Spring Street, that I know.”

“It’s the Sheraton Downtown. It’s near your apartment. We walked to that restaurant we liked.”

“Ok, Mom, I remember. I just looked it up. You need to go around the block. But I don't think it's the one you stayed at before.”

“Will you stop! She keeps talking to me. What?? Where am I going? I’m just turning around the block because I know it’s not this direction.”

“Great, Mom, that's good. Actually it is, but that road turns into a one-way. Did you turn? Where are you?”

“Ok, now we’re on Peachtree. No, Peachtree Place. Is Peachtree Place ok?”

To her credit, there are 36 streets in Atlanta with the word “peachtree.” “No, Mom, that’s not right. You can stay on that road, but turn right on Peachtree Street. Just Peachtree. Not West Peachtree.” It is a bit ridiculous that everything has the same name.

“She said we need to be on Peachtree.” A response to my aunt's "Where are we going?" from the passenger seat. “Ok, now we’re on Peachtree. What do we turn on next?”

“You’re gonna go for awhile, I think about two miles, and then you turn onto Andrew Young International. You’re going to turn left.”

“I don’t know. It’s the Sheraton, right? We’re going the wrong direction. I think it’s the other way.”

“No, Mom, it’s this way.”

In the background, I hear my aunt tell her there are three Sheraton hotels in Atlanta. And she’s correct. Sheraton Downtown, Sheraton Buckhead and Sheraton Suites which is up north on Cobb Parkway. “She says there are three Sheratons. I don’t think you’re taking us to the right one. It’s the Sheraton Downtown.”

“Yeah, Mom, I got it. It’s about two miles ahead. Keep driving.”

"But there are three Sheratons. Are you sure you're taking us to the right one? We're on Peachtree, but where do we turn?"

"Andrew Young International. You need to turn left."

"Ok, which way do we turn?"

"Left, Mom. There are three Sheratons, but this is the only one in Midtown. This is the only one near me. There's one in Buckhead, and the Sheraton Suites is far away, north of the city."

"Well, your aunt says that there's one in Buckhead and there's one, what is it, T? The Suites, that's probably the one we stayed in."

We argue about this for several minutes, and she tells me, "The internet is wrong." She's frustrated and says she’ll call me back. Thirty minutes later, she calls back to say that the Sheraton Downtown moved, and they don’t like the new one so my aunt will be staying with me tonight and somewhere else tomorrow. They also are tired of driving and "need" margaritas.

Eventually, they get to my apartment where my mother tells my aunt they have to change clothes. She always bosses my aunt around, and she obeys! It’s like a comedy routine. She says, “We’re in the city now. Atlanta is a city. And they dress up here.”

So we all dress up. To eat Mexican food.

We get to the restaurant and order a pitcher of margaritas. Within mere seconds, my aunt and mom are completely shitfaced. My aunt tells me about the first time she got drunk. This is hilarious because she’s very conservative and very Southern Baptist. Then the two of them tell me about a time when two guys that lived near them in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (yes! Home of the atomic bomb!) took them out to clubs because they’d never been to clubs before. The guys made them go to allllll the clubs in Oak Ridge (that would be three) and “drink the special.” My mom and aunt got so drunk they puked the whole next day.

Next, my mom asks me to tell them a story about me being drunk. I tell them the Drunken Mess story because I know they’d like it, and they do. I also tell the story about when I was in high school and had the lamest party at the neighborhood clubhouse while my parents were out of town. My mom’s heard this one, but my aunt hasn’t.

Suddenly, my aunt’s eyes get really big, and she says, “Do you know what she said about us?”

Before I can say, “What?” she tells me, “Your mother said that because we’re tender hearts, we get picked on.”

I look at my mom, and she says, “It’s like with animals. The runts always get picked on.”

Ha. Great. My mom just called me a runt. My aunt laughs and says, “It’s ok. She’s drunk.”

My mom’s eyes get big and wide and she says, “Tuh huh? I ams noooot druthunk.”

Meanwhile, the waiter comes back and starts to pour more margarita into our glasses from the pitcher. Before he can, my mother announces, “There’s a knat in there.”

He looks confused and says, “Ma’am?”

“There’s a bug. A little knat. In the margarita pitcher.” We were sitting outside on the patio. I tell him it’s fine, and she says, “We are in Georgia, you know. They have knats.”

The poor guy apologizes and says he’ll come back with a new pitcher. When he does, my mom tells him he didn’t have to do that, she just wanted to tell him there was a knat. He nods slowly and looks at me, pleading for help, before backing away from the crazy redneck women.

My aunt has had half a margarita and is as drunk as I’ve ever seen her. She knows it too. She tells me that any minute now, she’s going to find some Italian women to dance with. We took a cruise on the River Seine several years ago, and she had so much wine, she spent the whole night dancing with drunk Italian women. She then says she doesn’t think I can drive us home.

My mom says she can. And that she can see better when she drinks because alcohol cures her astigmatism. We laugh at her. She then asks about my friend, “the construction worker,” and if I saw him before I left. I am entirely confused. I say I don’t know anyone who’s a construction worker. She says, “Oh yeah you do, that boy, what’s his name? The neighbor? You went to dinner with him?”

I shake my head and say, “Mom. He’s a defense contractor. For the government.”

She says, “Yeah, I know.”

I laugh, “Do you know what that is? He’s a government contractor. The government hires contractors to do different jobs and projects. They don't build anything. Like in Iraq. All those contractors that have been getting in trouble? Or do they tell you that on Fox News?”

My aunt interjects that Fox News is good, and the other networks are “liberal hippies.” I then attempt to explain to my mother that a defense contractor doesn’t build tanks and tell her examples of different projects contractors work on. She shakes her head and says she needs more salsa and for me to ask “that man” for more salsa.

My aunt wants to know what E is up to. I tell her that poor E is at a rehearsal dinner, and she's the only one there without a date. And they're not even serving alcohol. My mom cocks her head to the side and says that she likes margaritas. "Yes, you do, and isn't it a pity they don't have margaritas at that rehearsal dinner?" She nods as she slurps down the last of her 4th margarita.

My mom asks when I’m going to see my ex because she wants me to get my keys back. I tell her I don’t know, we haven’t talked for a couple weeks. She tells me about a guy she used to like who lived in the apartment next to her. Here we go, another drunken pearl of wisdom from Mom.

“And you know what I did? I brought a bottle of wine to his apartment and asked if he had a bottle opener. And then after the wine was open, I asked if he wanted a glass!” She laughs so hard she puts her hand over her face. “And that’s what you have to do. You have to use your head.” Just to make sure there's no confusion, she points at her head, “You have to be clever. So for the next one. Be clever. Do you still talk to that pilot?" My mother's one attempt to set me up.

“Yeah, I do. Thanks, Mom. Are we ready to go?” My aunt is concerned I can’t drive because she’s drunk. My mom offers to drive, and I tell her that she can’t drive because she thinks she sees better under the influence. She proceeds to count the moons in the sky. One and a half. I drive. When we get back home, my aunt gives me $60 to go to the store for milk and ice cream. This is going to be a great weekend.


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