A few days ago my grandmother and I got to talking about life, work and Kamikaze shots.
I like the talks we have. She has so much wisdom to offer the world…of fifty years ago. As awful as her story-telling and advice-giving is, I encourage her to share and invite her to give me advice on any mundane subject I can think of.
I feel like she’s my own personal life coach that is humorously out of touch. She has a permanently happy disposition, like a skinny Buddha with excessive plastic surgery. And, she speaks in parables, like Jesus.
For instance, I remember a while back I was having some trouble confronting a professional problem and couldn’t come to a decision. I mentioned this to my grandmother and her response was (and this is a direct translation of what she said), “Why grab a dog by the ears when you have to lick its ass?”
I know. I don’t know what that means either!
Recently she told me the story of when she was young and wild in her late fifties (that’s her age and not the decade), she and two friends went on a cruise. One of them had ongoing, steamy affair with the Captain of this particular ship (and sometimes the Chief Engineer) and, therefore, cruised quite often. Apparently her sea legs came with crabs – at least that’s what my grandmother alluded to. The other friend, who we’ll call The Nose, was quite the opposite. She had serious equilibrium issues and no tolerance for alcohol.
By the way, I started sketching the pilot to this TV show already. It’s a perfect fit for Telemundo: Las Muchachas Doradas. And it’s a total rip off of Golden Girls.
One night, my grandmother, the Captain’s lover and The Nose where having a wonderful time, enjoying their free drinks, when they decided to try Kamikaze shots. I can only imagine this was sparked by the house band’s lively interpretation of Lionel Richie’s All Night Long. In case you didn’t know, in the early eighties that song was the equivalent of LMFAO’s “Shots”.
Well, out came the shots and down they went. Making my grandmother shake in her chair and making the Captain’s Lover stick out her herpes-filled tongue. And, making The Nose have a violently different reaction.
A few seconds after The Nose threw back her Kamikaze shot, she projectile-vomited it back out – you guessed it – her nose. Like a drunk dragon. Only instead of fire, it was vodka, triple sec and lime juice. It must’ve burned just the same.
After a few seconds of sheer horror and mortification, the ladies laughed and laughed. And ordered more and more Kamikaze shots. And The Nose had the exact reaction every time.
I stopped the story right there.
Not because I have a weak stomach, but because I didn’t care about how many more shots they made The Nose endure or how long before they had to call housekeeping. I didn’t care. I just wanted to memorize the moment. The moment where my grandmother was illustrating the intense flow of regurgitated alcohol by pulling on the flaps of her own enormous nose.
“Seriously? Is this just happening now?” I thought.
While taking my mental snap shot of her making her best Kamikaze face, I didn’t laugh. I don’t think I blinked. I just tried to remember that moment.
I analyzed her hair, which has been the same color’s as Ronald McDonald since the inception of the fast food chain. I looked at her eyes and remembered that she was the first one in my family to get tattooed. She started with her eyebrows and progressed to her lips and threw in some eye make-up.
Then, the memories of our life together took over her physical image. I remembered how she looked on her wedding day when she married a man ten years younger, but still made him look like he was twenty years her elder. I remembered how she would take Flamenco dancing lessons and had to drag me along when she was “baby-sitting.” I remembered how she taught me to fish and how she put make-up on my arm to cover up a dog bite.
I remembered that she was the only one I let pull my teeth. And I remember biting down on her finger when I wasn’t ready.
I remembered that she has worked hard her entire life and has traveled the world because of it. Only now she hangs out at the beach, living the life she’s always wanted. With her super young/old husband.
My grams loved me from the moment she met me. And I never did anything to deserve it.
I am so very lucky to be able to pick up the phone and call her. Even if it’s to ask when it is exactly that beer is okay before liquor.