25 November 2011

Thanksgiving Gratitude

This was perhaps one of the more low key Thanksgivings I've celebrated in 49 years.

My friend Brian and his sister Sally arrived as planned around 16:45, and I was just finishing up a crying jag with a friend in Mexico. I pulled myself together and we headed down to Mid-Wilshire and the Bounty.  I'd called Ramon, the owner, earlier to make sure there was not a surging crowd ahead of us. Business there was steady, and my friends seemed to like it. I hoped Kapri would join us but she was deep into watching Guns N Roses videos njomrorrancyherself tomorrow.

As Thanksgiving 2011 passes into the history books, I sit at the dining room table; ostensibly proofreading my novel but distracted by web surfing Ralph Lauren and the Apple Store. My grandmother's mantel clock chimes the hour: it's trusty off-key chords recalling memory upon memory. A cat snores until my hand caresses his soft black coat. The flickering vanilla candle serves as a request to the universe for guidance, and its scent complements the bowl of Haagen-Daas Bananas Foster I've devoured. Peace wraps around me like a bear hug: then I remember something I forgot to do.
I assume that all of us have many challenges, fears and concerns that we keep to ourselves about these unusually fast times we are living in. Yet, we 'show up' here most days, sharing what is working for us, what milestones to recognize (or deny), soliciting opinions, laughing, supporting, looking to the future, and yes, recalling events, people and places gone from this dimension but safe and protected in the vault of our memory. Whether we share Texas, California, ancestors, descendants, exes, beds, crazy bosses, crazy co-workers, acting, writing, apartments, homes, enemies, Longhorns, Bruins, churches, covens, volunteer activities, secrets, Greek tragedies, happy endings or plans to rule the world, please know that I am extremely grateful for all that you bring to my life.

22 November 2011

Double Vision

Saturday night:  it seems I fell asleep with my glasses on & damaged the right temple. At least that's my guess. I was exhausted from cleaning the house, the ongoing lack of job opportunities, my cat's health etc. I had 7 loads of laundry to do, and had the last bit in the dryer when I came upstairs.

I had finished a hot shower and was in a robe and slippers when I went back to the bedroom to stretch out for a second  while my bedspread tumbled in the dryer. A few minutes quiet after my tomato soup with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese was all I needed.

Poof! Saturday at midnight was now Sunday 7AM. My glasses were on my nightstand but the right temple was now hanging at an odd angle.  I was furious at myself, yet not sure how they ended up on the stand.

Today's list included going over to the Lenscrafters I've used for years, and their deteriorated service had me prepared to a) pay some amount and b) not be surprised if the style was out of stock. Like my purchase of my iPhone 3GS ...not aware the 4S was hitting stores three days later (I'd have ponied up for the 4) This is my trend in buying anything anymore. 

I was not prepared for Lenscrafters 100% turnover in people --not a good sign--and when I showed the manager on duty my crumpled specs she immediately went on the defensive, raised her voice and stated 'they weren't responsible for my error'. Absolutely the worst response to a problem. It opens the door of confrontation with what might as well be a WWF bell at midget wrestling. Clearly this manager had not been trained in conflict. I could have gone from being prepared to pay, to adamantly refusing. And forget contacting another store for the frame. 'They won't even take my calls' she announced. Hmmm. I wonder why.

With amazing powers of restraint and negotiation: I remained calm and got my cost down to $125. They now have to check with Polo Ralph Lauren as the frame I bought 4 months ago is now discontinued ('Quality control on the temples slow the selling?' I quipped?) If no longer available, they'll replace them with a comparable at no charge. 

While the manager looked in every drawer for a replacement frame, apparently fearful I was going to explode, I wandered around, looking at all the 'branded' eyewear: Tiffany, Burberry, Prada, Brooks Brothers(Lenscrafters' owner is the father of the owner of Brooks Bros, a past beneficiary of my talents), Anne Klein and the like. I mean, what 'is' a Tiffany frame to the consumer? Silver? Stained glass? No, a blue box. What a stretch.

I thought of people who are blind, or with vision worse than mine, who couldn't ever afford the jacked up licensing fee-infused basic human need. 
** Sunglasses are an a different issue: a true accessory and I'd invest in that category. 

But spectacles? I thought how utterly ridiculous these overpriced frames were: a spectacle of waste. And a service ethic not at all in sync with the product. 

I'm not sure where my next pair of glasses will come from, but I am through with 'designer' eyeglasses. I've donated all my old pairs save one for the earthquake kit and a spare I have on now to the Braille Institute. The $125 I didn't plan to spend became lunch at Taco Bell on Riverside with a view of Warner Bros. water tower. Delicious alfresco dining.

I thought back to July and how Lenscrafters courted me to join them. I may be stubborn and I am indeed but I am through with these talk the talk but not walking the walk. Shame on us.

13 November 2011

The Short Xmas Buffet

In high school, we competed in statewide speech tournaments and one act plays. I have my 1978 All Star Cast Award on my bookshelf presented for my excellent portrayal of a bratty nuisance(no comments on Art Imitates Life; a stack of ribbons from tournaments long ago are in a box somewhere.

One of the plays we of Antic Spring competed against was Thornton Wilder's The Long Christmas Dinner which is a generational study of 1 family, told over 90 meals in 35 minutes. It mesmerized me,  because of losing my parents before I was 1 and the search for that drvvu; being the defacto historian for the few relatives who survive and care about our family history. and because of the supernatural element of it all.

My new tenant seems very happy to be here and is rebuilding her network of friends from scratch (I gather). Many of her pals are from the international set and life in Los Angeles is not easy for those born here. I can't imagine arriving here from another country and having to adapt to so much. But this Miss has balls, but I know how very lonely, lonely can be.

A party she planned here on Friday night was scrapped, and she was disappointed that of the 15 people she invited over tonight, only 4 actually showed. I would choose quality over quantity but I had no plans to lurk or leer. They were going up the block for sushi and I must say I had fun explaining that a 20:00 starting party time in Los Angeles woiuld mean 21:00 arrival times.

The three that arrived byu 21:30 were clever, polite and they mixed well: represent Poland, Sweden, Finland and Austin, Texas.  l made myself available but did not weasel my way into their conversations on music, karmic debt or that apparently my writings have been popular enough to merit  translation into Polish. I excused myselfas the gears began to slow.  I was ready to call it quits and retire for the night. but I'd committed to meeting a friend for a late supper.

The temperarture had dropped and I grabbed my houndstooth jacket from the closet to head out when the most suprising and shocking realization came over me. This was the first party in the apartment I had not planned, produced and populated. It would not be the last either. A generation had happened since I'd left Houston in1988. Tomorrow's leaders sat in my my living room, discussing the 'good vibes' the apartment gave them, appreciating my decorating style and marveling at my assortment of booze, books and the sight of the moon rising high above the balcony. Years and years from now, would these three recall tonight? Would they recall me?

01 November 2011

Restrategizing at El Coyote

My tenant candidate, a young guy from NYC has been turned down by the building for my extra room.  I am now petrrified. The girl who I'd met and liked appears to be going downstairs to her own unit. I can pay the rent solo again, but that wipes me out at the same time.
Brian came over to take me for another Birthday dinner at El Coyote and the food was delicious. Brian is going to be 'babysitting' me again tomorrow to help me tackle so much of what I need to do. First, we are going to the Hollywood History Museum as Brian hasn't seen the Jean Harlow exhibit, and there is a Lucille Ball exhibit going on now also.
I feel like alot is working in my favor. But, right now, even with my the inherent knowledge that a greater force is looking out for me, and that I am so very blessed; the tears roll down my face. I feel so very alone.