philosophy at age eight

“If you cannot control your peanut butter, you cannot expect to control your life.”
~ Judah-ism

Thursday, March 25, 2010

ihop ghetto gospel

It's been years now, but I still have the cup, and a story to tell.

I am ashamed to admit this, but I was about 30-years-old at the time. It took place in West Hollywood, when we lived down in Southern California. If I remember right--which is debatable--the usual group of us girls (Erin and Mary, Jenni and Aimee and myself) took our monthly trip to The Hive's showing to see Erin's art on display. And here's where the shame factors in; while ogling artists, their muses and the musicians, I consumed more than my share of the two-buck chuck they sell in the back ($2 a glass for Charles Shaw. :P)  By the time the gaggle of us pulled into the West Hollywood IHOP--am I the only one who thinks an IHOP in West Hollywood seems like an oxymoron?--I was struggling with some really intense inner-ear-induced vertigo. When we were shown to our booth, pancakes and who-knows-what were ordered all around as I sprawled over on my side in the booth, too-buck-fucked to care about the spectacle I was making of myself at 2 am in the morning. I dozed / worked hard not to puke and ruin everyone's fun—and thereby missed the snarky comments from a couple tables over.

I didn't see what happened an hour later, as I teetered on my heels out the IHOP door--tugging at my hair (is it sticking straight up?) and feeling a little less vomitous and quite relieved for my nap. But not long after I hit the sidewalk, wondering blurrily where we'd parked, Jenni came flying by, raging amazon of invectives and kinky black curls. I heard howls of outrage, laughter behind me… what had I missed? Behind me strolled Aimee, blasé faire, as well as Mary and Erin, showing the whites of their eyes and encouraging speed, speed, speed.

Ugh, do you want me to vomit on you?

In the car, the story unfolded, loud and animated. It went like this:

As I'd teetered past the table of gay boys--"West Hollywood, hoity-toity, snarky gay, you know the ones!"--on my way out of IHOP, the last straw an unforgivable transgression was committed against me. One snickered:

"Feeling better now?"

Deafened by alcohol, I passed without registering this egregious insult, but a lesson was stalking their way regardless. Fed up to her eyebrows by the attitude they’d been dishing since we arrived, Jenni grabbed a bottle of syrup from a nearby table, and proceeded to dump the stuff all over the perpetrator's hand and plate of food.

Less than 60-seconds later, as a shaky Erin peeled out down the strip, Aimee reached across Mary and hands me an IHOP mug, nabbed from the table. For a souvenir,” she says.

* * *
Though my response might have been quite different than Jenni’s, I love the fierce loyalty she can be depended on showing family and friends. On weekend mornings as I sip my coffee from the IHOP mug, I remember bits of that night: the smell of the IHOP fake-leather booth, listening to 3 different versions of the entire story as we sped down the strip, thanking every gawd there is that we hadn’t been lynched, tumbling into Jenni’s apartment and seeing the baffled look on Johnny’s face as 5 grown women who are far too old to be pulling pranks like these try to explain why I am clutching stolen property… makes me all mushy and sentimental.

By the by, Drinking in LA by Bran Van 3000 will forever rank up there in the soundtrack of my memories of Los Angeles.

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