I never wanted to surf. Not once, when my husband or step-children would pick up boards and wetsuits and head for the beach, was I inspired to say “let me give it a try”, not even when friends would visit from Europe and would ask for recommendations on the best surfing beaches or where to take lessons: all that information at my fingertips (because, when you live here long enough, it becomes part of your compass) and never once did I act on it. As athletic as I am, surfing seems really hard. And it requires suffering from bad hair days too often.
Month: April 2015
I am useless at cooking Chinese Food – somehow it never tastes as good as it does from a Chinese restaurant, and that never tastes as good as it does in China. Which I don’t get to much anymore. I used to love eating out in Hong Kong on my own. When I went on my 3 month trip to Asia, I spent a week wandering around checking out markets and eating street food.
When I did make it into a restaurant – the whole place would fall silent as I was escorted to my table for one. Then the patrons would watch intently as the waiter tried to figure out what I wanted. Occasionally interjecting suggestions of their own. The concierge at my hotel had written a little introduction, which I would hand to the waiter: “Seafood, chicken breast, bbq pork and vegetables in any combination please. No weird stuff.” It worked until I went into a dim sum parlour where, apparently, all they had was weird stuff. I was escorted from the premises and pointed at a KFC.
“I love you…”
The handsome stranger peeking from a shiny metal grey Mercedes, sitting at the light next to me, definitely had my attention. It’s been a while since anyone tried to pick me up in the car (yes, it’s L.A., we spend an inordinate amount of time in our cars and we have become creative).
“…but you are not helping.”
Oh, ok, I was in for a scalding.
“I painted myself white one day, stood on a box, put a hat or a can at my feet, and when someone came by and dropped in money, I handed them a flower — and some intense eye contact. And if they didn’t take the flower, I threw in a gesture of sadness and longing — as they walked away. So I had the most profound encounters with people, especially lonely people who looked like they hadn’t talked to anyone in weeks, and we would get this beautiful moment of prolonged eye contact being allowed in a city street, and we would sort of fall in love a little bit. And my eyes would say — “Thank you. I see you.” And their eyes would say — “Nobody ever sees me. Thank you.”
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I have started watching TED Talks while I make dinner. Of the new habits I have tried to introduce into my life over the past year (meditation, learning Italian, starting to run), this is the only one that has stuck. I guess it goes to that belief about finding a new hobby – it must be something you want to do, that complements who you are and that is relatively easy to slot into an already full life. As to how full my life is, well I suppose that is debatable, I don’t get out much but I always seem to be doing something.
If I think of the island of Lampedusa, a tiny isle off the coast of Sicily, the southernmost point of Italy, the first thing that comes to mind is a Summer vacation I always wanted to take and never did, and the second is the “The Leopard”, a novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa which is required reading for every Italian high-schooler and which inspired the famous Visconti movie by the same name. But now, Lampedusa evokes much darker images.
The other day in McG we were all sitting on the sofa after supper telling jokes, and my dad started one that involved a parrot and an attorney and a bar – but he couldn’t remember it properly. Each time he began again he got it wrong and that got him chuckling. He laughed harder and harder – until tears were running down his cheeks and he was literally gasping. The kids began running around in gleeful circles and my mom and I were giggling uncontrollably. It was truly one of the most beautiful things I have been part of for a long time.
One: Across America, there are dogs of all breeds riding in highways and byways in motorcycle sidecar. “Sit Stay Ride: The Story of America’s Sidecar Dogs” is a fabulous documentary about beloved canine co-pilots and their motorcyclist companions.