Humor

Fear, Racism And The Church Of The Holy Crock Pot

The Holy Crock Pot (Image via grandmamadoesit.blogspot.com)

I am a tithing member of the Church of the Holy Crock Pot. Though I dutifully praise the Crock Pot’s glories on a regular basis, take it to all the best potlucks, and actively witness to others about how the power of the Crock Pot has changed my life, it occasionally lets me down. This was the case a few months ago when I was cooking a pot roast in the depths of my early 1990s era Crock Pot. The kind with three settings: Off, Low and Scorchingly Fucking Hot. It was a housewarming gift from my mother when I moved into my very first apartment – the one with mauve carpeting.

For readers under the age of 25, let me explain that mauve is a horrid color that infiltrated the décor of the late 1980s and early 1990s, much in the same way that a CIA mole recently infiltrated al Qaeda’s plot to detonate an underwear bomb during a US-bound flight. Except mauve didn’t have good intentions. Often accompanied by its evil cohorts, peach and sea foam green, it permanently damaged the retinal cones of senior citizens and Floridian condominium owners, forever impairing their vision and, thereby, reducing their decorating choices to creamy pastels, shell motifs and stucco.

The Carnage Left By Mauve, Sea Foam And Peach (Image via valuevacationrentals.com)

Despite my devout Crock Pot cookbook study sessions every Wednesday night, one cannot expect the Holy Crock Pot to simply reveal the secrets of the universe to just anyone. Particularly when that universe involves pot roast. That evening, I’d clearly misinterpreted the scriptures in The Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook concerning the preparation of the sacred, potted calf, letting it simmer on Low, when it should have been bubbling away on Scorchingly Fucking Hot. With dinner not in our immediate future, Matt and I headed to a local restaurant with a great bar for a few cocktails.

Stop Into Any Gallery, Convenience Store Or Beauty Parlor And You Can Purchase One Of These To Keep Your Sofa Company During The Long, Hot Lonely Florida Summers (Image via dailypainters.com)

As we slid into a booth in the bar, we noticed that seated to our left was a well-dressed gentleman accompanied by a woman who’d likely been a blonde bombshell twenty years earlier, but was now just clinging to her svelte figure by a thread on her leopard print blouse. As we sipped our drinks and pondered the appetizer menu, Matt and I couldn’t help but overhear our neighbors discussing their new waterfront condo and raving about how much culture they’d discovered in our seaside town. Yes, it’s true. In our little city, you can’t throw a stone without hitting an art gallery specializing in oversized paintings of a beachy sunsets that will perfectly match your sea foam-colored sofa and table lamps with sea shell-filled glass bases.

And then I saw her. Megan.

Memories of gatherings filled with hippie types came crashing back like a teenager returning home in his father’s purloined car after a keg party. I’d eaten my first piece of sushi whilst swinging in Megan’s Sky Air chair. I’d cheered her on as she’d scaled the interior stone walls of the infamous Generic College hangout, Coblin House, in order to reach the second floor, where she’d proceeded to dance barefoot on a slim plank of wood that framed the opening to the loft – even though the fall could have killed her. My date to Megan’s wedding was our mutual best friend, Todd, who had handed me tissues throughout the reception held on a boat cruising up and down the bay. And as soon as all of  Megan and Jarrod’s elderly relatives had returned to their hotel rooms, we had converged upon their rickety wooden house that squatted on the edge of an orange grove for the real reception – a blowout that extended until dawn and didn’t officially end until the last drunken guest had awakened from his supine position on the dining room floor, and mumbled “Congratu-fucking-lations!” before stumbling out the door – and into my car. As vodka and I hadn’t yet been introduced formally, I’d driven a lot of people home that day.

Lucy After Swilling A Lot of Vitametavegamin – If She’d Been Megan, There’d Have Been No Need To ‘Splain (Image via duncanpest.com)

And here she was. I hadn’t seen Megan in close to a decade. She was sitting with a short-haired man dressed in linen who resembled Val Kilmer. Where was skinny, long-haired, goateed Jarrod? Had they divorced? Quickly, I glanced at her ring finger to find her sparkler still in place. Was she having an affair with this man? For a few moments, I studied her body language. Always a flirt, Megan was leaning forward, smiling, laughing that husky laugh. For chrissakes, her pupils were dilated. She was into this guy. For a minute, I was filled with a loyal rage. How could she do this to poor Jarrod? He’d always been the Ethel to her grape-stomping, Vitametavegamin-swilling, Harpo Marx-imitating Lucy. Not a Ricky. Ricky would have demanded some “splainin’,” but Jarrod had always gone along with Megan’s antics because she was a light that couldn’t be dimmed. A flame that couldn’t be ‘splained. Was it any surprise that her favorite color was yellow and her preferred blooms were sunflowers? Megan glowed…and we all basked in her radiance and felt the better for it.

The moment we locked eyes, her lips spread into a brilliant smile. Within seconds, I was up and we were embracing one another, jibber-jabbering about how long it had been. Clueless as to why I’d bounded over to hug a woman he’d never met, Matt stayed planted in his seat, until I loudly announced that I was married and urged him to rise and meet Megan. Still slim and casually elegant, she wrapped her arms around my husband, her long golden waves shimmering in the warm hue of the bar lights. My slender figure was petulantly hiding back in 2005, mocking my chubba wubba voluptuous curves from the space time continuum. To make matters worse, I was growing out a pixie cut that was in desperate need of a trim and, instead of it drawing comparisons to Audrey Hepburn from the restaurant patrons, my hair was likely spurring sudden, subliminal desires to order the smoked mullet.

Once Megan released my husband, she gestured to Val Kilmer and chimed, “Matt, meet my husband, Jarrod.”

What? I gave the imposter-posing-as-Jarrod the once over, resisting the urge to blurt out, “ Look, Iceman…I loved you in Real Genius, but I can’t allow you to turn my Megan into a Jezebel.”

val kilmer (Image via Wikipedia)

But as I studied his strong square jaw line and soft brown eyes, the Jarrod I remembered began to emerge – a hippie trapped in the body of a washed-up actor. Fortunately, it wasn’t the bloated Val Kilmer of late, but neither was it the shirtless, volleyball-playing fighter pilot whose photo had adorned many a dorm room wall. The worst part was that Jarrod didn’t recognize me either. Fuuuuuuuuuck!

“Jarrod, it’s me, Cristy.”

Without a flicker of recognition in his eyes, Jarrod nodded. “Umm. Yeah. Of course. You changed your hair, didn’t you?”

Yeah, but at least no one mistakes me for Molly Ringwald. “I was blonde the last time you saw me.”

“Oh yeah. That’s it,” he said, with a smile. That and the fat suit you’re wearing.

By then, the condo purchasers had become enraptured with our conversation…listening to every word while carefully staring off in the distance, but not so far away as to eclipse our presence in their peripheral vision. Once Megan returned her attention to me, she immediately asked about my writing. When I admitted that I had recently completed my first novel and was penning a humor blog, she broadcasted to the entire bar that I was a great writer, an introduction that could result in only one thing. Utter humiliation. The minute I revealed – to bar patrons who were complete strangers – that my novel wasn’t actually published and that I was looking for an agent, their interest level in me dropped faster than a toddler down a well. A dry well. I’m pretty sure I heard a thud as their enthusiasm hit the dirt like a skull.

As Megan and I swapped stories about the last decade, Matt began chit-chatting with our bar neighbors. Within moments, they were sharing inside jokes and laughing together as though they were frat buddies who’d hijacked the mascot of their school’s biggest competitor back in the day. Meanwhile, I began to get the impression that Megan’s life had not turned out the way she’d expected. A teacher for many years, she told me she’d quit her beloved profession and was answering phones part-time at a friend’s business. When I asked what precipitated her decision, Megan squirmed noticeably and offered a euphemism to the effect of, “Oh, I just needed a change.” She expressed an interest in writing. I encouraged her to keep at it and offered to read anything she was working on if she felt like sharing.

But then Megan began doing the things that Megan always eventually did. Compete. Complain. And charm the socks off everyone in the room…except for the people who know her.

“What happened to my glass of wine? It was right here. I wasn’t done,” Megan announced to the room in general. Waving the waitress over, she whined, “I had a full glass of wine sitting right here. Did you take it?” When our server denied responsibility, Megan refused to drop the issue –  like a dog with a mouthful of stuffed, squeaking, faux dead duck. I swear she even shook her head from side to side vigorously – as if to break the waitress’ neck with the ferocity of her convictions.  “Yes, you did. The glass was full. I’d only had a sip, ” she insisted, the alcohol on her breath strong enough to sanitize the road rash on the butt of a man whose scooter had collided with a fertilizer truck. “You need to bring me another one immediately.”

Gimme Another Glass Of Wine Or The Duck Gets It (Image via simmertilldone.com)

I was reminded that one of the reasons we basked in Megan’s glow so willingly was that the rest of the time in her presence could be like Juneau in the dead of winter. I wrapped my cardigan around me a little more tightly. Despite the fact that it was Megan and Jarrod’s wedding anniversary, our golden girl couldn’t resist an audience. So as she entertained our bar neighbors with a slew of  stories I’d never heard about motherhood, dancing and cotillion, any hopes I may have had of sharing a meaningful conversation with her were dashed. Megan was driving this car, pedal to the metal, and we were passengers clinging to door handles just hoping she’d slow down before she ordered us to jump. Within minutes of meeting these people, Megan was throwing out invitations to Dexter-themed parties to come. And discussing country clubs. And yacht cleaners.

Country clubs? Yachts? What happened to the barefoot Megan who always had a daisy tucked into her hair?

Famous Groupie, Pamela Des Barres, Who Reminds Me A Lot Of Megan Back In The Day (Image via thriftcandy.blogspot.com)

And then Megan steered the conversation back to just the two of us. And Todd. Oh. Dear. God. We have a decade to catch up on and this is what she wants to talk about. “Whatever happened to Todd, Cristy? I haven’t heard from him in years.”

I know, I thought. If she had, she would know that Todd had gotten engaged. And married. She’d know that Todd had moved out to the West Coast and was working on his graduate degree. “You know, Todd,” I responded lightheartedly, not wanting to be the bearer of tidings that would likely piss her off. “He’s so bad about staying in touch.”

“Haven’t you heard from him?” she asked. I nodded weakly, admitting I had. “Oh. Well, I’ve left messages. I even called his mother and…nothing.” My smile was toothless and pained as if it had been painted on by an artist with Asperger Syndrome. Even I knew a call to Todd’s mother usually accomplished…well, nothing. In fact, for years, she called me for updates about her son. “Well? Where is he?” Megan demanded.

“Oregon. He’s in Oregon.”

“Why?” she persisted. “What’s he doing out there?”

Freezing his ass off. Carrying an umbrella. Gradually turning translucent. Getting all the really “in-jokes” on Portlandia. “He’s in school. He’s working on his graduate degree. He’s doing really well.” C’mon, just say you’re happy for him and drop the fucking duck.

Portland, Oregon – Taken Two Days After Todd Told Me and Matt, “It Doesn’t Snow Here.” (Image via Cristy Lewis)

But Megan’s competitive streak had reared it’s angel-faced head because I had the audacity to know something about Todd – a person she still considered her best friend despite the fact that they hadn’t spoken in a decade – that she didn’t know. “Why did he have to go to school out there?”

Because his wife is a huge Pink Martini fan and wanted to live closer to the band. Because that’s what people do…they move away. Because he’s not your minion, Megan. “That’s where he and his girlfriend moved.” It was only a little lie. Not really one at all. After all, Todd and Raina were only engaged when they moved out there. I mean, technically, Raina was just a girlfriend with an uber nice ring on her left hand.

“He’s got a girlfriend?” Megan hissed. And that’s when I realized it. Her claim upon Todd was as real in her mind as a forty-niner’s staked claim to a vein of gold in California. This was jealousy, plain and simple. And suddenly, it occurred to me that this conversation was never meant to be about catching up on our lives. It was an intelligence gathering mission about Todd.

“Ummm. Nooooo. Not anymore.” Though the terms girlfriend and fiance could easily be considered interchangeable, this was not the case with the word wife.

Megan’s face suddenly brightened. “Oh. So he’s single, then?” I prayed that Val Kilmer wasn’t overhearing this bit of the conversation.

Erm. Fuck it. My thighs were aching from dancing around the truth for the past few minutes. She needed to know the facts. And I needed to order another martini. Hopefully, she’d then move on to less stressful topics like tsunamis and waterboarding. “No, Megan. He’s married. He got married a couple of years ago.”

I’d Rather Talk About Waterboarding Than Break The News To Megan That Todd Got Hitched (Image via dailymail.co.uk)

Though the conversations around us continued unhindered, the silence in the eight inches or so between our heads was deafening. Finally, Megan asked, “Why didn’t he call me?”

“I don’t know.” I didn’t know. The disintegration of Megan and Todd’s friendship had never been discussed. And I hadn’t asked. It was none of my business. “Maybe he didn’t have your number?” I suggested weakly. Maybe he found out that you are a possessive psycho friend prone to interrogating the innocent.

Megan insisted that her number hadn’t changed. “We haven’t even moved. He knew how to find me,” she spit, as though I had assumed the role of Todd’s personal correspondence assistant and should share in the responsibility of this faux pas. “Well, did you go?” Megan’s halo of blonde hair suddenly began to singe my corneas like an interrogation spotlight.

Please! No More Questions About Todd! I’ll Tell You Everything…Just Turn Off The Light. It Burns! (Image via exactlywhy.blogspot.com)

Awkward. If I tell the truth, she’ll be hurt and I’ll feel like a bitch. If I lie, Megan will eventually find out, and then I’ll be a lying bitch. I can’t win. “Yes, Megan. I was one of his best men.” Her face fell. Then her nostrils flared as the realization hit her that I had been a member of the wedding party. Which meant I must have been in on the conspiracy to keep her off the guest list. And I probably knew who shot Kennedy and if astronauts really landed on the moon. “Look, I don’t know what happened between you two–”

“I know what happened,” she interrupted. Then, leaning in even closer, she whispered, “You know, Todd was always in love with me.”

Of course, he was, I wanted to say. Because it’s all about you, Megan. At that moment, I realized I couldn’t remember ever spending any time alone with Megan. Just the two of us. No lunch dates. No girls’ night out. In fact, every time we were together, we were usually surrounded by her friends – friends who were typically straight, single men. Men who basked in her glory. I hadn’t just told Megan that Todd’s life had changed drastically without her permission input; I’d confirmed that he was no longer one of her back-up dancers. Someone else had captured his attention. Permanently. And he was happy. Really happy.

What Todd Does In Raina’s Glory Now (Image via Cristy Lewis)

And who knows, maybe Todd had been in love with Megan eons ago. I was once a size 4 and strutted my stuff in a fashion show that aired on MTV. That and $14.50 will get you a mochaccino at Starbucks. “And now he’s in love with Raina,” I said firmly. “She’s his best friend now. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.” And I meant that. I’d included those words in my best man’s speech that romantic evening in New York.

Megan abruptly ended our conversation and returned her attention to our condo-buying acquaintances. It turned out that the couple were from Atlanta and had firm views on the MARTA, Atlanta’s public transportation system. “You know what MARTA stands for, don’t you?” the aging bombshell asked us with a wink.

I Was Wrong. Apparently, All MARTA Riders Are Black! (Image via hbcu2013.thatcamp.org)

Oh. Dear. God. How did Matt and I meander into a bar that could provide not one, but two really uncomfortable moments in less than a half hour? Give her the benefit of the doubt, Cristy. Maybe they’ve come up with something that isn’t incredibly trite and racist. “No. What?” I asked, my eyebrow cocked in warning. Don’t fuck with the eyebrow. 

Tittering, the cougar whispered loudly enough for people in Georgia to hear, “Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta.”

Oh, no she didn’t! Then I heard Megan giggling. Since when do hippies laugh at unimaginative racist acronyms? “Really?” I said through gritted teeth. “Funny, but the last time I rode the MARTA, I didn’t notice many black people on it. And the people I did notice looked like commuters and students. But then, Atlanta’s African Americans are some of the most educated and wealthiest people in the country. I’d imagine that most of them don’t need to take public transportation.”

The woman pursed her lips. “Well, the MARTA’s gotten really bad lately.”

“In the last five years?” I asked. Maybe they’d switched to really uncomfortable seats. Or worse, maybe they’d begun playing Muzak over the loud speakers.

“Oh, yes. It’s bad. Our friend won’t let his college student son ride on it.” I resisted the urge to ask her if their friend also believed in the Mayan calendar and had a basement stocked with automatic weapons, canned goods and bottled water in preparation for the end of the world. “In fact, we avoid the downtown area altogether.”

Our Kids Can Shoot A Squirrel At 300 Yards With A Semi-Automatic Machine Gun, But We Don’t Let Them Ride The MARTA (Image via abcnews.com)

Stifling my laughter, I replied, “Heck, the last time I was in Atlanta, I used to power walk from my hotel downtown all the way to Olympic Park. It seemed perfectly safe to me.” My husband just sat there, stone-faced. He has little tolerance for racists, and even less for pussies.

Megan suddenly chimed in. “You’re brave. I can tell; you’re fearless.” Without a hint of irony.

Serial Killers With A Heart Aren’t Scary, But D.C.’s Metro…Are You Crazy? (Image via screenrant.com)

Huh? Me? Walking around a city in broad daylight hardly constitutes brave. This was not the Megan I knew. For years, I’d admired her free spirit. Her willingness to dance on a strip of plywood ten feet above the ground without a care. Hell, a few minutes earlier, she was inviting absolute strangers to visit her home for a serial-killer themed party. But they were white. “Are you telling me you wouldn’t take the MARTA, Megan?”

“It’s not like New York, Cristy.”

Damn straight, it’s not. It’s a hell of a lot safer than New York. What was she trying to say? The population is, erm, darker in Atlanta than it is in New York City? “Okay, how about D.C.? You’d ride the Metro in D.C., right?” She couldn’t say no to that. Matt and I had just visited D.C. a year earlier. While my husband attended a conference, I’d ridden the Metro all over town and walked the streets alone…with only my lip gloss for protection.

Silence.

All four of them – even Jarrod – just stared at me uncomfortably. Matt’s silence, however, was brought about by pure shock. He hadn’t been surrounded by so many pussies since he visited a strip club in college.

“You forget,” Megan said, viewing my furrowed brow and slack jaw, “that I was agoraphobic for two years. Jarrod and me – we got mugged in Tampa.”

“Really? I’m sorry to hear that, but I don’t think I knew you then.” Agoraphobic? Next thing, she’ll be telling me that she hoards newspapers, magazines and those little plastic round things that you pull off milk cartons.

Please Don’t Let This Be A Photo Of Your Home, Megan! (Image via oddballdaily.com)

“I think you did,” Megan insisted.

No, I’d remember knowing that someone is agoraphobic. I mean, how would I even meet that person? I’d have had to just go knocking on random doors and asking people, “Do you leave the house? No? Great, wanna hang out? I’ll bring Chinese take-out.”

The Atlanta couple was terrified of Tampa, hence their decision to buy a condo with 24-hour security in our safe little corner of Florida (which actually has a higher crime rate than Tampa…but let’s not allow silly things like facts and statistics to mar the absurdness of this story). They related a tale about driving to visit a particular business in Tampa. Supposedly, as they drove into the neighborhood where the business was located, white men wearing neon orange vests waved them on – away from their destination. Raising their eyebrows, the couple gave us all a meaningful stare. One that puzzled the fuck out of me.

I Don’t Know About You, But When I See A Man Who Looks Like This, I Know I’ve Inadvertently Entered The Ghetto And Should Turn Around And Leave (Image via conservationmagazine.com)

“So who were they? Construction workers redirecting you towards a detour?” I asked hesitantly. The woman shook her head.

“No! They were telling us to move along because we didn’t belong there in the ghetto,” the woman declared. Her boyfriend nodded his head solemnly in agreement. Clearly, fear and stupidity are bedfellows. “And when we finally got to the right place, all the brothers were eyeing our hubcaps.”

Did she really just refer to African American men as brothers? “What do you drive?”

“A Honda. It’s a hybrid.”

As a hybrid owner myself, I notice that a lot of people eye my car. Some of them happen to be black. And, yet, my hubcaps have never been stolen. “Did it occur to you that the brothers, as you call them, might have just been wondering what kind of mileage your hybrid gets and whether or not it’s worth it?” Or maybe they were thinking, “Check out the cougar! If you whistle in the vicinity of her cleavage, I bet you’ll hear an echo.”

The couple exchanged glances that said, “These poor people are so naive.” The look on Megan’s face made it clear that she thought that Matt and I were probably paying the brothers for protection – and that’s why we’d never been mugged.

I couldn’t take another minute of this conversation. Downing my martini, I racked my brain thinking of an excuse to leave…immediately. The Holy Crock Pot turned out to be my savior. “Oh, honey! We’ve gotta go,” I exclaimed, slapping my forehead with the heel of my palm. “I nearly forgot about the pot roast.”

That night, the Holy Crock Pot had shared its divine wisdom with me. It had removed me from the confines of my home and my comfortable friendships with people who share my values –  and placed me in the presence of people who no longer did. As much as I sometimes long for those carefree days of staying up all night reading poetry, playing drums, and discussing philosophers I really didn’t understand with Megan and other friends, I realize that I can never go back to those days. Or to high-waisted jeans. Make that any jeans that don’t include the word stretch somewhere on the tag.

Why? Because I’ve changed. I understand those philosophers now. Okay, I might have thrown away the books by the ones who bored me – which would have been most of them. Regardless, I stopped searching for who I was to become and simply became that person. A person who will sit next to a Muslim on a plane just as comfortably as I would sit next to a white woman – unless that white woman has a screaming infant in her lap. I’ll take being sandwiched between an overweight Muslim dude using a seat belt extender and a loquacious Born Again from Branson, Missouri on a non-stop international flight – riding in coach – to avoid that particular form of torture.

I’m Happy To Sit Next To You On A Plane – But Screaming Babies Should Be Transported In Freight. In Cages. (Image via downtheroad.org)

I became a person who doesn’t make the following announcement to every Indian customer service rep I encounter on the phone: If this call is being recorded, I want it known that these jobs need to go to Americans. You don’t deserve these jobs. You hear me! (Yes, I once had a boss who instructed me to do this. I refused. She, in turn, refused to believe that most of the customer service reps in India actually have graduate degrees – which they do.) I’m a person who doesn’t tighten her grip on her purse strap because someone darker than a latte is walking behind her on the sidewalk. A person who doesn’t believe in gay and lesbian rights, but in human rights – for all people. Because gays and lesbians are humans, first. And Kathy Griffin fans, second.  A person who rejects fearmongering disguised as patriotism. Yes, Wayne LaPierre of the NRA – I’m talking to you. Obama’s not going to take away your precious Second Amendment – or your storeroom filled with freeze-dried astronaut food and gold bullion.

I know. I know. How mighty white of me to establish what an open-minded, perfect human specimen I am. But this is how I roll, and it’s how I rolled 20 years ago. But being mugged – and the fear that came with that act of violence – apparently caused Megan to just roll over, pull the bedspread over her head and hide.  She didn’t evolve into the person I’d expected. If anything, she’d devolved into a person with irrational fears, still clinging to her youth as it’s wretched from her grasp – man by man. And fear is the basis of racism. Fear fuels the hatred that inspires acts of bigotry. How do I know this? Because one of the most respected entities in the universe said so: Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. – Yoda, Grand Jedi Master and yoga aficionado. You don’t argue with the owner of a lightsaber. No, the one you bought at Comic-Con doesn’t count.

Carry This And I’ll Argue With You On Principle (Image via Amazon.com)

So as you go about your day, allowing your fears or your past to guide your decisions, consider the rhetorical question posed so succinctly by my sage Blogging Bestie, Stacie Chadwick in a recent post: “When did taking the road less traveled morph into plotting the easiest path?”

And then answer this question in your comments below: When did taking the road less traveled morph into hailing a cab because you’re too afraid to take the subway?

As always, names have been changed to protect the innocent and the assholes.

54 thoughts on “Fear, Racism And The Church Of The Holy Crock Pot

  1. Mother F-ing Bravo. I love this. Actually, I always love when you write looong posts because I get so absorbed in them. One of the only 2 times I ever went back to my childhood home town to visis, I stopped at the neighbors to say hi. Instead I was invited to spend the night, as I hadnt actually planned a hotel yet, in the course of chitchat in the evening they devolved back into the white trash country hicks I remembered them to be when they wife calmly mentioned the N-gg-s working at the local walmart and then asked her husband “what type of N’s are them n’s at the Walmart? They’re not Americans becaue they’re too dark, maybe they’re Somali.” I regret to this day not having the intestinal fortitude to tell them off right then and there and leave. But that woman had just given me a quilt (which I donated at my next stop) and I really needed a place to crash. I left at dawn and have never spoken to them again. Horrible ignorant people.

    I admire you for not beating her ass right there in the bar.

    1. Thanks, Anastasia. It was certainly a disappointing night for me – especially considering I’m married to a man who is bi-racial. And you deserve an award for being the first person to apparently finish my incredibly fucking long blog post and still have the energy to comment on it. How many cups of coffee did you need to get you through it?

      1. 😦 I can’t drink coffee. It makes me flush. Nope, it was a cross between your title, your quick subject changes and segues, your humor and very good writing. I was absorbed, is all, baby cakes.

  2. I am downing cup number 4 as I type this. Seriously I applaud your conviction and bravery. I am embarrassed to say that I have trouble doing what you do in real life situations. When I am at my computer I can easily champion the oppressed. I don’t do well with confrontation face to face. I want to be like you when I grow up Cristy. Thanks for sharing this story. Here’s my favorite quote for you to add to your repertoire. I think it’s suitable for this situation.

    “The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”
    – Thomas Paine

  3. I have some thoughts on this that shall be put on hold as I run off to fire a wood kiln in the hills of Madrid, NM. Thanks for recussitating mauve for me, which is the color of my wedding brides maids dresses, in velvet, diluted (just like the marriage, ha ha). Thanks for that unholy vision.

    1. Top Ten Reasons From This Blog That Explain Why You’re My BB:

      1. You’d back me up in a bar fight. Or I’d have your back. Or we’d both simultaneously crack bottles over some racist dude’s head and run. Or you’d totally hold the door open for me to run through even if you were completely embarrassed that I started a bar fight.
      2. You sort of follow recipes and you always dip raw chicken in mayonaise (OK, the chicken/mayo thing isn’t from this blog) even if the recipe says to dredge it in flour, capers, and sun dried tomatoes. You KNOW everyone loves mayo, so you abort the recipe and drive right down the road less traveled. Yes, I found a way to work your mention of my post into your comments. Because I am a whore for attention.
      3. You somehow found my fav beach painting, titled “Random Beach Painting of a Random Beach” and featured it on your blog.
      4. You understand that on the ROYGBIV of horrible 80s hues, hunter green is sea foam green’s friendless stepbrother, who by the way, is a piano prodigy and loves porn.
      5. You somehow found a pic of my aunt’s beach house on VRBO.com and used it in your blog. Thanks for that. She needs the cash.
      6. You drink. A lot.
      7. I made crock pot meatballs tonight.
      8. Your Megan is my Margi, and names have not been changed to protect the innocent and the assholes.
      9. I was born in Atlanta. In a van. Down by the river.
      10. You’ll forgive me for a super-lame #10 because I’m tired.

      xoxoxo

    1. Why thank you…but I don’t know that putting out one measly post a week (which is where I’m at lately) is anything to be proud of. Of course, they are twice as long as they used to be and 179 times longer than the average wordpress post.

  4. You’re a storyteller of the first water. I’m not out a lot, but a run in with someone from my past induces a stomach knot that Alexander the Great couldn’t cut. Some really nice people I used to know have turned into everything that I don’t wish on America. BTW, love my crock pot. Now to find somebody to juggle it in dishwater.

    1. I know…it is disappointing when someone turns out to not be who you expected. Or, as was the case here to a certain extent, reminded you of why you hadn’t sought them out for a decade.

      I adore my crockpot. And I just bought a brand new one to replace the vintage version. This one is stainless steel and has a digital timer. Woo hoo! I haven’t broken it in yet.

  5. I just re-read this again looking for the parts I wanted to note as my favorites, but then just decided to let it go and say that this is brilliant.
    (Now, I’m going to go see what all this fuss about MARTA is all about… Perhaps I missed something.)

    1. Nope. You didn’t miss a thing. These people were just racists…plain and simple. Atlanta probably has the highest population of African Americans in the country – educated and affluent African Americans, at that – yet these people were scared and white and afraid of anyone who isn’t beige. But thank you for your lovely compliments!

      1. laughing here…
        “…afraid of anyone who isn’t beige”…
        Yeah, us bi-racial folks are plotting secretly,,, muahaha!
        You’re welcome…:)

      2. Actually, my husband is bi-racial and he’s plotting way out in the open. White people beware…unless you’re me or one of the Enlightened. I should start a blog cult called the Enlightened. Except I’m afraid of the kind of people who join cults.

  6. Another home run. Pardon my not being up to date on every detail of your exciting, stretch jeans wearing life, but there’s a book??? I need to get on the list of buyers.

    In other news, I have so many things to say about this post that I’m going to have to do it in shifts. My job working with people who don’t fit in is beckoning, but fear not, I’ll be back.

    Again, great piece.

    1. OK…more time to write. There were tons of hysterical, funny, vintage CCL witticisms in there, but the thing I really loved was the gentle, gradual realization you had. From the first moment of seeing Megan and the strong, fond remembrances of her personality, to the conveniently forgotten negative aspects of her personality to finally realizing that not only was she not exactly the wild free spirited character that you recalled, but she probably never really was. It was both a fun and sad trip to join you on.

      It’s unfortunate that she turned out to be who she is, but it’s great that you turned out to be who you are.

      Now where the hell is that book you spoke of??

      1. Thank you. And you nailed it on the head exactly – which is a relief, but you’re never sure if you’re really communicating what you experienced. The book was completed last summer and I sent it out to a few agents who received it very favorably (I say this because nearly every response was personalized and expressed a lot of interest and made some specific suggestions. Apparently, this is pretty unusual and most people get a standard rejection letter.) So, based on the only consistent suggestion I received in the agent responses, I’m about to begin a quick revision of the manuscript to address those issues, and then I’ll send it back out again. Please keep your fingers crossed for me. As you can tell, I love telling stories…and I love it when people read them and can take something – if only a laugh – from them.

      2. The beauty of that story was int he telling. There were so many laughs and smiles, that the Megan perception/history/reality was almost subtle, yet impossible to miss.

        I’ve got a book in the works, but I find that I don’t work consistently enough on it, then it grows stale, or my computer breathes its last and I lose it altogether.

        Blogging has been fun and exciting so far, as I have surprised myself a few times with qualities in writing I didn’t know I had. I don’t know anything whatosever about the whole publishing world, except that there are tons of books out there which are not all that impressive.

        I’m hoping to learn as i go, but even if this never goes beyond WordPress for me, I guess I’ll be happy that I made a few people smile too.

        FYI; My fingers are crossed for you, but you won’t need the extra luck.

    1. Thanks for the share! Yes, I can help set up a branch of the Church of the Holy Crock Pot. First, you’ll need to buy its bible…The Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook. It changed my life. I’m making minestrone in my crock pot as we speak.

  7. Damn, girl. That’s some seriously good storytelling. If you ever get that book published, I will run — yes RUN — to the bookstore to buy it. Or I’ll go on Amazon and get one-day shipping. Either way, I will be an eager, book-buying, beaver.

    1. I knew beavers could read! Yes. You hear that, Matt. I win the bet. Makes sense. If a beaver is eager, she’s going to be willing to learn.

      I have neglected my searching for an agent duties for…okay, since like September. And I didn’t submit to all that many, but had a wonderful response. But I plan to start afresh after I complete a quick rewrite to address a couple issues in the book. And trust me, when it finds a home with a publisher, my trusty blog subscribers will be the first to know. Then President Obama. I think it merits a call, don’t you?

      1. I would call President Obama first. It just seems like he should be the first to know something of this magnitude. Especially since it will so effectively shut down the country, what with all good Americans holed up in their houses reading. Beavers included.

  8. I will never, ever, never again claim to writing long blogs…you are the best in the entire universe…no, no, no wait a minute…make that solar system.

    Your BB Stacie Chadwick flipped me to your blog and what a wonderful treat…I immediately signed up to follow…if for no other reason so I can be holed up in my house reading your book like the rest of America…I sooo hate to be left out.

    Be encouraged!

    1. Why thank you! Stacie is pretty amaze-balls, isn’t she? How lucky am I to have a blogging bestie like her? Well, welcome to my site and I apologize for writing my longest blog EVER when you decided to subscribe. I promise; they’re not all that long. But they’re still pretty long. But I read one at an open mic tonight and was actually encouraged to come back and read again – even though they had me read my blog post in two parts. That rocked! Okay, I’ve done my Snoopy dance for the night.

      1. Aahh…you had to go an mention Snoop Dog…he is my favorite…our dog Jake the Wonder Dog has long idolized the Snoop.

        BTW…congrats on getting the invite to return…always a good sign. Once I had a speaking engagement and my wife sang at the same event…afterwards she was invited back…lol…

        Be encouraged!

    1. Thanks so much…for the compliments, the follow, the blog roll and the re-blog. I was just looking at your website and thinking, this chick sounds like someone I could hang with! I will be following you as well. 🙂

  9. Wow, I wonder if Megan went home and googled you to find your blog. How amazing that would be.

    Meanwhile, Kathy Griffin is the height of annoying. Human first. Kathy Griffin fan never.

  10. The Church of the Holy Crock is so last decade. Why not join me for services at the Cathedral of the Sacred Corkscrew? It’s all sacrament all the time!

  11. Cristy, I love all of your stuff and this is particularly good. I hate for my glorious south to be represented by such racist pricks. Marta is great, and like the holy crock pot, full of differences that all blend together.

    1. Thank you, southern boy! I’m a nice southern girl, myself, and I’m ashamed to say that my ancestors owned plantations and slaves – both in the “real” south and down here in Florida. Thank goodness, times have changed and most people have changed with the times. I think it’s really imperative for people to refuse to tolerate racism and bigotry on any level and call people out on it. Perhaps when bigots finally start to realize that their “white” friends aren’t going to giggle at jokes and comments like this – made with no sense of irony at all – they’ll stop making them.

      1. my daughter is 5 and a couple of months ago she was telling a story about one of our neighbors. I wasn’t sure who she was talking about and she said “you know, across the street, the brown people”. I paused for a moment and thought it so sad that I flinched before realizing that she was free of any preconceived notions about race and simply describing them as accurate as possible. I so hope that our generation can instill the values in our children to make the next great step away from racial divide.

      2. It’s such a fine line, Simon. As a humor writer, I make usage of stereotypes and poke fun – at everyone – regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Likewise, the concept of being so PC that we extricate certain words from literature (like the N-word never happened) and worry, if only for a second, if it’s okay that our kid described someone as brown or white or blonde or dark or fat or thin or in a wheelchair is abhorrent to me.

        I mean, if I can’t remember someone’s name and that person happened to be the only black person we met that night, I don’t have a problem saying, “What was that one guys’s name? The black guy?” If I can remember that he was a doctor or was wearing a University of Florida shirt, then great…I’ll go with that. But my memory ain’t too good after a few cocky-tails. If I was the only white chick he met that night, it wouldn’t bother me if he asked, “Who was that amazing gorgeous white woman with skin like milk and eyes like the Sea of Cortez?” In fact, I would thrilled if everyone I met asked that question about me later. Everyone. Anyway, you get my gist.

        People just need to be human and treat everyone with respect. Yes, we are all different, beautiful colors with different languages and accents and mannerisms and prayers and preferences and abilities – and there is nothing wrong with recognizing all those things. I can’t tell you how often I admire the color of someone’s skin or the texture of their hair (people with straight hair always want curly hair), the cadence of their speech. So I think it’s okay that your daughter notices that people are brown and tan and beige and milky white. She’s learning her colors and that colors are a beautiful thing.

  12. I don’t know what I want to see more: your MTV fashion vid, the Asperger artist’s painting, or the overweight Muslim dude with a seat belt extender. I can’t believe that I read this whole f-n thing. Amazeballs. And I have ADHD (yes, guilty of being born after 1985).

    I f-n love this. And that’s all that I will say regarding your writing because I’m sure that you’ve heard it before. You should have.

    This post is relevant to what happened to me yesterday. I found myself listening to the entirety of U2’s “Elevation” on the radio without changing it. Yeah, I don’t know why- the only thing that’s worse is when I get in a highway-daze and leave on “Wasting Away in Margaritaville,” which happens about once a week. I’m pretty sure that if you played that song backwards, it would be a summon to people exactly like the Atlanta cougar in your story. Later yesterday, my supposed best friend of years, very similar to Megan, who once didn’t judge an 11 year old me when I did a handstand at a slumber party and exposed my stained, flesh-colored hand-me-down bra, cancelled a date with me-something she’s been doing for the past 3 years as she gradually enters complete cake-pop making land.

    What the fuck happens to people that makes them stop evolving? Is it just fear? Having kids? I feel that something happens to them that they can’t cope with (ala Todd to Megan) and they’re stuck at that emotional age. So yeah, I guess it is fear. FU Yoda, know-it-all.

    Great post. I’ll have to ride my local public transportation system to get me a crock pot.

  13. Holy Bones of David Sedaris, where do I begin? You have more juice here in one blog post than I’ve written in my entire life. Also, just want to say that I’ve stayed in that seaside condo (some friends have a place in Fla.) and you could not be more spot on if you were Proctor & Gamble.

    1. And my juice isn’t made from concentrate, either. It’s squeezed from fresh snark, right off the tree, each and every time. Thanks for subscribing. Looking forward to seeing you in the blogosphere, new friend. 🙂

  14. i LOOOOOOVED this one. in fact, i am standing up and applauding you right now. what a pack of d-bags. seriously. too bad megan didn’t fall off that plywood. the traumatic brain injury might’ve jostled her grey matter back to smart… i’m just sayin’. xo, sm

    1. Thanks, Sweetie! She certainly seemed like a different person all those years ago. I guess we all change. My hubby and I visited a local mall today and I just felt like I was boiling up with rage. It was so gross. The commercialism; the tweens running around in short shorts and stripper heels with their MOMS; the blaring dance music and gaudy lighting in every store. I had to make a choice – stop shopping or go deaf and lose my soul entirely. Twenty years ago, just walking into a mall like that would have been an adrenaline rush. xo CCL

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