Crossing the Border

A colleague of mine was recently on a road trip in Alabama. He was headed to a town north of Atlanta GA and stopped halfway for gas.

“Hey, you got a cat in there?” the guy next to him at the pump asked.

“Huh?” my colleague said.catintheengine

“There’s definitely a cat…open your hood,” the guy said.

Sure enough there was a kitten lying on top of the battery. It got up and scrambled into the engine somewhere. That’s when eight people tried for 45 minutes to rescue it, but it eluded them.

My colleague had a meeting he had to get to on time, so he closed the hood and kept driving.

Another 100 mcapturediles at 75-miles an hour he got to his hotel, and turned off the engine. He could hear the kitten crying. He drove to the local tire store where the guys spent a half hour taking the car apart, and after chasing a frantic kitten around the engine, they finally captured it.

That kitten deserves a medal for its bravery, tenacity and powerful will to live. One of the guys felt the same way. He took it home to his wife.

Calvin says, “Stupid cats. No dog in his right mind would travel like that.”  beagle

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Walking is Better

Once upon a time in a world long ago flying was a pleasure. From the moment you got to the airport to when you put your tush in your seat you were treated with respect and hospitality.

I was on my way to becoming a flight attendant for PanAm when all of a sudden it went belly-up. I wanted to see the world while hosting travelers on their planes. To this day there’s nothing I’d rather do than travel, that is until I get to security. Then it’s all out war. I refuse to go into the scanners. I’m convinced they’re a health hazard. New York TSA agents are the worse. They’re bullies. Well, I bully back, which throws them off their game. That’s when they threaten me with harsh pat downs. “Bring them on,” I say standing my ground and glowering back.

It seems to me airline travel is a burden to the airlines. I think they’d rather be transporting chickens than humans. At least chickens wouldn’t be a threat on board or try to commandeer a plane into mass destruction.  You’d just have to clean up a lot of feathers after every trip, but then you could diversify and go into making pillows.photo (90)

Flight attendants are tired and irritated with the long hours of the work day. Pilots no longer just fly the planes, they also do cabin clean-up in between stops. There’s no time for lunch. I’ve seen crews grab granola bars and wilted salads at the airports. They’re probably dehydrated, which explains their impatience with the public.  And the hours of cabin pressure I’m sure is stressing out their hearts and lungs. No wonder they’re angry. Nobody is taking care of anybody and it trickles down to the traveler who only wants a beer, a movie and a smooth trip home.

None of this, however excuses United from the abominable treatment of its passenger on the flight out of Chicago. I noticed that neither pilots or crew were involved in the incident, which was good otherwise if I had been on board I would have bolted off the flight, realizing I was in a horror movie. And then the airline would have had its empty seat.

Calvin says, “The friendly skies look troubled these days. Stick to walking.”  beagle

Sock It To Me

It was beginning to appear that her interesting face covered a most uninteresting mind. – Anne Perry

He would look at you as is he were really interested in all you said. Hcropped-photo1.jpge never seemed to be merely polite. It was almost as if he were half expecting you to turn out to be special, and he did not want to miss any opportunity to find out. – Anne Perry

Don’t mistake a street address for where you actually live. – Ruth Reichl

Art is what we call the thing an artist does. It’s not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters,
what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human. Art is not in the eye of the beholder. It’s in the soul of the artist. – Seth Godin

“So was that the reason you left Herminia?” Miss Prim said.

He looked at her in silence for a few seconds, as if trying to guess what lay behind her question.

“I think you didn’t really love her,” she said.

“No, that’s where you’re wrong,” he said firmly. “I did love her. I loved her very much. But the day came, or maybe the moment, I don’t know, when I realized that she was asleep, whereas I was fully awake, absolutely, and totally awake. I’d climbed like a cat up onto a roof and I could see a beautiful, terrible, mysterious landscape stretching out before me. Did I really love her? Of course I did. Perhaps if I’d loved her less, cared for her less, I wouldn’t have had to leave her.”

“I thought the religious were closer to other people than anyone else.”

“I can’t speak for anyone else. I only know what it’s meant to me. It’s been my touchstone, the line that’s split my life in two and given it absolute meaning. But I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy. It’s not easy, and anyone who says it is is fooling themselves. It was catharsis, a shocking trauma, open-heart surgery, like a tree torn from the ground and replanted elsewhere.

“And there’s something else,” he continued, “something to do with looking beyond the moment, with the need to scan the horizon, to scrutinize it as keenly as a sailor studies his charts. Don’t be surprised. My story is as old as the world. I’m not the first and won’t be the last. I know what you’re thinking. Would I turn back if I could? No, of course not. Would a newly awoken man willingly go back to the sleepwalking life?”

–         From The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera

Calvin says, “Oh brother, what have you been drinking?” beagle

Sage and Tequila

An interesting thing happened to me and my sister on the way to Marfa, Texas. It was the weekend of the yearly art festival and we arrived on a Friday late morning. Right away we noticed very few people on the streets, and all the galleries were closed. There was no buzz in town. No crowds. Nada. We checked our smartphones to make sure we had the right weekend. No goof-ups. Our dates were correct. FullSizeRender (1)

We concluded we had arrived too early so we went into Capri, the only restaurant doing business and sat at a table inside near the bar. The outside area was full of boomers and millennials. The wait staff was a bunch of guys in blue shirts and beards. I didn’t check if they were wearing boots, but presumably so. After all this was Texas.

We sat so long I could have written a play. We were being ignored. So we got smart and moved over to the bar where at least we could order drinks. By then we were thirsty and hungry. The bartender, also a blue-beard, made our drinks and also took our food order. It wasn’t anything complicated, a kale salad and a melted cheese and dip thing.

We watched the bartender make picked okra margaritas, glasses of champagne with tequila, and hibiscus  concoctions for the other customers. Meanwhile the blue guys came out with plates of food for the people outside and for three guys seated on my left. It turned out they were the band for the night’s concert. We knew that because the chefs came out and announced every twenty minutes who they were with loud clapping. The chefs also sported beards, but longer ones.

We continued to sit and wait for our food while we finished our drinks. The bartender never asked if we wanted refills, nor did he go into the kitchen to see where our food was. He made no eye contact and was as friendly as a black-tailed rattlesnake.

FullSizeRender (2).jpgAfter an hour – don’t ask me why we waited so long – we got up. My sister went to the restroom and I told the bartender to cancel the food order, that it was a disgrace in customer service. He disappeared into the kitchen – finally – and came out a few minutes later. I had my credit card in hand. He said, “The drinks are on the house.” No apologies, no explanations, nothing.

We were so hungry by then we went looking for another restaurant and found one at the Saint George Hotel. It was housed in a modern building with a museum looking bookstore in the lobby. We walked in and went straight for the bar, but before we could warm our tushes on the bar stools, the bartender announced, “Out kitchen is closed. If you’re hungry come back at 4 o’clock.”

We laughed. Clearly there was no food in Marfa.

We ended up at the corner Dairy Queen eating chicken strips and fries. Then we made a U-turn and hightailed it out of town.

Calvin says, “Goes to show that cowboy country ain’t food friendly.” beagle

 

Fashionable

In a conversation I had with a friend about being raised with money.

“In my mother’s day, the maids who cleaned our houses in the neighborhood arrived in a Cadillac they had bought together,” she said.

Intrigued, I asked, “Did they also dress the part?”

“Yes. They wore wonderful hats, dresses and high heels,” she said. “They changed clothes inside the house, did their work, then changed back out of their uniforms and into their street clothes, got into their Cadillac and drove home.”

A class act, I thought.   Image result for cadillac

“But my mother never left her maid out of her sight. In fact she followed her everywhere pointing out areas that needed attention.”

I wondered how she must have felt about that. Someone who owned a Cadillac must have known how to clean well, I thought.

“That was my mother, never trusting anyone to do the job right. Cadillac or no Cadillac.”

Calvin says, “Mistrust goes deep. Like my breeder who never left me out of her sight in case I barfed on her new carpet.”  beagle

 

 

 

The Politics of Illusion

I had always known the Oscars were political, but my convictions grew to the size of Mt. Everest last night.

This year there were more actors of color nominated for awards than ever before. Why? Because public opinion had made a stink.  oscar

Why standing ovations for those of color who won? I think it was a way of assuaging collective guilt for only honoring white actors over the years.

It was good for their collective soul that they had a major blunder at the end. It revealed how choreographed and scripted the evening was, everyone on automatic, with no one paying attention to the details. It also humbled them, made them a little more like us.

The comment that gagged in my throat was Ms. Davis’ that “actors are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.” What? You mean playing someone you’re not and have never been is the only way to live life? Really?

Calvin says, “She was in LA LA Land, didn’t you know?” beagle

 

With Love and Testing

On the subway going home this week, there was a man seated on the row ahead of me. He was dressed in a black tux, bowler hat, pink silk tie with a pink corsage of roses and baby breath. Every hair on his face and head was perfectly styled. What was missing from the ensemble was an ivory cane. A freshly minted husband-to-be if there ever was one. I knew it because he got off at the courthouse station, with his face like flint, facing his execution. I could only imagine what his bride would look like. Was she just as resigned? What a pitiful way to start a married life, gritting your teeth and hoping for the best, even though in your heart you know it will only go downhill from here. Jacqueline Osborn

We all know marriage has fallen on hard times, and yet everybody wants to get married. Go figure. Last time I looked the divorce rate was on par with the marriage rate, maybe even surpassed it. Nobody can get along anymore. Expectations are too high, thanks Hollywood and social media, and nobody wants to work that much in a relationship. And yet these same people are willing to put themselves through endless hours of agony learning a sport, or getting an MBA, or changing careers in mid-stream. Somehow working at being a better husband or wife seems mundane. I think the real reason it’s because it’s really impossible. Becoming a doctor is easier. We want results. Now. But end up disappointed and convinced it’s not worth the investment.

I like the attitude about marriage that a few of the greats had.

Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave. – Martin Luther

When a man opens a car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife. – Prince Philip

They say marriages are made in heaven. But so is thunder and lightning. – Clint Eastwood

Calvin says, “Thank goodness beagles don’t marry. They just frolic and mate at will.”

beagle