Today is my birthday. The photo is a movie poster from a 1981 film that I never heard of. That’s not surprising as the genre is not my cup of tea, however in the early 80s so many movies of this type seemed to be hitting the theaters. The most successful of the gory, thriller movies at the time was American Werewolf in London, which had been highly recommended to me by my mother, who if you may recall from a post earlier this year, had some odd tastes in movies. I thought of neither of these mother-related facts when Vicki and I went to see it way back then.
We sat in the theater in front of a few couples, or they sat in back of us. Before the movie started, the guys were laughing and howling, trying to and succeeding in annoying their dates. This was supposed to be a very scary movie, and would not normally be one that I would go see, so I was also unamused be their antics. As we waited for it to begin and the guys continued to try torment their dates, Vicki asked, “Are you sure we should be seeing this movie?” “My mother saw it and she really liked it,” I replied. Then I thought for a second and added, “Of course, she saw The Exorcist three times and thought it was funny.” Vicki turned to me with a look of horror, and as the lights dimmed I swear I could still see the whites of her eyes bugging out at me. It occurred to me as well that I had just taken the advice of a certified nut job (she wasn’t actually certified at that time, that came later), and dragged my dearest friend with me.
The movie had us all on the edge of our seats from the get-go, and the howling, laughing boys behind us were surprisingly silent. The whole theater was silent until one scene in which a couple was going to dinner at a friend’s and were obviously targeted as the next victims. “Oh no, get out of there,” I heard someone say. “Oh no, oh no,” the voice repeated. It wasn’t coming from the screen, but from the seat right next to me. “No, please,” Vicki was begging for the couple to be saved, out loud. “They’re young and in love,” she said. I don’t think she could help herself, and the thing was that the commentary seemed to work well with what was happening on the screen. No one shushed her. And she continued to voice her terror throughout the movie.
I had known Vicki for nine years or so by that time, and had been to the movies with her quite a few times. This was a behavior of hers that until that night, I had been unaware. The movie was a really good one, but did not entice me to want to see other gory thrillers. Shortly there after, we had a small dinner party at the house in Huntington, and when everyone decided to watch one of these cheap slasher movies, probably on HBO, I decided to do the dishes. Even though one of the guests had volunteered to clean up afterwards so I could join them, I explained that it was a good excuse for me to not watch, but they should please enjoy Vicki’s company. And sure enough, as I washed dishes and cleaned the kitchen, I could hear the movie, hear the silence from its small audience, and then hear Vicki saying, “Oh no, get out of there.”
Here’s something really cute. I went to Google and the image has birthday candles. Who’s birthday are they celebrating? Jimi Hendrix, Carolyn Kennedy. No. It’s me. Well, that’s what the banner reads. When clicked on it just goes into events of the day including birthdays of those more famous than I like Hendrix and Carolyn. I also share my birthday with Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Urkel.
BTW – A big change to the Sunday line-up has been made. Sunday evenings, just to refresh your memories, is when I do a full workout that usually lasts about 1 hour 13 minutes. After voice stretching and warmup, I have been starting the aerobics portion with Missy Elliot’s “Dog in Heat.” With apologies to Miss E, she has been replaced with none other than “Heard It Through The Grapevine” by Gladys Knight and the Pips. Twice. That adds an extra 30 seconds of aerobics.
Ah, the melancholy continues and will probably not fade until president Boaty McBoatface is imprisoned. Yeah, I think he’ll be impeached, but I’m not going to settle for just that. And of course, as we go from class to trash, it is effecting my workouts. “But I don’t want to exercise” – I whine to myself. “Okay, okay. Why not just put on some music then,” my mature self says to the frustrated little girl that just wants to kick the idiots of the world in the kneecaps. So I do (listen to music, not kick kneecaps), and as soon as a song starts playing, I find myself moving. Music is a powerful healer.
On one particular bad day I found an unusual line-up to be quite soothing. I started with Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” (because it’s a damn good song, not in honor of president McBoatface, even though the line “what would an angel say, the devil wants to know,” is applicable), Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women,” and Gladys Knight and her Pips’ “Heard It Through The Grapevine,” which I listened to twice because I started writing in the middle of the first round. “Good Lovin’” by the Rascals followed and I was so lost in the silly dance I barely thought about the trouble we’re in. I listened and sang along to my three Linda Ronstadt alternates (“Silver Threads and Golden Needles,” “Desperado” and the wonderfully heartbreaking “Long, Long Time”), and motivated by the passing of Leon Russell last week, I felt like taking out my Delaney and Bonnie and Friends album. I haven’t put that on the turntable since it made the Ram 20 list, way back when I was exercising through my albums, swearing that when I got to ZZ Top, I would continue to exercise to the 20 records of the collection I determined were the best to work out to. That didn’t last long as I started picking up cheap CDs.
Hey Trouble Buddy – when I hear Bonnie Bramlett screech out “The Love of My Man” (though “That’s What My Man is For” is better), I think of you.
But, when the music stops, there is silence, and I think how much I will miss the Obamas and the example of intelligence, caring and class they set for the world, which will be glaringly absent until we can do something about our current condition (sounds like a rash, doesn’t it?) And Joe Biden. Frankly, I’m hot for Joe, and had he entered the race, it would have been a real tough one for me, primary wise. In fact, one of the nicest moments of this whole, long campaign, and all those republicans, was an interview I saw with Lindsey Graham, one of those republicans, talking about Joe Biden. “Who doesn’t like Joe Biden,” he exclaimed, and even got a little misty when noting all that our current Vice President has endured in his life, and is an intelligent human being, who remains amiable, concerned and sensitive. Graham called him “as good a man as God has ever created.” It was quite moving. Biden really seems like a nice guy with a good sense of humor and honest, rational reactions. I wouldn’t be surprised if a good portion of the Joe Biden memes are based in some truth.
Music truly does have charms to sooth the savage breast, and if I was going to go for the obvious here, I would add that it sooths the savage pussy as well. I am finding that Gladys and the Pip boys are a major soother. However, I am sorry folks, but it does look like The Walrus Was Paul will remain political for quite some time. Not MY fault.
BTW – I’m holding at a comfortable 142lbs, still far from my goal, but I’ve plans to get through the entire holiday season through Presidents Day, by sneaking in under 140, no easy task considering the time of year. Max, who if you remember, came with me to the office on election day, and I realized I was lugging around over 21 pounds of cat, has now lost close to a pound.
I decided to mix up tonight’s workout, though I rarely tamper with Sundays, and did the hour and 15 minutes to some of the aforementioned tunes, with the Beasties Boys taking center stage. There’s a reason for that. I think the picture explains it.
I am very, very, very angry. Do I know what I’m going to do with that anger right now? Nah. I’m just trying remain sane while insane thoughts and visions of what I’d like to do if I were another kind of person, go through my head.
On Tuesday evening I had emailed my friend in Hoot ‘n Holler that my weekly post was just about written as it was all about the events of the day. All about Tuesday. Windows scheduled to be replaced in my apartment, 21.2lb Max coming to the office with me, voting, and the fact that I had one of the nine cans of Progresso Vegetarian Vegetable Soup with Barley for dinner that night. It was good that I felt like having soup that night. I just thought the sight of little more than nine cans of the same kind of soup in the cupboard was kind of amusing.
“I just hope it has a happy ending,” I wrote to my friend about the post. After that, the rest of the night is but a blur.
Now – I want to rail into the morons who support trump, but I’ve said what I think of them before in previous posts, if you’re interested, so I won’t tax my fingers on them at this moment. I want to trash the next first family with infantile abandon by referring to them as president dickwad, The First Whore and the creepy kids. But I must rise above that. Or not. Really it is a great deal better than some of thoughts that had been mulling about, so I will settle for an occasional outburst, occasional being a relative term.
But, more than any of that, more than my hate-filled, vengeful words, I wish I could say something to Hillary, something comforting and heartfelt. Something like thank you, oh so monumentally much for giving this feminist from the womb a glimpse, a grasp at seeing a woman, the right woman, as president of our country, though it was not to be. And it wasn’t anything you did. You did so well throughout it all. (Frankly, your decorum during the stalking debate was impressive. I would have turned to the jerk and yelled at him to sit the fuck down!) You were and are inspiring. Please continue to be a leader in this fight, for women, for respect, for social progress. For all of us, even the dunderheads who follow that cartoon of a two-year-old in a pompous old man’s body. Not the evil ones, just the stupid ones who helped to tear our dreams out from under us and set us back decades. I don’t see you, Ms. Rodham Clinton, sitting out the rest of your life stewing about this, though you’ve every right to. But we still need you and this is what you were meant for. So thank you. Take a deep breath, take a break, take a vacation, with or without Bill, and come back swinging. We’ll be here.
BTW – Saturday evening, TCM, Turner Classic Movies, ran a movie that came out in 1940 called The Mortal Storm, which I’m sure was no coincidence. James Stewart stars, but I’d never heard of it. It’s about the rise of Hitler in Germany. The parallels are eerie. It sent chills down my spine.
BTW2 – Leon Russell died today. I have but two of his albums, but he has a bigger presence in my record collection than that. Thanks Leon for the great music and the great influences.
My brushes with Weiner have nothing to do with sexting. I’m not his speed. But then, he’s not mine either. Nor do they have anything to do with the accompanying photo that is an actual Avon product and serves as an adequate substitute for a picture of the former Congressman.
I didn’t know him from a hole in the wall when he came to the geriatric center, a large complex of apartments, nursing home, adult day health care, where I worked. He and some other local politicians were there in the large auditorium to speak to the community. Many were residents and many came from the neighborhood, a largely Spanish-speaking area of northern Manhattan. I had met Scott Stringer before at a charitable event, and he was gracious as ever. This little pipsqueak guy, who also showed up, was kind of rude. But I’ll tell you, when he spoke, he came across as smart and passionate. He even got an open guffaw from one of the male residents and titters from others when he started a sentence with “I may not look like much…” He seemed to like the response. He then, quite abruptly mind you, shushed someone in the audience then quickly acknowledged – “oh, you’re translating,” before he moved on without apology. Eyes rolled. He was a bright, young politician, obviously ambitious, and ringing asshole.
Anthony Weiner was not the only visitor to the center that made an impression on me. My position in the marketing department was as publications coordinator, and my officemate was the community coordinator. She hadn’t told me she was expecting a visitor on this particular day, but maybe she only just found out after I had gone off to the cafeteria to get my lunch, that I would eat at my desk. When I got back, she wasn’t there, and as I was busy eating my messy and yummy wings, the director of security was standing at the door calling my officemate’s name. I didn’t know where she was, I told her. “I have Mrs. Cuomo here to go on a tour,” said the director. And there stood, dressed in beige and white, the lovely Matilda Cuomo. She was out campaigning for her son, who was running for Attorney General of New York State at the time. I quickly tried to wipe the sauce from my hands as she apologized for interrupting my lunch, and came towards me with her outstretched hand after I told her who I was. I started to extend my hand that we both realized was in no condition for a handshake. We each er’d and uh’d until I came up with a brilliant idea. “Let’s shake elbows, like in Young Frankenstein,” I said. And so we did. Yes, I shook elbows with the former first lady of my state, and mother to our current governor.
My second encounter with the not so lovely Anthony Weiner came at my next job at Queensborough Community College at the commencement ceremony that year. I met lots of local politicians as events and activities attracted them to the culturally diverse community and sprawling grounds. Many were helpful in getting the new Holocaust Center built, like the Weprin brothers, and John Liu came and read a story at a performance for children at the college’s theater. They were always showing up for something. And of course, they would show up for the commencement ceremony, which this particular year was held outdoors in weather that was cooperating nicely. They showed up early for socializing and robing, and then would lead the hundreds of graduating students to the rows and rows of metal folding chairs that faced the tiered stage where the politicians would sit with the other dignitaries, which included the school VPs and my boss, who was merely a department director.
My job at the ceremony was to stay by the front gate to greet the late politicians. We had hoped that our junior senator Hillary Clinton would show up, but understood that our State Senators had a lot of ground to cover during this time of year. I wound up on the phone with our senior senator Chuck Schumer’s assistant who told me that Senator was on his way, but would be late, and there was of course the chance that there would be a last minute diversion. Then I see Councilman David Weprin approaching. I meet him in the parking lot used for the dignitaries, which is the school’s bus stop, but because of the event, the buses were re-routed that day. I handed him his robe that I had piled on top of the clipboard and whatever else I was holding, but when he put it on, the zipper would not go up. I tried to help him, but it was stuck, and I told him as much, a couple of times, thinking – okay, you’re late, you got the robe that doesn’t zip, just go on stage, before I realized he was not going to budge without being zipped. So, I shoved the stuff I was holding into his arms and kneeled down to get a better angle on it. Yes, it worked, but in the nick of time as the position I was in, kneeling on the ground before this man, this local politician, with my face to his crotch, pulling up his zipper. I sent him on his merry way before a car pulled into the lot.
I’m still waiting to hear back about Senator Schumer, when a suited young man approaches me and tell me to expect Congressman Weiner. Hmmm. Not on my list, but hey, a congressman. Another car pulls up and out steps that scrawny guy, the guy that rang asshole, from my last job. He refused a robe so I escorted him to the stage and pointed him to an empty seat on the second tier. That one empty seat in the front tier? Well that was reserved for the Senator of course. But that little Weiner, which is exactly what I was thinking, he walked right to the seat in the front row as I watched him from the side of the stage defiantly sit in the front row and turn to me with a look that read, “What are you going to do about it.” Nothing. I couldn’t do a damn things about it. He spoke, he was smart and passionate, because, I believe he is. But I could tell he was just a big jerk from these brief encounters. My opinion was subsequently confirmed as I would read about his inability to hold on to staff members as he was too difficult to work with. All that other stuff was yet to come.
Councilman Weprin, however, with whom I had just formed a relationship in the parking lot, apparently needed to leave shortly after his speech. When my boss, who was on stage, and I compared notes afterward, she then understood what she had seen from there. Our VP, who was seated next to the Councilman, was fussing with his robe, as was he, until finally, he tore it off over his head and threw it on his seat and stormed off. I, still at my post at the front gate, just hearing that Chuck Schumer was called away and couldn’t make it, saw David Weprin coming down toward the gate, walking quickly in his light-colored summer suit. I waved at him as he left, and he smiled and waved back. I guess the frustration he had over his faulty robe that caused him to make a bit of a scene on the stage in front of the entire graduating class, dissipated as he saw me, which I’m sure brought back the fond memories from the parking lot. Weiner had long gone. Made his speech and left. There was no waving between us, and I knew there never would be.
BTW – On a personal note, props to Cousin Bratty for being true to herself, and to my friend from Hoot ‘n Holler for being true-blue.
How about a story this time. And not the pea soup story that I was going to give you last week (really though, it was great pea soup with croutons to die for).
Last Saturday would have been Vicki’s 60th birthday. I hadn’t even thought about it. Not the birthday nor what could have occurred, meaning the occasion of her joining the rest of us old farts who can now call ourselves sexagenarians. And while the event hadn’t entered my mind, she did. I’ve been thinking of her lately so strongly that I could feel her. I talked to her, even yelled at her, which I still do frequently as I will forever be pissed at her for dying. She missed my 60th birthday and we have now missed hers. It was all lost on me until I received the reply email from her husband the other night. I had, as I said, been thinking of her so strongly that I was prompted to write to him to see how he and the boys are doing. Assuming I already remembered, he mentioned that that in honor of the occasion, he and their sons, the oldest who is out of college two years now, and the youngest who just entered college this year, delivered Meals on Wheels, continuing a tradition they began the birthday following her death in February 2014.
Vicki had been a social worker before becoming a full-time mom, which was something she wanted to do and was very good at. She then devoted her talents to volunteerism, having already instilled the idea of helping others in her children since they were small (they are both now very tall, having taken after Vicki’s tall father, and tower over their own father). I will say that I always thought that Vicki, even though she was a bit of a helicopter mom and had that nutty-thing going on, was a loving and attentive mother who wanted the best for her children and for their futures, which included teaching them respect for others. She was also quite perceptive and aware of children’s behavioral issues.
I remember a time we were sitting on a bench in Central Park, talking. Throughout our decades-long friendship, we often got so wrapped up in our conversations that the world could just go on around us without notice. However this time, it was interrupted by a little girl, who was maybe about 10 (I’m so bad with ages) and was really carrying on after getting bopped in the face by a ball that was thrown to her. It may have been a Spalding rubber ball or something soft like that, and she wasn’t holding her nose so didn’t seem to be really hurt. But she was standing on a grassy section of the park across from where we sat, screaming and crying as a man and a woman were trying to console her. I commented on the fuss she was making, judging her behavior as bratty. No, Vicki told me, she’s not hurt, she’s upset.
The woman, she said, had laughed when the girl got hit with the ball. As if on cue, the girl screamed at the woman – “And you laughed at me.” As if that wasn’t enough, Vicki then said that she thought the man was her father, but the woman was not her mother. That took an extra minute or two, but the girl then yelled, “You’re not my mother!” I was actually pretty impressed with the girl’s ability to express what was really eating at her. Having come from a broken home myself and having people my parents got involved with thrust at me without explanation or interest in my feelings, I could now appreciate the little girl I judged as bratty. I was also very impressed with Vicki’s ability to diagnose a child’s behavior by mere observation while engaged in conversation. Mind you though, this was a particular talent of hers as my dear friend often had to be shaken from her own thoughts where she seemed to hide herself, and she was not always that perceptive when it came to her contemporaries.
Her boys, all three of them, are doing well, I’m told, as she would have wanted and expected. I however still resent that she and I went through so much of our lives together, starting as teenagers, with a bond so tight that sometimes we were mistaken for sisters or lovers (we were neither although her youngest brother would refer to me as his fake-sister and Vicki and I would frequently passed out in the same bed, in our younger days, of course). But we will not be a couple of fabulous old broads together, and that annoys the hell out of me. I guess I’ll just have to do that for the both of us.
BTW – In keeping with the often-lost music theme of the blog, Vicki loved Elvis Costello and the Talking Heads. In the early 80s (remember the 80s?), she had arranged for several of us to see both perform at Jones Beach. The Talking Heads were great (Movie recommendation – Stop Making Sense). Costello was pretty much of a bore and acted as if he didn’t care to be there. I like a lot of his stuff from back in those days (“Pump It Up!”), but think he’s pretty much of an ass.
I first wrote about going to the doctor this week (just a check-up), which led to a 35 year old story about pea soup. Real pea soup, not, and never, a reference to The Exorcist. It really was very excellent pea soup with croutons that were even better, but, who wants to read a story about pea soup? Then, I thought you might want to read about the naked man in my hallway just before 2am on Tuesday morning, but it’s not as interesting as it sounds. I just can’t imagine ever being that drunk.
I took a First Aid/CPR class on Thursday at work. I now can use a defribrillator (when I yell for the AED, you best know what I’m talking about), and think I may not be totally useless in an emergency. But that’s the extent of that story. I could continue last week’s post by discussing what it must be like to be a Bob Dylan AND not acknowledge, for whatever reason, the Nobel Prize just bestowed upon me. But I won’t. I can’t. I’m too distracted. I’ve got a million old stories I could share with you, some of them of the highly amusing sort, but my level of distraction is so high, it’s the one about pea soup that rises to the top.
BTW – A couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that I want very much to have a memento of this time in our history. In my history. I now have my Woman Card, and perhaps eventually I will get my Such A Nasty Woman T-Shirt.
And Another Thing – I do think it was a bold move on the Nobel Prize in Literature academy members to give Bob Dylan this award. I think they are to be commended, although I am of the Huh? camp. I do hope that their recipient’s lack of response does not cause them regret or embarrassment, unless they did not consider this could possibly be an outcome. Then they really needed to do their homework better.
- Well, how ’bout that Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. With that news, I took out my Bob Dylan thrift store record album find and proudly marched around to “Rainy Day Women,” because it reinforces that fact that we are not so all alone. It is an interesting and unconventional choice, and I say kudos to Mr. Zimmerman and to the Swedish Academy, who perhaps were also listening to that particular song when they voted.
- October is such a lovely month with its beautiful colors and cool crisp weather that allows me to break out my collection of fall jackets, all of which I believe are also thrift store finds. Yes, I have a bit of a fall jacket collection (one winter coat), and yes, I have too many shoes, considering I will wear the same boots for more than half the year. And it is boot season! However, in cleaning out the bottom portion of a closet today, I had to throw away a lot of pairs of shoes and boots that were no longer presentable. Some have hung around for sentimental reasons. In fact, to the one non-black pair; a coincidentally multi-fall colored strappy pair of Thom McCann’s, I said goodbye and thank you.
- I cleaned the bottom portion of a closet.
- It looks like I am finally going to be able to give my cherished colleague the promotion she has well deserved for several years. Maybe. Though given the green light to forge ahead, we are both still dubious because people lie for whatever reasons liars lie. And don’t you hate when sexists warn you not to use sexism as an issue?
- There are other reasons to be cheerful which include being very happy for friends who have been successful in their quests, or in their businesses, and for reminding me that people can be smart and caring and concerned for the state of the world. I am particularly cheered at the news that there is rain in the valley. And thank you Bob Dylan for helping a whole generation long ago open their minds.
- BTW – Someone pointed out that Luke Perry is on the cover of AARP Magazine. I just joined recently. Keep Smiling.