Sunday, August 13, 2006

Her Daisy Head Is Conscience-Laden

Daria is thrilled to hear I feel awful.

Daria: You called out sick? That's great.
Tata: I'm glad you're happy. How many fingers am I holding up? Four! No, three!
Daria: When can you be ready to go?
Tata: Half an hour from any time now, but I'd rather leave after All My Erika.
Daria: What time?
Tata: Two.
Daria: Done!

At four on Friday, I buckle my seatbelt in her Ford Excoriator and ask a key question.

Tata: Where's your mother-in-law?

Daria growls like I waved honey in front of her grizzly cubs.

Daria: I'll tell you later.
Tata: Adult situation?
Daria: Grr. Grr. Grr. How're things with that guy?
Tata: Grr. Grr. Adult situation. Grr.
Daria: We'll talk about it in Rhode Island, when the kids are sleeping.

Somewhere in Connecticut, while we are listening to traffic reports every ten minutes and shushing the kids and she's setting up a DVD player and discussing directions with her husband in New Jersey and we are engaged in a valiant battle to remain hydrated, she spills a story so maddening I almost feel sorry for her. This is like taking pity on cannibals circling you with steak sauce; there is nothing defenseless about Daria.

Daria's husband Tyler's company had a convention this past week in Chicago. It was a reward for employees who worked their asses off, and Tyler did, and they planned this trip for a long time, including that Tyler's mother would come take charge of the kids for four days. The morning of their flight out, the mother-in-law, whose name I cannot commit to memory because it annoys her when I snap my fingers and say, "I'm sorry. What is your name again?" calls and asks what time they're bringing the kids to Long Island. Which was not the plan. There's no time to drive out to Long Island. Daria throws the phone across the room and bursts into tears. Tyler sifts a pile of shoes for the phone and his mother tells him she doesn't care what the plans were, she's not coming out to New Jersey. Tyler says some very abrupt things to his mommy and hangs up. Still sobbing, Daria calls Auntie InExcelsisDeo. Between Auntie, cousins Monday and Sandy, and Daria's usual babysitter, they improvise a plan. Tyler and Daria make their plane. The kids have a great time with their cousins, aunt and the babysitter. Then Scotland Yard arrests a pack of terrorists and return plans go straight into the crapper.

Daria: I'm not a good flier and I just couldn't get on a plane.
Tata: You what?
Daria: There were terrorists. I couldn't do it.
Tata: Daria, the terrorists were in the hooskow. Doesn't that mean yesterday was the safest day in history to fly?
Daria: No! And my girlfriends couldn't do it either so we rented two cars and drove back.
Tata: You...what?
Daria: We drove back from Chicago, got home at 4 this morning and I was too nervous to sleep.
Tata: So you're saying you were up all night and now you're driving the largest vehicle you can buy without a special license, your three children and me?
Daria: Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.
Tata: Stop anywhere. I'm buying you a gallon of espresso and a syringe.

Later, she tells me the man in my adult situation will end up being my second husband. I tell her my second marriage and whatever she's avoiding in the center lane are scary hallucinations, and maybe I should drive for a while. When I sound like the Voice of Reason, we both laugh and laugh.


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