Nicole_Crews_01by Nicole Crews

Me: Hey did you know that an original signed-by-Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation is at the Greensboro Historical Museum until the 26th?

Mother: Are you going? I think you could use a reminder that you are emancipated.

Me: Yes, I’m going but I personally think I need a Viking Intervention more so than an emancipation rejoinder from you.

Mother: What does that mean?

Me: It means I caught myself standing in the kitchen eating meat off a wooden board by stabbing it with a knife the other day.

Mother: It sounds like what you need is finishing school.

Me: I’ve also had to literally stop myself from walking into the front yard in a bra recently.

Mother: Now it just sounds like you need air conditioning — and finishing school.

The lusty month of May juts like a gangplank between the swift frigate of spring and summer’s shore and I can feel it nearing like barbarians at the gate. Nature is on full alert. The trees are making it rain with bills of pollen. Flora is sexting hieroglyphics in ochre paint. Fauna is frolicking. Bugs are bumping and carpenter bees in particular seem have a prodigious woody when it comes to spring.

Me: A carpenter bee tried to rape me the other day.

Mother: What nonsense are you spewing now?

Me: I’m serious. I was at the Viking’s lair sunbathing and I felt something thwack my vagina. When I looked up a carpenter bee was between my legs staring at my bikini bottoms looking stunned.

Mother: Are you sure you’re not referring to an actual carpenter?

Legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland used to refer to the over-the-top décor of her office as “a garden in hell.” But my favorite quote about the outdoors comes from my friend Megan Westmoreland, who upon seeing my lake house and its rural surrounds said, “I hate nature. And children.” I think of that every time I roll down the undulating drive and see golden coins of light spilling from the trees, the cattle lowing in the grove. My shoulders drop a solid inch. Then, of course, a go-cart of noxious pre-adolescent boys in a speeding go-cart nearly T-bones my rig and when I roll my window down to protest a wasp flies into my open mouth. ‘Tis the season.

Mother: You love it now but you used to hate the lake.

Me: Maybe during a petulant teen phase when I wanted to hang out with my friends, but I always appreciated it.

Mother: You didn’t want to get your Farrah wings wet.

Me: OMG. Just because I didn’t want to go waterskiing once does not make me a water weenie.

Mother: Good, because I did not raise you to be a priss.

Me: I know. You raised me to be a Viking — or perhaps a designated driver.

When I was 12 my parents taught me how to drive their Country Squire station wagon at the lake. The roads were private and paved with gravel and it took two phone books for me to see over the wheel. I thought this was a normal rite of passage, like learning to sail or drive a tractor. Little did I know that my early forays in the world of motor vehicles were merely a ruse. I was an unlicensed chauffer and my parents’ safe carriage home after dissolute dinner parties.

Mother: You were always asleep by the time we left for home. What are you talking about?

Me: I know! I had my first coffee at 12 because you guys needed a ride!

Mother: You discovered beer shortly thereafter.

Me: When in Rome.

Mother: Thank god we weren’t in Rome. I can’t imagine what habits you would have picked up.

Me: Saved by an epoch.

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