Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sunday Stealing

What are some small things that make your day better? Singing with a long-forgotten oldie as I wash my hair, the chance to read my book on the train in the morning, a blue sky.

What shows are you into?
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Pawn Stars.

What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

and Her Boys TV. If it can be even tangentially connected to these three, I want to see it.

Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
I am so crazy about The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo, and how he uses his power and fame. For a kid who had cancer to be a major league first baseman and an All Star is a big deal. 

But then there's his charity work. He built the new family waiting room at Lurie Childrens Hospital, so that no other parent will be as uncomfortable as his mother was, waiting to see how her child is doing. He worked with traumatized teens after the Parkland shooting (and faced down the Breitbart crowd, who criticized his efforts). He appears at fundraisers and if he can't be there, he sends signed jerseys and balls to be raffled off.

And there's his sportsmanship. I've seen him apologize to an umpire when he displayed too much attitude. Because "it's never good to show anyone up." I hope kids take note of that as well as his homeruns.

I wish everyone in the world was more like Rizz.

What age do you wish you could permanently be?
35. I felt sexy and healthy and completely on it when I was 35.

What TV show or movie do you refuse to watch?
Seinfeld. Or Game of Thrones.

What is something that is considered a luxury, but you don’t think you could live without?
As many cable channels as I can get.

What’s your claim to fame?
Bruce Springsteen dipped me back and kissed me.

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?
Read bound books.

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?
I read a lot of biographies. I like just about any kind of movie except epics.

How often do you people watch?
Every morning on the el.

What have you only recently formed an opinion about?
I don't know. I'm pretty opinionated.

What are you interested in that most people haven’t heard of?
Lucille Ball's early film career.

A full career before Lucy Riccardo

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home? I went to Europe once and Hawaii twice. I can never remember which one is farther from Chicago, but they're both soul crushing flights.

What is the most heartwarming thing you’ve ever seen?
Critters. Dogs and especially cats melt me.

What is the most annoying question that people ask you?
I was annoyed by an Uber driver who asked me, "Do you still work?"

What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
The Kennedys.

If you were dictator of a small island nation, what crazy dictator stuff would you do?
Light bulbs would be standard issue. I hate buying them because they're so boring. OH! And I would ban choose-a-size paper towels. Life demands we make too many choices. Enough already!

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Travel by train. Stop, breathe, enjoy the view.

About Alban

I have an unlikely Facebook friend. His name is Alban. He is a 16-year-old high school student in Michigan.

We "met" on a page devoted to the Beatles. He asked why Wings broke up, and was eviscerated. Apparently, among the faithful, this is a stupid question. Never mind that, for Alban, Wings are ancient history. After all, he wasn't born until after Linda McCartney's death. Forget that -- were he to "just Google it," as he was advised to -- he would receive an overwhelming 186,000,000 results.

Most of all, disregard that we're all adults and  he's just a kid.

So I opened a can of wupass on the bullies. Because I hate bullies. And because I think it's great that Alban is a newly-minted Beatles fan.

The middle one is Alban's favorite.
So now he's my "friend." He shares his love of 50s and 60s music (he's just discovered Ricky Nelson and Elvis) and TV (he has an unexpected but passionate attachment to The Bradley Sisters from Petticoat Junction.) I'm sure that, as he roams his high school halls, he doesn't have many classmates who share these enthusiasms.

He also "likes" all my posts and writes things like, "Aw, you're nice." He IM'd me on Christmas Eve.

It's odd and a little embarrassing. But if it makes him feel less lonely, I can see no harm. We'll never meet in real life, not that he's expressed any desire to. I'm sure he'll soon outgrow me.

But as annoying as Facebook can be, this is what it does well. It makes a boy in Michigan feel connected. Adolescence is hard. I hope my little thumbs up's and comments help.

Sometimes I think I need a tune up

There are times when I really miss being in therapy. When I have a thought that I know isn't healthy or productive, but I don't know how to stop it.

Last week, when I was walking toward the ATM, it occurred to me how surprised I was that my friend Nancy really wants to see me. We haven't gotten together since before Christmas, and she misses me. For real?

I think about the role Henry wants me to play in his recovery, how John says it's been "too long" since we got together for drinks, and how determined my niece was to see my at Christmas, and I am surprised.

My aunt sends me a postcard whenever she goes on a road trip. Preferably one with glitter. She wants me to know I'm in her thoughts. Why me?

I know why this is. Within my nuclear family, I was the "difficult" one. The one no one wanted around. My Icky Grandma, matriarch and biggest personality, really didn't like me because I was too loud. I similarly got under my father's skin. While my mother always loved me, neither she nor my younger sister understood me in the least. In fact, they somehow viewed my life choices as a reflection on theirs. My kid sister feels, in fact, that I am so impossible she still wants little to do with me.

When I was molested by a family member, it was made clear to me that I should keep it to myself, not make waves. My physical safety and emotional well being were less important than the image we had of our dysfunctional family as "normal."

Meanwhile, my older sister -- the one who beat me from the time I was little until I moved out, and who actually once went after my mother with a broom handle; the one who broke my parents' hearts by leaving the receipt from her abortionist in her slacks in the laundry basket; who never helped my widowed mother financially, when money was needed so desperately -- was completely accepted. Was, in fact, Icky Grandma's favorite.

Never mind that, once I look beyond my immediate family, I did get love. My favorite grandfather was never shy about telling me (and anyone else who would listen) that I was clever and funny. His wife, the grandmother I remember most fondly, always had a special place for me in her heart, in part, I suspect, because I reminded her so of her husband. My uncle felt a special bond with me. I've never doubted my Cousin Rose's love.

So why is it love surprises me? It's not a realistic view of my life. But it's the one I have. When these thoughts come into my head, I examine them and try to dismiss them. But here I am, 61 years old, and these thoughts are still the ones who dominate.

Why do I cling to the negative to the detriment of the positive? Why do I let the critical voices (even from beyond the grave) drown out the love? How come "then" has an oversized impact on "now?"