Little Red Corvette
San Diego, Spokane, LA we're coming at you much too fast.
There is a program for RV folks, where you stay in a vineyard or farm for free, and it is expected that you will buy something. I love buying things! Particularly from people! You got an Etsy? Don't even tell me, because I will tear your shit up .
We were in the smack middle of Idaho, on our way to SD*. Quick, ask me how many people in Idaho were wearing masks in the gas stations too late it was ZERO! My granddaughter and I must have been terribly exotic.
And we got to the vineyard, and did you know Idaho has gorges? It has gorges, and they are lush, and at the bottom 40 of the vineyard were tall ... sycamores? to shade us and the four other groups of RV folk. The first ones we met were so nice! Where were they from? Washington! But "not like the weird Washington people," they were "normal Washington people" ... it took me a whole 10 minutes to realize she most likely meant liberals.
It didn't hurt my feelings even a tiny, I say stupid shit like that all the time.
After a bit, as we were enjoying the breeze underneath the ... sycamores? a redhead in her 70s drove up in her convertible red Corvette, her eyebrows, a pair of sideways parentheses, to match. Between her manicured fingers was a cigarette. Clearly this was a woman looking to rack up a few more catcalls in her twilight, and I was delighted to oblige. AROOOOO! I shouted from the Wonkebago screen door. "What made you decide to buy it?" my good son asked her. "SON, BECAUSE SHE CAN."
All my favorite people are women in their seventies. My best friends are Tika and Susan and Deb and my mom and, until she died of an asthma attack in the fires last year — GODDAMMIT, THE FIRES — my dear Betty. Fucking Betty. Betty was a ROCK.
I asked the Corvette Woman if she was our host. No, she was the woman who'd made it all happen. We chatted — I'm such a good chatter — and after she told us twice that she'd recently taken her Vette to 170 ("NOOOOOO," I howled, "BAAAAAD," I keened), she demanded I squeeze my ass into the convertible with her and go up to the winery, where she would force me to take some of her surely longsuffering daughter-in-law's wine.
Shy handed me his lighter: "Have a good time babe." I got in the goddamned car. We went up to get some goddamned wine.
When I was in college, I studied in Berlin for two months. There, the trains run on the honor system, but if someone comes through to check tickets, you'd best have one. As a young punk woman, I loudly insisted that I DID NOT BELIEVE IN THE HONOR SYSTEM. But I was also too afraid to get busted. So I didn't go many places on the train. Now, as a middle-aged granny who lives in society, I am the GODDAMNED GREATEST at the honor system. I got $30 in my pocket! Come on Cecil, take a dollar. Come on Cecil, take a ten.
Now I have to figure out how to get money to her daughter-in-law, because after she punched in the keypad code ("They gave me the code." "Then I guess that's on them!"), I took that fucking wine.
It would have been rude not to. And it's fucking delicious.
We are going to call her Nancy Sharon, after my dad's first two wives, because all women in their 70s are Nancy Sharon Donna Susan Betty Barbara but not so many Tikas. Nancy Sharon and her husband bought their land in 1975, and it was a shithole. They parked it out, they planted weeping willows, they have ducks. It was their dairy then; they milked the cows in what's now a delightful tasting room. She gave it over to her son 17 years ago. Was retiring hard?
Ima retire someday too. It's going to be amazing.
Her husband died a year and a half ago. And it was hard. "You liked each other?" I asked. She paused, and the yes was obvious in her tone, even if not her words: "We were together for 55 years." So fuck it, she bought a red Corvette.
She lit another cigarette, said her son wants her to quit. "I told him maybe I would if he wasn't bugging me about it." "No you wouldn't," I cackled. "You and I both know you are lying ."
She chuckled. Yes she was lying, she said.
I asked her — and lord, the gymnastics I go to to keep people soothed, to be polite, in person — "I'm curious, and I hope you don't take offense, but if you do, well. What do you think about the vaccine?"
"I got vaccinated IMMEDIATELY, AB-SO-LOOT-LY," she shouted. The woman with a cigarette in her fingers and a beer in her hand as she drove (I forgot that part didn't I?), who had just told me to my HORROR about the speeds she'd tested her convertible in on those curving roads, explained: "I wouldn't risk it!"
*Spokane! Saturday August 14 at Spokane Audubon Park at 6pm. Doktor Zoom will join you Look for the WonkMeet flag, you! Family-friendly meetup in a city park, so BEHAAAVE YOURSELVES! Pants probably a good idea.
*Los Angeles! Meet us at Pan Pacific Park, 7600 Beverly Blvd. Sunday, August 15, from 3 to 6 p.m. Same as above, with the dishes! Where will we be? Presumably near a playground, we got babies. Look for a sign ... FROM GOD.