Fresh from her four-hour live show at Newmentia's Parent Conference last evening, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is now ready to be interviewed by the local press:
LP: Did you have a large audience?
HM: They were normal size. Nobody needed to take a chainsaw to the side of their mobile home to facilitate their trip to my show. There were only five of them, though. With seven students to discuss.
LP: Enough of the business jargon. Let's get to the meat and potatoes of this interview. How was the evening meal?
HM: Let me expound on this subject at length. I am not a fan of the House of Greasy Beijing Great China Wall. I asked Mabel to recommend an entree. I know that Mabel would never steer me wrong. I appreciate all she does for me. I appreciate her invitation to join her and her new best friends for an evening of fine dining in the Newmentia cafeteria. But it is here that our tastes diverge.
What Mabel may not realize is that at least four people poked their paws into our Shrimp and Broccoli with Straw Mushrooms. It was an unfulfilled feeding frenzy in the teacher workroom. "Where is mine, where is mine?" The faculty milled around that table like a multibodied dog chasing its tail. "I don't know my number. What is my number?" Never mind that only TWO meals had a number, number 36, the meals of Mabel and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Which made me want to say, "If you didn't order by a number, then your food will not have a number on its carton!!!" PennyP herself opened our cartons twice. Like the food in them might have changed between times. Or not realizing that some type of sauced breaded chicken pieces looks nothing like shrimp, broccoli, and mushrooms. No matter how many times you peep at it. I finally had to hiss sharply at PennyP, "Would you please stop fingering Mabel's and my food?"
Upon entering the cafeteria, to which I had been invited by special Mabel invitation, I saw that only one table was occupied. NotACook and Headshrink sat on opposite sides. Two spaces were taken by a drink and a food carton. Recognizing Mabel's beverage, I chose a seat across from it, next to NotACook. We go way back.
Because the food had soaked in grease spilled from the food, I went back to my room for some paper towels. I returned to find PennyP had shoved my stuff over and pulled in a chair. When I went to sit down, PennyP and NotACook humped their chairs away from me like I was going to leprosize them, or maybe chomp off one of their pinky fingers in a spate of unchecked gluttony.
Dinner conversation turned to ridiculing people who attended college classes with some of us. Just because they might have no teeth, or speak hillbilly grammar, does not mean that they are unemployable. According to my aunt, one of the guests at our very table is a witch who dresses out of the ragbag and talks like an illiterate. So it seemed a bit mean-spirited to make fun of people who were at least enrolled and attending college. It's not like they were slurping off the teat of humanity, laying around the shanty and getting a good buzz on. The next topic was students who stink, another round of mean-spirited bad-mouthing, in my opinion. Times are tough. Maybe there's not enough money for deodorant or soap, after the parents dole out that dollar for soda to go with the free lunch every day. The custodian says he has kids asking him for toilet paper to take home, and he has to tell them that it's not worth losing his job.
It's a wonder I even heard the conversation. On my right was NotACook, who was also NotAChineseEater. She had, as memory serves me, two burritos and two orders of cinnamon twists, after persuading someone to run to the border for her. I like her. I really do. But she was chowing down like a stallion chewing the wood off his stall door. Like a hippopotamus pulverizing styrofoam pancakes. On the other side, I had PennyP bemoaning how she ate too much (after two bites), and opening and closing that carton to nibble again and again until it was all gone.
I tried several times to contribute to some less offensive topics. Apparently, I do not fit in. Each time I spoke, there was the sound of crickets not even chirping. Silence. They stared at me like I was a toothless hillbilly in a teacher education class. Apparently, I am out of the loop. Farther out than Inman, on his Civil War odyssey, taking one step forward and two steps back on his way to Cold Mountain and Ada Monroe. I am not used to such abuse. My lunch buddies welcome me. Or at least tolerate me. Mr. S even listens to me, when he's not busy talking. I would have been better off sitting at the newly-populated man's table. I may or may not have let one single Indian garbage tear slide down my cheek on the way home.
LP: Well, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, it's a shame you can't tell us how you really feel.
HM: Yes. I'm the kind to keep this sort of stuff bottled up inside me until I explode.
LP: Too bad you can't start a blog to let the crazy out.