this is fine. this is nice. but you know me, i can play out rochester faster than you can come up with a clever, albeit vulgar, nickname* for my hometown. in its wildest moments, that sleepy hollow conks out before CSI's denoument.
HOW TO PLAY OUT ROCHESTER IN ONE NIGHT:
while rochester claims the largest share of chain restaurants per capita, stand strong. remind yourself that you HATE tgifriday's, you HATE macaroni grill, you really, really HATE applebees, you don't necessarily HATE the olive garden, but you can suck up that drool in duluth. there are only two great restaurants in rochester, and the india garden will always be closed. this is fine, because the redwood room is where it is at. spinach salad with homemade dressings, endless bowls of soft bread and freshly grated parmesean cheese. an indigo girls derivative groaning, yoddling and playing covers on an accoustic guitar.
after ma pista has passed out on the pull out couch with her cheek pressed against an unfinished crossword puzzle and pa pista has played his last hand of video poker, you will still have an hour before barnes and noble closes. best to hit the one at the galleria, the one in an old castle-shaped theater downtown. tell the 17 year old ringing up your purchases that you used to work there, too. watch her unchanging pupils as she apathetically says "oh."
it is time to look for your exboyfriend oneniner. you won't have to look hard. he will be at rookies, where every night is either ladies night or dualing pianos night or some other night that inspires sophomore girls from the community college to claw off their own six dollar bras.
oneniner will either be at the bar or behind the bar pouring pulls of jagarmiester. you settle into a stool after the all-encompassing hug. he will tell you 1. that he just had a dream about you; 2. that he just finished a really good book.
you will ask him if he has recently impregnanted anything and then ask after each member of his 10-person family, their spouses and children and how his softball teams look this season. find out whose couch he is sleeping on these days. drink a little more than you should.
sneak carefully back into your parent's house, raid their fridge. mow down on chunks of cheddar cheese and the questionable contents of their tupperware containers. pass out in the glow of mtv.
by the time ma pista wakes you at 8:30 a.m. the next morning, you'll be ready to go back home.
END OF DIGRESSION
ma pista used her keen maternal nose to realize i probably didn't have a trip to rochester on my docket. between 2000 and 2001 i probably drove back and forth 75 times. i can highlight the pros and cons of every bathroom in every gas station between here and there, and the last post i ever write on this blog with be that exact review. then i will lock myself in the garage with an idling civic, AM radio and a warm mug of diesel.
so she tried a new approach.
how about we go to vegas?
this sounds vaguely like something i can sign on to. although the irony of visiting sin city with sin's mortal enemy keeps me awake at night choking on my own giggles.
"we should go to a show!" she suggests.
"can we go to prince's club?" i asked her.
"prince, who?" she asked.
"prince prince," i said. "you know. prince."
"hmmm," she thinks. like it is the name of someone with whom i went to high school. "prince. ... oh! prince!"
sometimes she is a mockery of minnesota history.
(this means that i will enjoy a shrimp spinach salad at prince's club during the lunch hour. i'll take photos of things that prince may have touched. and that night i'll inspire self loathing one verse at a time, singing like a lark along with celine dion. "cuz i'm your laaaaaaadddddyyyyyy ... and you are my ma, a, an. whenever you reeaaaaccchhh for me....")
"you know, in vegas, people don't wear jeans and sweatshirts," my mom told me yesterday.
"well, then. i'm going to look like a martian!" i told her. "everyone is going to want to get their picture taken next to the freak show!"
so. the next few posts will be on location. and that location will not be rochester. and if all goes according to plan, at some point on the way home my mom will turn to me. press a finger against her lips as though saying "shhhhh" and whisper: remember. what happens in vegas stays in vegas.