Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Girlfriends, Ghosts & Chocolate Digestives

It's cold in Los Angeles.   "Scottish weather" my friend Sarah calls it. For Vivien, visiting from London it's a drag. It's actually bloody annoying. "It never rains in May in Los Angeles" I say, sounding like Julie Andrews as I read the forecast.  I was wrong.  She was expecting beach weather and has brought with her a string of summer dresses, each one prettier than the next. "I shall wear all my clothes together" she announced "in order to keep warm."  After much grumbling the Maharishi allowed me to turn on the heating.  This morning, in the kind of rain that demands a cagoule at the very least, we hiked around Runyon Canyon, which is a good two or three mile loop, my dear friend bravely keeping up with the spotted triumverate.  A splattering of sunlight this afternoon had us outside under the plum tree, wrapped in rugs, sunglasses and all.  But now, once again Scottish weather.  I've noticed small green sour plums on the tree and I've half a mind to sit out there to fend off the squirrels who grab them before they have time to ripen in the sun.  There are plums and apricots this year, so it is, I suppose, the land of milk and honey and bushels of fruit and Scottish weather in May.

Downtown LA as seen through the rain from Runyon Canyon this morning

I've neglected so much -- my writing, this blog and other people's blogs the last couple of weeks and I am very sorry for it.  (Hopefully I can explain why at a later date. Courage, courage.) I didn't realize that a wonderful blogger friend's beloved dog died at the beginning of May; but I am happy to see that 63 readers did know and sent condolences.  It's a huge outpouring of love.  

I've spent the last four days telling people quite bossily how sad it is to see Arnold and Maria separate and shushing them for calling him a pig and noting the wise words of Belinda Luscombe in Time ("Each marriage is its own little ecosystem."), only to wake up this morning to the news that he (the Sperminator) fathered a child ten years ago by his housekeeper.  I vow to keep my big mouth shut in the future but my heart goes out to Maria Shriver, who has had the mother of all bad years.  I hope she has good girlfriends who will stand by her and bring her flowers and roast chickens and endless cups of tea and make her belly-laugh.

I've got one of those. She is more picky about how her tea is made than I am (stronger, less milk), makes me cry with laughter recounting the stories of our misspent youth (I would include them here but fear my children might never forgive me!) living in a bed-sit on Polstead Road in Oxford and reminds me how devilishly funny and charming my father was.  She ate her first oyster on her 20th birthday at Bentley's in London when my father took us both out to lunch (she now hates them) and she even remembers his appallingly bad jokes (lots involving vicars and parrots).  She remembers the 4th of June we went to, the way the Coronation Chicken was made, the boys we fancied and our tragic years as punks in Aylesbury (she was more authentic than me; I was accused of being a "disco-punk" which of course has no street cred whatsoever).  She reminds me how to pronounce English words the English way and she's kind.  She, too, would like a tardis.  Brilliantly, we've discovered that if we had a tardis there would be no restrictions on taking dogs on holiday.  And apparently, there were ghosts in my house growing up, ones I didn't know about.  One chap sat at the end of our friend Rollo's bed and watched him while he slept. She brings me chocolate digestives from England, smuggled in between layers of summer dresses in her suitcase, and we've almost finished all of them.  This is what we lived on in Oxford, along with the occasional baked potato which we ate in homage to Mike Leigh's "Abigail's Party."

Vivien, Miss W & Moby Dick do the tourist thang on PCH

This makes me very grateful. If our lives are the consequence of each choice we've made then we are, always, at the place we're supposed to be. It is very weird, though, to be stuck between two cultures, two ways of life, two distinct traditions.  I feel a pull as if between two poles, neither good nor bad, just sometimes a little dizzy-making. Please, God, bring me a tardis and help me to remember how to pronounce English words.

Speaking of girlfriends, please go see "Bridesmaids" or "Mermaids" as we seem to be calling it in this house. It's wonderful and will make you laugh until you wet your knickers (really).


Kcecelia said...

What a pleasure to find your lovely evocative, conversational writing. How wonderful to have a good friend, with whom you share so much history, come to visit. Sorry you require cagoules. It's just the same in SF, where we are beginning to mildew around our damp edges. I'll see Bridesmaids tomorrow, I hope. Kristen Wiig, Paul Feig, and Judd Apatow are all favorites. I wish you a sunny day.

Max said...

Cagoule. What a great English word. It's probably 25 years since I last heard it said. Cagoule. Nice. Thanks.

ganching said...

I spent much of April in Ireland and every day we woke up to clear blue skies and sunshine. I cannot explain how bizarre this was as the weather in Ireland is generally the same as in Scotland only colder and wetter.

This was a lovely description of friendship.

Miss Whistle said...

@Kcecelia thank you, dear one -- you're such a tonic & thank you for your lovely, kind twitter support. Do definitely report back when you see Bridesmaids. Let's pray the sun comes back.

@Max ha ha ha! isn't it the BEST word?

@ganching and England has sunshine and blue skies now. Life just isn't fair, is it?

-- Miss Whistle

Kate said...

Cagoule ... reminds me of Brownie camps and teaming rain. I don't think they even know this word in Oz. I also used to hang around in Friars Square in Aylesbury thinking I was oh so cool ... wonder if they still do?

f.k.omm said...

lovely piece, bumble, and what a lovely pic of you two too!

Miss Whistle said...

@Kate -- I'm pretty much positive we saw you there!

@Freddie -- Thank you. We were just reminiscing happily about you.

xx Miss W