The Virginia Beer Story

I should subtitle this: The Day I Made A Nice, Biker Friend And Then He Yelled At Me In A Gas Station

As always, I like to preface my entertaining witticisms with several shreds of absolutely necessary information – information integral to plot development and general comprehension.

A. For the past two days, I have been supervising one nine year-old and one six-nearly-seven year-old as they attempt to redesign their individual bedrooms. Needless to say, I am frazzled. I am also covered in glitter. AND WHERE THE FUCK DID THE GLITTER EVEN COME FROM? Who buys that? Not me! Last night, a piece went in my eye.

… There’s no B. Carry on. I just wanted you to know that I am in hell and hell is filled with Pinterest boards labeled “TWEEN FASHION.”

Recently (as in, last week), my family and I made a pilgrimage to My Father’s Ancestral Homeland in the highlands of Virginia. There were mountains, there were hiking trails, and there were bears.. No one told me that bit before we left home.

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While there, we were able to explore the homestead that my paternal grandfather’s family owned from 1792 to 1996, poke around a few cemeteries (because we’re THOSE people), and return my father to the lake he toppled into, headfirst, sixty years before. It was an incredibly moving experience, I think, for all of us, to see him go back to the massive, stone house his grandmother lived in, and died in, and to see that the trees were all the same, and the barn was still the same. It gave him a little piece of his father back, after twenty-three years, and that may be one of the coolest things I have ever taken part in.

But that is neither here, nor there. This is not a sentimental blog post, dammit, this is a humorous blog post, because that is what I do, as it were.

After did all of those cool things, the exploring and the poking and the returning, Bae, My Father, and I stopped at a gas station.

There was no spiritual reason for that, we just really needed gas. And ice.

“Imma go in and get some beer,” I told her, unbuckling.

I like to pretend that I am a beer connoisseur, because everyone in my wife’s family is a beer connoisseur and they like to sit around and discuss the full bodiedness of their beers, but, sadly, I prefer pilsners and Corona Light to craft bitters. I like things that taste like fruit and have a relatively low (nearly nonexistent) alcohol content, and the only bull-bodied thing I know well is, well, ME.

“You have beer,” she said, in response.

See, she thinks I have beer, at this point, because SHE bought the beer – interesting black cans with skulls on them  – but that beer tastes like armpit and the after wheeze of a cough and I just want some Bud Light Lime. 

“I’ll just go in and see what they have…”

Bae, because she is capable and knows everything, stepped out to pump the gas.

Side Note: We are not one of those lesbian couples without predefined gender-type roles, the ones that share everything fifty-fifty and shy away from “labels.” We have pretty well defined gender-type roles. She drives, and pumps gas, and mows the lawn and builds shit in the backyard and handles car negotiations and household maintenance, and I sweep and do laundry and read style magazines and make detailed grocery lists and kill all of the bugs and frighten hooligans because I am one, bad bitch.

“You can go look,” she said, passively, “But you can’t buy anything.”

The hell you say… “Um, what?”

“It’s Sunday,” she shrugged.

Damn. Damn. Damn. Double damn.

Where we live, in the very last chapter of the Bible, sandwiched between the dinosaurs and  The Old Testament God with the fire and brimstone – you know, beside the Puritans and Hester Prynne – regular, tax-paying citizens cannot buy beer in stores on Sunday. Regular, tax-paying citizens cannot buy alcohol of any kind in stores on Sunday. You can order it in a restaurant, but that is a fairly recent development, and we’re so well-trained by an overreaching government that we forget, more often than not.

That is a complete lie.

I never forget.

“I’m gonna go in and just look, then.” So I crawled out, in my exercise shoes, the ones that make me look athletic, even though I’m a solid size ten, and my sports bra and my vee neck, Merona tee (because I refuse to wear anything that even resembles real clothes from June to August) and I casually walk into the store with my Kavu wallet in my hand. I am not wearing any jewelry, I am not wearing any makeup and my hair is in something that passes for a “messy bun,” but is really just a nest for migrating sparrows.

This is my cemetery spelunking persona. Obvi.

I walk into that gas station like I own the place, and I find the first, undoubtedly legally-minded individual I can, loitering near the beer freezer, looking ten ways of well-versed in the eccentricities of Virginia State Alcohol Consumption.

He is tall. He is covered in unwise tattoos (like I’m one to judge – different story for a different day). He is wearing a leather cut, like all of the people in Sons of Anarchy.

Oh man, now all I can think about is Opie. What does that guy do now? Y’all remember Opie? He was the bomb. 

“‘Scuse me, sir,” I put on my very best Scarlet O’Hara, which is not a stretch, by any means. I sound like Ellie Mae Clampett on my best of days, and it only gets worse when I need a man to do something for me, like open a jar or reach something on the top shelf, or not give me a speeding ticket when I am going 65 mph in a school zone. “Can I ask you a question?”

Let’s call my new friend, Luke Skywalker, because he is nothing like Luke Skywalker, I just like the name.

Luke Skywalker turns toward me, and scratches this long, ZZ Top beard that is hanging down his chest. It has been carefully oiled, which I know because dudes in the town where I live have recently fallen over-the-fucking-moon for Mumford and Sons beards and all things beard hygiene, and you cannot go two blocks without seeing them, and their beard oil advertisements, all plastered up on the back of a Scion.

I could write a thesis on those dudes, but I will refrain. Those dudes are not indicative to Luke Skywalker, and I do not want you to get the wrong impression about him. He is a legit biker gangster man, he does not sit around on Sunday afternoons and drink approximately one beer while rattling on about Jesus, like they were old homies from high school.

He is fully present, smelling of tobacco and ferocity, and is glowering at lil’ ole’ me.

“Yes,” he answered my question, in a clipped tone that rouses my suspicion that this may not be the best of ideas. There is no rum here to distract me, or reassure me, as was the case when My Mother tried to shower with me. What if Luke Skywalker tries to shower with me?

The bile begins to rise.

“Can you buy beer here on Sundays?” I tentatively inquired while thinking As God is my witness… 

That is a Gone With the Wind reference.

“Little girl,” he started.

Now, I have had two children. As in, I have physically grown them in my own body, like an alien host cell. I have physically unleashed them into the world, in the manner of Julius Caesar. This is all immediately apparent to anyone who looks at my personage for longer than thirty seconds. I have the spare tire, and the vacant expression that has seen better days. I have that aura of someone who has picked out lice and created science projects with little more than a paperclip and a dream at eleven p.m. the night before the deadline.

So this man, starting off with “little girl,” is quite shocking to me. As in, I am expecting to be thrown over his shoulder and carried off into the sunset, but I am not expecting THIS.

“Do not ask me to buy your beer. I don’t know where you came from, or where you go to school, but I ain’t that type of a guy.”

Um… WHAT?!

Luke Skywalker is standing on his moral high ground, screaming at me in a tone that is loud enough for the other nonexistent customers to hear, definitely loud enough for the cashier to hear, and I am looking at him, not at all like he is some outlaw biker that belongs in The Wrong Kind of Woman, like someone I should be afraid of, but like is an honest-to-God-moron.

I mean, I am unreasonably short for a woman whose mother is six feet tall. I top out at (roughly) 5’3.5″, with hair, and 5’3″, without hair. And I have acne – don’t you dare ask me if I use ProActive. I am on medication that prescribed by a doctor, not Adam Levine. But I look like an adult.

I know this because I have never won any award entitled “Most Likely To Be Mistaken For A Student,” even though it WAS awarded to a woman of similar age, height and built, but whatevs. I’m not bitter. This isn’t sixth grade cheer tryouts. I’m over it.

The point is, I am an old lady. My kids tell me this on the reg. I am an old, antiquated lady, and “booksack” is a term from “the olden days.”

“Hold up, Chief,” I put my hand out at Biker Luke. “Calm down. I do not need for YOU to buy beer for ME. I have my own driver’s license. I just needed to know if you could buy the beer here, PERIOD.” I used hand signals, just like I do when I train the velociraptors in the paddock. “I don’t live around here, and, where I’m from, you can’t buy beer on Sundays.”

“What?” Luke Skywalker straightens, regards me, as if he is trying to ascertain my spiritual age. “Yeah, you can buy beer here on Sundays.”

“Cool, thanks,” I told him, delving into the cooler.

And then he proceeds to stand in the corner and stare daggers at me, while I gather my six-pack of Bud Light Lime (which will do me no favors, as far as convincing him that I am a legal adult, because what legal adult drinks Bud Light Lime?) and approach the counter. He watches me dig my driver’s license out of my wallet, he watches me hand it to the cashier, and I am trying really hard NOT to acknowledge that he’s staring at me. He watches me carry my beer out to the car (and I am so flummoxed that I forget to cover the BLL with a bag and then Bae sees and it becomes this whole big thing in the parking lot), and then, only then, when he sees MY DAD, does he slowly slink away to pay for his malt liquor.

He watched me walk to MY DAD.

I hope my dad gave him the finger.

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  1. * “I have that aura of someone who has picked out lice and created science projects with little more than a paperclip and a dream at eleven p.m. the night before the deadline.”*

    Lord have mercy, do I resemble that remark! Remind me sometime to tell you about the time Husband bought 34 sheet of large, white construction paper from the office supply store after Elder Son needed to do a “project” at 10:00pm at night. The tears! The yelling! It was a sight to see.

    Like

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