Digging in with My Bare Heels

I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to submit to the full body scanners at the airport.

I’m convinced all that radiation is bad for my health no matter what reassurances we have been given.

So I waited my turn in line, barefooted, beltless and breathless. I moved closer to the dreaded machine.

When it was my turn, I said, “No!” with conviction.

“No?” said the TSA agent. cropped-rubbed-my-tummy.jpg

“Yes, I mean no,” I said.

“It’s the law,” the agent said glaring at me.

“It’s not the law for my health,” I said.

“Very well. That means a pat down,” he said.

“Fine,” I said.

The agent stretched out both arms barring me from moving away and held me there. He called out, “Female agent. Pat down here.”

The other passengers in line were getting free entertainment even before boarding.

I didn’t care.

A female agent appeared. She put  on a pair of latex gloves with a fanfare and gave a little snap at the end. It was clear I had interrupted her coffee time.

“This way,” she said and motioned for me to follow her.

“Do you want to do this in a private room or here?” she asked.

“Here,” I said and smiled. I wanted witnesses.

“Very well. First, I have to tell you what I’ll be doing,” she said.

“Skip that. Just do it,” I said. I smiled again.

“I can’t. It’s the law.” Then she slanted her head upwards to show me a camera that was recording everything.

Witnesses! I loved it. I smiled even more.

She asked me to stand with legs apart and arms outstretched.

I complied.

I smiled at my audience in front and above me.

The agent ran her hands all over me, from head to toe, in a professional manner.

“You’re free to go,” she said when she finished and removed her gloves with another snap.

After reading so many horror stories in the media about pat-downs, I was prepared for the worst. Instead I was shocked at how decent an experience it was.

Calvin says, “If that had been me, I would slobbered all over her face.” beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bringing Up Kate

We just returned from our annual trek to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.

They’re dumbing down Will. In an effort to appeal to a younger generation, this year they’re serving up The Taming of the Shrew in a boardwalk setting with the cast in 50’s diner costumes and a live band on stage.

Petruchio, wearing Elvis hair and Country-Western garb, struts and swaggers his way into Kate’s life, with the help of her father, and begins to deconstruct her until she’s a pliable and submissive bride.   Screen shot 2013-05-11 at 2.46.42 PM

His tactics? Starvation and sleep deprivation.

Okay, it was the way Will wrote it, so nothing new here.

Underneath the tantrums, Kate sees the shallow lives around her. She’s smart, quick witted, capable. She isn’t going to settle for stupid. But there isn’t a man worthy of her. The suitors that come courting are besotted with Bianca, Kate’s sister, who personifies a beauty as airy as meringue.

In contrast, Kate is a ferocious woman. No doubt prompted by her father’s lack of affection because he too favors his younger daughter. Nobody that comes to woo Bianca is Kate’s type.  She would squash them like bugs. What Kate needs is a man, not a limp fashionista.

Petruchio rises to the challenge. He is confident and determined. He takes Kate to be his wife and disciplines her so she grows up to be the woman she is meant to be.

It’s an interesting story for today’s young audiences who have been brought up on reality TV with all its raw vulgarities and blurring of the sexes.

Traditional values between a man and a woman still play well.

Deep down we resonate with it whether we admit or not.

Calvin said, “I would have used other ways to mature Kate, like licking her face and rubbing my nose in her hair.”  beagle

 

 

 

How To Do Your Real Work

Every so often I write about resistance. You know, the distractions we give in to that pull us away from our real work.

In my case, it’s writing. In yours it could be designing the next space vehicle.

Whatever your calling is, you’re familiar with the pull to distract.

Distractions allure you. Out of the blue you long to learn Latin. Or free-fall from an airplane. Or take tango lessons in Buenos Aires.

Maybe it’s not such a large vision that compels you to drop what you’re doing. Maybe it’s bull-riding lessons, finger painting, or singing with your canary.

Sometimes the distraction is even closer than that.

Facebook.

Twitter.

Pinterest.

Blogging. (Checking your analytics every hour)

Text messages.

Skype.

Video games.

I could go on, but you catch my drift.

The social media platforms are massive distractions! They will absorb you. Consume you. Smother you.

They  also:

Stall you.

Numb you.

Suck your energy.

They’re only a worthwhile investment when you’re building a posse of fans for your work.

Otherwise it’s death to your creativity!

Go on a diet.

Make a pledge to look at these platforms only after you’ve done your work.

Tell a friend to hold you accountable.

And then notice your productivity and creativity soar.

Calvin says, “Yep, when I get pulled off a scent, I end up in a ditch with thorns up my butt.”

 

 

 

 

This Way Please

Moonstruck is sixty-five. A throw-back from the 60’s. She gulps down bags of vitamins every morning with tea from the Amazon jungle before she begins her shift as a floor manager in the steak house restaurant. She wears her grey hair in a bird’s nest do and sports chandelier earrings with every outfit. You notice the earrings across the room before you notice Moonstruck.

On her days off she traps stray cats and has them neutered.

“Moonstruck, you need to be tough with the people you manage,” her general manager, Michael said. Moonstruck was having trouble keeping the wait staff in line. They were coming in late for their shifts, getting tipsy on leftover wine, and not giving her the respect she deserved.

“I can’t. It’s not my nature,” she said.

“But that’s part of your job,” he said.

“I try. Really I do. But it doesn’t come out well,” she said.

“Another job then?” he said.

“No.”

“What about being a hostess where you greet and seat people?”

“No,” she said rolling her eyes. “Not that job again.”

It was no use. He’d have to devise an alternative plan and make her think it was her idea.

Calvin says, “Suggest she start a non-profit cat trapping business. I’ll fund it.”

Very Rare

“I told Paul last night, ‘I can’t sleep your sleep, think your thoughts, or eat your food. Marriage is such an impossible state of being. It demands a oneness when all you really want is to be left alone.'” Sabrina said this as she sipped her champagne cocktail. We were having brunch outdoors in her favorite restaurant. She had called me and said she needed to talk. Sabrina rarely did anything unless there was food involved. The last time we met, it was for dinner in a new bistro. She needed an excuse to eat and talk.

“So how did Paul respond?” I asked. I poured some Pelegrino into my glass.

“Not well. He said I sounded like I wanted out of the marriage, which wasn’t what I meant at all, I was just voicing an insight I had, and needed to get it out in the open,” she said.

“And you explained that to Paul,” I said.

“Oh yes, but it left him with the doubt. Now he’s brooding over the whole incident.”

The waiter arrived with our salads and french fries and placed them in front of us. “Will that be all?” he said.

“Bring me a steak. Very rare,” she said. Then she turned to me and said, “I need to chew on some flesh. I feel angry. Every time I try to be real with Paul it backfires. I end up feeling guilty. Then I wish I never opened my mouth.”

I pierced a cherry tomato and it squirted onto my blouse. I rubbed the stain with my napkin. That smudged it even more and turned it pink. At least it matched my lipstick and earrings.

“Give Paul a few days. He’ll come out of it,” I said.

“Maybe. I swear, I’m not going to expose what I’m thinking to him any more. He clearly can’t handle it,” Sabrina said.

The waiter arrived with a very large steak on a white plate and put it down in front of her. “Will that be all?” he said.

Sabrina waved him off and dug in. Blood oozed out in all directions. She cut the entire thing into bite size pieces and then put her knife and fork down.

“That was better than therapy,” she said finishing off her drink. “Let’s get out of here.”

Calvin says, “What a tragedy! At least ask for a doggie bag!”

Resistance #4

Red squirrels came with the house I bought thirty years ago. Every morning they race across the roof and bounce into the trees, chattering and chasing each other. Every so often they freeze upside down on a tree trunk, tails flicking, nostrils twitching, eyeing me as I watch them cavort from one end of the garden to the other.

I hung a bird feeder from one of the trees. The squirrels chattered for joy and raced across my roof more than once that day. The friskiest one walked the length of the branch, hung by his hind legs, stretched himself out as far as he could, grabbed the feeder and brought it close to scoop seed into his waiting mouth. The next day I came home with a metal pole with an extension arm and planted it in the middle of the garden away from the trees. It stood there like the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. No sooner had I hung the feeder that the squirrels climbed their way up, reached the feeder, shook it hard, watched the seeds scatter to the ground, and then jumped down eagerly to feed on them. I refused to be defeated, so I greased the pole with vegetable oil. Now the squirrels strain their way up to the top, red bellies glistening in the sun, their brown eyes fixed on me as they slide down the pole like firefighters.

Now that’s fighting through resistance.

Calvin says, “I’m rooting for the squirrels. I may even lick off the oil.”

Resistance #3

Resistance was my bosom buddy this week. After working all day I spent the little bit of time I had at night watching TV in my hotel room. It was good TV mind you. Public television. I learned a lot from the shows. But I didn’t write. Not a sentence. When the show was over I went to sleep. But I tossed and turned all night. I listened to street people shouting at the dark; trolley cars moaning their way downtown; the air conditioner outside my window rattling all night; and my own iguana mind leaping from rock to rock.

If I had strangled my Resistance and hung it from a ceiling and done my work, even for ten minutes, I would have relaxed and slept through the night.

Calvin says, “A good dinner makes you sleep well, too.”