Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Expectations = Starfish

The transition home has been pretty simple aside from a few meltdown moments.  I anticipated feeling a little weird and spent some time prepping myself for the new things (more like daydreaming of the things I missed).  Upon returning to the land of part time lovers and draft beer, the moments that most upset me were when the things I looked forward to failed me.  My favorite things left me like a virgin on wedding night having discovered I’d married a starfish.

Guilty pleasure #1: Crappy radio.

While I want to say I am totally cool and don’t listen to trashy radio songs, I find comfort in tuning into a station and knowing my personal interpretation of the lyrics, which are only worthy of being sung into a hair brush while getting ready to go out.  Not this time.  As my sister scrolled through the programmed stations, I didn’t know a damn thing they were singing.  I finally just kindly asked her to turn it off.  Meltdown avoided.

Guilty pleasure #2: Target, a store where you can get anything you want in one stop.

I had a nail appointment and needed some flip-flops.   As I drove through the parking lot I had to search for a spot.  Unforeseen inconvenience #1.  I walked into Target.  They had made it larger and rearranged everything.  I was lost!

My internal monologue went from almost Himalayan hippie Zen to so cal bitch in a hot second: “An entire f***ing aisle that sells nothing but CONTAINERS!  There are boxes these exact sizes which the containers came in?!?!”  “An aisle larger than most of the shops in Bhutan dedicated to Valentines Day and love!  Nothing is permanent!!”  “AND I’M GOING TO BE LATE!!  They don’t even know what Bhutan time is!”

In the time it would have taken me to walk from my Bhutanese house to the main square in town, I finally reached the shoe aileSSSS.

I sat down next to a little girl and frantically tried on a few pairs of thongs.  At one point the little girl chose the finest shoes she had seen all day and walked over to get her mother's opinion.  Without glancing up from her own personal pile, the mother said, “You don’t need those.”

In my delirious state, I somehow I refrained from standing up, pointing to the pair of flops I was wearing and exclaiming, “NO!!! WE NEED THESE!”`  The little girl moved on to a pair of ridiculously perfect furry slippers and I put on some so-not-me, hot pink, sorority sister flip flops, circa 2003.  We looked at each other knowing that the shoes had chosen us, and I was off to get a year worth of calluses removed.

Don’t Tell Anyone!!!

I downloaded a podcast about Bhutan before I left 11 months ago.  The podcast is a lecture given at Stanford University.  I ran across it a few months back.  One of the things the professor, Mark Mancall states is that something unique about the country of Bhutan is the fact that the main source of news is gossip.

Damn true!  “When should we arrive at the Royal Wedding?”  “Well my co-workers say 4am and my friend told me 5:30.”

Most of this information is harmless!  And while annoying at times, it can be quite satisfying.  The word “gossip” simply holds a negative connotation.  I’ve come to believe that no matter how non-dramatic a person is; they still feel a sense of satisfaction in being told “a secret”, and better yet, being “the only one who knows".

So in the spirit of Bhutan, and with a little help from a pal, I decided to spread the biggest “secret” on Paseo Ancho.

It all began with an email sent to both of the rents, stating that I would be home for Xmas…"Don’t tell anyone!”

As for Lauren’s involvement, lets just say I ran into some passport/visa problems and there was a chance I could have gotten stuck in Delhi.  Clearly since Lauren and I have a long-standing, unspoken agreement that we are one another’s first phone call from jail, I had to tell her.  Lord knows I could very well get that phone call from her this New Years Day, so she better pay it forward.

As for Mere, she did what the youngest child does best and got the shaft, remaining clueless about the entire thing and believing a quality Kathy Adams lie: “We need to go pick up a puppy for your Dad’s Xmas present at LAX.”  You have to love the image of a na├»ve youngest child waiting for a puppy with a bow around its neck.

The snowball started rolling and my lies became continually reinforced by each and every one of my partners in crime.  All my conversation ended in, “You are the only one who knows!  Don’t tell anyone!” and consequently, so did my partners convos.

Kath had a great time embellishing the lie with rainbows, kittens, and puppies.  For the record, she reportedly fake cried at the dinner table after telling my family I was missing Christmas.  And of course Kath told Aunt Celeste, because “Celeste can keep a secret” (apparently better than Kath).

Mikey ran next door to the Parks and told Jeff he may need a hand picking me up from the airport if he was out of town and got a surprise call from LAX.  But as he is Mike Adams… he had no clue what the hell was going on.  Living in a family of women has really allowed him to perfect his delivery of the line, “It’s your world, I’m just living in it.”

Upon moving home, Lauren continued to assert her newly established role as ruler of the hen house, telling everyone around her that she felt they were acting shady and people needed to refocus their energy this holiday season.  She also made it real clear that my 2am phone call to let her know I was not detained in India had ruined her beauty sleep.  Laur then told Scott Werbs, who told Stacey, who told Jackson, who told Addie, who ran down to the house to find me.

And Mere… well… bless her precious little heart.  And cheers to popping that giant bubble of innocence now that she is 21 and the entire family can enjoy personal Fidel's pitchers and pool at the Leucadian.

For the record… Mike Jr. (Miguelito) says he didn’t tell anyone, but if there is anything I have learned from my love of dive bars, it’s that you can never trust a man with a mustache.

Tonight, after all the elaborate schemes had played out, which at one point involved me jumping out of a box under the tree, I sat around the kitchen table and I didn’t drink milk tea or eat ema datsi. 

I felt as though I hadn’t missed a beat as delicious sea food was made, banter was had, F bombs were dropped, Mike’s receding gray hairline was pointed out, Mathew Park’s high school love life was made fun of and much more.  Not a leaf was left unturned as I reentered my uncensored life.  As my “honesty is the best policy”, “I hate you because”, “no bullshit” crew rolled into the night, I was happy to be home.  But this doesn’t mean I won’t be back to my mad scheming secret life soon enough.