Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Vacation: Part IV - The BAY-BEE !!

So I told you the basics of what I did during my vacation, but I TOTALLY skipped over the group dynamics of it all. Here goes.

The whole idea of going to Martha's Vineyard on vacation wasn't mine or Susan's. We were invited by our friend Mary to fill a room in a rented house.

The Castaways

Couple # 1: our friend Mary, her husband Peter and 12 year old son Zach (3 people)

Couple # 2: their friends, let's call them Tom and Tina (2 people)

Couple # 3: Peter's ex-girlfriend Sylvia, her husband Steve and 8 year old daughter Stephanie (3 people - and their dog)

Couple # 4: Tom and Tina's friends, let's call them Mickey and Minnie, and their two daughters Molly (age 8) and Mia (nearly 1) (4 people)

The Interlopers: the final room was filled by two different sets of people, a family of four for the first two nights and a couple of two the last three nights. No significant interactions with them so this is all you shall hear about them.

So, for a day or two, there were as many as 18 people in this house. Six bedrooms, two kitchens, three bathrooms, two outdoor showers and a pool. The true core consists of Couples # 1 and # 2 - they've been vacationing together like this for 13 years. Couple #4 has been along for the ride for the past three years, and the rest of us knew either Couple #1 or Couple #2. Got that straight?

Okay. So. Basically I would say that everyone got along really well with one exception which I'll detail here.

There is a good chance that Couple # 4 may get voted off the island.

Poor Minnie. You know, she just gave birth a year ago. And her BAY-BEE is so precious! Can you believe how beautiful this child is? Yes, it was one of those - the Mom from hell. She was so concerned about the rest of us being quite when her BAY-BEE was sleeping, but whose voice did I hear after I'd gone to bed at night?

Maybe I shouldn't go into all the details because it's just too easy. It's too easy to pick on this woman. She got pregnant as a teenager and her mother sued her for custody of her first child. She later married and had her second child, the eight year old daughter (who, by the way, seemed to be a perfectly lovely child when I tucked her into bed five out of the seven nights we were there) but you would think that she'd never given birth before - that her life did not start until she bore this infant not quite one year ago. At one point I mused - "should we read anything into the fact that she named this child Mia?" Might as well have officially named her Mini-Me.

I suppose it's classic - the woman just turned 37 years old and she's competing with/living through her children. Maybe if she would stop drinking so damn much tequila she'd be able to see straight. She really didn't do much to contribute around the household, and we were constantly stepping over her/her family's clutter.

Toward the end of the week she started putting on a big show of "helping" and on the final night, as we were all enjoying our farewell lobster dinner, she proclaimed that it would be wonderful if we were to take our lobster scraps and make lobster bisque. And then we could all take some bisque home with us and continue to relish our vacation! Wouldn't that be a great idea? Who's with me? I can't wait to do this for all of you wonderful people.

Sylvia managed to squeak out a positive affirmation and the rest of us just tried to ignore the nonsense. So around the table Minnie went, collecting all of our lobster carcasses. The pot was put on to boil, and the leftover corn was shaved from the cob to go into the soup, and Minnie promised she'd get up early in the morning to go to the store to get the cream and won't it be wonderful?

Susan and I snuck away to our room to do some packing and Susan said "There's no way we're ever going to see any lobster bisque unless Sylvia steps in and takes over. And I hope she doesn't." Barely an hour later as we were crashing on the sofa and the rest of the gang was starting a game of Scrabble it happened.

"I'm not sure I'm going to be able to finish the bisque."

No one acknowledges the uncharacteristically soft statement.

In a slightly louder voice: "Would anyone be upset if I didn't make the lobster bisque?"

Susan is trying desperately to catch my eye. I was zoning off somewhere and just gave her this "over my head" sign to signal that I'd missed what was happening.

"I'm so tired. I don't think I'll be able to finish the bisque. I'm sorry."

At which point Tina, the one who has known Minnie the longest and who took care of Molly when Minnie was giving birth to the BAY-BEE Mia spoke up and said, "I never thought you were going to do it in the first place."

And then later as Susan and I were heading up to bed we had to pass Minnie on the deck. Her eyes were bloodshot and she gave us a heavy sigh as she puffed on her cigarette. "I'm sorry we won't have the bisque, but I'm just so tired."

Yes, so are we. Tired of your trying to be the center of attention, whether it's through your BAY-BEE or your loud voice or your wearing of hip huggers that showed way more hip than we ever wanted to see. Yes, it's easy to pick on Minnie. So on the way home we tried to think of one redeeming quality, because you have to find something nice to say about someone, don't you? And then we came up with it.

Minnie never made us suffer through the changing of the diaper.

Not once did we see her change the BAY-BEE's diaper. Not once did we see or smell a dirty diaper in the trash. Not once did she lay her BAY-BEE down on the dining room table and change her diaper.

Yes, we did indeed find something positive to say about dear Minnie.

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