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Meet the parents: part Marta

I’ve always enjoyed meeting my friends’ parents for reasons that are difficult to explain. It probably has a lot to do with the new opportunities for fun at their expense; one parent will make a snide remark about some character flaw, say, they’re a picky eater, and I’ll leap to their defense. I try my best to make my delivery deadpan, but somehow everyone catches my sarcasm and we all share a good laugh while the friend smolders under a forced smile. It’s also fun to clue the parents in to character flaws of which they were previously unaware, but you should use this tactic sparingly. For example, it’s probably alright to mention that little Peggy Sue watches Friends three times a day, but bringing up her painful cocaine addiction might be another story entirely. Use your judgment, and things will go just fine – the parents will like you and their child won’t disown you immediately.

Such was the case over dinner Saturday at Marta’s house in Renton. She’s moving three blocks away at the end of the month, but her new lease doesn’t start until a day after she needs to be vacated, so all her furniture and random possessions have to be taken bit by bit to her parents house before then. I helped her haul a carload and then stuck around to eat and make small talk afterwards. The food was excellent – steak, salmon, soup, and potatoes – and as for the parents, what can I say? We got along better than I’m accustomed, with girlfriends’ parents at least. Being immersed in another family’s traditions can be tough, but I’m pretty quick on my toes; I managed to cross myself before prayer and bow my head in time, and if I didn’t understand a few of the tougher Ukrainian phrases I don’t think anyone held it against me.

Sunday we once again woke up at 5:45 am to go surfing at Westport, taking one more person than last time, Kelly’s friend Jacob. Chris Baker drove us despite my protests that he doesn’t have a CD player in his car; luckily Marta has a tape-deck adapter, so indie rock washed over us regardless as we zoomed south. I decided to save $15 by borrowing Chris’s boogie board and forgoing surfing altogether, but the surf shop still managed to screw me; the wet suit was far too loose, and had holes in the knees and ass. This happened last time too. I may as well walk up to the rental window and say, “yes, I’d like to rent your shittiest wet suit, please.” The end result would be the same.

The weather was phenomenal, sunny and clear and warm. The ocean, however, was every bit as cold as we’d left it three weeks ago, and rushed in through the defects in my wetsuit. I didn’t care; I was enjoying myself too much, and my pumping blood warmed me pretty well. It turns out that while I’m a lousy surfer, I’m a very decent boogie boarder – it’s basically just a giant kick board, and I certainly know how to use those. I still took my fair share of beatings at the hands of the Pacific, but I got my ass handed to me much less frequently than the surfers and rode more than my fair share of waves. The only real injury I sustained was a heinous chafing on the back of my knees from doing breast-stroke kick in the wet suit. They really weren’t designed for that. On the way back through Olympia we stopped and ate dinner at Chris Baker’s parents’ house, where I had more fun (“violence is the only language Chris understands, ma’am”). We stuffed ourselves with homemade vittles until we could stuff no more, and then his mom brought out desert. It was almost too much.

Ever wonder what Agent Smith was up to before The Matrix? This came as a surprise to me too, but he spent awhile in drag. Marta, Laurel and I discovered this last night over a half gallon of home-made blackberry ice cream, which I don’t need to tell you was delicious.

And look what an image search for “Agent Smith” on google turned up: proof that smart people are often ugly.

Posted in Musings.


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