Friday, October 12, 2007

The Other Winifred, Round II

I had my own personal adventure this week, traveling from My Fair City, to Charlotte’s Fair City, where I was scheduled to interview my favorite indie rock band. It took a local bus, local train, Marc train, and another local train to get there, but it was worth it. There was thai food, peanut sauce, thai beer, time with Charlotte, and music.
The interview was cancelled before the date of the show, and with Charlotte’s birthday the day before, I set out for dinner.
And before I could get there, I was hurled the dreaded family comment. Talking to Emily before boarding the Marc she asked, “Are you going to blog about this?” It wasn’t a pleasant tone, per se, and it wasn’t the kind of disgust Heather Armstrong weathers on a regular basis, but there was a thread of regret. Which is unfortunate, because I haven’t even begun to drag the family through the mud in my literary quests. And, I think Emily is the only one reading, anyway.
After that Emily asked me why Charlotte hadn’t been mentioned much, and beside, what was her name going to be, anyway? Sophie? No, that was unfair, I argued, I’ve used it too much at Starbucks as an alias, and Charlotte likes that name for children. I thought Charlotte might be nice, but feared it was too Sex in the City.
After we talked, I boarded my train, Emily ate lunch on the opposite side of the country, and hours later, I met Charlotte for book browsing. Then I declared, irrelevant to dinner options, that a life without peanut sauce is a life not worth living. Moreover, I can not marry a man who can not revel and appreciate peanut sauce as I do. (Or, I can, but he’d better be liberal and never mention nary a negative word about the glory that is peanut sauce.) Oh, my goodness, I am salivating. How unbecoming.
Hungry for peanut sauce, Charlotte suggested we try a new restaurant. A restaurant that uses white table linens. A restaurant, not a diner, where you are served, there is not a counter, or white Styrofoam cups, that doesn’t serve soda, that has gone out of its way to design a clean, modern, and trendy atmosphere. I was wearing nice jeans, so it did save me in some ways. Not that Charlotte would have minded; she never has.
Charlotte is ten years older than I am, and in those ten years, has gone out of her ways to spoil me rotten. Birthdays have been spent in the metropolitan city she used to inhabit (and in some ways, still does). She has taken me to museums, silent films, exposed me to epicurean delights, and let me stay in her guest bedroom multiple times. Her currently un-aliased husband has participated in these spoil-fests, so I have two sisters and two brothers-in-law who provide endless fun.
We went to the National Book Festival two weeks ago with Winifred to see Joyce Carol Oates speak; she said everyone has one person who loves you unconditionally—no matter how bratty you are—and she was given her grandmother. I, on the other hand, have gotten two sisters. Which is almost unfair because I am a little shit sometimes.
But moving along, over dinner, we discussed [Queen] Winifred and The King, and concluded and deliberated the following points (whilst I shoveled chicken pad thai into my mouth):

1) Winifred’s constant and seeming unverifiable claims that what we did at ten through seventeen (and present) would come back to haunt us. Police blotters, political campaigns, and court records aside, security clearances, Google, and tattle tales really do come back to haunt you. Luckily for us, only eye rolling followed these admonishments, and none of Winifred’s daughters have participated in any activities unbecoming of a Quimby. Winifred’s standards are high, which certainly helps.
2) I wonder (mused, with head nods and commentary from Charlotte) what careers Winifred and The King would have chosen if they were in college now. Charlotte and I are hell-bent on making a contribution to society sans children. My arbitrary marriage age is 28 (minimum) and child-bearing age is 35 (but adoption sounds painless). But I (we) aren’t criticizing our parents and more than anything, are glad Winifred is not demanding children, or marriage (though I am now the only unmarried daughter).
3) Our parents are not only good people, but good to us…especially in public. I share a night class with an adult mother, with two teenage daughters and one son. She complained last week, and twice this week, that her daughters are interested in posing for photography homework for no more than fifteen minutes. (Truth be told, I can’t even participate for that long, either.) Then she added, “She’s a little shit. I hate my kids.” The comment received a few giggles, but I was horrified. I’m sure Winifred hasn’t told anyone she hated her kids before, I thought. I’m sure—I even hope—she’s complained in other ways. To her sister, maybe close friends, that her youngest is kind of a pain in the neck sometimes. Her music is too loud, her politics are a little weird, she hates math, but I don’t think Winifred ever said she hated me. That the woman said she hated her kids wasn’t necessarily horrifying because she was a mother—neither Charlotte or I think a parent is bound to loving their kid unconditionally, and we’re both grossed out by Helicopter Parents—but it was scary because her kids probably don’t know thirty twenty-one year olds are privy to this information. Charlotte agreed we were safe in knowing that neither Winifred or The King would share that with strangers. First, both are private people (surprised! you’ve been blog’d!); second, they like their kids, which works out well because we like them too. Third, they wouldn’t share information with a group of kids. It’s weird how college makes you realize how much more awesome your parents seem than they did before.
4) It’s probably weird that I check the court records database before I date a boy long-term. Probably true.
5) Winifred is a smart, engaging, charming, and fiery woman who should contribute by writing her own posts to The Gospel. I have never seen Charlotte agree with such fervency than when she began to laugh, “Mom should blog!” She has a lot on her mind! And a lot to say! Agreed, Charlotte. Now that we’re older, other inhabitants of Planet Earth need to be harangued about proper footwear, politics, women’s rights, current events, historical accuracies, and the secrets to successful baking. Probably not the last one, actually, because I like being the only twenty-one year old in town that can make baked goods from scratch.

After all of this we discussed aliases and Charlotte listed names she likes. Most of them were French and for hypothetical children. I only mentioned Henry, but not Rocket. She said that if our sister was Emily, then she should be literary too. I said Jane didn’t fit—even if I loved Jane Lane for being outspoken and a little weird—it was too common. We didn’t commit, but for now, Charlotte Bronte is appropriate.
Then Charlotte paid the bill, I went to rock out, and we spent the next morning procuring Coca-Cola imported from Mexico.


Anonymous said...

I check this almost daily to see if there is an update blog, so when I ask if it will be on here, it is with eager anticipation! I love to read your interpretation of events!

- Em
(do you think that suits me at all?)

And, I like "Charlotte" for your eldest sister! Told you it would need to be something French.

Anonymous said...

I posted a comment last night but its not here!! Did you delete?

I only asked if you would be writing about this as I LOVE reading your commentary and check the blogs every few days in the hopes of their being another writing by you!!