"It is the poet's job to remember"
Gerald Stern

Monday, June 28, 2010

And Now It's All About the Panties...

This spring my clothesline finally went back up, after a long hiatus due to back deck re-construction and a whole bunch of " maybe we'll get to it next weekend." Its the old-fashioned pulley type, the kind everyone had before fabric softener and dryers made fluffy towels all the rage and we ran out of most of our daylight hours spent at home. I can stand on the deck and send the wet laundry out toward the shed in the far corner, and reel it back in a few hours later smelling better than most anything I can think of... except maybe tiny babies, freshly powdered and mingling their own sweet scent with Johnson & Johnson's. I even like holding the spring clip clothespins that get warm from the sun, and the creaking whistle sound the pulleys make when I push the lines back and forth.
But, as happy as I am, it now all goes back to my panties. Well, probably even back further to my mother and that familiar admonishment, "Always wear nice underwear in case you're in an accident." Of course, she was under the somewhat misguided impression back then that no one would ever see my underwear unless I WAS in an accident.
So, I had to go through the whole drawer all of panties to determine which ones are "outside line worthy," and which ones probably shouldn't be worn even if I never rode in a moving vehicle again. They will be out there blowing in the breeze, gesturing to passerby and informing them of my style, my size, my penchant for color. Do they scream comfortable or sexy? Still-got-it vixen or past mommy and roaring right into granny? I can imagine what could run through the heads of those erstwhile panty surveyors as they observe my innocent lingerie hung out to dry. "Ah, sheer and barely there, who would have thought she'd be so naughty,." and "ohhh...I wonder if she's really as hot as those wild prints ." Some might be a little more cynical, "Uh huh, bikini briefs... so she can still hold her tummy in without looking like her eyeballs will pop." And I'm certain a few could be harsh, "Geez, those bloomers are blocking the sun and shading the entire yard... she better lay off the potato chips."
So I weeded out the old and went shopping for some new ones to properly convey my "underwraps" personality to the public who may take note of my laundry. It was an interesting trip into a number of intimate apparel specialty shops, apparently frequented by young things who wear all sorts of well...interesting...underpinnings. I have to say they make real sacrifices in comfort all in the name of lust. And, could someone please tell me what man (and it must be a man) invented the thong so I can hunt him down and strangle him with one? I perused racks of them in my age appropriate horror, and admit to being tempted to buy a few to hang on the line to embellish the clothesline persona I was shooting for. However, even vanity has its limits, and I'm not paying $34.00 for a string and a piece of lace not big enough to fit around my wrist. I'd rather spend it on a bottle of good wine that will quickly make me feel just fine in my little bit more substantial covering.
Lets just say that while Victoria probably doesn't want to know my secrets anymore, I can still make a respectably colorful showing without casting shadows on the flowers...and what my mother never knew won't hurt me.

Diagonal Inches

I'm getting used to my new computer. Everything is now in reverse...the big old bulky tower has been replaced by a book-sized guardian of the guts, and the monitor reminds me of a drive-in movie screen. This thing is huge, and I didn't even get the biggest one because I know from experience that bigger is not always better. It’s much more desirable to have something you can work with.
I spent the weekend with this one, and then returned to work and faced a 16 incher...which might sound like a lot, but suddenly looked inadequate and a wee bit disappointing. I found myself thinking, " Is this it ?" but refrained from blurting it out loud. It is, after all, one of the ones that gets the job done.
I do find myself daydreaming, though. I fantasize about the width and breadth of the one at home snoozing comfortably across my desk in sleep mode. It is young and enthusiastic, and needs only the gentlest persuasion from me to fire up, abundantly eager to please for hours on end... in high definition.
Isn't it always like this at the beginning?

Excuse Me?

One afternoon not too long ago, I walked into Dunkin Donuts to get my afternoon cup of what keeps me going. The new, young-thing employee handed over my cup, poised her finger over the register button, looked me in the eye and asked...."Senior?"
"What?" I replied, thinking she must have said "cinnamon" or "sesame seeds" or anything else that could not possibly be inquiring if I was over 60 or whatever the heck the new "discount" age is.
"I said... SENIOR?!," the barely pubescent little snot shot back.
I turned around to see if there was an aged gentleman or a stooped little lady with a walker standing beyond my vision. For once, I was the only customer in the store and there was no mistaking who she was addressing. She got a little impatient. I guess she figured my old brain had taken long enough to process the information and
I was partially deaf to boot because now she shouted it across the counter. "SENIOR CITIZEN! YOU KNOW... DISCOUNT?" Then she repeated it.
I thought about asking her just how old she thought I was, but decided I was afraid of the answer. I already knew she wasn't very bright and shudder to think what decade she'd place me in.
The thing is, no one ever asked before. Not at the movie theater, boarding the train, or at any store on senior citizen 10% off day. I don't have gray hair. I wear contact lenses, not bifocals. Okay, they're bi-focal contact lenses, but you can't tell by looking. My lipstick, when I remember to put it on, does not overflow the confines of my lip line. I don't own one of those fold-out plastic rain bonnets, support hose, or a container of Metamusil. Geez...gimme a break here. I had 3 1/2 inch heels on and I didn't hobble in and lean against the counter to catch my breath.
Like the age I've actually become, this little chickie caught me off guard.
So I smiled my youngest smile and tossed my head as hard as I could without wrenching my neck. I laughed and said, "Oh no, I don't qualify," paid full price for the coffee (tip jar my ass, kiddo) and strode out as fast as possible on those heels...which she didn't have to know were Easy Spirits and comfortable as hell.
What I really wanted to do was reach over the counter, shake her silly by a handful of her thick hair and tell her that she too will one day be old. If she watches her mouth.

Friday, June 25, 2010


A friend told me recently how his Mother would give him a sandwich to take home with him. It would be wrapped in layers. First wax paper, then foil, and finally a impenetrable plastic wrap coating. For good measure she added a rubber band lest any of the protective armor come loose from door to door.
"What was that all wrapping about?" he asked. I've been thinking about an answer for him all day.
Mothers send food home with their adult children. It is our job. Even if they have a fully stocked refrigerator waiting at home, you will never let that child leave your home without "a little something."
Italian Mothers, for whom food is an organized religion, have been my primary examples. My Grandmother would have clutched her chest moaning "Madre benedetta della Mary di miei (Blessed Mary Mother of Mine !)" and passed out cold if she ever found herself without something for you to take with you.
I always knew when my father had dropped by Grandma's house. There would be a foil wrapped package on the table that could be peeled like an onion to reveal another layer of foil, some waxed paper, and finally the square of ricotta pie prize. What was inside changed deliciously with the seasons, but the triple plate shield was always the same.
My own mother never discarded any plastic container with a lid. She would send us home with eggplant or sausage in a giant margarine tub, wrap foil around it "in case it leaks" and then cover it with some plastic. She'd slap a few bits of masking tape on the whole deal to make sure that the plastic that was supposed to cling actually did so.
I'm a modern Mama. I have those disposable plastic containers...which I wash and re-use anyway since I AM my mother's daughter. So I pack whatever is going home with my kids in those uniform see-through rectangles with the tight fitting lids. There may be a rubber band involved if I panic and wonder if the "sure seal" lid might pop. Then I put the whole thing in a zip lock bag. After that it goes into another bag for carrying purposes.
As I said, I've been considering my friend's question all day.
I know why we bundle our children off with sandwiches and cookies and the lasagna from Christmas dinner in such careful packaging.
They are our gift wrapped hearts.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Please Mr. Verizon Man, Is There A Telephone In Your Bag For Me?

I come from a long line of basic telephone people. My Mother had a rotary phone until she passed away. My grandparents had only one phone in the house...a basic black Bakelite with a cloth cord and a receiver that weighed more than my first child. And my great-grandparents over in Italy had one of the original models...yell over the chickens to your neighbor.
I tried to explain this to the wireless Verizon guy in the store. I just wanted a replacement of my broken, simple, cell phone. However, I am convinced there is a little microchip implanted in the Verizon-ites who work there that refuses to acknowledge the words "basic," "no frills," "streamlined," or even my more colorful and descriptive "freaking plain phone please."
We paraded past all the Blackberrys, Iphone's and "with this you can do everything" phones. He looked at me in disbelief when I insisted that not only did I not need any of their magical powers, but I also probably wouldn't be interested in time travel or accessing Mars just because it might become available on some futuristic model.
I explained that I do consider myself a little advanced. I can leave messages and text. I can use the camera, although my thumb is usually in the picture and it takes a couple of moments for me to figure which way the lens is supposed to point. I carefully explained again that I really just
want to dial the phone and have someone on the other end say "hello."
Finally, in a tone reserved for the aged and the dumb he sighed and pointed. I followed the direction of his outstretched arm and had to squint to see the phone.
It was huddled in the corner...a wallflower, looking small and sheepish at the end of the line while all the others winked and blinked their "come hither" charms on dressy, well endowed bodies.
"All it has is the phone and a camera," he said, shaking his oh-so-young-techo-filled-head at me. I picked up the little number and flipped it open.
"Perfect, " I replied...and took a picture of my thumb.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Is it Hot in Here or is that Johnny Depp Ringing My Doorbell?

I suppose earlier generations of women would understand. They had Clark Gable. They swooned for Frank Sinatra. Lucy and Ethel pursued William Holden and Richard Widmark just for a peek. There have always been good-looking men for female adoration, especially in the days of elegant movie theaters and cloth hankies, but I wonder if its ever been quite like this.
Thanks to recent postings by friends on FaceBook...and how utterly un-elegant a venue...I've given more than a little thought to Mr. Depp. Mention his name and 17 women will appear and say "ahhhh," in unison. Refer to a movie of his and 17 more will come forward with quotes, comments on what he wore in which scene, and how at any given time they would chuck it all for a swing from the mast of that ship with Johnny.
I confess. I'd let Edward cut my hair in a heartbeat. Benny could stick a fork in my dinner rolls, dance them on the counter, and I'd be thrilled to accompany him on a kazoo. The Mad Hatter can put his hats in my hat boxes and to heck with my headgear.
And Johnny...whose brain passed sexy seventeen billion syntax's ago. Well, I'm just sayin'...is it hot in here?