Thursday, September 06, 2012

Return of the Non-native

  So I have returned to the Great not-so-White-Way to seek my Once-and-Always-was-my-Secret Fortune, and was immediately suffused with humidity, weariness, and regret, wishing I was living in California.  That was a very special time, and I am grateful to the universe and my left hip for forcing me into a period of silence, tranquility, and being able to live and be with myself for long periods of time, which proves that I have overcome the specter of my high-school days at the progressive school, known improbably as Cherry Lawn, in Darien, Connecticut, the seat of anti-Semitism in the U.S. in that day, (mine,)where went (not at the same time) the young refugee bald ten-year old German Jew, Mike Nichols, and where my Nazi(I am sure she was) housemother Mrs. Lande slammed us out of bed every morning saying we were all unfit to (I don't think it was quite) live(See Sweet William, my fourth novel, which doesn't quite soar but it's fun.)  Mrs. Lande, smoking through a long black and silver holder clenched in her surprisingly white(but maybe they weren't hers) teeth, told me if I were in a room by myself, I would go mad.  Well I was, and I didn't.  It took many and many a mile and a year, but I actually emerged serene.
    Still, it all fell away like a mantel when I got to JFK, where I was met by my loved and obviously reliable friend Steve, the sweet musician, who drove me back to Manhattan via the scenic Verranzano Bridge route, which I had never taken and did not much appreciate at the time, glittering though it was, as I was spent and humided,(I know it's not a word) and sorry to have left L.A.  I think now that a mantel of calm may be called that, as it can so easily be discarded, or slip.  At any rate I hated my apartment on sight-- it seemed cluttered to me after the spare neatness of the Mosaic where I had so little excess, if you don't count flowers, but also empty, as it still barks the absence of Mimi, for whom there were many pillows on the floor which I think I have to give away.
    Jamie had instructed me to 'Broom' the room, which she would be quick to do, having been raised by the painstakingly tidy and neat Janet Leigh, as the first time Jamie saw the place she said "I could live here," which she doubtless could but I am not as neat as she, and have not yet learned to be a minimalist, and compulsive, I have to say, albeit lovingly.  There would be no brooming this room as there are too many fabrics.  But I did spend yesterday getting rid of much I didn't need as there was a man who's looking for a studio and I hoped to sell it to him, but he didn't show up today and I did such a good job I suppose I could live here.  We'll see.
   I am of course afraid for my country which is more cluttered than my apartment, with mindless people who vote out of fear, and afraid for my son who doesn't take this election seriously as he doesn't think it affects him.  But I know it would affect my beautiful grandboys and their education and their prospects unless I got very rich which of course I still might do, depending on whether I get my Fortune I am seeking, at the end of a very long but always pretty obvious road which few really knew I was on except my classmates at Bryn Mawr, several of whom, including, I read in the Alumnae Bulletin which I must remind myself not to look at anymore, those with improbable and storied family names, several of whom have died.  I am still surprised when some people die: for example, Larry Gelbart, whom I thought too clever to do that, and Michael Crichton, whom I have already expressed shock about, as I thought him too tall and too rich, and last, Veronique Peck, whom I considered too chic.  Oh, well.
    So I have rejoined the gym, where I am off to now, so I can swim, which has kept me alive and sort of flexible at the Mosaic, the great little pool of which was mine alone almost every morning, and a soothing luxury.  And then I will Chipotle with the angel Carleen, as she is known to me and my cousin Lori, who knows an angel when she sees one.  They were about to open a Chipotle on Little Santa Monica in Beverly Hills when I left there, so it will be safe and spicy to return one day, I hope, when my Ship has come in, which I am almost confident it is soon to, though you never know.  We'll see, a good motto for any life, including Mitt Romney's.  Such an unlikely name.
    But as they end every speech, and have now included Him/Her in the Democratic platform, God Bless America, even though it is as if Benjamin Franklin never even lived, judging by the foundering post office, which he founded.  Ben was a big Believer, as he had to have been with all those gifts.  But as he said in his epitaph, written of course by himself, "he will return in a new and better edition, written and edited by The Author."  Oh when, oh Lord, if you're really there. Oh, when?  It can't just be on the hundred dollar bill.