Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What I Know. . . .

       I know.  I know. Said, publicly on Facebook, that I was going to write more and haven't.  Well, I've been reprimanded - by phone even - and the truth of the matter comes down to material. People who followed this blog did so because they got a laugh here and there.  Or perhaps a stinging bit of insight jumped off the page that was just what they were looking for.  (Sorry about that preposition at the end of that sentence but "grammatically correct" as well as Emily Post are dead.  Today at least.  Although you can probably take Emily's demise to the bank.)
       Believe I was going on about 'insight'.  Surely it couldn't have been about 'jumping' as it's noon and I'm still in bed. Long day, late night thing.  But insight.
       Last week, at the end of my weekly couch-time session, after filling this incredibly caring clinician with sagas of failure, negativity and depression for 50 minutes, he asked whether I'd found any good 'Summer reads'.
       By way of response, I reminded him of the sorely-missed, supremely gifted singer/song-writer Jim Croce and his brilliant (To this warped mind) "Car Wash Blues".  To wit:
     Well I had just got out
     of the county prison
     Doin' 90 day for non-support.
     Tryin' ta fin me an 'xe cutive position
     But no madda how smoove I talked
     They wouldn' listen
     to da fac that I was geenius
     Da man say "We got all that we can use"
     So I got dem steadily depressin'
     low-down, mind-messin'
     Woikin' at da car wash blues.

       My point in regaling him with Croce's masterpiece verbatim was to convey my utter frustration when trying to read today's New York Times "Best Seller List" recommendations.  There aren't two paragraphs to be found (by me) that can serve as a lowly apprenticepiece to Croce's work.
       He then urged me to write (and I knew this was coming as he seems to think I could hold my own with F. Scott and his bride, Hemmingway and Dorothy Parker - (dysfunctionals all) so again I give him Croce's
     So don' spec to see me
     Wid no double martini
     In a 'high price society' news
     Cuz I got dem
     steadily depressin', lo-down, mind-messin'
     woikin' at da car wash blues.

       Surely the subtext of this exchange is the unspoken but secretly held belief that like Jim, I, too, am "Geenius"  ( I promise not to call you Shirley).  And since we know this subtext to be false, we understand the need for these weekly sessions.
       On the other hand, this 71 year-old lady was walking her in-extremus-but-under-treatment beagle the other day in her newly moved-into neighborhood in "surprising Suffolk", VA when, noticing some menacing cloud development, she took a new turn - intending to make a hasty return home, only to become flummoxed and quite directionally challenged.
       Seeing a moving van being guided into a driveway peopled by a young couple and their dog and hoping the driver would be familiar with the streets, she asked the guider to point her in the direction of her address.  He felt fortunate in finding his delivery address  and couldn't help.  She then asked the mover-IN and he predictably admitted no area knowledge.  But.
       He takes out what turns out (I believe ALL tenses should be used lest they get lonely) to be his VERY smart phone and in a nanosecond he is enlarging a map depicting the very corner on which we stand with his index finger (we weren't standing with his index finger, he was tracing with it) and, by then reducing the image size, finding my address and instructing me as to the route I should take.
       As if on cue, what turned out to be HIS bride, walked briskly toward us inquiring as to my beagle - Bridie's - temperament toward new dog friends as it was time to walk theirs and she would be happy to walk with me.  In that Bridie is hardly in what could be perceived as "aggressive mode", walking and talking commenced and upon arrival at our driveway we were Lisa and Lorane, the latter explaining "DO Tell", our now GARDEN-Guard-Pet. 
       Do Tell - an iron frog wielding a red metal coffee mug, is now parked, cross-legged, on a marble stone - our official greeter/mascot.  For a long time, I explained to Lisa, he was my writing confidante.  A great listener, Do Tell, especially when I suffered from writers block (when the people in my head aren't talking to each other).  We exchanged phone numbers and Lisa told me I 'should write' because I told such good stories  (Do Tell is hardly a story.)
       (When I observe my own grown children - married and raising families - reaching out to their elders or ANYONE they know is in need, to lend a hand, I'm proud and heartened and know it was worth the effort over the years to instill this value system.  The kindness that was effortlessly extended to me by Mike and Lisa , having just uprooted from their Colorado home and his Air Force career, on the day they were moving into their new home - not a day one usually does a 'happy dance' - tells me 'THEIR MAMMA RAISED THEM RIGHT'.
       I know we'll become friends - even though he IS a die-hard New York Yankees fan.  You see, as a child, I spent countless days at Ebett's Field, wolfing down hot dogs laden with sauerkraut and mustard and pulling hard for the entire then Brooklyn Dodgers organization.  Indeed when we played the Yankees, I really thought their team HAD to wear white uniforms with black stripes because they were felons out on a pass.  I was very young.)
       I guess, if physicians, followers and new friends say I should write (Do Tell was ALWAYS A BELIEVER), I should.  I'll write about the things I know.  (Heaven knows, I've lived long enough, it should sound like 'breaking news' to most.)  My next foray backward (it's comfy back there) will probably be the old hood, the ubiquitous 'railroad apartments', life in the 'hallways', dumb waiters (A gent I dated at Georgetown thought I was referring to the uneducated "help" many years later), Jewel Street, Diamond Street, hanging Casey Stengel in effigy, the "Incubators", $ to be fished with a string and gum from over the metal vents leading to the subway entrances, our resident, beautiful, retarded block buddy, Ray-Ray. . . .
       Yeah.  The 'things I know'.  And, boy, so many days I wish, "Everything Old Is New Again".
Later, Lorane. . . .