Friday, June 24, 2011

The Promised Story, entitled: "This Explains A Lot"

The Difference Between Men & Women

Let's say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts. They have a pretty good time. A few nights later, he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening when they are driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"

There is silence in the car. To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

And Roger is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Elaine is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward...I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we headed toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Roger is that means it was...let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means...lemme check the odometer...Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Elaine is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed--even before I sense it--that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

And Roger is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600!

And Elaine is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. Oh, I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.

And Roger is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty. That's exactly what they're gonna say, the scumballs.

And Elaine is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly to care about, a person who seems to truly care about me...a person who is in pain because of my self-centered school-girl romantic fantasy.

And Roger is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty! I'll take their warranty and put it you know where.

"Roger," Elaine says aloud.

"What?" says Roger, startled.

"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. Maybe I should never have...Oh, I feel so..." (She breaks down sobbing.)

"What?" says Roger.

"I'm such a fool," Elaine sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."

"There's no horse?" says Roger.

"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Elaine says.

"No!" says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.

"It's just's that I...I need more time," Elaine says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

"Yes," he says.

(Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

"Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?" she says.

"What way?" says Roger.

"That way about time," says Elaine.

"Oh," says Roger. "Yes."

(Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)

"Thank you, Roger," she says.

"Thank you," says Roger.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn...whereas when Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it. (This is also Roger's policy regarding world hunger.)

The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions but never getting bored with it either.

Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine's, will pause just before serving, frown and say:

"Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?"

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day

In honor of my dad on my first Father's Day without being able to send him a card, here are some of my favorite photos of him:


Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Day After the Night Before...

'Twas the first day of retirement, and all through the house,
Not a feline was stirring to track down a mouse.
The clothes were all flung on the floor without care,
No threat Martha Stewart would be stopping there.
The retiree was nestled all snug in her bed
While visions of nothing danced round in her head.
The pin that says “don’t work” clipped onto her cap,
She’d just settled down to begin a new nap
When out in the yard there arose a bird clatter.
She pulled up the covers, said “This doesn’t matter.”
Away to the shower in turtle-like flash,
She opened one eye,
Slowly peeked through one lash.
The sun through the pane of the window shone bright
And was so overpow’ring, she shut that orb tight.
When, what to her mind came a thought of such joy:
I don’t have to go to the office. Oh Boy!
With a little hair gel and some bottled-up tan
I took my own sweet time…Because I just can.
More rapid than eagles the morning flew by
As I rested and rested and rested…Oh my!
Now Shin Splints and Joint Aches and Stress-o-the-mind
Please give me a break, do. I ask you “Be kind.”
Then up to the bookstore the Pontiac flew
To browse through the paintings
And buy one or two.
Right then in a twinkling I got my first hunch
That it was ok to take me out to lunch!
Walked into my house and was turning around,
Saw the candy and lotions and flow’rs that abound;
My eyes, how they twinkled.
They knew I was free.
If my hair stands straight up,
It's nothing to me.
My lips are drawn up in a smile-like bow.
No more of those phone calls, with tales of sad woe.
No more chiseling ice off the windows each morn,
No leaving the kids all home looking forlorn.
“To do” lists lie waiting with no one to care.
Maybe I’ll do them…or they might stay there.
So, eating the brownies they sent home with me
And doing not one thing, particularly,
I’m not in a rush now; go everywhere late.
It is what it is…
And oh yeah, it is great!