I woke up Friday at 5:30 AM in a gorgeous Manhattan condo. The condo's two babies and two daddies were asleep as I snuck out the door at 6:15 for Penn Station. I had tried to explain to the babies that I was saying goodbye last night. They weren't buying it. I'd spent four nights in their playroom Murphy bed. In baby time conception that meant I would be there for their proms.
The daddies were probably glad to see me go. I fixed a huge Southern meal for them last night which had so much fat and triglycerides that I am almost certain I gave myself a hernia slinging butter in the pots.
Let me stop exaggerating. The butter was slung and I have a small herniated spot on my belly button, but there is no scientific explanation suggesting causality other than timing. I think I got the hernia from lugging my 6 ton luggage around.
And I’m sure the daddies were just glad to see me go because now that I have introduced them to the Burlesque Babysitter I can do nothing more for them.
Yes. You read that: the Burlesque Babysitter. Every cougar mom’s nightmare and I invited her over for sweet taters, shrimp and grits, and this terrifying concoction I make with brown sugar and Jack Daniels. The daddies were already weakened by the food, she just came in for the kill.
The Burlesque Babysitter is the closest I get to knowing a superhero. Mild mannered, sweet Jewish humanist by day and gyrating goddess whose fake eyelashes are longer than a deviled egg by night, she came over for the Southern cooking. She had been at a photo shoot and still had her gear and sparkle boots on. The mom in me is sure she will need a chiropractor from the wig.
Last time I saw her she’d been all Clark Kented out and was hugging her auntie and cousins. This time she had the daddies debating the Kinsey spectrum of sexuality and just where they might be on it after all. I’d be really jealous if she weren't so flipping adorable and hadn't raved about every single thing on her plate. (Such a good lass, that one.)
The daddies were not one bit inappropriate with her either. You see, Lady Gaga had a piano teacher who was a stripper teaching her lessons throughout her childhood. This is the kind of information two daddy Manhattan couples have and find inspiring. But my girl's sparkle boots didn’t hurt her chances for babysitting either.
Where was I? Condo, hernia, daddies, artsy nudity… oh right, the train ride home. The long and short of that is the multi-state conversation with my seat mate about his former sex addiction.
What? What do you talk to your Amtrak seat mates about?
He was totally appropriate, too, as much as one can be when sharing their recovery process with a stranger of the opposite sex on a train. You see I had dropped the C bomb on him accidentally. That means I come to know how his mom died, what his father regrets most, his greatest fears for his children, why he is clean and sober in every way, and how he is adapting from knee surgery at Christmas.
C bomb = So, what kind of work do you do? he asks. I work as a hospice chaplain, I respond.
I try not to drop the C bomb when traveling. A seminary professor warned me decades ago, “If you want to sleep or read when traveling tell them you are an evangelist. If you feel like working, tell the truth.”
I told the truth. And so did he from what I can tell. Nice guy, too. I gave him a big hug when I departed and told him to tell his Nana and them I said Hey!
My beautiful, elegant mother who is without flaw forgot she was supposed to pick me up at the train station and went off galavanting in the Shenandoah so in between nibbling crudite from my purse and talking sex addiction I arranged a ride with a friend during the trip.
I would very much like to just post that friend's name for all to see. Why? Why would I do such a cruel thing to such a good pal who drops everything to save me from a Richmond cab? (For another time can we examine why taking a cab in Richmond is seen as offensive? You took a CAB? Good God, why didn't you call me?)
I am plotting my revenge on this dear friend because the second he had me in the car he says. "I've gotta' go by Dirt's. Then I'll drop you off."
Dirt is Richmond's most notorious Transgender Performer also known as Dirt Woman. I prefer to call her Baby Girl out of a misguided notion that affirmation will engender self-respect on her part. Hasn't worked thus far.
We roll up in Dirt's, sorry - Baby Girl's neighborhood after driving past mine as I put my nose against the window and whimpered. Baby Girl was rolling down the street. In her new wheelchair and looking pretty good for her which is pretty frightening for anyone else. Friend-who-will-not-be-named rolls down the window.
"I brought your groceries!" (I think it was hooch but I've never seen Baby Girl drink much and my pal usually brings her food so, who knows?)
"I'm going to the Dr. Drop 'em off." No thank you. No peals of delight. "You got any cash?"
"No, Dirt. I got your groceries."
Baby Girl looks meaningfully at me. Baby Girl believes I am the greatest minister Richmond has ever had and scolds me in public for not having my own church because I am denying the city its spiritual core.
I give her a 5. No thank you. No peals of delight. She rolls off. I ask my buddy if I can go home now. We laugh hard.
When we finally arrive at my place, even though my poor bedraggled friend tells me his back is killing him I explain my belly button hernia to him and he carries my suitcase up cursing in new and imaginative ways while I carry my work bag and purse. We get to my porch and I freeze.
I made it 5 days at a scientific convention in NYC about research pertinent to health care chaplains. I walked 19+ miles while I was there because I have Winter of '13-14 PTSD and kept thinking a blizzard could come any moment so I shouldn't ride the subway. I cooked for 6 hours for a dinner party and then upstaged my own self by introducing my fabulous cohorts to each other. I got up before dawn to get on a train where I would become chatty with a recovering sex addict, not in spite of that revelation but because of it. My mama forgot me. I gave my last fiver to a funky gal/guy in an electric wheelchair and I have a belly button hernia.
I am EIGHT FEET from my flipping front door and I throw my back out.
I may be a chaplain but when I look back on this day all I can think is...
What The HELL Was That All About?
I don't know. Here's my deviled egg recipe.
8 boiled eggs
3T Duke's mayo (more if it's lumpy)
1T Grey Poupon
1T of capers, crush after measurement
dash of caper juice
white pepper, black pepper and salt to taste
chopped anchovies for garnish
(All measurements require generous dollops that seem like they would be Tablespoons if someone made them commit to something as patriarchal as measurements.)
Directions: Open beer and drink. Peel the eggs. Drink. Slice the eggs open with a serrated knife because that's how my grandma did it and it makes them groovy. Mix yokes and other ingredients preferably in bowl. Drink. Stick your finger in the yoke mix and taste. Rinse palate with beer. Add random crap til it tastes like you want it but you won't remember when someone asks the recipe. Garnish with anchovies. Serve with beer to daddies and Burlesque performers.
Now say thank you and squeal with delight. It's all I ask.