Friday night, Chris and I stopped by my mom’s for a quick visit and to get a bite to eat. (There is ALWAYS food there and I was starving.) She was having a dinner party, her guests included my aunt, Helen, and 2 other Greek ladies from the old neighborhood that grew up with my mom. One of the ladies is a Reiki Healer (she does it on the side) and the other was into those ionic foot-baths that pull all the toxins out of your body from your feet. (Don’t knock it until you’ve tried. I did. I felt like a million bucks afterwards. Seriously.) Then, of course, my step-dad, George.
As soon as we said our hellos and exchanged hugs and kisses, Chris and I made a plate. They had already finished and were working on dessert. Chris was sitting at the table and, all of a sudden, George started sweating and swaying. He asked for an icepack. He has been having these “attacks” since the summer. No one knows what’s wrong, some doctors have suggested its vertigo. It has to be frustrating for all of them because he can’t work and is more moody than normal. Chris got up as my mom tended to George. We were holding our plates and eating by the counter. Suddenly, George lunged for the sliding glass door leading out to the deck. He threw it open and landed on the deck where he proceeded to heave his guts out.
It was shocking. Apparently, it has become a normal part of life though because everyone continued to eat. It was so bad that Chris noted it was, “gnarly.” I couldn’t eat, at least, not in the kitchen. So, Chris and I made our way to the opposite side of the house (where we could still hear the puking, albeit in the distance.) Quite frankly, I’m sure the neighbors on both sides heard it, too. I was pretty gnarly.
Please, don’t think I’m callus. George is dramatic. Moody. And, a pain in the neck. He is my mother’s fifth child. I honestly don’t know how she has managed to stay sane all these years (35 long ones!) without becoming an alcoholic. I would have started self-medicating years ago. I digress.
Truthfully, I can’t imagine being sick and knowing you’re sick but no one else knowing the cause or the cure.
Chris and I migrated back to the kitchen after we licked our plates clean. Much to Chris’ delight, the conversation at the table revolved around medicinal marijuana. Chris pulled up a seat at the table, while George was still heaving on the deck, lying half on the kitchen floor and half on the deck. (With a pillow.) Chris thinks of himself as an expert with all things pot related. He gave them the name of his “guy” along with a summary of the difference between medicinal pot and recreational. My mother and my aunt listened intently as they fussed with the dishes. I could see the wheels turning in both of their heads. My aunt looking for something to ease her pain for the loss of her son and my mom thinking to herself that I’m dating a drug addict. (FYI, he is not.)
There were so many things happening in that room that I decided to sit quietly on the arm of an oversize chair in the adjoining living room and text my sister, Marya, the play-by-play of the conversation and actions of everyone in the house. Her text responses included a lot of “WHAT?????” and “that’s embarrassing!!!” There were quite a few of “I know. Right?” from my end of the text chain. When I thought it couldn’t get crazier, Chris came over to me and asked if there was another bathroom away from the kitchen. Uh oh, I thought. Poor guy. He had eaten something that didn’t sit well and needed a private bathroom STAT. I ushered him upstairs.
Did I tell you about the time that I flooded that bathroom and toilet water came rushing downstairs through the globe light in the hallway? Hmm. More on that later… I was starting to have flashbacks but, I didn’t panic.
When I came back downstairs, one of the ladies made a bee line to the bathroom near the kitchen. From the sound of things, she ate something disagreeable, too. Ugh.
Once again, I thought the explosion of vomit on the deck and bathroom explosions were the end of the excitement for the evening but, no, I had miscalculated the craziness that is my family. Can I just tell you? One of the ladies exclaimed, “He has the evil eye!” You may not know what that is unless you’re Greek. I have a very vivid memory of it from my childhood.
Someone gave my mom the evil eye when I was much younger. She was very sick so, my grandmother performed an exorcism of sorts on her via cupping. Do you know what cupping is? I think Gwyneth Paltrow recommends it. You heat the rim of a shot glass and place it on the skin, typically, the back. It pulls out the evil eye/negativity in the body. I watched my grandmother do this to my mother. I can never un-see it and the memory of it, clearly, has etched itself on my brain.
So, anyway, it seemed obvious to the ladies that someone had given George the evil eye so, they got out a shot glass and said the evil eye prayer and anointed it with, the ever-holy, olive oil. They ganged up on him to “cure” him but he brushed them off. At that point, I grabbed Chris’ arm and said, “Let’s go. We’re outa here.”
We got in the car, I felt him look at me incredulously. He got the hand and we peeled out of the driveway.