The morning after, sitting in the hotel lobby, looking at the free breakfast buffet, a few steam trays, one of a yellow substance that holds a an unverified claim to be eggs, another sausage patties the size of dinner plates, the last a glutenous mass which if my eyes can be believed is the southern charmer, grits. There is also hot and cold cereal, some actually may be edible, although guaranteed to come complete with extra portions of high fructose corn syrup and artificial food flavoring, I stick to the weak coffee and YIKES artificial creamer…truly a hardship.
I am in the midst of a complete overload… the trailer, my digs for the last 30 days had been in actuality, a giant mind numbing sensory deprivation tank.
……..free? Nothings free…
Ok Dad!… Lets just say. the breakfast is …… its included with the room, ok?
… sitting in the lobby looking at the included breakfast…watching.
Families are there, each clan hovered around a single simple cocktail size table, piles of plates, bowls, and glasses jostling for precious tabletop real estate. Too- small tables no accident, probably furnished purposefully to insure one is not too comfortable, has to eat in haste and would never think another trip through the buffet line is worth the momentous effort of shifting all this dinnerware .
Business travelers are there too, complete and standard issue with coffee cups and blue tooth. Some stand, eating and talking to their invisible party loudly, important business folks don’t see the need in walking away from crowds while conversing, no privacy needed. I think of peacocks crowing loudly……
The third group are conventioneers each sporting their red stringed necklaces that display not only their names, but their destination and origination as well. Tampa 2010….Mary from Idaho! They too, jostle for valuable real estate around micro tables.
Conversations clearly heard, it is a three ringed circus, the family travelers around the edges, the fringes of the room, the conventioneers taking up the bulk of the room, the middle and the most as they having been here most of the week and have no polite social etiquette graces left, it is business and important work afterall each man for themselves. Finally the space is peppered throughly with the blue toothed talking, single always travels alone serious experienced business traveler.
” Well they said we could wear jeans today..”
The speaker in a low-cut top, ta ta-s exposed, bulging over a too small bra like an over filled jello bowl. Her red stringed necklace name badge hangs unmoving the only covering between the world and her…hum business. Her badge is still despite the jostling. It seems to be stuck to her breasts. I watch intently wondering if and when a gesture will dislodge the plastic from her chest….
“I mean they did say we could wear jeans right?” The jello ta tas pleads with her tablemates.
Their silence is deafening.
She finishes, stands, and turns to take her tray to the trash, her high heels a size too small for her extra long toes which seek more real estate of their own off the front of her shoe…I think of raptor claws….
Jesus Christ…. do you call that dressed?
Dad…. times change.
Is… that… her…. nickers?
The jello ta tas walks out of the lobby, her black bowed g-string high, proudly displayed way above the waist band of her jeans. The eye rolls commence as every other woman in the room calls an audible, snorts, then exhales… loudly. Her nickers have become the center ring entertainment for the mornings circus.
Husbands look, wives watch the husbands, children ever cautious to explosive situations, watch them both. Blue tooth calls go unanswered. The silence reaches a feverish pitch as Miss Ta Tas her black bow nickers, and extra long toes vanish from sight.
Silence, but only for a nanosecond.
Too loud, like cocktail party conversation where music is poorly selected, it comes flooding back…. again one has to scream to be heard. Overwhelming whining banter, TV news casters glaring effervescent blue and red HD outfits complete with flag lapel pins, whitened teeth, and complexions, blast their empty-headed opinions from over head, and I start to look for a remote…. please God, somebody …turn this shit off, won’t you all just shut the fuck up!
I see the food wasted, the full plates, cereal bowls, the half drunk orange juice milk and coffee, bagels taken and not eaten, a deluge of images and sounds leave me craving silence, sanity and an alka seztler. It is all way too much, way too soon. I have a humanity hangover… plop plop fizz fizz.
I know where relief lies; Griffy needs pills, I needed comfortable silence, routine, Sky Harbor and the trailer hold them both.
Deep breaths upon arrival, and a trip is planned, off to Honey Moon Island. We walk the sandy shore that afternoon, searching for shells is mindless soothing and a surefire safer route to reenter society. So the day after Hilda’s passing we welcome the sun and long windy shore, walking, bending, searching and finding nothing more than broken shells and peace of mind.
It was then I realized we were no longer confined to the trailer, after all our patient no longer needed us, and by Monday morning all the guests had returned home, and Griffy and I started to think about getting out on our own.
Like out. Like get in the car, drive anywhere, go anywhere, out.
Here where it gets tough though, I have to drive, Griffy can’t anymore. You understand he will not leave the driving to me however. He will of course be telling me how to drive…..sort of an assistant, a sidekick, an old man Friday for everyday of the week.
Our first joint outing takes us to his already scheduled Dr’s appointment. He walks to the driver’s side ahead of me, I cringe I don’t want to have to say anything, my heart is loud as I watch him open the door, he turns and says,
“After you”, I need not have worried, he was simply opening the door….collective swallow smile exhale.
The sounds starts emanating from the passenger seat just as I place the car in reverse.
“Oh…wait …Ok all clear now, you can go.. all clear.”
I look over at him, the streets are always clear, it’s before 9am, the cars and golf carts haven’t even woken up yet.
My hands grip the wheel a little tightly, I am afraid of getting on the freeway with my trusty sidekick Mr. safety …. but only slighty, he was after all trying to be helpful…
I realize I am depending upon him for directions, I ask,
” Ok are we heading north on 19 Griff?”
” I’ll tell…. you just go right up here…..”
Crap…is he going to narrate the entire trip, feed me directions by the spoonful, or both?
” Griffy the address is on the 19, right?”
“Yes, just go up here, and take a right..”
” But Griff 19 is left…?”
“Left turns are too dangerous, just go to the light and turn right…”
” Griff I have been driving for over 30 years, left turns included, I am actually great at making a left turn, lets just take a straight route shall we?”
Silence, then,”Ok… whatever you want…”
Crap I can hear the hurt, but shitcrapfuck…. I am not spending the next three hours only making right turns when one left will do.
“Shall we go to lunch afterwards?”
“Oh that would be wonderful..”
“So he can have a Guinness then?” I ask the Dr. later.
“Yes he can, won’t hurt him a bit.”
Back in the car I place the car in reverse, he is smiling from the news of his now legal and totally authorized Guinness intake, then,
” Oh…wait …Ok all clear now, you can go.. all clear.”
White knuckles. Followed closly by shame, why does this bug the shit out of me…its insanity…get the fuck over it.
” Where shall we go for lunch Tonto?”
” Just go up here and take a right…..” I have no come back, I have no idea where we are going, I am at the mercy of right hand turn man.
He directs me to a local shopping center naturally taking only right turns and I see the sign for a Pub.
We are silent as we park, no need to talk, we walk in, take a booth, waitress she smiles and asks, my reply
” Two Guinness drafts please, one for me, and one for my trusty right turn only sidekick here”, she doesn’t get it, but we do and we laugh.
The Doc was right it didn’t hurt a bit.