Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Weekend So Far

I needed some negative ions yesterday and the sun was shining, so we took a bike ride to the beach. There were a million dogs of all descriptions, including a three-legged Irish Wolfhound and a Cairn Terrier mix who resembled a piglet. Soon I was covered in sea spray and doggie drool, a delicious combination which someone like Chanel should bottle. Eau de Wetdog. Chien trempe´. It would be a big seller.

We have lived here long enough not to be deceived by a little sunshine, but we fall for it every time. September in San Francisco is the dead of summer. Trees blow down and capsized sailboats limp piecemeal onto the beach. There is a vicious headwind which makes me feel puny as I pedal madly and barely cover any ground.

Everyone passes me on windy days, even the scantily clad tourists on their rental bikes. You can always tell who they are because they dress by the calendar. They rarely wear helmets, whereas I have come a long way since my seat belt-scorning days. My helmet is blue-green, like my eyes, but this should not be construed as flattering. I just believe a brain is worth protecting.

It's raining today, just as Mr. Twinkle, the Channel 5 weatherman, promised. The news anchor, who has had such extensive plastic surgery that I wouldn't know her but for her glass-shattering voice, was entirely too happy to inform us that Barry Bonds was fired from the Giants.

I am not a big sports fan, but who fires Barry Bonds? He is the best thing that ever happened to the Giants. What were they thinking? The owner must have a death wish.

I hope Bonds goes to play for the Yankees now.

My friend's granddaughter, who is not yet a year old, had her first play date. Her nanny assured my friend's daughter that the little boy was from "a very good family," whatever that means, and she agreed to let Annabelle meet the other child with his nanny in the park.

Annabelle fell asleep on the way there.

I always felt that way about blind dates, too. I preferred my own company to that of any stranger and went on only one blind date, ever, for political reasons; my aunt was friends with his mother.

It was a disaster which resulted in an engagement because I had problems with the word "no." I thought that if someone professed to care for me, I had incurred a debt. Happily, the young man's mother ended our engagement because I refused to inflict a gigantic wedding at the Waldorf Astoria on my parents.

It took a lot of fiances before I got comfortable with the notion that I didn't have to love everyone back.

I feel sorry for today's children. Every minute of their lives is regimented with multiple lessons. Applications to the most prestigious pre-schools are submitted as soon as the pregnancy test comes back positive on the assumption that it will influence the child's success throughout his life. Young parents network with other parents to acquire the best possible friends for their children. Nothing is left to chance, or, heaven forfend, the children themselves.

When I was a child, I was missing in action after school and on weekends. Nobody knew or cared where I was as long as I showed up for dinner. I played in the woods and in fields, on abandoned golf courses and in houses under construction, swinging from beams and jumping off roofs into piles of fall leaves. I spent hours sitting in trees with a book and an apple, caught eels in the brook and tried to build a flying machine in the backyard of somebody my parents didn't know.



It's immeasurably sad that the world is no longer safe for such free-form play, that a responsible adult needs to know where children are and what they're doing every minute. Along with safety, a lot of creativity has gone out of the world. We are raising a generation of captains of industry who have no idea what it's like to lie idly beneath a tree and gaze at shapes in the clouds. Or to entertain themselves. Every activity is planned and presented to them, prefabricated and pre-chewed.

I am also wrestling with a serious ethical dilemma today. It's Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which involves fasting. Will I rot in hell for the pizza I had for lunch with my son? Will he? Does it help that the crust was burned a little?

I am not good at fasting for any reason. It makes me hungry. St. Paul said, "Better to marry than to burn," and I apply the same flawless logic to fasting. If I am obsessing about food, would there really be any benefit in doing without?

I think not.

Walking back from lunch, I saw a woman back up her Porsche Boxster an entire block to park across an intersection, where she narrowly missed being slammed by a bus.

She has a Porsche and doesn't know how to drive.

That's just wrong.

35 comments:

meno said...

It seems like the fancier the car, the less the driver knows what to do with it.

I remember many a day spent sitting in a tree reading, and no one knew, or cared, where i was.

Sienna said...

Hearts I think you are the travel agency for my emotions.

There is not a sentence said that doesn't hit home or cause a great deal of thought and feeling..I so understand the climbing of trees thing, somewhere, somehow I have an extra dose of monkey DNA...the climbing bit, not ncessarily the hair :)

You must come and be our guest when we are able to set up property near my favorite mountains and also by the sea...the wide open spaces and nature and wildlife is perhaps only surpassed by Africa-beautful natural Africa...You will love the peace; I have this feeling our springs and autumns are equivalent to your summers...and I have been guilty of eating meat on Good Friday (meant to be fish-only!) Just confused over the days and hungry...and worse than that, once left in charge of of wine for the communion for the Church, I kind of drank it all...I was just 9yo and I think it may have been sherry or port? it was so sweet, so tasty...a very undignified look and action...I think I'm on the most wanted list for sins actually...however...

Life is good.

Pam

Molly said...

It's really too bad you can't have that car and she can't have a feather somewhere----then you'd both be tickled to death!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Meno,

So true. Every time I see another driver doing something really stupid, it's in a Mercedes, Beamer, Porsche or Escalade, all of which are very popular here.

Do they really believe their wallets protect them against death?

Pam,

You drank the communion wine? At nine? Omigod, you're toast. You will have to perform a lot of good deeds to make up for that one.

I would very much like to see Australia, and also Africa. Since I love both coastal and mountain landscapes, it would be blissful to live in such a place. In most parts of North America, one has to choose.

I've had both, but never at the same time.

You do know that if you keep showing us gorgeous photos of your country, you will be deluged with guests, don't you?

Must go pack now. See you tomorrow.

Molly,

I love your reasoning. LOVE it. Something for everybody. What could be better?

seventh sister said...

I think my perfume would be Old Leather and Horse Sweat.

I'm glad you had a fun day in the sun.

The CEO said...

First things first. It is CLEARLY stated in the Yom Kippur rules and rituals that you are NOT ALLOWED to fast if it would make you sick, or if you are already sick. As a diabetic, I am precluded from fasting. It is made abundantly clear to all during the service that God simply wants you to focus on you last year of sinning, and not to be distracted by things like food. To make yourself sick is to make yourself distracted, and is therefore counterproductive.

Therefore, by the power vested in me, by me, I hereby absolve you of your responsibility to fast on Yom Kipper, without appealing to any of the Catholic Saints or Apostles, since it would be counterproductive in focusing on the real issue.

Of equal importance, I suspect you are being supportive of Barry Bonds, and would therefore like to see him go to the Los Angeles Dodgers so he could come back and regularly help beat San Francisco next year. The Giants probably won't play the Yankees at all.

Last, figures she had the Boxster and not the Carrera. If she had to back it up instead of turning it around, it's a good thing she didn't have the Carerra.

No more Mr. Nice Guy. Snort.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Seventh,

Old Leather & Horse Sweat... Is that by Nina Ricci or Jo Malone?

Monty,

I appreciate all the special dispensations, but I'm not a diabetic. I like pizza.

I have never forgiven the Dodgers for leaving New York, and without Bonds the Giants will be playing Little League next season.

Actually, I prefer Carreras to Boxsters. I'm easily pleased.

The CEO said...

We agree about the Dodgers belonging in Brooklyn, to this day. There is a Brooklyn team in the minor leagues that plays in Coney Island. Perhaps a pilgramage next year?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Monty,

Have you heard that the Coney Island amusement park has been sold and will be closed? Sad to say, there will probably be high rise co-ops in its place and the beach will no longer be available to all.

If this is progress, then I'll take regress every time.

I spent my childhood listening to the Dodgers games on the RADIO. Jackie Robinson was my hero, and Roy Campanella was in an auto accident at our corner on Long Island. (He wasn't hurt.)

thailandchani said...

Barry Bonds must have ticked someone off. I'm not much of a sports fan either but I know enough to know that Barry Bonds will be a great loss.

And i agree with you on the play dates thing. That is a weird concept all the way around. Kids will grow up thinking everything has to be scheduled.


Peace,

~Chani

My Reflecting Pool said...

I didn't fast, wont. Can't I get cranky. I figure it is better for all if I eat and get one less gold star than to yell and scream and be a shrew cause I'm hungry. It seems easier to try and live a good life everyday than to cram atonement goodness in once a year. Thats just my opinion of course. As for that porche owner, money does not buy talent or brains.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Reflective,

I don't really practice any brand of organized religion, especially where mortification of the flesh is concerned.

You are so right that we would be better served by practicing awareness and conscious goodness every day instead of devoting one day a year to atoning for our sins.

I don't think it's that different from Catholic confession. Better to try not to sin than to seek forgiveness later.

riseoutofme said...

I too remember youthful times of disappearing off the face of the planet and nobody calling me back or checking to see where I was ....

Halcyon days.

blooming desertpea said...

You speak out of my heart regarding kids of today and I agree that it is sad that they cannot enjoy nature like we did anymore - hang out in trees and be idle ... ahhh, those were days!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Riseout,

In some ways, the world has not changed for the better.

I wonder if the present dictates of safety will prevent children from becoming as independent in other ways later.

Desert Pea,

Idleness has been pretty much banished from their world, and I'm not sure it's beneficial as many of the great creative minds flourished in quiet contemplation.

Thank you for your visit.

Irrelephant said...

Hearts m'darling, I think there's a whole generation of us who will be the last. The last who climbed trees in strange places, who played with bugs without worrying if they'd kill us. We'll be the last ones who could play outside without video games or cellular phones, even without TOYS. My toys were pine cones and the cows in our field and the old barn and the freshly-rowed cotton fields that surrounded us.

My daughter hasn't the slightest interest in having a clubhouse that used to be a pig sty, but she does love her some bugs. *s*

Ian Lidster said...

I once asked a blind date to exit my car. She was very beautiful but an utter shit in personality. She got upset and begged me to drive her all the way home. I'm a softie, and did but still felt validated.
Otherwise, your childhood play sounds awfully like my own. We would have had fun together.

Kate S said...

Oh, hearts, where to begin? I, too, long for the days when kids getting together simply meant going to someone's house, banging on the front door, and yelling, "Can Diane come out and play?" At which point we'd lose ourselves until our mothers called us home to eat.

And speaking of eating, don't you know that fasting could cause hypoglycemia, which can be pre-diabetic? Better safe than sorry. :)

Was Paris Hilton driving the Porsche?

Josie said...

Hearts, they fired Barry Bonds? That's just crazy.

Yes, I grew up on Vancouver Island, and we hopped on our bikes first thing in the morning, and got home just in time for dinner, and then went back outside to play oli oli oxen free in the twilight after dinner. How did it happen that the world progressed, but children became more unsafe? Are there really more "monsters" out there, or are we just more aware of them?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Chani,

I missed your comment earlier. :(

Most kids already believe that everything must be scheduled. Spontaneity has taken a big hit in favor of safety, and while it's the only reasonable choice, it's sad that it has come to that.

It certainly makes it harder for them to make quick decisions later, I should think.

Irrelephant,

It seems as odd to me to see young children with cell phones and I-pods as it would to them to imagine a world without them.

I think we're evolving toward a species with a socket in the head for plugging in electronic devices.

Well, damn, Ian. I wish you had given me a chance to prove that I wasn't a total shit.

But thanks for the ride, in case I forgot to mention it in my pique.

Kate,

Thanks for the health tip. I've got it covered and in fact, I am hypoglycemic. I get weak, nauseous and dizzy if I forget to eat, which I tend to do when I get engrossed in something. Headaches, too.

Can Kate come out and play?

Josie,

We called it "Ollie ollie in free" when we played "Hide-and-go-seek" but our parents were just as happy to be rid of us as we were to be out from under their gaze.

Those days, which occasionally resembled "Lord of the Flies," were nonetheless special and taught us how to survive in the world.

urban-urchin said...

When I was a kid, on summer days my mother saw us when we came home for a popsicle or were hungry or it was dark. I can not imagine not knowing or being concerned about where my child is for 8 hours these days. that is terribly sad to me.

i love sept in sf. it's gorgeous and clear and warm for a change, although it means suffering from a lack of central air for a few days but it's a tradeoff.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Whenever I walk my dog (a Labradoodle) someone always asks if it's a small Irish wolfhound. As for kids nowadays playing unsupervised, too many creeps in the world. We can't lock'em all up.

Jocelyn said...

This post has you stringing pearls...one paragraph lining up next to the one before, transitioning into the next bead.

I didn't know where it would lead next, but I knew the end necklace would be lovely.



Not that I'm a fan of really awkward metaphors or anything.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Urchin,

There are so many evil people in the world now as opposed to when some of us were children. Parents have no choice but to monitor all activities, but sadly, the kids have lost so much mobility and all that goes with it.

Jr,

Unfortunately.

Labradoodles are great dogs. Smart as poodles and friendly as labs.

Jocelyn,

I didn't know where it would go either. I was kind of rambling in this post, but a compliment from you is the queen of pearl necklaces. Thank you.

the walking man said...

Nanny's play dates, assholes in porches none of that shit belongs in my world, I would have stepped off the curb so the Porsche would hit me collected big money to reverse my vasectomy gone to and egg bank and fertilized me a little walking man to experience all this new play date nanny shit.

Peace

TWM

furiousBall said...

Although I'm a big baseball fan and someone who thinks that Bonds was an amazing talent before the juice, it was the right move for the Giants. He's old and a salary albatross at this point.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Mark,

Yeah, the world really needs more people willing to run in front of a moving vehicle for the sake of a law suit.

I'm so glad your thinking mechanism is in good working order. :)

Furious,

I see what you mean, and financial "albatross" is well put.

He says he still has a lot of baseball in him, and I"m sure it's true. I wonder where he'll go next.

Open Grove Claudia said...

One of my favorite scenes in When a Man loves a woman (a movie that makes me weep uncontrollably) is when she eggs the black porsche because it's car alarm keeps going off.

Maybe you could try that? It might relieve some tensions.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Claudia,

I'd much rather egg the dumb blond bimbo who drives it. I LIKE the car.

la cubana gringa said...

I'm with you on the Porsche. I once lived with a woman who owned a grand piano but didn't know how to play...same ANNOYING concept. BAH!!!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

La Cubana,

I have also known people who owned magnificent pianos "for show."

I am a Socialist when it comes to things like that: From each according to his means, to each according to his needs. Them what can play 'em ought to own 'em.

Jeni said...

Controlled playtime - pretty much equals NO playtime all too often. My childhood sounds like it was very much like yours. Summer evenings until it was too dark to see generally found a group of us in the neighborhood playing kick the can in the alley between our house and the next-door-neighbors. We rode bikes, we ran not walked most of the time, we got dirty too -very dirty, sometimes the girls even played with dolls. We played our own version of softball or baseball in open fields and ran some more. I would be willing to bet money that in the five years since my step-granddaughter moved in with me, the amount of playing she has done that involved any physical exertion would perhaps be equal to the amount of energy we kids expended in perhaps a week at most when I was growing up. Does the term early couch potato seem appropriate there? It does for me. This kid does read a bit now but back in my youth, I did all those physical things and was still considered to be quite the bookworm too. Sad, just sad, because my youth and the playtime enjoyed then created some of the greatest memories of my entire life.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Jeni,

It sounds as if to many kids, if nobody plans activities for them, they just don't happen.

It's hard to reconcile such inertia with the kind of constant energetic play we engaged in as children.

Thank you for stopping by.

katrice said...

I feel the same way about fasting! And about people with expensive cars who don't know how to drive them.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Katrice,

Yeah, she should give her car to me and her food to you, or vice versa.