Fieri-pump Rules

Dad has the remote and won’t turn it off Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Except I always hear the last word as Dines so I am thinking twice as much turkey and thick fries. He says he likes the background noise, Fieri’s moans as he scoops chili into his mouth. Dad says they were basically neighbors, way up there in California. Where there is nothing to do but grow weed, pick blackberries, and be angry at the rest of the state. 

In the back of the house, mom has barricaded her room with stacks of plastic bins filled with years-old calendars, Christmas decorations, and American Girl Dolls. Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is on so loud that if I close my eyes it sounds like Lisa Vanderpump and Guy are in conversation. 

If you’re ever in Allentown, Pennsylvania be sure to try

Darling, I don’t recall what you are talking about

Back and forth and back again. Then, Mom starts screaming because Carlton has thousand dollar cats that live atop the furniture, she is saying That’s how I should be living, not with you people.

But sometimes, Dad will switch to sports, and as I sit with my legs tucked on the couch, I become enamored by Skip Bayless’s mouth. Skip looks like a frog and I think me too. He won’t stop pointing at Stephen A Smith. I’m afraid they might fight, or kiss, and break into a flash mob where my dad will be too busy to notice and I will watch alone as they spin and twirl.

Then back to Flavortown and I wonder how they find the restaurants to feature, if they apply. I tell my dad we should nominate Hof’s, our diner with a pie counter and plenty of seats for the post-show choir kids. He doesn’t say anything.

I am only home because my grandpa is dying and we are throwing a final party, tata, farewell, goodbye! But the party hasn’t happened so I am stuck on the couch, at the whim of another person’s taste in television.

In a few hours, we will break into Mom’s barricade and she will be passed out. Brandi will be laughing maniacally onscreen and we won’t be able to find the remote all night. It just bounces on and on through the house, Kyle screaming at Kim and all of us feeling guilty for being in the limo with them. They will play the episodes out of order, only focusing on the most dramatic episodes. When Mom wakes up, she will look like she has stepped out of the TV, weary and bloodshot, wearing a fistful of gems. But now, in the living room with the 72 inch TV and Guy’s frosted tips, it’s a Thanksgiving special. I want to ask Dad if he thinks Guy is nice, but instead he replies Thanksgiving is a turkey only holiday, this ham shit is unnatural. Thanks, I didn’t know that but thanks for saying it anyway.

Alexandria Juarez is a Chicanx lesbian writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast from Southern California. A graduate of the BFA Writing Program at Pratt Institute, they have work in The Offing, Entropy Magazine, and more. They are an assistant editor for Electric Literature. Follow along on Twitter   @alexbethjuarez

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