Eight Hundred Million Heartbeats

I’m sitting at the store, where Anya and Corinne, their children and Anya’s husband just now bundled up and drove off to a party at their aunt’s house. Whew! The Pizzicato Five play on the store’s CD player. My coffee is so hot I keep burning my lip, putting the cup down, then taking a piping hot sip again. Lab mice catch on quicker. It’s finally calm enough in here for commerce and blogging.

Last night, I read tarot cards for Scout. We drank wine and talked about everything, which is still exciting in my vast old age. This morning, I awoke with a start, as if I’d been dreaming in IMAX and the show was over. Before 10 a.m., my phone rang twice. The first time, Scout was asking if she’d left her wallet at my house. Moments before, I’d climbed out of the shower and hadn’t managed to wrap a towel around my startling girth before padding across my living room to tear my couch apart. Larry, the little black cat bent on stealing your soul was perturbed to be shooed from his cushiony perch but not as perturbed as I was when Scout explained she’d vacuumed her car yesterday, and when she left she found on the driver’s side floor the same flowers the trees around my apartment are dropping. Someone may have been in her car and stolen her wallet.

Half an hour later, Daria called.

Daria: This is funny today but yesterday it wasn’t funny at all.
Tata: Lay it on me, hot mama.
Daria: Yesterday, I got home with two sleeping children in the truck. I got out of the truck to go inside. I get into the garage and I can’t open the garage door. The garbage can is right up against the garage door so I go outside. When I got out of the truck I forgot to put it in park and it rolled into the garbage can and blocked the door.
Tata: You’re kidding! That’s…hilarious?
Daria: So I back the truck up and go to pick up the garbage can. I forgot to put it in park again and it rolled up on me so fast I barely had a chance to get out from between the truck and the garage door. The truck touched the back of my leg and I bolted. What is wrong with me?
Tata: I can see where that might not have been funny yesterday. But hey, you almost ran yourself over. That story can only improve with time.
Daria: “My little children, Gramma’s life was saved by a garbage can.”
Tata: I gotta go open the store. Call me later.

Ten minutes later, I park across the street from the store, where even from a distance something looks funny to me. The lights aren’t on. The closed sign is hanging in the front window. The mailman walks up the street and pulls the front door open. I grab my laptop out of the car and walk across the street ready for a fight with whomever I find inside the store, but it’s my brother-in-law, who was up half the night painting. So instead of whacking him with rusty garden tools I know are just inside the door, I hand him a V8.

Recently, I wrote Russ Feingold an email.

Dear Senator Feingold,
Regarding censure of President Bush: rock on.
That is all,
Princess Tata

…Only, you know, I signed my real name. This morning, the Internal Editor recast it as a Howard Cosell interview of the late sixties:

Cosell: Princess, are you sure that Senator Feingold has the rock in him and does in fact rock?
Tata: Well, Howard, I have to say that Senator Feingold is completely hot, and does in fact rock.
Cosell: Interesting choice of words, Princess, but as you know, many times the young senators rock all night long but cease rocking as time and ambition thwart the rocking out.
Tata: If I may say so, Howard, Senator Feingold shows great promise as a person who may not just rock but may rock on, perhaps even roll.
Cosell: Rock of Ages?
Tata: Still rolling!
Cosell: There you have it. Tough words from a smart broad.
Tata: Oh Howard! I’m blushing.
Cosell: Back to you, Jim…

After I don’t bash someone over the head and call the cops, I survey the store and discover the floor’s covered with the once-lovely petals of the white, flowering trees that line Highland Park’s main street. In fact, it looks like super-busy Glenda the Good Witch ran out of bubble soap and switched to organics, creating some kind of magical indoor composting program. I vacuum over, under, around and behind things listening to Randy Newman on the mental jukebox sing the theme from Monk. When I’m done, I’ve seen all kinds of lovely new merchandise that would enhance the shinyshininess of my tiny apartment, which is a relief when you think about what can happen in, around and under cars.

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