Nora Ephron once wrote that she had imaginary conversations with several chefs she hoped to meet. Whenever she cooked, she would talk to them about what spice she should add, what side dish to put with her main course, their thoughts on a particular sauce.
I, too, have an imaginary friend I speak with regularly. For about 10 years now, I have had imaginary conversations with Nora about movies I see, books I’ve read, friends and not-so-much friends, day-to-day activities, where we should eat the next time I am in New York and the list goes on. I am positive we would have been incredible friends, you know, if we had ever actually met.
I missed seeing Nora Ephron give a speech in Dallas last year. Since that time I periodically search to see where she might be speaking next, with the hope that I could be in close proximity. Hearing about her death this week makes me all the sadder to have missed her last year, but sadder still to lose the hope of actually meeting her in person in the future or of reading more of her essays or seeing another of her movies.
The following post is one I did last year after having missed her at the luncheon. Goodbye Dear Nora. I will miss you and our wonderful talks, no matter how imaginary they were to everyone else.
My Brush With Nora – Feb. 2011
I first fell in love with Nora Ephron after watching When Harry Met Sally. In the beginning, I mistakenly thought it was Meg Ryan I loved. Meg is great of course, but over time I realized we were too different to make it work. Later I decided it was Rob Reiner I adored, and while Rob will always have a special place in my heart, I now see it was Nora all along.
If you haven’t seen or read something Nora Ephron has written, you’ve probably been living in a cave for thirty years and you might want to start with learning how to google. Nora has a way of pointing out obvious and yet overlooked humor in common situations. She is what a good portion of comedic writers today and all romantic comedy writers aspire to be.
I am not a fan of celebrities. I find recognizable people to be overly beautiful and intimidatingly stylish. They are, as far as I can tell, imaginary people. If I were ever trapped in an elevator with one I would have nothing to say, which is saying something. As a rule, I try not to talk to real imaginary people. I would break that rule for a very short list of famous people and Nora Ephron is one.
As I type this, I am missing my opportunity to be trapped in an elevator with Nora Ephron. She is in Dallas today, speaking at a luncheon. I had intended to buy a ticket, but I waited too long and they sold out. At the luncheon I would have been a tiny dot sitting at a table in the back, just barely on her horizon. That didn’t diminish my dreams of running into her in the bathroom and striking up a conversation as we washed our hands. Or maybe she would feel our connection across the vast luncheon room and from her podium she would call to me. “You there,” she would say, “in the back. Yes, you. See me in the hallway after.”
I entered an essay into the Mother’s Day essay competition for Parent:Wise Austin Magazine. My “Mommy Clueless” essay was chosen and will be published in their May 2012 issue. As an added bonus, they are actually sending me money for my words. That has never happened before!
I’ve been published several times, but always in school magazines or on websites that haven’t so much as offered me free coffee. In all fairness, it had more to do with their struggle to survive than their lack of appreciation for my writing. I recognize now that it can be hard to pay a writer when you spend your spare time sneaking paper from open backpacks on campus, just to be able to keep printing your campus literary magazine. Also, I might need to actually submit my writing more often, instead of hoping they will find me.
The publisher and editor of Parent:Wise Magazine, Kim Pleticha, also attached a very nice note to my acceptance email. She said something along the lines of how much they all loved my essay and how the entire staff could not put it down and insisted on rereading it again and again. I am paraphrasing of course. She all but said she could relate to the wisdom in the essay and they were nearly in tears from laughing so much at my clever jokes. I think it was worded more like “we all enjoyed your essay” but I think everyone can read between the words on that one.
I humbly want to thank my parents and my husband and especially my children for giving me the inspiration to write such profound and thought provoking words that have hopefully amused and propelled at least one additional person to my blog. World domination is a slow and painful process, but I am happy to see that I am still on the right path! Never give up on your dreams, kids!
Thanks again Parent:Wise Austin! As far as I’m concerned you are the number one parent and local events magazine on the planet! And for the record, I think you are pretty-clever too!
I am not in the habit of using my boobs as a pocketbook. I don’t store money, credit cards, change, pens, sunglasses, make-up or anything else that I can carry in my purse in there, even though they would probably all fit nicely and unnoticed.
Since about 8 months after my youngest son was born, my breasts have retired to a nice quiet decorative lifestyle. I come from a long line of boob pocket bookers though and I have friends that regularly ask their “girls” to safe guard their valuables.
Yesterday I whipped my car into a space in a crowded parking lot and since I was in a hurry, I glanced around quickly to ensure no one was walking nearby. I then rushed to adjust something about them that was not right. Maybe one was slipping out the bottom of its holder and when I tried to pop it back into place, it popped out the top. There is nothing more irritating than a misplaced boob (although misplaced undies might rank near the top of that list also) so I took a little extra time to ensure it was properly seated, with everything in place.
I assure you, it was more attention than I have given them in months, maybe longer.
As I grabbed my purse and hurriedly turned to exit the car, I looked up to see a twenty-something young man, possibly of Indian descent, sitting in the driver’s seat of the car parked directly in front of me. He had his hands on the key in the ignition, but sat frozen, mouth open, wide-eyed and staring.
I was afraid this would happen. My husband has been spending more time with his elderly father lately to help get things ready for their move in with us. In the process, he has picked up a bad habit.
I thought it would be something along the lines of him deciding he wants to eat dinner at 4:30 or maybe he would begin a subscription for an actual newspaper. The one they print on giant thin sheets of paper, roll up and throw at your house in the wee hours of the morning. (This is still a real thing. You can call your local newspaper and ask for an old timey newspaper subscription. They will pass you around to a bunch of operators so that each one can ask if you are sure, and then eventually they will assign someone to sneak up to your house and throw stuff at it before you awake every morning.)
About two weeks ago we were going out for dinner. The parking lot was full and while looking for a parking spot, my husband suddenly stopped the car in front of the restaurant and said, “OK, get out.”
The kids and I looked at each other. What? Get out? Where? Here?
“There’s a car behind us now, hurry please, get out.”
So, we did what most people would probably do when a loved one stops the car and hurriedly tells them to hit the road. We grabbed our stuff and got out. Then we stood there on the sidewalk, looking at each other and wondering what to do next.
A few minutes later he ran up and said, “Why are you out here? Why didn’t you go in?”
“You don’t have to wait for me. Go in!”
That was the first time it happened. I was a little stunned and we didn’t even discuss it afterwards. We just ate dinner and I assumed he hadn’t been getting enough sleep.
Then last weekend it happened again and a third time last week. Each time with the expression “Get out.” So, on our fourth go around, I finally said, “Hold it! Why are you kicking us out of the car at the door, everywhere we go?!”
With a baffled expression he thought for a minute and then replied “So you won’t have to walk in from the parking lot.”
I stared at him.
At the bottom of this annoying new habit was a loving and kind gesture. I realized that he had been dropping his father off at the door whenever they went anywhere to spare his father and his father’s sore hip the trouble of walking in from the parking lot. Now, back with us, he was just extending this courtesy to me and the kids.
And so, with loving eyes I looked at him and said, “Well, knock it off! We are perfectly capable of walking in from the parking lot. In fact, it might do us some good!”
Now we are back to walking in from the parking lot and I am happy. I am still keeping my ears open for the inevitable whap on the front door some early morning, but I wish every bad habit we pick up through the years could be so easy to correct. God knows, most of mine aren’t!
It’s true. I’ve read all kinds of articles, blogs and websites, each crammed full with words of wisdom. They are all about healthy eating, how to find space in your tiny pantry for cans of sardines and copious jars of pickles, avoiding stairs and why Bridge is still a great game.
There is also how to chat up your financial advisor, health care options, how to insure everything, what to do when carpool and senior socials collide and there was more I think, but *yawn* I dozed off.
These sites are all about settling down and taking it slow and enjoying what’s left. I think I may be feeling something similar to what a 65-year-old man feels when he freaks out, divorces his life-long companion and suddenly marries a 25-year-old hottie. I want to stay young. I don’t want to think about arthritis and how important it is to drink cranberry juice. Those things will be here soon enough.
I am just barely hanging on to my own youth (don’t even think of arguing with me about having some youth left) and I don’t want the last of it to be all about how to deal with youngsters and their loud music.
How can I fight off old-age myself if I have to embrace the details of its existence on a daily basis? What is there to do?
Well, have no fear! I have come up with the answer! It is clear to me that anti-assimilation is the key! Why are we assimilating to their way of doing things? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
Studies show “thinking young” benefits older people and those that do so, statistically live longer. So it’s really a win-win. Where are the articles on knowing when to use earplugs and when to turn up the hearing aid, or the falsified print outs that look like news articles showing how sardines are bad for your health?
We should be buying them Nintendo DS’s and getting them to memorize Pokemon characters. They should be practicing the skill of throwing away leftovers, playing basketball in the pool and strapping on roller skates. Ok, maybe roller skates is a little too much, but you get the idea.
The Baby Boomers group is aging and if we don’t put our foot down right now and make them adapt to our world, instead of the other way around, we are all going to be throwing out our comfy Spanx and hitching ourselves up with corsets by November!