Scene: Apartment in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. Writer In Bed with Ice Machine on Right Knee, Weather Conditions: Foggy, Windy and Cool. Writer, alert, has been so for hours. Personal Driver transported her in pre-traffic early morning hours to a Presidio Starbucks for a delicious breakfast of egg bites and an Americano. Then a down hill walk accompanied by the trusty walker to the YMCA for a water aerobics class and then the glories of a jacuzzi. Personal Driver collected her from the Y, stopping at a hardware store for a necessary lock for the locker at the Y and then back to apartment. Lunch was healthy – soup. But it is time to tether to the ice machine to control the swelling. .
The New Yorker magazine has been causing the writer much consternation. Its synonyms are; dismay, perturbation, anxiety, distress, disquiet, disquietude, discomposure, angst, trepidation; surprise, amazement, astonishment, stupefaction; alarm, panic, hysteria, fear, fearfulness, fright, shock. ANTONYMS satisfaction.It is a a feeling of anxiety or dismay, typically at something unexpected. I was dismayed, surprised, and suffering angst because I had no access to my subscription and a series of calls to the ridiculous magazine brought no relief. But gamely another effort was made, actually yelling in frustration but there was satisfaction in sight. A kind woman put be in touch with the “Digital” department – then patient and kind Kaitlin performed magic and fixed it. The writer told Kaitlin that she deserved a raise, a discussion with supervisor Nick ensued and a great chat was held by all. So at this moment the writer has access to New Yorker articles. Many (if not most) do not know this but The New Yorker hires fact checkers – so they print the truth – not bull shit. Access was gained, now a fascinating tale about a fascinating woman and her research into….drum roll….ROMANCE.
Readers may wonder why I am referring to myself in the third person – calling myself a writer. Well here is the inside scoop. The other evening I was troubled, even crying. Contrary to my usual nature I called a dear friend for advice. Her advice was to stop acting like a femme fatale and instead see and refer to myself as a writer. So I am trying – will let everyone knows how it goes. I am going to be a writer and a Granny – that is an age appropriate role. I can see everyone saying: Lots of Luck. I suppose talking about romance in the blog is not the first step, but in an interesting way it is, and you shall see.
The article, cleverly entitled: Love is Not a Permanent State of Enthusiasm features Esther Perel a famous therapist and author whose “talks and books take a counterintuitive approach to answering provocative questions: How did the romantic couple become the primary unit of organization in society? Can romantic desire truly be sustained? Is infidelity ever a good thing?”
Goodness knows those are questions I have been asking myself and others. So perhaps some answers may be found. I do absolutely love her response, it sings to me. “Because never in the history of family life was the emotional well-being of the couple relevant to the survival of the family. The couple could be miserable for thirty years, you were stuck for life, you married once—and, if you didn’t like it, you could hope for an early death of your partner. Marriage was a pragmatic institution. You need to have it, but, once you’re in it, it’s not a great thing, and certainly not for the women.” I knew that all along, now someone brilliant is confirming my thoughts. She goes on: “And then we added romantic needs to the pairing, the need for belonging and for companionship. We have gone up the Maslow ladder of needs, and now we are bringing our need for self-actualization to the marriage. We keep wanting more. We are asking from one person what once an entire village used to provide.”
Just think about that, it is profound! But this statement almost tops everything:” As I once said, and it became a kind of a saying for me, when you pick a partner, you pick a story, and then you find yourself in a play you never auditioned for. And that is when the narratives clash.”
I am constantly finding myself in plays I never auditioned for. Arguments over who I am – with strangers who seem to think they know me better than I know myself. Guess who wins in the long run?? Well me, of course. I was, after all, a lawyer. He did not take it well, after professing love for weeks at a time, he concluded:
He: Idiot!! You are a fucking idiot.
Me: I think the same of you my dear! We finally reach agreement.
I am counting that as a win for me. He relinquished his phoney stance of love, declared his true feelings and I was gracious. Moreover, I did not even meet him – much less anything else. He took up a lot of texting time, such a waste.
Perels also spoke of the effect of trauma, her parents were Holocaust survivors. “What makes the trauma worse is not the event itself. It’s the isolation, the secrecy, and the shame that you have to then live with afterward. I know it professionally, but I also know it through my own personal life. I mean, I grew up in that experience. I watched it every day.” That had special meaning for me because very recently (August 18,2019) I was severely traumatized. At first telling only my doctors. Now I speak of it, very rarely, with close friends. Letting go thee secrecy and the isolation is so important. My Care Giver was so soothing, she saw the bruising:
She: The bruises will fade.
They have, but I do have photographs that confirm the reality of that terrible time.
But onto something more uplifting – infidelity. Perels scientifically states that it is the major cause of divorce at this time in our history. “I wanted to write a book about modern relationships through the lens of infidelity, because infidelity is about betrayal, and secrecy, and deception, and duplicity, and love, and passion, and lust, and vengeance, and possessiveness—it’s the entire human drama, and, I thought, except for the opera, where does one go for this?
Perles ends the article beautifully: “I think that definition today of love—“you are my everything”—where you really see it, this complete exaltation, is in wedding vows. Have you ever noticed? I mean, it’s, “I will wipe every tear that streams down your face before you even notice it’s going down.” I think a realistic vow is “I will fuck up on a regular basis, and, on occasion, I’ll admit it.”
But enough of this serious romantic stuff, what about my upcoming trip to the UK? A reservation request was sent to the Rex Whistler Restaurant, located in the Tate Britain. The request was rather amusing.
Me: I realize that there have been a few false starts but this time it is for real. I am coming to the UK – to London. Accordingly could you please arrange a reservation for one person, Alexis McBride (aka The Queen) She is not insisting on the Lord and Lady’s Table as that would be beneath her. Hahaha l. I am going to Southhampton first to visit friends and reenact the sinking of the Titanic where the fire of my breast shall melt the iceberg, I am visiting friends and staying in an Inn and getting drunk. There I can roll up the stairs and pick up a few chaps. It shall be convenient. I do not think I shall need the screen at your fine establishment on the first reservation. None of the men I invited to join me in London seem free to join me. I have made an incredible recovery from knee replacement surgery but will still use the elevator and not make a grand entrance down the stairway. Sorry!! See you soon I hope. Alexis (aka The Glow Worm)
He: Ah Majesty And so we shall prepare for your return! We wait, with bated breath. M
Me: Bated or bad breath?? The Queen
The screen refers to this charming scenario and conversion. I have permission to do anything I want in that superb restaurant as long as a screen shields my companion and myself from other diners. I did not get this promise in writing however, it was an oral contract. But from my lawyer days I know this prove detrimental reliance and it will be enforceable.
The photograph is of me at the Rex in earlier times.