Dave Goes Bye-Bye

David letterman has left the Building
For years, Dave was my comfort zone. My fall back guy whenever I needed one. Before Netflix  Before Amazon Prime, there was Dave. A friend. A pal. A man of Mid-Western sensibilities and New York smarts. The perfect formula for someone like me, who eschews Xanax but needs more than chocolate, and no longer smokes anything at all, yet craves help when times are tough, or even just discomforting.
How Good it Was!
Last year, when I left New York, I stopped tuning in. Dave was part of my past. But, last Wednesday, I watched the final “Late Night Show,” and once again saw how good it was. And how much of my own life was encoded in those clips that rolled across my TV screen.
If Dave were Jewish . . .
Back in the eighties I had a friend who wrote science books for kids. Somehow, she managed to get a spot on Dave’s show. Not once but twice, I watched in awe as she soldiered through her segment, trying her best to engage Dave with her patter. He wasn’t interested. But he stood there, as did she, and I cringed with embarrassment as the time passed, until finally she left the stage. I couldn’t have done it. But with a narcissist’s innate panache, she managed. I will never forget the expression on his face. If he were Jewish he would have said “Oy gevalt.” So I said it for him.
We’ll be Missing you, Dave
That’s the closest I ever came to being on “Late Night” with Dave. Yet, as I sat here last Wednesday, watching the rapid fire montage of clips during the last few minutes of the last David Letterman Show, I got to live the past few decades again in a matter of seconds. I felt connected, alive and grateful. It was a privilege and a pleasure I won’t forget. Thank you Dave. For all you were. Are.  And may yet become. Stay happy and well. We’ll be missing you for a good long time.

On the Danger and Difficulties of Groups

There have been many “Firsts” in my life .Recently,I attended  my first book club., Normally, I avoid groups. Book Clubs mean groups, and groups mean people and people clutter up the room with too much random peopling stuff. The meeting was scheduled to last an hour,  Surely,  I could handle it.
Where’s the Beef?
First came the introductions. Next, we  spent fifteen minutes discussing a Netflix series I hadn’t seen.. Then we moved on to movies. I’d thought we’d be talking about the book. Not so. No one led. Everyone led. It was one if these off-the-cuff groups. But cuffs are good. They add weight and substance.  You can turn them back, or roll them  up, but they still need to be there; we need the boundaries. We need the beef.
 
The Nana Diaries
Along the way, we made it to the book. That’s when the group splintered into mini-groups and everyone spoke at once. Toward the end, a woman told a story about her “Nana.” Also, her grandfather’s unveiling. And her 3 year old nephew’s family antics. What she said had nothing to do with the book. .Not even close. The book was “Wild.” Cheryl Strayed’s autobiographical adventure of a disconnected, damaged, risk-taking woman’s search for whatever it was she was searching for: freedom, clarity,.healing, absolution?
The dangers of unbidden advice
This is why I avoid groups. Everyone has a story to tell, and in this case it was not the author’s. These stories are closely akin to unbidden advice. They’re rarely interesting, meaningful, apropos, or funny. Would that they were, I’d be glad to listen. I may or may not return to this group..It depends on if I can bear another chapter of The Nana Diaries.
 
When kindness is overrated
Yes. I’m being unkind and ungenerous. But enough is enough. In full disclosure, for me this group was a breakthrough. I spoke (i.e, “contributed, shared”) more than my name. Perhaps we don’t always need cuffs. Perhaps this was better than I allowed myself to think.  . .
Please share your own experiences with groups. Clearly, I could use some advice.
* * *

The Mystery of My History

Greenville, New York, is in the Catskill mountains, south of Albany.  While I lived in Vermont, I went there to visit a friend who was giving a watercolor workshop. I sprained my ankle either just before, or right after i arrived, and Eliot, the owner of the resort, carried me to the dining room from the carriage house we shared (my friend and I, not Eliot). I heard this story yesterday, via email, from this friend, with whom I’d lost touch for the past several years. Until now, I thought Greenville was a place in South Carolina (yes it’s in North Carolina as well, but you get the drift). I have no recall of my painful visit to Greenville. Nothing. Nada. None. My personal history is spotty at best.

 
Thank God for my friends. The “Rememberers of my life.” If I ever write a memoir, which, on occasion, I flirt with doing, my research will consist of interviews with the ones who remain —the keepers of my spotty, well worn past 
 
My exceedingly poor recall, of what to others seem significant events, is a decades old infirmity. Nothing to worry about. Actually. I cant worry about it. It slips my mind along with the rest. But this is good, right? It’s the cost of living in the present, making life seem less worrisome, making me feel slightly enlightened, more highly evolved. 
 
My painter friend signed off by saying she needed to pack. For what? Had she just told me, and  had I already forgotten? I wrote her back: “You’re  packing for what? You’re going where?”  Her answer set me off. She’s going to Greenville. Hmmm. That’s how this all started, isn’t it?
 
Not to worry. This is her life, not mine. I have enough trouble remembering where I put my reading glasses. 
 
If you’re immune to forgetting things, read no further. If you’re anything like me, here’s an image that may come in handy, should you remember to use it.

The Mystery of History

Close your eyes and imagine that you’re looking into the mirror of your past. See there a lost event of your life, one you are now able to remember. It could be anything, from the time you were born until now. Embrace it. Then Smile, and let it go.
What happens? How do you feel? Then open your eyes, knowing that now, and forever- more, the present moment is all there is.

About what’s happening in Baltimore

What’s  going on in Baltimore?
My eyes, like everyone else’s, tell only a miniscule part of the story. What are people thinking? Where do we go from here? How do we gain traction? How do we stop going from one Baltimore to another?  Another murder. Another loss. Another riot, or rally or speech. The same awful pictures spinning out endlessly on TV. Soon becoming one big blur.

How do we sort it out? Have it make sense. Find the value, the good, the light? How do we use any of this? Anywhere? Anytime. Ever?

People come forward. Neighbors, church groups, and area leaders. Families and friends step up, put themselves on the line between rioters and police. They clean up the mess, stand together in harms way to work toward some kind of peace.

 A Star is born

The new Baltimore State’s Attorney, young, and fiery, and righteous, with a family lineage of law enforcement backing her up, has filed criminal charges against six Baltimore cops. She says “No one is above the law! ”

The people cheer. The union balks and threatens. The media is stunned and heartened. A great story. Action. Cameras. Ready, Set, go!

 The charges include:

Second degree depraved heart murder.*

Involuntary manslaughter.

Second degree assault.

But what will happen if this moment of vindication fails to be followed by convictions? Will it be enough to keep the peace? Is anything enough unless the roots of poverty and deprivation, of ignorance and prejudice,  of lack, and rage and hopelessness, and fear, are addressed? Can justice finally be done?

The head of the police union, insists: “None of the officers involved are responsible.” Really?

It’s a long shot. From here to China, at least. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Note* Depraved-heart murder, also known as depraved-indifference murder, is an action where a defendant acts with a “depraved indifference” to human life and where such act results in a death. In a depraved-heart murder a defendant commits an act even though they know their act runs an unusually high risk of causing death or serious bodily harm to someone else. 

Any questions. . . ?

 Imagery

Though most of us have not intentionally or knowingly done things that have resulted in serious injury or death to another, many of us have committed thoughtless, even mean-spirited deeds that resulted in emotional, mental or spiritual harm to another. You may use the following image to regenerate a hard, defensive, or thoughtless heart.

Healing the Inconsiderate Heart

Close your eyes and exhale a long breath through your mouth. Return to your normal breathing and go inside yourself to the place of  your heart, which you now hold  gently in your hands.  Massage your heart with loving care. Feel the hard, defended, areas releasing. As this occurs, see, sense and know that your heart is opening. Live and know how it is to experience the world, and yourself,  with an open, loving, and considerate heart. Then breathe out and open your eyes, knowing all is well.