Is that flop sweat?

I found myself, last Thursday, in the front passenger seat of a white Ford Taurus on the way to Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee, NC.

How I got there is simple and it is complicated. The simple part is that my father lied to me. The complicated part is that after 17-1/2 years of his absence from my life, I have little context for interpreting what the man says.

He goes to Cherokee at least once a week to gamble. I don’t get it, but it gives him something to do. So, he mentioned a while back that they were giving away a Cadillac that Friday and he was taking me to Cherokee. With a mixture of childlike yearning and what passes for conviction in his life (don’t go by me, what the hell do I know) he told me not to cancel on him at the last minute “with any sick kids or no babysitter or whatever the hell…”. ‘Course it turns out M’oney was on an “away” week and the in-laws only returning to town that very day after 5 days away… In addition to having the kids and the in-laws’ dogs all to myself until 30 minutes before entering the Taurus, it was move-in day for neighbors sharing our driveway, so I played a couple of games of musical driveway during my various errands and preparations. Not that I in any way want a Cadillac or can work up enthusiasm for 14 wasted hours in Harrah’s Cherokee, but maybe winning something would make all the packing & rushing around worth it. If not, at least I might numb myself with a goodly number of ‘free’ drinks at the penny slots.

Or not.

But my point is…It was the 3rd hottest day of the summer. I’d been racing around the better part of the afternoon in an effort to leave everything so a trained monkey could take over for 30 hours without wreaking irreparable harm on the children, house, plants, fish or impeding my Mommy momentum in said categories upon my return. I landed in that Taurus a sweaty, greasy (say it the Southern way to get the best visual) mess; ready for a few drinks and the cash-equivalent take-away of winning that damned Cadillac.

My father has a “respiratory affliction” (read: pansy-ass immune system from decades of meat & potatoes, combined with a neurotic fear of exercise and a healthy dose of Catholic-raised martyr drama disease) which was triggered into a ‘full-blown lung/sinus thing’ by the air conditioning on his previous trip to Cherokee. That was the reason that the air conditioning was not on and not GOING to be on in his car. I sagged a bit at that but vowed to catch each moving breath of 97-degree air that managed to slither in through the open windows – and to make up for it with several drinks immediately upon entering the casino…

Yeah, well…

I endured the ‘conversation’, enjoyed the scenery and tried to stop looking at the temperature controls.

When we arrived at the hotel, I oozed to the did-I-mention-shared room anticipating the whoosh of refrigerated air. No!! Apparently, even in this dry county in the South, they’ve joined the going green bandwagon and turn the air conditioners off unless the room is occupied. Curse!!!!! And when I leaned over to set the controls to appropriately frigid , didn’t the old man holler out another reminder of his respiratory condition and tell me not to set it up past low – and NO fan. Luckily the thing only had cool med, cool high, heat or off. I set it on cool med and splashed some tepid sink water on my shiny face.

I desperately casually mentioned the drinks as we pulled into the casino lot. The laughter that accompanied “You didn’t know this was a dry county?” was symbolically dry and more forced than a Vegas wedding smile. I’d love to see the video of my reaction. Upon entering and locating a check-in machine (unless you’re planning an extended trip to Cherokee, don’t ask!), “we” were informed that the Cadillac drawing had taken place last month. The pretend shock & disappointment on my father’s face was less believable than my 3 yr-old’s ‘remorse’ face – this is when it first hit me about the lie.

Blah, blah, blah. I won nothing. Spent about $70 of my own money. Ate 3 desserts at the buffet. Shared a hotel room with my once-estranged father – not as bad as it could be because once the hearing aid is out and the glasses off, it’s almost like having a moment to oneself…

And sweat all night on top of the covers!!!! If sweat is the word for that really unpleasant coating of oily film that never evaporates because it is too molecularly thick to be lifted by air and must be absorbed back into the skin or cleansed by fast-moving water and a loofah. Is that flop sweat?

For the record, this is how temperature controls should be set for optimum relaxation and comfort!!

This photo was taken during one of several brief stops on the drive home – gas, bathroom, one more bottle of water, during what should have been a one hour and fifteen minute drive - when I seized the precious moments to blast freezing air without getting caught!!


the roe family said...

truly hallarious! you had me in stitches. flop sweat - now i have a name for it!

CP said...

OMG- THAT was the true meaning behind the term "flop sweat"!

mp said...

Bwaaaaaah! Good times, right there. Good quality time with Pops.