I just had a long conversation with myself about what word is better: “butt” or “tush.” Butt goes better with “baby boomer” but “tush” or as my family liked to say “tushie” is, well, better.
When Little Luce was three I taught it to her. She refused to believe that it was a real word as it was so funny. I’m glad to have gotten verification from a real three year old on that.
She went to her mother, Lucia, the Nuyorican who knew more Yiddish than I the Jew did for verification. After that she believed everything I said to her.
It was hard for me to understand how much I wanted a child not only to love me but like me. When I realized she thought I knew everything in the world, I could have really done a number on her head but as Little Luce is my sorta godchild and much loved honorary niece, and as I’m incapable of lying I vowed only to speak truth to her. Though lying is a very nuanced area, and when it comes to jokes all rules go by the wayside.
I didn’t vow not to teach Little Luce how to play a practical joke. One day when Lucia was standing on a makeshift table between two overly tall work horses in the vestibule of their Upper West Side apartment building stripping the paint to eventually restore the anteroom to its former late nineteenth century glory I asked Little Luce if she wanted to play a joke on her mother. The makeshift table was at least five feet above the tiled floor.
Lucia didn’t have her keys with her. I was responsible for making sure we could get in and out of the apartment.
Asking a six year old if they want to play a joke on their mother is assuring your place in their personal hall of fame. I would stoop low for that vaunted position. “OK, LL, you know how your mother and I are always pretending we lost our keys?”
She nodded and smiled that incredible smile that eighteen years later still warms my heart.
“We’re going to go into the building, up to the apartment and come down again. Remember not to laugh and not to smile.”
She agreed and stoned-faced we told Lucia the bad news. Lucia not only believed us (I couldn’t believe that) but took the news badly and almost fell off the table.
And so I almost killed (or worse as my mother would have said) my best friend when I was just trying to make her daughter want to hang out with me.
A few years later Little Luce and I were crossing Broadway. I told her she didn’t have to hold my hand for the first time. She pretended to walk with eyes closed.
Years earlier a grown man I knew well had pretended to close his eyes as he was driving over a bridge.
I never fell for that one again but was always impressed with Little Luce for realizing that would freak me out (if I hadn’t….)
I’m finding it progressively more difficult to blog. Though I have been writing almost constantly I don’t feel bloggy-fresh. Though I have a Masters and license in clinical social work I don’t feel comfortable giving advice and it feels as if everyone else my age is doing that.
I know I have beautiful stories in my blog and in my drafts that will make an appearance later but it feels as if too many others will win Blog Her Voices of The Year——not that I’m trying——as in I’m not entering.
My mother died thirteen years ago and my father a decade before her. Today would have been his birthday. I used to write many parent stories but either I’m tapped out or I don’t feel the stories are sweet enough for today’s readers.
Having been blogging since 2004 it becomes more and more difficult each month as more and more people give definitive rules for blogging, and these aren’t people I disdain or feel I can completely ignore.
I don’t want my blog to be a blog about a woman who has a disability because (and here I will get in trouble with younger people) I’ve never felt disabled nor do I celebrate having one.
Perhaps had I known about it I might feel differently but….I spend too much time thinking about mistakes I have made because I didn’t know and how different my life would have been had I only known.
I have become rather self-conscious since being told that a “celebrated” psychologist in the NLD world makes fun of me but the person who told me wouldn’t tell me what he said.
How do I know he isn’t right? I do realize that the person who told me was being very stupid especially as I told her I wanted to hear nothing about this but she went on and on. I couldn’t believe this person thinks she knows all about NLD and me as she should have known I would personalize and over-analyze.
Then there are the stories for my book. I tried putting them in but instead of the quality of the writing being debated I was told I come off “almost homophobic” as I put in a fragment of a story about having roommates, in 1973, who neglected to tell me that they had become both junkies (a lot wrong with that) and lesbians (tell me, please.)
One woman shared my bed. I was hardly home as I was going to school, working, doing volunteer work and kinda dating the man I was separated from. My roommates hid the heroin before I came home though I couldn’t understand why they always looked so wasted. In my defense I was only 22 and obviously going through a lot in my own life.
The one who shared my bed was about the most popular and beautiful girl around except for my other best friend, Shelby. I wasn’t flattered that she chose to share my bed and finally after months and months realized what was happening.
This story or its expanded version was very pivotal to my life. When it was critiqued for my “almost homophobia” in wanting to know my roommate’s sexuality instead of the actual content I felt both very old and began to think of myself as a very bad writer who can’t keep up with the times.
But the story took place in the months before the Watergate hearings, and even if it happened today, wouldn’t you want to know if somebody wanted to sleep with you? Especially when they shared your bed? Your bed––the first full bed you ever owned. Much more exciting than the first TV or later the first computer. Way more!
I suppose I need to keep writing and putting it out there even if nine-tenths of the world finds my work unsatisfactory for more reasons than the ones I have stated. The funny thing is I never used to care if people liked my work or not which is why I was a good blogger ten years ago——or four lifetimes ago in the blogging world.
I want that woman to be front and center and the 200,000 other sides of me take their rightful places on the sides and in the back.
For those who don’t know me well or at all I’m hard on myself in my blog. It’s the way I worked everything out; and I think I see myself rejuvenating already!