Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Ow. Ow. Ow.

My beach weekend on the Outer Banks was a great success, and although half the participants were Republican fundraisers, we avoided any talk of politics and instead focused on our shared interests: slushy cocktails, jacuzzis, seashells. Coming from a land-locked upbringing in decidedly non-coastal Colorado and central Texas, the beach is foreign terrain to me. I would like it very, very much if they could just eliminate the disgusting creatures that live in the ocean and periodically slime their way on shore. Probably 50% of my time on the beach was spent watching those sand crab things out of the corner of my eye. They would slither out of their holes, all 234 legs working furiously, and scamper two feet across the shoreline, then bury themselves again. I was mesmerized by their utter vileness. They were the Platonic form of nasty. Legs, and shells, eyeballs and heft--if one ran across my toes I was going to have to singe my flesh off. Yes, I'm a city girl.

At dinnertime on day 2, the girls were going to order mounds of fresh seafood from a local place. The organizer asked everybody if they preferred crab or shrimp, and I, having recently more-or-less cured myself of my seafood phobia, proudly announced that I would eat crab. I've had crab meat before. I've had crab cakes and crab dip, and liked them. My seafood phobia hasn't cured me of shrimp yet, so I felt on solid ground with crab meat.

Then came the food. Pounds and pounds of veiny, curly, bulbous little maggoty-like shrimp bodies. Thank God, I have my crab meat! I thought. "Where is the crab?" I asked. Oh, you simple, naive thing. "They're in the bag," our food-getter answered. I thought this was strange phrasing. "They?" Hmmm. Nevertheless, I peeked into the large paper bag and too my neverending, pulsing, living horror, there were piles of CREATURES that looked like boiled red versions of those monstrous aberrations of nature I had been eyeing on the beach. It was too late for me to make a dinner of hushpuppies alone. They were all gathering around the table and someone plopped one of those...those THINGS right in front of me. "Are you a crab girl, Susan?" asked one. "NO!" I wanted to scream. "I just spent the afternoon praying for the extinction of these overgrown insects and now I have to EAT one? I have to pull its legs off and rip out guts and look at nasty slimy innards?" I started glaring out the window at the nearby ocean, praying for a tidal wave to come knock over the house. Or for Satan to appear and carry his minions of evil off my plate and back down to the underworld where they belong. No such luck. With ever-dwindling appetite, I followed the lead of crab-cracking table companions and tore limbs assunder and ate tiny little pinches of what was actually pretty tender and flavorful meat. I survived, but let's just say I'm not a fan.

So I didn't have any live crabs run over my feet or touch me in any way, but I apparently found it necessary to singe my flesh all the same. It is all the more painful now that I am not anesthetized with a regular influx of booze. My knees burned the worst and now I can't straighten them. I cut quite the professional figure this morning, waddling bow-legged in a half-squat to work down Pennsylvania Ave. In heels. All I wanted was a merciful end to this walk of shame, but I was held up on the street corner, for the second time this year, by President Bush. His motorcade comes screaming down Pennsylvania, while I wait miserable and tottering on the corner, gritting my teeth and muttering to myself. The secret service guys come by in their vans, every window open and the back flap flipped up. Out of every window and out of the back, two or three secret service heads stick out and these guys shoot intimidating "move and I'll f&*ing kill you" looks to the passers by. I for one kind of wanted them to put me out of my misery, but to no avail. I'm going to have to see about getting a temp to wheel me about the office in my rolling chair.


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