Today I spoke to my son and my daughter, in Brooklyn, NY and Lewiston, ME, respectively, and my ex-husband in his office on Wilshire Boulevard, on a Google Hangout. That means that all four of us could see each other in real time video and chit-chat just as dysfunctionally as if we were at family Sunday supper.
Dysfunctional is too strong a word for it: but here's the family dynamic -- two kids jostling for their parents' attention in a cutesy sibling rivalry kinda way. Me trying to make jokes and smooth everything over. And J talking about his motorbike and laughing at my jokes. It's clear we all love each other. But the conversation is like something out of a David O. Russell movie. Everyone talks at once, loudly. Everyone has a party trick. And it's all so meta.
I'd contemplated having a dinner on Sunday nights for kids from far away who are at school in LA and miss their mom's cooking. I miss mine so much on Sunday nights that I think I need a surrogate family or a bunch of young people I can bring in to make roast chicken and mashed potatoes for. I've actually considered putting up signs at UCLA but fear I'd be considered a crazy person. When I dropped Minky at Bates, local mothers -- women I'd never met before -- came up to me to give me their cell phone numbers, in case she wanted a "home-cooked meal." It's incredibly touching, that kind of kindness, those strands of pure altruism. Mine's not altruistic. Mine's selfish as hell. I just want kids in the house, because me and the dogs and the crickets and the occasional coyote can get a wee bit lonesome on a Sunday night.
I love this house full.
It was full last night with people I adore. People who'd brought poems to read at my behest. Great poems that meant something to them -- a poem about a place you grew up, a poem you read at your parent's funeral, a poem that makes you cry, a poem (Spike Milligan) that makes you guffaw, Burns read in a Scottish accent, a real Yorkshire poet: Tony Harrison. For a moment, we weren't in LA. We were anywhere else. It sounds horribly pretentious and salon-y, but it wasn't. There was great humanity and a respite from the more superficial side of dinner parties. I can see my sister gagging as I write this. But really. It was great. We all need to do things outside of our comfort zone.
Bliss today came in the form on the Huntington Beach dog beach. Either I'm losing my mind, or I'm becoming happier, but screw Disneyland, the dog beach is absolutely the happiest place on earth. Harmonious love fests between dogs? Check. All types and sizes and shades and shapes of owner smiling at each other? Check. Blissed out blue skies with white floaty clouds? Check. It's my happy place. It's worth the hour and a half drive. Hashtag Bolsa Chica. Hashtag Dog TV.
|Thistle/Missile in her element|
Highlight of the day was the man who heard me calling my dog by name and thought her name was "Missile" (said in the American manner it rhymes with "Thistle") because (get this) SHE IS SO DAMN FAST. Ha ha ha ha. Hopped, skipped and jumped along the beach after that interaction.
And so, to the point. Sunday night. Salt in my hair. Sand still on my feet. An exhausted French Bulldog. A steak I fully intend to cook for myself. And an inbox full of incredibly hideous and lascivious OK Cupid emails to look forward to (that is another blog post entirely, but let me say this, if I lived in Maine, there would be a lobster fisherman having dinner with me and we'd be sitting outside looking at the way the sun reflects in the windows of the houses on the other side of the canyon as it sets).
Technology is grand. And so is poetry. And saltwater. Those three things give us pretty much everything we need. Right?