Nuts and bolts

I’m a practical kind of girl, I said, so I think we should take a sort of nuts and bolts look at how this is going to work.

Jeffrey looked at me without comment. I took this as an invitation to continue. First, you are going to pay half the rent. It will be due by the 1st of the month. If I don’t have it on time, you will have to move out.

Jeffrey frowned. I thought we were in love. I didn’t think this was about rent. . . .

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White towels

My car died halfway between nowhere and the boondocks on highway 285. There was a house not too far away, I could see something that looked like white towels waving in the wind on a clothesline. I hoped that meant someone was home.

I ducked through the antelope fence and started across the desert, sure that the shortest distance to help was in a straight line. From the road, the desert looks bare, but close up it’s a mine field of cactus spines, holes, and heat. . . .

My great hope

All I could do was say it plain out. Mom, I’m pregnant. I’d imagined all sorts of reactions to this. I thought she might cry, or slap me, or yell at me.

But she didn’t do any of that. She stared at me. Maybe she was breathing a little harder than normal, but otherwise you’d think I told her something mundane, like Mom, the dryer stopped.

Finally she shriveled somehow, folded in on herself, and said, My great hope for you . . .

Corporate Buyouts

NBC just bought iVillage for $600 million dollars in a corporate buyout. In case you’ve never looked, iVillage is a women’s interest site. In iVillage’s mind (and in NBC’s mind apparently) women’s interest turns out to be gossip, astrology, entertainment news, love and sex advice, parenting advice and cooking tips.

It’s not that real women aren’t interested in these topics. I just think that for $600 million smackers, NBC could find itself something a lot more important to buy that represents what real women are thinking. Take a look at the women in the blog-o-sphere, for example, and you’ll find . . .

Mending

Mending a ripped relationship is a lot like mending a ripped seam. If you can get the two sides to cross over the ripped zone and come together for a while. hold still for a while and pay attention, then things might be repaired.

Some people are better at mending than others. When I try it, the stitches are a little clumsy and less than neat. You can always see the spot I mended. Healing relationship woes for me is similar. There’s a little bumpy scar left behind that I . . .

Cookbook

I cut through the hedge to my neighbor’s back yard. The glass on the kitchen door was broken, the door closed. I heard Dudley’s Volkswagen drive by on the street. There were no other sounds.

I peeked through the broken glass to see Sally’s shelf of cookbooks scattered on the kitchen floor. An overturned chair lay near the door. Sally? I called. At the sound of my voice, Sally’s dog Bunko raised his head. I’d missed seeing him under the table. He whimpered and gave a cursory thump of his tail. Please, no, I muttered . . .

Kick butt

The old broad kicks butt in In Her Shoes, a current movie with Shirley MacLaine and a couple of younger chicks who are just plain dim on the screen when Shirley is in the scene. Her talent, charisma, and ability shine. Her performance leaps off the screen and screams that old ain’t dead, old ain’t feeble, and old ain’t useless. Damn, she’s good. You go, girl!

Then there’s Diane Keaton in The Family Stone. Honey, we are talking about kicking butt big time. . . .

Flyspeck

The aroma of the oranges stopped me. The clamor and stink of the crowded market swirled around me, but the oranges smelled fresh and safely clean. I piled several in my hands.

I turned to see what caused a bump from behind me. A tiny flyspeck of a boy snatched my wallet and ran. I scattered oranges everywhere and ran after him. He led me down a narrow alley, his small body disappearing behind everything between us. I quickly . . .

Stupid mistake

You don’t have to be young to make a stupid mistake, but it helps. Youth doesn’t comprehend danger or consequences. Maybe there’s an evolutionary reason for that. Maybe if young people were cautious and mature, no progress would ever be made, nothing new would ever be tried.

A lot of young people have been injured or even killed doing stupid things. How can that be a valuable trait? As a person, I take a personal approach to stupid mistakes, especially those made by my own children, who I am trying to protect from harm. But in evolutionary terms, do individual stupid mistakes matter? Do individuals matter . . .

Badge

I was brewing a new pot of coffee with my back to the counter, but I heard the creaking leather of his belt as he sat down. I caught my breath. My neck felt hot. I prayed I wasn’t blushing.

Eyes down, I turned around. I could see his strong chest, that shiny badge over his pocket, the heavy belt around his waist. I wouldn’t look in his eyes. Every time I looked in his eyes I dropped something. My whole check was going to cover broken dishes. I absolutely would not look at him.

My order pad out, I stared at it, ready to write. What’ll it be today? I said. He was grinning, I knew it, even though I wouldn’t look.