Thursday, January 31, 2008
My logical mind warned me it was a Harpie attack, abandon ship....don’t follow up on the thought.....but it was too late. The venom hit.
Once the poison connects with your psyche there’s not much you can do. I closed the beautiful erotic art book I was admiring back in the dingy corner of Midtown Comics, grabbed my Green Lantern presents for Jason and stumbled down the stairs and out the store.
As soon as I exited the doorway, the cold blast of wind on 42nsd Street body slammed me....and why not? When you’re a complete failure even the wind can push you around.
Just like ghost-morphing.....when you feel invisible and without connections in an unfamiliar place.......Harpie attacks are part of the disconnection syndromes you can feel while on the road...except Harpie attacks are the uber psyche traveling malaise, the mother lode of despair and disorientation.
When Harpies attack me, it feels like something alien has suddenly been injected inside me...as if they have a perfect syringe and a perfect needle.....and before I have a chance to swat them......they’ve left their gloomy message inside and exited. Nice folks..hey?
I think Harpies, like mosquitoes, are opportunists. They sense when people are vulnerable....exposed. At home, in your familiar surroundings, you have all your clothes on.....there’s no skin for them to get at....but ahhhhh.....on the road....especially if you’ve purposefully left your armor off....so you can absorb new ideas.....new directions.....new experiences.......geez.....it’s like standing butt naked in a swamp.
So I stumbled around 42nd Street.....and found a park. I sat on a green metal chair and titled my face up to the winter sun...but instead of relief.....every single failure I’ve had in the last month, the year, the last ten years....in relationships, writing, jobs, family.....you name it.....pelted me in big bold letters (ouch).
I was in serious mental doo doo...and voo doo.....so I jumped out of the chair and hoped to walk off the poison.
I was heading up....Park Avenue......people with shopping bags had turned into crazy windmills against the cold gusts... I saw this woman heading for me with not one but two big shopping bags....and veered sharply to the left.....where I collided with ....an RV....
What the hell is an RV doing on Park Avenue?
I rubbed my knee and took a look at the vehicle.......it was..... a Mitzvah tank. Shabbat candles, purity, blessings......prayers......a mobile spiritual canteen.....run by a Jewish group called the Chabad Lubavitchs.
Crazed by my Harpie attack.....I actually thought of going in.....a blessing sounded like a good idea....
I took a step and then stepped back.......I remembered in China visiting a Buddhist temple.....and when we got back in our van....the monks swarmed out of the temple....grabbed hoses and brooms....and washed and swept all the pathways our feet had touched.
Maybe the same thing would happen here.....I’d enter the Mitvah tank and the poor guys would have to Lysol the whole thing after I left.
So I didn’t go in.....but I did think of half a joke....something along the line of.....”A goy knocks on the door of the Mitzvah tank and says.........”
Well that’s as far as I got....but somehow it made me chuckle.....which, of course....is the first sign that you’re beginning to recover from a Harpie attack.
I mentally thanked the Mitzvah tank and the nice men inside......for denting my gloom and went on to the Apple store.
I arrived too early for my class and decided to go into FAO Schwartz. The entire first floor is devoted to plush animals. Giraffes, puppies, kittens....you name an animal and its piled up in a bin.....they even had strange one-eyed hydra looking lumps which were representations of mythical spirits in the Kabballah which protect children.
I am immune to stuff animals.....I don’t have bears or bunnies or fluffy things around the house now that the kids are grown.....but I turned the corner....and there was Mushi.
I have no idea why I knew his name was Mushi but it was. He said to me....”Look at my beady little black eyes......they’ll make you remember all is not lost.”
So I bought Mushi and carried him around in a shopping bag for the rest of the day.
“Mushi are you still in there?”
“Yes....do you need to look at my beady little eyes for moral support?”
“No...I’m better......but I can’t believe I fell for such commercial cuteness.”
“It happens ....it happens.....here open the bag and look at me ...just for a little pick me up.... I’ll help you remember all the good things.....in your life.”
“Hey Mushi....you ever see a Mitzvah tank?”
“My cousin’s bear mitzvah last month."
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
They don't tell you this when you buy an iphone....but there's a tiny chip inside the device which plays a hypnotic chant when it's near an Apple store.
"Return to the Mother Ship.....Return to the Mother Ship......"
and hell it works.....I've been twice to the Apple Store on 5th Street for two classes AND I'm starting to drool over Macs.......
I even found out they're going to open a store in my city. I bet it's the new shopping mall near my house....damn....I hope there's some kind of distance switch on the phone or I'm going to be plastered to their front window in my home town....waiting for the next orders from the Mother Ship......which are probably......"buy a Mac.....buy a Mac...."
Yep....when you're in the Big Apple any illusions of grandeur in yourself quickly dissipate. It seems (even though I knew better) I brought look-at-me shoes....heels and oh so cute flats that look fine with outfits but can't pass the New Yorker test....aka can you walk at least 13 city blocks in them.
Consequently, my little toes are a poupourri of bandages and a clunky blister pad. I should take a picture and sell it to some postcard company...because every non-native woman who brought cute and inappropriate shoes could identify with wounded pinkies. In fact, I'm shocked ....there isn't a shoe store right here in the heart of the tourist district......the guy would make a fortune.....he could call it ....."Feet Hurt?".....and sell wonderous soft arch supporting stylish leather shoes.
But since Feet Hurt? doesn't exist yet....I walk to my destinations in tennis shoes and then quickly whip out my stylish shoes from my new oh so stylish MOMA tote bag and pretend....pretend I walked there looking that good.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
So I headed off to the Museum of Sex on 28th street.
I had visited the sex musuem in Paris....which was delightful....7 floors of funny, interesting, erotic, silly ....and thought provoking displays. I wondered how the Big Apple would present sex.
All I can say is......if the museum in Paris was like a fine steak.....the museum in New York city was like a greasy cheeseburger.
The first floor of the museum was almost bare except for a few outlandish whips and toys with numbers denoting a potential placard ...which must have been invisible.
The second floor was actually somewhat interesting....although you didn't need much time to figure out....most of the exhibits were taken off the internet or had sponsors who may have donated items for potential business.
There was a thoughtful display on sex in films which included examples of how morals and the ratings affected sex on the screen....and a few things thrown in for shock value...like celebrity sex...which meant I viewed the stolen Pamela Anderson home movie on a really really large screen.
There was also a booth were you could view one of those Better Sex videos.(You may have seen ads for these videos in upscale magazines/airlines mags/ and I believe even the NY Times.)
The video promises to teach people about sex in a relationship-based thoughtful manner. It did show normal....non-porn-looking people discussing sex and intimacy issues....and then actually having sex so viewers can see what "normal" sex looks like (versus instant ready..fake moans...big silicone boob sex .)
I thought the videos could be worthwhile to couples or singles looking to expand and understand sexuality. Unfortunately, I couldn't sit through the entire video... because by mid video....I was in a slight pant. I either need to leave or...or jump on the couple next me and start a threesome.
I chose to exit.
There was also a large room....with "sex stuff." A real hodge podge of items that made me feel the collection was based on whatever they could round up.....versus a thoughtful guided exhibition.
For example, there was a video display on sex education films in the 1960's, several small robots engaged in scenes from a new clay-animation type film called "The Sex Life of Robots" and a display by a company of new life-sized good-feeling sexual dolls.
And that was it.....besides the gift shop.....which featured books I've seen in my bookstore.
I actually felt more enabled by my solo ride (without asking for help) on the subway.....than by the visit to the museum....but I was glad I went...although let me save you the price of admission if you're headed that way.
My most intersting experience of the day was at MOMA....actually eating at MOMA. I stopped in their hip bar to have a drink....and then the waiter asked if I was going to dinner. There was a table available.
This was dinner as "tasting experience."
I hardly knew what I was eating at times.
Numerous small edibles were beautifully presented to me....for no reason...A welcome from the chef....a few squares of ..?...bread ??plus? fish/sushi?...A large white dish incorporating a small bowl holding the tiniest amount of MISO and a few artistically placed squares of fish. Palate cleansers. A pate with a lime green skin. Small pieces of bread so artistically arranged on my plate, I sighed ...when I ate them.
I'm not a country bumpkin....but I was over-whelmed. Wide-eyed. Amused....Even silly and pretentious at times.
I have another dinner scheduled at MOMA later in the week....and I'm glad. I see my dinner as a practice run.....and now that I know the course....I think I can approach this type of dining with a different attitude.. more of I'm ready....dazzle my taste buds....because it is more about "tasting" and enjoying textures and mouth feel....than about "eating."
Thank you Doggyblogger for the recommendation....the education of Gina continues......
This little demo case allows you to feel the "skin" of sex dolls ...you need a lot of bourbon or a really good imagination to believe what you're touching is real....on the other hand....it's probably a dramatically better experience for a man to play with her than grabbing on to a woman made of beach ball plastic skin.
Sex dolls from this company can be made to order. Want one that looks like me? Ask for a chin length blonde, heart-shaped lips and body type II- known as The Volumptious Woman model. I'll shy away from describing other more intimate options....lol.
I watched this little clip several times because of the pure joy Mara aka Marjorie Ginsberg of the Bronx showed in her dancing.
She had pasties and a G-string....she had real breasts, real hips....and she was not a slim woman....yet she had this sensual joy about her....she smiled....naturally....she shook and gyrated everything.....and she seemed pleased she might be seducing everyone.
I enjoy traveling alone because....I concentrate fully on the experience at hand. As soon as you're with someone you're in a bubble in relation to your environment. You miss conversations on the street because you're involved with your own conversations. You miss the quirks of a town because you have the safety of another person. You're more insulated from the place you are visiting than when you confront it raw.
But despite my ease and comfort and at times, joy, in traveling solo...you always have moments when you realize you're not connected to anyone or anything .....you're invisible......no one cares.....that's the time when you pull the cell phone or the laptop out and say hello to the people in your world.....just to make sure you exist.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
I believe there is a secret magnet buried in the sand with my name on
it here at Robert Moses beach parking lot number 5.
Only a handful of brave souls out near the water....but oh ...if you were brave today you were so rewarded....it's like getting a cold slap to your weary dreary saggggy assed-spirit.....a sit-up-straight-and-pay-attention finger wagging.
The nude beach is accessed from this lot too......but the only things naked on me today.....were my cheeks and I'm talking upper cheeks here.
ready for a field of corn ...what was he planning to plow?
I had an incredible day....from the crashing waves at the beach....to a quick trip to the Normal Rockwell exhibit .....to a taxi cab ride where I really and truly closed my eyes a couple times along the route...and hoped I brought my health insurance card for the impending visit to the ER.
It's so cliche to say NYC is wonderful.....and even though I'm staying in the supremo tourist area.....as soon as my feet hit the pavement....and the zillion lights of Times Square drew me down the street..... the energy of the city and the people and the lights and the noise.......made me giddy.
Damn ....what do they put in the sidewalks of this place?
Saturday, January 26, 2008
You can still get out of the house and eat jello.
Somehow....the words sounded prophetic....no matter what your pain....what your misgivings....what trouble you may have.....you can always get yourself out of surroundings....and change your experience...a little......even if its only to have a cup of comforting ground cow hooves (that is what jello's made from ...right?)
I could sit in this diner for hours.....soaking up the conversations and the people: the comings and goings of stooped old people with big watery eyes and over sized glasses....cocky beefy guys in baseball hats with loud opinions on the next ball game, clusters of families with seat bouncing children, waitresses who fit every stereotype of every movie you have ever seen shot in a diner....and me....the obvious out-of-towner....who contributes to the experience by allowing everyone to raise their eyebrows...point....and whisper....she must be here visiting someone.
I had misgivings about coming back to NYC and Long Island....I had been here in September....and I had issues about returning so soon ....even a mild case of flying anxiety which occasionally bites me. But sitting here in the Plainview diner....I was thrilled that I "got out of the house" and though I wasn't eating jello....or lukewarm matzoh ball soup.....I was savoring my old fashioned omelet and hash browns and buttered wheat toast.
In someways ...it had been a small ...uneventful....day...and the lack of trouble.....was the source of joy.
I was lucky to leave home and miss the mini ice storm.....I wasn't delayed too long at the infamous Chicago O'Hara airport...and I had pleasant seat mates....which is important when you're packed like sardines in coach.
I landed at La Gaurdia.....got on the right rental car bus...found the right exit and the right freeway....chilled during bumper to bumper rush hour traffic ...and arrived at my hotel in one piece....with all my luggage...all my things....and me in good working order. It was a MasterCard moment...and I knew it.
I even cherished the fear and the tight stomach I had over Manhattan. Apparently La Gaurdia was backed up....and our plane first circled over Pennsylvania and then came in low and slow approaching Manhattan for a few more lazy circles.
"In my twenty years of flying, I've never come in this slow over Manhattan...we're only going 180 knots." I didn't know what 180 knots translated to in miles per hour....but the plane felt more like it was gliding than flying.....and the pilot started pointing out landmarks....here's Coney Island on the left....Staten Island on the right....this bridge ...that bridge so..it felt more like we were on a tour bus.....rather than in a jet.
But it was just that closeness to Manhattan that scared me. I've flown many times in NY since 9/11...but we always fly north of the city center...and now on this beautiful clear day.....with the city center below me....on American airlines....I shivered....wondering ...emphathizing...what it must have been like to be a passenger....in the terror....but also the strange beauty....of seeing this stunning skyline.....get closer and closer. I wondered even if in great fear if your mind registers....there's the Empire State Building...as you fly to your death.
My heart was like a hammer....I closed this contemplation....at least while I was flying.
But this ...of course.....is why you travel...or why some of us do....it is exactly for moments ...which expand your reality ...or give you ideas....or make you smile at the thought of cold Matzoh ball soup.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
He had created custom-made pillows for her very ornate couch.....incorporating old fur collars from coats she wore as a child. I told him about my grandmother's mink and made arrangements for him to come over and look at it.
"Oh my dear," he said, "you have the makings of a dynamite set of pillows."
We petted the fur for a while.... then opened the coat. On each side of the coat, there were beautiful silk appliques sewn into the chocolate brown lining. I never noticed them before. I remember saying to him, "they're like pictures, pretty enough to frame."
"Eureka honey." And he carted off the "old rat."
Week later he returned with wonderful pillows which grace an old vintage couch I inherited from an auntie. We call the couch..."the sex couch" because it looks like it should be in the boudoir of an old Hollywood movie star.
I admit the combination of the sex couch and the mink pillows in my living room ....has raised some eyebrows....in women.....who obviously wonder if I walk around all day in a black silk Teddie. ( Please...... no one could wear a black silk Teddie all day long....I only wear mine from Noon till 5Pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.)
The linings of my grandmother's coat framed.
He also created two pictures from the lining of the coat which hang in my dining room. Visitors to my house always stop and ask about these works.... silk on silk with beautiful subtle colored threads outlining the appliques.
I smile and tell them they're from my grandmother's old mink coat....a "rat" of a coat....which supposedly had no value.....but like many things....just needed a good eye and someone to appreciate the possibilities.
Monday, January 21, 2008
On Sunday, I twirled the spinner and found Leopard woman.
As soon as I touched the card, memories flooded back to me.
My mom had a thing for leopard skin. I vaguely remember a lamp, a glass leopard (much like the one in this picture) and of course....her leopard coat.
I remember sitting in church next to her when I was in grammar school and stroking the coat during services. The fur was airy soft and smooth and the lining underneath was brown silk. I'd grab the very edge of the coat, flap it over.....and swirl my fingers into the fur and then onto the silk. I was too old for a binky....but the hypnotic feel and texture kept me quiet throughout mass.
Just before I headed off to college, I discovered the coat in an attic storage box. The fur was just as soft and smooth as the time my little hands petted it.
"Can I have this coat?"
"Why would you want that old thing?"
And it was.
I loved it. I absolutely adored it....I felt like a movie star in it.....sexy and glamorous.....even though I was wearing a lumberjack flannel shirt and jeans under it.
Of course in a year or two.....consciousness about killing exotic creatures like leopards for their pelts became a public issue. So I didn't bring it back to college...but I asked my mom to save if for me, I'd do something with it....even if the only something...was to treasure it.
She didn't save it; she gave it away when I went to back to school. My mom is the type of woman who makes decisions for you regardless of your desires or wishes. The coat was old...she didn't see any possible use for it...therefore I couldn't have any possible use for it.....so it ended up in a bag destined for Good Will.
I actually grieved for the coat...the small grief you carry inside you when you lose something you treasure. I thought about it each winter for a couple years....wishing it was still in my closet....not to wear...but just to admire and touch....and appreciate the beauty of a long gone animal.
I have one other leopard memory....and this one too....is partially lost.
I'm the toddler in the leopard jammies. My mom sent me this photo when my first baby arrived....she told me the photographer, who routinely took my holiday pictures at a neighborhood studio, recommended me for a magazine shoot. The pic appeared in one of the Chicago newspapers accompanied by an article which she thought might have been about....cute Halloween costumes.
I called my parents this evening....and asked them if they could remember more details about the pic...what newspaper had it been in? Where was it taken...a studio? or home? Was it about Halloween costumes? Was this my only photo shoot? Did I do others?
But my mom said she couldn't remember anything....and why do I want to know......it was an old picture and a long time ago.
Perhaps she doesn't remember.... perhaps she doesn't think it's important for me to know....and I feel that little grief inside me again.....another sadness .....yet another treasure lost today....and sometimes.....we do so want and need to hold onto things.....for whatever reason.....even if it's just because it cold and winter and rainy and dark outside.
Friday, January 18, 2008
I was typing away, answering emails.....paused.
Rubbed my brow.
That's when I felt it.
A long thin something....on my eyebrow.
I yanked at it.
I stood in front of the bathroom mirror to inspect what was stuck on my eyebrow.
"OMG.....A GRAY HAIR!!!"
A long thin gray hair which look like it had been suckled on growth hormone (for the record I'm not a professional baseball player).
I lunged for the drawer. Found the scissors. Snipped that baby and looked around.
Had anyone seen it? My god I was at meeting for hours this afternoon....what if everyone saw it and didn't say anything to me....what if they were all thinking....good god...she's letting herself go???
What could be next? I'm a baby boomer.....I'm in the age range for all sorts of things.....ear hair, nose hair....and down there hair!
I turned on all the lights and inspected myself in the mirror. Nothing coming out of the ears, nose, chin, upper lip......and wait....let me look.....all clear down there.
Phew. Maybe it was just a fluke.....some isolated deviant hair.
I would be vigilant from now on. I'm not going walk around with white wire brushes on my forehead.
I checked the mirror one more time.
"What the.......(insert your own expletive)"
Lesson for tonight: Never clip your eyebrows under emotional distress.
I hope I can find my eyebrow pencil in the morning....to fill in the gap.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
When I was deep cleaning my bedroom last month, I discovered all sorts of hidden and stashed items.
Panties, money, notebooks, pictures.
When I "found" these things again, I remembered the logic of why I stored them were I did.
For example, I'm usually cashless so I hid $20.00 bucks in War and Peace. This was a smart thing to do because: 1) non-hidden money is often confiscated by the young menfolks 2) in an emergency, I would, of course, consider War and Peace to be the appropriate place to hide cash.
This was a time of war (getting out of the house on time) and money would bring me peace.
Reality. When it's time to exit the house, I turn to my thousands of books and think, "Okay which one did I stash the $20 in?"
Two months ago, War and Peace, seemed like an unforgettable choice.
Today, Shopgirl sounds feasible (I am going shopping right?) so does a Conspiracy of Paper, The Solace of Leaving Early, True Grit, and The Things They Carried.
I can make an argument for the appropriateness of each title. End result: Can't find the money.
Today my marvelous friend Krista sent me an email. She wanted me to look at info on the island of Svalbard in Norway. It's the most northern habitable place in the world and now even considered one of National Geographic Top 6 Places to Go in 2008. (Oh Krista... you are SO cutting edge.) Glaciers, Mountains, fjords, wildlife, snow....brrrrr.....gray ...bleak...top of the world. Who wouldn't want to go there?
As I was reading along, I noticed a section about the "Doomsday seed bank." High up in a mountain, the government of Norway has built a vault which can store seeds for hundreds if not thousands of years. Seed storage starts this year.
In case of nuclear war, natural disasters and some type of horrific almost-everyone-is-dead scenario, the seed bank would allow humans to replant and start all over again.
But the nagging questions that teased me all day is: what if we forget? and how do we get there?
Let's say....there's an alien invasion...and let's pretend a handful of people are left.....are they going to know about the seed bank or where it's located?
"Hey Michael, I think we need to start planting crops for food now that the alien invasion is over, how about some wheat and tomatoes....perhaps even a zucchini. Where's the seed bank?"
"An island in the Artic..I think.....or was it an island in the Antarctic? or was it an island in the Archipelago Sea?"
See they're all logical choices which could easily be confused (especially if you're starving) .
And even if we did remember the right place ....how would we get there?
In the event of a human race disaster, I don't think American Airlines will be flying regularly scheduled flights to Norway.
So what if you a pocket of humans and someone is bright enough to know where the seeds are....but .........did anyone remember to stash a boat someplace? You can't exactly swim to Svalbard.
Might I suggest countries store a few boats ....along with perhaps rope, a map, and the combination to the door lock??? (The doors are blast-proof...not to imply scavenging humans looking for seeds have dynamite.)
Otherwise....we not going to be making guacamole for a long long time.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Two men were arrested on Tuesday after pushing a corpse, seated in an office chair, along the sidewalk to a check-cashing store to cash the dead man’s Social Security check, the police said.
When Virgilio Cintron, 66, died at his apartment recently, his roommate and a friend saw an opportunity to cash his $355 check.
They did not go about it the easy way, the police said, choosing a ruse that resembled the plot of “Weekend at Bernie’s,” a film about two young men who prop up their dead employer to pretend that he is alive.
The roommate, James P. O’Hare, and his friend, David J. Dalaia, placed Mr. Cintron’s body in the chair and wheeled it around the corner, south along Ninth Avenue on Tuesday afternoon. The men parked the chair with the corpse in front of Pay-O-Matic, a check-cashing business, Mr. Cintron had patronized.
They went inside to present the check, but a clerk said Mr. Cintron would have to cash it himself, and asked where he was.
“He is outside,” Mr. O’Hare said, indicating the body in the chair, according to Mr. Browne.
The two men started to bring the chair inside, but it was too late.
Their sidewalk procession had already attracted the stares of passers-by who were startled by the sight of the body flopping from side to side as the two men tried to prop it up, the police said.
While the two men were inside the check-cashing office, a small crowd had gathered around the chair. A detective, Travis Rapp, eating lunch nearby saw the crowd and notified the Midtown North station house.
Police officers and an ambulance arrived as the two men were trying to maneuver the corpse and chair into the check-cashing office.
The two men were taken into custody and questioned.
Mr. Cintron’s body was taken to a hospital morgue. The medical examiner’s office said he had died of natural causes.
Oh....A New York City blogger reported it was a red office chair.......yep...let's keep a low profile guys.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Just terrible.....there we are in a restaurant....huddled over my iPhone......the soft white glow of the screen reflected up onto our faces. We are trolling the net, googling, and emailing pictures to ourselves......with cranberry martinis at our side.
The vodka made me confess.
Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night....and can't fall back asleep.....I grab my iPhone, check my email, read my MSN home page and even scan the New York Times.
Krista (extraordinary girlfriend now living in Minnesota) expressed her sympathies.
She won't allow herself to get an iPhone....because she...wonder woman and supreme wizardess of technology and the net......would also wake up in the night....and surf the net from bed.
Surfing the net from your bed.
What happened to me?.....I was a nice girl once, a respectable woman who would go to her office, sit in an ergonomically correct chair....and check her computer.
Now...I'm at a red light....texting.....I'm taking a walk and sending an email.....I doodle with Safari in the dentist chair trying to figure out how to unload and load the pages correctly.
And I want to go to the Apple store in Manhattan....to buy more stuff for my phone so I can do even more.
Krista reminded me of something real scary.
When we took a writing class together, about 6 years ago, my research paper was on: internet addiction.
Oh my god, she was right. I said, not me ....never. I'm not one of those geeks. What's sooo great about the internet if you not into porn?
To make ourselves feel better....we started talking about a potential trip to take this summer.....
hmmmm....why not take the train from Winnipeg ( Yeah Diana .....Winnipeg) to the Artic....to the last town on the line....Churchill.... a bleak bleak town....on the edge of Hudson Bay known mostly for its Polar Bear population.
Wow...that's something to think about....let me make a note on my iPhone to send you that information.....or do you want to Google that now .....before we get our Tiramasu?
Damn...I think it's too late.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Monday, January 07, 2008
It's 4:30 in the morning.
The house is dark and very quiet.
I have been awake for a while....and decided to get out of bed.
I went downstairs and made coffee....my old dog lifted his head from his worn plaid pillow....and gave me a confused look. Daylight, menfolks, going out the door to pee....is the natural order of morning.
All night I kept waking up....and seeing the face and skinny little legs of a young girl I met in the bookstore yesterday.
She came up to the information counter late in the afternoon with an arm load of children's books. She was so small she didn't even reach the top of the counter. I had to lean over to see and talk to her.
"My sister is supposed to come for me but she's not here."
"So you're all alone?"
"Come around and drop your books off and we'll go look for her together."
She dutifully walked around the desk and left her books behind our counter. She was a tiny thing with little bare legs, a short dress, scuffed shoes, an open coat. I knelt down and asked her again who was with her.
"My mommy dropped me off at the store and my sister is supposed to get me but she's not here."
She couldn't be more than 6 years old and yet she seemed almost adult-like in the purposeful rational way she was seeking help.
"What is your name?"
She smiled after she said her name and I could see why she lisped....she was shedding teeth and only had a few baby stubs left in her mouth. Her beautiful smooth diamond-shaped face reminded me of a little Tuareg girl I had met in Africa with the same narrow pointed chin.
After I rose from my knees, I felt a quick bolt of anger. I can't understand how adults could abandon small children in a bookstore...... but they do. She is not the first little one left in the children's department while parents wandered off for coffee or even out of the store to do errands.
Parents think we are a "safe" place for their children akin to the school library but this is a store, a busy store, and there's no guarantee of safety for unsupervised children. The manager even banned some customers like "Elastic Man"....who would arrive in skin-tight silky running leggings.... which showed every inch of his anatomy front and back....and cruised around the children's department starring at the kids...so to think our merchandise, books, provide safety is nutty.
I walked the little girl through the store looking for her sister. We paged overhead a couple times. When no one showed up, the manager called the police per our store policy.
The little girl headed off with one of the other booksellers to the break room where we would keep her till the police arrived. Again, she was so calm, we felt sure she had faced this situation before or was very experienced at taking care of herself.
I watched those little legs walk down the aisle and I felt this sense....this intuition....of the potential and presence in that little girl. She was obviously intelligent, obviously in charge of her small world, and there was something else......some aura or vibe or spirit....that surrounded her.
Her mom and sister showed up and so did the police. I wasn't in the break room but other folks told me....the sister said she was in the store and the mother said something to the effect of....... you've got to stop wandering off. The little girl had tears in her eyes when the policeman told her she did exactly the right thing and it sounded like her little armor was finally pierced when all these authority figures centered their attention on her.
When I arrived in the break room, she was gone and everyone looked deflated. Apparently she was a foster child and although everything was handled well....we all wondered if she would be punished because the police had been called.
In the night, I kept picturing her beautiful face and the funny movement of her mouth and lips as she struggled to say her name. I felt that presence and aura again. My groggy mind thought I should find her and adopt her....and it was that thought which punctured my sleep so early this morning. I have rarely considered the idea of adding children to our family, especially now that our own children are about to be launched, yet there was this naggy sticky sense inside me that we could make room.
It's spooky warm for a winter day....so I sat for awhile on my front step with another cup of coffee....logic and the light joined me.....the thoughts of what I need to do today and what I need to do this week...also visited.
In the light....it's easy to know the "proper" thing to do.....it's easy to know "what should be done"....."how things should be handled"......."the way things need or should be"......we zip our feelings up.....we tidy our messy thoughts.....we put away our passions...and get down to business.
That's what we do in the light.....
but maybe what we feel and think about in the dark....should be considered....
maybe our heart and soul tries to rattle the chains we so carefully wrap around ourselves in the light....
it scares me to think....that if she was standing right here.....I would take her by the hand....and bring her inside.