Tuesday, February 11, 2020


WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

1. What are you currently reading?
No Judgments by Meg Cabot. Sabrina suffered a bad break up and wants to start a new life. So she changes her name (call her "Bree"), her hair (from blonde to pink), her job (she's waiting tables) and addresses (she's now in a tiny apartment in the Keys). Everything is going well, until a hurricane sets its sights on South Florida. Like many conchs, she decides not to evacuate but instead ride it out.

I like chick-lit and know the locale pretty well, having traveled to Key West regularly for decades, and so I'm enjoying this book well enough in a Hallmark movie kinda way. I mean, if you can't tell by page 5 to whom Bree will ultimately give her heart, you have never read this genre.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Cary Grant by Marc Elliot.I read a lot of biographies, and have seldom encountered a subject whose real self is so different from his public persona.

On screen he was suave, immaculate, and witty. Offscreen, he was insecure, petty, jealous and cheap. This, in large part, was due to his upbringing. Hardscrabble and devoid of emotional security, his childhood left indelible scars. Therefore, the man who brought joy to us for decades was really pretty joyless. Fortunately, by the end of this book, when he settles into relationships with both his mother Elsie and daughter Jennifer, he finally seemed happy. 

Which is not to say I enjoyed this book. It tells his story chronologically and, I'm assuming, accurately. But Mr. Elliot seems positively obsessed with proving Grant's homosexuality. And yet he doesn't. Probably because Grant was (again I'm assuming) a bisexual who really did love three wives and had many more relationships with women than with men. Definitely because Grant accepted his sexuality and was less interested with labeling himself than Elliot is with labeling him.

And even after 448 pages, the Reel Cary Grant has a greater hold on me than the Real Cary Grant. Audrey Hepburn still speaks for me:

3.  What will you read next? I've got a couple baseball biographies here -- one about Gehrig, the other about Ruth. I don't know which one I'll choose to take me into spring training.

He can't help it. I can.

Henry was really shitty to me Monday morning. For a quick recap, he sent me a sad email Sunday night, worried about losing Reg and wondering what to do about it. I answered it, thoughtfully, before I went to bed. I told Henry he needed to talk to someone who could help him navigate through his feelings and frustrations and articulate his position to Reg without sounding accusatory. I recommended the psychologist he saw briefly last year and his minister. I looked up phone numbers of both the doctor and the pastor, making it as easy for Henry as possible.

Monday morning, I woke up to an email promising that it will be the last time I ever hear from him. If I can't be there for him during the longest, loneliest night of his life, then I obviously don't care about him and he will respond in kind. He closed by asking, "what else can I do?"

I responded that he could do what I suggested last night -- make an appointment with the psychologist or his pastor. Then I went to take my shower. I was frustrated, but not yet angry.

Then I got the email from Kate. She's an old friend of Reg and Henry's that I've met a few time. She and I have never corresponded. 

"Are you okay?" she asked. "Is Henry okay? It sounds like there's been a meltdown."

Henry sent Kate our email exchange. Bastard!

It seems Henry called Kate Sunday night, too. And, like me, she didn't pick up. She assumes he was too lazy or too rushed to personalize the Monday morning "pity party" email and sent it to both of us. She went on to say that my original Sunday message to Henry was "perfect," what she wished she'd said.

Monday was Reg's birthday. I saw photos on Facebook of the two of them at a jazz club. Reg was excited to report that Henry got into the spirit of the birthday celebration and actually danced.

So let's see: I'm walking around feeling angry and wounded because he has disrespected me. He seems to view my friendship as a utility he's paid for, like hot and cold running water. I have no right to not take his call because I'm watching the Oscars. When he turns on the faucet, I simply must be there. It's ugly and unfair.

Meanwhile, he's enjoying dinner at Salute! and dancing by the blue lights of The Little Room Jazz Club

I know he can't help the erratic behavior. He is trying to recover from a traumatic brain injury.I understand the situation and it breaks my heart.

But it does not give him the right to hurt me.

I cannot control his behavior. Hell, since his bike collided with that van, he can't control his behavior.

I must stay positive and loving to Henry, but I also have to protect and love myself. 

I unburdened myself last night to my oldest friend. Our conversation was like a tonic for me. Afterward, she sent me this, advising me to print it out and carry it with me at all times.