I’m Pia and back for one day this week. Will be back next week twice, with a guest post or two. If you would like to do a guest post for Courting, leave a comment or shoot me an email. I will be blogging twice a week. Three times at the most. More and Doug will shoot me. An executive committee decides who will guest post.
Again I can’t thank the guest bloggers enough. They have created something rich and wonderful, and are all better blogs hosts than I am.
If you have sent me an e-card, thanks very much but I couldn’t open them as I have been having some computer problems. So I don’t know who sent me any.
Saw my Mom’s best friend Edythe, of 40 years, tonight. She’s 92, a practicing interior designer, elegant, worldly, on top of issues, drives, travels and dances. Will write about her next week as Lucia and I want to become her when we grow up. She’s an amazing model of aging.
My Dad had wanted her to decorate my apartment on East 63rd Street. She agreed to give me the discount and go to some stores, but refused to decorate, because she liked my edgy modern taste, and I did want to decorate my own home.
My Mom ended up living in the same three tower golf course apartment complex as her her and my Mom’s best friend since she was eighteen. My Mom dreaded living so close to her friends. She did grow to love it.
Edythe talked about how everybody knew and was drawn to my Mom. It was wonderful.
My Mom could become friends with anybody. But she told me that she learned about true friendship from me because I had so many intense friendships. At first she couldn’t understand my friendship with a married male hair stylist, but she saw that it was a good friendship, and that Rafe was always there for me.
My Mom loved Lucia and my friendship. Well, uh, some people do call us The Bobbsey Twins. We have been friends for almost 30 years, and after fifteen realized we were in our friendship for life, even when we weren’t gettting along.
I had a wonderful time at my sister’s tonight. The break fast after Yom Kippur was always my favorite meal of the year. When we were young, we would go to a faux-mansion–the life long best friend’s house, where 50 to 60 people would eat the best smoked fishes one could find. My sister recreated that atomsphere in her own French Provencal style.
What’s a Jew without guilt? Sounds like a riddle; maybe it is. The following post is an exercise in fiction, not on real life.
Guilt: An internal debate
Her hair is the subject of much debate at the salon. It has grown over three inches in seven weeks. If she were too shave it, would she become Samson?
She gets up from the fuchsia love seat, goes into the small bathroom, takes off the facial mask, washes her face with the Clarisonic battery charged brush that really does minimize pores. She puts on anti-wrinkle cream, moisturizer, glimmering moisturizer foundation, lip plumper, lip liner, and lip gloss. Her eyebrows are dyed the same color as her hair, and her eyelashes are dyed several shades darker.
Her hair is 40’s wavy fullness. It’s look at me hair.
Delilah is such a pretty name, she thinks idly, and a name she would have hated just a few years ago. But this is the era of Beulah’s, Bella’s, Tillie’s, Rose’s, Sophie’s, and other names from times before hers.
Tonight is one of the holiest of nights. This holiday she won’t be celebrating it with her family. What family?
She used to have a large one and they are all dead or dispersed or she isn’t speaking to them, or they aren’t speaking to her.
There is her sister who needs her to keep her from spending 48 hours recovering from her mother in law. Sometimes, she thinks that they deserve each other. Really though she loves them both.
Today her sister told her that the children of women converts should have to go through a more rigorous Hebrew School to be Bat Mitzvahed. The only time she finds herself at a loss for words is when she speaks to her sister. Yet she knows that her sister has a good heart, though some people would disagree. She feels so guilty for writing something not wonderful about family.
Guilt, guilt, guilt. Guilt engulfs her. Guilt is taking her place at the dinner table tonight. And guilt for having guilt sit in for her. On this second holiest of nights, after every Saturday, she should be with family.
When she and her sister were growing up, girls who came from families that ate bacon* on Saturday mornings never went to Hebrew school, just dance school, music school, and any other after school things their parents deemed necessary to becoming a true upper-middle class American girl.
She takes her hair out of its pony tail, and brushes it fiercely.
Tonight, tomorrow, on Eruv Yom Kippur and Yom Kippur, two day a year Jews go to Temple. Many celebrate both days of Rosh Hashanah. Some services are so hot, tickets are scalped. But for her it was always a family holiday. Her father only went to Temple for the sermon and the late afternoon discussion, never the prayers. She likes the prayers but never knows when to stand and when to sit.
She should initiate phone calls or emails to friends and family. That is traditional. She hasn’t received one card in the mail, and can’t seem to access the email cards. So she has no idea to whom she owes cards for she sure hasn’t sent any. Lazy, she is really lazy.
Should she put that in her blog? That she can’t access the cards? Her blog is supposed to be “big.” But she was blackballed by Mediamatters dot com.
Bloggercelebrity has likened her to a prostitute, and she can’t really dispute that.
Her goals in life never included blogging. Her blog was a happy accident. So why does she feel so guilty? Is it a bad thing to be quotable?
Like the Jewish holidays, blogging has become increasingly hot and mystifying. She thought it might actually help her career.
She looks in the full length mirror. Passes for just another woman on the Upper West Side. Black jeans, black spandex tee, Black Nike Mary Janes, and a blue jean jacket. It’s almost leather jacket weather. No, the jeans won’t do.
She wonders when the food stores won’t have lines going into the street. On Jewish and Christian holidays, and of course Thanksgiving and the Superbowl stores could have multi-hour waits.
She wants Weight Watchers cookies & cream ice cream bars dipped in c
Cool Whip Free. Fairway or the West Side Market must have some.
Though most people, including her sister’s mother-in-law take out or use caterers, there’s always more to buy.
Six thirty. That will be safe. Jews aren’t supposed to spend money, go to movies, travel on anything but foot, or do any work on major holidays. Jews are supposed to contemplate the Torah readings, plus their own lives.
She’s a writer. She does that every damn day minus the Torah.
“Shit Cool Whip Free isn’t dairy. It’s all artificial. Will be sold out.”
She really should put on the all purpose, from black tie to lunch, good black skirt, out of respect as her mother would say. When she lived in an Orthodox neighborhood, her mother didn’t even think that she should use her laundry room on Saturdays “out of respect,” for the Orthodox. But they would use the pool, say they couldn’t carry money and would pay during the week and then of course “forget,” and do it again the next week.
“Respect” was a big thing to her family. “Respect Christians for letting us live here without killing us.” Her parents were born in New York. They never seemed to remember that.
“Respect your teachers even if they pick on you.” “Respect people. Never ask personal questions. Let people tell you what they want you to know.”
But she lives in a different world than her parents did. People think that you’re not interested if you don’t ask the price of their new SUV. And she can’t decide what to wear. Maybe a denim pencil skirt would be a good compromise.
She’s a blogger with a somewhat recognizable name, in blogging circles. And that translates to what?
She knows how to weave a good story. Why does that make her feel so guilty?
It’s too damn personal. She isn’t respecting the tenets of her upbringing. But every therapist and every pop-psychologist would tell her to get with the program.
Maybe she should have accepted an invitation to go to Temple. Maybe if she were truly religious she could feel less guilt and more worthy.
Why is she mired in family tradition?
Her parents moved with the times. Her mother looked better in a mini skirt at 50 than most 20 year old girls did. Never micro-mini’s. If they happened to be away on a Jewish holiday, they didn’t always celebrate them. Her parents were known for being modern.
Even modern sounds old fashioned, she thinks, as she puts on more lip gloss. People marvel at how young she looks. Immaturity will do that, she thinks. Though her parents looked much younger than their ages.
“A lady never has to give her age…” And something else that she can’t remember. She’s no lady.
She decides to wear the jeans. On the way out of the apartment, she vows to have a truly great agent by the first signs of snow.
With her luck there will be an early frost.
Guilt: Food makes the Jew
*Bacon is from a pig which is very unKosher. Most regular families, when she was growing up ate bacon with eggs on Saturday mornings, and lox, salty smoked salmon, with bagels on Sunday morning.
Fortunately, smoked salmon became cheaper and her family was richer by her early teens.
Jewish families would have spare ribs, fried rice with pork and shrimp in Chinese restaurants. After her long roast young Tom Turkey stage at Patricia Murphy’s, the restaurant with English gardens, aquariums, women in colonial costume serving baskets of honey buns and popovers, she graduated to shrimp stuffed with crabmeat;
The first time her parents ever ate shrimp in a home was at her apartment when she was 25. They liked it.