Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Better to starve free than be a fat slave."*

    I just got back from a weekend in Omaha, Nebraska. If you’ve never been there, definitely go. The steaks are unbeatable and the traffic is totally reasonable. Also, I think fireworks recently became legal (I think that's so, though I haven't found any confirmation other than the numerous "We Definitely Sell Fireworks Here" stands I've seen in very conspicuous locations around town. So it’s an excellent place to spend the Fourth of July holiday (my second-favorite holiday after Thanksgiving, though both are food-based). Go freedom!
Friday was the night of the "Party in the Park" when my buddies, my sisters' buddies, my parents' buddies, my sisters, my parents and I watched some fireworks, listened to Huey Lewis and the News (for free!) and got intoxicated. I'm not saying all of those people got intoxicated, but my buddies and I certainly did. I had a red plastic cup in my hand the whole night: the official cup of people who are drinking something alcoholic and think they're keeping it a secret. And don't worry, we didn't drive. We walked. Hooray for America!
    On the down side, nearly every day I spent there it was over 100 degrees and the humidity was in the upper 60th percentile. I was smelling my armpits all weekend to make sure that I wasn’t making the world a worse place.
    But anyway, I was there and because of that I haven’t written anything in days. It’s sort of like time doesn’t exist in Omaha and I have this kind of extended out-of-body experience.
    When I go to sleep at night, the posters I hung in high school surround me. There’s a giant, epic Dark Side of the Moon poster over my bed and a great, big Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina poster to the side of it. There are clothes and furniture that my mom has taken to storing up there in more recent years (in fact, she’s turned my entire bedroom and Ouisa’s into closets for her “seasonal” clothes. Not sure where she kept them before…). I can reread my diary from 8th grade and rifle through notes that I got from Gabe and E in high school. I can sleep in a t-shirt from a play I was in during 9th grade. It’s very surreal.
    And then, there’s the food. All of my immediate family is very thin except for me. But their kitchen is filled with garbage. First there were the beers and bottles of wine and Scotch left over from the party, along with copious amounts of dip and chips and bread and pulled pork. But on any given day of the year, there are bags of chips, bags of chocolate chips, tons of cheese, ice cream, 18 different kinds of cereal, 23 jars of nuts, and lots and lots of full-strength Coca-Cola. And, this weekend, a BIRTHDAY CAKE, because our friend Karen's birthday is on the 3rd. A BIRTHDAY CAKE WAS IN THEIR FRIDGE ALL WEEKEND. See, I can’t live in that environment. My apartment has little to no food at any given point in time because if it’s in the kitchen, I will eat it. All of it. So clearly, the difference between the rest of my family and me seems to be that they have self-control and I have none. Cool. But who in the world is lucky enough to have a constant supply of BIRTHDAY CAKE in their fridge and the self-control not to eat it? I’m sure this also relates back to my issues with boredom.
    Boredom, as you know, weighs heavily on my mind.
    This came into play on Sunday when the water went out in my parents’ house.
    Has this ever happened to you? Because, while we don’t really think about it, it’s a very very bad thing. Especially in Nebraska. Especially in the middle of the summer.
Fireworks at Memorial Park, 2012. (Photo)
    You can’t wash a dish or wash you hands. You can’t get a glass of water (and of course, as soon as I hear I can’t drink something, I need to drink it IMMEDIATELY). I very intelligently pointed out to my dad that we had plenty of water because the fridge has a water dispenser. He very condescendingly pointed out to me that the fridge gets its water from the same place the sink does. Okay, fine.
    But there are worse problems.
    When the water goes out you can’t take a shower. And when it’s 147 degrees outside and you just came in from a walk or from gardening, not being able to shower kind of ruins your life.
    And…the toilet ceases to refill after a flushing. That may be the worst problem of all. So it's 8 million degrees, you just had an incredibly productive bathroom session and now the toilet won't flush? Yikes.
    AND YET. I lost POWER in my apartment for a couple of hours about a month ago. You think to yourself, “No big deal. I’ll just surf the web for a while.” Wait, you can’t do that, because even if you have a laptop, you can’t get online. You can’t watch a movie. If you’re going to open the fridge, you have to be judicious about it, because the more often you open that fridge, the faster your food will rot. If it’s nighttime, you can’t read a book unless you have a flashlight. You can’t get out of your parking spot if your garage has an electrical gate. If you live in a hot place, things are going to be uncomfortable. If you live alone, you really have no option other than sleep.
    Dad said that we could live longer without electricity than without water because without water, we’d die. And to that I said, “I’d rather die of dehydration than die of boredom.” And that’s true.

    Thankfully, the water came back about 4 hours later. We didn't have to discover how the Ingalls family spent their summers.
    Anywho, this one goes out to all of the 44,000 people in Washington, D.C. who have been without power for the last few days. And apparently, most of the rest of the Southeastern seaboard. My thoughts are with you, but I have zero suggestions. I can’t fight the boredom when the lights are on, so I have no idea what you people are doing. Maybe you're singing songs around a campfire? Maybe you're having sexual relations? Maybe you're engaged in conversations about how at least you can still flush the toilet? I really hope your toilets still flush.
Huey Lewis and the News: Still Very Sexy.
*Quote is from Aesop (620-564 B.C.). He was credited with all those fables, but there's no proof. But apparently, once upon a time people DESIRED to be fat. I was born in the wrong era.

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