Innergiggler's Blog

Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Although consequences pervaded the lives of many in 2010, there remains an air of optimism for 2011.  Here are my top five affirmative experiences for 2010: 

  1. Said “yes” to an offer to plant myself in a Goddess Garden where I’m growing emotionally and creatively along side the most beautiful human flowers
  2.  Created & launched the “Inner Giggler” Blog which delights many including me.  The fear that no one would read it isappeared with the acknowledgement that I can’t predict responses – but I can keep sowing… 
  3. Allowing new and untested friends to love me – then taking the love in and letting it flow freely from me to them and others 
  4. Leaping off the financial “safety” plateau of the “too small” apartment and landing in a lovely house accepting the financial challenges
  5. Accepting and embracing that I am a worthy, vital, sexy, funny and loving woman – with lots more to contribute in this world…even at 66 – yeah!

Looking deeply into the mirror I ask myself:  “How can I change that feeling of fear which keeps me living small?”

LINDA – Recognize where and how the fear manifests:

Sometimes it looks like me sitting on the living room couch with the remote control in my left hand and a bag of corn tortilla chips (sometimes yellow – sometimes blue) in the right.  The race is on – which hand is fastest? 

It’s a tie.  I go from CNN to CNBC at the same rate it takes to stuff 11 chips in my face.  With this kind of excitement – who needs a bigger life?  I’m totally mesmerized by the news – like the terrible snowstorm preventing holiday travelers from reaching their destinations.  I saw one couple at LaGuardia in NYC who have spent three days trying to get to their honeymoon.  Then – OMG – unplowed streets of NYC outer boroughs resulted in unnecessary deaths when EMT units couldn’t get to patients needing immediate hospitalization.  One woman was beside herself having just watched her dad succumb to a perhaps unnecessary death.  My left hand fingers drop the remote to pick up the tissues – I am now bawling.  I need more chips to soothe myself.  Shit!  The hummus is all gone – BOO HOO!  Mommy!!!  Crap, she’s dead, just when I really need her.

Quieted down now, I realize that I am living a full life – just not my own.  I am sooo totally embarrassed.  I wonder what Rob is thinking of me.  Is my behavior pushing him toward thoughts of divorce?  I’ll teach him…

Ensuing argument thwarted.

I rush into his Man Cave and am greeted with his big beautiful smile.  He doesn’t have time to judge me because he’s too busy loving me and living his own life.  In that order.

Back in the house I realize I was so engrossed in the lives of others that I never went grocery shopping today- so I’m searching for the grocery flyers for sales – they guide my food shopping.  We need something to eat besides tuna fish.  And we’re out of hummus.  Oh it’s so dark and cold out. I don’t feel like dealing with irritated, tired shoppers at Ralph’s – just because unlike me, they were out working all day.

I’ll do better tomorrow – but it’s time for Jeopardy.  Maybe I’ll record that and watch yesterday’s episode of “Days of Our Lives.” 

Tomorrow will be a day absent of fear and filled with self-love and accomplishment.

PART THREE – TOMORROW

Here we are on the precipice of 2011.  Should I create a bunch of insincere resolutions or just look right into the mirror and ask – what’s my worth?  Who am I and what do I want? 

A home in movie star, glitzy Bel Air?

A diamond necklace?

A new sports car? 

My friend had a home in Bel Air and her husband was constantly humiliating her in public.  After five years she crawled out of there with a few remaining ounces of self-esteem –

My domestically violent boyfriend bought me a diamond necklace – well it had some diamonds on it – I didn’t even like the necklace but I wore it.  Eventually I faced the fact that he’d never stop violating me.  If you don’t feel worthy – it takes a long time to figure this out.

Dad surprised me with a sports car – a Corvair Monza convertible – when I was in college.  He enjoyed showing friends what he gave his daughter.  Read the rest of this entry »

My birthday was quickly approaching and I’d always bought myself some kind of gift.  A nice article of clothing or a modest piece of jewelry would usually be perfect but I was coming up empty.   I was unaware at this time that my IPOD had suffered a stroke and would need a replacement.    

Stopping into Bed Bath & Beyond my attention was drawn to the strangest looking menorah I’d ever seen.  Used to celebrate Hanukkah – the Festival of Lights – menorahs are generally pretty generic.  My mom always kept an electric one in the living room’s big bay window of our home  on Long Island for the eight days.  But that was a very long time ago.  Despite my desire for a more extravagant present, I deemed this as my gift, determined to celebrate the festive holiday this year. 

My husband and I don’t have a bay window here in our Westchester, CA house of only 45 days, but there are several other plain windows facing the street. We are the new neighbors.  As I was considering where I’d place the celebratory ornament tonight, a rather uncomfortable feeling came over me.  I knew there weren’t any synagogues in this new neighborhood – but I had seen several churches.  Upon mentioning the discomfort to my husband – who was born a Christian but by age 10 had completely retired from religion – he reminded me of a story I’d once shared with him:

A month before entering my junior year in high school my family moved from Queens, NY to East Meadow, Long Island.  Our immediate neighborhood was primarily Jewish – but the town was split in half with a majority of Jews or Christians living on each side. I didn’t know the 11th graders in my neighborhood were enrolled in a different school.  I was about to experience what it was like to be the minority for the first time in my life.    

Being the new kid in school was scary, but a sweet 11th grader named Connie invited me to sit with her and a bunch of her friends.   Happy to be included anywhere I immediately said “yes!” A combination of sophomores and juniors – we giggled, shared teacher/ parent/family stories as well as general girl stuff.  It was fun and I definitely looked forward to lunch. Sometime during the second week I thought I heard an anti-Jewish comment.  Surely I was mistaken.   A few weeks later I heard another – which was followed by laughter.  I was unsure how to handle this.  Gratefully, weeks went by without any prejudicial comments and then came the third remark.  Everyone laughed except me – and except Connie.  She sat stone-faced.  I sensed she knew I was Jewish but was letting me handle the situation.  Rather than deal with the discomfort and discord, I followed up on an invitation offered by some Jewish girls to join them for lunch in a different area.

Lunchtime with these girls felt immediately more comfortable.  Paranoia-free, I didn’t have to think about being “different.” However, instead of the general laughter and silliness I’d gotten used to with the other group, I noticed these girls maintained an enormous focus on everything and anything negative.  So it was okay to be a Jew – but not so great to be happy.

“The lunch room lady with the cleft palate purposely shorted me on mashed potatoes today.  What a bitch.”

“Did you see Sharon Scott standing in assembly with the ugliest dress on the face of the earth?”

“I can’t believe Cindy O’Neil stepped on my brand new loafers during chemistry and now I have a scuff.”

We were only 15 or 16; we lived in middle class “prosperity” of the early 60s – had plenty to eat, sizable roofs over our heads and clean clothes.  These particular girls had no appreciation for life and generosity. 

By the middle of the second week of “Jews only” I decided to return to the first group aka the “shiksas*” and re-engage in heavy giggling and silly conversations.   I would keep my mouth shut –  they were just making harmless comments. 

That was until the second week when one of the girls noted that the gym teacher would never pick a Jewish kid to participate in the annual sports night.  I was shocked.  Wow!  They really didn’t know about my background; I just listened.  The conversation continued pointing out the teacher’s history of anti-Semitic bias – concluding “that” was a given – no Jews allowed.  I looked toward Connie and her beautiful blue eyes were dim; her pink lips were pressed tightly, appearing very white. 

“I’m a Jew!  I’m Jewish.”  It was like a volcano of lava spewing out of my throat clearing my heart and palate.  Quiet.  No one said a word – but there appeared to be a smirk on Connie’s lips – and they had returned to their natural pink color. 

“I don’t care about Sports Night, but I didn’t know I automatically couldn’t participate.”

“Well…uh…if you want to – I’ll talk to Mrs. Jensen” streamed uncomfortably out of Carol’s mouth.”

And now, as the official Jewish sentry:  “Maybe everyone should have a talk with Mrs. Jensen and Mr. Stevens!”  (The principal)

Amidst the frenetic clanging of dishes and silverware, the table became uncomfortably quiet again.  Finally, a sophomore named Margaret turned to me:

“I’m so sorry for the insulting comments and attitude.  Thanks for putting up with the prejudice.  I’m glad you’re here.”

The silence was broken and everyone had something apologetic to add.  That was fifty years ago and I am forever grateful for the experience.  Mrs. Jensen suddenly changed her mind and included “some” Jews; and that felt so damn good. I took action that was uncomfortable and it “mattered.”  

Despite this success and others I’ve had fighting discrimination in other categories, here we are in the 21st century and I’m afraid to display a religious reference to my heritage.  What’s this Jew to do?

My eyes are glued to CNN – I’m barely breathing as I watch the ultimate reality show – The Rescue of the Chilean Miners.  Everyone is waiting, waiting for the first minor to emerge from the capsule.  His arrival seems  slow as everyone is holding their collective breaths.

Now a close-up of his young son who is flashing terror, anxiously awaiting his dad’s arrival above the earth’s surface.  My heart was breaking for him – yet, in that same moment, I couldn’t help but fantasize that we were waiting instead for my dad, Charlie Lichtman, to arrive in that capsule.  I became that little boy, but instead of biting my finger nails, I was chewing on a Hershey Bar. Of course Dad’s hair is slicked back under the helmet; he’s wearing a lime green golf shirt with matching pants and socks. 

As the real miner emerged, the crowd cheered.  Reality check Linda, the miner is a Chilean man named Florencio Avalos, not my dad.  Florencio was safe and thrilled to see his son.  My dad as a national hero.  Hah!  He would have stopped and asked me why I was ruining my diet with the chocolate. 

Then, the second rescued miner, Mario Sepulveda, arrived and put smiles on everyone’s faces.  Upon leaving the capsule, we could see him uncover a back pack. Then everyone started laughing as he pulled rocks from his bag and presented each to mine managers and workers who helped in the rescue effort. 

Again, I replaced Mario with my Dad and boy was he pissed! “WTF?  How long were we supposed to wait down there?  Huh?  Sons of bitches – we almost died down there.  And the food, feh!   Not one bagel in 68 days!  You ever hear of chicken soup in a crisis?  I would have killed for some kasha varnishkes.  Even worse – I couldn’t get a damn gin game down there – pinochle, I would settled for pinochle.” 

Dad pulled out the knapsack and asked to see the mine managers.  “I want to see them right now.”  Oh no!  I closed my eyes as he began throwing rocks – two at a time at the bodies of these unsuspecting managers.   And then as quickly as he began, he froze.  Charlie Lichtman got down on his knees and began weeping.  Filled with humility and kindness, Dad began thanking everyone, one at a time, expressing his undying gratitude for saving their lives as he asked for a cell phone.  “Yes operator, just give me the number for any CAA agent in Hollywood…please!”  Now that could be my Dad!

If you’d have queried me as I was leaving a disco during my mid-twenties:

“Linda, how do you think you’ll approach life when you’re a senior citizen?”

I would have laughed in your face at just the concept of ever being that old.  But to satisfy your quest and make you go away – I would have told you I’d still be smoking pot and going to discos because I’ll never grow old.

In less than 30 days I will turn 66.  I stopped smoking pot in my 30s because it gave me anxiety attacks – but on a dime I still shake my bootie to the sound of the O’Jays, Gloria GaynorDonna Summer – hey, she was like my girlfriend.  

Frankly I couldn’t admit I was a senior until turning 65.  The fact that people are living longer now leaves a lot of room for “middle age.”  But there’s no doubt that I am presently living The Third Act of my life. 

I am finally ready to move into the “home.”  No, not assisted living!  With over forty years of apartment living – some funky – then elegant – to presently functional – Act Three is about comfort, creativity and cadence.

Comfort:

  •  One floor and one floor only ensuring the absence of annoying extra steps, forcing complicated and painful maneuvering while balancing grocery bags
  •  A washer/dryer combo which will add more livable minutes – eliminating any need for the stress and strain of the weekly Laundromat visits
  • Two extra bedrooms for depositing a snoring husband AND adding loving friends visiting from other places
  • A patio with a Barbecue to finally take advantage of my inheritance – 12 steel skewers  with which I can utilize my Middle Eastern family’s secret shish kebab recipe

Creativity:

  • Will flourish in the absence of what I call rap, tap and snap – the college students with whom we shared walls
  • Motivation will be hiked up a notch in order to pay new and inflated bills

Cadence:

  • An openness allowing our own rhythms and beats to define our new lives

 And so the THIRD ACT begins.  Who knows – maybe there’ll be a FOURTH!

One of LA’s major contributions to 20th & 21st century American culture is ROAD RAGE.  I caught this behavioral disease when I first moved out here – fortunately after some intensive 12 Step work – my RR has been diminished by 70%.  .

However, PARKING RAGE – is definitely indigenous to NYC with the fewest parking spaces per capita.  I’ve seen a lifetime of fisticuffs resulting from stolen spaces – including both parallel and side-by-side.

“Hey mothuhfuckuh I was waiting for that spot!  I was here first!”

“What’d you say about my mothuh?”  No I was here – you just didn’t see me, shithead!  You wanna do something about it?”

Growing up – I remember anyone who attempted to steal a parking space from my dad –  usually walked or drove away with their jaws in two or more pieces.  But my Dad’s fists will be another blog entirely.    

So it’s not surprising that when walking into Costco on Monday – loud screams and honking horns from the parking lot grabbed my immediate attention.   A rather large gray-haired/bearded gentleman emerged from his auto barely blinking at the man who was honking and screaming at him.  The unparked man’s frustration blind-sided his ego as he spurted out every curse word known to man and gang members.

Knowing the parking man’s ethic I wanted to jump right in and blast the bearded violator.  He breached  the rules of common decency – I wanted to leap on my soapbox  and do with my mouth what my dad did with his fist.  I wore out plenty of shoe leather marching in the sixties for civil rights – especially after Martin Luther King was assassinated; I rode on the peace train from NYC to Washington protesting the war in VN – and was tear gassed in front of the Hall of Justice petitioning for the release of Bobby Seale – uhm or was it Huey Newton?  Hey – I was in my early twenties and everything pissed me off.

That was forty years and a lifetime ago.  The parking mishap ended and I was left with all these “entitlement” feelings.  So I bought myself a hotdog – pulled out my ID card and marched into Costco more focused on getting one of their roasted chickens.   

THE END

SCENE:  ROOM AT MEMORIAL HOSPITAL IN HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA

I couldn’t believe it!  There was my mom lying unconscious in an ICU bed – without a care in the world. I   wanted to smack her upside the head.   Eight hours ago we were on her non-ICU bed watching the NY Yankees swing their impotent bats, bowing to the Detroit Tigers.

In shock I began a whirling tirade: 

“Ma – what are you doing?  Is this because the Yankees lost last night?  Huh?  Yeah, the food here sucks but you’ll be going home soon!  Look!  Look at your legs, you didn’t even shave.  Ma – you’re not leaving me – Ma!  Wake up!

Just look at you acting all clueless .  I know that  passive aggressive look. Like the time you went through my bookcase, found my very private love letter to my Jamaican gigolo boyfriend in which I told him how much I missed our lovemaking.   Ma!  You should have sent him a thank you note – I was 25 and still a virgin when I met him. 

Instead – you slyly hid behind the kitchen – waiting, waiting, just waiting to pounce on me as I came down the steps.  Shaking that letter in my face, you threatened me with the loss of any inheritance if I married him.  What were we – the Rockefellers?  You didn’t even know how much money you had.  Ma, I was finally getting laid – who cared about some cash a zillion years away.  

So I laughed in your face!  Puh!  I even let a little spittle fly out of my lips but aimed it to the right of your head.  I realized later you were feeling a sense of desperation that you might lose me  – but jeez mom – you always taught me to treat all people equally.  You should have felt proud that I was treating this sexy brown-skinned man better than all the white guys who didn’t want to be my first.”

At that moment the doctor/ nurse team came in and shoved “those” special Declaration papers at my tear-stained face:

“Do you have Power of Attorney?  You need to sign the papers to disconnect the tubes.  Her heart will stop in 90 minutes.” 

And it did.  September 18th, 2010, marked the 4th anniversary of my Mom’s passing – the worst day of my life. 

The good news is the worst day of my life has passed.  Mom wasn’t perfect but she loved me unconditionally despite who I was sleeping with.  She loved me best!  That’s what she said.

Remember when Dionne Warwick sang  to us about a HOUSE not being a HOME?   “A chair is still a chair even when no one is sitting there.”  But I always wondered  –  if someone is lying, sitting, cooking, crapping in your place  – isn’t it still a home?  Even without the love Dionne craved?  How about self-love? 

These are the dumbest freaking lyrics on the planet – a chair is still a chair – an ottoman is still an ottoman  – a leg is still a leg – even if it’s covered with hair  – but a home without love is what?  A parakeet?  Don’t get me wrong   – Burt Bacharach & Hal David wrote some smoking tunes & lyrics – but having just forced myself to re-read the lyrics  – I got a lump in my throat – which I always get before I puke –

We have love in our apartment – but Rob and I both know if we don’t get out of here into a bigger home there’ll be no love – no marriage and only broken chairs which will still be broken chairs – and perhaps broken windows to boot.

So – Rob and I are headed for Westchester – that’s in Los Angeles County  – about  20 minutes from Santa Monica – my home for the last 13 years.  It’s unfamiliar – I don’t know where Ralph’s or Trader Joe’s or Vons is located – I don’t know the neighbors – don’t know if their houses are homes – but our new abode will be a home even when we can’t stand each other.  I’m sure of it!

I used to think life would get easier as we got older – each wrinkle would represent experience and wisdom – knowledge would protect us from our hearts being put in harm’s way – reminding us by automatically spreading “Beware of The Dog” signs everywhere we go.

Now that I’ve discovered this notion is just a myth – CAN SOMEONE PLEASE INVENT “Viagra” for the heart to make it tougher – harder – stronger?  An erect heart may temporarily block those blasts of  hot/cold air which burn the natural flow of sunlight from the arteries. 

Call it Heartagra or Aortalis or Arteriagra – just one pill and the heart is inured from heartache – disappointment – mental death – for 24 hours – so we can freely jump from one branch to another – from the frying pan into the fire with a guaranteed  time out from the challenge of “the next lesson.” 

AORTALIS!  Take it and “Just For Today” be free of anguish.  Enjoy blessed hours of minimally biting levels of negativity scratching at the door:  My best friend dumped me today  – but for this moment in time I’m going to the grocery store with one singular intention – to say “hello” to my favorite check out lady – then bringing flowers to my optometrist – and finally getting my car washed – with a smile.

This pill will put a statute of limitations on any “aha” moments.  Don’t need to learn any of life’s painful truths for one adorable day.

Didn’t get the job my fingers were crossed for – but not wasting time philosophizing over it ’cause I want to bake some cookies for the neighbor whose son accidentally vomited on my driveway. 

Looking forwarad to one day we could fearlessly “JUST JUMP” knowing whatever we step into will just wash off.

Thank you!  Now DO IT!

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