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.