Sunday, September 14, 2008
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.