So what I'm saying here is that what had been a wonderful day in the country eventually disintegrated into suspicion and bad vibes.
enfariello made me some sort of breakfast and then sunned herself while her many kittens frisked in the yard. It was a beautiful day; temperatures weren't much in excess of 70 degrees.
As I was checking my email on Jenfariello's computer, Matthew Hart, Leah and Deya arrived. Aside from drawing brief mirthful attention to a hickey that had mysteriously appeared on my neck, they didn't rib me much for where I'd spent the night. After picking up some stuff at Kappa Mutha Fucka, we set off for Staunton to spend a day in the country. Monster Boy was apparently still in bed, in Ami Sage's bed that is, and we left him behind. Certainly none of us was willing to venture in there to wake him up!
In fact, beers from our brewery will require their own special keys. To make the matter worse, different batches will require different keys.
e rode on US 250 all the way in hopes of coming across a yard sale. We never saw any quality yardsales, so scenery had to make up for a lack of speed. Cutting perpendicular across the Appalachian ridges on a cool clear summer's day as we did, the view was lush, gorgeous, and sprinkled with its fair share of bronzed redneck torsos and the girls that whither fast bonding to them. On the way we stopped in Ivy for food and gas. I bought a pint of chili which required two hands to eat, so Leah steered while I worked the Dart's pedals. When Matthew, Leah and I go anywhere, it's always Leah in the middle, me driving, and Matthew by the passenger window. Anyone else gets the back seat. Except for that one drunken night when four of us fit in the front seat.
On the long drive, we drank many beers and talked about many things (as could be expected). As we fought against non-twist-off Sam Adams bottles, Matthew brought up something particularly hilarious we'd discussed before. He said that when he and I start our own brewery (Gus & Matt's Microbrews), we'll be sure to make the bottles very difficult to open. In fact, beers from our brewery will require their own special keys. To make the matter worse, different batches will require different keys. That way, Matthew reasons, people will think our beer is extra special. To hear such a ludicrously perceptive notion, I laughed my head off!
We drove through downtown Waynesboro on 250 and Matthew had me cruise through the park to check out the open air drug market that can usually be found there. He wasn't impressed with the activity; it was a far cry from back in the day. Of course, it was early afternoon on a Sunday, what could he expect?
In the heart of downtown Staunton we strove to find Page, a somewhat dissolute art teacher friend of theirs. She's supposedly a scandal of the Waynesboro public school system. But she wasn't home and we meandered our way out to my parents' farm, where I spent the bulk of my youth.
atthew has been to my childhood home a few times, but for Deya and Leah the arrival was nothing if not culture shock. My parents and my home don't fit any of the stereotypes. I'm the sort of dissolute quasi-punk-rocker that makes one think of wealthy parents deserving of prodigal son rebellion. That's not my parents. Leah was surprisingly intrigued by it all. She told me that the experience of seeing my childhood home gave her lots of insight into why I am who I am today, especially my "apolitical"/"punk rock"/non-outdoorsy tendencies, all of which she diagnosed as rebellion. She latched on to a term I made on-the-spot to describe my parents: "proto-hippies." They've never taken drugs, they aren't in the least bit spiritual, but they are idealistic and believe strongly in self-sufficiency. Deya's parents remind me a little of my own, and Deya agrees that they are somewhat similar.
We all went down to the swamp so Matthew could look at my mother's horses. He desperately wanted to ride one, but my mother, Hoagie, didn't feel like going through the considerable preparations that she normally makes prior to horseback riding. But Matthew wanted to ride so bad that Hoagie finally relented and said that if he really wanted to ride a horse bareback then he could ride Natchez, the 23 year old white-faced mare. My mother utterly refused to let Matthew ride any of the other horses. She was concerned that if Matthew climbed on Folly (the younger, speedier mare) or Willow (the huge 13 year old unbroken mare also known as "the Sausage Horse") he would be in danger. Predictably, Matthew was unsatisfied with Natchez' sluggish unresponsiveness. Natchez is the sort of horse who pretends she doesn't hear a command so as to avoid having to do anything. But eventually she gave Matthew a relaxed saunter through the woods. The ride only had the effect of whetting Matthew's appetite.
They'd expected him to be weird, but they'd naturally assumed all my descriptions of him were exaggerations.
e'd hoped to meet Josh Furr, my redneck friend. I'd built up my friends' eagerness with tales of Josh's paranoia, redneckisms and musical interests. Meanwhile Hoagie had built up Josh's curiosity, telling him I was coming and that I would even be bringing girls. But in the end Josh proved shy. He did come by in a big cattle truck (after hauling some Jews between concentration camps), but he only stopped for a moment to let my brother Don out, then he drove off. Josh doesn't have many friends, but he has Don. Don says he usually sleeps when riding in the cattle truck.
So my friends got to meet Don. They were amazed at his fucked-up halting, stammering speech and his irrational fascinations. They'd expected him to be weird, but they'd naturally assumed all my descriptions of him were exaggerations. They were also bewildered to see that none of us in his family cut him any special slack for his handicaps.
Hoagie wanted to treat us all to dinner, so we ordered pizzas. Matthew Hart did all the talking, using his slick sociopathic phone style to negotiate a sweet deal for four large pizzas. Leah was shocked that my mother had requested an order of so much pizza, but I explained the reality at the Mueller household. When we order pizza, there better be enough for everyone, and it better have lots of toppings on it, or else people get upset. Some of us have enormous appetites and look at pizza as an opportunity for gluttony. My brother and I are such people.
Everything had been going so well until Matthew had to go spoil everything by pulling a Rory.
fter dinner, we were fishing with Matthew's fly rods in Folly Mill's Creek. I was fishing near the house, but Matthew had gone up into the swamp and disappeared. That's when I caught a six inch chub. But I felt pity for the fish and threw him back in. Looking for Matthew with Deya, we found his rod, a bucket and an empty beer bottle spread out over a distance of some thirty feet. It was as if he had been abducted by aliens. My mother, always a little paranoid when it comes to her horses and her things, had joined us by this time. It slowly dawned on us all that Matthew had slipped off to ride the horses in secret. He was pulling a Rory!
The idea that Matthew would do such a thing infuriated my mother out of all relation to what possible damage he might be doing. She started hollering at him across the swamp while I shrugged my shoulders and giggled to myself. Such impulsive behaviour was so typical of Matthew. He takes unusual risks for small benefits. This time he failed, he was busted. His punishment: shame.
When he appeared, Matthew made an admirable effort of smoothing things out, telling my mother that he just wanted to once more ride the "white faced one" (Natchez, the old slow mare). This of course was a lie; he'd been off riding Folly, seeking the thrill my mother's prohibition had promised.
But he'd been disappointed by Folly; she too had proven lethargic. The day had defied expectations and become rather hot, and even spunky horses like Folly were contemplating lazy siestas in the shade.
Matthew's worse critic was Leah. Everything had been going so well until Matthew had to go spoil everything by pulling a Rory.
Then as we were preparing to head back to Charlottesville, my Dad started hollering about some beers he'd thought I'd stolen. Leah had put them in a cooler in an innocent attempt to keep them cool, but my Dad (who not infrequently demonstrates the social development of a three year old) interpretted it as grand theft. He was soon placated by the facts, but not before giving Leah the persistent feeling that, like Matthew, my parents now regarded her as being in some way suspect.
The disintegration was not yet complete. On our way to visit Matthew's kid brother (and fellow Aquarius) Wes at his job at a Staunton strip-zoning business establishment, I took a premature right and had to make a sharp U-turn to get back out on the main drag, Greenville Avenue (US 11). In so doing, the cooler full of ice water spilled all over my backseat. Owing to a day spent drinking beer in the hot sun, we were all kind of drunk by this time, and tempers flared easily. Deya had been the only one in the back seat, and for some reason I blamed her for the ice's spilling. She got ticked off at all my nasty remarks and threw a cube at me. That was it, I drove off. But then I stopped some distance away and cleaned the ice out of the back myself while having a little verbal battle with Matthew. Meanwhile Deya was walking with the cooler to Wes' place of employ. Everyone was in a foul mood.
hings settled down at Wes' job though. The place was so exciting it distracted us from all our woes. We discovered we'd died and gone to Redneck Heaven.
Wes Hart, you see, works at a place called Action Track. It features a curvy raceway built into a hillside. And on this raceway are a number of go-carts built by Fisher Price. The go-carts are low to the ground, powered by small gasoline engines and have bumpers all the way around. And the track itself is rimmed with bumpered guard rails. People with tickets can race the go-carts around the track for about ten minutes. Wes gave us all free tickets and we took off. It took Deya and I a little figuring before we realized that the go-carts were inherently stable and did not need to be braked around the turns. Matthew, on the other hand, immediately threw caution to the wind and turned it into a competitive sport. I'm embarrassed to admit that it was marvelous fun, and I enjoyed every second of both times we all got to race for free.
Wes was running the whole show, collecting tickets, starting the race, and waving the flags to end it. What a strange job he has.
Those hanging out around the Action Track were unmistakeably of the redneck genré. One of these hollered out my name and said hello. He'd known me from high school, but I didn't know him. He looked young. I found that surprising; rednecks age extremely rapidly and anyone who would have been in high school when I was there would be looking pretty old by now.
I told the others, "I wonder how many accidents happen on the drive back from Action Track!"
As I drove away from Action Track, I felt an unfamiliar new machismo in my muscles. I every time I passed a car, I felt an urge to sideswipe it or cut it off. I told the others, "I wonder how many accidents happen on the drive back from Action Track!"
Back at Kappa Mutha Fucka, we found ourselves bloated, drunk, dehydrated and lethargic. Water helped a lot, but then I craved sleep. The others went off to a nearby pool to do some trespass-swimming.
Today I figured out what is being depicted by the graffito painted in the middle of Observatory by Diana's roommate Virginia. It's Virginia's vagina, complete with the stitches of her vaginal repair. I'd been working under the mistaken impression that it was a profile drawing of a fish.