Reporting from the high desert on my adventure in not breaking my grandmother while visiting family in the land of Republicanism and Bible camp. I am learning a new set of vocabulary: LA and its outlaying areas are "down the hill," if you live in the Mojave, you are more simply "from the desert," and every freeway must have a definite article, ex: "You take the the 10, the 15, to the 215." I have an unassuming picture of the San Andreas fault taken through a heavily tinted window.
Even if I don't break my grandmother, I cannot guarantee that she will not wander into a men's room before I can stop her. When navigating the airports I wish she would just follow me.
"What's our gate?"
"Well then it should be up on the left."
"We're in D, we have to go to C." After a period of walking, "We're taking a right up here."
"A, B, and C–well I thought you said D."
"We were in D, we have to go to C. Our gate is C9."
"Oh, so now we're in B."
"No, C. C as in cat."
"C as in chocolate."
A pause of several seconds, "Did you just say chocolate?"
It's enough to drive one to gin and tonic at the Fox sports bar where the Fox news personalities are explaining that but not why Nancy Pelosi would be a terrible speaker of the House.
So I haven't said much in the last few days.
My cousin has dutifully included me in her social outings. And her friends have been extremely welcoming, but their introductions inevitably proceed "This is so-and-so, she goes to X, a small Christian college." On the subject of India I have been asked "Isn't it weird there?", had to try and explain that people aren't starving just because Hindus allow perfectly good food to wander around unslaughtered, and kept my mouth shut on why the theory of Creation can't be taught in school. This individual is moving away from her enormous house in Victorville (a new house, with plush new furniture and a flat screen TV) where too many "low income" (read: black) people are moving in: "Not that I'm running from what God is going to protect me from, but I have a brain and I should use it." Having kids has rotted her teeth and she just got braces.
Last night I went to the mountains with the kids from Bible camp. They were talking about some kid's upcoming wedding: "Did you go to his bachelor party?" "Oh, no, I think it was just a thing for his family." So I assume they didn't go to the nudie bar.
What does one say to people who, if one were to disclose one's social group (they go to nudie bars), (non)religious beliefs (Durga is a badass even if she doesn't exist), and whom one voted for in the last election (not even the Democrat!–the Green party candidate whose first name I can't even remember!), would not like one? I think I offended a girl by saying that we're not very many chromosomes off from fruit flies. Dangerously close to Darwinianism, that kind of talk.
Up in the mountain we went off-roading in the dark, which involved drivnig a vehicle with very large tires up very steep hills full of very large rocks in very cold weather. Everyone was, again, nothing but welcoming of me, but I'm just not into dancing in the backs of pickups. And how is this fun when we have to spend 45 minutes tearing a hole in the exhaust pipe of some kid's Daddy's jeep because a rock smashed it closed?
The beach was great, but I'm ready to go home to my coffee maker. My aunt does not keep coffee in the house. The first morning I walked to the Doughnut and Foodmart. (One of the cousin's friends, who has a Bush/Cheney sticker on her car, upon hearing this exclaimed with great disbelief: "You walked?") A number of dogs barked at me, including two German shepards whose gate was not closed. Assuming that I get up before they get back tomorrow, my aunt has left me her car keys so that while they go to church I can go to Starbucks.