Tuesday, October 31, 2006

These are a Few of My Favorite Things


Where's my chocolate?

Boo on you!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Difference Between Dogs and Cats, Part II


Before I lay me down to sleep,
I pray for a man who's not a creep,
One who's handsome, smart and strong.
One who loves to listen long,
One who thinks before he speaks,
One who'll call, not wait for weeks.
I pray he's gainfully employed,
When I spend his cash, won't be annoyed.
Pulls out my chair and opens my door,
Massages my back and begs to do more.
Oh! Send me a man who'll make love to my mind,
Knows what to answer to "how big is my behind?"
I pray that this man will love me no end,
And always be my very best friend.


I pray for a deaf-mute nymphomaniac with huge boobs
who owns a liquor store and a golf course. This
doesn't rhyme and I don't give a shit.

Table of Malcontents

Yesterday we took a drive in the country to view the fall leaves as there aren't many maples and elms in San Francisco. We browsed in several antique shops, and Flip bought a library table to use for his digital recording studio. It's a gothic-looking dark oak, suitable for Halloween, that completely fills one wall of our small apartment. I keep expecting hell bats to fly out of it. The witch in Hansel and Gretel might have owned such a table, if her gingerbread house had been bigger. Did I mention our apartment is small?

We rented a truck to pick it up today as the antique store doesn't deliver. We got a panel van that previously transported 412 illegal aliens, all of whom smoked. We stopped and bought a can of Ozium, which is quite nasty stuff in its own right. It did nothing. I felt as if my lungs were exploding all the way there and back, even with the windows open. I hate smokers. HATE them.

The rental company hadn't packed any furniture pads, so we had to find something in the Town of the Table to ease its pain in the van. "'We'll just buy some blankets," said my valiant husband, owner of the verylarge table. I declined to spend even more money on this project. He said I was raising my voice. In public. He slammed himself into the van and said we should just forget the whole thing.

I yanked his door open and yelled, "Are you CRAZY? You want to abandon something we spent that much money on?" (I didn't say "blew." Or "wasted." Really. And I only yelled loud enough to get his attention.) I looked at the receipt. In small print at the bottom, it said, "All sales final." Of course they are. Who on earth would keep such a table after coming to their senses?

"I guess we'll find out what's Important to you," he said. Implication: If I am so crass as to care what the largest piece of furniture I've owned since I gave my father's piano to my brother looks like, I couldn't possibly care about his feelings. And at that moment, I didn't.

We agreed that we didn't want to be in each other's company just then, so I took a walk. I wondered if I'd have to walk home to the city, which is about 60 miles from where we were.

I checked out two other antique stores. I realized I was hungry, since I had only had coffee before leaving, so I headed for Victoria's Cafe, breakfast-all-day. I love places that serve breakfast all day. I thought about how far from home I was. I wondered if the trains even run that far. I considered which shoes I was wearing in order to calculate the feasibility of walking home. At least my lungs would air out.

I knew he would have a problem at the bridge because there is a toll, and he rarely carries cash. I keep a quarter roll or two in the car for meters as parking tickets in this city are like personal hate mail from God. But I knew he wouldn't think of using them at the toll booth. Men don't consider coins real money. This thought didn't fill me with pleasure, even though I would have liked it to. Oh, wait. We weren't IN our car. We were in the big, smoky van. And I was the only one with cash money on me.

I reached for my cell phone to call him a second before it rang. We met on a street corner under a large, hanging pumpkin filled with mums, and had breakfast at Victoria's. Things always look more mellow with a full stomach.

I noticed a liquor store. Liquor stores have boxes. We asked if they had any empties. They did, already broken down. We took all of them and spread them in the van to protect La Table. We went back to the antique store and Flip and the owner hauled it out and slid it into the van, coffin style. How appropriate.

I have to be fair. I didn't tell Flip how much I disliked the table before we bought it because he was so taken with it. So basically, I deserve what I get. If I had spoken up, we wouldn't have bought it. But he probably would have sulked. I can't stand it when he sulks.

I have created a monster.

I think both my lungs are cancerous after today's ride. Or maybe I have black lung disease. Since I have never smoked or mined coal, this is highly unfair. I hate smokers so much.

We had to replace the half-tank of gas we used before returning the van. $67. 43. This is one expensive table.

It does look better than the Ikea desk we set out on the sidewalk. Maybe we'll actually bond. If I live long enough. And my hives go away.

Monday, October 23, 2006

When My Name Was Mommy

My son has always had a great capacity for assimilating data and putting it to use quickly. When he was two and my older daughter was three and a half, it dawned on me that I could bathe them together as they were both out of diapers and not yet adolescent. I placed them in a tub of bubbles and lathered them while they played with their bath toys.

Suddenly, J stood up and began to circle E, a look of deep concentration on his face.

“Mommy!" he exclaimed. "E has a different kind of penis.”

E held J's rubber ducky under water until it drowned and snapped, “Stupid! Don’t you know a vagina when you see one?”

I explained that boys have penises and girls have vaginas, and they went back to splashing each other and racing their plastic boats.

The next day, I was at the grocer's with J perched in the kiddie seat, swinging his legs and grabbing whatever he could off the shelves.

A sweet little old lady shuffled up to us with her walker and cooed, “Ohhh, you are the most beeeyootiful widdle boy!”

He looked her dead in the eye, and then beamed radiantly as he made the connection.

“You have a bagina, don’t you? “ he crowed.

She clutched her breast and gasped, and I thought she would have a heart attack and fall down right in the cereal aisle of Stop & Shop.

When she didn’t die, I pushed my shopping cart away and said, “Honey, it’s vagina with a va, not a ba.”

But J's attention had already moved on to Fruit Loops, which had a very nice picture on the box.

The only thing I ever knew J to fear was haircuts. When he was 2 1/2, his father decreed that “MY SON will not have long hair anymore.” So we took the children to Mr. Gay, a fashionable children’s barber on Madison Avenue in New York.

E went first. She adored the attention, the swivel chair that went up and down, the praise for being such a good girl, her new look, and the red lollipop at the end.

It turned out that J had a Sampson thing going. He accelerated to full hysteria as soon as he was placed in the chair. He could not be reasoned with, he could not be bribed. He was uncontrollable, a small whirlwind, squirming, leaping, thrashing and full-bore pedal to the metal screaming.

E stood by his chair, watching with scientific detachment as she licked her lollipop. The parents of other children put down their magazines and stared in horror. I was ready to pay the barber to stop, but MY SON had to have short hair.

Mr. Gay said, “I can’t do this,” threw off his smock and headed for the door. He was about 90 years old, had given thousands of children haircuts, but he had met defeat in the form of a small but determined blond cherub with exceptional vocal chords.

As the barber disappeared down the street, the other barber (I think he was Mr. Gay’s father) came over and began to cut J’s hair, trying to establish a rhythm between wild leaps and flailing arms. We had to tip him double.

You would think this torture would not be repeated, but a few months later, MY SON had hair hanging in his eyes and over his ears again, so off we went.

E got a lollipop but no haircut, which clearly disappointed her, and J was hoisted, screaming, into The Bad Chair. This time both barbers joined forces to perform the operation, one holding him down while the other attempted to cut his golden fleece on the downswing.

J’s ear got nicked, and I said, “That’s it. Let him go.”

He got two lollipops, and we left.

For the next few years, I cut his hair at night, while he slept, like a stealth bomber with scissors. I would drape a towel over his pillow and turn him like a chicken on a spit, this way and that, until the deed was done, collect all four corners of the hairy towel in one hand while propping J’s head with the other. He never once woke up, and I don’t think he ever noticed the difference because he had no interest in mirrors.

Years later, when he began to notice girls, he suddenly became GQ-worthy and brushed his teeth voluntarily, showered without being reminded, and even took himself for haircuts. I don’t know if they gave him lollipops.

When my younger daughter, C, was 6, she got the part of Lucy in her school play, "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe." Her father took her to a costume shop near an area of Boston known as the Combat Zone, which is the red light district. He must have looked like a pedophile with a mini-skirted little girl in pink Miss Piggy sneakers. She noticed that the "lamppost ladies" were swinging their pocketbooks, so she swung her Snoopy umbrella.

A very old man was walking slowly ahead of C and her father.

A scantily-clad woman in a doorway said, "Wanna fuck?"

The old man said, "What?"

She repeated herself, louder. "Wanna fuck?"


She sighed impatiently and said it again, louder than before.

He cupped his ear and said, "I'm sorry, miss, but you'll have to speak up. I can't hear you."

The hooker put her hands around her mouth and yelled, "DO.YOU.WANT.TO.FUCK!"

My daughter said to the woman, "Whatever it is, he doesn't want to. His ears don't work anymore."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Funeral Music Meme

This meme asks me to share the music I would like played at my funeral, and to tag someone. I think everyone I know has been tagged already but if not, please plan your funeral with us.

I would like them to play Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." Twice, because it's short. By the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Orchestra.

"My Way" by Frank Sinatra. I have tried always to do it my way, even when it wasn't a good idea. Even when it was an unimaginably bad idea.

"Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye. Because if I'm hovering, I'd like to hear his voice again.

"At Last" by Etta James, if Flip goes first. Because I love it, and because of the line, "Here we are in Heaven."

"Waiting In Vain" by Bob Marley, if I go first. "I still can wait some more."

"Lulu's Back in Town" played by Ellis and Branford Marsalis while exiting, (the mourners, that is. I will presumably have exited already,) because it's so upbeat. And I'll be dancing along with them, even if nobody sees me.

Another Opening, Another Show

Another meme. Nobody tagged me specifically, but several of the blogs I read suggested that anyone so inclined should do this one. It seemed like a good time to figure out where I stand on these issues, so here goes.

Five things I would do if I were a millionaire:

1. Endow my children
2. Buy a beach house in Tahiti and fill it with driftwood, shells and sea glass
3. Travel more. I want to visit Tibet, Japan, China, Thailand, Indonesia and Africa, and all the places with exciting names like Amazon River, Zanzibar, Machu Pichu, Rio de Janeiro, Casablanca
4. Buy gifts for people whenever I felt inspired
5. Buy a Victorian house in San Francisco to live in between trips. (For that, I would have to be a MULTI-millionaire.)

Five bad habits:
I wish I could give you something entertaining, like stealing quarters from blind street musicians or running after old ladies' wobbly butts with hatpins, but hey, nobody's perfect!

1. Interrupting. (I'm from New York.) I'm working on it.
2. Excessive blogging (Is this "bad?" You tell me.)
3. Holding grudges (sometimes)
4. Aiming Killer Glares at cigar smokers in public places
5. Letting my hair grow unimpeded. (I hear the troll look is in.)

Five things I hate doing:

1. Sitting near people who yak in theatres
2. Feeling unwelcome at family gatherings
3. Feeling powerless
4. Dealing with pomposity and arrogance
5. Fighting losing battles

Five things I would never do:

1. Commit suicide or murder
2. Wear hurtful shoes for more than a few hours
3. Vote for Schwarzenneger
4. Eat venison
5. Watch re-runs of Friends

Five things I regret doing:

1. Giving up my acting career
2. Deferring to others out of fear whenever I've done so
3. Some of my past relationships are extremely regrettable
4. Being too self-absorbed at times to be the parent my children deserved
5. Putting my foot in my mouth far too often

Five favorite things:
(In no particular order AFTER No.'s 1 and 2)

1. My children! (I raised my own best friends.)
2. Writing
3. Bike riding and water skiing (not at the same time)
4. Chamber music, art, movies, and cooking
5. Animals, seashore, redwood forests, antiques

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Naked Truth

The first nude beach I ever visited was in Nice, France. I hadn't realized it was a nude beach until I looked around. Nothing gets by me. I shucked my new lavender French string bikini, which really made very little difference, anyway.

Everyone was gorgeous, and since I was very young, too, I just assumed that people looked like that without their clothes. This thought kept me going for a very long time.

I nearly drowned in the Mediterranean. As I was going down for the second time, I noticed Mr. Clean sans swimsuit standing about 50 feet away, near the shore. I yelled for help, but he merely stared at me in fascination.

Finally, I yelled "Au secours," literally "to the rescue." High school French. It was the best I could do. He immediately sprang into action and cut through the water like a barracuda, grabbing me as I went down a third time. He hauled me back to shore, where a couple of nude Frenchmen took turns performing artificial respiration on me until I coughed up enough seawater to influence the tides.

A few years later, I went for a 10-mile walk on Fire Island, NY, and suddenly noticed that everyone was naked in one of the areas I passed through. I stripped off my bikini and continued on my way, putting it on again when I reached the boundary of the nude beach.

I recently took a stroll with my camera along the beach that borders San Francisco Bay, looking for new vantage points from which to shoot the Golden Gate Bridge. I noticed a pink person walking toward me in a flesh-colored bathing suit. As he got closer, I distinctly saw something swinging back and forth below his waist. It dawned on me that there were naked people all over the beach, walking, running, making out, and just sunning themselves on blankets. (I hope they were using sunscreen on those formerly-sheltered body parts.) The only other discernible women were playing frisbee with each other, pendulous shriveled breasts bouncing painfully at about the level of their pouched bellies.

It was fairly shocking. I am not a prude, and would like to believe that the human form is beautiful. But in most cases, it really isn't. Michelangelo would have us think so. But then, he could choose his models. Our fascination with nudity has been conditioned by Hollywood babes and hunks, buffed, toned and liposuctioned. The fact is, most people do not have beautiful bodies and exhibiting them in public is a really bad idea.

Sorry, folks, but this is not negotiable.

Fat and flab and love handles and jiggling boobs and scrotums are not thrilling to behold. They should not be played with outside. They just shouldn't.

This is a beautiful city. We should all strive to keep it that way.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's Here!!!


Have a perfect day and a beautiful year.

You make my life a joy and keep it interesting.

Your kind spirit warms many lives while your music makes ours a song.

You're a special man, and I'm blessed to be with you,
today and every day.

So cut the cake already.

Love, hugs and smiles,

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Next-Door Whore

Whore next door. Dr. Seuss, you old has-been. Two can play that game.

My neighbor is a hooker. A street ho. A strumpet, harlot, trollop. A tart. I finally figured it out after I saw her in black bra and tiny shorts draped around a lamppost in the Mission, an area which has not yet been gentrified. I doubt she was in the neighborhood for the discount fabric store, as I was.

But I don't hate her because of her morals. I hate her because she's a vile neighbor.

She must have been overly influenced by Barbie because in two years, I have never seen her without stiletto heels on. She even wears them at home; I know this because our apartments have hardwood floors and she constantly scampers around like a crazed flea in those things. A crazed flea who sounds like a two-legged racehorse.

Every day, she breaks the sound barrier blasting music of indeterminate genre that makes our artwork fall off walls. The bass line permeates our apartment, driving my cat to bury herself in a thick afghan and my plants to drop their leaves in distress.

It drives me to hit the wall with hard objects. Like a wife-beater who does his damage where it won't show, I do mine in closets. The walls of our large, walk-in closet resemble the craters on the moon. I've been at it a long time.

She lines up empty wine bottles by her door rather than use the garbage chute on the back stairwell. The hallway smells like a bar now.

One of her regular guests plays handball against the wall for hours. I hope she isn't doing children.

She's had three new cars in two years, and manages to hit the garage door jamb with every one of them. A few weeks ago, she used her clicker to open the garage as she exited the front door, failing to notice it was already open because another tenant was backing out. The door slammed on the other tenant's Land Rover, causing two thousand dollars in damages. The building owner had to replace the garage door, which was new.

The other tenant rented a car for two weeks while the Land Rover was in repair and her insurance premiums went up. Sleazoid Neighbor refused to reimburse her for any of it, stating that she had just purchased several properties in Arizona and didn't want to spend money on something with no return.

"Nobody got hurt," she sneered. "So what's your problem?"

This morning at 4:20, she turned on her music, loud. It blasted us from a deep sleep. We banged on the wall, but she couldn't hear us. I slipped out my door, buck-naked, and rang her bell, then dashed back to my own apartment before she could come to her door.

She didn't. The music was too loud.

I donned a long shirt and leaned on her bell. I heard her talking to a man, but she didn't answer the door. She turned the music down slightly, which was beyond insulting. A contemptuous gesture, a mere crumb dropped to lowly plebeians. Such things incense me. I banged hell out of the closet wall between our apartments. More chipped paint and lunar craters.

I fantasize about spraying the connecting wall with semi-automatic fire when I know she's home. Or distributing curare-dipped thumbtacks in front of her door. Poisonous snakes. Or maybe a black widow spider in her bed, like a low-budget Godfather without horse heads.

Most troubling of all is that I know if it came down to it, I'd probably drive her to the hospital.

What's wrong with me?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Science of Lunch

Flip just offered to buy me lunch if I could answer a simple question.

"'What is the universal solvent?"

Um. "Salt?'

"No. Try again."


"NO. It's in every kitchen."

"I never took Chemistry," I mewled. "Clorox?"


"Can you give me a hint?"

"That IS a hint. The question tells you everything you need to know."

"What I know is that I'm going to be hungry for the next three days."

"It's something really basic," he said. I guess he was hungry, too.


Bingo. I should have guessed. He just washed the dishes.

In all the schools I attended, I managed never to take Chemistry. I took Earth Science courses instead to fulfill my college admission requirements.

My only scientific experiment in 9th grade consisted of mixing together peroxide and ammonia to bleach my hair. Then I studied the effects of mercurochrome on blondish hair. It turned a lovely shade of pink. My father hacked it off to teach me a lesson. I looked as if I'd had a fatal run-in with a lawn mower.

Science hasn't worked out really well for me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What I Want For Christmas

I did a post some time ago about the twin epidemic. I didn't know the half of it.

Chinese zoos are experiencing a PANDA breeding boom with 16 baby pandas about one year old. 38 more giant pandas have been artificially inseminated, which amounts to a population explosion for the formerly endangered animals.

They look exactly like the stuffed one I had as a child. I have serious Pandas Envy, and may have to move to China soon and find work in a zoo. Since I don't presently speak Chinese, that may be an unrealistic assessment of my job opportunities there.

I can't believe how adorable they are.

These pictures were in an email from my cousin Billie in Maine, Who Never Reads My Blog. Ha ha, Billie. I'm tel-ling!

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Hummer By Any Other Name

HUMMER has just come out with a vehicle called the Mid-Size Hummer. This is an oxymoron. Like Tiny Giant. What's next, the Compact Hummer? Maybe the Mini-Hummer?

What's the point? Besides drumming up sales, why would they do this?

The Musician remarked that back in the day, "hummer" was slang for blow job. I never heard this before. Nobody tells me ANYTHING.

So-o, you're supposed to HUM when you do it?

Whistle while you work?

Disney would be proud.

My Crime Spree

I almost did a drive-by on the way home. I spotted a woman wearing a red leather jacket that looked delicious. She was about my size so it seemed like a safe bet it would fit me.

Naturally my thoughts turned to mugging her. I mentioned this splendid idea to Flip, who said it would be worth it to watch me kick the crap out of someone. Guys have no soul. I replied that I would prefer NOT to hurt her, and would only do so if I had no choice.

The jacket looked as if it invented red.

I ogled it some more.

"We can do this the hard way or the easy way," I would say. "Take off the jacket realllll slow and show me the label so I can tell if it's any good."

Red is tricky that way.

Of course if it wasn't up to my standards and I let her keep it, she would never wear it again. What woman would wear something that was rejected by a mugger?

The red leather jacket winked at me as she kept walking. It wanted me bad. The light changed and I gave it one more fervent gander before it waltzed out of my life forever.

That woman will never know how close she came to seeing God today.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Goiter Man Nowadays Is Hard To Find

Does this make you want to rush out and fill up your car and gas cans RIGHT NOW? Or what?

Miss Demeanor

I flipped my first bird today. I have always eschewed such crudeness and vulgarity, but apparently I have it in me anyway. If I were a Congressman, I might say that I was drunk, but I don't drink. I was just crude and vulgar, and it felt WONDERFUL.

We were in heavy downtown traffic when a guy made a U-turn in his SUV, cutting us off and nearly plowing into two pedestrians seizing the day. We had begun our right turn so he stranded us in the intersection, having spotted a parking space that he couldn't get his behemoth gas guzzler into anyway.

I was a passenger, so I put my right arm out and showed him my middle finger. I flipped it three times. Vehemently. Suddenly that hand had a life of its own. I was so enchanted with my new ability that I did it again.

He raced after us and as he came alongside, he shouted, "Hey! You got something to say to me?"

"I already said it," I replied.

He whined. He actually whined. I hate it when guys do that. "I had the Right of Way because I was making a U-turn."

"That NEVER gives you the right of way," I said. "It isn't even legal." I'm pretty sure this is true even in California.

"Well, you should think twice about insulting people,'" he whimpered. He seemed a bit tearful.

Of all the buttholes in the world, I had to pick a sensitive one to insult.

"And YOU should learn to drive before you kill someone," I said. This brilliant exchange was deteriorating fast.

He blew me a kiss to show his moral superiority. I rolled up my window to retain mine.

I think from now on I'll go around giving everyone the finger. It's an idea whose time has come.

It seems I've turned a corner.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Book Meme

Lex has tagged me for this one. I'm sure I could have given a totally different set of answers, and they would be right, too.


Dictionary. I used to read it for hours at a time when I was a child. I have always loved words.


The Little Prince by Antoine de St.Exupery and The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder by Henry Miller. Both lifelong favorites.


A thick pad of yellow cap and many pens


Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth


The Pearl by John Steinbeck and Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.


Enlightenment For Dummies


The Roadkill Cookbook


The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys by Dao Strom


Teach Yourself Japanese


Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus

I tag d~, Michael C., and Urban Urchin.

Shock & Awe

No bombs were dropped on Alcatraz.

But I got to hold a rocket launcher. A ROCKET LAUNCHER!!! A really cute Marine set me up with it, and Flip snapped a cheesy picture of me looking tough. Not that I don't always look tough. I'm tough, see.

Today was the 25th annual San Francisco Air Show, featuring the Blue Angels, the U.S. Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron which performs formation and solo maneuvers using F/A-18 Hornets. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Blue Angels, which have been in operation since 1946.

Last year they flew six planes in close formation under the Golden Gate Bridge. This time, cargo ships, pleasure boats and parasails won the right of way, but there were still enough stupendous tricks to make a thousand people hold their breath simultaneously. For about two hours, we hyperventilated with a thousand of our closest friends.

Beach blankets and camp chairs, beer and hot dogs, (mustard purveying buns to this vegetarian) and eardrum-shattering commentaries over the PA system competed with the sounds of warplanes streaking overhead. It was Woodstock with air power.

Even the sea gulls and pelicans seemed unnaturally excited by the event, circling back and forth in their own configurations in imitation of the planes. Don't they realize that the planes are really emulating THEM, that they are the original fliers? They should be proud.

The tight formations reminded this ex-pat New Yorker of the Radio City Rockettes. If those women were airplanes, they would be the Blue Angels.

The promoters set up a virtual wonderland for kids. Everything plastic that could be ridden on, jumped in, or climbed was there. I stalked one charmer with my camera, hoping for a shot of planes zooming by at the precise moment she swung to the top of a jungle gym-like apparatus. It would have been a strong statement: War planes juxtaposed with a beautiful, oblivious child intent on her play. It couldn't be done.

I added it to my mental graveyard of great shots that got away.

When I was in college, I signed up for flying lessons at the Ajax Flying School, the first one in the yellow pages because I was in a hurry. My parents were no slouches either. They canceled all my flights by canceling my allowance, having shrewdly set up my first checking account so canceled checks went to them, not me.

Amelia Earhart got to keep her record.

Watching six planes a mere 18 inches apart fly nearly 1,000 mph through loops and turns and upside down curlicues is such an amazing display that it's easy to forget these pilots are Naval officers. Their planes are designed to drop bombs on our enemies while moving so fast that they're hard to shoot down. A fantastic show, people, but These Are WAR PLANES! Its enough to make anyone patriotic.

I feel so much safer now.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Desperate Actors

The guys with wings in the Angel Soft Toilet Paper commercial should get together with the cloud-dwelling winged women in the Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercial. They could have cream cheese on toilet paper, hold the bagel. Or soar their dog together.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Birthday Boy

Today was the 104th birthday of my dear friend, Adolf. He and his wife, Miriam, were close friends of my parents and I knew them almost from the time I was born.

Adolf loves to tell me that I came into their lives screaming my head off. My older brother pushed me in my stroller around the corner and across a busy street, and I clearly did not want to be there. (He was probably pinching me or something.) I tell Adolf that I'm still screaming.

My reluctance changed before long because Miriam and Adolf were delightful, warm and lovely people. Their only child, Martin, who was several years older than I, was my first, unrequited crush. Martin became an architect, married someone who wasn't me, and had three daughters. Sadly, he died young of kidney disease.

Adolf lives in New York and I have lived in many other places so I haven't seen him since my mother's funeral in 1989, but we speak several times a week. He is my definitive proof that senility is not mandatory. He is totally blind now, but all his other faculties are intact, and work better than those of most people half his age. The world has changed dramatically in the century-plus he's been alive, and Adolf has total recall of all of it.

He intends to tell people he's in his 105th year now because it's so much more impressive than a mere 104. Adolf needs no help being impressive. He was an engineer, for many years the Far Eastern head of Westrex, a division of Western Electric. He lived in Australia and in Bombay, India, and traveled the world meeting with kings and presidents who commissioned him to bring Western technology to their countries. He has been retired for many years and lives alone in a little house near the ocean on Long Island.

This morning, I informed him it was time for us to have a serious talk about the future. He needs to think about what he wants to be when he grows up. He said he'd let me know as soon as he has a plan. Adolf is the only man who has ever called me "darling." Just one more reason I have a real stake in wanting him to live forever.