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Home » Stories, True and Otherwise

Big Country Little Car Tour, Day 9

Submitted by on April 3, 2010 – 2:45 PM13 Comments


I went back to Chao Camp at midday. AB had tried to text me to say that Mad Chao was getting sprung from the clink, but I’d left my phone at Chao Camp, and my jacket, and at least five IQ points. Did laundry with one tied firmly on; remembered to take it with me; forgot the phone. Obviously. Pamie had to email to tell me to come join the Operation Free Mad Chao mission-accomplished rescue party.

When I arrived, Pamie wanted to talk about a crazy dream she had with a beefy-handed doctor who told us to buttermilk the funhouse. Sarah: “That’s so strange; I had the exact same dream.” AB: “What do y’all want for lunch?”

We all wanted lunch, to free our own kidneys from the infection known to the layperson as “pinot-itis.” I remembered that shrimp po boy from my last visit to Chao Camp, when I ate it in two bites. I know now for sure that I can’t get one like it in Brooklyn or on the Cape, so I savored it this time and ate it in only three and a half bites.

We sat on the porch and waited for Pamie to have to leave us, and for those IQ points to work their way back in through our ears somehow. Just one example of my temporary developmental delay: listening to a convo concerning the Chairman’s plan to put a bar in the closet, I asked why he couldn’t just go to the kitchen for a drink, it’s right there. Silence. He’d meant a horizontal bar to hang clothes from, which any schoolchild would have known, but I assumed he wanted a wet bar in there with bourbon and a teeny icemaker and whatnot. I also assumed that AB had a clever design plan for it that I would then have to try to copy, even though my half of Far Thill doesn’t have closets.

A word about AB’s design style, and why it’s awesome. You probably want your space to feel chic and livable, and that’s where AB is a Viking; as much as you like looking at a room in her home, looking isn’t all they’re for. That proceeds mostly from AB herself and not from any color or furniture choices, and sitting there, idly leafing through a catalog, talking about cutting bangs, I realized that it’s time to stop putting off the housewarming until Far Thill “looks right.” It’s old, the previous owners liked oogy pastels, and it could be 2015 before it “looks right.” The most important element of good design is making people feel like they want to sit around and hang out, so let’s get a keg and some Cool Ranch and do it.

habuntsAfter Pamie had hobbled off for the return leg (as it were) of her hero’s journey, AB and Mad and I had Sonic Wednesday (those CreamSlushes! amazing), and then AB tried to interest me in an activity. Did I want to see her mom’s new house? Did I want to go for a bike ride? I chirped “no thanks!” to each suggestion, because 1) I came to sit on the porch and talk to AB, and 2) thanks to the pinot, I was now too dumb to operate a bicycle. This is how “beloved” children’s-book character Hateful Buntsy was born. Hateful Buntsy Won’t Go For A Drive.Hateful Buntsy Won’t Go For A Bike Ride. Hateful Buntsy Makes A Mess…Goes To Jail…Hates Birds. And Mad Chao’s contribution, Hateful Buntsy Ruins Everything…Always.

Sarah: “You think I won’t throw a foot up your ass ’cause you’re sick, Hateful Kidney?”

Mad Chao:Hateful Buntsy Won’t Beat Me, She’s Too Lazy.

Sarah: “Hateful Touché.”

We could have sketched the whole series and gotten rich in children’s publishing already, but AB and I can’t draw and Hateful Kidney, who can, needed a nap, so I consented to a bike ride to Sarkisian’s house. We drank beer and reviewed the buttermilk saga, and Sarkisian’s nippy puppy attacked our shoes and pant legs. Sarkisian neatened up our brows.

AB: “Hateful Buntsy Gets A Wax! This calls for a photo.”

Sarah: “Hateful Absy’s Funeral Was The Event Of The Season. One chin in that picture, or I’m-a kill you.”

The Chairman arrived. Night fell on us, lightly. A black cat named Mister criss-crossed the yard. We talked about everything, and nothing, as you do. Every day since leaving, I’ve been asked some variation on “You drove all the way from New York? To do what?” The answer: nothing. I drove all the way from New York to do nothing with friends, which is the best, happiest thing to do.

Next stop: KC MO.




  • Amie says:

    “The answer: nothing. I drove all the way from New York to do nothing with friends, which is the best, happiest thing to do.”

    Amen to this!

  • Natalie says:

    “The answer: nothing. I drove all the way from New York to do nothing with friends, which is the best, happiest thing to do.”

    And this is why I love road trips. Cause? Word.

  • AB says:

    Yay! Hateful Buntsy Loves To Write About Riding Bikes!

  • c8h10n4o2 says:

    Ooooh! You’re coming to KC? You’re lucking into a decent patch of weather here. Or so they’re saying right now. Are you going to hit any events or sights in particular? Negro Leagues HOF is probably a must for you.

  • JB says:

    “We talked about everything, and nothing, as you do. Every day since leaving, I’ve been asked some variation on “You drove all the way from New York? To do what?” The answer: nothing. I drove all the way from New York to do nothing with friends, which is the best, happiest thing to do.”

    Amen. The best vacation I have had in years was a long weekend spent trying to share my best friend’s futon with his cats, having a barbecue with friends I have known since middle school, and going to a bowling alley, the all-night truck stop we used to go to in college, and a corn maze.

  • Liz says:

    Those last couple of sentences make me want to jump in the car and head out to Indiana, where my best friend moved a little of a year ago. A couple of days of doing nothing would be just what the doctor ordered… Unless its Dr. Groucho).

  • attica says:

    I love Hateful Buntsy! Because I hate visiting people who want to organize the crap out of me, when all I wanna do is sit and shoot the shit. Calm down, hosties! Pour me som’m cold and I’m good. We’re good.

  • Linda says:

    Sars – I thought EXACTLY the same thing when you were describing the bar in the closet. Heh – great minds?

  • Cyntada says:

    For the record, when I read “bar in the closet” the picture in my head was shelves with liquor bottles, a teeny sink, and neatly stacked glasses. My faster-than-thought reaction was “must be a long way to the kitchen, how convenient!”; that was immediately dispelled by the rest of the sentence. Oh well.

    Word on design being about livable. My cousin (that I hadn’t seen since childhood) graciously invited me to crash when I passed through his town some years ago. We met at a family event the weekend before, became instant friends as adults, and a few days later I arrived at bachelor pad. He opened the door and stepped aside to let me in, and I stopped in my tracks. “Dude, I CANNOT go in there.”


    “It’s… freakin’ BEAUTIFUL! I can’t! I’ll mess it up!” You have to understand, my cousin is into antiques and worked at a store at the time; he bought all the good stuff that came in before it ever hit the sales floor. Everything in there was not only gorgeous, it was valuable, and I am a bull in a china shop.

    Turns out his attitude is that antiques are there to be used and enjoyed, thus I found myself sleeping on the fancy couch, stepping (!) on the beautiful rug, and putting my purse on the ancient sideboard without ill effect to me or the decor. It ws even better when I stopped being afraid of hurting it.

    His response to my initial reaction was priceless: “Well, it is a gay guy’s apartment!” Love you, cuz…

  • KKB says:

    “Buttermilk the funhouse” has had me rolling for the last ten minutes. I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those phrases that pops into my head at random moments, appropriate or not, and I’m going to be the crazy lady just randomly laughing at nothing.

    I can’t decide if it’s an awesome band name à la Toad the Wet Sprocket, or an even awesomer name for a PBS kids’ show.

  • Melissa says:

    Yees, this post means I’ll never look at a buttermilk pancake in the same way.

  • Eliza says:

    Aw, loved reading this.

  • RJ says:

    I would totally read “Hateful Buntsy.”

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