Stay outta my way, I’m going in for the kill

Holiday’s mean two things for me. Family and Food. They go together, like chips and dip, Harold and Maude and Ben and Jerry’s. My triggers are going to kick in like a starving lion in the Serengeti that sees a lame wildebeest and I’m going to take off, launching my hind quarters with the force of Apollo, my arms reaching and extending for mom’s orange rolls, doing an airborne batman across the kitchen floor, collapsing time and space as I attempt to take the hottest and biggest one possible.

All this flashes through my mind when I’m at the manicurist today, having been dropped off by a friend (since I can’t drive for another 5 weeks), and while I sit there, thinking how ridiculous it is that I even care about my nails when I’m sporting a plastic, knee-high boot on my left leg on crutches.

“You lost weight,” says Monique, the Vietnamese gal working on my nails, her broken English heavily accented, at odds with the music and surroundings of the spa, which is about as European as you can get. No loud music and talking here, and I’d already gone into my Serengeti zone.

Stay outta my way man-
those orange rolls have my name
written on them

“I can’t cook,” I respond, which is true, and belatedly thank her, remembering how Rog had told me for the ten-thousandth time that I’m terrible at accepting compliments, but what am I going to say? I can’t hover in the kitchen and make food because it hurts, it’s time consuming, and frankly, I’d rather just throw down a few almonds and call it a day?

“What you gonna eat for Thanksgiving?” I tell her the usual. She then tells me that her whole family comes over and they have the “traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Like Americans!” she say
s proudly. I stop for a moment, struck by the purity and sincerity of the compliment that is all for America, and on this side note, it was awesome, for it reinforced that someone in this country still thinks this country is great. Ironically, an immigrant, who’d come here looking for a better life and she got it. (Not sure if I ever blogged about Monique, but 3 years ago when I first met her, she told me about her journey here, how she’d grown up with wooden shoes that cracked her feet and one pair of pants…she took a boat to come to America, gotten robbed and raped on the way, but landed, got a job, found a man who loves her, got married and had three kids. She is so happy to be here…as she said, “look at me! I work in this beautiful place. I have beautiful clothes.” Talk about gratitude. I could (and do) learn something from a woman like her.

 “But you gonna eat?” she asks me again, giving me another compliment that I accept with a bit more dignity this time around. I think of my mom’s orange rolls. I think of the lame wildebeest and me lunging through the air, knocking down my siblings and probably stepping on a niece or two in the process. I give her a one-word answer.

“Absolutely.”