One of the many attributes that my daughter inherited from me was a love of reading. This can be good, but also has a bad side. We get addicted to books. We wallow in them. As a result, we both have the horrible habit of reading during meals. Since my husband is not a big reader, and it seems a bit rude to completely ignore him the few times a week he is able to join us for a meal, I established the “3-Person Rule.” When there are 3 or more people at the table, no one can be reading.
According to my daughter, this is the equivalent of being banished to Guantanomo. At least 3 times a week, it’s only the two of us at the table because I have to feed her before one of her extra-curricular events and my husband is not home, yet. So, she is happy. And I am happy. Because the book takes her mind off my bad cooking. And I get to read, too.
But when we have “family dinners”, she reads until I, the last one, finally sit down at the table, then glares at me, sighs dramatically, and pushes the book to the side.
That’s when it gets fun.
One of the many attributes that my daughter inherited from my husband was an aversion to small talk.
So, we sit in silence, the three of us, until my daughter says to me, “Don’t you have any stories to tell?” Not because she wants to hear them, but because she is bored. And she refuses to reveal anything about her personal life. And my husband just doesn’t really want to talk. So, it’s all on me – the woman forcing my family to socialize with each other.
And then I rack my brain for a story that I haven’t told a million times that’s appropriate to talk about at the dinner table.
My supply is being quickly depleted.
Today, I couldn’t think of anything. But, right when I ate my last bite (being a teacher who usually has 20 min. to eat, I’m always the first to finish), I remembered something. I regaled them with a true story from a book that I was reading. It involved someone who had been treated terribly as a child by his parents. Not exactly great table talk. But it was all I had.
“So, you see? You are so fortunate to have great parents like us!” I observed.
Without missing a beat, Dimples looked pointedly at my empty plate and said, in her best exasperated tone, “Who won’t leave the table even though they are done eating!”
Ah, the mistreatment that poor child has to endure.
Twenty years from now, she will show up for an appointment with some unsuspecting therapist who will be subjected to an hour of unrelenting anguished tales about the parents who abused her by forcing her to put down her book at the dinner table.
Oh, wait a second. No he won’t.
Because she’ll be too busy reading a book.
I’ve often said that Wonderbutt is a literary dog. He tends to eat books rather than read them, however. Lately, though, he has shown great interest in attending my reading sessions in my daughter’s bedroom in the evening. This started while we were reading the James Herriot book, so I thought he just enjoyed animal stories. But, we’ve since moved on to an adventurous fantasy novel, and he continues to join us each time. (When I say, “join”, I mean that he leaps up out of a deep stupor whenever I head toward her room, and races me to the usual spot by the beanbag where he then collapses by my side as soon as I begin to read.) I would feel honored by his eagerness to participate – if he didn’t start snoring and passing gas in the middle of my orations.
I think that someone who is following me is following me.
Okay, I don’t really think that – mostly – but I thought of that sentence, and it sounded kind of fun and confusingly ironic. So, there it is.
I mostly don’t think the follower is following me, but there is a tiny bit of me that wonders. And I usually like to display those tiny bits on this blog for the entertainment of others – and just in case something happens to me and I end up missing and you need some clues to find my body.
So, what happened was that the whole family made a trip to Half Price Books on Sunday. We brought a trainload of books to sell on THE EXACT SAME DAY THE REST OF SAN ANTONIO DECIDED TO SELL THEIR BOOKS. And, of course we were not first in line. And, of course, Half Price Books has this silly little policy that you need to remain in the store until they call you with a quote.
So, we spent twelve hours in the store.
Okay, it might have been just 63 minutes. But it was just long enough for us to find enough books so that the quote that we got was for exactly $1 less than the price of the books we were going to buy.
And long enough for a perfect stranger, dressed in a suit, to address me as I walked down an aisle to find my daughter, with, “Well, hello.”
Now I’ve been out of the game for awhile, but I seem to remember that when a person who is completely unknown to me finds a reason to say, “Well, hello,” putting an accent on the “lo” part, and there is no one else around but me, that they are trying to start a conversation with me. And the only reason to start a conversation with me is to: sell me something, preach to me about salvation, or pick me up.
I didn’t wait around to find out which of those three actions Mr. Suit had in mind. I mumbled something, and made a beeline for my daughter.
“Why would someone try to sell me something in the middle of Half Price Books?” I thought. And then I realized I had been standing in the Religion section – completely by accident, I swear – and I thought, “Oh, he is probably on a mission to save me from becoming a Jedi Knight.” And then I remembered I’d forgotten to wear my wedding ring.
“Oh my God. He was hitting on me!” I thought. Because, let’s face it – how would he know of my intentions to be a Jedi Knight? It’s not like I carry a light saber around with me.
So then I spent the rest of our interminable time trying to avoid Mr. Suit, who eyed me knowingly every time I rounded a corner.
Now here is where the follower following me part comes in.
I went home, and that night my professional blog had a new follower. And, I swear to Yoda, his little mini-profile picture looks like Mr. Suit.
Now, admittedly, I am a very paranoid, yet strangely unobservant person. And, it’s possible that I just think they look alike because they are both male and wearing suits. It’s unlikely they are the same person because Blog Follower dude lives in New York according to my extensive Google detective work.
But I’ve definitely learned my lesson.
From now on, I must always wear my wedding ring when I go to Half Price Books.
And start carrying my light saber.
Yesterday I had to fend off a wild beast with an artificial vagina.
Okay, the beast was not so wild. But she was extremely forward. Apparently, the father of my daughter’s swim coach feeds her from his hand, so she expects the same treatment from anyone else who visits the back yard. Her name is Rhonda.
Oh, and, as you probably suspected, I did not use an artificial vagina. I used my cell phone. And I didn’t really beat her with it. She backed off when she realized it wasn’t food.
These are the kinds of adventures I have in suburban San Antonio.
They aren’t very newsworthy, I’m afraid.
James Herriot, on the other hand, the British country vet who wrote a series of books about his life, really did, apparently, get to repel an angry bull by beating it on the face with an artificial vagina. The bull, not surprisingly, was a bit upset at this man who kept interfering with things each time he tried to “service” a cow.
Comedy gold. This kind of thing never happens to me.
Instead, I find myself in the enviable position of reading the chapter about it out loud to my 10 year old daughter, and explaining the concept of artificial insemination to her. Because I:
a.) have absolutely no memory of reading that particular chapter when I read the book at her age – or even when I read it again a few years ago
2.) am too lazy to read ahead to see if this might be a chapter best skipped
III.) have not enough imagination to “wing it” and make something completely different up when encountered with the sentence, “All you did was wait till the bull started to mount, then you directed the protruded penis into the A.V.”
Quatro.) was so relieved that this chapter did not include the death of any animals that I figured I might as well keep on going.
For her part, my daughter seemed to take the entire thing completely in stride as she folded her clothes while I was reading – although we both lost it completely when the bull slipped during his millionth attempt to mount the cow and avoid the vet trying to grab his penis, and “slid clean under the cow.”
I thought that I had no use for an artificial vagina. Actually, I never thought about an artificial vagina, period. But now that I have seen its potential, I am thinking of looking for one on eBay.
I think it could come in useful as a conversation starter. Plus, our houseguests could use it to fight off our bulldog, Wonderbutt, when he tries to hump their legs.
I’m going to get a story out of this somehow.