Three. “Hey, Oswald, over here!” BLAM! 1998.
I never really got along with SeaFed’s sister. Well, that’s not strictly true. I liked her from the date of my marriage in April of 1996 until June of 1996 when she spent half her time at our post-elopement party talking shit about some of the more flamboyantly-dressed guests, who were indeed invited by her father and therefore belonged to her side of the family. There was some Vegas show producer guy there with his showgirl girlfriend who was an old friend of the family, nice of them to come, and she looked WILD. I felt very plain next to her. SeaFed’s sister, whose name Franny could only pronounce as “Auntie Jaguar” for years, much to my delight, talked much shit about this woman. This was Seattle, for the sake of chucklefuck. You were raised blocks from Broadway, Jaguar. Get a grip.
Of course, I should have said something to her right then, like, “YOU SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH about your father’s party guests,” but of course I said nothing. I think I was a little intimidated by her former-sorority girl tan/bikini/snooty thing she had going on. She was only three years older than SeaFed so I figured we were in it for the long haul.
Things went downhill from there, of course. Jaguar decided to pursue a graduate degree in education, with dreams of becoming a small-town public school teacher in the Mountain West. At the time I was convinced that public schools were failing, had failed, and that I would never send a child of mine to a public school (EMPHATIC FIST POUND) and whenever she asked me what I thought about this or that public school blib-blab, I would tell her, amplified times 50 to needle her.
The first time we had one of these debates was on a family trip to Santa Fe. When all the kids were in their early 20s or so, in college or just out, and too poor to do anything is the point, my father-in-law used to graciously fly us to famjams where we would be trapped by his and Jaguar’s whims once we got there. Want to go to the Georgia O’Keeffe museum? TOUGH NUTS, we two want to go fly fishing. What the fuck is fly fishing even? No habla fly fishing. Are there hip waders involved? I will not be appearing in those outside of the privacy of the Fuck Fort.
This, of course, is all just a ridiculous detour to get us to Santa Fe in the Amazing Year 1998. SeaFed’s parents flew us down to a bed and breakfast along with Jaguar and her boyfriend, someday to be husband. I wrote about their wedding once, and how I tried to ruin it by having an opinion about my participation in it. (New Mexico is also referenced therein.)
SeaFed and I were sharing a room, of course, and it did not have an ensuite bathroom. That was a first for me, but we were given a key to the loo in the hallway. Jaguar and I had the epic public vs. private argument on a walk through town to dinner, and I think I had just read some article in the New Yorker and thought I was seeeew smart as usual, but I think it had been let go during dinner and with the onset of drunkenness. For repressive WASPs, they could really belt back the liquor. Maybe that’s a hallmark of repressive WASPery, I dunno. Give them enough to drink, and they might even become moderately expressive and/or emotive. Good times.
I was 20 then, months from turning 21, and would often be served wine with dinner when I was obviously with family and had a pretty convincing “I am a serious respectable married lady, don’t let the blue lipstick fool you, ok” face. SeaFed drank wine though dinner, which made him louder and even more doofusy than usual, and instead of dessert split a rather large brandy flight with Jaguar’s boyfriend. After dinner we kids slipped away from SeaFed’s parents and grandmother and went to a nearby bar. I remember I was in my martini phase at the time, and always drank them whenever I was on vacation from school, so I ordered one of those, which, handily, was another way that seemed to keep me from being carded. SeaFed had a martini with me, and then switched to beer, and had a few more beers. I did not, since I had long since learned that if I tried to keep up with him, I would be very sorry.
We walked back to the bed and breakfast, or rather, I ran, since I was jogging a lot at the time, and SeaFed swayed. The next morning was checkout time and I bustled around the room packing.
“I don’t feel so well,” SeaFed said, lying abed.
“How surprising,” I said, unsurprised.
“I need the bathroom…” he said, fumbling for the key to the bathroom in the hallway. Too late! “HOOOOORF,” SeaFed horfed into the sink in the room. I took my bag and let myself out of the room, closing the door with a little “snick” behind me.
“Where’s SeaFed? We’re about ready to go,” my father-in-law asked me in the lobby.
“He’s not feeling so well,” I said, and shrugged.