At what age is someone allowed to completely smash through the proverbial cinder block wall of appropriateness? I mean, when is it forgivable to just throw away the filter and literally let unadulterated questions and observations fly from our mouths? I’m asking because I can’t wait until I’m old enough to get away with the kind of uncensored speech my mother gets away with.
Let me give you a little backstory. Jonathan (my partner) has dry skin. The kind that can cause irritation and redness on your hands, feet, and elbows. It’s something he’s dealt with for most of his life, and with the use of a good moisturizing cream and the occasional prescription ointment, it’s completely under control and not a big deal. We don’t call it Psoriasis.
On one of their recent visits to San Francisco my parents stayed with us for just over four days. If my mother’s telling you the truth, she only came for one reason…to visit the newest member of our family, the new grandson aka my brother’s fourth child! She wanted to play the role of loving Grandma by smothering my nephews and niece with her love and stuffed animals. All I know is I don’t have that maternal obsession with spit-up, poops that look like sweet deli mustard, burps the result of a back-slap, and children who chirp with unintentional cockney British accents.
On the last day of their visit we got up early to beat the lines at Brenda’s French Soul Food, one of the San Francisco restaurants — a staple, really — with lines usually around the door by 10am. Now picture this, I’m driving in my pajamas and my dad’s in the passenger seat. Jonathan and my mom were in the backseat sitting across from each other. We were talking about the ornate exteriors of the Victorian homes zipping by.
“I like the brown ones with the purple and gray accents,” I said, and my father agreed as we continued down Golden Gate heading towards Polk Street.
A brief moment of silence was broken when my mom turned to Jonathan and asked, “Do you have psoriasis on your genitals?”
Jonathan immediately turned away from her, unable to make eye contact, and looked out the window. His lip was probably bleeding from biting it in shock.
“Mom!” I screamed from the front seat. My father started to laugh out loud and the rest of us followed.
In an effort to make the situation better, she continued, “I’m sorry Jonathan, there’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
I was cracking up inside, but wasn’t sure how Jonathan was handling it, so before she started in with something else, I told her she’d “officially lost your talking privileges.”
“Oh sha!” she said, “we’re having a private conversation about dry skin.”
“This is a Honda Civic Hybrid, honey,” my father interjected, “there’s no such thing as privacy!”
Before she could press Jonathan for more, I pulled into a spot just a few doors down from the restaurant. We made eye contact with eah other as we spilled out of the car and I mouthed an apology. He just smiled and shook his head in disbelief.
And then we awkwardly sat in silence, piling the richest most carb-heavy delicious creole food into our mouths.
Brenda’s French Soul Food
Beignet sampler (regular, apple, chocolate, and crawfish)
Crawfish and Andouille sausage strata (bread pudding) with home fries.
Fried chicken eggs benedict
Peach cobbler pancakes with whipped cream and syrup. This was one of specials that day and it was even better as an afternoon snack.
Creamy and smooth grits one with cheese and one without. I didn’t take a picture, because….well, you know what grits look like.