You know, there are not only days you shouldn't get out of bed; sometimes there are whole weeks. This has been one of them. Being sick (I'm recovered now and thank you all for the get well wishes), a foot of snow from which to dig out my car while I was sick and then a mechanical computer malfunction so expensive to fix that it was smarter to buy a new laptop.
Which I have done. I had forgotten in the intervening years since the last purchase how much there is to do to get a new machine into usable shape:
- configuring internet access, wireless network and router, etc.
- downloading and installing security software
- waiting interminably for Windows updates to install
- downloading browsers, email program, financial software, other necessary programs
- installing said programs and software
- transferring data from the old computer needed for those programs to function the way I want
- eventually transferring all document and image files
- redoing about half of the above when glitches arise or I screw up
I'm nowhere near finished which is why there is no Elder News today and will be no Elder Music tomorrow and who knows what Monday will bring. I've been functioning on my Eee pc which is not ideal. I love it for the mobility around the house and away from home when I am willing to do two-finger typing. But for full-time, all-day use – it's too hard to work this way.
So now that you've indulged my public whine-and-whimper, here's a golden oldie you might like. There will be another on Sunday and maybe on Monday. New posts at The Elder Storytelling Place may also be delayed next week.
SHIRLEY MACLAINE AND ME
Some people think I’m Shirley MacLaine. Well, not lately, but there was a time – a period of several years in the 1980s and 1990s - when I was regularly approached for autographs and no amount of denial on my part would convince people – mostly tourists - that I wasn’t Ms. MacLaine.
It happened frequently enough that I’d sometimes stare at myself in the bathroom mirror, turning my head this way and that, trying to catch a glimpse of what others saw. Maybe it was something similar in the set of our jaws or the shape of our eyes. Or a mannerism I am unaware of. I couldn’t be sure, but a lot of other people had no doubt.
There is a certain kind of woman they seem to breed only in Queens, New York. They dress in bright, bold colors – all worn together in the same outfit - and they have that accent (think Fran Drescher in The Nanny). You can see – and definitely hear – them coming for ten city blocks. Invariably, they are brash, loud, smart as whips and devastatingly funny.
I had a friend like that in the mid-1990s. Carol and I worked together in midtown Manhattan and on one cold, winter day, we avoided the nasty weather by making our way underground through the labyrinth of shops below Rockefeller Center toward a favorite restaurant.
Wading through knots of noontime tourists consulting their maps as we turned a corner, I saw a woman eying me in a way I had come to know well; I was about to be accosted for an autograph.
Sure enough. With her friends in tow, she rushed over, grabbed my arm and gushed: “I am your biggest fan ever. I’ve seen every movie you ever made. You…”
I interrupted. “I know you think I’m Shirley MacLaine, but I’m not.”
“Don’t you try to fool me, Shirley,” said the woman wagging her finger. “I’m your biggest fan and I know Shirley MacLaine when I see her.”
Now a crowd was gathering as the name Shirley MacLaine was passed from one to another and people dug in their bags and pockets for paper and pen.
“Please, ma’am,” I said. “You’re mistaken. I’m not Shirley MacLaine. I just happen to look a little like her. But I’m not her…”
The woman, quite firm about it, continued to insist that I was Shirley MacLaine and nothing I said could dissuade her.
As I tried to resist taking her notepad and pen for the autograph she wanted, Carol elbowed me and in her loudest, Queens whine said, “Oh, Shirley, just sign the autograph. We’re going to be late.”
Of course, Carol was right - a perfect solution I'd been too thick to think up for myself. I signed Shirley MacLaine's name, leaving the woman happy in her belief that she had met a movie star while visiting New York City and freeing Carol and me to get on with our lunch.
From that day forward, taking my cue from Carol of Queens’ sharp elbow and sharper wit, I signed autographs as graciously as I could when asked (until I apparently stopped looking like Ms. MacLaine a few years later) and hoped, should she ever find out, that she wouldn’t mind.