Sep 24 2008

My Relationships With Objects*

*No, this is not a story about a woman and her vibrators. Sorry to disappoint. But I’m sure there are plenty of those out there if you just get your google on.


This is the story of a Sunday morning stroll, when Young Master Picard and I encountered a garage sale where these glasses** were on display. After a summer hosting a belated Greek Easter dinner party, a bridal shower, and the usual impromptu gatherings, I noticed my glassware numbers dwindling (and not just the stemware, for a change). This set caught my eye, as from afar it had somewhat of a retro look. The seller told me he’d forgotten he had them, they’ve been in a box in his garage for ten years. I said, “How cool is that, if you have a garage you can find stuff you’d forgotten you had for ten years!” Which led to the conversation of how having a garage can be a dangerous thing for that very reason.

I, on the other hand, have practically zero storage space. Almost everything I own is in plain sight (God, I am so fucked if I’m ever served with a search warrant). Which means to live like this, you have to really love the sight of your stuff, curating your life on a regular basis.

My method is finding that delicate balance between 1. What is precious to me?; 2. What is aesthetically pleasing (and/or how to display things decoratively enough so that they appear to be aesthetically pleasing, when really they’re just “stuff”)?; 3. What is frequently used, so that it needs to be handy at all times?


So the goal is to retain only the objects that fit all three criteria. Which are extremely few. I suppose some of my parents glassware*** qualifies, though I tend not to use them during bigger gatherings, as that’s when the most breakage-due-to-silly-drunkedness occurs.


More realistic is to keep my “collection” to objects meeting two out of the three criteria: my mother’s manual nut grinder for making the world’s best baklava (precious & functional)****; the Charles Cobelle original painting of a Paris cityscape***** that my ex-husband loaned me $25 to buy on a North Beach corner during the early days of our courtship (precious & aesthetically pleasing).


But these are probably outnumbered by objects that meet only one of the criteria. The remote control, my iPhone charger, this laptop (frequently used). Then there are the numerous precious items, most of which have a happy association with someone dear to me. As for the dozens (make that hundreds) of copies of the feature film I produced & co-directed, “Come Fly With Me Nude” (want one? It’s yours, FREE! — just throw me a few bucks for postage, please): I’ve no idea what category  they fall under… perhaps Parts Of My Life With Which I’m Not Ready To Part.

But a garage full of forgotten memories… some possibly precious, some you were happy you’d forgotten — that is, until you moved and opened that box in the corner under a stack and were forced to remember — that’s something I don’t own. My few hidden items are pretty much in one trunk. A trunk full of of memorabilia from the ’70’s, ’80’s, and ’90’s. Stuff I first started saving because I was an adolescent girl in the late ’70’s, and that’s what adolescent girls do, save stuff. But then when my mother died suddenly when I was 19, I suddenly had a mission: to make sure that if I died suddenly on the daughter to whom (I was sure) I was destined to give birth, she would not be left with the unanswered questions about who I was, as I had been when my mother died; before I could get to know her as someone more than just my mother. So now there is a very heavy trunk full of young me on the top back of a tiny, tightly-packed shelf. Should there ever be a need or desire to pull it down, I know the emotions will flow wildly and deeply and in every direction. Frankly I’m afraid to open it, to be honest, afraid to open those floodgates, knowing why I saved most of that stuff, and the sad fact that, at this age, there will be no daughter with whom to rummage through this museum of my youth and young adulthood. My relationship with all of those long out-of-sight objects is complicated and loaded. Maybe someday there will be someone else with whom to share all of it, in which case it will be a wonderful discovery and rediscovery. I guess that’s what the hidden objects lead us to: rediscoveries, whether we like it or not.

So I don’t acquire much stuff anymore. Not much shopping here. Most of the stuff in my home is either something old and nostalgic, with a forever-precious memory attached, or a gift from someone who knows me and my superb taste well.

If you were having any thoughts of gifting me — and if you don’t know me and my superb taste well — wine is always a safe (and highly appreciated) choice.

I thank you in advance.

Sep 17 2008

That there traveler looks an awful lot like me.

I had a conversation recently with a complete stranger. Some of my favorite conversations are with complete strangers. You’re starting with a clean slate and can be the you that you want to be — for as long as you’re able to keep up the act. Admit it, you do it too. Not lying, no not at all. Just omitting all the whiney crap with which we pepper our conversations with friends.

Back to the conversation: The subject was travel, for the most part. Drive vs. fly; solo vs. others, 5-star vs. backpacking. etc. etc. etc. And the fact of the matter is, we decided, travel is travel. It’s all good, it’s all relative.

And then he said, “it’s as though you shed some of the identities you’ve taken on with each step away from home, the world seems sharper and vivid.” And long after the conversation ended, I couldn’t stop thinking about what he said.

Why do our identities bring us down so much that the world improves when we shed them? Shouldn’t these identities — since the are after all a part of us — enhance our daily experience here (and during travel) that much more, giving us an enriched perspective?  It’s as if we send someone else out there, the part of ourselves we like, the part that can relax, “just be myself”. So are we not ourselves at home? Sure there’s work, family, obligations, etc. But that is all part of one’s “self”. I mean, I get that travel is freeing and liberating and fantasy-filled and not a realistic existence for which most of us could trade in our “real lives”. But it’s that state of mind, that here-and-now, that we can keep.

Then why don’t we? Why not make that one of our many identities, in addition to offspring, spouse, parent, employee, home decorator, carpooler, choc-o-holic, sex-goddess, etc.?  Why not approach every step away from our front door as an adventure, a journey, a trip in and of itself? Actually, it is when you think about it. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You know what will probably happen — probably what happened yesterday. And the day before. Wake, shower, coffee, drive to work, banter with colleagues, work, bathroom, coffee, email, work lunch masturbate etc etc etc blah blah blah.

But you don’t know for certain; this may be the day your CPR skills are put to the test when you pull over to help an accident victim. Or the day when you find a complete stranger at the gas station is so intriguing that you make up some lame excuse to be “…going to the mall too! Gee, what a coincidence!” Or any number of scenarios that definitely did not happen yesterday. I think it’s called living in the present. I think we’re supposed to do that while planning for the future and learning from the past. Something like that.

Back to travel & the whole identity thing. I think about this a lot lately because as you know (if you’ve read any of this blog before), I blew up my life as I knew it over a year ago. And in the explosion, I lost some identities. Your dad dies: you’re no longer a daughter. You and your husband part: you’re no longer a wife. You leave your job: you’re no longer a bartender. You put your filmmaking on hiatus: you’re no longer a filmmaker (and no longer call that community your own — and that was my community). All I know: I’m a writer. I’m a yogi. I’m an athlete. I like my wine and I love to cook and there’s a few more things that are a little personal that I’ll just keep to myself. I want to feel alive, even if it hurts sometimes. And these days, I throw stuff at the walls. A lot of stuff. See what sticks. See what my new Identity is going to entail. It’s interesting to say the least.

Which is why I like traveling. I don’t just like it; I feel most calm,  most “myself” then: Because people may ask out of curiosity “what do you do?”, which is shorthand for “what do you do when you’re not standing in that spot talking to me for the first time?” But they don’t really care. Think about it. When you’re at home, if you go to a party or a bar or meet a friend of a friend, that’s the inevitable question. And one I honestly don’t know how to answer right now. But when you meet someone when you’re traveling, no one cares about what you do, your past, your plans when the trip’s over. It’s all right here. It’s all right now. We’re interested in the person before us at that moment. That moment is all that matters. Sure, it could change our futures. Don’t bet on it, but you never know.

The hell with all this existential crap. I want to talk about travel some more. The above-mentioned stranger asked me where I’d like to go next. Here’s what I came up with off the top of my head.

1. Copenhagen (at Christmas): Saw it on a billboard when I was living in London and I fell in love. Hans Christian Anderson stuff.

2. Barcelona: Spaniards are HOT! Plus it was my daddy’s favorite country when he lived in Europe for 6 months after WWII. He said the people in Spain were the nicest. Plus, Spaniards are HOT!

3. Greek Isles: I did the National Geographic mainlands-in-the-off-season-tracking-down-the-village-where-my-grandparents-were-from thing. Now I want the sexy beach experience. And Greek food… oh, the food.

4. Venice: Just look at it, that’s why.

5. Tokyo: Never been anywhere in Asia. Tokyo just seems to have this incredible, one-of-a-kind energy. And the surrounding countryside.

6. Safari in Africa: I imagine that would be like stepping back in time. Plus then I’d get to wear a cute little safari outfit.

7. Desert of Arizona and Utah. Actually, I’ve already been to both. I grew up in Vegas and the only redeeming quality of Vegas in my opinion is the surrounding desert. That said, it pales in comparison to the deserts of Arizona and Utah. I don’t know if I believe in God, but I do believe in the desert.

Sep 14 2008

Incontinence has never been sexier.

Packaging genius.

Sep 13 2008

The Phenomenon of the Facebook Wall

Okay, perhaps “phenomenon” is too strong a word. Nevertheless, I was wondering why everyone is acting like they’re in high school again and passing notest to each other for all to see on the Facebook Wall.

And I think it’s because its just fun. It’s like writing graffiti, with no risk of getting caught. And chased by cops. And lets face it, most of us can’t scale walls like we used to. Not that I ever got chased by cops. Or got caught breaking any laws. Or even broke any laws, for that matter. No I am certain I am speaking hypothetically. Let’s move on, shall we?

The Facebook wall is like one big bumper you can plaster with all your virtual bumperstickers. Self expression without looking tacky. And they’re easy to remove. If only we were all so eager to communicate on a more personal level. Think I’ll save that one for a separate musing.

But yeah, it’s like having some of the fun stuff about being a teenager again, without all the other crap that you would never, ever want to live through again. Yeah, the only 2 things I miss about it are 1. Knowing I’m invincible, and 2. The skin. Youthful skin is exquisite. Unless of course you had acne. My apologies if I upset anyone who did. I didn’t mean to be insensitive.

And that is today’s musing. Thank you.