On Monday night, I was on the horn with an old friend; we've known each other since seventh grade. So you know how that is. By the time we hung up, it was 20 after 11:00.
I hate to tell you this because you already think I am boring for wanting white towels and stripey bathmats for my birthday. But I like to go to bed between 10:00 and 10:30.
Livin' it up. Is what I do. Hey, I need my rest. I have a very concentrate-y job.
So I was a little worried that I'd be all tired Tuesday morning but actually I woke up before the alarm went off. And I was fine all day. But when I got home? I thought, gee, I feel a little sleepy. Maybe I'll just lie–
Two hours. TWO HOURS went by and I was dead as a doornail. I slept like…I don't know. What's something that sleeps hard? I slept like my kittens, those slugs.
You guys. I vacuum that couch every day. It is a fur couch. Dick Whitman, who is allergic to pet dander and should never have said one word of introduction to me because he is doomed to die at my house, looked at that couch and said, "I will never sit on that thing."
The point is, I woke up and was all, Oh! I guess I fell asleep! Where am I? What day is this? And the dogs were lording over me wag-wag-wagging their annoying tails because they KNEW walk time had come and gone and why was mom Rip Van Winkle, back there, in the bedroom, with her unmoving body and closed eyelids?
So I slapped on their complex harnesses and out the door we went.
I should mention that I had glanced at myself before we left, and I had mascara streaming down one side of my face where I had slept, and also the side of my hair where I had not slept was smooth and lovely, for once, and the side where I had slept looked like Bozo.
The half-Bozo look is very in for fall. If you were remotely sophisticated you would know this.
So my lovely self and my calm, well-behaved dogs headed down the road, and two blocks later, there was my cute cute cute neighbor Paul.
Paul is 96 and in way better shape than me. He has one of those four-pronged canes, but it hardly even seems like he needs it. If it is remotely a nice day out, he'll be on his glider on the side of his house.
We have always exchanged pleasantries, "Those dogs sure are special" or "Hot day, innn't it?" but lately we talk for longer and longer amounts. The other day he leaned on that cane, got right up and came over to us.
"I been meaning to tell you something," said Paul, from under his straw hat. "I remember the first day I been seeing you walk your dog past here. You been reminding me of a girl I loved in 1936."
Nineteen thirty-SIX? Good lord. Who was it, Shirley Temple?
Her name was Anna Mae, and she lived in Detroit, and she almost got him to marry her. "I'm from Michigan!" I told him.
"That so? You from Deee-troit? You know any of Anna Mae Dobson's people?"
I love it when people think you're gonna know somebody from somewhere that big. "I lived in LA." "My cousin lived in LA. Did you know Andhoodle Henrickson?"
The name Andhoodle is very big for fall. Plebeian.
My point is, my neighbor Paul had invited me to sit on the glider and talk one day, and you know I was dying to because you know I love me the old people, and yesterday when I had the Bozo asymmetric look? And the Alice Cooper mascara going on?
"Say! There she is! Why don't you sit a spell today?"
So I did. Screw it. He was sitting on my good side, anyway, so I was careful not to expose Bozo Cooper to him much while we talked.
Oh, did we have the fun. Turns out his 97th birthday is next Wednesday, and I told him my birthday was right near his. "Quite a few years apart, though, darling," he said, eyeing my hair quizzically.
We talked about where we grew up and he said, "You probably never heard of where I'm from. I grew up in TinyTown County." He lived right outside of TinyTown! MY TinyTown! Can you imagine?
If you are just getting to this blog–and go read the archives, will you?–when we first left LA we moved to a town of 3,000 people at the bottom of North Carolina. I was miserable the whole time we were there, like Ava Gabor on Green Acres, but now I miss it.
We talked about my neighborhood and what it was like FIFTY YEARS AGO when he moved in, his career as a sheriff, his take on Pit Bulls (doesn't like 'em, he told me, while he petted Talu's big wrinkly head, oblivious), guns (doesn't like those either), telephones, longevity, girls who got away, people in TinyTown, old buildings, and oh! We had a high time.
Of course the whole time I was gliding and talking, Edsel kept trying to put the leash in his mouth and walk himself. "Whine! Whinewhinewhinewhinewhine!" said Edsel, who by the way is annoying.
"Why's he carryin' on like that?" Paul wanted to know. So eventually I had to get up and take the dogs on a better walk than two blocks to a glider.
"Don't go!" he implored.
"I don't even want to," I said. "I could sit here all night talking to you." And I totally could have. The jeww-lie flies were chirping (he taught me to call them that), the moon was pink, a little breeze was blowing. You couldn't have asked for a better thing to do than sit on a glider with an almost 97-year-old-man who was as sharp as anything.
He waved to us as we lurched down the street, the dogs eager to get going. And I was so delighted to have spent time with my neighbor that you could have slapped my face and called me Andhoodle.