Three Things I Saw

I kept wondering how deer managed to get watermelon rind out of the compost—which is a cement bunker-like thing on three sides, with a wire-mesh front and no top. I kept finding the rind outside the compost, with every bit of the pink scraped away. I thought, Wow, them deers really know how to use their hooves.

And then, tonight, I was carrying out a bowl of greens and fish scales in the dark, not wanting my house filled with fishy flies, and I spotted it in my flashlight beam: the raccoon. He jumped up from the bunker and onto one of the cement walls, and looked at me over his shoulder. He’d been scraping away at those watermelon rinds, and then tossing them over the fence.

I didn’t run, even though he looked at me with a lot of knowing. What did he know? He knew that I was the mother of all those bananas, radishes, carrots, and watermelon rinds. He knew that I had that bowl in my hand. He knew like a dog knows where his next meal was coming from, and it didn’t grow in that compost heap. OK, I thought of running, and didn’t only because running increases the odds of being chased. Nuff said.

So while I’m observing, I thought I’d tell you another one. I was in the city yesterday, in the West Fifties at 5:00, and there was a middle-aged woman who looked Greek, with a white shirt, a messy ponytail, and a quilted pocketbook over her shoulder directing traffic. She was not a cop—she was just a person. And the thing about it was that she was swinging both arms in both directions, like a little kid might, who’s seen a cop directing traffic, but not really grocked what it was all about. She wasn’t crazy.

And the funny thing was that every car who approached her, trying to get into the street that she was blocking, actually followed her direction. No one stopped and said, “Wait a minute—why can’t I go down that street? What’s down there? Your mother?” They just turned their cars in the direction of her swinging arms. I love that. We are a sweet, sad lot.

O.K., one more observation. Another thing I saw yesterday evening in that neighborhood, was a pretty young woman on a Vespa. She had perfect posture, and she was wearing watermelon-pink yoga pants, boot-cut, with matching lipstick, perfectly applied. Out of the back of her pants (I saw as I turned when she passed) rose a very conspicuous thong. I felt like a guy: was I being manipulated, or was I being entertained? Either way, I was amused. As Trungpa Rinpoche said, “Women are crazy and men are stupid.” I’m really glad that woman was not in my compost, looking at me over her shoulder, that’s for sure.


I was having a hard time last week, and Lynnie, in L.A., knew it. Back then, during the low point of the hard time, I’d cried for an hour on the phone to her, while I was parked on Amsterdam Avenue waiting for a play to start; but then, after a few days passed, we emailed back and forth, this time doing a little laughing, because, you know, sometimes you have to kind of shut up and cheer up (that is, I do).

Anyway, she sent me an email about all that was happening—including the death of Lowell and Eileen’s good boy, Goose, and damage done by Hurricane Irene, and an earthquake in Los Angeles—and between each terrible event, she’d say something like, Ack!, which just cheered me up so much.

Here’s part of her email:

Then I go back to the massage job tomorrow, which is good, I am glad to have it, but its annoying. Last week my insane manager called me to tell me that I needed to not sit in the lunchroom before work. So essentially I will now need to stand in the hall instead? It makes no sense, we are talking about like 5-10 minutes. Oh that and she also wanted to tell me that the bag I bring to the spa is too big (yes, that huge silver one). I need to bring a smaller bag to the spa, she says. Again, exhale, but with a different emphasis here. REALLY!!!!??!??!? My bag is too big? For what? Anyway, its best not to think about it.

I love that: her bag’s too big. And it’s best not to think about it. So true.

And then Maud told me that her friend’s eating-disordered mom told her early twenty-something daughter, while they were on the phone, that “she sounded like she was gaining weight.” Ack!

Lynnie ended her email with this:

I guess as you go along you just have to take big steps forward and then a bit of an explosion happens and you go ACK! but then you go back to okay. I guess that is the deal.

So yeah. That’s the deal. I love my friend Lynnie for modelling her light touch and sense of humor, even in the face of deadly acts of nature and insane bosses.

And I love you, my blogateer friends, which now include people googling for the words “glockenspiel” and “treasure map.” Welcome.


Dolly's feet (from Julia's "Feet Series")
I’ve been thinking a lot about Dolly today. This is the post I wrote about her on this very day last year. That night, the night Dolly died, Julia came into the bedroom where I was sleeping, and woke me up. I remember I opened my eyes and she was standing there, holding her robe closed, crying. She was so beautiful. She said, “Deitch.” And then she said, “Dolly just died.” The tears fell down her face, which was flushed, her hair wet where they had fallen. Then she turned around, knowing that I would follow her to where Dolly was.

Scooby's feet (from Julia's "Feet Series")
I can’t really say more than this, because I think even this will feel like an invasion of privacy to Julia. But I wanted to say that I don’t need any tattoos on my body, because I have memories like this one imprinted on my mind. Dolly was a very big loss. And yet there was also something very special about that night.

Scout's foot (from Julia's "Feet Series")
People get mad at me for writing personal stuff down that includes them (I’m not talking about Julia; she has gallantly not complained). But for me writing these moments down is like taking photographs. And when I feel most lonely, I read them, and I remember that I once lived in a house where there was love. That’s a lot. How lucky we were.

I know from experience that someday I will look back and this will most likely all mean very little or nothing. I would like to not rush towards that experience.