Recently a woman I’ve known most of my life and I were on the phone, talking about things like bunion surgery, life, and how difficult it is to make new friends when we reach a certain age. By the time our children are adults and have lives of their own, many of the friends we made when we were in parent/teacher groups have scattered. Or maybe we’ve gotten a divorce, or our spouse or partner died, and we no longer fit in with our old crowd. Then again, maybe we’re running with the wrong crowd.
My friend, let’s call her Patricia, has given me permission to share a couple of threads from our conversation.
Who else, but your dog, watches you with utter love and devotion while you floss your teeth? Even when I was in the “pair bonding phase” with the two most important men in my life, those first couple of years when we couldn’t take our hands off of one another, other than showering together, I drew the line at watching my activities in the bathroom. For the last two months, Annie’s been confined to her condominium as she recuperates from ACL surgery to repair a torn muscle in her knee. Day after day, she’s watched me do everything.
She’s spent so much time watching me, I’m convinced if she had opposable thumbs, she could blow-dry her own hair.
Two days ago I went to Northside Honda in San Antonio, for an oil change and regular maintenance where I was assured it would take two hours. After five hours of waiting without an update, a hello, or a kiss my brake fluid, I finally wrote a check for work done and left with my car, albeit, on unhappy terms with Ralph, my “service representative.”
The next afternoon at 4pm, Ralph called to say my check had “been voided” and I needed to bring him another check RIGHT NOW, before they closed. I told him I couldn’t come to the dealership, but I would mail them another check in the morning. Sixty seconds later Ralph called back and said his boss told him to come to my house NOW and GET MY CHECK. When I told him I wasn’t home, he said, “Well where are you?” When I said I was in Fredericksburg, Texas, he told me he was leaving NOW and would drive to Fredericksburg and FIND ME. I should have said, “Do you realize how creepy that is, Ralph,” but I didn’t. (Even under the best of conditions that’s an hour and a half drive, but in rush hour traffic with highway construction and lane closures… ?) Instead I told Ralph their strong-arm tactics were offensive and not to call me again, but I would put another check in the mail.
Well guess what Ralph? I’ve changed my mind. First I want an apology for making me wait five hours, and then I want another apology from you and your boss for the two phone calls where you tried to intimidate and bully me. You browbeat the wrong woman, Ralph.
Yesterday I called a friend whose husband died two months ago after years of numerous and serious medical problems. When I asked how she was doing, she said, “I’m going to be candid with you. I’m relieved.” I understood, all too well, what she meant. I also wondered if there are those who might judge her and find her truthful admission to be shocking and inappropriate? If so perhaps it’s because they haven’t been there… or maybe they’re not allowing themselves to be honest.
It doesn’t mean we don’t love and miss them. Just that we’re relieved… for both of us… that it is over.
ANOTHER USE FOR A SELFIE. Photograph by Brenda Coffee, ©2019
This summer I’ve been traveling a lot, and everywhere I go, I’ve seen 20-something young women who are obsessed with themselves and how they look. Whether they’re alone, or in groups, they’re taking selfies at breakfast, standing on the street corner, even getting out of an Uber.
It’s almost as if they can’t be separated from looking at themselves for even a minute. How can they bear to go to sleep?
Everyday I tell Annie she’s the most loved little dog in the world, and I would do anything to keep her well and safe, and as it turns out… That includes canceling two-weeks in England. Today I should be in the English countryside, strolling Prince Charles’s garden, visiting a large antique fair and the private estate of the producer of Cats, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera, not to mention spending five days in London, catching up with friends.
But three hours before my plane left, I decided Annie needed me more than I needed to visit England.
On the day we take our marriage vows it never occurs to us that another woman—with whom our husband promised “for better or worse… until death do us part”—may be the one who comes to our aide when he dies. Both of my late husband’s ex-wives were there for me the day they died. Perhaps this happens more often than I imagine, but what are the odds it’s happened to me twice?
I owe each of these women a debt of gratitude for being so kind to me.
I had something else planned for today’s blog until I got stuck for a minute… okay it was 20 seconds, but it seemed like an eternity… in an elevator with three guys my age. Oy vey! Why is it men don’t clean their eyeglasses? Has it never occurred to them foggy lenses with big greasy thumbprints can be fixed, or do they just not notice? The dirty glasses on two of these guys could have classified them as legally blind.
I wanted to tap one of them on the shoulder and say, “Dude! How many fingers am I holding up?”
Last week a girlfriend told me about a group in San Antonio that’s looking for female mentors to help young women who are exotic dancers. Our conversation reminded me of a dancer I met in my 20’s. I wrote this piece soon after. Since most of us will never meet an exotic dancer, I thought you might find her story interesting, insightful… and sad… and because not all of us had ideal childhoods… It might make you think about how she wound up in this position but you didn’t?
The naked blonde undulating down the runway oozes with sexuality in a dance she does five times a night, six nights a week, and her skin looks smooth and creamy under the lights. The men who watch her are all alike. Cash registers who dispense twenty dollar bills.
The blonde stops in front of an overweight man in a plaid shirt and shakes her breasts in his face. His money clip is on the table.