Sunday, March 25, 2007

Becoming a man

Little bro Michael had a Bar Mitzvah last weekend! I flew off to Atlanta for the occasion on Thursday and picked up my mom and sister and the kidlets, Mia and Zachary at the airport. I'd reserved a full size car from Avis, but the dopes at Avis at the Atlanta Airport were definitely not trying harder last Thursday when they gave me a trashy Pontiac Grand Prix. To my sister’s dissatisfaction, we squeezed in and drove off. I was forced to return to Avis the next day and got a much larger car – a Mercury Grand Marquis – which was like driving around on a grandma’s living room couch. What’s up with these dumb American car manufacturers? Nobody but Avis or an 80-year old from Westland, Michigan would buy a car like this.

Of course United Airlines mishandled my checked bag. Even with a one-hour layover in Denver and all flights on time, they couldn’t seem to get it to Atlanta. My current checked bag status for domestic flights: 80% of the time in the last two years (yes, eight out of ten times!) my bag has not arrived with me.

Brad’s flight was screwed up by United too. They had a mechanical problem in San Francisco and instead of getting everyone on flights that would get them to their destination on time, they passed the buck to the Chicago staff and he ended up getting in to Atlanta four hours late.

The Bar Mitzvah. The night before, my dad took us to a greasy Chinese restaurant. Canton Cooks. He kept pronouncing it like the city in Ohio. I kept trying to repeat it with the accent on the second syllable, but it didn’t affect his pronunciation. I think everyone just wanted to sit around a big table and eat ribs. They had all ordered by the time we arrived so we ordered even more! Everyone actually ate what we ordered. Nobody ate the pile of Chinese fried chicken, egg rolls, and fried gung fat hot choy. Nobody looked too excited about the greasy Beijing Duck. (Okay, it’s really Peking Duck, but why haven’t they changed the name?). Michael was excitedly telling Uncle Steve that this place served really good Chinese food, but Steve pointed to the gays from San Francisco and told him to ask them about real Chinese food.

What a fun time we all had at dinner!

The day of the ceremony was enjoyable. A whole bunch of goyim headed to a synagogue. Pretty Easter dresses! Guys wearing sporty yarmulkes over their uncapped skulls. Sister Beth and I were forced to do an Aliyah (the occasion of chanting prayers before and after the reading of the Torah). I also dressed and undressed the Torah, marched around behind the scrolls and stood around while the rabbi did a fake Kiddush. That’s supposed to be the prayers over the wine, but Temple Sinai didn’t even put wine in the glass! Super sacrilegious are they without the fruit of the vine on their lips. Michael did a really good job, but nobody really wanted to sit there and watch the ceremony. They watched the rabbi lovingly caress Michael’s neck. They wanted to pose for a family photo!!

Am I related to any of these people? I made Brad get in the picture to add height on the right.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch. Grandma Bobbie was babysitting for Mia and Zachary. Mia was sick with some wretched virus and Zach was a little freaked out by being away from his Cincinnati human-free safe haven, but they both survived. Grandma was left with a few scars, including back pain and generalized fatigue.

Babysitting for Mia and Zach requires a bit of effort.

Brad and I made it back to San Francisco before 11:00 PM PDT. I was so relieved to get back, knowing that my next flight left in 9½ hours! I raced home to unpack and pack, and managed to squeeze in about five hours of sleep. The next morning, I was off to Yucca Valley.

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