Dropped Balls

Last week my younger sister, Sophie, came to town with her teenage daughter, Frankie. It happened to be my birthday but that’s not why they had flown in from L.A. to New York. They had come east so Frankie could tour colleges.

Birthdays don’t elicit much emotion anymore, but wandering around a college campus whether urban or suburban had both my sister and I grappling with all sorts of feelings, the two most paramount being regret and envy. Our own schooling was spotty at best.

After we had been shown the libraries, the cafeterias, the common rooms, the lecture halls and the dorm rooms, my sister and I headed straight for a bar. Continue reading “Dropped Balls”

Talking: The Difference Between Men and Me.

Recently, I went to see the new Robert Redford movie All Is Lost. It’s pretty good, except for the bit when he finds himself in the shipping lane and twice fails to draw the attention of a passing ship. But what really struck me, and what seemed utterly foreign, was that through all his travails he didn’t talk to himself. In fact, through the whole film, which spans eight days, the only words he utters are “Oh Fuck” or something to that effect. He is obviously not a woman. Continue reading “Talking: The Difference Between Men and Me.”

Here’s What I Think

On the night before my family was to visit Montreal’s Expo 67 for the first time, my mother, holding a wooden spoon as a microphone, pretended to interview all us kids about what we thought of our own world’s fair replete with exhibits from around the world. I can’t remember how wonderful and pithy our answers were just that we were cocky, funny and falling over each other to have a moment at the spoon/mic.

The next day, clad in these bizarre green capes that mother had brought back from a recent trip to Austria, (think the Von Trapp children) we headed off for our day at the fair. We were barely through the gates when a reporter spotted my mother, who, because of her column and TV show, was something of a minor celebrity, and rushed over to interview us. With a real microphone thrust in our faces, we three girls acted like sea anemones under attack. The shier we got the shier we got until all three of us were huddled behind my mother while she, mortified, tried to coax us out. Nothing doing. Continue reading “Here’s What I Think”

The Perils Of Being Married

I’m married, which, over the years, has had numerous baffling effects on me but none more so than what sort of person I am when I’m alone and what sort of person I am when my husband is around.

Charles is often away on assignment, he writes for The New York Times Magazine among others, and when he is gone I handle everything, with aplomb I might add. Take the dogs. We have three and because one, Roz, is really old she has to be walked separately, which means taking her down six floors, bringing her back up and then taking the other two on their real walk in the park and this needs to be done three times a day! It’s exhausting but I do it, along with remembering to move the car from one side of the street to the other, all while keeping up the house and doing my own work. Continue reading “The Perils Of Being Married”

Brains and Toes

I’m lying awake in the middle of the night staring at the ceiling unable to sleep because everything hurts. I was once told you can’t feel pain in two places, maybe that’s true, but define place, because right now that place is all of me.

I’m not a wimp about pain, at least I don’t think I am. I’m not reaching for a pain killer or low moaning, or thinking about jumping out the window. In fact, I’m sort of sentimental about this pain because I, and this might be middle-of-the-night-madness, believe this pain is memory. My body is remembering every bump, bruise, tear, break, fever, itch, every mysterious something that my body has been subjected to for the last fifty-three years. Continue reading “Brains and Toes”

Here, There, And Nowhere

I’m in the process of becoming an American citizen, something I resisted a long time, not because I have anything against America, it’s just that I don’t feel particularly “at home” here. Which is kind of crazy because I’ve lived here for thirty years and most of it in the same apartment. Continue reading “Here, There, And Nowhere”

Shrinks.

Recently I went sort of nuts. It was all the usual stuff: high anxiety, the conviction that at any moment I’d go harrying down the street, naked, babbling to myself. I felt edgy and was very quick to temper, there’s a huge dent on the side of my car to prove that one. But I got over it. Eventually. I probably should have been Gestalt-ed, Freudian-ized, hypnotized or had some other help by a shrink to ferry me across my madness but my last attempt at therapy was such a nightmare that this time I thought I would save myself some money, along with the extra anxiety of yet again failing at therapy. Continue reading “Shrinks.”

Poor George…Or?

Lately, I’ve been worrying about George Clooney. Now that he has broken up with ex-female wrestler Stacy Keibler, isn’t he exhausted by the prospect of starting over yet again? Granted there will be no shortage of women but what we require, as women, from men, especially any new man in our lives, is a sense that we somehow belong to their past. We want to know which of his friends he secretly thinks are dicks. We want to know how scarred he is because his sister was his father’s favourite. (These are just examples, you understand) We want to know what his secret ambitions are. We want, in other words, to presume to know what makes our man tick. Continue reading “Poor George…Or?”

I Am Annoying

Pretty much everything about me is annoying.

For instance, I have allergies so inviting me to dinner can be a pain. The main core of what can kill me is fish, all fish including shellfish and nuts, all nuts.  I can always hear the annoyance in my host’s voice when I make that pre-dinner call to let them know what I can’t eat. “Oh dear,” comes the disappointed sigh, “I was planning on making my absolutely delicious lobster tails with a nut pilaf. Now I suppose I’ll have to rethink the whole meal.”

I’m also plagued by a number of minor allergies. Raw fruit makes my gums and throat itch. Over the years I’ve perfected a technique for scratching my throat but the sound is so awful that anyone within earshot is instantly annoyed.

Once I had an itchy brain. Something so preposterous, of course, annoyed the hell out of my husband. Me too actually, because I found that wildly shaking your head back and forth does not kill brain itch. Continue reading “I Am Annoying”

Summer Blues

It may have been the damp, drizzly November of his soul that had Ishmael feeling at a loss and down in the dumps, but I’ll take a wintery anything over summer any day. I hate the summer. Always have. I remember as a kid bolting through the school doors on the iconic last day brainwashed by the others that what lay beyond was a whole three months of freedom. But once home, I found myself staring down a tunnel of long, long days marked and marred by sheer boredom, and I knew that this was a truer reality than any vague notion of freedom. Standing there, gazing out the window of our third floor flat down upon the quiet street where the now-freed children, back lit by the evening light, were all engaged in some endless repetitive activity: listlessly bouncing a ball against a wall, riding their banana-seat bikes up and down, up and down, every tenth or eleventh turn changing things up a bit by jumping the curb, and I knew hell had commenced. And this was before my sisters and I were dragged off to our country place where all the great summer pursuits my parents enjoyed like drinking from morning to night were denied us kids leaving us with nothing to do but squabble and scratch our mosquito bites. Continue reading “Summer Blues”