I suspect I'm Jewish. Again, that word. But that would be right. "Ish--kind of, sort of." We never say someone is "Americanish" or "Arabish,"but we do say people are "British." I'm probably a Jewish Anglophile, though I like to think I'm kind of "Frenchish" or maybe simply partially a Francophile, too. But I grew up watching t.v. like all kids of my generation. Jesus. I hate that word. But I am rather "boomerish" though I've never really felt stuck there. Obviously.
So, to begin again, I may not be a Jew, but I think I might be "Jewish." Growing up with television, I watched a lot of stand up comedians. I think the majority of them were Jewish comedians who played he Borscht Belt. As much as anybody or anything else, they shaped my World View.
Oy! They even have an emoji for that. No kidding. What is your response to most cosmic questions?
I have a point. In a bit. I'll get back to this.
So, as I excitedly added to yesterday's post, THE MICROWAVE STARTED WORKING! How'd I do it? You know. . . I think I became Magnatronic. Whatever happened, though, I am grateful. The microwave works and the exhaust fan is a mere whisper. So the morning was bright and the air cool, and I was ready to play. I could do whatever I wanted to. But you the trouble with most people, right? They don't know what they want. It is a condition I try hard to avoid. It is a sort of death blow to relationships. The weekend comes. You are with your partner, whichever kind you have.
"What do you want to do today?"
"I don't know. What do you want to do?"
"We could go to the Farmer's Market."
"What would we do there?"
"I don't know. What do you want to do?"
"I don't know. But I don't want to go to the Farmer's Market."
You run down the list, then you run out of ideas, then you end up at breakfast in some shitty chain restaurant where the eggs are runny and the bacon is limp and without saying it you feel this is the other person's fault.
Most people don't know what they want. They only know what they don't want.
I try to know what I want. But that wasn't working for me yesterday. I didn't even have a partner to blame. So I began scanning more old home movies. I don't think I even turned on music. And somewhere around noon, completely kerflumpt (a Yid-ish word I made up), I put on my walking outfit. Should I grab a camera? I didn't know.
Camera-less, I headed out the door. I intended three miles. My knee hurt, so. . . slowly, then more quickly. I was struggling. I was sweating. Walking used to be the most wonderful thing to do. At the marker (there is no marker), I turned around and came back by way of the Boulevard. The cruise ship had landed. The restaurants and sidewalks were packed. I limped along. I could see my reflection in the shop windows as I passed. Quasimodo! People gazed at me in horror. They pulled young children close to them for protection.
I made it home, though. It was the furthest I have walked since. . .
I looked at the clock. I hadn't eaten. I wanted ramen. The good ramen place, I remembered, had started serving brunch on the weekends. I looked up the hours. If I showered and hurried, I could make it in time.
This isn't my drink, but I had just read about this kind of cocktail glass. "The Nick and Nora." Really? Of course, I love Nick and Nora Charles, so when I saw the glass resting in front of the woman sitting at the bar where I was seated, I asked if she would mind if I took a picture. Making friends.
I ordered the "Richey Rich" which is always a mistake. The ramen is great, the bone broth boiled up in vast vats each day, but the bowl is filled with pork belly. Every time I eat a bowl of this, I think it is just too rich.
"Hence the name, dumbass."
But. . . it is really good.
When I got there, the restaurant was no longer seating and there was only one seat left at the bar. I crammed in next to two women, between them and a service station. It was uncomfortable, but I had made it. They would serve me the ramen I so desired.
The girls talked. I mean they really talked. Loudly. They annoyed me, disrupted my vibe, but what was there to do? I've been out, lately, and around a lot of conversations. They are dull to me. All it seems that people talk about are business and things. I mean like boats and cars and other "things" they can own. They are nothing like me, probably to their benefit, but I mean, they never talk about art, literature, ideas. . . . They have attitudes, I think, and they know how to express them. And they are all incredibly handsome and beautiful. But the talk. . . .
I had just made it in time, and now the place was shutting down. The bar was clearing, but the girls next to me must have arrived mere moments before I did. They were just getting their food. I looked at the empty seats now, and I thought about moving. Alas, that seemed rude. So I sat and gazed at the two women across the bar who were getting their check. They were tall as people are, and had perfect hair, teeth, and skin. They wore tops that showed their flat bellies as people do. They were a blonde and a brunette. They talked in that flat, bored tone as people will, the blonde continuously pulling at her shoulder length hair. They were serious women, as women are. They seemed mirthless. But by god, they were strong and tall and sure as millennial are. . . now. . . .
When they were gone, it was just me and the two women next to me. I was wishing I had moved. Then they, too, were finished. They chatted with the young bartender. They were friends. They were going to meet up later at the soccer game, I think. He was giving them a discount. Then it was just me, alone but still crammed into a small space at the bar. It was the end of the shift. I watched the young hipster bartender do shots with two of the hipster servers. We chatted a bit. They were friendly. I settled up my tab so they could begin shutting down. Around me.
I was closer to my mother's house than mine, and I didn't want to make two trips, so I decided on an early visit. She was watching t.v. I lay on the couch, fat and bloated and sleepy. The t.v. didn't go off. "Naked and Afraid." For every four minutes of show, there were five minutes of commercials. This is how people get Alzheimer's disease, I am certain. I was losing my mind within minutes. The t.v. was loud. I think my mother is losing her hearing. She sits and stares and watches the flickering commercial images that are cut at lightning speed, and listens to the idiotic commercial jingles. Familiarity. Maybe it is comforting.
I tried, but I couldn't handle it for long. We planned our Sunday meal and I headed home.
My belly still bloated, I chose to make a Campari because it is a digestif. It is actually considered an aperitif, but it does aid in digestion. It's the secret blend of herbs, they say, an ancient recipe. It was nice on the deck, the air still supernaturally cool, the cat waiting to be fed, a cheroot burning in the ashtray, the neighbors walking by. It would be a quiet night. After two nights out, I was ready for the couch. Sort of. As used to sitting home as I have gotten, it was feeling kind of lonely. I wished I had someone to call up for a drink, but there are not so many bachelor/bachelorettes nearby any more. Death, estrangements, and a whole series of family "tragedies". . . . There is little spontaneity in most of their lives, and I have always been a most spontaneous guy. And so. . . I settled in.
And so. . . back to "Jewishness." I poured a scotch and prepared to watch the series finale of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." I didn't want to, didn't want to finish the thing. I wanted it to go on. But endings. . . you know? I read a good piece on why it is so hard to end a t.v. series just yesterday (link), and the author pretty much nailed it. T.V. shows are based on making more shows, not on ending, so the middle is the most important part. Few t.v. shows ever end well. "The Wire" did a most masterful job of that, the best I've ever seen. "Mad Men" ended every season perfectly and did a fine job ending the series. "Deadwood" never ended unless you count that lousy movie they made years later. And "Game of Thrones" is notorious. So. . . I put off watching the show. I watched some YouTube things until I could stand it no longer.
Now, no shit. . . something is broken in me. I cried for about the last ten minutes of the show. Not because it was ending. Because. . . I don't know. . . . I've never dated a weak woman. They have all been strong, smart, and successful. They chose me for some crazy reason. And I was infatuated. They were the strong ones, the successful ones. I never resisted. I was me. . . and by now, if you have been here long, you know what that means. I'm not a shrinking violet and, as the song from a couple days ago that made me weep goes. . . when I take the stage, I expect to have it all to myself. . . . But I never denied them a stage, either. And so, part of it was watching this struggle end in success. Now that ending was no surprise, of course. We all knew that part as the character is loosely based on Joan Rivers. Still. . .
But there were beautiful, subtle things that broke my heart. That Lenny Bruce scene crushed me. The brilliant, fallen man, Maisel, his one-time lover trying invisibly to help him. The twinkling tear in Maisel's eye as she blows a tiny kiss to her tragic ex-husband in the audience. And of course, the other, unspoken thing, the unrequited love of Susie for Midge which is sooooo subtly and gorgeously handled when, after talking about her affair with her college roommate who had "gone blonde" after she married Susie asks Midge, "Were you ever a blonde?"
Fuck me. I balled like a baby. Love. Fucking love.
And so when the show ends with them watching VHS tapes of "Jeopardy" together talking on telephones from different continents. . . well just fuck me. I'm a baby.
The show ends with Teagan and Sara singing a remake of "Girls Talk" recorded just for the show.
Kind of perfect.
So, as they always said, "Tits up!"