tales of a girl in the city

juillet 06, 2005

My 4th

"The dog just ate a nest of baby bunnies."

My dad wakes me up with this news, and I know I'm back in Wisconsin, in the little log house in the country. Where I grew up.

I don't let the dog lick me for the next three days, because it's gross, thinking about what he wolfed down, all in one great, slobbery gulp. But, I realize, he is a dog, unlike the pampered, puffed up kind that trots up Fifth Avenue, or--even worse--gets carried around in it's own Birkin bag. This dog does dog things. Without apologies.

I nickname him Frankie "Watership Down" [insert my last name here] anyway. Just to keep him humble.

While I'm home, I have brunch with my gram at the restaurant part of a Day's Inn. The restaurant still has fake Christmas trees up, and the food tastes like nothing, except for the pizza, which tastes like eggs.

My relatives like the food, but I've come for the company; my aunts and uncles, one cousin and Gram, all here for the morning to say hello and find out how my life is in the Big City.

They are not without their own adventures. My aunt has just retired. My uncle's band is "giggin'." He laughs when he tells me they played at a church. A rebel in his earlier years--a different trashy girlfriend every holiday, and a even house once burned down by someone he owed money to--he never believed he would grow up enough to have a church job. But there he is, telling us about the old ladies that sway back and forth while they watch him play guitar.

A different uncle mentions his eyesight. "You're getting floaters," the others tell him, and he nods. This is strange because he's the one I know as the youngest. My first memories of him are probably when he was in his late twenties. As old as I am now.

The meal goes off with almost no mention of politics or the fact that I'm not baptized--two subjects that usually get my grama going. She calls my cousin's gay friends "homos" once, while digging into another hush puppy, but other than that, she's all smiles throughout the meal. This time, I pass muster and she lets me know it. I'm thin she says. And--examining my face as she hugs me--so beyootiful. This gives her great pleasure. She's kind of a snob.

"I've just had a good meeting with a casting director from All My Children," I tell her, and everyone at the table "ooh's" and "ahh's" like I am the fireworks.

"Let us know if you're going to be on!"

Of course the world will know if I'm on, thanks to my dad, but I don't say that. Instead, I try to temper their expectations, "My friend Angel was just on. Her only line was, 'Here's your check.'"

They nod as if they will keep themselves reigned in, but I know it's too late. I remember the time a basketball game watching Michael Jordan and The Bulls became, "Katie went to a basketball game and sat by Michael Jackson." Creativity runs in our genes.