Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Around the Kingdom in Seven Days

Last week the family went to California.  The entire tribe.  The “Dirty Dozen.”  That fact alone opens our collective mental faculties to serious question. This took guts.  However,  we were not exactly “Profiles in Courage.”  More like “Silhouettes in Cowardice.”  Not sure just what the rationale was there.  Seemed like a good idea at the time. Even when there are six adults and six children, one on one, mano a mano, somehow the big guys  are always out-numbered by the smarter, faster little guys.

The adults were each assigned a kid precinct.  But a blink of an eye and a ninja could vanish from sight.  There were some serious sphincter check moments along the way.  A child would disappear momentarily from our field of vision, and we’d all go into “intercept path” mode.  The Wild Bunch were in perpetual motion, throbbing, rumbling, and pulsing, even at rest.  They were like a collection of live-action cartoons, propelled in different directions.

We took precautions for every possible scenario, best and worst, that might arise.  We all had matching tee shirts.  I even inked my cell phone number across the forehead of each member of our posse.  (I wrote in my best calligraphy, but the numbers ended up looking like some kind of Mormon Mafia gang tatts.) 

I hemorrhaged instructions, warnings, taboos, and prohibitions, aspiring to perfect symmetry as we negotiated the sprawling kingdom, until I was threatened with eternal confinement to the “It’s a Small World” ride for dense, stupefying, irrational saturation paranoia infliction. What a horrifying thought.  Could anything be worse than forced incarceration with a collection of preposterous diminutive mutants? It’s enough to drive a sane person to justifiable character assassination.  But hey, I’m a Grandma.  What can I say?  I’m hard-wired to protect. Like Lady Gaga, I was born this way.

For the most part, things went smoothly, including meals.  Our motto was “No French fry left behind.”  And we honored that commitment by rescuing any morsels that fell on the ground and consuming them in toto, impurities and all.  So much for E-coli! 

There was one minor incident, however, that, in spite of everything, left me feeling like blood was going to explode from my face.  My cell phone rang with a number that I didn’t recognize.  When I answered, I heard an unfamiliar voice ask if I was missing some grandchildren.  Of course, I answered no. How absurd.  I had each kid on my radar. I could account for every Sasquatch in the tribe.  The lady then said a little boy named Carter asked her to call his Grandma because he was lost.  I shrieked, “Yes!! He’s mine!  Where are you?”  I was dizzy, weak-kneed, and my mind went blank, which wasn’t that far a journey.

We retrieved him from a darling young mother, and thanked her profusely.  Carter had done just what he’d been instructed.  And he had kept his little brother, Beckham, beside him with a death grip.  A dozen matching navy tee shirts swarmed in a clot, and there was a sea of blue as we celebrated the reunion.  Grandmas are the ultimate first-responders.  It’s what we do best. 

Carter is fearless and incredibly unique.  He once explained to me that if you don’t eat good food, you become strongless.  I felt as if some vampire had drained me of energy after that knee buckling episode, and so, feeling strongless, I opted out of riding on  “California Screamin’” a roller coaster conceived in the mind of a mad scientist with a perverted metabolism.  This particular obscenity propels from absolute stand-still to full throttle acceleration in 1.2 seconds, forcing the contents of one’s nose out of the back of one’s head and directly into the faces of adjacent passengers.  People exit this ride like a slinky going down stairs.

 There is nothing in this world that could compel me to climb aboard that contraption.
No, I want to get off the roller coaster altogether.  I’ve had enough of jerk thrust rides.  Speaking of which, we went to Houston just prior to embarking for California.  We received some good news there.  Dennis’ scans revealed further shrinkage of the nodules, a circumstance which continues to baffle the doctors.  Nevertheless, there is some stress associated with the process.  There is no ride in any theme park to match it. 

In between hurling and “Oh Crap!” moments, we have pledged ourselves to spending this summer in ritualistic, narcissistic, hubristic self-indulgence. It is our sworn duty to vanquish any sense of responsibility or decorum.  I will personally endeavor to ascend to the apex social pyramid by playing mindless games with my grandchildren and appearing at the swimming pool in various degrees of undress, ensuring mass evacuation of other inhabitants.  I will answer every request for more root beer with an added scoop of ice cream, and I will never deny a sleep-over.  I plan to perfect my kickflips on my skateboard, and allow my hair to return to its natural color – platinum.   

All these things will aid in avoiding the toxicity of becoming “strongless.”  We are invincible and unafraid.  We will do this.  In the meantime, we are five months and counting until the October Rapture.  Can’t wait.