‘It was the best of times; it was the worst of times’. Dickens, I think. ‘A Tale of Two Cities.’
After a bit of a rocky patch in the late Fall/early Winter, things have generally been comfortably back on track. But bad shit always happens.
The ‘Two Cities’ part is apt too, since the bad stuff happened across the pond in New York. And, of course, I’m here.
Our friend, Pat, passed away, from cancer. I’ve known for several months that she was ill. When Pinkie and I stayed with Pat and Mike in the Big Apple when we went to the States in October, she’d just started treatment at Sloan-Kettering. She asked that we not discuss it here, and neither of us did. I never mentioned Pat, or the fact that she was ill, in the blog.
I won’t discuss any of it now, except to say that I am… I don’t know what I am. Upset seems totally inadequate. Pissed off, sad, angry? Those work.
I was sort of a coward in New York. Pat had a chemo appointment and Pinkie and I were going to go with her for company. Guess who chickened out at the last minute? “I can’t do it” I confessed to Pinkie. “I can’t sit there and watch her get chemo. I spent too many months watching Jerry get his chemo. I’ll stay here.”
Pinkie, bless her, went along without me. I’m not real proud of myself at that moment.
I’m not even going to wax philosophical. Succinctly, Pat was my friend, and she was special. I will miss her.
I worked at a Sam Do on Friday night at Christ Prince of Peace. I was chatting to Father Tom, and took the opportunity to ask him to pray for Pat at mass on Saturday. Which he did. A couple friends reported back that he mentioned me, and Thanksgiving, and Pat’s generous contributions to the dinner.
And since we’re all depressed as hell now, in my weekly chat with Princie, he asked me to light a yartzeit candle for my step-daughter Aileen next week, on February 15. I can’t believe it’s a year already. I promised I would, and that I’d say Kaddish, too. So everybody please offer up a little prayer to whomever for Aileen, who died too young and tragically.
I think we need to move on to more cheerful topics now.
I worked my shifts as usual, but the Bookshop is not as much of a fun place as it used to be. We’ve gone hi-tech, 21st Century. We take credit cards now. Customers have to spend at least 5 quid to charge their purchase, and, truthfully, we clerks look at each other and pray “₤4.99, please, God. Not a penny more.” If someone goes a little overboard (₤5.01), we do the dance. “Oh no, I rang up the last sale; it’s your turn. Turn about and fair play. Jolly good and blah, blah, blah. I’ll just go restock the British Royal Family shelf.”
It was a excessively social week, even for me; lunch with Lisa, my American co-worker; coffee with Deb, my Boston budskie, and a shopping blitz with Live Gerry, my other American friend. (I’ve had to modify her name; it got too confusing. Me to BooBoo: “I saw Gerry on Wednesday.” BooBoo: “Oh, did he turn up at 3:00 in the morning again?” Me: “No. Not Dead Jerry the one I used to be married to. Gerry, the living one who’s from Georgia and lives on Hangar Hill.” BooBoo: “Oh. Okay. But then there’s GerryP, too, your cousin in Philadelphia.” Thanks for clearing that up, Boo.
This was oddly similar to a convo with Pinkie where I was describing with evil relish chats with Karen (BooBoo) and Karen (ex-partner of The Turd of Camberley on the topic ‘Vengeance is Mine, Sayeth the JAP’. Me: “And then Karen said…the other Karen…” Pinkie: “You lost me about four ‘the other Karens’ ago. Who the hell bloody said what?”
In addition to all those American Hours, I squeezed in Yom Ha’Shoah at shul, dinner with Brenda, Purim Spiel confabs, Tuesdays with Tom, and a date with a new guy. The new guy was, sadly, a ‘not ever going to happen’ guy, so he’s already history. Plus, his name is David. There is no room in the little pink house, or my head, for another David.
Tom, on Tuesday, was Tom. That’s a endlessly entertaining thing. We had dinner at Our Italian Restaurant, and strolled back to mine discussing how to make broccoli soup. (Tom had it for his starter.)
Later in the evening, out of positively nowhere that I can figure, he started talking about Refrigerator Perry. Something to do with Tom losing some weight, I think. He is quite cuddly. I mentioned the historic game where ‘Frig picked Sweetness up by his pants and tossed him over the goal line for 6. The Georgie Lad metaphorically skated onto very thin ice by opining that Walter Peyton was ‘the greatest running back ever’. You don’t say that to Eagles fans. He segued quickly onto Mike Singletary, but only got himself in deeper doodoo.
Sensing that he was sinking through the thin ice, he said winsomely “I think Jim McMahon was over-rated.” “Over-rated” I shrieked. “How can you even say that? McMahon was very nearly perfect! He has one of the lowest INT ratings ever.” Obviously he forgot that McMahon played two seasons with the Birds when he left Chicago.
Tom sort of figured at this point that he was in the icy water way over his head. I made sure he knew. “Sweetie, are you, like, a Bears fan? I have issues with Da Bears; you know, the Fog Bowl and Buddy Ryan and shit. In fact, Bears fans don’t get to explore my Mason Dixon line.”
Thankfully, he moved on to the Houston Oilers and ole Bum Phillips. I don’t give a rat’s ass about them.