The US Open Unintentionally Became My Stage

I love the US Open. Always have. Always will. It makes me happy. It reminds me of my short-lived tennis career. And by short-lived I mean winning one tournament when I was thirteen, (that my dad still talks about).

US Open is my stage

My friend and I walked around the US Open grounds, watching other matches like the wheelchair matches- what? I’d never seen these before. The women were warriors.

After watching for only a few minutes, we both decided that the next time we complained about anything; like the slow moving subway, or the heat, we were going to remember that WE CAN WALK!

We admired their athleticism, agility, and guts. It was inspiring. And more importantly, the stands were in the shade. Sorry, but that mattered.

When we got back to the box (helps to know people in banking) and walked into the room, it was a lot more crowded than we had first arrived. People stood in a semi-circle, the room was silenced and all eyes were on us. I was half expecting to hear, “Surprise!”

It was awkward. I didn’t know what was going on or where to look. It felt as if we were in the wrong room. I had to say something, it was too quiet. “Is this Candid Camera? Am I on TV?” Is Candid Camera even on anymore?

Thank god people laughed.

The Queen Bee, who was in charge of the box, looked at me and said, “Please meet Lindsay Davenport.” I turned to my left and yup, there she was; a 6’2″ drink of water, smiling, and holding a black Sharpie. I had no idea what she was doing there.

The Queen Bee said that Lindsay was signing US Open hats, which we were all given upon arriving, due to the heat. She asked me if I wanted Lindsay to autograph mine. Lindsey was a little more than embarrassed and said, “Oh, no, you don’t have to.”

Oh, really. What kind of douche would I be if I turned down your John Hancock? Please. “No, I definitely want you to sign my hat.” She asked me if I wanted it on the inside or outside. I thought that was a classy move. I said, “Inside, so then it’d be my little secret.” What? She laughed.

The room laughed again and as my friend so eloquently put it once the awkward dissipated, “Well, that turned into the Dani show.” It always does my friend, it always does.

While Lindsay was signing my hat, she asked if we were watching some of the other matches. I told her about the wheelchair matches, as if she would be completely unaware of what goes on at the US Open.

I also might’ve regaled her with my spiritually conscious comment about how watching these matches makes you never want to complain about anything ever again.

I know but imagine how I felt. I was there. You’re only reading about it from a safe distance.

Lindsay’s handler told her that she had another appointment to get to and just like that, she was gone, along with a wee part of my dignity.

Until next year.

 

 

Hovering Parents Need To Land

HoveringParents

PhotoCredit:NYTIMES

The Today Show did a story last week on helicopter parenting. The story focused on a particular brand of pilots; parents hovering at the college level. I guess it’s an epidemic or why would The Today Show spend a good ten minutes on the subject.

Did you know that certain colleges have offices, with personnel, to assist hovering parents in loosening their reigns? Yeah, they provide guidance on how not to crowd their kids and to leave them the f’ alone.

They’re in college! Do parents see college as an extension of Mommy & Me classes? The fact that colleges feel the need to offer this sort of help is beyond my comprehension.

Over parenting, as helicopter parenting is also called, is about the parent. Some believe that hovering will give their child a leg up in the world, because it’s a competitive world.  It seems that some of these parents are in competition with other parents to see who can hover the lowest without pissing off their child.

Today is a much different world than the one that I grew up in and I wonder if we had cell phones and Skype, if my parent’s would’ve been texting me every hour of the day. They might’ve but I probably would’ve had my phone silenced, especially if I was getting hazed at a sorority or road tripping to Chicago.

The story went on to report that helicopter parenting, although well intentioned (for the most part) can really f’ up a whole generation of kids. Oh, yeah— if parents can’t refrain from solving their kids’ problems, removing obstacles in their path, and protecting them from the boogie man, these kids are going to grow up reliant on their parents, spoiled, and anxious, with little or no coping skills.

How did my friends and I manage without our parents camping out on our campuses? I suppose the same way that we all survived riding bikes without helmets, walking to school alone, and eating bologna.

There are varying degrees of hovering and I can only speak to my experience as the Girlfriend Mom, and how I grew up.

My parents were anything but hovering. Annoying? Frustrating? Sometimes hung over?— Yes. Hovering? No way. My parents let me suffer the consequences of poor choices.

When I was arrested for tagging an underpass in my small town (see adorable tale here) they didn’t let me rot in jail, but they also didn’t seem to care how dry my tongue got after licking three hundred envelopes, or the paper cuts I got from stuffing envelopes while performing five hours of community service. Say what you will, but I never picked up a can of spray paint again.

My parent’s couldn’t wait for me to go to college, so they could have the house to themselves. That’s freedom and a well deserved permanent vacation. I’m not saying that they weren’t sad to see me go but my mom did not ask if she could be my college roommate.

My father did not do me any favors when he helped (read: wrote the majority) with a term paper or writing assignment. It took me years to learn that the first draft of anything is not the final draft. I would’ve learned this a lot sooner had I failed a class, or did poorly on a paper. I don’t think hoverers understand this concept.

I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but I’m glad that my mother taught me how to do my own laundry when I was in high school. And although it didn’t necessarily stick, she also taught me how to cook. Not to brag, but when one of my nephews was eight or nine, he was already making his own pancakes— stove and all.

It’s not fair to render children clueless. I understand not wanting to let go— I’ve seen the pictures of parents in tears when sending little Johnny or Jessica off to Kindergarten. I get it. It pings at your heart to see them grow up.

However, why deny them basic life skills? I made a point of letting the GM daughter know that when she brought her laundry home from college, that she was going to do it herself. I taught her how and it was great for both of us. I wanted her to feel empowered, and independent. And she is.

Isn’t it a parent’s job to prepare their children for the world beyond college? Maybe all of the worry, texts and hovering is because parents don’t feel that their children are prepared. But then you have to ask yourself, why aren’t they prepared?

This is not to say that there were, and are, times, when you want your mommy, or daddy to take care of you. That’s what they’re there for; to reassure you that, no matter what, they will always be there, and that their laps are always open for your head.

For the most part, my parents let me stumble (a lot) while I figured shit out. Maybe they didn’t see the value in hovering, or maybe they were just lazy. Hovering does take up a lot of time.

The truth is, the umbilical cord is never fully severed, and it’s in the letting out just enough slack for a child to spread their wings, experiment, seek, falter, and make questionable decisions, that will always be the parent-child dance.

 

Christopher Meloni, A Towel, And Me

ChristopherMeloni

ChristopherMeloni

For many years, two things remained constant in my life; Christopher Meloni (Law&Order-SVU) and dry skin. And I often asked myself how handing Christopher Meloni a towel, 20 years ago, while working at a gym in NYC, where he was a member, lead to a connection that he knows nothing about.

That towel was the beginning of a twenty year, one-sided romance. When I met Christopher Meloni he wasn’t the Christopher that he was on SVU. Back then he was just another hot struggling actor.

He’d come into the gym almost every day and every day he flirted with me. I’m just speaking my truth, which could very easily not be CM’s truth.

ME: Towel?

CHRISTOPHER: Sure.

You could cut the sexual tension with a knife.

There were many coincidences over the years that linked us together. I believe the most significant incident happened while traveling through Europe, in 2005, after I left Los Angeles, and moved to Prague to teach English as a foreign language.

My friends have always stayed vigilant when it came to CM sightings and how they might fit into my life. The Europe sighting was no exception, and I thank Sweet Baby James for the email.

I received his e-mail while decompressing in my hotel room, after a day of touring the always uplifting Krakow, Poland. Sorry Krakow. He informed me that CM was starring in the play, A View From The Bridge, in Dublin. Ireland here I come.

When I arrived in Dublin, I took a bus to the Gate Theater. A jolly lolly woman in the box office said that the show was sold out. I felt sucker punched. I told her that I came from Krakow. As sorry as she was, she could only suggest arriving early for last minute cancellations. Done Jolly Lolly.

I fantasized about meeting Detective Stabler wearing my torn and tattered sneakers, looking like a bag lady, and I was appalled. I found a cheap Irish department store, populated by several drunks, their shattered dreams and synthetic blends.

I bought a pair of inexpensive high-heeled, plastic and rubber, uncomfortable, puke brown boots because I was desperate and on the clock.

I returned to the theater and sat my tired ass on the cold concrete steps. I took out the boots from my sassy backpack, and as I began my footwear switch, out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of the man, the myth, the legend, Christopher Meloni, heading in my direction.

My face flushed and my palms began to sweat. The side boot zipper snagged my ratty athletic sock, and my foot hung limp from the boot. I lowered my head, embarrassed, and pretended to read my David Sedaris book, Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim. 

What was I supposed to do, say hello, while pulling up my boots? Maybe I should’ve said, “Towel?”. I felt him glance over at me. However, it didn’t feel like it was a, hey, who’s the hottie in the plastic boots?’.

I desperately wanted him to know that I wasn’t a homeless person who just happened to like Arthur Miller. Christopher had his, ‘an actor prepares’, face on, so I didn’t dare approach. And with that, he disappeared into the theater.

I kicked myself with my plastic boot for being a pussy. I couldn’t let it end like this. I decided to write him a note and invite him out for a drink after the show. I’d explain our mutual connections so as not to scare him.

I ripped a blank sheet of paper out of the back of my book. I mentioned a friend of his, who was a friend of a friend, who had died in 911. This was my feeble, (and questionable) attempt to demonstrate our connection; to let him know that I wasn’t a mental patient who, at the last minute, booked a flight from Krakow to Dublin, to see him perform and share a pint.

I walked into the theater, and I handed my note to Jolly Lolly and asked her to give it to Mr. Meloni. She looked at me, then down at the folded paper. There was a distinct possibility that, as soon as I walked away, she’d read it and pitch it in the trash. I wasn’t naive.

After waiting in line for an hour, I got a ticket. My seat was in the very last row. The blokes sitting next to me said that I should thank their friend Rory because he had to fly to Croatia on business. Thank you, Rory and God Bless You.

While sitting in Rory’s seat, I debated whether I’d wait at the stage door after the show. What if CM got my note, and decided to leave through the back door instead? What if he didn’t get my note, and I saw him outside the stage door? Would I tell him about the note? What if he started running down the street? Would I follow?

It was the summer of taking chances. I waited outside the theater, and I pretended to call someone on my cell phone. That was it. Something snapped me out of my delusions. Something I like to call– sanity!

I abandoned ship and put plastic boots to pavement and limped to the bus stop. I continued looking over my shoulder to see if I could catch a glimpse of Christopher leaving the theater. As I passed hotel after hotel, I felt like that streetwalker on the beat, who appears in almost every SVU episode.

The sanity didn’t last.

What if Christopher was expecting me? That sliver of hope loomed large. I hobbled back to the theater. As I approached, I saw only darkness.

I turned around once again and I left Dublin. I guess CM and I will always have the towel.

 

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Post Stop Cafe

Post Stop Cafe- Westhampton Beach, NY

Post Stop restaurant

I’m not a reviewer of restaurants, films, theater, or books, but sometimes, you just have to speak up. Today is that time.

I was in Long Island over the Labor Day weekend, visiting friends, and on the spur of the moment I decided to drive to Westhampton Beach. I hadn’t been since an old boyfriend and I had gone when I was still in college. I remember cutting the trip short because I either had a UTI, yeast infection or a debilitating hemmoroid. Any one of those would have been possible. I just can’t recall which one.

Now I’m curious. Note to self, call T and ask him why we had to get out of dodge.

I drove along the main road that runs parallel with the beach, admiring the lovely homes and I was struck by an overwhelming feeling of familiarity. I realized that I could’ve been driving in West Palm Beach, Virginia Beach and parts of New Jersey. I suppose at a certain price point, the landscape all looks the same.

I forewent the beach because I was dangerously close to slipping into a hypoglycemic coma and wetting myself, so I drove into town to find a bathroom and food— in that order.

I stopped at the first place I saw, which was an adorable kitchenette. I approached the door, and I saw a sign, Cash Only. Shit. I have been told, on numerous occasions, by ex-lovers, to always carry cash. It’s one of my lazier traits. I got back in the car.

I drove into town and parked the car, again. I really had to use the restroom. However, this did not stop me from spending time entering, and then exiting, two more restaurants, because I wasn’t feeling it. I’ve always found that when you’re eating alone, there are more things to consider, than if you had company.

I went to the ATM (just in case) and went into the Post Stop Cafe. The hostess, a woman in her late 50’s, early 60’s, approached.

Hostess: Hi, can I help you?

Me: Yes, I’d like to sit outside. Where is your restroom?

Hostess: (pointing) Straight back. Is it just one?

Me: Yes.

Hostess: Would you like to sit at the bar? (then pointing to a small table by the bar) Or there?

Me: No, outside.

Hostess: Oh, ok.

I was already pissed, but in all fairness, it could’ve been the full bladder. What about, I’d like to eat outside, didn’t you understand? And because I’m a single woman, you want to put me at the bar or at a table in the corner? I don’t think so. I want to sit outside, where all can see my single, independent wonder— you coos.

When I got outside, the menu and a glass of water was on a table. I assumed it was for me but nobody saw me to it. Thus started a series of annoying and rude events.

A waitress came out and serviced two other tables, and ignored me. I stopped her and told her that I wanted to order. I asked her if this was her station. She said that it wasn’t but that she’d take my order anyway. Hey, thanks for the sacrifice.

It took close to 30 minutes for my food to arrive. In that time, I had a busboy ignore my empty water glass, to which I had to practically tackle him to fill it. Then there was the bee incident.

Apparently the hostess was telling those that wanted to sit outside, that there were bees buzzing around the tables, and that they’d probably be more comfortable inside. She imparted this helpful information to everyone but me.

If her sitting at the bar suggestion was her way of protecting me from the bees, it would have been more efficient if she had mentioned why?!

I looked around and the average age was probably 65. I must’ve wondered into the Cocoon part of town.

My food finally arrived and after scarfing it down, I wanted out. The check came and when I handed over my Visa card, I was informed that they only took American Express. Who only takes American Express? I didn’t want to wait any longer, so thanks to the cash that I had on me (that shit does come in handy) I slapped it down and left.

All in all, the Post Stop Cafe has horrible service, mediocre food and bees. Enter at your own risk.

 

to what lengths for Chanel lipstick

How Far Would You Go For Your Chanel Lipstick?

 

to what lengths for a Chanel lipstick

PhotoCredit:Chanel.com

I have a short post today, (listen up Chanel cosmetics) because I’m preparing my celebration of the American labor movement on Monday. I’m gearing up to honor the social and economic achievements of workers everywhere. What? I can’t pay tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country? How cynical of you. 

How far would you go to save your lipstick? Not just any lipstick, but a recently purchased Chanel lipstick?

I was on my bike last week, having just left Bloomingdales. Yes mother, I was at Bloomingdales, try to control your pride. A few months ago, I had gotten a sample of a Chanel lipstick, and I had fallen in love with it. I use the term, ‘in love’, loosely here. It’s been a slow month.

Anyway, I decided to go to Chanel and buy the big girl version of the sample. I had never owned anything Chanel, cosmetics or otherwise, and I was excited to make my purchase. Again, I use the term ‘excited’ loosely.

Chanel always reminds me of my good friend and her sister, who used to wear Chanel, and used their products, back in high school. I especially remember the perfume that they wore. For a kid growing up on the streets of Yonkers, wearing denim head to toe, and speaking in an almost undecipherable Bronx-like accent, Chanel represented class and sophistication. Dungarees and Jean Nate just don’t have the same effect.

I made my purchase, feeling all grown up and got back on my bike. I was heading across town on 53rd street, which, like every other friggin street in New York, has construction, so there’s a bit of bobbing and weaving that takes place.

I must’ve hit a pothole, or a discarded piece of trash, because before I knew what happened, my Chanel lipstick popped out of my bag in the front basket and took flight.

Lest anyone think, (and you’d be correct in doing so), that it was my new big girl lipstick that flew out of my bag, it wasn’t. Nope, it was the sample. The sample, the size of my index finger, was now on the cruddy city street.

What to do, what to do? I had to retrieve it of course. I wanted it. There was still some goop left in it. Now I realize that anyone witnessing this scene might have had some choice words, or opinions, but the beauty of New York city is that no one gives a New York city rat’s ass what anyone else does, as long as it doesn’t interfere with what they’re doing.

As soon as I saw my little pink angel land, I slammed on the brakes. I was only a few feet from the end of the block, but the lipstick had been airlifted a few hundred feet behind me, towards the middle of the block. This was a one-way street and now I had to swim upstream if I was going to attempt a rescue.

to what lengths for a Chanel Lipstick

I hadn’t yet gotten a new kickstand, so I had to maneuver the bike against a construction dumpster, that was conveniently double parked. It took me a few choice moments to balance the bike, with my weighted bag in the basket. And yes, there was a slight hesitation as to whether I was really going to run against traffic to retrieve a stupid sample lipstick.

I went for it. As cars raced towards me, I ran to the lipstick, snatched it up off of the filthy ground, raced back to the bike, shoved it down into my bag, climbed aboard, and pedaled home as if noticing had ever happened. That’s all class right there.

How far would you go (if you’d go) for a sample Chanel lipstick?

 

How To Love After 50 Years

LoveAfter50years

PhotoCredit:Seniorlivingrockies.com

I spent last Tuesday in the hospital with my father, admitting my mother, and then waiting for her to come out of surgery. She was having a herniated cervical disc removed. No big whoop.

I used to get defensive when I was expected to attend certain family gatherings or my parents asked if I could meet during the week for lunch. I didn’t think that they respected the fact that, even though I didn’t have a 9-5 or 10-6 or 8-5 (for example) job, it didn’t mean that I was always available.

Maybe being available is why I freelance. So that I can be there for my parents when one of them has to go to the hospital. Maybe this is a part of my calling, my purpose. Maybe I’m the caretaker that horoscopes say us Virgo’s are.

I was thankful that I could spend the entire day with my dad, doing headstands (me, not him) to prevent leg clots that sitting and waiting can cause, eating bad cafeteria food and running out for wine before he started to sweat and tremble.

I had to be there. I wanted to be there.

The familial tides are shifting. I was now asking the hospital staff to bring my mother water. I was listening to the doctor’s post op instructions because my father’s hearing isn’t so good. Although, instead of caretaker, I prefer personal assistant.

I was supposed to be there. I’m supposed to be available to them.

After 53 years, my parents love each other like they did when they first met. They are each other’s best friend, and they both know that, at this point, who else would have them. They care for each other intensely and they would crumble without the other one.

This I witnessed last Tuesday.

It brings me to tears. I told my dad that I wanted someone to feel about me the way he feels about my mother. I want someone to be afraid to lose me. I told him that they set the bar pretty high. He told me that what he and my mother had required work.

I wasn’t afraid of work. In fact, I welcome it because it would mean that I had something, or someone, that I felt was worth working on. Isn’t that something to write home about?

When my dad and I were allowed to see my mom, she was hooked up to all sorts of plugs, chords and machines. She was pale, but for the most part, she looked good, even her hair. She had just come out of anesthesia. I kissed her. My dad followed and then stood at the end of the bed, squeezing her foot (not feet) one foot.

I could see the relief in his face and just how nervous he had been throughout day. It was as if that squeeze steadied him and confirmed that she was still with him.

Then, out of nowhere, my mother pointed to my dad and said to me, “Did you see the shirt he’s wearing?” Earlier in the day, my dad and I were talking about clothes, (I forget in what context), and he told me that, while my mom was being admitted into the hospital, she saw that his collar was frayed, and she made a remark about why he’d leave the house wearing a tattered shirt.

And there it was. Their whole relationship neatly wrapped up in a frayed collar.