Sunday, November 8, 2009

Coat of a Different Color

One of the hallmarks of becoming an adult is becoming privy to the stories of the elders in your family. Realizing they drank, skipped school, got fired from a job. When you can no longer cry you just don't understand! in a fit of teenage angst because you realize that they do.

I think one of the most gratifying moments as a young adult was my grandmother sharing stories of her and her sisters going out dancing. My grandmother had both an older and younger sister, all very close in age. As young married adults, the three of them would often meet up for a few hours of dancing. My grandmother's younger sister, according her her, was incredibly vain. She was a beautiful young woman. And she knew it. I think it was a bone of contention for my grandmother to have constantly heard growing up it's a shame you aren't as pretty as your sister Dolores.

On this particular night, the three sisters met up and walked to the dance hall. Smoking their cigarettes and having a good time. Dolores wore her new coat. Her beautiful, new and expensive coat. She twirled around, Don't you love my new coat. It was very expensive. Doesn't it suit me. My grandmother and her old sister rolled their eyes behind their younger sister's back. What a snooty bitch, they laughed to themselves.

Dolores also like to drink. A lot. After their evening out, as the sisters walked home, Dolores announced that she had to take a piss. She staggered off into the bushes, ungraciously copped a squat and relieved herself. Except that being stinking drunk meant that she had no coordination. And Dolores fell, straight back into the steaming puddle she had just created.

Fifty years later, my grandmother's throaty laugh crescendoed to a cackle. Oh the screaming! she laughed. She shrieked and screamed all the way home! She and her sister couldn't laugh then because Dolores would have killed them. But all these years later, laugh she did. The image still brought tears to her eyes. Her throaty laugh, pleased as punch that her sister had ruined her coat.

No one likes a braggart. It is one thing to celebrate a success or the completion of a goal. It is something else to brag about everything. Incessantly. My grandmother's glee reminded me that even decades later, there is nothing more gratifying than seeing someone get their comeuppance.

A huge thank you to Cristin for her brilliant post and therefore the inspiration to write mine.


Chamuca said...

That's a hilarious story!

I love it when my grandparents tell me stories about when they were young. Or even my parents for that matter. My dad got up to a lot of drunken shenanigans when he was younger, which boggles my mind.

Joe @ IrrationalDad said...

I saw my step-dad in an entirely new light when he told me stories about skipping school, accidentally hitting someone with his truck, selling hubcaps off his '72 Roadrunner to pay for gas... the list goes on. My mom always wore a look of humor, but also one that said she kinda wished he didn't just tell me that.

Joe @ IrrationalDad said...

Crap... forgot to tell it to email me new comments... just ignore this post... nothing to see here.

thecheekofgod said...

That old saying, Pride before the fall, seems appropriate here.

Great story . . .

Cristin said...

Getting piss drunk and falling in your own piss. I really hope that at some point in their lives, Dolores' sisters gave her a hard time about that... sounds like she deserved it!!

Oh, and thanks for the sweet shout out!

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@Chamuca: I think parental stories freak us out the most. I guess because we usually see their day-to-day current character, and it is hard to imagine them any other way.

@Joe: The fact that she let him tell those stories speaks well of her.

@CheekofGod: EXACTLY!!!

@Cristin: You are welcome!

A Free Man said...

A fan of schadenfreude, are you?

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@AFM: Always. And not just because it's a cool word.

Patois said...

Justice, you got to love it.