The morning started fine enough. I did a little laundry, wrote a few things, and got dressed to go meet some folks and contribute to a video. My hair wasn’t great and I have total raccoon eyes because a few minutes of sun turns me red on the nose and brown all over the rest of me.
I grabbed the mail on the way out of the house and got a notice that our homeowner’s insurance was cancelled because we have a trampoline and a tree needs trimming. Here is a pictures of the “multiple branches” that are on the house and would give the insurance company cause for canceling a policy.
I looked at the letter in the morning and decided to schedule a cry for the afternoon. I had no idea how very much I’d need it.
After schlepping to Culver City I was going to loop through mid-cities to pick up Junior from the dog sitter. I’d left him with her for our little weekend away at Bacara. I called the sitter and there was no answer so I decided to go over to LACMA, grab something from a food truck and have lunch with Rodin.
Since the dog sitter wasn’t answering her phone I polished off my Korean food in the sculpture garden and renewed my museum membership. I wandered into a room that welcomed me with a giant mural from Matisse. Not quite a mosaic but more than just tiles.
I remembered the year we were visiting my Grandmother and her mother, my Great Grandmother, fell. We were in New York City and there was a Matisse exhibit at the Met. I wandered there for hours on end and studied the cutouts that Matisse converted into beautiful works of art. I imagined gnarled hands working magic with scissors and razors and paste. In my childhood mind Matisse was born an old man.
My brother and I were stuck indoors while everyone took turns watching over my Great Grandmother. My Grandmother’s friend Dave took us to Tompkins Square where he would play chess at a speed I’d never before seen while he smoked cigarillos. My brother and I were rapt and learned to play chess that week. I was never very good, my brother was. He’s always been smarter than I have in a mathematical sense.
We spent the week with stacks of construction paper and glue recreating Matisse’s work on long rolls of butcher paper. The Chasidim gave us tin Hanukkiahs so we could light candles with our Great Grandmother at night in the hospital. In retrospect the flames were unwise.
Standing at LACMA before an oversized Matisse display it all washed over me. The women in my life caring for each other.
Standing in front of one of Picasso’s Blue Paintings my phone rang. The dog sitter was home. I reluctantly left to pick up Junior.
I grabbed the kids from school next and brought Jane home to rest. She’s been ill and a day at school knocked everything out of her. Alexander went to tennis and on the way a girlfriend called.
Not a girlfriend. The girlfriend. The one who knows everything. The one who lived with me in high school and helped me survive the teenage years. The one who inspired me and made me a better person. The one who has never judged and who giggled when I failed to be a better person. That friend.
She’s sick. She’s going to be okay, but right now she’s sick.
So after tennis I got dinner on the table, ate a few bites of salad and tried to not yell at my family. I wasn’t overly successful but I did okay. I took the dog for a walk but it’s a well documented fact that Junior is essentially useless. After about four blocks I had to carry him and so now I’m walking down the street with my little dog and my giant Bose headphones becuase I really don’t want any outide noise. I don’t want to know that other people are happy or chatting or that they even exist.
I just wanted to walk and cry in the dark with my dumb little useless dog.
So I listened to the Sex Pistols and NWA and the combination of tortured youth from here and abroad helped me through this early part of my 40’s just as effectively as it pushed me forward in my teens.