Thursday, August 8, 2013

One of Three Good Things About Andre


“So, it’s the middle of the zombie apocalypse because it’s always the middle of a zombie apocalypse. This one was in 1979, in Orlando, Florida. I was housekeeper for a bunch of monks. It was a cult really, but let’s call them monks. That’s what they called themselves. But all of the people in the house weren’t monks. There was me, obviously, and your sister, who was a baby then. There was also John Boy who was aspiring to monkhood. 
John Boy was a fundamentally good person. He’d once been very wealthy—Wall-Street wealthy—but he was also really fond of heroin and cocaine. It seemed inevitable that he would sometime overdose because it's complex, balancing the extremes of cocaine and heroin. Meantime, he was meditating and washing dishes at a mall. 
 He gave your sister crawling lessons. He said he hated to imagine her on her prom night slithering down stairs on her stomach in a satin dress. I thought prom night was probably going to be one of her lesser problems if she was still slithering on her stomach at sixteen. But he was a generous guy and would get down on his hands and knees and crawl around to set an example. Anyway, she did learn to walk, although it wasn’t in Florida, it was in North Dakota at a roadside rest stop. 
And there were a couple of others who weren’t monks either. The pole dancer from Hawaii who had slipped on beer and broke her arm. She couldn’t work with a broken arm. I have no idea how she got to Florida from Hawaii. I do know that she was afraid of the blanket that was hung over the window for a temporary curtain. She said it was a giant spider web and she had to sleep with the lights on. She was also the first person I ever saw who took tub baths completely dressed. I stepped into the bathroom to give her a plastic bag to cover her cast, and she was there, in the tub, with all her clothes on. 
The other person who wasn’t a monk was Andre.
It is fair to say that I and Andre never got along.  But he did make my life easier. He was a professional chef. He’d run into trouble and his career as a chef in New York imploded, so he was starting over in Florida. He took over the cooking for the monks, which was fine by me. The baseline was ovo-lacto-veg, but every single monk had something they couldn’t eat. These individual dietary restrictions weren’t on moral grounds. They weren’t food allergies. It was gas. The last thing a person needs during meditation is gas, either self-produced or as part of the common atmosphere.” 
—Me, on the provenance of a rolling pin while giving it to one of my kids. Moral: Be happy I'm not yr mother. 

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