Monday: Belt in loops, I set out for cultural bastion that is Sarasota, Florida. This pretty little town is the host of the second most Caucasian zip code after Anaheim, CA. I'm pretty sure the hotel house keeping staff were in black face, or brown face, seeing as this was Florida. The purpose of this trip was to see this big shot physio/massage therapist/potential quack who'd developed this program of stretching and muscle building that could possibly really help my lurvely physical state. The trip by car between Miami and Sarasota is anywhere between four and a half and five hours. With my father at the wheel, it took just over three and felt like seventeen. Allow me to digress with a parable about my parents' courtship. At the six month mark, my mother was convinced that Father hated his family. Every time he would speak on the phone with them, it was constant yelling. In Hungarian, a language that makes Wookie sound romantic. He took her down to meet his folks and upon arrival, amid the hugging and kissing, was more hostile yelling. Except everyone was smiling. Hungarians, while capable of providing the audio for a foreign Jerry Springer show, are actually very loving people. Still, this didn't help my stress level and by the time we pulled into the immaculate little town (think Victoria/Transcona hybrid), my hairline had receded another quarter inch.
Searching out sustenance, we settled on the most elegant establishment in the surrounding neighborhood: Chilli's. The Palm, this was not. The wait staff appeared to consist of a hostess with an "I hate yanks!" sticker on the back of her pleather writing pad, a very tall, very skinny, very in recovery from meth fellow fellow and Chuck, our waiter, who I'm pretty sure had replaced all of his hemoglobin with steroids. When you have money, it becomes very easy to enjoy the high-falutin' five-star restaurant lifestyle. However, when you didn't start that way, there's this odd comfort in slummin' it. Cut to my aunt demolishing two empanadas. (Side note: do not order ice tea, even sweetened, anywhere below the Mason-Dixon line.)
So then we went to see this non-doctor and I'll spare you all the details but he essentially stretched me and worked me out for about three hours, leaving me feeling rather lab rat-esque. More on him later. That evening we went to the touristy shopping and dining district, which was a series of curved boulevards surrounding one central square. Think art emporiums, beach wear, real estate shops, over-priced bistros and Starbucks. Thank fucking God. We took a stroll to the beach, Aunty, Father and I, and sat down to watch the sunset. Naturally, this was when the only two cute, young gay guys in the county stroll onto the beach, pooka-shell necklaces in place (I know.) and with a demeanor that said "No, we're not together, but we'd totally show a nice, semi-attractive stranger, say from Canada, 'round these parts." Naturally, this was at the precise moment my aunt decided that she wanted to rest her eyes and that my lap would make a natural pillow. American Gigolo, I am thee. What used to be the lovely pastime of gazing at adorable boys has become an exercise in increasing frustration over the years. I should really just shave off what remains of my hair and settle into monk-hood.After this shrinking of my pride and penis, we went and drank lots of champagne sangria (Yes, you read right and yes, it's amazing) and chowed down on unexpectedly delicious Spanish food. This was topped off with Starbucks (Daddy's maiden voyage) and stroll around the boulevards.
Full and (tragic foreshadowing alert) oddly optimistic, we went back to our hotel at which time I checked my e-mail and my life fell apart. Multiple - MULTIPLE - messages awaited me detailing how the things I'd been planning in the next weeks and months were crashing and burning two thousand miles away from me. I kinda lost it, I gotta say. Sitting in a hotel room with my two Hungarian elders (they're loving, but far from sympathetic), having been pummeled by this guy all day, feeling utterly isolated...man alive, I think it was one of the lowest, non-drug-related moments I've experienced. Aunty gave me a Xanax and I slept long and dreamless.
Tuesday: Awaking to a relatively-kick ass breakfast buffet (read: free), we headed off to see the good non-doctor. The previous session would come to be considered a candy-filled, unicorn-riding wonderland by comparison. Kids, he pretty much broke my toes. I've never experienced so much pain in my life. His whole theory was to wake up the long-dead nerves by stretching and manipulating them so he contorted them in all sorts of directions, laughing that in the past he'd gotten carried away and actually torn the skin. After a good chortle, I went into the bathroom and sure enough, zee skin, she was spleet. I certainly don't mean to make light of a very serious situation, so I say this with sincerity, but I kinda felt like a rape victim. I don't really have an explanation other than I just felt violated. I mean, it was good and all and I think that if I actually stick to it, his methods could make a big difference, but still.
Upon completion of another three and a half hour session, we set out for home. During this time, my aunt received about a half a dozen calls on her in-car Bluetooth with the speaker set at "God's Voice" volume from various other Miami socialite housewives, implementing all sorts of endearments ("honey"; "sweetheart"; "darling"; "hot piece of ass") with the exact same nasal, monotonic whine all of which made for very poor napping.
I spent the evening playing rummy with my grandmother and her nurse, finally free of the bickering twosome and then headed to bed, band-aids encircling my toes.