- The Southern Buffet of the Arroyo Wedding on Week 40: Saluting, Swinging, and Santa Fe, Baby.
- Lisa on Sorry Mom, You Suck at Cooking
- Rachamn Benhava on Brocato’s and Join Chickens, Like Your Aunt Nina Probably Had
- admin on Week 47: No Brunch: Just Some Vows, Goat Cheese Balls, and Neil Diamond.
- admin on Get your Happy Ending at The Wharf
Week 18: Meatballs and Manatees
April 21, 2011
There’s a naked intruder and I have to admit this is the first time in my life something this fabulous has occurred. He is banging the door down at 5:50 AM, and I’m slightly delirious, staying at Ryan’s. Although Ryan’s roommate Patrick is probably frustrated with having to get up in the wee morning hours for a complete stranger, I think he should be considered fortunate that the peep hole isn’t waist high. Had it been, Patrick would have looked directly into a young freshly shaved pair of balls. Long story short, a naked man was trying to break into Ryan and Patrick’s house. I am not sure why he was naked, but he was beyond intoxicated and I think he thought he was locked out of his own home. Believe it or not, the Ryan-Patrick household was a bachelor pad long before I came along…so they happened to have a spare dress lying around. Not wanting to send the stranger off in the nude, or call the police, they handed him a tiny black dress and eventually sent him on his way. I admittedly have had some ultimate lows in my life, but never that low.
Years ago, while in Czech Republic for a government and world affairs course, this kid Tyler who was in my class consumed way too much absinth one night. Ahhh, absinth, the evil hallucinogenic. While we all enjoyed it’s mysterious powers, poor Tyler had some type of extreme effect and ended up kissing a cross dresser who he thought was a woman and then later roaming the halls of the hotel naked. I remembered thinking then, this is definitely a fantastic low point. However, he was under the influence of absinth. What’s this Tampa guy’s story? Without knowing him and without giving him benefit of the doubt, I want to say there’s just no excuse for his actions.
In no way, shape or form is any of this relevant to Sunday brunch. So let’s fast forward 24 hours. My parents have flown into Tampa and are visiting for the week. We’ve got a wilderness adventure in store which makes this the first Meatball Chronicle without an accessible eating establishment. SO, for the first time ever, I give you, “THE FIRST ANNUAL PACK YOUR OWN MEATBALL CHRONICLE!!!”
We are on the road by 8AM, on our way to explore the fresh water springs of Weeki Wachee. This adventure is not to be confused with Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, the only city of live white trash mermaids. If you are able to overcome your unbearable curiosity then you can drive right past the park and go off the beaten path to the Weeki Wachee Marina. The Weeki Wachee Marina is a nice little establishment with really unpleasant employees, but they let you rent a little boat for the entire day and go on your own damn exploration. It’s an independent exploration that doesn’t involve children, mermaids, group activities, park rides or mermaid lessons in which the “real” mermaids teach young obese girls how to be mermaids… Girls that should never be allowed to wear shell bras. I’ve never actually been to the park, but from what I’ve seen promoted, this is what I envision.
Armed with cash, sunscreen, bug spray, beer, liquor and food, we are anxiously awaiting to conquer the crystal clear waters of this red neck riviera. Unfortunately for us, despite getting there very early, the tide was too low and we were forced to wait for more than an hour. My mother decided that the unpleasant marine-lord who had the personality of a rock was discriminating against us because of my parents’ obnoxious Boston accents. I was convinced she was right until others arrived and they were forced to wait too.
Anddddd we’re off! Ryan is captain of the dingy and my dad is on the bow like a watchman. I immediately analyze the situation and wonder if Ryan ever saw himself at 31, stuck in a boat with a brunette yankee girlfriend 7 years younger than him…and a family of democrats. But then again, in my younger more liberal days when I ran around Cape Cod as a free spirit supporting my gay neighbors’ marriage rights and all the silly sluts who wanted abortions, I never saw myself with a Southern Republican. I was a cleat chaser from the day I knew what balls were(baseballs). I loved the concept of dating a baseball player but for young me it was only a distant dream. I played on the boys team, hoping that the boys would appreciate my athletic abilities, but the only thing I gained from that season was the nickname “meatball.” That’s right, young fat Michelle would get up to bat and my OWN TEAM would chant “MEATTTTTBALLLLLLLLL.” It was humiliating and needless to say I never went back for another season. The situation was so unfortunate that my own family started calling me meatball instead of offering me comfort or diet pills.
Years later some of those baseball boys would fall in love with me and I’d tell them to eat my shit and die. Anyway, funny how love changes who you want to be and where you want to be… exclusively committed and beyond happy with someone who genetically engineered cows.
Ryan’s skills far surpass knowing how to impregnate a cow or yank an utter; he’s an amazing chef and he’s the sole reason that today’s meatball chronicle was unbelievable. He makes me wonder why we ever actually go out and pay for food. With my father feeling unable to navigate any farther on a miller high life diet, and my mother wanting something more than sweet tea vodka, we pulled the boat up onto a sandbar and opened up our cooler. Goodness gracious what a glorious picnic. I had made subs with roast beef, pepper jack cheese and banana peppers but they were quickly overlooked by Ryan’s unnecessarily fantastic boat food. I am not sure who thinks to bring sausage dip on a boat ride but he did, along with crackers to dip. Weeks prior at Gaspar’s Grotto Booze Cruise Brunch we had eaten some curried chicken salad and I have to say that Ryan’s recipe shit all over it. It is the most delicious thing I have EVER had in between two slices or bread, or in a wrap, or in a spoon, or smeared all over my body— it didn’t go that far but I found myself wanting it to. Curry, grilled chicken, white raisins, candied pecans, and I can’t say any more or someone will surely steal it. I found myself thinking that he should open a little roadside stop that only serves this, all day and every day. What a bright and successful future we would have.
Shortly after lunch we continued our adventure and explored every tiny winding river that Weeki Wachee had to offer. We never found any springs, but we did see manatees and shortly after looking down at my stomach and then back at the manatees I realized we could pass for sisters, so I put my shirt on. It remained on the rest of the day. We were gone for hours and I had eaten so much that the vodka never hit me. Our trip ended just in time because I was on my way into a food coma and didn’t know if I’d last much longer in the sunshine. With only minutes to spare before docking our boat, we came across a fantastic scene. A massive woman bending over right in front of us. She looked like a manatee out of water and I quickly attempted taking a picture. My mother tried to stop me but I snapped a picture just in time before she walked away. Sadly, I can’t share this picture because I think it’s illegal.
Speaking of asshole things I’ve done lately, next week is Easter Sunday and I believe the chronicles will begin in some type of religious establishment. I have more than enough to confess. But confess to whom? I know that God and his homeslice Jesus live at Lupton’s and as a slim believer, I can’t imagine it’s going to be a good review. Hang tight and pray I get to eat more than communion.