Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Old Van

So, after twisting my neighbor's locs this afternoon, he was like, "Come take a ride with me..." and since I didn't have anything planned afterward, I was game. All I knew was that we were headed to Williamsburg to holler at some dude named Van (who I presumed would be elderly since there aren't any really young cats by the name of Van these days). We rode through Brooklyn, and I was enjoying the scenery as I do love taking in views of the city while riding shotgun. Well, we turned down McGuinness Avenue and up to some row apartments and my neighbor called Van to come meet us. And out came this ancient looking Jewish man, fairly tall and very slender, sporting Bermuda short atop his skinny legs, white socks, and a nondescript shirt. With black bi-focals taped on the left side sliding to the tip of his nose, he had long thinning hair. He walked up to the passenger side window eating onion-flavored Ritz crackers and greeted Ed. E returned the greeting, then Van turned back to close the door to his apartment, crumbs dusting his mouth. He handed Ed cabinet sketches for his house as he got into the truck. Of course, as he leaned forward, I was overcome by the aroma of onion Ritz and old guy, so despite being chilly, I rolled the window down. After they discussed the sketches for a moment, my neighbor says, "Oh Van, this is my friend, Mai!" I said hello as Van lifted his fist to greet me with what is now being determined by the media as the "Obama Fist Bump", but is really the hood greeting generally known as a "pound", if you know what I mean. This, coming from old Jewish Van, was quite comical. I bumped his fist with a wide grin and turned back to the window (onion Ritz STINK).

As we rode further into Brooklyn, Ed says "Hey Van, how was your vacation with your girl??? Why don't you tell Mai about your new girlfriend!!" And OF COURSE my ears perked ALL THE WAY UP! I mean, if Old Van has some juicy story to dish about a tenderoni, then.... I wanted to hear all about it! OF COURSE I didn't know what to expect. I mean, really I'm thinking: Van is like, what? 72, 73 years old, who knows what his love tale will consist of... so I turned from the window to face Van and eagerly listened as his story began:

When he was about 18 or 19 years old living in Greenwich, CT he had a girlfriend (I'll call her Kate. No Kathy. I don't know why, but I'm gonna call her Kathy. No! Sally! Van and Sally!! I'll call her Sally because I don't remember what he said her name was.) Van was completely in love with Sally and they dated up until she went off to college and he left for the military. They ultimately lost contact, as there was no Facebook, Myspace or Twitter back in the day! Van went off around the world having a good time, came on back to the States, got married (to the wrong girl, as he puts it), had a child, divorced, and has been living the bachelor life in New York City for the past forty years (which is ten years longer than I've been alive)! He loves it here. He's now 80 years old and still works as a carpenter with a shop on N 6th Street in Williamsburg taking care of city contracts and cherished clients like my neighbor making doors, windows, shelves, he says, in a lot of the city buildings and refurbished homes which is quite a legacy!

ANYWAY, he never forgot about Sally (or was it Kate?), NEVER. Would think of her often throughout his life but didn't know what her married name was. He wasn't in touch with any of their childhood friends to inquire about her, he didn't even know if she was still alive. But she pressed against his mind, for years Van said, so in late October 2008, I think it was the 30th, he went to the public library and looked through the marriage records to find out once and for all if there was a way to track Sally down. And he found an announcement published in The Times fifty-six years ago stating that Sally MaidenName had indeed become a married woman. When he got home, it took him "five minutes", he said, to track down a phone number for Sally MarriedName. So he dialed the number. When she answered he said, "Hello, is this Sally MarriedName?" and she replied, "Yes, who may I ask is calling?" and he responded, "This is Van Pearlman" (of course I made up the name "Pearlman" as well, but the other details are accurate, I promise!) and he didn't say anything else. There was the longest pause before the conversation picked up with her audible disbelief that she was speaking to the boy she loved so many years before her life had really begun, and that he had taken such measures to find her now. She had long since built a life with her family in the suburbs of Atlanta, and it was surreal that Van Pearlman was now back in her reality, with a simple phone call, just like that.

Sally MarriedName was even more awed at his timing because five weeks prior to Van's phone call, her own husband of 56 years had finally succombed to a long illness. Impeccable timing on Van's part because she was grieving very much for having lost her life companion and really needed someone to spend her time talking with. So Van talked to her, everyday, for hours on end. For the next few months he was happy to be the support she could lean on. He said they picked up where they left off 60 years ago. She's 80 as well, though two months behind him. (He joked that he's "robbing the cradle!") So now, they reminisce about their lives together as teenagers back in Greenwich, CT and fill one another in of how this crazy life has unfolded. Sally's children couldn't be more pleased that Van has come into the picture as well because they shared with him that she'd been such a devoted wife to their father, especially in his ailing years, and it was pure joy to see the light in her eyes as a result of his medicine for her melancholy. And most recently, Van and Sally took a vacation together in Cape Cod near where they summered. So, right there in the truck today Old Van looked at me and said that he's completely in love, all over again, though he can't really say that he ever STOPPED loving Sally.

Nearly teary-eyed myself (I mean come on! this is the stuff MOVIES are made from), I asked, "Are you gonna marry Sally?" His response was very simple: "I don't know what I'm going to do; but I love her." He explained that though they love one another, the grieving of her husband is still fairly recent, and the fact is she has a life in Atlanta and his life is in NYC. Even though he's 80, he's up and down with a spring in his step; out and about, still making shelves in his shop, carrying wood, doing a lot of physical activity that keeps the body young. And he has a twin brother in Brooklyn, as well; I'm sure they keep one another healthy (they eat sushi every day for dinner). So, Van has a good life here. But he was sure that he intends to see her again. That he is not going to let her go this time. And I don't blame him; how good is a "good life" without someone to share it with?

The cynical may quibble that of course he's in love with her, no one else would want either one of them because they're old (or something just as insensitive). I've already heard someone say it, and I asked him to think of it a little bit more reasonably... I mean, come one: These two individuals who KNEW that they meant soooo much to one another back in the 1940's are here almost a decade into the new millineum where they've come full circle to find one another on a real love playing field. I hope they live to be 110, that way they can spend the next 30 years enjoying one another's company (and then pass away in each other's arms like in The Notebook!) because I am the anticynic when it comes to matters of the heart. I won't be bitter that things have yet to work out for me. No sir. Not when random people are brought into my life with miracle love stories. Everything is TIMING, right? Their love withstood the test of time. Van contacted Sally at the time she needed him, and I crossed paths with Van at a time when I was feeling like.... you know, what does it all mean when your love for a person refuses to die. So, I'll just KNOW that whoever I'm intended to be with WILL come back around at some point, and that we'll be happy together BEING with one another at THAT point, you know.... Hopefully, though, it's before I turn 80!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh God.

how did i get here?

is this REALLY where I'm supposed to be?

when do I get to leave?

Friday, June 12, 2009

what if proposals went like this:

"like, can we hang out and take long walks and watch cartoons and movies and youtube videos or whatever and listen to old school music or breakbeat electronica or house or jazz and can we get late night takeout or create interesting meals to share and eat pie and help one another out by fixing things or loaning things or offering sound advice or working out together and giving a massage afterward, and can you laugh at my jokes if i laugh at yours and listen to my stories if i listen to yours or support my interests and talents if support yours and can we pray together and study together and share what we know about any given thing with one another if the other doesn't know about it and can we kiss one another and hold each other and dance and tickle each other and try to keep each other from snoring and find ways to make one another smile that only we know about and can we just BE easy and care for one another and live in a comfortable space with lots of room and lots of sunlight and a california king sized bed or a hammock... for as long as both shall live? like nothing more or nothing less, unless you want more or less and if so can we still care for and love one another like every day and every week and every year of our lives, just for fun??? like, is that cool with you?"

...see, if proposals went like that, it'd be really easy to say, "well, of course, silly! that's what we've BEEN doing anyway....."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

mai wonder (no relation to stevie)

i wonder how things are going to turn out.

i wonder if things will always be more of a question mark than a clear indication of what is going on.

i wonder if matters of the heart will always require pain management.

i wonder if i will ever not care.

i wonder when it will all fall in place.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

but at the end of the day, at least people believe in a sis...

one of the best text messages i've gotten in a long time:


Good to hear from you! And what I said was also from the heart! I was totally blown away when I heard your CD! The concept is brilliant and the music and production is incredible! Last but not least, I think you are an incredibly smart, talented, and beautiful lady who is going to go far in life! When you get to the top, don't forget little ol' humble me (smile). Let's keep in touch!

Your friend,

Talk about words of ENCOURAGEMENT.... whew! i'm so grateful for kind words.... also, i got a message that baby Ritah was born on Sunday at 6:18pm!!!

(....just a little positivity to balance out my last post.)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

man, i see

how people get caught up (and subsequently caught) in tryin to find cash in all kinds of illegitimate and questionable ways... it's enough to drive a person stone crazy applying and applying and applying and interviewing and waiting and tryin to set up interviews and waiting and not hearing nothing and checking your email every few hours and waiting and then FINALLY receiving word that though it was SUUUCCHHH a hard decision they had to make, they decided to go with the other candidate... WHAT! you're kidding me, right? like, why even mention that? that your tough choice was between me and another individual? so i can feel even more like a loser since i ALMOST had what it takes to satisfy their need and get a check in return when you barely wanted to do the gig in the first place but know you need money, so what the hey, it's only temporary... all of this is only temporary, ANYWAY..... but that's not what my mind is on, right now. right now, i'm talking about how i can SEE how easy it is to say, okay, if the individuals who have the power to give out a regular bamma job with a substantial check keep passing on my candidacy, and i need cash because what i have is dwindling, then let me find cash WHERE EVER i can find it... i'm just saying. i understand. people who _____________, or ____________, or even _____________ so that they can have enough money to pay everything on time, for the time being, until everything starts to come together, i know where they're coming from. like, i wonder if escorts and strippers or whatever actually take the money they get to pay down student debt or save a down payment for a condo, or even be able to pay their rent at the start of the month and pay all the utilities and the cable bill and buy groceries and take their clothes to the laundry AND to the cleaners or buy rosetta stone and take long trips to other countries so that they can study language and culture or whatever. that's what i would do... i dont think i have the cajones to really step outside of my moral compass in the name of being able to find supplemental cash, especially when you think of the adage (scripture?) what's done in the dark always come to the light, and ramifications, et al... but, dag. when are things going to come together????? or better yet, when will I KEEP things together on a consistant basis. i finally have a job that i like and sometimes make extra cash doing what i got my degree in, but i'm still broke as a joke and floundering. this better not be indicative of what my 30s are in going to be about. i'm only six weeks in, but sheesh.... this is... disconcerting.