Innergiggler's Blog

Archive for the ‘Slice of Life’ Category

Some days I can’t do more than just go through the motions.  From the time I open my eyes to that moment the world goes dark…there’s a sense of nothingness.  I don’t register whether it was sunny or a cloudy overcast day.  Who am I kidding…I live in Santa Monica, CA…that’s a 98% chance of Full Monty sunshine!  But I’m not appreciative.

The next day is the same.  I call this anti-purple living…with purple being “glory and magnificence!”  I’m unconsciously moving “through it.”  The behavior is un-magnificent and un-glorious…yet there are times when I just have to retreat.  Don’t suggest I change it…that won’t work…and I’ll only get pissed off.  It’s like I’m re-charging.

And then, out of nowhere…uncalculated…one morning I wake up and notice there’s beautiful sunshine beaming through my bedroom windows and I’m happy to take it in and let it permeate my body and mind.  My morning shower feels great and I love the smell of my clean underwear.  I know today will be at least a lavender day.  I smile at people in supermarkets…over-tip an earnest server…almost hug the guy behind the fish counter…and they all know we’re sharing the minimum of purple if not more.  We’re counting ourselves “in life” and in each other’s lives.

By tomorrow I will be living purple again.  Look out…I can’t wait to hug you.

Two weeks ago I started writing a blog bragging about going to LA Traffic Court to fight a $345 parking ticket.  I had fabricated a little scenario which I believed would win my case. 

When I got to the Traffic Court Hearing, a very nice young man introduced himself and led me into a 4×4 office where I sat and shined “honesty.”  What I wasn’t expecting was:  (1) He’d press a button on a recording device, and (2) Would ask me to raise my right hand and swear to tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth.  A flash of light whizzed through my brain briefly challenging the offering of my prepared response as I nodded a “yes” to the recording device.  I then heard, ”Please describe what happened.”

I had created a very good story.  I’m a writer and an actress; I have an experienced storytelling brain and a pair of lying lips.  And, at this point I believed my story.  The letter described why I was forced to park momentarily  in that illegal space… to avoid dire consequences.  I happen to have copies of prescriptions which were written two days before my transgression and could be related to colonic accidents.  It just all fit perfectly.  It was so dramatic, the young examiner might have teared up, but I stayed focused on my script.  As I said…it was a REALLY GOOD STORY.  I ended with “if YOU had been in my shoes you would have done the same.”

Less than a week later I received a communication from traffic court…I had proven my case and would be awarded the return of my $345.  Yesterday I received my check.  I have not deposited the money.

I enjoyed the time I spent while parked illegally…having coffee with my friend Cori…Yes I do feel the fine was excessive, but I don’t feel so good about being a big fat liar.  I’m just saying…winning isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Astounding but true; MY MOM didn’t fart.  Not that she was too busy or possessed faulty plumbing, no!  Farting was not the kind of body function a middle class Jewish woman felt comfortable admitting.  I suspect she wasn’t alone in the “no fartage” in the presence of witnesses category. 

A common scenario…dad, little brother, mom and I might be sitting around watching TV and without warning that too familiar smell wafted through the den demanding we relinquish our attention from Dr. Richard Kimble running from Lt. Gerard in “The Fugitive.”  We’d look around at each other waiting for a volunteer to own up.  It was like “The Spanish Inquisition.”  Who amongst us committed this heinous crime against man?  I’d shake my head “No way!”  My brother would offer, “Not this time.”  Finally, all  eyes rolled toward dad:  “Don’t look at me, I just took a shit!”  In unison,  heads turned immediately toward our reddish brown and white-haired collie Lady, who was innocently sleeping at mom’s feet.  No one ever, not for a second, looked at my Mom.  Her ass was considered incapable of pumping out stinky air.  Of course she too would look down at Lady and make a disparaging comment.  I never considered during all that time that she was qualified to be the culprit. 

 As mom entered her 80s, her hearing went downhill but she refused to wear hearing aids.  “Those things are too annoying…beeping in the movie theatres…clogging up my ears…you want me to hear you…talk louder!”  She didn’t think we could hear her farts a ripping…she could no longer hear them. 

In my house it’s just my husband and I…it’s never a mystery…and usually creates funny comments and lots of laughter.

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Sometime tomorrow I’ll find out if I booked a national commercial – and the waiting is making my mouth water and my teeth sweat.  Either I’ll get it or I won’t.  Either they’ll call me or they won’t.  What time might my cell ring or it won’t?  Anytime.  My phone will be on when I go to sleep.  I WILL sleep thanks to my sleeping assistant, Temazepam.

So anytime tomorrow I may or may not get a call.  If I booked the job, they’ll give me a time to show up on Tuesday for a wardrobe fitting.  That’s the time I’ll have to tell the costume people I fibbed on my size card.  I’ll simply explain I was forced to eat enormous meals since the audition on Friday and gained ten pounds.  But my feet got smaller.

You know when you’re waiting for a decision that seems like it might have a big impact on your life – time seems like it’s standing still?  Today was the longest Sunday of my life – not really – but I think in drama – which is an undefined language many of us share.  My dear friend Katherine Johnson kept me busy all afternoon shopping for office supplies. It’s a fun and relaxing activity because size doesn’t matter.  She then hung in there during dinner while I sobbed and blabbered about favorite moments from my “on stage” repertoire, insisting I’m going to start auditioning again immediately, but not before dinner was over.  

As the snot slid down my lips into my babaganoush – the server jumped up and replaced my napkin supply.  Katherine didn’t seem embarrassed or bothered in any way.  Of course this is LA, people only look at you when you enter a restaurant to see if you’re famous; if not they never look at you again.

Whether I get this job or not I will continue showing up for myself and following my dreams…neither vulnerability nor rejection will kill me.  Pretending I don’t have these dreams will destroy my spirit.  And I’m making a note to read this paragraph again tomorrow.

Another commercial audition this afternoon. American Express was asking this short, chubby Jewish girl to be a rancher and to dress in “casual rancher” garb.  My agent suggested I could duplicate the outfit I’d worn in the submitted photo.  Truth is my present life doesn’t require much of a wardrobe so I still had the shirt.

I also re-created the pic’s hairdo by shaping my locks into two eggrolls, one on each side of my head.  Upon arrival I noticed there were no other women at the call but there were seven or eight middle-aged Asian men, none of whom had much hair.  After questioning, I was told not to worry, so I leaned back and enjoyed being the only female.

It was an interview audition where they ask a question and film your responses.  Those are my favorite because there’s no wrong answer.  I can come up with something funny and then leave. 

Afterward, I got into my car and tallied my audition vs. booking ratio and  winced when reminded of my low stats.  As I comforted myself, I randomly poked my radio and caught Whitney Houston singing “I Will Always Love You” which gave me a ping of sadness…that voice…that melodious ‘any note goes’ voice appears to be gone.  Her crappy choices over the last ten or twenty years have taken its toll.

Suddenly it was all about me.  I became Whitney with a faltering career and began questioning some of my choices.  Maybe I should have stayed in New York; maybe I should have stayed single and devoted more time to my career; maybe I should have remained on the radio; maybe I should just…turn off the radio. 

That’s when I remembered I was a writing drama queen who could go home and spin words on my laptop.  I can continue writing my memoir, post random blogs and generate laughter and thought although never perfectly.  That’s also when I remembered my sweetheart Rob who I met in LA, would be waiting for me when I got home.  And after we quibbled over whose turn it was to either make or pick up dinner,  we could have a glorious evening  Wonderful friends, both virtual and in the flesh.  And of course, my NY Yankees who would be waiting for me on my DVR after we made up…what a glorious life!!!  Especially because I always believed…that “crack is whack!”

“Turn The Beat Around” peppered discos throughout New York City in the ‘70s.  Vicki Sue Robinson’s anthem pumped rhythmic madness into our hearts and bodies. 

I considered myself disco royalty because my body moved as though it was boneless.  Abandoning any”proper” restraint, I’d jump onto that dance floor fired up, shaking  that booty as if it were motorized…the velocity alone might have earned me a speeding ticket.  

It was a Thursday night in the summer of ’78, when I was temporarily de-throned.   After a vibrating session to “Shake, Shake Your Booty” I paused a moment to moisten my palate with a club soda, and  noticed people staring and pointing to my legs which was surprising since frankly, they were never really showstoppers.   Confused by the semi-gaping, I turned to a girlfriend who motioned I follow her to the Ladies Room.

“What?  I’m having a good time!” 

She pointed to my left leg and dragged me to privacy.  “Don’t “what” me!  What you!  Like in what’s that brown crap dripping down your left leg into your shoe?”

After a private deep dish investigation, I discovered there was an internal leakage.  Jetting out of the club, we considered going to the nearest Emergency Room, but I needed time to envision and plan my demise, preferring to wait until morning, if I lived that long.

Upon awakening  I called my GYN and was told he had an emergency; either I wait until the afternoon or see his partner.  Within thirty minutes I was in those stirrups.  I looked up and my heart stopped;  the partner made the current heartthrob, Robert Redford, appear more like WC Fields.  I immediately closed my eyes and pictured WC Fields as the doc began the investigation.   I felt some random instrument enter my inner sanctum then heard him sputtering and coughing, “Ucchhh!  This is too disgusting…I can’t do it!  I’m going to throw up!”  He then insisted I open my eyes.  Laughing out loud, he was waving an old tampax in the air with forceps.

“How long have you been holding on to this?  Were you saving it for a special occasion?”

I was mortified.  How rude!  And how embarrassed I felt, realizing I’d been so busy dancing and posing I’d forgotten basic tampon removal after my last period. 

Happily, the queen’s fall from grace lasted as long as it took to get to the disco that night.  Upon entering  the club, Evelyn “Champagne” King was singing “Shame” as my booty took off.

Slaving away all day at the computer mired in the last of my semi-clean jeans & tee left an odor of funkiness drifting  through the apartment that even began to turn me off.   I tried spraying that awful stuff I call ca ca spray,  it smelled worse.  I sliced huge chunks of onions into my eggs to misdirect the aroma…but failed to de-whiff any area of my living space.

So I pulled the temporary plug on the blog, entitled “The First Time I Saw His…”  which I was totally enjoying…and scooted off to the laundromat.  Busy…busy…too many cars parked in the lot so I drove off to do an errand for a friend, a little food shopping…grab an early dinner…Bingo!  There was a parking space and I was ready to repent for my smelly duds. 

My plan was to continue working on my blog in between converting dollars to quarters, washing, rinsing, spinning, drying and folding.    In between the matching corners on those east coast King sheets which are six feet wide and I’m barely above five feet…I was stretching…pulling, re-folding to make ends meet each other…I was totally focused on pinning the corners…so when I turned around to put my blog safely in my cart…I noticed…my blog was freakin’ gone…!

Ordinarily I’d be upset…but now I’m enraged!  This was the quintessential blog…perhaps the absolute best blog ever written in the history of the world.  It was genius!  It had personification, unification, onamatopoeia, metaphors, analogies, similies and even homilies…yes it was life-affirming, sermon-like.  I believe it could have cleaned up the oil spill in Louisiana and possibly, very possibly ended world hunger.

The movie based on the blog would have been Oscar-nominated…and I could have moved out of a small apartment into a large home where all my friends could visit from other coasts and gather for Salon Sundays.

I looked around, surveyed the other customers…could it be the six non-English speaking women with carts piled higher than the Eiffel Tower? Hmmm!  The homeless guy…yeah…he mighta been thinking he could sell my blog and buy a bottle of vodka…nah!  His contacts probably aren’t reliably humor buffs.   Now I’m panicking…I rushed to the car to see if I might have moved it during the stress of getting clean…oh no! 

The laundry manager whose head is covered with unbraided brillo-like curls just took out his guitar and began singing!!!  He’s singing loudly and totally off-key.  He seems awfully happy…lemme get a look inside his guitar…maybe he’s the culprit…No!  There’s nothing in his instrument…neither the one he’s playing nor that thing on his head…

I promised Hollye I’d get this blog done tonight…I don’t want to disappoint anyone…but obviously…it’s gone.  How does one replicate a gift from the universe?  It was a one time deal…like the time my dog ate my brilliant homework.  Oh well, tomorrow’s another day.

I am rather concerned about the environment, especially the immediate space that directly intersects with mine.  I have a very sensitive nose which cannot bear overstimulation by gallons of perfumes. 

So…am I alone here?  Do you ever wonder what possesses people to splash or spray themselves with enormous amounts of whiffery so that they actually become Olfactory Terrorists? 

Investigation suggests low self-esteem, perhaps fear that their natural body odors are so putrid that people will shun them?  For others, it might be a cover up of a shower skip?  The fact that he/she hasn’t made it to a washing machine in way too long and knows their clothes are way too smelly, dank, fettered with smells that the garment can actually speak.  Listen sometime…”I’m reeking of spilled broccoli” or “Boo hoo – I haven’t touched soap suds in two years.”  Some messages are as bold as “Get away, stay away..I’m unlovable, untouchable, don’t trust my space…or in some instances…RUN. 

I’m telling you ‘smell tsunamis’ are invading us daily and we’re too busy focused on other issues like food, jobs, war.  Can’t people limit themselves to say – one or two sprays a day?  Okay, for special occasions  go for three quick spritzes, but GET conscious people because you just may be an offender.

*February 16, 1954

My first memory of the umbilical cord‘s “perfection” came within forty-eight hours of moving into our first house.  Nine years old now, I was packed up, handed  a lunch box and sent on my way to P.S. 173 in Fresh Meadows, Queens.  

Mom said we were several miles from the school now so I had to take a school bus.   She walked me to the stop on that dreary overcast day and kissed me goodbye.  There were four other kids at the stop but no one said anything to me before or after we got on the bus.  I hoped it was friendlier in my classroom.

My teacher’s name was Sandra Goldberg.  She seemed nice, but it was the middle of the school year and I was the new kid so I felt sort of weird.  Always one of the top students in my class, I was very concerned she wouldn’t know that and might assign me the wrong reader.  I was just hoping she didn’t put me in the slow group.  I was pretty nervous the whole day, but managed to get 100 on the spelling test. 

None of the kids paid much attention to me until the end of the day when the school bell rang.  A girl named Elissa tapped me on the shoulder and started a conversation with me.  Although I was glad a classmate finally spoke to me, I really wasn’t comfortable it was this particular girl.  I’d been watching her during the spelling test when she was making lots of funny faces; I also noticed her belt was up too high above her waist.  In any case now was not a good time because I had to go search for the school bus.  Elissa said she’d show me where the buses met, but was blabbing so much, by the time she got me to the right place my bus was gone. I can actually still feel the terror in my chest when I recall that moment.

I didn’t know my address; I didn’t know my phone number.  It had been drizzling all day, but now the rain was coming down in buckets.  I tried getting back into the school –  but the door was locked.  In retrospect I probably had tried the wrong entrance, because schools don’t lock up at 3:00p, but I’m 50 years too late to change anything.  So I just picked a direction and started walking; I had a 25% chance of getting it right. 

Moving in a straight line, I kept talking to my Mom, “I’m coming home…show me how to get home.”  About forty minutes into my journey the rain lightened up.  And that’s when I saw a street sign for 75th Avenue –  ding, ding, ding…75th Avenue.  My heart jumped.  It seemed to ring a bell; something told me to make a right turn.  Two blocks later I noticed a lady standing on the sidewalk in front of a closed garage.  Trying to keep my terror in check because I didn’t want to scare her away, I approached her blurting out the details of my sad story.  I remembered part of my address, so she took my hand and told me not to stop worrying.  As we started walking I realized she’d been standing at the spot where I’d gotten the school bus that morning, and my heart started dancing.  I just knew at that moment my mom was nearby.  Three blocks later we stood in front of a house that looked a little familiar.  I mean I had lived there for almost two days.  The uncontrollable terror sobs wanted to break free and express themselves; I couldn’t hold them back anymore so I just let them rip.  I could feel mom behind that front door.  The lady took me up the steps and rang the bell.  Mom knew it was me.   She opened the door and threw her arms around me, sobbing and hugging me over and over again.  She thanked the lady then walked me upstairs, removed my soaking wet first day of new school clothes, threw them aside and let the bathtub run with sweet smelling bath bubbles

While the tub was filling up, I got to have as many toll house cookies as I wanted.  That was the only time in my life, ever, that Mom didn’t tell me “Don’t fill up before dinner.”  If there’s anyone who doesn’t believe in the strength, the very force of the umbilical cord, you’re uninformed or sadly in denial.

*Excerpt from “How I Buried My Mom…Still Attached To The Umbilical Cord”

The only person who could comfort me over the loss of my Mom was the Mother hen herself.  Her brilliant approach to assuaging any sadness was to avoid talking about it, tell me “Keep your chin up” offer me cookies.  Who can I now depend on to love me more than anything…to be the keeper of all subjects personal?  I told Mom almost everything  either out of guilt or the lack of anything else to talk about during our daily phone calls. Who else was that interested in my bowel movements?
“Oh Ma, I wish I hadn’t eaten that peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich for dinner. I had the runs all night.”
“Was it loose or firm?
“Kind of in-between. Kind of a loose firm, like soft tofu.”
“Are you still going?”
“Uh, no. It stopped about 5am.”
“What did you have for breakfast?”
“My usual, cereal with soy milk. I left out the banana.”
“No, the banana is good. It binds you. Eat a banana.”
“Mah…ah, I’m not hungry.”
“Is your stomach bothering you at all now?”
“No, actually I feel fine now.”
“Maybe you should rest. You do too much. And have a light dinner. Maybe just some cottage cheese over noodles with a little buttah, you know how I used to make for you.”
We had way more than one conversation about my bowels. I always knew bringing it up was a slam dunk to engage her in conversation and also it gave her the opportunity to play Mommy again. I have over-the-counter medications in my medicine cabinet that have never been opened; they were all highly recommended by Mom to cure a large variety of ills, ails and discomforts. Maybe I can submit them to a Mommy Museum.  How lucky I am that someone loved my bowels so much.

*Excerpt from “How I Buried My Mom…With The Umbilical Cord Still Attached. ” c.2009


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