Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Too Much Togetherness

Among the odder traits of my family is the fact that we don’t go anywhere alone. Chances are if one of us is coming to visit you so are the rest. Especially if there is a party involved.

My sister CK lives as far away from home as she can get with out actually leaving the country. Smart girl, that one. I don’t live quite that far from the rest of them, but far enough that it requires a trip to the airport.

Airports HATE ME. Once, I spent three days in the airport in Manchester, NH waiting out a hurricane and snow storm and a plane with hydraulic issues. It was NOT cool. This trip was somewhat less dramatic; though, of course, my plane was delayed five times and wound up landing 3 hours late. I consider anything less than 6 hours late on time when I’m flying.

The reason for the trip was CK’s “surprise” bridal shower. I say “surprise” because she’s known about it for months. We’ve got big mouths, us Murphy Girls.

So, there we are, descending on NYC in the midst of a heat wave. 90+ degrees and nearly 80% humidity. It was fucking oppressive. I thought I was going to literally melt into the pavement. Of course, every time someone asked where I was from, they’d follow it up with “Oh, well you must be loving this heat!” Uh, NO. See, the thing is, in Phoenix, when it’s that fucking hot, when it’s exactly as hot and wet as the inside of a sauna, we have the good sense to STAY INSIDE where there is this amazing new invention called AIR CONDITIONING. We do not wander the streets, we do not ride crowded public transportation and we definitely don’t plan out door events for 1:30 in the afternoon.

My family on the other hand is fucking INSANE. Which is why it seemed like a good idea to ride the subway from Queens to Manhattan to shop on Saturday. You know, because being crammed up against 50,000 tourists in SoHo is just like a big sweaty orgy, but with Assistant Coach purses and people selling random shit stolen from unattended laundry rooms out of suitcases on the street. And who doesn’t like orgies?

The thing about traveling with my mother, grandmother and sisters is that I wind up spending LOTS AND LOTS of “quality” time with them. And you know what? I remember why I live far away. Just kidding. Kind of. I love my family. In small doses. Small doses that involve medicinal drinking. To this end, I packed six flasks in my luggage. What? They weren’t ALL for me. One was for my Gramma.

Saturday night, after a simulated Bataan Death March through the Union Square area we had dinner with sister’s future in laws out on Long Island. They’re absolutely bat shit crazy, the kind of crazy which makes my family look like the a happy hybrid of the Cleavers and the Walton and the kind of crazy that makes you begin to wonder if the bride and groom shouldn’t strongly consider moving to a foreign country where people live in mud huts and you have to ride a flatulent quadripedial animal 16hrs through wilderness to visit them. This is all I’m going to say about them though, because crazy or not they’re my sisters family. KL and I spent the evening sneaking to the kitchen to top off the “ice” in our diet cokes. And by “ice” I mean “Crown Royale”.

When we were finally paroled, KL & I dropped Mom & Gram at sister CF’s apartment in Sunnyside and headed for the bar.

For those of you unfamiliar with Queens, Sunnyside is possessed of a large number of Irish immigrants. Which is awesome, because the Irish love to drink. And WE love to drink. It’s a match made in alcoholic heaven.

KL and I hit Maggie Mays downed a couple of doubles and decided to head back up 40th so that when we did finally reach “drunk” from our current state of “happy” we were at least in a fairly straight line from the apartment. This is how we wound up in Dillon’s.

Can I just say, I love random, dimly lit, smoky, dubiously inhabited bars like Dillon’s?

I order us another round and we slide into a booth that happens to have a deck of cards. We play cards rather loudly and with no resemblance to any actual game, but with a level of hilarity that drew the attention of a number of other bar goers. Including a rather handsy guy in scrubs who insisted on kissing me repeatedly about the hands, arms and cheeks while gazing adoringly at KL. It wasn’t long before we were joined by an Irish Guy, who while not fresh off the boat, still spoke with a brogue you could cut with a knife. He was quite drunk as well and decided that since we wouldn’t join him for a joint that he’d impress us with his card sharking. So we pick a card, any card, he shuffles, does whatever it is the trick entails and begins to show us cards, “is this your card?” he asks and we say no, so he asks again, still no, a third time and hits the card, so we say yes. With out even skipping a beat he moves on to the next card, which, shockingly, was not our card. The trick completely screwed at this point he yells “Ah, feck it! Gib me a beer!” and we return to our random game that requires cheating, lying, slapping one another and more cheating.

At three forty five, three double C&C’s and a pair of black & tans into the night we stumble (literally) back to apartment.

This meant we were still drunk when my mother cheerfully woke us up at 7:30 the next morning.

You know what? Riding in the back of a Versa to Long Island, when it’s 98* and you’re still drunk? NOT A GOOD IDEA. Also, New Yorkers are VERY LOUD talkers.

We made it through the shower, initiated a few new Sugar Plum Nightmares and headed back to the boroughs at about 5p.m. Now, the problem with THAT is we had no fucking clue where we were so we took some random combination of freeways that involved only abbreviated designations like “BQE” and “LIE” wound up lost in a rather seedy looking section of Queens. How we got there, I have no idea because I’d dozed off (or, um, passed out from knocking off 10 or so glasses of rum punch in the previous 4 hours) in the back seat and didn’t awake until I heard my mother saying “If you don’t stop yelling at me, I’m going to get out and leave you here!”

Which she did.

This was inconvenient because she was driving.

Eventually, she did come back for us though and a very nice guy from the Bronx whose neck tattoos were all very tasteful got us pointed in the right direction.

It only took about 68 more turns and an hour of deciding if we were going north, south or straight to hell and we made it back to the apartment safe and sound.

KL & I decided the only sensible solution was to get the hell out of there, which we promptly did. Back on the Subway of Heat Prostration and back into Manhattan to CK’s apartment to play WII for a few hours and we were counting ourselves lucky to have made it this far with out committing some sort of matricide involving strychnine and diet Coke.

By the time midnight rolls around we’re back on the subway getting hit on by an interesting variety of extremely forward men; including one who was sorely disappointed that we didn’t wish to consider a trip back to his apartment.

Monday morning dawns the same temperature & humidity as the inside a pot of soup and I’m pretty sure that if I have to spend one more minute with these people I’m going to have to stab myself in the neck with a fork. I mean seriously, I was THERE WHEN THAT STORY HAPPENED you don’t have to tell it to me again and NO I do not talk to whatever random person whose mother you happened to see on the bus any longer, I didn’t know and don’t care that Susie So&So from Sunday school just had her fifth baby and IF YOU MAKE THAT NOISE ONE MORE TIME I WILL GO LICK THE THIRD RAIL, I SWEAR TO THE LORD BABY JESUS, AMEN.

Another trip down Canal street, in & out of way too many shoe stores, $20 in random crap emblazoned with the Yellow Rat Bastard logo and I’m very, very grateful to be in a dubious cab that smells like ass and is running so close to empty in the gas tank that it’s a miracle we make it all the way to the airport with out having to push the car the last few miles.

Into a flying cattle car, wedged up against a kid who shit himself somewhere over Oklahoma and six extremely bumpy hours of breathing through my mouth and I’m home to enjoy the 100* night air.

But it’s a dry heat.

By this morning, a mere 36 hours after leaving them, I find I miss them and can’t wait for our next family vacation.

Which is arguably evidence of mental illness on my part.

5 little kittens say Meow:

Nadine Hightower said...

And when do we get to go back for the wedding???

Eric said...

Get a GPS so you can find your way to the nearest bar without getting lost!

Darlene said...

OMG, it was like I was there with you. Thanks for that trip to crazy town. Glad you are back though. We missed-ded you too much!

kwr221 said...

In some strange way, I wish I was there.

Sounds like a fun adventure and I ALWAYS love NYC.

CK said...

I'm glad I found this! You pretty much described any night I've ever spent in Dillon's. The only bad part about real neighborhood bars, is that they are...neighborhood bars.

It's a little disquieting to run into the cute irish boy from the bar on sunday morning at the FoodTown, where his cart holds only a can of peas, 2 potatoes and a six pack of beer.(true story!) or worse, his badly-dressed irish girlfriend.

Ask CF about the MTA guy we met in Dillon's sometime. I think it took her a couple of years of discouraging him before he stopped hijacking her on the street for long boring conversations about the intricacies of the 7 line.