I went to New Jersey this weekend to visit my Great Uncle in the nursing home. Well, I guess it’s a nursing home, I’m not quite sure what the P.C. name is – Retirement Home?
I left early Saturday morning to make the drive. I grabbed a bunch of old CD’s to listen to on the ride. As I made my way through them, only listening to the songs I like as opposed to listening to the whole CD, I stumbled on Expose. For those of you who did NOT grow up in the 80’s in New York, listening to Z100 broadcast “live from the top of the Twin Towers,” you may not have the same fondness for bands like Expose, Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam, and Pebbles. Let’s have a nod to some true girl jammin’ shall we? A reminder of the days when hair was big, spandex was streetwear, dancing wasn’t always sychronized and ladies could sing.
Something tells me only KassyK will enjoy this the most. It’s a tri-state area thing. Z100, neon lights under your car and weekends at the Jersey Shore.
Anyway, I do hope you enjoyed that, for I shall continue with my story. I needed to lift you up before I brought you down. I’m jamming along through the Baltimore Tunnel, straight up 95 to a little Expose. My mind wanders to the whole New York in the 80’s thing, and the feel of growing up during that time. I’m instantly tossed back to 8th grade, hanging out with my friend at the end of my street, talking about boys. On the highway, I see a car with New York plates in front of me, and realize that they are heading “home.” Brain wandering. My dad asked me on Friday if I would consider moving back to New York and give up my pipe dream of moving to Phoenix. I said no, but secretly it is something I do consider. I’m on the fence between Phoenix and New York. It would make more sense to just go back home. Besides, I could get back together with my hot ex-boyfriend. You know, the one who picked me up in a bar when I was 19, with the line, “If you guess what kind of car I drive you can have it.” I looked him up and down and said, “Black Ford Mustang.” He said, “Did you see me get out of my car?” I really didn’t, it was easy. All those guys drove Ford Mustangs.
As I’m mulling this over in my head, a tour bus cuts off the New Yorkers in the car ahead of me. They drive out of the lane to avoid an accident, skidded in the left shoulder, burning rubber in the process. Then the driver lost control of the car and it fell into the median, flipped over and landed on its side. Right in front of me.
I slam on the breaks and immediately call 911. (When I drive, the phone is always in my crotch. I enjoy the vibration, what can I say?) So, I get out of Speedracer and I’m in a full sprint back to their car. I never knew I could run this fast in flip flops. A guy was standing next to the car pulling the people out, as they had to climb up just to get out. Just as I said, “I’ve told them to send an ambulance,” out of the car comes a 3 year old little girl.
All four adults and one child climbed out of that car. Alive. Not injured. I never would have believed it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes.
Then someone said, “The car is smoking, everyone back away.” Traffic had come to a stop on the highway in both directions, and we started walking away from the car. Secure that they didn’t need me and had enough people around with an ambulance on the way, I made my way back to Speedracer to continue on. Needless to say, I was later than Uncle M expected. But he was just watching a Lifetime special, and he didn’t understand it anyway. He said, “Do I have to live a lifetime just to understand what the hell they are saying?”
I wheeled him back to his room, then we went for a walk outside on the grounds. Two ladies asked us to join them in the swing, so we did. We sat there for what seemed like an eternity, and in between small talk, Uncle M started in on these political rants. Everything is a conspiracy. Gotta love it.
Before I left, I saw a picture in his room of his mother, my great grandmother. This is the woman allegedly responsible for a lot of misery in the family. She was supposedly such a raging bitch, that she pitted my grandmother and her sister against each other for most of their lives.
I sat in the chair looking at the picture of my great grandmother, feeling nothing, knowing that she created a mess of shit that we are all still dealing with today. Uncle M never got married because she forbid him to marry a non-Greek who he was in love with. My Great Aunt committed suicide. My grandmother became completely crazy and tortured the hell out of my mom. The stories my mom can tell about growing up with my grandmother, lord. They could send us all to therapy. Though, the ones who need it don’t seem to end up there, do they? It’s the rest of us who have to go. Hell, they have even sent Uncle M to therapy now. He said they asked him why he can’t get along with anyone at the home. I said, “Did you tell them cause you’re Greek? It’s in your heritage?” At least he laughed at that.
My own reflection in the glass surrounded her face. I stared at it for a long time, to see if there was any similarity in our appearance. Nothing. I couldn’t see one thing in her face that resembled my own. But that’s just the outside. It’s not the outside that counts.