Monday, May 22, 2017
Livin' La Vaca Muerta
Are you a friend of Myrna's? If not, I think you ought to be.
If the world of English literature has its Tilling and its Riseholme, then increasingly I'm coming to believe that Twitter, of all places, is home to a treasurable new American counterpart in a hitherto-obscure Southern California community of "manufactured homes" (the ancestors of which we see above), Vaca Muerta Estates.
The undisputed - well, actually quite disputed - queen of Vaca Muerta is one Myrna Tellingheusen, "retired executive secretary for Mr. Stanley Bogenshoots, Senior Vice President at Hughes Aircraft" and former president of the Vaca Muerta Home Owners Association. A woman of strong opinions on everything from ethnic cuisines ("Never eat anything you can't pronounce") to skorts (which "should be worn at below-the-knee length and with sensible shoes. Support pantyhose complete the look."), Miss Tellingheusen (one senses she's probably not a Ms.) is surrounded by a colorful cast of friends, nemeses, and, not least, her nephew, Lyle, who is if nothing else a distinct fish-out-of-water in the 55-plus confines of Vaca Muerta.
That fact has not been lost on Myrna's principal foe, current HOA president Darleen VanDerPooten, who has been stern in pointing out that having a lodger like the 20-something Lyle amounts to, in her own words, "HARBORING ILLEGALS." It's reasonable to think that if Darleen had any real idea of what Lyle gets up to in his copious spare time, she'd be even more steamed.
Of course, there are worse things than unemployed hipsters afoot in the only-on-the-surface tranquil mobile home park. And most of those things, one way or another, can be traced back to the regrettable Doris Pumpergast, an elderly creature whose own home falls short of pristine HOA standards (which run extensively to beige, in numerous shades) and whose occasional alliances with Lyle always lead to disaster.
Looking on (and frequently phoning in - "Fran called" leads in to some of Myrna's best and most gnomic tweets) is Myrna's own answer to Viv Bagley, Fran Fleming-Blarp, a sweet-souled but possibly ever so slightly dim party with a tendency to overshop on QVC after an Ambien or three. Fran frequently has little "incidents" (an unfortunate situation at the Smart & Final supermarket took up the better part of a particularly memorable day last March), but Myrna (after much grumbling) is generally called up on set things right, even if they involve Barb, about whom the less said the better. She's been putting in a hot tub today, and there's going to be HOA hell to pay.
Like Tilling before it, Vaca Muerta is pretty much a matriarchy. Still, one can't ignore the male sex entirely; after all, the whole community relies enormously on the medical care of Dr. Gary Hoopenlooper, even if someone really ought to explain to him that doctor-patient confidentiality does in fact extend to social media. And then there's the mysterious Archibald Coolranch, the kind of dapper gentleman of a certain age who'll always be good for an Old Fashioned at happy hour...
So if you're just about politicked-out on Twitter, I really do recommend your having a quick swing by Vaca Muerta. Nothing, at least yet, has quite risen to the genius of the War of the Chintz Roses - and perhaps at 140 characters a go, it's unfair to expect that it will - but it really is good fun. How else, after all, will you ever really understand the importance of decorative balls?