Sunday, September 14, 2008

Odds and Ends, mostly Odd

My healing has progressed enough that I attempted a walk today, despite being a bit wobbly. Besides, I had library books to return, which I enlisted Flip to carry for me.

We passed a tiny princess and her mother on the street. The child, who was 5 or 6, was decked out in full princess regalia, which elicited "awwwww" from all who were not too brain dead to notice her.

Someone asked, "Is she in a play?"

"No," said the mom. "She just likes to be a princess every day."

"She's a very pretty princess," I told her. To Flip, I said that I would like to be a princess, too.

"You were one," he said.

I stopped dead in my tracks.

"Exactly which day of my life are you referring to?" I asked.

He backpedaled. "You must have been one."

"Because I'm Jewish?"

"No, because you were a child."


"I think you mean I should have been, but my parents weren't having any of that."

"That's too bad," he said. "My father wrote a song called 'Little Princess' for my sister." Flip's father was a famous Western swing band leader and his sister is still a princess. It's not something a woman outgrows or forgets how to do.

It is some consolation that I am self-sufficient, but not nearly as comforting as you would think. More precisely, every woman should be able to take care of herself, but how wonderfully luxurious if now and then she didn't have to.

Another mother came along with the ubiquitous double stroller. All babies come in twos these days. She was chewing gum and teaching her progeny to say "Ba ba ba ba ba" as if they were genetically programmed to become sheep when they grow up.

I was embarrassed by baby talk when I was a child so I never used it in conversations with my own children. It also seemed unfair to teach them a language which they would only have to unlearn later when they discovered the real words for things. They were all highly verbal at a young age. Perhaps all babies could be if adults did not speak to them so condescendingly.

Mine knew the unflinchingly correct words for body parts and their functions, which some adults found upsetting to their delicate sense of balance, so easily thrown by a two-year old stating that he had to urinate instead of making a weewee.

At one corner, about a dozen shopping carts filled with various kinds of garbage and many old suitcases had been abandoned. San Francisco has a large homeless population, which is not surprising when you consider how expensive it is to live here. It is normal to see people pushing overflowing carts along the sidewalks and carefully guarding their worldly goods, so I'm puzzled.

Has there been a *Harmonic Convergence to which all the shopping cart folks have been called, or has the **Hale-Bop comet returned and spirited them from their earthly cares to Heaven's Gate?

And why was I not told?

*The Harmonic Convergence was an event in 1987 when people calling themselves "light beings" gathered to usher in a new era of universal peace, beginning the 26-year countdown to 2012, which the Mayan Prophesies stated would be the "end of history" and the beginning of a new 5,125-year cycle. All the evils of the modern world -- war, materialism, violence, injustice, governmental abuse of power, etc. would end at that time.

** Comet Hale-Bop
Heaven's Gate was a UFO religion based in San Diego, California whose group suicide coincided with the appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. They believed that their souls would board a spaceship hiding behind the comet and thus be saved from the imminent cleansing of the planet Earth.

I have never used footnotes in a post before! I feel so scholarly. So.. um, pretentious. Let's blame it on painkillers, ok?

Flip, team player that he is, has brought home a giant bag of pretzels. I love pretzels but am not allowed to eat anything crunchy for a week following my oral surgery.

The only time I was drunk in my life, I ran around a bar confiscating baskets of pretzels from all the tables and piling them on mine while my date watched in wonder. It never occurred to me that anyone would object, and they didn't. So pretzels and I go way back. The best ones are made by Quinlan's on the east coast which are called Rold Gold in the west, but they can't fool me. I know my pretzels and they are the same. A rose by any other name.

It was clear that either pretzels or screw drivers would have to go, and I preferred my oj straight up anyway. I probably wouldn't confess this if I were not a bit looped on prescription drugs. Usually my dirty little secret is protected by other people's assumptions that I don't drink because I'm a recovering alcoholic. It makes me feel so worldly-wise and sophisticated, almost like a grownup, that I just smile into my cranberry juice or virgin bloody mary and pass for normal.

So I sincerely hope what happens here stays here.


thailandchani said...

Wow.. it sounds like someone might have run a bunch of homeless people off. Do you think that's possible? All those carts and old suitcases?....


RED MOJO said...

The homeless thing is odd. Perhaps Sarah Palin suggested them for use in experimental drug testing, so they could say homelessness went down prior to the election. hmmm...

meno said...

This reminded me of the time when i was waiting for a friend to come home and was chatting with her husband. My two year old daughter said from across the room, "Mommy, these undies are hurting my labia."

I smiled and helped her get her undies out of a bunch, but i think he was mortified.

Bob said...

so, this post is the equivalent of drunk-dialing?

you're secret is safe with me.

Paul said...

Yes, baby talk. When my oldest son was 5, we went to my brother's to celebrate his daughter's 5th birthday. We didn't have a television, but at my brother's it was on all the time. A commercial came on, one that I had seen. It was for an insurance company, I think. It showed an eagle swooping over the surface of a lake in slow motion and snatching a fish. I wanted my son to see it. I hunkered down next to him and said, "Watch how this eagle catches a fish." The commercial also caught my brother's attention. He called out to his daughter, "Look at the birdie! Look at the birdie!" You might say we had different child-rearing styles.

Speaking of Hale-Bopp. The mother of the above-mentioned son was briefly a college roommate of one of those who sought to be taken away. She had been a visitor at our house 22 years prior to the unpleasant event.

Jocelyn said...

I am completely enamored of the wander that your brain has taken us on, what with it being looped up and all.

Part of the reason my marriage succeeds is that my beau manages to make me feel like a non-princessy princess several times a week. Nothing foofy, but special attention.

Heal up now, you.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I don't know. It was kind of like an unmanned truck-weighing station on the freeway.


Or maybe she mistook them for wolves and shot them from airplanes.


I'm utterly charmed by Em's use of "undies" and "labia" in the same sentence.


Yeah, something like that. Drugged dialing. And I knew I could count on you.


It's always fun to watch birdies catch fishies.

While I assume that people who end up in the news have histories, it's always shocking to actually know them.


Do you ever lend him out?

seventh sister said...

You are really flying high, aren't you? I remember the Harmonic Convergence because a group of people gathered at Enchanted Rock in the Texas hil country, one of the largest intact granite domes in the world. You really feel that you are in another world when you are up on top of it.

The CEO said...

Princess, your secret is safe with me.

Nick said...

I'm right with you on unnecessary baby talk and using adult language from the start. Of course using the proper words encourages kids to use their brains more and gives them a better grasp of language. I always find it absurd when a mother is cooing away with all that "Look at the ickle fishie" nonsense.

MsLittlePea said...

I read once that baby talk was an instinctual way of teaching babies to make certain sounds. After they start being able to say a few words though you're supposed to start using the correct words even if they can't pronounce it correctly. I too cringe when I hear grown adults saying "bahbah," "binkbink', and "weewee." Glad I'm not the only one....

The Fool said...

Kids are such royalty. Terrific post. It covers a lot of ground.

And never "dummy down" to children...

heartinsanfrancisco said...


There were many "focus locations" where people gathered for this event.

I was living in the NC mountains which are charged with the kind of energy that suggests portals to other worlds.


We thank you. (That's a royal "we.")


"Ickle" is icky.

Babies are adorable, but they have to learn so much to function in the world. Why throw roadblocks in front of them like that?

Sweet Pea,

I'm a fellow cringer. Babies make those sounds on their own. It's up to their parents to help them turn them into language.

No Fool,

Yes, all kids are royalty. And I have decided that it's never too late, but I'm going to skip Princess and go straight to Queen.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

You're on some pretty good medication aren't you!

This is a good post; as all of yours are, but it is easily the 'wandering-est' post I've ever seen on here.

Pretzels and Princesses, kids, language, homeless people, aliens and the Aztec prediction of the end of the world.

Did you know that their calendar, made thousands of years ago, is only off by 30 seconds right now? That's saying something, I think.

You know, if you feel shorted by the fact that you weren't a princess when you were little, you could be comforted by the fact that you became a goddess when you grew up, for feminine goddess you are, unquestionably.

Princess Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Oh yes... and there are two awards for you over at my place later today.


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

PeterAtLarge said...

Hale-Bopp may have taken those loonies up and away, for all we know. And that calendar sounds far too accurate for my taste. 2012, eh? Sounds altogether too plausible, given our current arc of "progress."

On a limb with Claudia said...

mmmm pretzels. Personally, I think we should have princess day. We'll all dress up in our fancy dresses and blog. Pick a day - let's make it happen!

Sienna said...

You sound okay...the healing phase, is good.

Take care mate.


the walking man said...

I remember watching the comet night after night in the Northwestern sky as I stood outside the repair garage. The afternoon shift was primo viewing time. Just stayed seemingly stationary night after night while I knew it was moving faster than any cop car I would ever fix.

I was thinking with the grease up to my elbows I should have gone to school and become the poet I always thought I could be...a year later I was forced into a medical retirement and I've not done much but write since.

Now if you'd just send me my shopping cart's the one with the brown suede and the blue Naugahyde cases in it, I'd be ever appreciative.

comfortandjoy said...

You write with eloquence and grace, even when you're high.

That makes you a princess in my book.

You are also a pretzel thief, a seer of small San Francisco mysteries, and memoirist of the absurd.

How do you find the time?


In Awe,

Gayle's Joy In Life said...

LOL, I enjoyed the image of you collecting those pretzels! As for being a princess, I never had that particular joy either. At varying points I longed for it and realized I didn't even know what to ask or look for.

Glad your mouth is feeling better.

Take good care.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


I think you have more than made up for all those years of deprivation in one fell sentence. Goddess is not to be sneezed at, especially since it takes one to know one.

I did NOT know that the Mayan calendar was off by only 30 seconds. This changes everything.


It's very hard to reconcile our increasingly effective means of destroying each other with progress.


What a fun idea! A Harmonic Convergence of Princesses!


Getting there, although not nearly fast enough. I'm seeing the doctor tomorrow for my post-op checkup and expect him to wave a wand or something and proclaim me healed.


A clear case of be careful what you wish for.

It's wonderful that you write. And part of the beauty of it is that school couldn't have taught you that beyond the fundamentals. So no regrets, ok?

And I'll send your stuff back when I'm good and ready. Stop bugging me.


The absurd is definitely my stomping ground. My milieu, if you prefer the snooty term.

Stealing pretzels is one of my callings. So many pretzels, so little time. Would you like some?


Sometimes it's hard to identify such vague longings because there is nothing in ones past experience for them to relate to.

Still, I do believe it's never too late to be what we want to be.

Princess Pretzel

meggie said...

Oh, forgive me, in your almost painfree life, but I so laughed at your children's story, & your whole post.
Thankyou very much!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...


Goddess Sisterhood.

I learned about the 30 second differential in my Aztec/Mayan/Mexican history class last semester. I find it amusingly interesting. I'm good with their prediction either way.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Molly said...

A scholarly princess, no less! I was too tall and gangly, with too many Irish freckles to ever be considered a princess, but my dad thought I was pretty cool, and if your dad thinks you're something special then you'll be ok! But I do sometimes wistfully wonder what it must be like to have one's subjects swooning at one's feet.....

heartinsanfrancisco said...


And I thank YOU very much for coming by and reading them.


It's a fascinating topic. We could be getting into a time when the knowledge of ancient civilizations resurfaces after thousands of years, in some cases.

As long as I still get to be a goddess, I'm good.

Princess Molly,

If you ask me, we all deserve to know how that feels. But being very cool in your dad's eyes is a wonderful start to a royal career. And being tall and freckled is just an added bit of luck.

Crankster said...

I still remember getting my wisdom teeth out..there's nothing like drinking gallons of your own blood.

Good on you for approaching it with your classic humor and bravery!

Anonymous said...

I never got to be a princess as a little girl either. Which is why I frequently procliam myself Queen of various things (Queen of Typos, Queen of Clearance, Queen of the Universe). It seems only fair.

Franki said...

Oh I don't know...I don't think I need to hear anyone talking about their labias.

Feel better!

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Definitely not my beverage of choice.

I'm pretty sure this rite of passage is not easily forgotten.

Queen Citizen,

It IS only fair.

Can you see me curtsying to you? I've been practicing for years.


Would you prefer "cooter," then?

Franki said...

I call mine Hoochie-mama. :)

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Oh, that's much better!

Jo said...

I'm just catching up on my blog visiting today. My gosh, you've been busy! We have a bridge here in Vancouver that is "home" to some homeless folks and their shopping carts. Occasionally when they get enough loose change together, so leave their carts and go and buy a bottle of something or other. One day the garbage collectors came along and dumped everything in to the truck. It actually made the headline news, and people came forward and gave the homeless folks places to live, jobs, etc. Their bad luck turned into good luck.

On the other hand, maybe they're riding on a comet...

I remember seeing the pictures of all those people, lying under their sheets in their house, just decomposing. How can people actually be so stupid?? It boggles the mind!

Anonymous said...

My little sister was the sweet and petite..ah..cute one. I was the "other one" so I have no princessy memories, but I've gotten over it.

Oh - you are a princess! Pretzels are the official foodstuff of the I.A.P. (I'ntl. Asso. of Pricesses) so your love for the treat is normal. How do I know? I just do.

Baby talk annoys me, but baby talk to and about pets drives me crazier than I might have been. Our animal friends deserve more respect than that.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


There is an endless supply of stupidity in the word.

That's an amazing story about the homeless folks in Vancouver. It's hard to imagine that kind of thing happening here, though.


There are few things as sickening as a grown person talking extreme baby talk to her pooch.

As for you, though, I am pretty sure that you're a queen. Screw princess if you can be a queen.

Eastcoastdweller said...

This was indeed a wild ride of a post. But stream of consciousness is fun now and then.

What I hate, and what I even find myself struggling against, is that annoying talking-down-to-you tone of voice that adults use for children.

What I mean is, even if they use the exact same words, people sound different when talking to a child than an adult.

As for the Princess thing, every Girl should be considered a Princess, even if She is tall and gangly with freckles; and every Woman is both a Queen and a Goddess. And it's just a darned shame that some people don't have a clue about that.

jameil1922 said...

LMAO @ pretzle confiscation!! glad flip is in on the program. i need to be a princess, too!!! my parents talked to us like people, too. it's the only way i think. even if there is a hale bop-esque thing going on, please don't join. thanks.

heartinsanfrancisco said...


Have I ever told you how much I like your views on women? Well, I do. I really, really do. Thank you!


How wonderful that your parents treated you like people, and how very rare.

Sometimes it feel as if I am on the tail of a comet, hanging on for dear life, but I wouldn't deliberately choose to go that way.

Glamourpuss said...

I am in two minds about princesses. But pretzels I am sure of.


heartinsanfrancisco said...


If I were British and had only Princess Anne as an example, I might not think much of the concept (although Margaret was very cool.) But yes, pretzels are indisputably wonderful.