Sunday, March 2, 2008

I Got a Haircut


The jacket being worn by the fifteen year old which looks like something off the remainder rack at Fallas Paredes, was traded to him for a Cassio keyboard which he had retrieved from a dumpster. His fashion and business sense do not come from my side of the family.


Himself is egging the dogs on and they, all three of them, are running up and down the stairs with their unclipped toes and barking with much gusto. This is for his own amusement and apparently will not faze the teenage boys (3? 4?) asleep on the floor of the basement. Himself also writes passages in Irish to keep in practice every week. This, from his blog, is a translation of a translation. I love how aware he is of his limitation in the language and how adroitly he circumvents it:

Say your prayers!

I have been working a lot lately. Therefore, I'm not able to send posts as often to this blog of mine. But, I learned new knowledge, when Niall and I went to the synagogue last Saturday. My son's started preparing for becoming "bar mitzvah" [= "son of the commandment"] when he's thirteen years old. He must be going off to Shabbat in the morning at the 'Knesset Israel' temple. It's near 'the wood of the holly" [= Hollywood] on the east side, near the community of 'The Happy Ones,' or "Los Feliz" in the broken Spanish language!

We went to the service sooner or later! Different people were gathered there. I estimate that half were Latinos and half of European descent. We came in when the Torah was lifted up. The cantor was singing loudest. I don't like singing with a loud voice. I think it's a big noise. It's a giant shriek. It resembles grand opera for me. It seemed that every one else liked it, however.

This section went very slowly. I played a game of skill with myself. I practiced speaking to myself in Irish about that Shabbat service. I could not remember the Irish word for "praying." I remembered the word "prayers," since that's a much easier word!

The rabbi told us about the hand. He taught us about the Jewish meaning of it. The thumb is for questioning. The outer (or starting) finger is for blaming. What about the long (or mare-- another word for it in Irish) finger? The rabbi spoke to us that "the Talmud [this word not to be found in this here dictionary of mine, or "Torah"!] tells us delicately" that "it is the finger of intimacy." The ring finger is for cleanliness. Finally, the little finger points to the Torah.

The rabbi finished giving his sermon to us. We heard about the most beautiful biblical story. I like it a lot. Elijah defeated the army of priests of Baal together at Mount Carmel. Jezebel and Ahab did not catch the prophet. He ran off from there. He went into hiding. He stayed in Horeb. But, God was not in the smoke and thunder. God was beyond. "And after the fire, came a still small voice."(I Kings, 19:12.) We left the temple that day peacefully.


The rabbi omitted that the middle finger is for people who will not turn on their cellphones.



At bootcamp breakfast we remembered a genteel lifestyle that some of us are old enough to have caught the last glimmering fade of. There were memories of formal teas at Wellesley in a living room designed by Madame Chiang Kai-Shek with a full-time fireplace stoker and the gown closets at Scripps.


I was not the only bootcamp broad whose college career was propelled almost solely by the need to get out of the house. I know a number of women whose children approach college graduation and probably look forward to returning to the homestead, even if they are not necessarily welcomed by their parents in return. Likewise, I have held out, as a carrot on a stick, to the fifteen year old a summer of driver’s education and an old Volvo wagon in exchange for decent grades and not driving me crazy and he is indifferent. I was desperate to get my license at 16 and I took the test on the exact day I was of age and then failed it. And then failed it again. And again. My kids have the trust that I, however will drive them where we want them to go and provide them with a happy home. Are we becoming such good parents that it’s going to be impossible to get our kids out of the house?


Both of my kids got their first haircuts at the time warp Guys ‘N Dolls children’s hair salon at what used to be the elegant old Bullock’s in Pasadena (now Macy’s). I took them for a clipping. Just like my husband amuses himself by tapping away in Irish and working the dogs into a frenzy, the fifteen year old has his own odd sensibility, which makes me laugh, but sometimes borders on disturbing, which I guess is the sure sign of sublime comedy. After the boys were shorn and slicked back, we walked through the old department store, one of the last vestiges of blue hair Pasadena, Leo approached shoppers and clerks we passed, made eye contact and spoke earnestly, "I got a haircut." Responses were uniformly polite in that tight assed Pasadena way. It was an amazing thing to witness and something I would never have the courage, as curious as I am about how people react to the unexpected, to pull off myself. The child is obviously exceptional, just not in the euphemistic sense of the word that his Macy’s victims may have assumed.


We are all very special, and we have special needs here at Casamurphy. We do not live graciously and I have no gown cupboard, although my husband did sort the laundry for me to wash, making me feel like a queen. Our dogs and children are untrained. Himself and I are engaged in a big power struggle regarding a cellular phone. But we are blessed that we can disturb each other and that we laugh.

1 comment:

FionnchĂș said...

Does this imply that my eldest son's business and fashion sense come from my side of the family? xxx me