Wednesday, April 20, 2011

People I Have Known

I can write whatever I want about some people I have known. They have made it very clear that they will never read my blog. The comments range from "what is a blog?" to "I don't have time for that." It's OK. I'm not offended. I'm sure they're very busy going for manicures, blowing out their hair, or reading the Cliff Notes for their latest book club assignment.
One of these people has been trying to be part of the "A" crowd her whole life. Never much of a student, she managed to graduate from high school, attend a junior college, and study fashion design and decorating.
We were talking one day and I mentioned that I was battling with the squirrels. "I have a plastic tablecloth, out back, underneath some of my plants and the squirrels thought the tablecloth was hiding food. The pests were scratching at the tablecloth and tearing it. "Good for them," she said. "I don't like plastic cloths. They're just awful and in such poor taste." "Good thing you're not here," I said.
She moved to "the Cape" from Long Island and built her house. But before the construction started, she visited several builders, "to pick their brains." She finally decided on plans that she "borrowed" from an architect. She wanted her house to look like a million dollar house but actually cost a lot less.
She always kept up with the fashions of the "A" crowd. After all, that was "her thing." She even came right out and told me that I didn't know what the current fashions were. A lot she knows.
But I think the biggest hurt came after I wrote, copyrighted, and published my crime novels that take place in Hawaii. I sent her one. she asked "would you sign them for my children? How much are they?" I told her, my cost. She said, "I never pay that much for a paperback book." This from the A-list wannabe who lives in a million dollar house and has known me forever.

We replaced the TV in our bedroom with a thinner, larger screen set. What to do with the old one? I asked a neighbor if she would like it. "How much?" she saked. "Nothing. I want to give it to you." "Sure." So, I brought it over and she said thanks.
A few days later, she had occasion to drop in on some pretence, and saw the larger TV we have in our living room. "And you gave me such a little one," she said.
I admit. I was flushtered. What I should have said was, "I'll take it back if you don't want it." But, never again will I give her anything. I would rather pay to have the trashmen take it away, than give it to her.

Kayla's Spring Break

Kayla made it to Florida in spite of the aggravation caused by U.S. Airways. Her father drove her siblings from Philadelphia to Naples but the car trip was too long for Kayla. She gets restless on any trip longer than to the King of Prussia Mall.
So, Kayla had her ticket for a Monday morning flight out of Philadelphia International Airport. Naturally, a tie-up on the Schuylkill Expressway caused a late arrival at the terminal, a rush through security, and yet, a still timely arrival at the departure gate.
Then came the abominable announcement. The flight was overbooked and there were no seats for her and nine other people.
Can you imagine? No wonder one of my friends calls it "useless air."
Kayla was miserable. There was absolutely nothing she could do about this. Talk about feeling helpless.
And then, the magic announcement. Two people had not shown up and Kayla got a seat. Even though she was thrilled to be on this flight, she felt sorry for the eight people who were left behind.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Max the Crystal Skull

We have had our share of, shall we say, interesting encounters - And it's safe to rate them on a scale of kookiness, but, if not in first place, then very close to it, is Max the Crystal Skull and his current owner.
We met Max and his keeper in a large Victorian house in the Philadelphia Main Line suburb of Wayne (think Adams family or University of Pennsylvania's Logan Hall). The owner of the house, a practitioner of Hawaiian massage and other exotic therapies, set up a whole day of private and group sessions with Max and managed to squeeze us in for an interview.
We were treated to a long spiel on crystals, their value in spiritual, physical, and emotional well being that some how or other involved the red hat Llamas of Tibet and the British Museum of Natural History.
It's not clear how the owner came in possession of Max. She told us that she had kept this crystal rock on a shelf in her closet until one day she heard a voice, calling, "let me out, let me out." She followed the voice to the crystal rock and heard, "My name is Max."
We had listened long enough and were packing up, but wait, "would you like to hold Max?" she asked Edgar. He agreed, and I quickly snapped that photo.
"How about you?" she asked me. I agreed and Edgar took my photo too.
"Max really likes the two of you," she said. "He normally doesn't let his picture be taken."
Out interview time was up because a group of ten paying customers arrived to sit in a circle, in silence, around Max, and meditate. We were told that individual customers, given 15 minute private sessions, would be arriving later.
The owner of the house, who got a percentage of the gate, had set up a table of crystal related items for sale. We saw pendants, pins, earrings, necklaces, books, and photos - all with a hefty price tag.
And, as we left, another group of ten was waiting to spend their paid for 30 minutes, in a circle, around Max the crystal skull - with all his magical powers.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Psychics I have (sort of) known

Bill Smith operates the Main Line Animal Rescue. This generous, kind=hearted, dedicated man appeared on the Oprah show. He called attention to the horror of puppy mills.
A telephone call alerts him to animal mistreatment. He jumps into his van and drives to the spot to rescue the abused animals and then he takes them to the vet and pays for whatever treatment is required. He also has the animals implanted with an ID chip, that shows his name and address.
One day, a caller told him about a madman, wielding a hatchet and chopping at the tied-up dogs in a junkyard, located in an unsavory section of Philadelphia. By the time Bill Smith got there, the deranged man had mutilated some of the dogs, swinging at ears, paws, and tails. Bill Smith called the police, and with help, rounded up as many dogs as he could save.
After veterinarian care, he had to place them in warm and loving homes.
He thought he found a wonderful home for a little mixed breed terrier. Two days later, the woman called him and told him that the dog had to go back to the junkyard and be punished. She said, "I spoke to my pet psychic on the telephone and the psychic told me that this dog was the worst of the worst. That in a previous life the dog had been Gengis Khan and had to be punished and suffer some more."
"I'll be right there," Smith said, "and take her back." Then Bill Smith said that the dog was a lovely, affectionate dog. "I sit on the floor, put her on the floor in front of me, stroke her," he demonstrated," and tell her, "Ruby, you are the best of the best, you used to be Eleanor Roosevelt."
So much for telephone pet psychics!

Another time, we were riding on a bus in Honolulu, and even though the "no cell phone" signs proliferate, people ignore the signs.
A person, sitting across from us, finally hung up and felt obliged to tell us that she just had to take the call. "That was from a client," she said. We really didn't ask, but she continued. Turns out, the client was in California, and she desperately needed advice from her psychic who was three time zones away.
The telephone psychic continued that her client was on her way to Vegas and wanted to know if she would be lucky. "I told her of course. She asked me what to bet. I told her red/evens."
"But, her real problem was her boyfriend." The psychic continued, "I told her that her last boyfriend had been bad news from the beginning, and my insight and reading was confirmed when he was arrested and wound up in jail." We did not press for details. Nevertheless, she continued that the current boyfriend had asked to borrow money. "I told her to wait with that. That she should call me in a few days and I would give her more advice."
"How do you get paid?" we asked.
"I keep the credit cards on file and charge by the minute."
We got off the bus at the next stop.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Enthusiasm of youth

We were watching the TV show CHAOS. Our taste in television viewing does not usually include the intellectual shows. We like to be entertained and amused. Our thinking is reserved for books, magazines, newspapers, etc. During the show, one of the characters said, to the effect, we will exit to the trombones. That reminded us of one of our trips in an elevator. Enjoying the ride down, to the beach in Honolulu, a darling little boy was singing "la cucaracha" with energy, enthusiasm, rhythm, and musicality. We encouraged him, and by the end of the ride, we were lucky the elevater didn't crash because all the passengers were dancing and the little boy was beaming.

Isn't it a shame that we lose our youthful enthusiasm and worry about what "they" will think. In an effort to reduce the pain in my back and leg, associated with spinal stenosis, I take very long strides. Surprisingly, that works. I happened upon this by accident. Again, we were in Honolulu, trying to walk to a golf supply store in the Ala Moana Mall. I could take no more than 5 steps without having to stop and rest because of the excruciating pain. My intention was to buy a 3-legged portable chair, carry it with me, and sit down when I had to. At the rate we were walking, 5 steps and stop and rest and 5 steps more and stop and rest some more, I thought, it will take forever to get there. Then I thought, well, if I take steps as long as I can, at least I will cover more ground with those 5 steps. And, luckily I found I could take many more steps without having to stop because of pain. In fact, we walked all the way to the mall (from Lewers St.) without pain and without having to stop. We bought the golf chair and, believe it or not, I have not had to open it since I own it.

I shared my "long stride" relief with friends, and to my amazement, they all asked, don't people stop and look at you. It must look funny. I couldn't believe their comments and how much they say they are governed by what "they" think. I can't name three people who would care how I looked when I walked and if anyone noticed, it would be fleeting. People, as a rule, are involved in their own lives. They don't look, don't notice, and really don't care what anybody else does as long as their own lives are not disturbed.