One Thousand Words that Meander a Bit

I wasn’t going to write tonight. I planned on going to sleep early so I would be ready to go for Booktopia tomorrow, but I couldn’t resist seeing whether or not I could write from a strange bed.

Not that the bed is strange. It’s a perfectly nice bed. It’s just not mine. I’m spending this Booktopia-eve at the home of my friend Nan’s parents.

The drive from my house to Rutland is always shorter than I expect. I’m used to drive a couple of hours south to Concord or a couple of hours north to Burlington, so when I arrive in Rutland in less than an hour, I’m surprised.

On the way over I thought I might write about things I saw on my trip. I had my phone on the seat next to me, and was going to use the new voice recorder I downloaded to make a list as I drove. But I decided that it was probably dangerous idea, so I didn’t.

Now I can only remember two things I saw and that doesn’t seem enough for one thousand words.

Oh, and that Eleanor Beardsley had a report on NPR where she was translating French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon and got really excited. Her voice got all excited and loud, very un-Beardsley like.

Am I the only person who hopes for news from France because that means Eleanor will be on the radio? I just adore her voice. She always sounds, well at least before tonight, vaguely bored and kind of nasally. I find myself repeating what she says, trying to imitate her sound.

I just googled Eleanor Beardsley to make sure I was spelling her name correctly and she doesn’t look anything like I pictured her. Now I wish I didn’t look her up. I hate it when people’s voices don’t match they way you see them in your mind.

Anyway, other than Eleanor Beardsley getting all crazy, I was going to write about the giant panda bear made out of huge plastic wrapped hay bales sitting in the parking lot of a closed down restaurant and they guy I saw running along the road barefoot. Not running away from someone running, but jogging running.

But now it doesn’t seem like there’s much to say about those things, so…

I met Nan and her parents at a local restaurant for dinner when I arrived. It actually was more than just us. Some of their friends were there too.

I was kind of surprised when I walked in and saw seven people sitting at the table, but it was fun once I got used to the idea. (You’re not supposed to surprise introverts with that kind of thing.)

Nan’s family and mine are very different. She’s got a lot of people in her’s, a sister with two sons, cousins, aunts. And I’ve got a tiny family.

Her family is social. They have big gatherings at the holidays and other special occasions. At my house, it’s usually just my mother and I.

Her parents have a lot of friends and travel. My mom has a few close friends and sticks pretty close to home.

I think both types of families have their pros and cons.

It’s nice to have an extended family. There’s a built in network of support there. If something goes wrong, there are people to call so you don’t have to go through it alone.

But I love the calm of my family. I don’t have to worry about how someone will react if we serve cornbread instead of sage stuffing at Thanksgiving. We could even skip Thanksgiving and it wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feeling.

When I first got to know Nan, I was a little jealous of her large family. It seems so jolly, playing games at Christmas and taking family vacations. But I’d come to realize that my family is just right for me. I think I’d be overwhelmed by huge family gatherings and everyone coming and going.

Hell, I was overwhelmed at the mini-reunion we had with my aunt and her three sons a couple of years ago.

They all were married and had at least two kids. Nan probably doesn’t run into this because she sees her family regularly, but by the time I had explained what I had been doing the past twenty years to three different cousins and each of their wives, I was exhausted. I longed from my orderly little home and my three cats.

Ok, ok. I know I sound like a crazy old maid cat lady. But some people just prefer quiet and calm.

One great thing about Nan’s parents is that they are very familiar with Vegas, so I pumped her mom for information about slot machines as research for my (might possibly become a) novel.

It turns out that more and more of the book is going to take place in Vegas and I’ve never been. I have been thinking that I should take a trip there. You know, for research. But until then, I’ll have to rely on the internet and Nan’s mom.

I learned that there are many different types of slot machines. Penny, two cent, nickel, quarter, dollar. And there are multiple lines on each machine. Twenty five, fifty, one hundred.

Then you can bet “the maximum,” which Nan’s mom doesn’t do and I’m still not sure what that means.

And you can also play “progressive,” which Nan’s mom also doesn’t do and I’m also not sure what it means.

But if you do both those things, you can win big.

But if you win over $1,200, the machine stops and you can’t do anything until you pay a 25% tax.

I’m still trying to figure out how Charlene is going to win big on the slot machine, but at least, thanks to Nan’s mom, I have a clearer picture of what playing the slots looks like.

I think tomorrow I’ll ask her if she’s ever been to church at a movie theater.


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