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January 17, 2006

I got drunk and called France.

I drunk-dialed France. Twice. But that is not even the beginning of the story of my past five days, it's not the end, either, it's just there sandwiched in between "get mad at funeral home guy" and "people at my house are measuring themselves using a pink ballpoint pen on my white front door."

How was ya'lls weekend?

Mine began on Thursday, because my mom was in town and down in The OC with my grandma and Aunt Pam. I could have driven down to visit them, which certainly would have been quicker and easier, so instead of course I decided to take mass transporation. Glutton! Punishment! Sign me up! Over the course of two days I rode on eleventeen types of public transportation. Ya'll cannot imagine the quantity of wet wipes this journey took.

Los Angeles has transit, we do! It's just real hard to get to. Like, you have to drive to the mass transit, see? But I have a car that is real easy to steal, and in fact has been stolen, so I prefer not to park it overnight in strange parking lots. Instead, I walked two miles to the Orange Line busway, which drove me from Encino-ish to North Hollywood, where I caught a subway to Union Station. At Union Station, I boarded an Amtrak train for south OC. Yes. I did this. It was like one of those dreams you have where you keep walking and walking and you never get anywhere. Then suddenly you are naked.

Also, next time you get tempted to say "Oh, no one takes mass transit in LA!" you think again. The trains and buses were PACKED like little sardine tins full of people. (Luckily, no one was naked.)

My mom and Grandma picked me up in the OC, one million hours later, and we went ... directly to the cemetery. My mom neglected to tell me this would be the first stop on my little mini-vacation. THE CEMETERY. Where Grandpa is buried. I thought we might go shopping. Or watch TV. No. WE ARE VISITING THE DEAD.

Only, we're not just visiting. No. We are going to visit, and be sad, and give Grandpa some pretty flowers, then we'll all go INSIDE the funeral place and talk about funeral arrangements for my grandma who, by the way, is not dead yet. This also falls into "more details my mom neglected to tell me on the phone before I journeyed by dugout and donkey to Orange Freaking County and WHERE IS THE WINE?"

And, having never chitchatted with funeral-type people before, I was surprised to discover how much like used car salesmen they are. It's all about money. And it was depressing. And these people were not Southern, so they didn't have a natural way about them of putting you at ease. It was a lot like going to Keyes Honda on Van Nuys Boulevard. And THERE WAS NO WINE.

In general I would say I do not handle death-like matters very well. I am more of an optimist, believing I will live forever and so will everyone I know. Planning for death seems quite pessimistic to me. After all, you may outwit it! I've watched six seasons of "Survivor" ... I'm pretty sure if I fly under the radar, I will outlast that bastard Death.

So, needless to say, I am not the rock of support you should take on your next trip to a FUNERAL HOME. Just saying is all.

Luckily, there was a big bottle of Scotch waiting for us at Grandma's house. And before long I was all pink cheeks and happy happy and we had all kinds of people over and then watched Dancing With The Stars in a happy warm fog of Chivas Regal. And I promptly set about killing the brain cells that contained the funeral home visit memories.

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Bus stop; The Orange Line bus is crowded; walking to the subway.

North Hollywood red line; some subway knitting!

This was my first time on Amtrak; look who's here!

Flowers for Grandpa; we all need a drink after this day.

Scotch is REALLY strong; me and my cousin Ryan drankin' away.

The next day we did some shopping and had a nice lunch together then I embarked upon a journey back to the Valley, which took many hours and ended with Jennifer picking me up in front of a liquor store in Reseda. Because that is where I hang out, yo.

Jennifer and I sat on my patio and did a little wine tasting, then maybe a little more, and before long we decided it would be a REALLY GOOD IDEA to call the hotel we have reserved in Paris and confirm our rooms and ... uh, chitchat. Ya'll know. Except there were some teetiny roadblocks, like I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DIAL FRANCE and also, THESE NUMBERS ARE REAL SMALL, and also, MAYBE I SHOULD DRINK ONE MORE GLASS, and then, HELLO FRANCE! I DO NOT SPEAK FRENCH!

Marc at Hotel In Paris: Bonjour.

Me, drunk in Encino: Bonjour! (fit of giggles) um. Hi! Hello! Bonjour! I... kind of don't know French. Whoops!

Marc: Eets okay, I speak English.

Me (giggle giggle): Oooh! Yes! Hello! Thank you!

(insert drunken conversation here about room reservations)

Marc: Ok, everything is good, goodbye now.

Me (giggle giggle): Oooh! Bonjour! Thank you!

Jennifer: (yelling at me): Say Merci Beaucoup!

Me: huh?

Jennifer: (louder): Say Merci Beaucoup! Say it!

Me: Oh yes! Merci! Lots of Beaucoup!

So, in conclusion, the four of us are either staying in side-by-side rooms at a cute hotel in Paris, or we are sleeping on a tablecloth covered in fleas. I DO NOT KNOW. Hi Marc!

And that was just Friday, folks.

Saturday came rather early, what with the hangover and all. And Shannon's birthday party was being held... at my house! In mere hours! And there was a quick trip to the vet (don't ask) and some housecleaning, and also more housecleaning, and suddenly people were showing up and it was time to start drinking again. Which was good because Lord knows I need my blood to be at least 35% alcohol by volume to withstand the germs of mass transportation. And also to speak such excellent French.

And the party was lovely, except maybe I got drunk and insisted I was MUCH TALLER THAN everyone and that never, ever ends well, folks. But it's not a party unless someone is measuring something at my house. I think we let Shannon win the Who's Tallest contest since it was her birthday. I can't really remember.

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That first pic is Shannon talking to Randy who called from Afganistan. The FBI is totally wiretapping my phones now. Hope they enjoy lots of drunken blathering.

Shannon, Jane, Faith with crazy halo effect. And see? My fridge does TOO have stuff on it. Geez.

Lots of hi, hello with Penny & Shannon, Karman is so cute.

There was much measuring, and also some champagne.

So you know, just the normal stuff. Hours of transportation, cheerful chitchat about funerals, way too much drinking and some good cake. Oh, and of course, my usual drunk dial. TO FRANCE.

We all need a vacation from our mini-vacation. Au revoir.

Posted by laurie at January 17, 2006 12:51 PM