Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A B C My Brains Leaking Out My Ears

So, I've been talking and talking about the ABC drama, and the longer it's been going on, the less I want to post about it. But I promised, and I'm a woman of my word, so here it is.

My grandmother is an artist. A very talented artist. That is the nicest thing you will ever hear me say about my grandmother. Ok? Enough said.

Many, many years ago, perhaps while she was at Bennington, she did a series of paintings of a clown discovering each letter of the alphabet, henceforth to be referred to as the ABC paintings. Soon you will know why I cannot bear to try to take a picture of them to show you.

A while back, my grandmother moved from her home of 50+ years into an assisted living facility, and much of the work she'd done, that hadn't already been claimed by a family member, went to live in my sister's apartment. I went through what she had and thought to myself, wouldn't that be nice for a nursery someday. Oh, how I rue that day.

I took the ABC paintings home and enjoyed them and thought about how one day I'd have a nursery that took on their bright primary colors: no pink and blue for me. Then my mother called and said that my grandmother wanted the paintings back because she wanted to show them. I pointed out that if I "lent" them back, I'd never see them again.

My mother agreed, and so we decided that I would just "forget" to send them back. I faithfully forgot for a year or more.

The morning that I was leaving for MD, my mom called and left a message on the machine to bring the ABC paintings with me. I called back and asked my dad if this was a message that "I missed," or whether my mom was actually instructing me to bring back the ABCs.

Apparently, I was to bring home the ABCs. My mom insisted that we would be able to dismantle and copy them and reassemble them in time for me to bring them home, something that I seriously doubted. So I packed them in the car, bitching and moaning the entire time about how it was all just so unfair. (You see, I admit that I had my part in all this drama).

From the moment I got to MD, the ABCs came up approximately every 2.5 minutes. How would we dismantle and copy the ABCs? (Scan them into the computer/Copy them on my parents' printer/Take them to Kinkos). Who would be allowed to disassemble them? (Me, to whom they belong. My mom, talented and able to fix anything. My grandmother, 87 and apparently unable to lift a mug of tea without groaning with exertion). Were the ABCs original or copies of the original? We fought on all these points. Extraneous opinions on paper quality and disc management were raised and dismissed.

Frankly, by the time that my up-for-sainthood husband took my grandmother to the Baltimore art museum, leaving us to actually complete this project, I was ready to just hand the damn things over. I DON'T CARE ANYMORE, I must have said, dramatically, 100 times.

So, my mom and I dismantled the frames and discovered that the damned panels were glued to the mats. Who does this?!? We lamented loudly and repeatedly. Finally, amongst much consultation, we agreed that the only thing to do would be to take them to Kinkos and let them copy them as one enormous panel and we would cut them apart.

Long story short, as this is already sucking out my will to live again, the Kinkos employees were rude and totally unhelpful, the manager looking at us condescendingly, taking a step back and putting his hands on his hips. "Yeah, I can't help you," he says. "The color copiers are over there."

So, you're saying I can do on a color copier over there, what you, a professional cannot do?

Well, we've got different equipment back here.

So you're saying that the color copier here for public use is better than what you have back there?

Well, I've got a lot of important orders to take care of.

I didn't ask you to do it now. I asked if I could place an order to have it done.

No, like I said, the color copiers are over there.

He's just lucky I don't believe in guns.

Because at this point, grandchildren having been invoked, my mother was determined to get this done, so we did it. All 26 panels, glued to four enormous mats, on color copiers in Kinkos.

Then we ran home, reassembled the frames and stuck them back in my car. They are now safely back in my closet and I am left wondering, what just happened to me?
I supposed this is what is supposed to happen on Thanksgiving: you are supposed to be reunited with your family so that you can all bitch and annoy one another and eat too much and generally turn things into international incidents (tm) when they need not be.
But now I think I need a drink.

1 comment:

Kim said...

My issue is with how you could possibly allow twenty-six pictures of clowns in your house at all, as everyone knows clowns are evil and want to eat our brains.

At least, this is what I was raised to believe.