I sat next to a man on the bus who was sound asleep, his whole body flopping around, lifeless, with every turn we took. It was the only seat available to me at that time, so I reluctantly sat next to him, blatantly staring and looking for signs of life as fifteen minutes passed with no change. After I convinced myself he was dead and imagined myself having to stay after my bus terminated to speak to the cops as a witness, I changed seats, hoping he would spring back to life so I could make it to work on time.
When we reached the terminal, the driver slammed the brakes on so hard that I even had to brace myself from face planting into the Plexiglas in front of me. I was sure this was not an accident but rather done intentionally to wake up the narcoleptic, preventing the driver from having the task of walking to the back of the bus to have to make sure the man was still breathing. He jolted awake, probably realizing that he was supposed to get off eighteen stops ago. I thought to myself, “Thank God I’m going to San Diego this weekend. Seattle and I need to spend some time away from each other.”
Even before I moved out to the west coast, I took a trip or two a year to San Diego for a long weekend getaway. My cousin, Andrea, lives out there, so it’s easy enough to call her up and inform her that I want to mooch off of her kindness, show up at her doorstep, and crash on her couch for a few days.
So it was no different this time around when I let her know I needed a break and I had racked up enough points on Southwest to fly out there for a weekend. She didn’t flinch, asked what time I’d be arriving, and told me she’d be there to pick me up once my plane landed.
I’ve mentioned before that my family is one of a kind. So when I need a break from Seattle’s idiosyncrasies, a Lauck relative is an excellent resource to have because I can be as crass and politically incorrect as I want, and it will be just fine.
Andrea has done her fair share of letting me bitch to her through the years. So after I arrived and we caught up, it wasn’t long before we ended up walking across the street from her apartment to an Italian restaurant to grab some food and split a bottle of wine.
On our way over, we were crossing a busy street when two kids, both of whom had to be around the age of eight with rat tails down to their butts, got on their scooters, screaming profanities and charging straight toward us as if playing a game of chicken. They moved off the side of the road at the last minute. I was glaring at them in horror, when Andrea yelled, “Your parents must not fucking love you because you are being brats!”
At this point I died laughing, glad to finally be reunited with my people, and felt I was truly at home. That’s when a girl who was about ten walking ahead of us in the crosswalk turned around and had the balls to say, “I know their parents, and they actually love them a lot.”
“Oh you know them? Tell them they raised two fucking brats the next time you see them,” Andrea responded.
I was dying. In Seattle, no one would have responded to those kids, and no one would have dared to turn around and challenge Andrea had she yelled that on the street. I felt like I had finally entered the real world where people say what is on their minds, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I was no longer dwelling in the land of the passive aggressive.
Besides, Andrea has also been a part of several of my favorite international adventures from Italy that we still laugh about including a man trying to negotiate with us to buy one of my friends as his mistress and me falling through a chair during a five course meal in Naples while we were all drooling over our beautiful Italian waiter.
It’s also always weird being away from family during the holidays, knowing that we have big gatherings that I’m missing out on, so spending this time with Andrea was the best decision I’d made in a long time. Nothing quite hits the spot like hanging with another Lauck. It was just what I needed.
We dined like queens, eating duck nachos and lobster mac and cheese (so maybe duck nachos aren’t classy enough for a royal family dinner, but I guarantee that if they tried them once, Queen Elizabeth would be ordering them to her chambers when she has a case of the midnight munchies).
We grabbed watermelon beer from Balast Point Brewery and decided that was as good a time as any for Andrea to cut off my hair (she is a hair stylist, so not as crazy as it sounds). We went into the salon, turned on some Amy Winehouse, and I relaxed while Andrea worked her magic, chopping off months of blonde locks and giving me a short bob mildly inspired by “the beautiful train wreck” that was Courtney Love’s hair.
I can safely say there are very few people I would let simultaneously drink and come at me with a pair of scissors, but with Andrea I agreed without hesitation. And it made for a wonderful late night hair salon experience.
Three days flew by, and I left feeling refreshed, sporting a new ‘do, getting a little sun burnt, and feeling rejuvenated after being able to spend some time with one of my favorite people. I love San Diego every time I visit, but the Andrea factor certainly plays a large part in that. I realized one of the perks to being a west coast girl now is that I am much closer to a great friend of mine.
I boarded the plane, mentally preparing myself to get back to riding the bus with people with a questionable state of consciousness. I listened to a girl behind me talk about how she wants to break into song, and decided then and there that I would whip around and tell her to shut her face if I heard so much as one note while I was stuck on this plane. And while I was at it, I’d probably question whether or not her parents loved her.