Sunday, February 02, 2014

"How do you do?"

So began the first message from my "secret pal."

She's a child -- a girl, I think -- who goes to my church. She's between the ages of 5 and 15, younger rather than older. She drew me a picture of a cat and gave me a snowflake eraser as a present.

Every Sunday this month, we're going to exchange messages in a bucket before the service. Then, on the 23rd, our identities will be revealed and we will meet face-to-face at a party.

I only signed up to do this because a couple weeks ago, there was a notice in the bulletin that there were more kids than adults signed up for the program this year. I hated the thought of a child reaching out and no one reaching back. Plus, that week was devoted to Dr. King and the subject was service, so ... Right after I volunteered, I was hoping they'd tell me they didn't need me, after all.

But then this morning I saw her messily printed, "How do you do?" and received her little present and the drawing she did because I said in my profile that I like cats. And I was touched.

Whoever she is, I'm glad she's my pal.

Sunday Stealing


To play along, click here.

Put your music player of choice on shuffle and list the first song "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra

If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Would you take anyone with you? Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica. I wouldn't take anyone with me because I really enjoy my alone time. But my oldest friend lives nearby.

What is your preferred writing implement? (eg. Blue pen, pencil, green pen) A very sharp pencil

When did you go on your first trip alone (without your parents)? When I was 16, my cousin and I flew to Ft. Lauderdale to visit her dad, my favorite uncle. It was my first flight.

Do you have connections to any celebrities (even minor)? List them. I can't think of anyone.

Name 3 items you could pick up from where you are. My cat, Rey. My cat, Joe (though it would take two hands to lift him.) Thermometer (I have a cold).

How would you describe your sense of humor? Robust.

Do you ever play board games or other non-computer games? Got any favorites? Scrabble.

A musical artist you love that isn’t well known. Marcia Ball, a blues pianist my best friend turned me on to.

A musical artist you love that is well known. Paul McCartney. Perhaps you've heard of him. Plays bass for a band who appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago next week.

What is your desktop background currently? 

These two photos take turns on my desktop, revolving from one into the other, telling the story of the day in the life of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis that provides just one example why I admire her so.

These photos were taken the same afternoon, moments apart, in autumn, 1971. The photographer who took the first shot and appears in the second shot is Ron Gallela. He hounded Jackie on a daily basis, dressing up as Santa Claus to shoot her while shopping at Christmastime, hiding in coat racks for photos of her dining and sometimes even smoking (gasp!) with friends, chasing her in a speed boat while she water skied, following her into movie theaters, etc. When her children were young they still had Secret Service protection and she would ask the agents to, "Please smash his camera," and usually they would. It got so bad that in 1972, just months after this incident, she actually took him to court and got a restraining order. I often wonder what would have happened if Princess Diana had been as ballsy as JBKO; perhaps she'd still be with us.

Anyway, Jackie was running a quick errand, crossing Fifth Avenue in front of her apartment building, when Galella sidled up near her and called her name. She reflexively turned and smiled. When she saw who it was, and that this time he had an accomplice with a camera, she simply slipped the dark glasses on (thereby making the subsequent photos he shot worth a little less), kept her face impassive and kept going.

She hated Galella. He was a stalker and he frightened and enraged her. Yet look at her control. Sure, she could have lost her temper with him (Marlon Brando literally punched his teeth out), but that would have given Galella a front-page shot he could have retired on. So she just withdrew into herself and kept going.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I have a difficult time with my temper, which often hurts no one else as much as it does me.

I hope if I gaze at her long enough and remember the story, some of it will rub off on me. "Remember, Gal, just put on your sunglasses and keep going."

Last person you talked to, and through what you talked to them. The pharmacist. Face-to-face.

What do you carry your money in? A wallet.

What timekeeping devices are in the room you are currently in? My watch and the time display on the upper right hand of my computer.

What kind of headphones do you use? Behind the neck.

What musical artists have you seen perform live? Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett, Barbra Streisand, Chicago, The Beach Boys, Diana Ross, David Bowie ... I'm a pretty typical Baby Boomer, aren't I?

How often do you clear your browser history? I don't think about it.

What’s the best job you’ve ever had? I wrote packaging and promotional materials for new products for a haircare company. It was a lot of fun.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Secretary to an officious prick.

What magazines do you read, if any? Time, People, Allure, More, O and Glamour.