Phil and I grew up camping in family-size tents with two parents and a dog and six packs of beer. When Mrs. Hoffstetler sold her 1970s Pace Arrow to us, we were riding in style. We were the owners of a used RV, complete with bathroom, kitchenette, pull-out beds, and a worn out game of Yahtzee. A brown stripe ran down the length of it’s 30 foot long sides. Inside, the shag rug was brown and yellow and by the time we abandoned family trips altogether, sand lay in the worn out areas.
We took the dog. Lady. She was a black and tan English Cocker Spaniel, although when my mom told that to her English Grandmother and English friends they laughed at us. “Preposterous,” they said, “You have a mutt, there.” Lady followed the streams of white from flashlights and chased shadows of the kites that we flew. She was dumb and beautiful and I called her my puppy until the morning we had to put her to sleep because her heart got too big.
I learned how to ride a bike then. The campground roads went around endless circles, trashcans in the center. My brother learned at the same time and the buddy system allowed us to take off without our parents. There was one store in particular, down half a mile from a campsite we visited often. The bike path road along the bluffs of the beach. Two lanes of concrete and wet air. We procured money from our parents with nice voices and sweet smiles and went for high fructose corn sugar sustenance. I can’t remember what the inside of that store looked like, not a bit. But my brother and I would leave with two-foot long pixie sticks, riding back to camp with them hanging from our mouths.
He pulls at the two strings of green velvet dragging behind me. The dress is me, I am the dress, it does not matter for we are attached as long as I am paid hourly. The fact that there is a person inside of this hideous notion of an ensemble is irrelevant. He doesn’t know how they are tied so he proceeds to drag me into another room where someone else will hopefully know. Bow? Sailor Knot? Bathrobe tie? Jesus Christ. The four layers of dangling fake pearls knock against each other silently as my personal space is violated. I am like a cart behind a horse. A very big, gay horse who wears white denim and a black and white striped vest. Beetlejuice has taken a shower, pierced his ears, is partying in WeHo and now he is here to say things like “fierce” and “bracelets are so in this season” or “look bitchy and rich.” Five minutes pass and someone makes an executive decision. Knot.
Thankfully I have forced my way into the i-pod dock where my decidedly good taste in music can play away on shuffle til infinity. I learned my lesson a few days previous when this Queen commandeered full musical reign and initiated a no-holds-barred Britney Spears marathon. And while I am a victim of getting my boogie on in the privacy of my own home to “Toxic” or “Circus” this is where the buck stops. It goes without saying that her entire body of work is not necessarily solid or worthy of listening. The entire day I exist in fear that he will throw my i-pod against a wall, slam his cliche Pride Day music into the stereo, and rail on about with his obsession with Mariah Carey.
Queen says no pleases, no thank yous. When he literally comes an inch from running me over with a rolling rack full of Made-in-China-Ruin-the-Planet-Overpriced clothing, he laughs and says, “Oh! Look at me, running you over.” He has not slowed down, adjusted course, or apologized. I scramble to a safe spot away from the metal wheels and think of all the ways I can accidentally punch this man in the face.
I was in ninth grade when American Pie came out. My brother and I went to see it at the Santa Monica AMC on one of dad’s Divorced Parents Weekends. We laughed. Hysterically. Along with the entire room of adolescent, prepubescent teenagers. What could be funnier than humping a pie?
Eight years later I am taking a hike up Runyan Canyon with my boyfriend and I see a bigger Jason Biggs moving up the hillside alongside us. And when he takes the lead, he picks his hike-induced wedgie. It’s the kind of thing that makes you never want to be famous in any capacity.
West of Brooklyn…really?
The alarm clock goes off at 5:30 AM Central Time. It is 4:30 in Los Angeles and I am all sorts of fucked up. A body should not be put through torture such as this and I cannot get out of Utah sooner. Our flight leaves at 8:25 am. Thank god. I go through airport security. A breeze, relatively speaking. On the way to the gate I spot a general store called “West of Brooklyn” which I suppose is an attempt to compare it artistically with indie hipster going-ons. Further than this hypothetical I come up with, there is no rhyme or reason as to why the owner would have the audacity to try to strike up a similarity with anything, let alone New York City. “West of Broadway” is in a class all it’s own and probably filled with the most terrifying art in Utah.
1. Fruit and Vegetable Animals
These go in the inedible art category. They are pottery-like and glazed. Imagine taking your favorite treat, say, a banana. And you think, hey, a banana could look like a donkey if I turn it around and draw a head where the top end of the banana is and shape the bottom end into a tail. Then I can just add some banana colored legs and voila, Banana Donkey! There is an eggplant dolphin, tangerine cats, onion geese, red pepper bulls and cabbage fish. I realize as I write this that it all sounds a little strange and pointless. Trust me, it is.
2. Forever Blue Jeans Family Collection
I’m not sure where to place these little miniature dolls. I’m not even sure if they are dolls. I suppose they are closer to figurines. Like GI Joe toys minus anything interesting or cool. In fact, the Forever Blue Jeans Family Collection does not even go through the trouble of painting on the faces of the moms, dads, sons and daughters that stand eerily next to each other in white GAP tee shirts and blue denim pants. The lack of features on these creepy little representations of the white, Christian nuclear family is to perhaps allow the buyer (if any) to more easily relate to these 5 inch tall pieces of plastic. Admittedly, there was a moment there were I stared deep into the space where eyes should be of an anonymous female family member and I thought “Hey! That could me me!” And then I thought about being stuck on a shelf inside of the West of Brooklyn general store in the Salt Lake City Airport…a modern day “Indian in the Cupboard”…I shuddered and put the figurine back where it came from and backed away slowly.
Fimo dough came out when I was in elementary school. Its consistency was something like a combination of Play-Dough and Wacky Taffy. You could buy all sorts of colors, roll them together into a tube and then slice them like julienned basil. The sliced pieces then looked like a Play-Dough kaleidoscope which we would then string on necklaces and let dry. I was 8 years old. This was okay then. Apparently in Utah, Fimo dough is still going strong for every man, woman, and child. The Fimocreations jewelry case takes up an entire enclosed showcase next to the register.
Call me immature but when my eyes passed by the rack of Salt Lake City themed coffee cups this one stuck out. Were they trying to be clever? I looked for other innuendos but I don’t think Utah is capable of it. Nothing else in here had a sense of humor and I doubt they would start with this one.
Utah. I am here for work. I’ve recently been informed that we will be standing on a box for 4 hours. This is an excruciating amount of time. Yes, I am aware it is not coal mining nor is it rocket science. But this f’ing blows. In all honesty, I am used to getting paid to sit around waiting to walk on a runway for a combined 1.3 minutes, maybe less.
This recession thing is really kicking my spoiled, over-payed ass. We work for a client, a big department store. They fly us around the country and we prance around for rich folk in the name of marketing and charity. I have been to such glamorous places as Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, and, today, Salt Lake City. When people were actually still contributing to this economy buying expensive designer goodies, we were treated to such hotels as The Westin (functional and clean and business friendly) and The Mandarin Oriental (giggle-inducing extravagant).
Currently I am sitting in the Crystal Inn, a twenty-five minute ride from the airport into the middle of absolute nothingness. The driver of my courtesy shuttle informed me that this was the only Crystal Inn that provided both a complimentary hot breakfast and as well as a light dinner because of their extreme distance from anything resembling food. If we lose contact from the rest of the world, I will most certainly die. After, of course, the breakfast and light dinner rations deplete and the convenience store is raided.
I suppose I shouldn’t complain though. I am watching a news special on Tanya Harding and what she has been up to since ruining someone’s Olympic career. She pulls a giant trout out of a lake yelling “Holy shit! Holy shit! Holy shit!” Oh, Tanya. You are just as high class as ever and I am so happy that I am stuck in Salt Lake City with no where to go and crappy news stations with twelve year old irrelevant news.
This is apparently an image of the whirling jacuzzi tub in the super suite, which was, unfortunately not in the budget this trip.