Sunday, July 20, 2008

Conservative by nature?

Well, so far, the feedback has been great!  Truly, I have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for my little tale (350 pages, so I'm using the word 'little' somewhat tongue-in-cheek).


I've been surprised to hear that a few people, some of whom actually know me, have been shocked a bit by some of the more ribald stories I share.  Shocked?  Why?  I've been giving this some thought and here's what I've come up with: I am generally a modest person, conservative by nature, so you don't really expect to find me in some of the predicaments I've found myself in.  I actually think my conservative nature adds to the humor of these situations, but that's neither here nor there.  In any event, it's got me thinking.  I am beginning to wonder if I am inherently conservative or not.  This is another nature vs. nurture thing. 


Are you ready for a little pre-teen story?  Here we go…


After a day and a half of camping I was dropped off, very early Sunday morning, at church for a confirmation rehearsal that I was unaware was even going to take place – why I was unaware escapes me now.  My mother was horrified to see me in Levis and declared I would not be attending a sacred ceremony wearing jeans.  "It's not a sacred ceremony; it's only a rehearsal for a sacred ceremony," I pointed out.  "Don't get fresh with me," she said.  "Now give me those pants!"  "What?"  I couldn't imagine what she was thinking.  "You'll just wear your confirmation gown," she stated authoritatively.  "Can't I roll up my jeans?  No one will see them under the gown," my voice trailed off in acquiesced defeat.  "Give me those pants!"  Now why she had my confirmation gown in the car and not a change of more suitable clothes I will never know but, clearly, since I was already on thin ice, I just grimaced through the bile induced nausea and gave her my pants. 


Keeping to myself, I remained quiet while receiving our instructions.  When it came time to actually run through the procedure, my full concentration was on keeping the gown from flapping open while I walked.  After the rehearsal, we were promptly dismissed.  Most of the parents came quickly to pick up their children; they had to get them home, bathed and dressed – ready to return a short time later to partake in this blessed religious ritual.  Note, if you will, that I said 'most' parents.  Most would imply that although many came, all did not.  My mother was nowhere in sight. 


I roamed the halls for what seemed an eternity, clenching my gown closed, wondering where she could be when Father Morello emerged and asked me what I was still doing there.  After a hard swallow, I croaked out, "I'm just waiting for my mom."  I don't know why, but he terrified me.  Did he know that I was petrified to be speaking with him?  Did he know that I had been unprepared for the rehearsal?  Did he know that I was only in my underwear?  "I'm sure she'll be here soon," I said through a meek smile.  "I'll just go wait outside."


I paced outside a while longer wondering where my mother was.  Fearful that Father Morello would see me still lurking around the church, I felt I had no other recourse but to walk home.  I walked about two miles down a heavily traveled county road in my underwear and a flapping confirmation gown – think Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch, except in my case, I wasn't Marilyn Monroe, a sexy blonde in a beautiful dress, standing over an exhaust grate, on a movie set; No, I was a mortified, awkward, prepubescent trying to keep my gown from flying up over my head as vehicles whizzed by, in excess of 50 mph, in my hometown – in real life!  This is the stuff nightmares are made of.


My mother, who had simply lost track of time, picked me up when I was halfway home.  She and my sister found this all very amusing; I did not, however, and to this day, I attribute my considerable modesty, and conservative nature, back to this extremely embarrassing experience. 


Nature vs. nurture?  It's a coin toss.  - M  

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Jersey Update

For those people who don't know me, you'll say, "No way!"  For those who do, you'll ask, "Why is it you don't play the lottery?"  I don't really have an answer to that question.  I guess, if pressed, I'd just say, "I'm not really that lucky."  But I am beginning to think that isn't quite true.  In fact, when I really think about it, I'm beginning to think that I am incredibly lucky – if lucky is defined by beating the odds, that is. 


For one thing, the second blind date I had wound up being with the same guy as my first blind date.  For over 20 years I've been asking, "What are the odds of that?" and so far, no one has been able to tell me. 


Also, I was nearly squashed like a bug by a 78,000 pound vehicle and lived to tell about it.  What are those odds?  Miraculously staggering, I'd say – but still not a definitive ratio.


And now this.  Although for this one, I have the odds – the exact odds – 1:366.  One being how many chances I'd have, and 366 being how many days in a year – this year (leap year) – for this chance to present itself.  Chance for what, you ask? Well, I can only be talking about one thing – my chance to run into Sonny at the airport.


As I stated in my previous post, I only go home to New Jersey on the redeye once a year.  And, as I also noted, I was aware that the possibility existed that I could run into him – although I didn't actually think that I would.  Well, I did.  Yes, Sonny was on my flight.  I don't know why I'm surprised really, especially after reviewing what I just noted up above.  Apparently, I am an odd-beater.  Here's what happened:


First of all, that dreadful flight that had been scheduled to depart at 10:35 p.m. was delayed for about 1-1/2 hours.  Barely able to stay awake, around 11:30, I left the gate area to use the Rest Room and that's where I first noticed a man that I thought was him.  Could it be?  I wondered.  I didn't want to risk being recognized so I took a wide course from the Rest Room back to where I was sitting by the gate.


When the ticket agent finally called for First Class and Elite members to pre-board, I noticed him in the crowd.  Keep in mind that when I met him last year, he was in seat 8C – Elite section.  Like last year, I was in Row 7 again – not an Elite member though, so I had to board nearly last.  Would he be seated behind me again?  In front?  God forbid, beside?  I had no way of knowing. 


The gate area was just about empty when they called for the last few straggling passengers to board.  It was after midnight; the Jetway was clogged; I was extremely tired and wished for nothing more than to be in my seat – and on my way to slumber town.


Alright, finally the herd was moving again.  I stepped off the Jetway and into the plane, only to be stopped just as I rounded the corner into First Class.  That's where I was spotted.  As a distinct recognition flashed across his face, he quickly jerked his head away from my direction, turning to his left, and shut his eyes.  Fine by me. 


I made small talk with the head flight attendant as I internally beckoned the Lord to help the guy up ahead get his over-stuffed carry-on into the overhead compartment so that he could sit down and clear the aisle for the rest of us. It seemed my prayers were answered – the line began to move.  I should sail right past seat 3A, Sonny and his shut eyes, I thought.  Should have – didn't.  Just as I ended the chitchat with the steward, and moved squarely into the aisle, we stopped.  We all stopped.  But it was only I who was stopped between Row 2 and Row 3. 


What was the deal?  What happened?  Why weren't we moving?  Ahh, it was the wheel – the wheel on the over-packed, puffed-up bloated carry-on.  It's true that the man wrestled the bag into the overhead, but now that blasted wheel was preventing the bin from closing.  Man!  I felt like I was on a game show playing against the clock.  The tension was mounting – would he get that wheel in and free up the aisle before Sonny opened his eyes?


My heartbeat began to race as I stood there with my hand on the back of seat 2B.  And just as I was shouting, "Shove it in already!" silently in my head, he did.  The bag went in and the bin was closed.  But, unfortunately, it was at this same moment that Sonny lifted his lids and cast his gaze up and to his right, directly to the aisle, that is – and, directly to my face.  What could I do?  I said, "Hey, Sonny," then gave a quick smile that vanished almost as instantly as it appeared.  "Uh… hey, how ya doin'?" he stammered in reply, just as the aisle cleared enabling me to finally move to my seat. 


It was nice to see that he wasn't traveling with his parents this time.  He was with a smallish, somewhat balding Italian man – my guess, brother.  And it was brother dear who picked up their bags while Sonny steered clear of me and the luggage carousel.  Note to self:  Be thankful for the little things. 


My friends and family were shocked and amused with this little tale but it paled greatly in comparison to the shock and awe roused by the announcement of my book, The Ones That Got Away – A Dating Memoir.


Much as I'd hoped, they were thrilled.  Most were flabbergasted.  But, as it sunk in, they began to fire the questions:  "Did you tell the one about…?  Do you remember the time…? Is this one in it?  Is that one it in? Am I in it?  Oh my… you didn't tell any of my secrets, did you?"  I didn't specifically answer that last question, causing book sales to start with a bang! 


Until next time.  – M.