• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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I Hate To Turn Up Out Of the Blue, Uninvited

 Do you read the Garnet Hill catalogue and think your life might be nice if you were the one really pretty teacher in a large public school? Are you lying to yourself about your desire for fame? Did you remember your father’s birthday, now seven years gone? Are you constantly hungry? Do you think you saw Paul Mckenna and realized it wasn’t Paul McKenna and tried to recall what did or didn’t happen with Paul all those years ago. A Lean Cuisine and a wank. And always the city with her anonymous embrace. All the faces you can’t recall, and then a line of young children in bright puffy jackets holding on to loops on a rope so as not to get lost. Cue danger.  Stop crying. This is your brain not on drugs. This is  your beautiful house. Do not write this down unless you want to forget. 

Tell me one thing.

112 Responses

  1. I’m 41 pages into Paul Auster’s The Invention of Solitude. That’s my one thing.

  2. My husband of 18 years left me for a 24 year old in 2005. At first I was suicidal but now I don’t miss him. I can’t remember what it was like to be married to him, except the bad parts, and I hardly remember those. Is that weird?

  3. One of my eyes is brown and the other is dark green.

  4. Oh wait. I was in love two times before I met my husband. I never fall out of love.

  5. I hate this anti-depressant because it has killed my libido.

  6. One of my dreams came true today.

  7. I feel as if I’m in the wrong place. That my life is elsewhere.

  8. I really like it when my home magazines come in the mail. I’m due for a new issue of House Beautiful.

  9. I didn’t mind the dinosaur in Tree of Life.

  10. Today I asked my dead father’s girlfriend where my sister is buried. When she wrote me back to say she didn’t know, she misspelled my sister’s name and a flare of molten hatred ignited in my chest.

  11. Do you read the Garnet Hill catalogue and think your life might be nice if you were the one really pretty teacher in a large public school?
    Never

    Are you lying to yourself about your desire for fame?
    No, I am more than aware of my desire for empty validation and superficial love. The only thing i want more is perfect hair, heels like a baby’s butt and size 8 jeans that hang loosely on my hips.

    Did you remember your father’s birthday, now seven years gone?
    it’s been more than 30 years for me and i still can’t remember if his birthday was august 21 or 22. Of course, May 14 sticks like peanut butter to the roof of my mouth.

    Are you constantly hungry?
    Absolutely (and i’m not talking about that “hungry for life” bullshit either. i could eat a double cheeseburger, fries, and chocolate malt right now.)

    Do you think you saw Paul Mckenna and realized it wasn’t Paul McKenna and tried to recall what did or didn’t happen with Paul all those years ago.
    I don’t know who Paul McKenna is, but last summer I was behind a beat up pick-up truck traveling down 64W. the driver wasn’t wearing a shirt and had a tanned arm hanging out the drivers side window. I remember thinking indecent thoughts and wanting to get a look at his face. i pulled up beside him only to see the guy i lost my virginity to 23 years ago. it was one of those moments that makes you believe you can see through time.

    • The unexpected crossover from one time period to another and this arousing encounter while driving has some appeal to it. What was his reaction?

      • i sped past as soon as i realized who it was; i don’t know if he ever saw me. (he was more than just a first. he’s the only guy i ever dated beside my husband. good god, i sound like i’m writing a letter to Tiger Beat.)

        his last name was (is) Funk. how great is that??

    • I’m with Mike — what was the guy’s reaction? Did you make eye contact or did you look straight through him and keep driving?

    • This is a scene in a future story, if it hasn’t been already.

    • Wow that is amazing…….definitely story material. What is the universe trying to tell you?

  12. I’m afraid that the ex I left years ago will end up being the love of my life and that the lifestyle dominant who so completely possessed me that I literally crawled across the floor for him wil be my last fuck as well as my biggest hindsight disgust.

    • The key here is the word left. You did that. You got yourself off that floor. Don’t ever forget that. I know all too well what that’s like. Sometimes mine visits me in the dark, when my defenses are down but it doesn’t scare me anymore. I use it to fuel my existing reality ’cause there’s no way in hell I’m ever going back to that.

  13. It’s a long thing. Paul McKenna lived across the alley on Lyman and he was my brother’s grade school pal, and he said about my boyfriend, the adorable Ray Vogt with the green eyes and the black eyelashes, “His mother dresses him funny,” and he was gay and he committed suicide. Fuck. You made me cry again.

  14. A mug of lemonade nuked for 2 minutes and stirred with a spoonful of clover honey and a drop of Jack. Okay, two drops of Jack.

  15. i stood silently by and watched, vince, destroyed, at the Paradise Motel.

  16. Patience is the most powerful skill.

  17. I have excellent friends.

    (and pigeons have been everywhere today . . . coincidence or conspiracy?)

  18. I’m a perfectionist. At times, it helps since I have a knack for doing things exactly how they should be done. And others, it hinders me, creatively speaking. Sometimes I feel like this trait has ruined me.

  19. .I didn’t kill me. Every day. For a really long time.
    And then that was over.

  20. I just got home from hearing Gloria Steinem speak and I feel so inspired. I want to DO something tomorrow. Instead I’ll work on my writing, and I hope that is something, too.

  21. I think if I could look the way the models do in the Garnet Hill catalogue, I’d be different, despite the fact that I know better.

    I’ve run a marathon and then smoked a cigarette on the way home.

    • <>

      That’s my girl !

    • [laugh] Around here, people run 5Ks and marathons in costumes and the less-focused runners turn the race into a pub crawl! then, there is the post race party featuring beer. I actually ran past one gang that was sharing a joint. I guess it’s all in what one considers a healthy lifestyle.

      • I ran a half-marathon in a Batgirl costume (for charity, not by choice) made out of what I only assume was an industrial-strength garbage bag during a June heatwave, and in retrospect, I question the health benefits of losing six pounds during one race.

      • My version of healthy? Going to extreme in opposing manners simultaneously. See also: Balance and moderation.

  22. One thing is everything: Krishna.

  23. I don’t know what the Garnet Hill Catalogue is.

  24. The posts and comments on this blog contain more honest raw emotion than all the other blogs put together.

  25. Sometimes I think it’s just too late.

  26. I want a winkelsucher like I’ve never wanted anything and, dammit, I’m going to get one.

  27. I’m in a rush in case I die.

  28. I keep thinking I will get another chance.

  29. I’ve been wondering if my favorite characters in my favorite books would like me as much as I like them.

  30. I worry that I don’t have enough time left.

  31. Oh, God, yes, I am so hungry all the time. I’m like a freakin’ adolescent, except I don’t have the eating disorder, so I’m not freakin’ slim.

    But looks aren’t important, Betsy.

  32. Walked to work this morning because it was safer than driving; one of those icky Adirondack winter days, more like November than late January, where the crap falling from the sky isn’t quite rain but it’s certainly not ice, the trees painted with a clear, shiny finish and my footsteps feeling like I’m trudging through crunchy chunks, like a bowl of puffy cereal and milk left out overnight by a drunken idiot who forgot to latch the door so it blew open as wind picked up and the temperature dropped…

  33. My clock is ticking: I wish I had a faster gear.

  34. Wind and water are indifferent to my presence or passing, and there is my peace.

  35. The shortest distance between two points does not exist.

  36. I am a teacher, although not the pretty one, and not in a large public high school. I had to Google Garnet Hill; I live in the woods. My desire for fame is clear to me, although I lie to everyone else about it. Some days I just want to be anywhere but here, listening to the regular battery and abuse of the English language, watching the vacant stares of apathetic, entitled children of poverty bare their teeth and snarl at the hands that try to pull them from their dens. But then, invariably, one of them shines through, says something brilliant and true, or creates something daring for them, and I think I might be able to hang in for a little longer.

  37. When I was seven, I accidentally dropped my two-year-old nephew down the stairs. He got right up and didn’t even cry. I didn’t tell my sister about it until I was thirty.

  38. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  39. Every choice, every decision, every untrodden path, is an embryo of regret.

  40. I wish my husband could remember our children’s names.

  41. One thing leads to another… and last night it was one chip…

  42. I lay awake for hours last night with my ear pressed to the pillow; my heartbeat sounds like a man walking through snow.

  43. I painted my fingernails rainbow today because I like Skittles, not because I was making a political statement.

  44. Rain drops hitting my window, racing along the glass, only to bleed into the pool at the bottom.

  45. I received something in the mail that it turns out wasn’t really for me and now i need to send it back, I should send it back, but I haven’t yet.

  46. I am an eternal procrastinator. At times I’ve paid a heavy price for it, you’d think I’d learn.

  47. I used to think that if I could walk like Judy Davis, my life would be completely different. For a long time I felt I had wandered onto the wrong set, that my real life was being lived out by someone else and I wondered how it all turned out.

    But they can’t take away from me that I had one book published, even if it was more than 10 years ago. And that I helped save my teenager, on the brink of multiple disasters.

    I want to remember, I want to forget, I want to make up in middle age for what I lost in youth because of disappearing into the background.

    “What is your purpose in life?” a psychic asked me a few years ago. Silence. (This was before depression and anorexia threatened to extinguish my little girl.) Would you know how to answer that?

  48. My son Finnegan’s first poem, a six-year-old channeling Steinbeck:

    “The day of work and hot sun
    was hot and dirty with dirt.”

    I want to remember that, always.

  49. My mother died in an accident when I was six years old. I am now 43, and I still try to fill the gaping hole she left with things like wine or pie, or the false promise that I don’t need any body else in this life.

    • I’m so sorry. I can’t help but think of the last line of A.A. Milne’s poem Now We are Six.
      “… I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.”

      • Wow – yes, that is a powerful line for me – i will have to back and re-read that poem. Thanks. (on the lighter side though, most of me knows i am supposed to grow up, and lots of me already has 🙂

  50. I’ve fallen in love with my lover. Not good. Not gonna work here. Argh!

  51. I will be a published writer.

  52. I’m angry all the time. I don’t know how to be apathetic. I feel EVERYTHING that goes on in the world and it all just makes me angry. If I could have one wish it would be the ability to switch off.

      • If you can’t change it, set it aside. One thing I’ve learned, eventually all the stuff that pisses you off will take care of itself. Call it karma, call it time, whatever, anger does nothing but raise your blood pressure, it accomplishes nothing OR do something constructive to change one thing. One thing can domino into many…breathe.

    • “The more we witness our emotional reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain.”
      -Pema Chödrön

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