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2002-12-28 10:48 a.m.

CRESCENT CITY DAY 1

Andie and I decided to brave the nine–hour trip to visit her mom in Crescent City this weekend. Andie wanted to see her family for the holidays and be there for her mom's Christmas party, and I agreed to go with.

The trek there was painful and long and rainy and horrible. Nine hours is far too long for any sane person to spend in a car in one day. But, Andie is pretty good company and we made the best of it—joking, laughing, and finishing one another's sentences as usual.

We ate a fine dinner shortly after we arrived—smoked turkey, stewed tomatoes, chicken. Then we got on to the business of exchanging gifts.

Their gift exchange was humble and just what I needed to cure that sick feeling I get in my stomach during the winter holidays—a nausea induced by the gluttonous consumerism I see around me starting the very day after Thanksgiving. It happens with so many people, so many families, even my own family. I feel like my mother and grandmother go overboard and focus far to much on gifts—it makes me feel so uncomfortable. For me, it detracts from the spirit of what a holiday ought to be about—special time spent with loved ones, laughing, sharing stories.

Lawanda and Wayne, Andie's mother and step–father, gave me two simple and excellent gifts. First they gave me a jar with a lock of dirty–blonde hair in it. People often give me jars with hair and skin and body parts in them. But, this was a piece of hair from Andie's very first haircut! I felt honored to receive such a historical souvenir—genuine hair from my hero and love–of–my–life.


A lock of hair from Andie's first haircut.

Next I got my first set of tinker toys! Tinker toys are the sort of thing that people older than me talk about and make references to. I never really understand when they bring them up, but I assume they are toys that one tinkers with. What more could they be?


My mini Tinker Toy study in symmetry.


Andie said that this was a car.

When you receive a toy on Christmas, it is important to play with it immediately. Children of all ages have short attention spans and they tire of their toys quickly. Better play with them as much as possible before the sparkling moment slips away. Andie and I took turns tinkering the toys into the shapes of mini–sculptures. My first one was an study in symmetry. She made a variation on a car. Then I made a robot.


The Andie that I know and love. Doesn't she clean up pretty?


"We are programmed just to do everything you want us to! We are the robots! We are the robots!".

The plan for tomorrow is to hang out, eat at Taco Man, and entertain guests at Wayne and Lawanda's Christmastime Fiesta 9000.


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