Friday, March 31, 2006

...and I am Marie of Roumania

Conflicted and scarred, I limp back to the east coast. (Tomorrow.) Man, this has been a strange trip. Yet, to some extent, I should have been prepared. I should have realized that a driving-heavy excursion with my mother, my father, my arthritic bachelor uncle the retired economist, and my 93 year old grandmother who can't hear too well anymore would be as odd as all get out.

There's been a lot of this: "Turn right, David! Right! Yes, I've told you nineteen times, right! ... Okay, well, we'll make a U-turn up there. There!"

Also a lot of this: "Where did you say we are?"
"By the border of Mexico."
"So that's New Mexico?"
"Oh. ... Why is that fence there over there?"
"Because that's Mexico."

I don't know if I'm even spelling Mexico right at this point, I am so thoroughly drained by the endless car rides through the desert, the family squabbles, and the plates of restaurant food so intimidatingly big they could eat me and a saguaro cactus and probably my grandma too, at least up to her waist. What is it with this state? The environmental sprawl isn't enough, it has to extend to everyone's hips too? By the third day, I'd just stopped eating altogether, in protest. That'll teach it.

Of course the trip has also had its high points. I bought a jar of amazing tasting honey mustard, made from the honey of KILLER BEES, from the guy who makes it in Bisbee, Arizona. I got to wander around adorable little artist town Patagonia and its polar opposite, tough-guy hilarious town Tombstone.

I've become intimately familiar with every type of cactus known to man -- although as not as intimately as I'd like, since for some reason my mom keeps stopping me from hugging them. I've seen mountain lions and wolves and hummingbirds and otters and I got to pet a nice doggie in a arts and crafts store.

In essence, almost everything natural about this state is lovely. But then there's the flip side: my first day, I got three nasty blisters from walking in my sandals and I've had to wear my sneakers since. And then the day before yesterday, sitting by a pool in a long shirt and jeans (and sneakers) because a fierce wind was keeping the temperature down, and despite the fact that it was 72 degrees (and about -15 with wind chill,) I got sunburnt in a ring around my neck. And above my upper lip too, which: ouch.

Mercifully, my mom suggested I spend a little time with my brother today and away from the rest of the members of my family (whose un-PC indian names would be Can't Hear, Can't Listen, and Can't Stop Talking). My brother, incidentally, has had a week that, in terrible, horrible, no-good, very-badness, seriously dwarfs mine, so all sympathy should go to him. At least I've gotten some free cable and sunshine. And honey mustard! Made from real killer bees!

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