Friday, January 12, 2007

Slow Down and Smell the Bacon or "I'm With the Band, Man"

So I probably should have put this post before the last one, but this is my little description of the unique experience of arriving back in Alabama from New Jersey for the holidays. It happens everytime. From the moment the plane wheels leave the Newark Airport, the relaxing starts. Doesn't really matter where I'm going--simply leaving NJ seems to work--but this effect is strongest when I'm on a plane back to Alabama.

It's been tough this past year since I've only seen my family for two weeks during the summer and at Christmas, so I was really looking forward to being at home. Usually, this sort of homesickness manifests itself as vague depression where I find myself cuddled up to the kitchen cabinets and crying on the floor for no apparent reason, but fortunately, I was too busy with work and school to get sad this time. (I know. Even I think it's a pathetic image.) After group grading portfolios all day on Friday, I boarded a plane for Bama on Saturday morning. I transferred in my favorite US airport, Charlotte, and then went on to Birmingham.

The transition is gradual. The Charlotte airport provides me with the Southernness that I've missed so much while still offering me wine bars and The Body Shop. Occasionally, I'm so happy to be back anywhere Southern that I start talking to random people, giving them way too many details about my life (I inherited this from my mother). "Hey, it is so nice to be back in the South. I miss the accents! I've been at school in New Jersey...I know, I'm not sure how I ended up there either...but I'm finally going home to Alabama. My mama'll be proud to see me." And so on. It's funny to see people's eyes change from politely listening to not caring anymore to being afraid that you're crazy and will never stop talking to them.

Somehow, I was able to restrain myself this time and not bother people too much. And then I went to Birmingham. Oh, Birmingham. Thanks. You called me ma'am so many times you'da thought I was an old lady. You opened doors for me and helped me with luggage. You're a real sweetie.

And another thing was different from Newark and Charlotte: the smell. As I walked toward the terminal from the plane, I felt the welcome heat and humidity (no matter that it was mid-December, it's still in the upper 70's!) and curiously, the smell of bacon. There was not even a restaurant nearby, but the salty, smoky goodness had evidentially permeated everything in the state. Even the very edges of airport terminals. Then there was the noticeable change of pace. Things move slower in Alabama. I like being able to walk slower with out being pushed out of the way, cussed at, or insulted because I didn't have my "city pace" on. Some things about my home state that are directly related to this slower way of life are annoying or backward, but for a few hours in a muggy airport, I appreciated it.

Dale picked me up from the airport because I was going to see Smuteye play their FIRST SHOW that night. I'm sorry, did I say going I meant being their biggest fan/groupie/roadie. They were really good and very fun, and hopefully, one of the band members will post the pictures I took during the show while holding my vodka in the other hand. Oh, yeah baby, I'm with the band. Which I actually got to say to the door manager. My father would be so proud.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Crazy Lorena and The Ballad of Bud Lamar

Those of you that know me also probably know my sister. And if you know her or have heard me talk about her, you should understand why Dominic has always referred to her as Crazy Lorena. My sister, whose actual name is Lauren, is very unique and very funny. She's a free spirit who has a history of making questionable choices, so when I tell you this, perhaps you'll be struck with the same fear I experienced.

After talking to my sister on the phone one afternoon, I spoke to my mom later that night. When mom asked me if my sister had anything to tell me, the old sinking feeling started again. Turns out that my sister had gotten engaged that very day and didn't even tell me about it during our phone call.

So naturally, I got hysterical. Crying and voicing my fears to my mother. For these reasons:
  • His name is Bud Lamar
  • He is 24 and has 2 children
Eventually, I calmed down and gave her poor ears a break. Later that night, I got a tearful VOICEMAIL from Lauren explaining that she didn't want to tell me earlier because I sounded aggravated during our phone conversation. Oh, and that she was engaged.

I called her the next day. Not so I could tell her congratulations, but because I wanted to hear her apology for telling me she was engaged in a message. I was furious and indignant and felt totally left out. Like I was losing my sister to this man.

However, my visit home over Christmas changed all of this. Lauren and Bud picked me up in Montgomery, and we had a really nice drive home. I actually liked Bud right from the start and this only continued for the rest of the holiday. He really cares about my sister and loves my family, so how can I complain? He's cute and funny (and a very good dad to his two beautiful children) and he can build stuff. I even found myself cooking dinner with the hopes that Lauren and Bud would come over. And he's an organizer (but not crazy OCD) which makes me trust him (because he's like me, and I like people who are like me). So, I guess I'm saying, next time you have a drink, have one for Lauren and Bud Lamar. Looks like they'll be pretty happy. And the wedding's June 16th.

On Almost Becoming a Parent

Don't worry people, I'm neither preggers nor suspected preggers though my roommate Brandon believes I am a fertility goddess. (It's the boobs.) A few months ago, said roommate and I almost adopted two beautiful smooshed-faced kitties, aka Persians. Both were gray adult cats--one traditional "blue" and the other a distinguished silver--that needed to move from their Brooklyn home because their humans couldn't spend enough time with them anymore.

Did I mention that they were beautiful? And took really cute pictures in boxes!

After finding them on craigslist, I emailed their humans, and they said I sounded like the ideal pet owner for the brother kitties that could never (we insist) be separated. Brandon and I had already discussed litter box placement and which kitty would sleep where when our downstairs landlady said she was "deathly allergic" to cats. It was a depressing evening when Brandon came back upstairs, after taking her homemade Christmas candy no less, to tell me that we could not become kitty parents. As I emailed the Brooklyn couple of the bad news, I felt my long-awaited smooshed-faced kitty dream slip through my fingers. A few days later when I checked online for their pictures, they were nowhere to be found. So, Two Gray Smooshed-Faced Brother Kitties: I know we could have been happy together, but I wish you the best (I love you...sniffle).