Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Nary a Word was Spoken


Just got a wonderful-scary-Enuff!-info-mail from a dear friend. It was a Public Service type of info-sharing dealing with "Smart Phones" - color me oh-so grateful- to be the humble owner of a very DUMB one - and some, a smattering I should imagine, of the perils which they are capable of inflicting on their smart owners. Perish any/all rumors that this writer is/was ever described (with accuracy) as an alarmist. I have far too much respect for the neurotic among us. Indeed when it comes to SELF respect, I confess to being an abject egotist in this arena, ie, the pain of neuroses and I are/have been in a life-long "affair". (. . .five, six, seven, eight SEGUE!)
You see, quite literally, I fear, the daily affairs of one's life become PUBLIC fodder, in-the-world's-face, EVERYONE'S business, just by pressing a button. It's that special button that these special SmartPhones apparently have that (PRESTO!) take a PICTURE which the smart owner can then immediately 'share' (a word I swore off of with the birth of our first grand child. Grams taught 'sharing' & its value to HER children; they can teach it to THEIRS) with one and all. And it seems, ALL is taking facile advantage of this 'Smart' feature. NO MORE SECRETS, FOLKS. EVERYBODY plays/shares. Thus the illustration. Mom & junior share chores. Mom and the world share junior and ALL of Mom's affairs. Just by using your 'Smarts'. Because wherever these casual snaps show up - electronically, the viewer right-clicks ('New-Age' verb), selects "Properties", records the URL ("New-Age noun) and visits same. Before you know it, Smart owner has company - and maybe even 'mail', too!
Pictures. You know the cliche. "Thousand words. . ." Started me recalling. (Surprised?) Had a kitchen window like that, once. Actually for around 25 years. We'll call it my SmartWindow. After marriage & baby # 1, you may recall we landed in Hampton Roads. Bought our 'starter mansion' (white brick, 2-story, 2-BR, black-shuttered number) near the big teaching hospital in West Ghent, Norfolk. Lived there 4 yrs. NEVER got furniture for the living room or dining room. All the kids played at our house. Soooo much space to run around in - on wall-to-wall carpeting, no less. And I did theater, made 'friends', watched their doctor/lawyer/Indian-Chief marriages fall apart - affairs & booze - even started jogging. (In my dotage, I can see now how metaphoric THAT little undertaking was. I was running away from THAT SCENE.) Finally blessed, after ? miscarriages w/ a viable pregnancy, we needed a larger house. (See, you should NEVER "rush in" and furnish a house. You NEVER know when you'd have wasted $ b/c it wouldn't work in a different, properly-sized home.) Our new - and what would be our 25-yr. address: 1125 Westover Avenue. Close to the hospital, Catholic church AND school, populated with young families - future playmates - 4 bedrooms, basement, attic AND buildable 2nd lot behind the main house.
We'd had 'den' furniture and a new den; bought dining room furniture, a breakfast room table & chairs, 'big-boy' furniture for Philip & set up the "nursery" for our second-born, Julie. The living room WAS empty - again - but then there came that show with Pat O'Brien so we quickly purschased a sofa & 2 chairs to plop down on the lovely Pakistani carpet Phil had brought back from his tour with the Commodore. Whew! FA-TI-GUE, TRES FA-TI-GUE! But this time, post-partum (I'd weighed 186 lbs. when we delivered Philip and 176 when Julia made HER Lamaze, posterior-lie entrance) I was determined to whip into shape, Back to jogging and took up racquetball! It was ALL the rage. We had a new "Downtown Athletic Club". We were charter members. I took exercise classes 3 x/wk (there was a manned nursery) and lessons. LOVED it! (Terrified of bees/wasps so the white, pristine, INDOOR racquetball courts were my metier.) I played whenever & with whomever I could. (Once I was in a tournament and had made it to the last round. Soooo excited. Looked @ the elim board & my opponent was NOT the feared-newly-divoed-newly-svelte-always-adorable & super-athletic Helen, but chunky-tres-old-$-ubiquitously-toting-can-of-"TAB"- Bridgette, mother of "Trip", with whom I had no relationship, shared interests or raquetball experience.
Well, en route to our appointed high noon play-off, I was aware of acute, severe, low back pain. Apparently didn't hide it well. Served, lost first point and Bridgette retrieves and ROLLS the ball to me. I WILLED THE PAIN AWAY. AND WON MY DIVISION! (That New Year's Eve we had the BEST party. At the "Club" playing raquetball. And I FINALLY beat Helen. She was as happy as I.) During this time I also played with my next door neighbor, Kathy - gorgeous, warm, true friend and damned good at sports as well and young Cindy, the wife of a new partner in Phil's group. Wifely duty and all that. John, her husband was a good, if bland - by my standards - guy and doc. (Apparently she shared my sentiments but who KNEW?) We began playing more & more often & when not playing, Cindy would take lessons from the club Pro - she & John had no children as yet.) And I had Philip & baby Julie and new, dear friend Ivey - whom I met doing volunteer work for a cancer group - and was pleasantly 'booked' & so glad Cindy had the Pro to keep her busy.
We'd also had baby # 3, Jennie, and it was on the occasion of her first birthday that 'SmartWindow" had its day in the rain. My father had been living with us since Mom's death in '79 and he had taken Philip and Julie on a little vacation to Omaha to visit with my Air Force brother and fam, Phil was working a day shift so Jennie (Bean) and I would be alone on the July 9 First Anniversary of her birth. I dressed her in a pale blue-and-white gingham dress, white bonnet with ruffled brim (a few of her unruly, cork-screw curls forcing their way out around her temples), planted her in the exta-lot grass and took some adorable (what else?) pics. Then we had to venture to -ing">$#@(!?>-ing Newport News on an errand, got lost, hot, thirsty, cranky and ONLY kept going b/c Aunt Ivey had said, "You bring that child over heeya today, hear? I am bakin' my grandmother's special chocolate B-Day cake. And that chile is just gonna HAVE AT IT!"
And so we/she did. Jennie was put in a high chair; entire cake placed ceremoniously in front of her; cameras aimed; SHE HAD A YUMMY BALL, DIGGIN', STUFFING, PAINTIN' HERSELF. LAUUGHING THRU IT ALL! As were we. And all of a sudden, the skies got black (it was around 4 PM); a typical "Nor'easter" was comin' through. (Oh-my-God-I left-the-vinegar-drenched/wrapped-leg-of-lamb-on-the-sill-of-the OPENED-kitchen window to thaw for a B-Day dinner. And it's about to POUR gallons into the kitchen. Gotta go! Love ya, Ivey! Grab chocolate-cake/icing Jennie; throw her into car seat; speed the 20 minutes home during the blinding downpour) As always, enter via back door, Jennie into high chair, proceed to kitchen. Grab roast; dump it into sink; slam window - but: NOT BEFORE SEEING KATHY SCURRYING AROUND HER DRIVEWAY/YARD COLLECTING FOLDING CHAIRS, TABLES, UMBRELLA, ETC & THROWING SAME INTO GARAGE BEFORE LOOKING UP @ "SmartWindow" perfectly-mascara-ed-eyes popping wide at vision of John (Cindy's hubby) fervently-hugging equally eye-popping Lorane.
Quick choice. Focus on Kathy. (John obviously wasn't going anywhere) Start miming wildly while pointing at now dissolving, muttering John: he's not well (tap finger to temple); VERY UPSET - CRYING EVEN, SEE? - Oh-my-God! (wiping my brow, holding chin) "WHAT-AM=I=GOING-TO-DO-WITH-HIM???" Kathy, God Bless her, was the epitome of understanding, aplomb, "heard-THIS-one-before" and just smiled, did the "lips-zipped " pantomime and 'zipped' into the safety of HER back door.
Livid, chocolate-covered-Jennie screaming, I demanded to know what the HELL John was doing in my home. (It seems he'd found some torrid letters from the Pro in a dresser drawer, called Phil - hysterical- and was instructed to call me - lost-in-Newport News - & if I was not home/reach-able - get the key from under front door mat, go into our house, leave notes EVERYWHERE re: his presence/situation (so Lorane wouldn't be be frightened upon 'running-in to him', have a beer & try to relax until Phil got home.) Oh, I see. "Poor thing, can I get you anything?", I did NOT say. It was more along the lines of dis-jointed utterings about a terrified, messed-up one yr-old baby; her mother's now "HOTTEST SCANDAL SCOOP"-circulating in rapid drawl as we live and breathe -YOUR latter of dubious duration; who the F____ looks around the house for notes during a storm when she's trying to rescue a leg-of-lamb + the kitchen in which it is floating; It never occurred to you that 6 days per wk of racquetball was a tad "overkill"???, and so on. And 'SmartWindow" got and had already circulated THAT picture.
So today's infomail - albeit MUCH appreciated - was, for this kiddo, just 'same old'. Even with NO cell phone or a DUMB one, I've been a champ at inadvertent privacy invasion for YEARS!
Later, L. . . .
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