Saturday, May 10, 2008


Oops! I thought I'd posted this before I left Saturday, but I guess I just saved it as a draft.

I am about to leave for a family weekend upstate, a family reunion of sorts, at least of my immediate family (siblings, their spouses and kids, mom.) A gathering that, due to one's cross-country relocation, now happens only once a year. So we will celebrate Mother's Day and one toddler's birthday and shore up memories for another long span of time (longer, it seems, when you don't see the littlest ones for so long that their physical and intellectual growth is numbing.)

I shouldn't say it's so bad for me - I have the freedom to fly out west this fall or winter or at Christmas, breaking up the long wait, unlike others in my family who can't fly for various reasons. My last Delta shuttle fiasco also rewarded me with 10,000 miles that will make my trip virtually free.

I know I've said this before, but I find that when people only have cell phones, I feel much less connected to them. It's not just the sense that when you call them you only have half their attention (although that's part of it), but the bottom line fact that the reception is never that good. (Is this an emperor's new clothes thing? Because I never hear others complaining about cell reception, but half the time I can't really hear what others are saying. And I'm usually on a land-line phone, which I know is not the issue because when Mom and I talk land-line to land-line (we're both baby boomers, coincidentally, poised at the either end of the time period), it's crystal clear.)

* * *

Update on my utilities trauma - it appears that one of the large corporations who was making my life so miserable in the first weeks I lived here has mistakenly credited me $150. I don't know why - it appears to be unrelated to any issue I had, but I'm just sitting back and enjoying the fact that my last couple of bills had no balance due, as the credit slowly gets used up. I am enough of a pessimist to fear that they will realize it soon and I'll be stuck with a whopper bill, but I'm also enough of a cynic to think that their previously (and repeatedly) demonstrated ineptitude means that will never happen.

* * *

I am in trouble - about to get on a train for an hour and then in a cramped car for another 2 1/2. I woke today at 4:30, although my alarm was set for 6. The gym doesn't open til 8 on weekends so that wasn't an option, so I just got up and caught up on some TV and wrapped presents and packed and then went out to the ATM and Starbucks.

Lately, when I order a venti iced latte, they ask me if I want a free fourth shot. I think I figured it out - the machine makes the shots in pairs, so using only three means they have to toss the fourth (if there is no other drink waiting, which today, at 6:45 on a Saturday, there wasn't.) I always say no - well, until today. Now I will be both wired and full-bladdered for my long journey.

* * *

I've always played this silly game of trying to keep my identity secret, mostly from family and friends who might stumble upon this blog and realize it's me. I want to be anonymous only in the way you'd not want your friends to read your diary, not because I think I have said anything rotten about them. (But if I knew they read, I'd always be self-conscious.) The ridiculous thing is that almost anyone who knows me well would guess it by the blog title and one or two entries. So I'm going to allow a few details to slip past my self-censor.

Mainly it's that my family has a farm upstate. The reason I mention it is that it's lambing time, and so the weekend will be busy not only with nieces and nephews but visits to the barn to see baby lambs. On top of that, there is a tiny runt lamb who is too small to nurse from her mother (legs not long enough to reach), and is living in a small box in my mother's bedroom, fed by a bottle. This is going to be an interesting weekend once we all descend upon the house (did I mention in addition to kids, one family is bringing their dog?)

* * *

I went to a book reading/signing the other night, put on by an independent book store in my neighborhood, held at a nearby school since the crowd was anticipated to be too large for the store to accommodate (and they were correct - about 300 seats filled and several rows standing in the back.) I don't want to name the author, because I really love her writing, but the reading was disappointing. She read a story that was published in the New Yorker recently, even though her book is a collection and there were obviously others to choose. Then, after I stood on a long line to have her sign the book (a hardcover, which I rarely buy, except in unique circumstances such as this), I was really put off by her attitude. I approached the table and said "hello," and she said nothing, stared off into the distance without looking at me, quickly signed the book (as is protocol, the bookstore staff readies those in line with a post-it indicating who to make it out to, to keep everything moving), and handed it back to me without another word or a glance. I said, "Thank you," and she still said nothing.

I mean, I get that this was the end of her long book tour, that she had already signed many, that the line stretched behind me, but a pleasant smile or one-word greeting or eye contact or any kind of acknowledgement would have been nice. I felt like I was bothering her, that the whole thing was a mighty imposition, and I had half a mind to return the book.

* * *

Okay, I've wasted enough time. I need to feed the fish and get ready to start my journey.


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