Mexico was great. I didn’t get roofied. But I did nearly get into a car I shouldn’t have gotten into. I travel-palled at a tourist site with a Dominican guy, and we missed the last truck home. So he asked three other stragglers if they’d drive us down the mountain. The main guy, wearing a neon green muscle T-shirt that said “CANCUN,” looked at us through slitted eyes, planted his feet, swaying slightly, tipped his head, and took 45 seconds to light his cigarette. I watched the lighter go flick, flick, flick, wondering if this is how it all ends. When it finally lit, he took a drag and squinted at us.
“Cien pesos,” he said.
“Fine,” said my new friend. “Wonderful.”
We walked slowly to the guys’ car. Finally my new friend turned to me and said in English, “They could beat us up and leave us on the side of the road.”
“Exactly what I was thinking!” I said. “Taxi!”
I also did not romantically pursue Jack the six-foot-two pilot for United Express or Alejandro the desk guy at Macedonio Alcala Theater — SIGH — because SOME people are still trying to rush into having a baby with Strong Jawline, which involves (snore) building trust. Also reading about cervical fluid and ordering prenatal vitamins from Amazon.
So I was happy to get home and check in with my parents.
Dad: I’ve lost about ten pounds. The doctor was recommending Lipitor.
Jenny: Wow! Ten pounds? Is your cholesterol up?
Dad: Well, a little. But he mentioned Lipitor, and I was stunned he mentioned a brand-name drug. He said it was a miracle drug. I got the prescription and brought it home. And Mom just reamed me out.
(Jenny begins to type.)
Dad: I read all the side effects and was like, well, fuck this. I just started watching what I’ve been eating. Your mom and I walk about four miles. I bike about a mile to get coffee. I’ll tell you how slim I am. Remember the suit I wore to your wedding? I’m back in that. The first time I wore it was to cousin Bobby’s daughter’s wedding. Since we’ve both been working out, we were dancing a lot. Both of us had cramps in our feet when we got home. We had to get out of bed and stand up to get the cramps out! It’s not without consequences, Jenny.
A day later, I talk to Mom and tell her Dad said she “reamed him out.”
Mom: Oh, I did! I was hysterical. The doctor said you have a 45 percent chance of living longer if you take this drug.
Jenny: That sounds pretty good, right?
Mom: Seventy percent? OK, then you get the drug. Jenny, don’t type, it’s making me nervous.
Jenny (typing): OK.
Mom: I figured out it was Lipitor. I did a search on the side effects and I got to a site I go to frequently. I think it was Ask.com? There are fifty side effects!
Jenny: Dad said the same thing.
Mom: He did? Oh, there’s backstory to this. He didn’t just decide to lose weight. When he came back from the doctor, I said, did the doctor ask you any questions? He said, I told him that I exercise regularly and I eat well. And I was like, what? Which of course he wasn’t doing. I mean, in his HEAD he thinks he is. I said, he’s giving this to you because of your age. And I went with him to his therapist, who told him to meditate. I said, why didn’t the therapist recommend that before? And your dad said, he did! And I said, why weren’t you doing it, then? So I said if you don’t get shit done by July 4th — that was his deadline.
Jenny: You mean to lose weight? What were you going to do?
Mom: Oh, I don’t know. No, I said I’m not going to travel with him. Last year when we were in England, we hiked all the way to the top of Mt. Snowdon. Honest to God he was limping on the way back. I was panicking! I’m on my phone trying to call emergency, and my phone won’t let me do it. I’m like, is this an emergency? His idea was that we shouldn’t go down that route anymore. I was like, do you think I’m fucking going to go up on that mountain again?
And he has changed his eating style. Cutting out sugar, cutting out beer, cutting out his breakfast with bacon and toast and jam.
Jenny: Dad cut out beer?
Mom: Yes. Now he doesn’t have a beer a night with a couple glasses of wine. He cut out the beer. [Read: BUT NOT THE WINE. My mother is the Evelyn Beatrice Hall of wine: She will fight to the death for your right to have wine.] And some cheese. David’s idea of dieting is skipping meals. He hasn’t had sausage in a long time. We’re having guests on Friday, and he was panicking. He said, we don’t have any sausages. I said, we can go get some. We can have four sausages for our guests, one each.
Jenny: Are you still thinking of moving?
Mom: I’ve taken an attitude about this apartment. If I have to stay in this goddamn apartment and I’m saving all this money, I’m going to spend some money. Oh, I’ve been spending like crazy.
Jenny: On what?
Mom: First of all I got 30 days on Prime on Amazon.
Jenny: You got Amazon Prime?
Mom: And I have these books that I bought. I bought a dress that I have to return.
Jenny: Are you going to buy a couch? [To replace the 30-year-old couch they recently put on the curb.]
Mom: We’re not getting a couch until we decide if we’re going to move. So we have a choice of which uncomfortable chair we want to sit on in the evening. We have four.
Jenny: Are you thinking of where you’re going to move?
Mom: Yes, but David doesn’t understand what the whole point of brainstorming is about. It’s amazing that he taught it for so long and he doesn’t get it. I bring up something and he brings up five reasons why it won’t work. And I bring up something else and he brings up five reasons why it won’t work. Instead of just brainstorming. I say one neighborhood, and he says there probably aren’t any Laundromats. I’m like, well, the building will probably have one in it. As far as money, he said, we’re not going to China next year [they visit China once a year to visit my brother, who lives there]. I was like, what? He said, you said you were so miserable you’d rather have an apartment than travel. So OK, I, guess I did say that. But he’s not brainstorming!
Jenny: How are things going with “Agata” [their downstairs neighbor and nightmare landlord]?
Mom: Fine. She’s cutting off all the pretty flowers on the hostas.
Jenny: Whose hostas?
Jenny: Why is she cutting off her own flowers?
Mom: She says, well, if they dry up and fall off I’ll have to sweep them. I said, could you not cut the flowers on my side of the patio? I like them. I have to suppress this 10-year-old inside me. I have a pot with some geraniums in it, and I put it on her side of the patio by two inches. And she pushes it back.
Jenny: Are you doing this when she’s there?
Mom: No! We do it when the other person’s not there. I’m putting smiley faces on her notes downstairs in the basement. They say, “Keep the door closed,” and I put, “Please” and then a smiley face. What else can I do? I can just drink more, but that’s not good the next morning.
For this kitchen sink salad, you need:
- A bitter salad mix
- 1 carrot, chopped
- A few radishes, thinly sliced
- Lots of Bulgarian feta
- 1 Persian cucumber, chopped
- Olive oil
You need to:
- Drink more, tomorrow be damned!