It’s really getting bad over here. I’m so far into this alternate reality that half the time I forget that I’m not deaf. Or Mexican.
My hearing-impaired alter ego Manuel has really been having a tough time of it. First, he gets stabbed in his apartment by some crazy lady with a knife. Then his life-partner Henry forgets to pick him up from the hospital! That’s low. It’s a good thing they reconciled over season 2 of Queer As Folk the next night.
Then there was the whole affair with the realtor from Michigan and the peanut butter-coated hearing aid left on the commode.
This weekend, Manuel had to make a last minute trip to his hometown in Maryland (the relay operator pronounced it Mary-land) because Mother and Aunt Shirley got in a fight over cat food again and this time it was pretty bad. Aunt Shirley is very serious about her cat food!
Henry is trying furiously to block my personal relay phone number.
I woke up at 6:30 this morning to meet Jessy and Tommy at one of the flea markets in Perryopolis, PA. (Tommy calls is Perryhopeless and I’d have a hard time finding anything more apropos.) That’s how you know I love you, when I set my alarm on a goddamn weekend. Prior to our arrival, Jessy tried to warn me of the utter trashiness of this particular flea market, of the foul stench that could be sniffed throughout the indoor portion, of the fact that she and I would look like hotel heiresses in comparison.
Just driving through the lot, I quickly learned that this flea market was like an outdoor People Of Wal-Mart festival.
And it was awesome.
Tazmanian Devil tattoos every which way! On shoulder blades and saggy, sun-damaged bosoms!
Wrecked livers and nicotine-tarnished teeth as far as the eye could see!
Troughs of worthless tools! (In a move reminiscent of Henry, Tommy felt inclined to explain the purpose of these worthless tools and no one cared!)
Piles of novelty t-shirts and creepy stuffed clown dolls!
Then we happened upon a certain expanse of tables and if my life was a TV show, this is where the record scratch would have been inserted. I had happened upon the motherland of cheap flea market rings. I almost never find cool rings at the two flea markets Henry normally drags me to. I couldn’t breathe for a second or two as I ran my fingers gently over the display cases.
I bought three. I didn’t even feel guilty. The lady behind the table kept trying to show me these neon bands that glow in the dark (“They ain’t even gonna turn your fingers green,” she emphasized as many times as Dubya reminded Kerry not to forget Poland – political flashback, holla!) and I kept pointedly ignoring her. She’s lucky her other rings were too fabulous to make her lose a sale. Like this one that’s giant enough to provide back-up next time I try to break Henry’s nose:
And then I really had to pee. Normally I’d hold it, or go behind a teepee and peepee in Henry’s cupped hand. But I wasn’t going to be near “safe” restrooms any time soon, and there were no teepees or cupped hands ready to be participant. I was forced to go inside and make a visit to the “ladies lounge.”
They could have called it The Queen Mother’s Diamond-Encrusted Porcelain Ballroom and it wouldn’t have done much to priss up the piss puddles atop an uneven floor the color of boogers and staph infections, Gretel’s toilet paper trail, or the lingering bouquet of old lady flatulence.
There were three stalls: one had a flooded floor, pubes dipped in menstruation droplets dotting the seat like ornamental garnish at the sewage plant, and a ripped toilet seat cover waving in surrender. One was occupied by a human emitting low groans. One had a broken lock.
I chose the one with the groaning human. Straddled it’s liver-spotted lap and urinated right between its legs.
But really, I hate when bathroom stalls don’t shut! It’s hard work peeing with one foot slammed against the door.
The groaning human didn’t wash its hands.
I did. Wash my hands that is, not groaned. I lathered those phalanges up REAL GOOD with steaming hot water. Then I rejoined Jessy who bought me a red velvet whoopie pie filled with a hearty splooge of sexual cream cheese. It was enough to eradicate the horror of the bathroom. I’m convinced that baked goods is what makes it all OK. There are times I consider having another child while eating a particularly high class cupcake; makes me momentarily forget the pain and trauma of that whole “creating life” process.
“I totally get what you mean about that delicious aroma,” I said to Jessy. It was like a hearty stew of body odor, Nascar fandom, cigarettes and Looney Tunes t-shirts unwashed after weeks of marinating in Pabst spills, gasoline splashes, and juice squeezed fresh from domestic violence.
Meanwhile, we couldn’t find Tommy.
“I left my phone in the truck or I’d call him,” Jessy said.
I didn’t even have to ponder what to do next. I’m always waiting for these opportunities.
“I’ll call him,” I said deviously. “What’s his number?” And as Jessy recited the digits, I typed them hungrily into my IP Relay iPhone app.
AND HE ANSWERED.
Manuel: Thomas. I am looking for you. Jessy fell into the commode. We are cleaning her off and will join you shortly. Thanks. Adios.
Tommy, to the operator: Ok. I know where she’s at. That’s my wife. Thank you. I’m gonna hang up, I’m gonna go where she’s at.
The operator, in parenthesis, informed Manuel that Thomas was speaking too fast. But the bigger picture here is, OMG how nice of Manuel to come all the way back from Mary-land to assist in Operation: Plunge Jessy from the Commode.
While this was going on, Jessy was talking to two jewelry vendors. I was hunkering off to the side, away from the flow of foot traffic, squatting to hold in my laughing-pee. I kept trying to tug on her arm, laughing so hard my speech was on par with that of a slurring retard with a Cockney accent and a fat wang in his mouth.
Jessy ignored me and continued her adult conversation.
By this point, I could barely breathe. I was laughing so hard that it was coming out in squeals. Jessy finally bought something and said goodbye to her new grown-up friends.
“You’re an asshole. I was trying so hard to talk to those people while you were over there laughing like an idiot!”
Then we found Tommy and he still looked confused from his phone call from Manuel. I explained to him and he was like, “You’re a fucking retard.” But I know deep down he was impressed. Probably even honored to have received a call from the great Manuel.
Before we left, some guy approached us and said, “Do you have any plans for the winter?” He was trying to hook us into learning more about some home renovation thing he was selling.
“I thought he was going to ask us if we had any plans tonight,” I laughed to Jessy as we walked away.
So she turned back and yelled to him, “Hey she wants to know if you have any plans tonight!”
He blushed (I’m taking Jessy’s word for it since I had all but vaulted over vendor tables to avoid the awkwardness that was bound to ensue) and said, “Oh, that’s my girlfriend over there.”
How dare she! Turning me from Ridiculer to the Ridiculed!
Then we went to brunch at the Beach House, where I got to meet Jessy’s mom and her husband for the first time. Both were very lovely and I had a delicious frittata.
“Erin must love her food because she’s not talking,” Jessy said to the rest of the table.
“Thank God,” Tommy muttered.