Tag Archive | HUMOR

Fun and games with Al Italia

TRAVELS

So you’ve all heard that we got robbed on the Athens metro, right? And another adventure we had was even worse. Here’s what happened: We were flying from Athens to Venice via Rome. We had to stop in Rome and change flights. Well, through no fault of our own (I swear!) we missed our connecting flight to Venice…

We were waiting at the gate that was listed on the overhead board and also on our tickets. We got to the gate an hour in advance of the flight. So we (my sister and I) were hanging out in a super noisy terminal, eating bad airport pizza and the absolutely WORST French fries imaginable. You couldn’t even bite into them – literally! You had to gum them! hahahaha They were bad, really bad…inedible…

Then we stood at the gate for our flight and got to the ticket taker, who told us that we were in the wrong line and furthermore, our plane had already taken off! This was bad, very bad. He told us to go to the Al Italia ticket counter. We went there, and the agent said, ‘We called you but you didn’t answer, you missed your flight, we had to delay the plane a half hour to get your bags off. No, you can’t just take that flight that you were in line for. You have to retrieve your bags on Belt 16. There is no way you will make that flight. And furthermore, there are no other flights until tomorrow morning at 8:30am. Furthermore, there are no trains from the Rome airport into the city, they’ve stopped for the evening (9pm!) You’ll have to get your bags and wait until the morning.’

So after insisting that we never heard anyone calling us, down we trod to the hell known as Belt 16. It was at the farthest end of the terminal in the bowels of the building. We looked and waited, looked and waited some more. No bags. We checked in the lost baggage storage room – shelves and shelves filled with bags that no one had claimed. We looked and looked. No bags for us. (Seinfeld soup Nazi episode springs to mind!)

Now we’re getting mad. We’ve (haha – I give myself too much credit here, it was my sister) prepaid for the hotel in Venice, and it’s clear we are not going to make it to Venice anytime soon. This is pitiful beyond reason. Terrible, our (her) hard earned dollars going to total waste. So we went to the Baggage Customer ‘Care’ line and stood with dozens of screaming Air France customers. Air France had lost everyone’s luggage, a whole planeful of luggage! There was a screaming Italian whose specific words we could not understand but the intent was clear. There was a Chinese woman saying ‘I’m here for 3 weeks. I missed my connection, and so you did what? You sent ALL my luggage back to China?’ There was a proper British couple at the counter, reserved but turning red with steam coming out the ears, mumbling bad things as they turned to leave. There was a woman of indeterminate nationality (maybe French) saying ‘I have a wedding tomorrow! My clothes are in my bag!’

This was a bonding experience for everyone in line. We were all like best friends whose common enemy was the airline we had had the stupidity to pay money to for transporting us and our bags. Al Italia – you are rotten! We despise you! Good – I said it in writing!

What happened next was like a nightmare…

 

 

Wishing and Waiting

                                                             TIME AND OTHER NONSENSE


I wish for world peace. I wait for a kind word.

I want a spring day. I wait for February to end.

I desire long legs. I can wait all I want but that will never happen.

I hope for joy. I wait for a friend to help me laugh.

I anticipate six more weeks of winter. I wait for the first crocus to bloom.

I hope to win the lottery. I wait in line for a ticket.

I desire love. I wait for my kids to call.

I want to be rich. I wait for my biweekly paycheck.

I expect uniqueness. I may wait my entire life for this expectation.

I wish for acknowledgment. Still waiting.

Chinese Food For Thought

AS SPIRITUAL AS I GET

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The secret’s out – I eat Chinese food fairly often. How do we know? The frequent references to my fortunes, of course.

Tonight’s revelation: “Focus on trusting your intuition and you will get through it.” This fortune seems rather appropriate and timely. I like to think that I have an intuitive sense about myself and the obstacles I face. But what about conflicting intuitions, those instances where communication appears to be real and yet the people involved are light years apart in understanding? One person’s intuition is another’s indecipherable attitude. In this 1968 scene from PERSEPHONE IN HELL, Glory and her physics teacher couldn’t be further away from understanding each other.

“Stay a minute, will you, Gloria?” Mrs. Standish asked.

What’s important enough to make me late for my next class?

Madeline Standish looked at Glory. She saw a vibrant girl with a movie star figure, startling violet eyes, and wild dark hair strung with colored beads. Those hippies, Madeline thought, out to change the world. Our perfectly good world.

“Miss M_____, you simply must pay more attention in my class. Your grade depends on it. You want to go to college, don’t you? Well, of course you do, a bright girl like you. Not that girls need college. But you don’t want to end up a nobody, do you?”

I’ll never be a nobody.

Glory drew herself up out of her self-indulgent slouch. Her eyes turned dark and piercing. She looked at Mrs. Standish with the wrath of the high born.

I am Elizabeth of England, the great queen, and being talked to as a lowly sailor.

Madeline sensed she had said the wrong thing. She tried again.

“Glory, as a member of God’s Chosen People, you have a special obligation. You have to try your best. We know that all Jews are smart. That’s God’s truth. God expects a lot of you.”

Oh, is that all this is? I’m not about to let on to Mrs. Standish that I don’t believe in the god of the Jews, or any other god for that matter.

She’s complicated and interesting, Madeline admitted to herself. But Jews are tricky. I much prefer our normal girls. Still, I treat everyone the same and I’m proud of that. It’s a modern world, after all.”

Tonight, along with my Singapore rice noodles, beef with broccoli, and Peking ravioli, I contemplate my life. I sit in front of this computer with a glass of red French wine and wonder where the world will take me. What trust should I have in my own intuition, when it’s clear that intent can so easily be misinterpreted? Even one’s own mind must be subject to scrutiny. How long, how deeply should I think things through? What about feelings? Am I thinking too much? Focus…trust…intuition – Chinese food for thought.

Blog Night

CALMLY RANDOM

Captain's chair - wish I had one of these!

Star Trek captain’s chair – wish I had one of these!

 

It’s Friday night again. Friday night is blog night. Sometimes it’s pizza night too, or sub (grinder, hoagie, submarine sandwich, whatever you call it) night. Once in a while, Friday is Chinese takeout night, though that’s usually reserved for Saturdays. When I was a young adult, Friday was going out on the town night. I wouldn’t have stayed home in front of a computer for anything. Of course, home computers hadn’t been invented then. But the point is not how old I am, but I suppose, how much I’ve changed over time. How staid, how settled, how quiet and domestic I’ve become. So much so, I don’t resent sitting here with my glass of wine and thoughts in my head that I want to put down on virtual paper. No, I’m reasonably happy with my choice.

But, soon I am going to shake things up a bit. I can’t write if there’s nothing inspiring to write about, if I follow the same routines and the same patterns week after week. So here’s my plan. Next week, I’m going down to Florida to witness the Atlantis, the last space shuttle liftoff from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. I’m going by myself, no company at all. I may not communicate with anyone. I may decide to be completely alone in the world. To find out if I am lonely or simply alone. Being alone isn’t a bad thing. In fact for an artist or writer, it can be quite refreshing. Loneliness is another thing entirely. I will probably be lonely.

And I may or may not write while I’m there. I may just absorb the event and the wonder of it. I may have a delayed reaction to the scene. Or, I may be inspired to poetry, then and there. Maybe I’ll write a short blog from my smart phone. I don’t know how I’ll feel. That’s part of the draw, to figure out who I am and what I’m made of. What makes a person happy and content? What causes anguish and despair? I hope to find out for myself. Who am I? It is a strange question for a woman of my age to be asking, a woman who remembers a time without computers of any kind. It’s a teenage question, and surely, my character Glory asked it of herself over and over again in PERSEPHONE IN HELL. But I guess that wasn’t enough, the bloody coughing out of my story, painful as it was. The melancholy that washed over me as I wrote it is still present. I still want to find out why. I would like to know why.

So I hope you wish me good journey as I head down to Florida. Remind me to look out for alligators, and to bring sun screen! I hope to come back a more whole, better realized, more self-aware person. A woman more capable of moving forward with joy in her heart. A friend who will choose blogs on some Friday nights, and dancing on others. A movie now and then makes good Friday night entertainment. Or a simple celebration of the Sabbath, which would be a miraculous thing for this woman, who is so set in her non-believing ways.

Atlantis will lift off from earth, the final space shuttle mission, a true end to an era that began when a  home computer was a thing of science fiction and the word blog hadn’t been invented. Forty years ago, Glory was inspired and kept from despair by the landing on the moon. I am inspired and hope to find joy in this final liftoff. One must try. I am reminded of the words of Captain Jean Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise. “Make it so,” he said so many times to his crew. Make it happen. Try your best, with faith that your best is good enough. Make your life worthwhile. That is exactly what I intend to do.

 

Dedicated to the memory of my old friend

TIME AND OTHER NONSENSE

Once upon a time in a long forgotten land, I had one phone number and an email address, both of which I shared with my entire immediate family…

A couple of amazing things happened to me over the past weeks. First, under pressure from a well-meaning sibling and my daughter, who both insisted that I MUST open a Facebook account or be forever excluded from all communication with them, I started a #%!!#! account. I struggled my way through the setup, which included having to delete several mistakes (you don’t want to know how many) then added a fan page for my book, PERSEPHONE IN HELL. You can find a link to my Facebook page on this site – please take a look at it, it was so much work – I’m begging you! Several hundred grey hairs later, I now have three email accounts, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and this blog. Plus a smartphone that bleeps and buzzes and texts me all day long. I now have to bring my cell into the can with me so I won’t miss the latest blinking green light that indicates an important contact is attempting to be made. Did I forget anything? Today a so-called friend told me that I should set up an Instagram account too. I officially have no time for any other occupation or avocation, such is my preoccupation with this social media world.

But on to the good news. I’ve been discovered! No, not by Houghton Mifflin or Harper Collins or a Hollywood agent. Discovered by an entity far more significant than a mere publisher or movie producer. I’ve been discovered by my high school class reunion committee!

They found me on Facebook. And here, I’d successfully hidden from them for all these many (too many to count or admit to) years. Somehow, they hunted me down. They found me out. They called my name and surprise (this is the other amazing thing), I am pleased. Every emotion in the world has run through me since a nice woman named Alice found me out. I am humbled and shocked by the attention they’ve shown me. I’m amazed they remember me, that some think fondly of me; that some even like me. Who knew? I didn’t. I spent many years being scared of my past. I blocked out as much as I could until the emotions of my teenage years came screaming back in my writing.

In this passage from my novel, Ancient Glory returns after 40 years to end the story. Glory the teenager has had a rough time of it. She believes that everyone hates her. She’s lost all her friends and the love of her older sister, and thinks that even Mother Nature is out to get her. She despises herself. She needs the comfort and support of knowing that she will somehow survive. She gets it from Ancient Glory…

“And scars will lighten, they’ll pale unless you keep rubbing at them. Best to let them be, let them fade away in their own good time, in their own difficult and savage, cruelly dissonant way. Wait long enough, they’ll fade – it’s the law of nature.”

That’s what I did. I let enough time pass from my troubled youth for my scars to fade. They have lightened, so much so that when I got the call from that nice woman named Alice, I could answer with a hesitant but happy heart.

With many thanks to my old chums.

This posting is dedicated to the memory of my old friend Tom, who tragically could not find the strength to let enough time pass for his own wounds to heal. Tom, if only we could go back in time…

Morning Has Broken

CALMLY RANDOM

This morning my phone rang at 8 o’clock and woke me up. Out of a deep sleep. On a Saturday, which is one of my two sacred days of morning rest. No one messes with my sleep on a Saturday morning – no one. It’s my sabbath, n’es pas? I value my sleep so much that when my kids were small (and I mean prop-up-in-baby-carrier small) I’d stick them at the end of my bed with bowls of Cheerios and let them watch TV for hours at a time – Bozo the Clown, The Magic of Oil Painting, Jack LaLane. Anything that was on TV on a Saturday morning at 5 a.m. was fair game so long as I could sleep through it. Call me a bad mother, I don’t care. I needed my sleep then; I need it now.

This unflagging self-centeredness reminds me of my character Joyce, Glory’s mother in PERSEPHONE IN HELL, You’ll recall that while Glory craves beauty and power in her fantasy queendom, all Joyce wants is to be Cleopatra and sail down the Nile by herself with no one to mess with her. In this scene, Joyce is smoking in bed on a hot and humid Sunday morning.

“Joyce propped herself up in bed and looked around the room at the piles of her beloved books. They were mostly science fiction. She liked books better than she liked most people, maybe even better than her own kids. In fact her books were like her children in many ways. She treated them the same. Just like her kids, her books were not well kept. Not put properly back on the shelf at night, not always read cover to cover or contents appreciated.

Rather, Joyce’s books were dumped in piles surrounding her. Some with torn covers, others fallen behind the bookcase, pages splayed open with coffee stains. Or in a corner, dust covered and crawling with daddy long legs.

When she chose a book to read, she would devour it with pure pleasure. Nothing else would matter. Then, she’d throw it onto the discard pile where it would lie unseen, quite literally for years.”

Sleep, science fiction, kids…what deep dreams are made of.

PS The call was not important.