Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Short list of simple pleasures from Long Island:
● Local TV and newspapers (since when did Newsday become such a rag?) have lots of coverage of the Yankees. Great, except it’s all about how much they suck this year.
● My cousin has two excellent retrievers. One is a Labrador named Oakley, so named ‘cause they picked him up in Oakland. I call him Shadow, ‘cause he’s a big black thing that follows you everywhere. My cousin sic’ed him on me one morning, but I was too cranky for the happy slobbery hairy thing. “Stop bothering me. Get outta here!” A second later, he was gone. Total silence again. When I woke an hour later, he sprung up from the foot of the bed -- he’d been quietly waiting for me. Weird -- I said the same thing to a chick once and got a completely different reaction. Frankie, the Golden, is 12 years old and falling apart. Poor girl can’t even climb the stairs. It probably doesn’t help that my cousin feeds her bagels, making the pooch such a porker. Still, you haven’t seen anything so funny ‘til you witness her excitedly waiting for a bagel, doing the Fat Dog Bad Hip Shuffle.
● My other cousin has a dog, too. A boxer. Imagine taking a bacon double cheeseburger with the works and chucking it against a wall, watching it ooze down in a trail of grease and special sauce… That’s what this dog looks like. He’s ugly and too rambunctious, but I still liked ol’ Meatface.
● I saw a cardinal. Yeah, so what? Well, we don’t have them out in LA. Both coasts have crows and sparrows and doves (above is one of those doity filthy boids outside my home), but it’s been years since I’d seen a cardinal or blue jay except for baseball games.
● Speaking of which, I went to Shea Stadium. Interleague. Sat 10 rows behind the home dugout. Ishii pitched well for 5 innings until the Angels started clobbering the ball. Wasn’t just his fault; Mets’ defense was terrible. In fact, their whole team stinks. Almost as much as… yup, the Yankees. They got shut out by the Cardinals (see how I came full circle with the bird theme?).
● Still, the day wasn’t a total loss. At the park, I had Nathan’s hot dogs and French fries, and Carvel ice cream. I did it purely for the nostalgia. Last week I didn’t go hungry for a second. See, at a wake perhaps you drink drink drink, but my people pay our last respects by noshing on platter after platter of cold cuts and knishes. Our hearts are empty but our stomachs are full. Full of gout-inducing Jewish soul food.
● I visited my old neighborhood. Hadn’t been back in 8 years. All the new people there had fixed up their houses. I visited the one of the only original neighbors still left -- their interior still looked the same, decorated in ‘70s and ‘80s furniture… there was that same piano she gave me lessons on when I was little… Outside, the trees seemed to be in fuller bloom than before. And at least there were some trees left. The surrounding areas used to be wooded and undeveloped… which only allowed us kids to develop all sorts of scary ideas of what lurked there… Now, every acre seemed to have a new colonial or split-level ranch. What do kids get scared of today? Inflated real estate prices?
Still, as much as I enjoyed visiting the ol’ stomping grounds, it was good to get back to Cali back to Cali. Outside my home, there’s plenty of ugliness and beauty too.