Mother on the Orient Express: Part Seven (The Train)

(I broke the train into two parts. The first part of the train (part six of the story) is here.)

We take the long walk toward dinner. Now we’re a little less sure on our feet. Mom’s getting tired, and I’m a little tired, and it’s darker. We make it to the bar car, which we have to go through to get to our dinner car.

We open the door. It’s different in the dark, more mysterious, more like a lounge, like you’d imagine. The piano abruptly stops and — “Sentimental Journey” begins playing. And Mom’s crying again, but this time she can’t sit because we’re on our way to dinner, so she kind of sits at this stool near the head of the piano, perched like she’s about to launch into song. But she’s crying and smiling and nodding, and I’m rubbing her back and it really must have looked like she was here on a Make A Wish. Read more

So what had happened was–

It’s a couple days before Christmas, I’m at Grand Central Station, and there’s some time before the train to Connecticut. Not a lot of time, but some time. Enough to grab a drink.

There’d been some drinking the night before, so I didn’t want another glass of wine. I just wanted something to sip while I waited, so I ordered a Scotch. Glenlivet, with one ice cube.

This is what came to the table:

“No, excuse me, I wanted it with just one ice cube,” I said. “Or neat. There’s water in this, right?”

“No, ma’am. That’s all Scotch.”

“Why? Are you trying to kill me?”

It’s got to be $40 worth of Scotch that they gave me for $12. I’ve thought about it for a while, and I can’t figure out which one is the answer.

1. The bartender was crazy-impressed with my order, and went balls-out on the pour. (This happens sometimes, apparently a woman ordering Scotch sends some bartenders over the edge. A few months ago when I ordered, the bartender turned to my friend and said, “You need to marry this woman.” Yes, because she doesn’t mind getting drunk before her meal.)

2. The bartender assumed anyone ordering Scotch at that hour was on her way to an extremely trying Christmas vacation, and was trying to say, “Lady, I get it.”

3. The bartender assumed the Scotch was for the gentleman next to me. When the waiter arrived, he placed the wrong drink in front of me. “Champagne for the lady?” he said, with a flourish. Nope. Champagne for the gentleman. It was one of those moments where I’m hoping it comes off all cool, but inside I’m mortified that it looks like I have an actual drinking problem.

Whatever the bartender had in mind by pouring half a bottle of Scotch into a glass, I mostly felt bad that I barely put a dent in it by the time I had to leave for the train. Not that I didn’t give it my best shot.

It was one of my better Christmas presents this year.

calling all winos.

I got to spend some time this past Sunday afternoon in this wine cave with some good people (including these people.) When Chris and Tess are around, I just let them choose whatever it is I’m drinking. It always works.

I didn’t buy anything, so I avoided anything like the last time I went wine tasting, but that’s mostly because I was starting to feel some jet lag. Next time.

Speaking of trips from LAX, AB is here for a visit, even though she was scheduled on every single flight cancelled by American Airlines. She eventually made it, and now the weather has decided to pretend it’s last summer so that she’ll feel more welcome. We’re already sunburned.

maintenance

Yesterday I made a list of people I needed to call to schedule appointments. At the top of the list: allergist. Mom called yesterday morning and said, “Have you seen the wheat doctor yet? I really want you to be able to eat bread again.” I think the next time I come to town, she’d like to be able to serve “normal food” again. It’s very difficult to eat like a proper Polish girl without pierogies. Also, I don’t like life as much without pierogies. Read more

aw, go ‘ohwn.

I had a meeting yesterday in the office across from the office where I had my very first feature general meeting, almost four years ago.

About thirty seconds into our conversation — and I never do this — I asked the woman I’d just met, “Are you from Texas or Louisiana?”

She stopped for a second, startled. “Both.”

I’m not a Henry Higgins by any stretch of the imagination, but I think all the trips I took last month made me nostalgic for all of the different accents in my life. Read more

This Flute of Mine, So Gay

Right now somewhere in Los Angeles and New York, simultaneously, there’s a conference call to discuss whether or not our show is going to Aspen. We won’t know for a few hours. I’m trying to pretend my stomach isn’t twisting in knots.

I’m working on one script while reading another, and because my brain is being pulled in too many directions, I thought I’d take a moment to tell you about this past weekend. Immediately after announcing the Battle of the Seven Rebeccas, one dropped out and another declared herself the winner. After hearing this story, you might agree. Read more

cranky

too many planes

So, I think the secret is out: I was out of town this weekend. Since Matt had won the stand-up finals here in Austin he was getting to perform at the Los Angeles Finals at the Improv last Saturday night and we wanted to go out and support him. We decided to make a long weekend out of it and stop in San Francisco Friday and see Bill, eleanor, and a couple of friends of mine who had moved out there recently.

Read more