it’s very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present – you know what i mean?

Last night, Manny and I watched Grey Gardens, a documentary filmed in 1975 about the aunt (Big Edie) and first cousin (Little Edie) of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and the house they live in.

The house, Grey Gardens, is a 28-room mansion in East Hampton, New York. But in 1975, and for several years prior and after, this was not just any mansion. This was a hulking grey monster floating in a tangled “sea of green,” weeds, ivy, and undergrowth that surrounded the house. There were raccoons living in the attic and holes in the walls. But nothing is more curious that the two women who live in the house.

Edith Bouvier Beale (Big Edie), once a “girl from a nice French family,” a graceful and aristocratic mother, a classically-trained singer, is, as shown in the film, an 80-year-old woman who eats liver pate, cooks corn on her bedside table, and never seems to wear enough clothing. Her daughter of the same name, Little Edie, was once the most beautiful debutante in the Hamptons. But somewhere between losing herself in her dream to become a Paramount film star and failing to find a suitable husband, Little Edie moved back in with her mother at Grey Gardens and began a very obvious decline in her mental stability. Her world is a grand delusion, and she still fancies herself to be a graceful dancer and breathtaking singer, though neither is true. Little Edie is the true epitome of eccentric character. She is always in full costume – complete with headscarves made from whatever fabric she can find lying about.

The film is captivating and fascinating, though just a bit slow. It also has some wonderfully quotable lines. I found a very good essay on the film and the characters here, if you’re interested.

There’s also a lovely song by Rufus Wainwright that was inspired by the film and is aptly titled “Grey Gardens.”

Advertisements

i was going to buy a new car.

Well, new to me, anyway. I found one I liked. It was a nice car.

The guy trying to sell it to me, however, was a complete and total douche bag.

When I test drove the car, he rode with me. He was chatty enough, asked me the basic personal questions, what I did, if I have kids, etc. But then he asked a little too much – how I met Manny, what my kids were “into,” just things I feel a person with whom I am only casually acquainted should know. He also over-enunciated his syllables (Hy-un-da-iee Soh-naht-ah, for example) and had blue contacts that kept sliding around on his eyes, which was just plain creepy. He stood waaaaay too close to me and stared a little too long, and yet I said I would come back the next evening to do some math with him.

The next day, around noon, he calls to “confirm our appointment.” He asks me twice how “the kids are doing,” and asks me how my day at work is going. He then launches into a story about his wife and daughter being in Mississippi – a story, mind you, that he had told me the day before. Apparently his wife and daughter are doing “mission work” in Mississippi because his wife felt that it was what “God called her to do.” To which he added, “And you can’t argue with that!”

Actually, sir, yes, I can. I can argue with that all day long.

So yesterday evening, I arrive at the dealership to do the math. He greets me, asks me how my day at work was, and before I can respond, he says again, “How was work today? Long? Hard? Long and hard?” I was completely skeeved out, and STILL, I went into the office with him.

To make a long story short, he threw some numbers around, made me an offer I could refuse, and when he finally wanted to do the credit application, I had had enough of his roving eyes and repetitive banter that I all but ran out of that building. I said very nicely I would let him know when I decided something and got the hell out of there.

He’s called three times today, I’ve not answered once, and I now appreciate my current car more than ever.

going back in time.

It is March 28, 1997. Bill Clinton is the president. I think he is a cool guy, but my dad doesn’t, because he is a Republican. I am thirteen years old and in the eighth grade. I am the tallest girl in my class, and I have the biggest boobs in my class. This doesn’t do me any good, though, because I am not only an Amazon, but I am also a super mega dork. The Internet is a big, shiny new thing this year, and I am very fascinated with it. Instead of taking home economics like the other girls, I am in a computer technology class. I am also in band, and I play the flute.

It is March 28, 1997. I have a “boyfriend,” and his name is Brad. He is an even bigger dork than I am. He plays Dungeons & Dragons, and he’s the only teenage hockey fan in the entire Midwest. Our one and only real “date” consisted of watching Schindler’s List on video in his parents’ living room. I don’t know it yet, but in six months, I will break poor Brad’s heart. I also don’t know that in five years, Brad will marry a girl with the same name as me. He will also join the Marines. He won’t know what to do with his amazing nerditry, so like many other guys I will graduate high school with, he will feel like it’s either the military or factory work. This will, in five years, make me very sad.

It is March 28, 1997. Last week, in school, all we talked about was the Hale-Bopp comet. I dragged my crappy old telescope out of the basement and onto the back porch, but I didn’t see anything.

It is March 28, 1997. I am laying in a bed in a hotel room in Pennsylvania. This week is Spring Break. I’ve been with my family in New Jersey, visiting my relatives. I am sharing a room with my sister and two brothers. We are watching TV. We are watching the news. Two days ago, in California, thirty-nine members of the Heaven’s Gate cult commited suicide. They believed their spaceship was coming along with the comet. They wore black Nike sneakers, took some pills, and drank some vodka. I change the the channel and fall asleep watching a biography on Richard Simmons.

my weekend in a nutshell.

This weekend, I…

  • helped organize and run a rather successful yard sale.
  • spent way too much time at a Wal-Mart.
  • watched Good Night, and Good Luck.
  • found out I am going to be an Aunt for the first time (through Manny’s bro).
  • made chocolate chip cookies.
  • went to a cookout at a lake.
  • attempted fishing for the very first time in my life, ever.
  • did not catch any fish.
  • peed outside.
  • was asked by a stranger at the laundromat if I was a model.*
  • consumed some of the finest pizza known to humanity.
  • watched my Kitten and Manny pretend to be robots.

    *in response to this query, I stared said stranger right in the eye and said, “You fuckin’ kidding me?”

  • tale from a mommysaurus.

    Both of the girls have extreme fascination with dinosaurs. I’m not sure when or how it began, but they love all things prehistoric and reptilian. I have had conversations with C-Rex about what different dinosaurs ate, which morphed into a conversation about the definitions of herbivores, carnivores, and omnivores. Just this morning, on the way to school, Kitten shouted, for absolutely no reason, “The dinosaur did it! He ated the cars!”

    But this evening, Kitten made by far the funniest dinosaur reference yet.

    She is basically potty-trained. She knows when to go and quite often she doesn’t need my help at all. Tonight, though, she was grunting and squirming, and I said to her, “Do you need to poop?” She replied by nodding vigorously.

    Five minutes later, she jumped up from the potty, peeked inside, and exclaimed, “Look! It’s like a dinosaur tail!”

    And indeed it was.