19 May 2005

hangin' with my uppercase Gs

While I visited KEWP in California, I also visited my grandparents. Most of the time their curmudgeonly quirks amuse me. My grandfather, especially, adheres to a strict routine. Everyday at 5 p.m. is cocktail hour. This represents a vast improvement as years ago—for years—5 p.m. was cocktail hour but so was 6 p.m. and 7 p.m and 8 p.m.

Each time I visit, we drive by the acres and acres of fruit fields and orchards. My grandpa seems to know what fruit grows in every field in Ventura county, announcing them to me as we pass. Grandpa (and grandma) knows other things, too, like what is good for America—less Mexicans.

My grandmother is a busybody with an unflinching attraction to sales. Because she doesn't sit still for very long, their house is nearly immaculate. Except for the refrigerator. This visit I ignored her protestations to not clean it, and attempted to make sense of the surfeit of condiments.

My grandma's penchant for bargains manifests itself most noticeably in her refrigerator. Clothes and tchotchkes can be bought and gifted away, but the food accumulates. She loves coupons. (Everyone in the family receives a sheaf along with her letters.) Grandma admits that coupons can be more of a game than a legitimate money-saving strategy, and sometimes this causes her to waste food. Which is probably why there were three open bottles of lime juice and three open tubs of butter in the fridge. Two-for-one deals are her weakness.

As usual when I visit, my grandfather drove us downtown so Grandma and I could shp. He waits in the car with a book. I was a little disappointed; I forgot my camera and had wanted to snap a photo of the "Retarded Children Thrift Store". The large sign does not proclaim "Thrift Store" while a more discreet sign notes that proceeds benefit the mentally challenged. No, it boldly reads "Retarded Children" in all its politically incorrect glory; "thrift store" is in smaller type. My grandparents warn me not to spend my money there. "It doesn't even go to retarded children," my grandma says, but rather a sketchy entrepreneur.

I gave my moeny to the Abused Children thrift store instead. I asked my grandma if the money helps to abuse more children. She didn't understand and said yes.

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