Saturday, August 23, 2008

The perfect morning

The light went on in my car. The light that says it will explode in 30 seconds if you don't get help. I finished my early Saturday morning errand and then came home. There isn't much to do about it. I'll drop it off at the service station at some point this weekend, daydream about buying a new gas-efficient car that doesn't break down much, re-examine my college payments and soldier on with this car.

But the morning got better because I put the air in the tires of my bike, put the helmet on my head and did the few Saturday morning chores I could on my bike. Coasting down Weldon Avenue to the center of town I felt a sweet joy. I pulled up to the first bank and locked it up and went inside, did my business and rode to the second bank and again, did my business (I won't say exactly what I do, I know it sounds like I either rob banks or use their rest rooms) and rode to the Glenside Farmer's Market, didn't get the raw milk (too late), got the eggs (last ones), a couple of ears of corn and the sweetest peaches (only four). Packed it all up, got on the bike and rode home.

On the way home I saw my future self: a thin elderly woman with white hair wearing a pink striped seersucker shirt dress and comfortable shoes, carrying an empty grocery bag, headed to the fruit store. I followed her for a while on my bike until I got close and mugged her.

Of course I didn't. I said hi and my future self said hi back. I thought about saying, why are you walking to the cheap Asian fruit store when there's a Farmer's Market right there, closer, but I imagine my future self has reviewed her budget, considered what she has and decided the Farmer's Market was a little too expensive for her. Poor future self. Start saving more present self and keep riding that bike. Future self looks like she's in pretty good shape.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Screaming Sweet Peas

Over the years I've tried to grow sweet peas. It was an idea that I had about a life that I wanted to live that included a garden with sweet peas and butterflies, tea in mismatched china while beautiful children danced in the dew wearing white linen dresses. One year I tried to grow sweet peas along the hurricane fence and I had one flower. I had Elizabeth in my arms and showed it to her and she touched it and the one flower fell to the ground. I screamed at her until she cried.

Not really.

This year they grew in my best patch of dirt. They grew and grew and grew until I started to think it was time to take them out and grow something that perhaps we could eat.

This is what it looked like before the Sweet Pea Massacre of 2008:

I look at that photo and think, isn't that just the raggediest looking garden?

Here's the last harvest of sweet peas:

Here's the rest of it:

Maybe I won't feed the earth, just have a few nice meals.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I feel bad

for the people who deliver my paper. Sometimes it's a man, sometimes it's a woman but it's always a big old gas guzzling car. The price of gas must be killing them.

Friday, August 1, 2008

R U Ded?

That's the text message I sent to my adult daughter who went out last night and wasn't tucked in her bed when I woke up this morning at 5:30. Oh it's pretty funny until there's a knock at the door and Mariska Hegarty is there, flipping open her badge and asking me to come down to the station to talk.
"What about this text message ma'am," she says and it dawns on me that I am a suspect!
"Were the two of you getting along?"
"Well, mostly," I say, remembering the crap I gave Elizabeth the last time I talked to her. "Okay, I nagged her a little about doing a few chores around the house before she went out to her party," I confess.
"And where were you last night?"
"Returning the dehumidifier I bought last week, and uh, a meeting and then I watched a little Law and Order," I stammer. Mariska looks at me when I mention Law and Order and I know that she knows I threw that in to butter her up. Why do I lie Lord, even in my fantasies?
"What kind of meeting?" she says with that hard, non-smiling look she does so well at all hours of the day on television.
"An anonymous meeting" I say.
She seems to think better about questioning me further. "Here's your daughter ma'am," she says, opening the door to a dreary little questioning room and I see Elizabeth sitting at the table, rolling her hands nervously, her mascara streaked down her face. "Evidently she's been caught up in the web of a sexdrugandrockandroll ring. We'll have to keep her here for questioning."

Oh my, I have to get ready for work. I'm glad it's Friday. Sort of.

Cue the tears

It's Friday, I'm puttering in my kitchen, the eggs put in to boil, one for me and one for the dog, she's doing her click click pause impatient dance, waiting for the timer to go off when I hear the first few chords of the Storycorps theme and think, cue the tears.
I start crying as soon as the announcer says Storycorps. It's as Pavlovian as Winnie getting agitated when the timer for the eggs goes off. Even when the stories are funny, I cry.
In September I am going to Grand Central Station to record one with Jim Wolpert, my father's best friend. I'm sure I'll cry right from the start.