Okay, I sold my business a year ago, or so I thought. Unfortunately, after 10 months in the business, the couple began divorce proceedings. That is normally someone else’s problem, but since I financed the whole deal, I am back in business. Well, I was back in business, for three weeks in November. But before I could even spray paint the porch rockers, another couple came along, this time from California; African-American lesbian drummers, with long dreadlocks. We’re in Georgia down here and we’re not in Atlanta. But hey, they were up for the task and I already had a foot and a half out the door. And I enjoyed four months of sweet freedom, marred by certain long periods of non-payment. Finally, sometime last month, (28 days, 28 minutes ago), after almost every imaginable excuse was applied to the situation of non-payment, these two were asked to vacate. Like I told someone, I’d have left in the middle of the night, if I were in their shoes. The power was disconnected in part of the inn, telephone service off, no gas. It was crazy. The good news is that the business itself is healthy and there are reservations pouring in, along with many already on the books. So, I’m thinking, not too bad, lots of rooms coming in, a couple of parties, a wedding. And at first, the wedding woman seemed calm, laid back and even reasonable. I’m sure in her former life of singlehood, she was just, well, her. But, as time has rolled closer to the big date, I find my inbox to be visited by her on an hourly basis sometimes. Not only that. She has diagrams. And she’s had them since the first time I inherited her from the lesbian drummers. But way back then it looked like a different situation. It appeared to be a simple, small wedding,plastic plates preferred . The only thing I can relate it to is a curve ball. It looks easy on the outset, but then it goes around the bend just before the finish. And that’s where I am now, running ahead of a curve ball. Isn’t there a margarita somewhere she needs to be drinking? I know I’m looking for one. Or skip the whole sour mix thing and break out Senor Cuervo. This headache hurts worse than a hangover. Did I mention the lesbian drummers had to be FORCED out? Inn, anyone?
This morning I stood facing an enormous robot looking thing with a sandwich maker in the middle. She says, “okay, slip your left arm out and step up to the machine”. So I did. And she came up, pushed me a little forward and proceeded to mash me almost flat, onto this big panini grill thing, like so much yeast dough, you’re supposed to knead. You know, on Food-network, when they take the ball of dough and with the heel of their hand, push it as far as it will go, while still in one piece? That’s exactly what they do. Just when my breast was smooshed as far down as it would go, the top part of the sandwich maker closed in on the once normal shape. “It’s supposed to be uncomfortable, but not hurt”, she said, “let me know if it hurts”. “It hurts”, I managed. “Deep breath and hold”, she says, snapping away with that x-ray thing. Did I mention that my head was turned as far as possible to the left, so as not to get in the way of the robot thing? I am not endowed enough to be standing away from the machine and in it at the same time.Then she took three pictures with that machine and we did the other side. You’d think that, for a woman, used to gynecological exams, given birth to two boys, (one weighed 9.9 pounds!), this would be a piece of cake. My sister warned me it hurt, but she has enormous breasts, so I had hope, and besides, my friend ,who has virtually no breasts, said it didn’t hurt at all. So I went, with optimism and two children, who sat in the waiting room, (I homeschool, remember). It was a nice place, The St. Francis Women’s Breastcare Center. They were professional, it was pretty. Even the little pink tie-front jackets they give you are nice, and pink is NOT my color. So, there I stood, pushed in between those smasher things. It only took a moment, maybe a minute, minute and a half. And of course, it’s so important to be preventative about these things. AND, I have completely avoided it until now. After all, it’s mandatory AFTER 40. And this is my first year of 40. ..As I left she said, “now don’t worry if you get a call back on your first mammogram, lot’s of people do, on their baseline”. I flash forward to Monday when the paranoid hypochondriacal me emerges, sleepless, scared crazy, because they maybe called and said I needed to come back in. All it takes is 10 minutes on WebMD and any kind of medical test for me to be completely miserable. You can absolutely stand it, because you know it’s a screening you do that’s potentially lifesaving. But as I was leaving, I kept thinking about all those people in the medieval times who had surgery without anesthesia, they just gave them something to bite on? And how one day, my great, great granddaughter will say, “you know, they used to squish you flat into a big platter thing and make you hold your breath, while they x-rayed you”. ..And I always thought gravity was the enemy.
I just spent a weekend with a bunch of nieces and nephews, who, in my mind are still 3,5,7 and 9. And the 9 year old just got married! The most emotional part, of course, was the slide show. I always cry. In fact, I don’t even have to know you to cry about your rehearsal dinner slide show. It’s not because the baby is getting married now. It’s that his Mama has to think about that, about how he used to be so little with those toasty little feet and cute big smile and now he’s married and headed for Cabo. It’s heartwrenching, mostly because I know one day, when my own 9 and 11 year olds are big enough to make their own grilled cheese and put their own glass under the ice dispenser in the fridge door, and put their laundry away, and feed the dog… then I’ll be thinking the same thing. Which leads me to the second and nearly as profound realization; 40 has got to be the new 20. I mean, first of all, when I was twenty, my MOM was 43, and she was old as dirt. I know I can’t be that old, besides I recently heard that wealthy 50 is the same as 30. which, if you do a little philosophical math, I’m only 26. And with money I’d be underage! Whatever. Who wants to be twenty again anyway? The ideal thing would be if they could microchip your brain and all the words to Eagles songs, and running a business, what’s really important in life and all those books you’ve read and just zap your face to make it “20 perfect” again. Now that would be cool.”That’s called plastic surgery, Mom”, my 11 year old yells. But it’s really not. It’s inside self- preservation, with a little outside fancy. No knives involved. That would be ideal. All this was wedding/reception/white/white/red/red/red talking. And last night, I COULD NOT BELIEVE that we can’t already do that. I mean they CAN walk on the moon and all, they can ticket you via camera at a traffic light AND they can make vegetables more attractive, they can even clone stuff, and they can’t come up with something besides exercise to get FAT off us?
But then, later, from our room at the Gainesville, Ga. hotel, which somehow always smelled like mashed potatoes in the lobby, I decided to check-out my Facebook page,( This should probably be illegal, or there should at least be an, “are you SURE you want to send this?” box that pops up, right after you write on someone’s wall). But there, right in the middle of my old as dirt person Facebook page, sometime after midnight, sat three very good friends, strumming guitars, in a driveway, somewhere slightly south of Birmingham, a slideshow uploaded via mobile. And I thought,” no need for the magic, micro-chip, anti-aging thing. You just need a few good friends, a few yards of concrete and a guitar, maybe red/red/red, and before you know it, it’s 1985 again. No knives involved.