Sunday, March 29, 2015


I accidentally wore an outfit without pockets today.  I hate that.  No matter how cute I think I am at home, I am always miserable when I get out in the world without pockets.  What am I supposed to do with my keys?  My phone?  The random treasures I find on the ground?  I need pockets!
I think the whole pocket thing goes way back for me.
When I was in kindergarten, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother who lived across the street from the school.  She once sent me to school in a snazzy little pocketless ensemble.  I didn't have much to carry in those days, however, on this particular day something special was going on in Mrs. Pluff's afternoon kindergarten class and we needed to bring - I don't know - a nickel or something to pay for a special treat.
Where was I going to put it?
Now, my grandmother was a little left of center, to be sure, and she came up with some bizarre ideas from time to time.  On this particular day of no pockets, she decided to tie my nickel into the corner of an embroidered handkerchief so I wouldn't lose it.
I walked to school with the hanky wadded up in my little fist to avoid embarrassment. Most of the tight spots I have gotten myself into in life have stemmed from me trying to avoid embarrassment, come to think of it. 
That day, Mrs. Pluff had an action-packed adventure all set up for us in the school's gymnasium!  She even had several assistants on loan from the nearby Vo-Tech.  And we marched into that gym with nervous excitement, absolutely thrilled to find gigantic, brightly colored parachutes and millions upon millions of red rubber balls!! 
This was going to be amazing!!!
Wait!  What was I going to do with my grandpa's snot rag tied around a nickel?!?!  Drat!  Being the quick-thinker that I was in kindergarten, I shoved the whole darn thing down my pants.  I was a weird little kid, but I was no dummy, and I didn't want that nickel to fall out the bebellbottomed legs of my elastic-wasted pants, so I put the money-filled hanky in my big girls for safe keeping! 
After hours of playing awesome games with those parachutes and rubber balls, they had us line our sweaty little selves up in front of the assistants.  We were all still laughing and feeling very high from such great excitement, and I forgot all about the situation in my drawers!  Still buzzing, I reached the assistant manning the treat table.  "Where's your money, Sweetie?", she asked.
I froze.
Something happens to me when I freeze like that.  I never did buy into the whole right-off-like-a-BandAid theory.  Never was one to just jump in the cold water.  No, no.  I always liked to drag out an uncomfortable moment.  So, instead of just pulling out that cursed hanky, I ever so agonizingly slowly reached down into my no pocket pants, into my big girls, and reached the very tiny corner of my grandmother's handkerchief.  All the while, I was looking at this nice young teacher's assistant with the sad, sad eyes of a basset hound.  And slowly, slowly tugged on the handkerchief.  And she looked on in absolute horror as this crazed, perverted little clown pulled a string of colorful silk scarves out of her crotch.
(Insert calliope circus music here.)
And that's why I prefer pockets.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Answer is _________________ ?

Sometimes I think I annoy people.  Well, let me be more specific.  I know I annoy people.  But, specifically, sometimes I think it annoys people that it takes me a very long time to process information.  It takes me much longer than it should to answer basic questions, but I think that may be the problem.  Sometimes "basic" questions send my brain on a wild goose chase. 
For example, a person may ask me something like, "Do these pants come in size 8?"  And my mind goes through an entire rundown of possible answers.  First I have to weed through and decline approximately 38 smart ass answers.  Then I have to weed through and decline just as many passive/aggressive answers that would politely let the person know their question was stupid.  Then I have to think about what they really meant to ask, which is, of course, do we have them in size 8.  Then I have to think about whether or not I have seen those pants in a size 8 in any other location.  Then I have to think about how I could possibly get them for her, or what I do have in a size 8 that might be comparable .... etc, etc, etc.  Meanwhile, she's irritated with me. 
I know I do this and I want to stop.  In my attempt to say the right thing and not offend, I am annoying people with my delayed reaction.
So, I know the problem. What never occurred to me until recently was what my face might look like while all this is happening.  I didn't even think about it until I was listening to the Talking Heads the other day and a lightbulb went on over my head.  (Apparently, there is a lot going on over my head!  Ha!)
Years ago I found myself (behind the wheel of a large automobile ... no) at an art center in Omaha watching David Byrne in a small theatre.  It was a really cool show in a rather strange venue and I felt weird about sitting there politely in my seat while David Byrne went nuts on stage.  I decided to get out of my seat and head to the stage.  Now, I don't know if I was the first fool to start dancing in front of the low stage, or the second fool joining the first fool (thus starting a movement), but I ended up front and center and a crowd quickly gathered. 
And there, right above my head, was David Byrne in his little kilt.  He put one foot on a speaker or light or something and swung his hips in such a way that the kilt whipped out over my head and I found myself face-to-________ with David Byrne's tighty whities!
Only they weren't very white.  They were actually rather grey.  So I thought, hmmmm, that's weird.  I wonder who does his laundry for him.  He's David Byrne.  Why are his undies grungy?  Can't he afford to just put on a fresh pair for every show?  Does he do his own laundry?  Does he throw his big, pink fur suit, flesh and muscle leotard, giant shoulder padded jacket and kilt all in his gym bag  with his sweaty underpants after the show and later shove them together in one washer at the nearest Duds-n-Suds?  David Byrne jumping off the tour bus at a Laundromat.  And, speaking of his big, pink fur suit, is that a mohair suit?  Is that what Elton John was singing about?!?!  He's got electric boots, a mohair suit, you know I read it in a magazyyheeeeeeeeen ohhhhh ho.  I don't think mohair looks like that.  And certainly you wouldn't throw that in a washing machine, would you?  And wouldn't that turn your panties pink not grey?  Do you think Elton John wears tighty whities?  I wonder who does EJ's laundry .....
So, all of this went on while I was staring at the man's crotch.  And he was swinging that kilt over my head so I would have a great view because obviously I was intrigued.  I remember looking away from his underpants and guiltily up to his face where he was looking at me with a great deal of mirth in his eyes ... and I truly felt like we had a moment.
A really embarrassing moment.
And now that I've identified the problem .... I still don't know what to do about it.  I suppose it is just nice to know.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming

The very charming and delightful Alan Cumming wrote a heart-felt, honest memoir detailing the parallels of his own life and the life of his maternal grandfather as he - during the filming of a BBC television series called Who Do You Think You Are - unraveled the mysteries surrounding his grandfather's death.  And while Mr. Cumming melted down while telling his story, I melted down with him as I discovered my own parallels. 
It is difficult to turn horrific memories and brutal - truly brutal - honesties into a story people would want to read.  To turn your pain into something beautiful.  To turn raw emotion into beautiful art.
It is difficult.
This was a very sad story and my heart went out to Alan Cumming.  And to a little girl I used to know. 
Not My Father's Son will leave you feeling somber, to say the least, but I would still recommend reading it as Cumming is such an alluring character and his honesty, while raw and painful, is refreshing and delightful.  There are times when I feel I am too vague about my own suffering and because of that I am appreciative of those who can take their pain and turn it into something positive.
Alan Cumming remains a favorite for me .... and I wish I could give him a hug.