My fiancée has been traveling for her new job for the past month. It’s been kind of lonely, but I find ways to entertain myself with the dogs and my neighbors and such.
First, she traveled to Florida for five days, and then she came home for two days. After that, she went to St. Louis for ten days and came home for two more. Now, she’s in BC, Canada for another five days. If I were LB, I’d be pissed that they chose to send me to St. Louis for ten days. Like her bosses all got together and had a conversation about which place to send her for the longest length of time, and settled on the magnificent city of St. Louis. That’s like winning a prize for a ten-day trip to Detroit. No offense to those people from St. Louis or Detroit; I imagine you wouldn’t want to stay in Pennsylvania for ten days either. Home is home. Trips are trips. You know what I mean?
So, anyway, we haven’t spent much time together this past month, and I’ve had to be pretty creative when it comes to entertaining myself after work. At my bachelorette party a few weeks ago, I put a twin size mattress in the living room because we only have two spare bedrooms, and I didn’t want anyone driving home drunk. My friend George slept on the mattress. After everyone left, I started to clean the house, and when it came time to move the mattress from the living room, I was suddenly struck by an incredibly clever idea. I thought to myself, ‘Self, you should leave the mattress in the living room, push it a little to the left so that it’s directly in front of the television, pick out all of your work clothes for the week, stack them neatly on the coffee table, and spend the next five days in this room with all the dogs!’
Here’s why it was such a great idea: the television sits next to the back door, which leads to the deck and backyard. I could hang out on the mattress like a lazy loser, and leave the doggy door open so the dogs could run in and out, AND we would all be together in one room. It was a pretty cool set up, if you’re a 33-year-old child like me. But, it got even better. I was able to pull the fire pit close enough to the sliding door to reach it from the mattress. I pushed the mattress as close to the door as possible—basically inches from the door frame on the inside—and then pushed the fire pit as close to the door as possible—basically inches from the door frame on the outside. Then, I roasted marshmallows outside while watching TV with the dogs inside. It was sheer genius. I was a little concerned about the fire hazard, considering I melted the side of the house the week before. But any concern for the wellbeing of the house and its occupants was quickly replaced by the sheer joy of pseudo-camping from my living room.
Anyway, it worked for a few days but eventually Donn C. suggested I’d had my fill of indoor camping and that I should put the mattress away before I turn into a full-blown hermit and burn down the entire house. I’m not sure I could afford enough flowers to make up for that kind of mistake. Now, my mattress setup is nothing more than a weird—albeit wonderful—memory, but that’s OK because LB comes home today!
If you know LB, you know she’s the kind of person who really doesn’t take life too seriously. Like, she takes it just seriously enough that she’s successful and happy, and incredibly easy to get along with. That’s perfect for us, because if she were the kind of person who took life—or anything for that matter—too seriously, she would pull out all of her hair having to be with someone like me. Anyway, the point is, because of her laid back personality; she says some funny shit on a daily basis.
For example, she called me from St. Louis last week to tell me about a new friend she made. This lady was another manager who was also traveling for training, and they spent most of their free time hanging out. LB told me she was a middle-aged lady from Canada, we’ll call her Maria for the sake of anonymity. On their first and only day off in St. Louis, Maria asked LB to go with her to the Cheesecake Factory. LB happily obliged. That morning, Maria was at her door relatively early—obviously eager to get to the Holy Grail of American tourism, the Cheesecake Factory. I never knew it was such a big deal for tourists, but apparently the Cheesecake Factory is an important American travel destination.
Once they arrived at the Cheesecake Factory, LB said Maria was overcome with joy. Here’s the rundown of their conversation at lunch:
Maria: Oh my GOD. I can’t believe I’m actually here….AT THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY!!!!
LB: Yea, it’s pretty awesome. I went to the Cheesecake Factory with my fiancée last week, and we had some really good lettuce wraps!
Maria: Oh, wow, I didn’t know you were in St. Louis last week too!
LB: No, not here, Maria. There’s one near our house. They’re everywhere in America.
Maria: Oh! That’s amazing! I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very long time.
LB: Well, I’m just glad I get to be a part of your big moment!
Let me just intervene here: is it just me, or don’t you think it’s weird that LB never stopped to ask Maria WHY she was so excited about going to the Cheesecake Factory? Like, it’s a good restaurant and all, but this lady was skipping the whole way there and jumping up and down once they arrived. I would have at least wondered what the hell was so great about that particular restaurant.
Ok. Back to the story.
At this point, The Cheesecake Factory waitress approached their table to take their drink orders. Maria was bouncing with sheer joy.
Maria: HI!!!! I’m soooooo EXCITED to be here! AT THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY! Wait until I tell my husband!
Waitress: Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever served anyone so excited to be here before.
LB: Yup, she’s been very excited all morning!
Waitress: I mean, it’s a great place, but why are you SO excited?
Maria stops to think about that question for a moment.
LB: Oh, well, she’s from Canada.
As if that explains it….
Waitress: Ohhh-kay. So, is there something about Canada and the Cheesecake Factory that I’m not aware of?
Maria: Oh, noooo…not at all. It’s because I love the Big Bang Theory and one of the characters on the show works at the CHEESECAKE FACTORY. (Maria giggles with delight).
LB: Seriously, that’s why you’re so excited?
Maria: Oh, ya, I love the Big Bang Theory, don’t ya know.
I’m just kidding, she didn’t actually say don’t ya know.
LB: Ok, well, maybe we should just order now.
Maria: Oh, yes, definitely. (Opens her menu). Look at this menu! There’s so much to choose from! What should I order? I think I want these two appetizers, these two small plates, this lunch special, and I HAVE TO HAVE a piece of cheesecake.
LB: (Looking at her suspiciously). No. Maria. (Linda, Linda, Linda) That’s going to be waaaaay too much food. I’m telling you. The last time I was here, we ordered two small plates and the lettuce wraps. We had to take one small plate home because we couldn’t finish it all!
Maria: Well, then you must not eat very much! The menu says these plates are small!
LB: (Suddenly talking to Maria as if she spoke a different language and broken English) NO…M-A-R-I-A. YOU DON’T U-N-D-E-R-S-T-A-N-D. (I love this part) IN A-M-E-R-I-C-A, THE SMALL PLATE IS MORE LIKE AN EXTRA LARGE PLATE. YOU SEE, MARIA, IN A-M-E-R-I-C-A, WE EAT WAAAAAAAY TOO MUCH FOOD. A serving size here is more like a family size everywhere else. That’s why Americans are so fat.
You have to know LB to know how matter-of-factly she says these kinds of things….
Maria: But it says the plates are really small?
LB: No, trust me, they’re not. The small plate in America is more like breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Canada. How about this, we can order ONE APPETIZER, ONE “S-M-A-L-L” PLATE, and ONE LUNCH SPECIAL. I promise, Maria, it will be more than enough food.
This is where I stopped LB in the middle of her story:
Me: Babe, why didn’t you just let the poor woman order whatever she wanted?
LB: I don’t know. That would just be silly. She’s not from this Country. I wanted to show her the ropes.
We had to argue about it for a minute before I would let her proceed:
Me: Ok, LB, I understand that she’s not American. But, she is, however, North American. Canada is pretty much America. It’s not like she’s from a fucking third world Country, babe.
LB: Babe. Shut up and let me finish my story. It gets waaaay better. K?
Me: But, I don’t understand why you would even care what she wanted to order!!!
I was pretty adamant at that point because I was concerned that she may have sounded rude and condescending, considering this woman is probably more American than say…half the population of Florida.
LB: Babe, just forget that part. Pretend like it never happened. Erase it from your mind. I need you to focus on the next part of my story, K?
Me: Fine. We’ll talk about it later.
LB: OK, good. So, I order our food, and Maria is soooo excited waiting for it to arrive. Let me tell you the rest:
The debauchery continues….
Maria: Oh my God, Oh my God, I’m about to eat at the CHEESECAKE FACTORY!!!!! THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!
LB: It’s a pretty good day and all, Maria, and I’m pretty easy to please, but I don’t know if this meal is really going to define the rest of your life. I mean, I just don’t want you to be too disappointed when you get a table full of regular food.
Maria: I need to take pictures (pulling out her camera).
LB: OK, Maria, no you don’t. Please put away your camera. You’re scaring people.
Maria: Oh, sorry. Ok. So, then what should we talk about?
LB: I don’t know. What would you like to know about how we do things here in A-M-E-R-I-C-A?
And, again, I had to intervene in the middle of her story.
Me: Babe, WTF? Why were you treating her like a deaf foreigner who doesn’t speak English? She’s from Canada for God sakes!!! Canada is pretty much an extension of America. You’re killing me, here.
LB: Kris! Stop interrupting my story!
Me: Fine. Get to the point, then. We need to discuss your perception of what it means to be a “foreigner”.
Back to her story….
Maria: What do you mean? We’re probably very similar.
LB: Well, maybe, but I’d still like to know what Canadians really think of Americans.
Maria: Oh, well that’s easy. We think you have way too many guns, you’re way too aggressive, and you have way too many judgmental citizens who hate everyone.
LB: Oh, you mean Christians.
Maria: No, not necessarily Christians. You know, I’m talking about those Republicans.
LB: Yea, Christians. Same thing.
I intervene again:
Me: Babe. Seriously. Not all Republicans are Christian, and not all Christians are Republican. And, either way, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to be either, unless you’re an asshole. And, assholes come in all varieties. Plus, if you think about it, a lot of Catholics are Democrats. It’s kind of stereotypical for you to say that, don’t you think?
LB: Babe, I was only kidding. So, let me finish and I promise we can discuss the politics later. Ok?
Me: (Sigh) Ok, baby, continue.
Back to her story, again….
Maria: Ok, well whatever they are, they’re called Republicans, right?
Maria: Well, a lot of us in Canada don’t understand why so many Americans are so mean to Obama. We think he’s a great leader, and we’d have him as our President any day!
LB: I know, Maria. It’s sad. A lot of Americans not only eat too much, but they’re also really close minded and just….I dunno, what’s the word…
LB: Yea. Now you’re getting it!
Maria: Well, I like Obama.
LB: I like him too!
Maria: I mean, I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. He has a U.S. birth certificate.
LB: Oh, yea, that’s just Donald Trump causing trouble. No one really believes that he’s from another Country.
Maria: Well, they talk about it on THE FOX.
LB: M-A-R-I-A…whatever you do… when you are here in A-M-E-R-I-C-A, do not EVER, for any reason WHAT-SO-EVER, turn on Fox News!!!!
LB: YES! Those people are totally nuts! Honestly, there’s only one reason to watch that channel, like ever.
Maria: What’s that?
LB: The Following.
Maria: I don’t know what that is. But, I guess I won’t turn on THE FOX anymore.
LB: Yea, just avoid THE FOX.
At that point I was laughing so hard it hurt to breath.
Maria: What I really don’t understand is why some Americans would vote for a Republican President!
LB: I know, Maria, I don’t get it either.
Maria: Yes, because, it’s a Democracy. Not a Republic. So the President should be a Democrat.
LB: (Shaking her head and patting Maria on the shoulder consolingly), I know, Maria. You’re totally right. Obama is a Democrat and this is a Democracy. It only makes sense that he be President. And, all the intelligent people in American understand that concept.
Maria: So, why are the dumb people so mean to everyone else?
LB: Because they’re just mad that they’re dumb and they don’t live in a Republic.
I had to stop her again:
Me: A Republic? Seriously? You said a Republic? And, anyway, they’re the exact same thing. The American Republic is synonymous with its Democracy.
LB: OK, babe, who cares? Listen.
I was trying to listen. It was really hard:
LB: In A-M-E-R-I-C-A, all the S-M-A-R-T people are working to overthrow the not-so-smart people. It’s like Charlie Sheen, but without all the cocaine and prostitutes. We’re winning.
Maria: So, those other people are just so dumb that they hate their President for no reason?
LB: Well, not for no reason; but, for dumb reasons. But the good ones don’t hate him at all.
Maria: Yes, the ones like Charlie Sheen. I understand. But, I wonder, what about the dumb ones? Why are they that way?
LB: M-A-R-I-A, look, when it comes to anything in life, you just can’t worry about the haters. Most people in A-M-E-R-I-C-A understand that we don’t live in a Republic.
BTW, YES WE DO.
Maria: Well, that’s a relief. I don’t want all that crazy ideology to spill across our borders.
LB: Yes, I don’t blame you. And, I couldn’t agree more. It’s a scary world we’re living in. But, hey, at least we’re winning.
I interrupted again…
Me: BABE! What are you talking about!!! Why didn’t you explain to her that the name “Democrat” isn’t anymore indicative of a “Democracy” than the name “Republican”? They’re just party names! If you wanted to teach her about the differences between the two parties, you should have talked about their political stances, their fiscal ideologies, their beliefs about basic human rights…or lack-thereof . You just let her believe that we should have a Democratic President because they call it a “Democracy”????????????
LB: YES! Babe! She was so excited to tell me about what they think in Canada, and she was so convinced that she understood our political system. I didn’t want to break her spirit. And, besides, she’s from another Country. I don’t have time for all that.
ME: LINDSEY….SHE IS CANADIAN!!!! It’s pretty much the same thing! The border is like eight hours away from OUR HOUSE. We’re not talking about a foreign Country with a fascist regime. IT’S CANADA!!! And, not every Canadian is just like Maria!
LB: Babe, I know. But they still have a different culture. I mean, when I told her you wanted a .22 revolver and an eye patch to scare away intruders; she was totally overwhelmed with fear and confusion.
Me: Why in God’s name would you EVER TELL HER THAT!
LB: Because. I was trying to describe your personality.
Me: Wow. I might need to reconsider my personality, then. When you say it all out loud like that, it makes me sound like a lunatic.
LB: I like you that way. Hey, did you know in Canada it’s really hard to get a gun, unless you’re a hunter? And, even then, you have to go through all of these background checks?
Me: Nope, didn’t know that.
LB: I mean, in Canada, they don’t give away rifles at the bank. I’m just saying….
Me: They don’t do that in PA, either.
LB: Yea. But they do in other places in the U.S.
Me: Well, that’s crazy. But, um, do you by chance know which banks give away rifles?
LB: Yea, that’s what I said! That’s what Maria said too! And, NO. I have no idea which banks give away rifles, so don’t even think about it. Anyway, I’m telling you…Canada is pretty cool.
Me: Then why is Maria so excited about the Cheesecake Factory?
LB: I dunno, she likes American television and American food?
Me: What’s the difference between American food and Canadian food?
LB: I dunno. Bacon and Maple Syrup?
Me: (I can’t…) Alright babe! I have to go the bank. They’re giving out rifles and I think I might need one after tonight.
Me: For when all those dumb people you’ve been talking about read the blog post I’m about to write and come marching over here in the form of an angry mob with pitchforks and torches. I don’t want to be burned at the stake.
LB: That will never happen.
Me: How do you know that?
LB: Aren’t you roasting marshmallows from the living room?
Me: …Maaaaybe. What does that have to do with anything?
LB: Kristina, you don’t need a rifle or an eye patch to look completely insane. I’m pretty sure you’ve got that figured out al-natural. And, if anyone is going to burn you alive, I’m pretty sure it’s YOU.
Me: You know, you have a point. So don’t be too surprised if the house burns down before you come home.
LB: Kris, I was kidding. Don’t say that.
Me: You just called me crazy. I can’t be held accountable for my actions.
LB: Babe. That’s not what I meant. If you burn down the house, we’re screwed.
Me: No we’re not. Here in A-M-E-R-I-C-A we have this thing called I-N-S-U-R-A-N-C-E. Besides, all of those smart Americans you were talking about, they love to give money away.
LB: Yea, I left that part out when I was telling her about American politics.
Me: When you have a political discussion with someone, you can’t leave out the facts. You have to look at everything from an honest perspective.
LB: It’s not that serious, babe.
Me: It doesn’t get much more serious than that!!!!!!
LB: I’m not the one who melted the house grilling hamburgers, and I’m also not the one roasting marshmallows from a mattress sitting in the middle of the living room.
Me: Fine. I give up. You’re right. But, I just have one last question.
LB: What’s that?
Me: How did Maria like the Cheesecake?
LB: Oh, she didn’t get any.
Me: Wait, what? She was so excited to go to the Cheesecake Factory and order a fucking cheesecake.
LB: She was too full.
Me: You have GOT to be kidding me!
LB: BABY, weren’t you listening to my story at all??? IN A-M-E-R-I-C-A, the small plates are….
Me: (Interrupting her) OK, We’re done here. I’m going. I’ve got marshmallows to eat.
LB: Ok, baby. Don’t eat too many…hahaha. (She thinks she’s funny). And, don’t buy a gun while I’m away. And, definitely don’t burn the house down.
Me: Well, the bag is almost gone. Too late for that. And, I forgot to tell you…I might have…kind have…sort have…already…burned-a-hole-in-the-carpet-by-the-back-door. Like…a really big one.
LB: Kris…(eerily long pause) on second thought, go ahead and buy that .22…I may need it later when I get home.
Me: What happened to Charlie Sheen and democracy and winning…
LB: When I said, “We were winning” I wasn’t referring to you. YOU ARE LOSING.
Me: Losing what?
LB: The thousands of dollars it’s going to cost to fix the house you melted and the carpet you burned, for one thing.
Me: Oh, that’s not a big deal. The grill covers the melted spot and I pushed the rug five inches to the right to cover the hole in the carpet. Maybe next time you’ll think twice before leaving me home alone for an entire month.
LB: No. Actually, babe, next time I’ll probably think twice about ever coming back.
Me: You could always move to Canada!
Me: Hello? Helllllllllooooo?
Yeah…she hung up on me. And, that was that. I had to take notes after our phone conversation because it was just too funny to forget. But, just for anyone who may—or may not be—too easily offended, she was kidding about the political/religious stuff. Mostly.
Let me just close this one out by saying, this is not a political blog. It’s a twisted, silly, and hopelessly ridiculous account of my personal experiences and the incredibly patient people who partake in them. Have a wonderful weekend! And, don’t set anything on fire. Especially if you live in California. Wow, it’s a damn good thing I don’t live in California.