Did I tell you the Rocky-Mama Valentine conversation? This is how it went.
Me: Rocky, will you be my valentine?
She’s playing on the coffeeshop floor next to me. She just said “Fuck. This doesn’t work.” Then she looked up at me and said, “Mama, I said ‘fuck’ because this doesn’t work.” I said, “you sure did.” I won’t be the one giving her the ole’ double standard. It’s just a word, right? Yeah, well, tell that to her grandparents and the church ladies during communion.
“Ms. Ox, are you aware that your daughter is teaching the other children curse words in Sunday School?”
“Well yes, see, it’s a cultural thing. She’s descended from truck drivers, pirates, sailors and gambling Arabs.”
“Yes, that’s what she said.”
Mother and Stepfather Ox are coming into town this weekend. I’m very excited about it. Though I’m not sure where we’re going to hang out, since the efficiency we’re living in is about the size of a homeless guy’s cardboard box. I remember seeing those boxes when I’d visit the Big City, when I was a wee lass up in the great white North. Around here, the guys have really ingenious digs out in the greenbelts – really big tarps and blankets strung between trees, makeshift campstoves, even lawnchairs. Not that I’m condoning the illegal burning of things; after all, it was a homeless person’s campfire that burned down Pato’s Tacos, my favorite Tex-Mex joint, and when they rebuilt it they raised the prices even though the food still sucked. But people have got to stay warm. And what’s warmer than a blazing building?
When it’s raining and I’m out walking the dog I can always find Monk by following the smell of smoke from his “stove” – we hike around for a while and there he is, smiling broadly at me, with the Scary Guy who never talks, with a crafty tent ceiling over their heads and a fire burning in some kind of big can, and a couple of giant empty Lonestars at his feet.
When I was living in Western Mass, I took a few days and went out into the Pelham hills for a few days as part of a class project. My goal was to try to cure myself of my terrible phobia of the dark. I built a little deadwood lean-to all by itself by a stream. I was very impressed with myself, and remain so to this day – it was really a dandy little shelter, solidly built, and almost impervious to weather. And I burned a little candle in there all night long. So I was never in the dark.
So I suppose when Mom and Jeff get here we can just string some blankets over the tree limbs on the patio, light the chiminea, and they can just stay out there for a week.