However, yesterday's was shareable, so here it is.
We have a crisis, early in the morning. MC had taken her car keys with her to the airport, but we were supposed to use the car keys to take her car to the auto repair shop. The four of us convene and I drove us to the Continental check-in desk, where a woman named Colleen is holding onto the keys and waiting for people named “C, L, I, or G” to pick them up. GP and I stayed in the car.
We have to take the car to the shop because IO and CB had an accident. IO has her permit and is learning to drive on the right side of the road instead of the left. It was in the parking lot in Schnucks. CB told me what had happened: that she wasn’t sure how, but suddenly IO had lost control of the car and had run into the side of an old minivan. The owner was drinking coffee inside the Einstein Bros. bagel shop. He hurried out of the store to inspect the damage, closely followed by the owner of a shiny, fancy, brand-new SUV that was literally an inch from being touched by the displaced minivan. The minivan needs a new axle, supposedly, even though the estimated cost provided by its owner is greater than the blue book value of the car. We know because PH checked.
GP is worried because IO did not tell her what had happened. GP had even asked IO the other day—four or five days after the accident—about how her driving was going, if she thought she was going to take the test over spring break, if she was feeling more comfortable. IO’s omission lies before GP like a puzzle. She turns her face to me and implores me with her eyes to come up with a solution, a rationalization as to why IO would have hidden this scary and life-impacting event from her. I have nothing to say.
After the airport, we drive straight across the mighty Mississippi to Alton, IL. We are there to visit a restaurant supply store and go to a roadhouse bar with cheap food. It is only eleven in the morning, so we take our time, marveling at mass quantities of spices and huge stock pots and gallons of soy sauce before moving on to the items that we would actually use, cooling racks and sieves and baking sheets and whisks and wooden spoons. We try on aprons in crazy colors. We wind through the tight aisles, marveling at the sheer abundance of strange implements that we had forgotten must come from somewhere. There is a whole brand named “Carly” that sells things like salad dressing ladles, already labeled with “thousand island” or “low-cal.” We contemplate the usefulness of an ice mold in the shape of a dolphin or a punch bowl.
It’s only noon, and Fast Eddie’s doesn’t open until one, so we go to Dollar General. The bargains here are equally enticing, though strange. There are Twilight-themed sweethearts (BITE ME, and I <3 EC, and LIVE 4EVR) that are scary and hilarious at the same time. There are Ghiradelli chocolate bars for a dollar. GP pounces on cans of Spam for a bargain price (Spam being one of those strange things that receive adoration on Hawai’I and disgust on the mainland, much like tilapia is adored by mainland restaurants and seen as an icky bottom-feeder on the islands).
At Fast Eddies, we are perplexed by where to go. We head for the light, a more open-air area that is lit by transparent siding for a roof. We order drinks. CB has water. IO and I—ever the mind-twins—order Blue Moon. GP asks for a gin and tonic. I am impressed. Gin and tonic was my first alcoholic drink, I’m pretty sure, that I enjoyed at RP’s house during freshman winter break. They can be strong. Something about the lime and the gin and the tonic together make these three things—which separately can taste awful—taste perfect: refreshing, bright, clean on the tongue.
The food is delicious. There is not really a vegetarian option. I am glad I have made the “I eat fish” excuse for myself, because they do have shrimp (cocktail-style, boiled and held on ice, then served with cocktail sauce). The burgers look amazing, as do the steak kebabs. I sort of wish I weren’t a vegetarian. After we eat, we send four puzzle-texts to WS, because it is his birthday. Mine is the last one, it says “YOU! Love, the girls.” The others read “Happy…” and “birthday…” and “to….” He does not respond to this outpouring of affection.
I drop the girls off and we agree to meet up later to watch a movie. I am supposed to work on my thesis but I am sleepy and have a bit of a headache and when I wake up it’s ten minutes before I am supposed to meet them. We go watch “The Crazies” which is scary but more suspenseful and thrilling than horrifying. The scariest part is the fact that the government is behind it all.
Afterwards we go to Uncle Bill’s Pancakes. None of us had eaten dinner. We order breakfast food and I get hashbrowns and eggs and pancakes and coffee, which is exactly what I wanted. We have a sleepover at GP & IO’s place. We play the infinitely silly Castle Crashers game, then watch Up. I sleep in the papa-san chair, which is my favorite. It’s like a cocoon.