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4:22 p.m. - 2012-01-13
Do You Feel Like We Do?

I'd just settled in to write this morning and turned on my phone to see whether it needed to be charged and found a voicemail from Wolf. He was in the nurse's office and wanted to come home. Poor kid was/is having an allergic reaction to something being kicked up with this dratted wind. Itchy eyes, faucet nose and small hives on his face and neck.

Into my clothes, into the car, and off to the school. Picked up my leaking welty child, went to CVS to consult with the pharmacist about which OTC would be best and not clash with his meds, got the stuff, had a early lunch at the pizzeria, and now we're home. Wolf's properly dosed and is tucked up on the couch with orders to rest, nap if possible, and stay hydrated. The meds seem to be working already, the welts are gone and Wolf says his nose isn't running so much anymore. Good deal.

I'm blaming the wind because it's bad- zooming around, knocking branches, banging the shutters, and kicking up all the leaves and dead grasses. Stuff which would normally be under snow at this time of year. Or at the very least frozen to the ground and decently dead already. But we haven't had any snow since that awful blurp at Halloween, nor has the weather been cold enough to freeze anything. The temps dip down sometimes, but nothing like a sustained freeze for days at a time. Goodness knows what kinds of crud are swooshing around out there. Molds, fungi, dirt, grit, pollen, seeds, spores...just to name the obvious. And to add insult to injury, thanks to the unseasonably warm weather the dang stink bugs are back. Nasty things are lumbering around all over the house. Blech.

Anyway, what I'd started to write about before finding out about Wolf was how in the last 12 hours I've seen two TV episodes playing off the Cyrano de Bergerac story. Last night a 'Star Trek: DS9' episode where Worf coaches Quark how to court a Klingon woman. A woman Worf himself has a mad pash for. They even figure out how Worf can secretly direct Quark in a bat'leth duel via some kind of virtual reality dealie. A funny take on the switcheroo beneath the balcony. Then this morning I woke up to find 'My So-Called Life' on (fell asleep watching something on Sundance channel after waking with a bad dream around 3:00am) and drowsily watched the last bit of it and was amused by another Cyrano rip-off where Krakow is penning love letters to Angela and giving them to the lumbering illiterate Jordan Catalano to pass off as his own words.

Funny how adaptable that story is, yet it's always recognizable. My favorite take on the Cyrano story is 'Roxanne' with Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. Of course it's silly and hopelessly 80s looking now, but still so sweet. Daryl Hannah is one of those actors I can never make up my mind about, you know, whether I like her or not. I liked her in the aforementioned 'Roxanne'. And her role in 'Blade Runner' was heartbreaking, she was really good. Yet if you say her name to me my first thought is always, "Yikes, what a weirdo. Vague. One strange cookie and kind of a joke." I think her off-screen life colors my perceptions about her acting.

This is something that's often bashed around at dinner, not whether Daryl Hannah can act, but whether you can separate the artist from the work. Can and should you enjoy someone's acting or music or art when you know they're a complete turd in real-life? We never reach any firm conclusions. All I know is I will never again voluntarily pay money to see any project Mel Gibson's involved with- on or off screen. But that's just me. I'm not out there leading boycotts and manning picket lines in front of theaters. Nor have I chucked out my 'Lethal Weapon' movies. (Both 'Lethal Weapon' and 'Die Hard' are Christmas classics in this house.)

Oh, speaking of Christmas classics, I told Wolf the other day that Zack Ward the guy who played Scut Farkus in 'A Christmas Story' turned up years later as The Legendary Red Dog the Roadie in 'Almost Famous' and now Wolf wants to see it. Wolf's old enough for 'Almost Famous' but I don't know how much of it he'd get. Since he stopped playing the electric guitar some years ago Wolf's interest in the rock-n-roll lifestyle is minimal. Good thing? Bad thing? Dunno.

And the reason 'Almost Famous' came up was because of a story I'd read on NPR about how Peter Frampton has just gotten back the wicked black Strat that was on the cover of 'Frampton Comes Alive'. The guitar had been thought lost forever in a plane crash in 1980, but somehow the guitar survived and finally made its way back to Frampton not too long ago. A lot worse for wear, but welcomed with gladness. In reading that story I finally got one of the inside jokes in 'Almost Famous' which is that Peter Frampton plays 'Reg' the road manger for Humble Pie in the film. Duh! Duh on me. Peter Frampton was in Humble Pie. The actual real-life band and here he was 30 years later pretending to be their road manager in a film. Makes me wonder what other little sly goodies I've missed in that flick. A movie I know I've seen at least 20 times.

Why any of this is on my mind today is because the pizza joint where Wolf and I had lunch is decorated in the most extensive collection of 1970s memorbilia in the world. The tacky wood paneled walls are set up as a timeline with 1970 on the right-hand-side just as you come in and continues year by year down the wall to the far back and up the other wall until you get to 1979. Each year has its own section with framed posters, record albums, newpapers, adverts, toys, bar mirrors, lunchboxes, TV Guides, all sorts of stuff. Today we sat in 1970 and above our table was a huge poster of the highlights from that year. Each year has one, a poster listing the year's top songs and movies and trends and biggest headlines. Every time we go there Wolf and I sit at a different table and we talk about what I remember about that particular year.

Today he got a good laugh out of the framed collection of Wacky Pack stickers. I pointed to ones I used to have and he seemed astonished that his elderly mom was ever so young as to have collected something so goofy. Good gravy, child! I was 7 years old in 1970. I haven't always had droopy boobs, jowls and crow's feet! But this usually happens when we go to Mom's Magic Time Machine Pizzeria. To Wolf my recounting life in the 1970s is a mindtrip. Fables. Myths. I could be telling him The Rime of The Ancient Mariner for all the relevance my memories have on his life today. Damn Millennial kids. Though before we left we went down to 1976 and I showed him the 'Frampton Comes Alive' album cover and pointed out the guitar that found its way home. That got his attention. A light went off in his noggin. Just for a brief glimpse he understood that there really was life before the year began with 20__. That his creaky mother had truly once been a kid and then a teenager just as he was now. And that all the weird junk on the walls had been me. My life. I saw those movies. Rode in those funny boxy cars. Bought those records. Collected those dopey stickers and had had a crush on the Bieber of my day, David Cassidy.

Then he got sidetracked by a nearby poster of a toothy blonde in a red bathing suit. Eyes bulging, a discrete runner of drool hanging off his lower lip, Wolf swallowed a couple times and then asked in an awed hushed voice, "Mom! Who's that?"

"That, my boy, is Farrah Fawcett. And if you want to know about her and this poster I suggest you ask Mick when he gets home. He was 17 when it came out and I'm sure he can tell you allll about it."

Time's a river I go a' paddlin' in, ~LA

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