Monday, June 19, 2017


B    Ed said something surprising.  He's renting a place on Martha’s Vineyard, and he’d let you and me have it for two or three days and he’d even fly us over?  What do you think of that? 
J   Need you ask what I think of that? 
B  He said, “I can be awfully nice.”
J   Yeah, he can be awfully nice.  Jesus, he doesn’t believe I would ever go for a thing like that, does he?  He may believe you would.
B   From some of the things he's threatened, I wondered if this might be his way of solving everything.  Dive the airplane into a city or something. 
{As I type this conversation, it is 12 days after the disaster in New York, when terrorists flew planes into the twin towers at the World Trade Center.  A chilling coincidence.  BBM 9-23-01.}
J   Beautiful!  Oh, beautiful!
B   Then I thought I could do the flying, and you could watch him, and if he started to do anything suspicious—
J   You have me in the same plane???  You’re mad!
B   This was his idea, that he’d fly us over.
J   Yeah, but then you thought you’d do the flying, and I’d watch him?  Are you daft? 
B   You’d be watching me if I were doing the flying?
J   I wouldn’t be there!  There’s no way I’d be there! 
B   You don’t trust my flying? 
J   I don’t trust your plane.  I’m going soon enough without looking for opportunities. . . .
B  Timmy said I might be able to come out on the boat.  [Good]  They’ve gonna build [good]—what do you mean Good? 
J   What do you mean, what do I mean? 
B  You don’t have to say good that fast. 
J   Listen, anything that makes you that happy is good.  As long as you love me when you come home, that’s all I care about.  You can be gone for a matter of . . . three or four hours.  I didn’t want to say days or weeks.  
B   He’s doing the next three trips while Ted does the flying, and maybe I can go on one of them.
J   Just don’t fall in love with a swordfish while you’re gone.
B  They’re finally beginning to catch some. They caught 19, which isn’t tremendous, but it’s a start.  What’d you think of Grace Porta’s letter from Migis Lodge?  She appreciates you a lot.
J   It was nice of her to throw that in there.  And I like Gene's sense of humor.  
B   I loved the repartee between the two of you.  He had his mind all made up that he wasn’t gonna like you.
J    Why should he?  Guys like me are a dime a dozen.
B   Stop it, Jack, you’re not a dime a dozen.
J    Not to you, maybe.  My sister-in-law called me last night.  She talked for hours, and when she finished I told her I was sure she could help me along the way.
B   Help you with the girls, you mean?
J    Help me in a lot of ways.  I know I’m not as mature as I should be.
B   But that’s what’s so much fun about you.
J   Oh yeah, it’s a lot of fun, but it’s better to be mature.
B   But you are, Jack.   Eileen hasn’t heard you  when you’re talking on the phone to your daughters.  I was at your house when you were telling Bobbie the reason you’d like to know who’s driving her home from college.  You act like a father. Maybe Eileen doesn’t realize how hard you try and what you do, and how your daughters adore you.
J    They don’t adore me, but we get along. Like tonight, I said Carol, do things in moderation.  You can have the car whenever you want, but don’t go overboard like you do.  It spoils things between us.  She said, Can I have the car tomorrow?  I said, of course you can have the car tomorrow, go wherever you want to go, but just use common sense in what you’re doing.  Bobbie astonishes me.  Sometimes I look at her, and I’m saying to myself, Jeez, if I were a guy I think I’d be in love with her.    
    Eileen also talked about you and me and she said I couldn’t get over you if anything happened.  Things like that.
B   What does she mean?
J    She thinks I’m a passing thing in your fabulous life.
B   How does she know anything like that? 
J    She doesn’t. But even if she did, and even if it were the case, which is utterly ridiculous—[Of course it is.]—I would survive.  I would go looking for someone who I could—
B   You wouldn’t have a bit of trouble.
J    I’d just have to accept it, and I think I could.  I'd have the satisfaction of knowing that at one time we loved each other, and I’d just put that by itself like a beautiful picture, and try to find someone I could—[relate to]—yeah, yeah, exactly, I could relate to.  And it would be a peaceful thing, there wouldn’t be all this—
B   You don’t want another one like me?
J   Oh no, I don’t want another one like you.  I want to put you away.  [laughter]  I do, I do.  I want this to be special.   
B   What did you tell Eileen?  That you’d survive?
J   I told her that, absolutely.
Visit from Ed                                                                                                         
E   Can I do anything for you?  [Nope.]  Want me to rinse those and put them in the dishwasher while you freshen up?  [Nope.]  I’d be glad to. 
B   Thank you.  I talked to Jack.
E   Honey, let’s not—really, forget it.  I’ll just come and visit you.  I could tell you were unhappy when you were at the plant today, and he’s unhappy.  Forget it.
B   But don’t —
J   Honey, let’s not talk about it.  Let’s not hurt each other.
B   I just feel as if it’s likely to be so temporary.  Like I think —
E   Honey, let’s not talk about it!  I understand how you feel, and I’m not going to press you.  I’ll come over maybe twice a week and have a nice sleep and enjoy your company.
B   Jack said it was my decision, it was up to me.  He couldn’t tell me what I should do or shouldn’t do.
E   Let’s not talk about it, huh?  [I just feel as if it’s very possible--]  Do we have to talk about it, please?  [Okay.]  I don’t want to.  Please.  I won’t listen. 
B   I’ll yell.
E   Don’t yell, please.  I know just how you feel.  You don’t have to explain to me.  I’m sensitive enough to know.  Let me read my Time Magazine, and I’ll go to bed.  Do your dishes, do your dishes, do your dishes.  Clean up your mess.  Get with it!
TV blares   “Mitchell returns, and at his meeting to discuss trying to force the White House to turn over presidential papers when they have —"
(voices on TV) 
B  What’s happening?
J   Oh, Mitchell here, it amazes me, the things these people think they should be allowed to do.
B   Do you think Mitchell knows more than he's admitting?
J   No. I think he’s involved, he needs to be indicted, and he’s going to go the full route of a trial.  The Attorney General of the United States is going to be on trial. 
B   Isn’t that incredible?
J   Yes, it is, it’s incredible.  He deserves to be on trial.  There’s no excuse.  It’s not as though he’s a dupe.  He knows the law.  He just felt he could get away with this.
B   Are Haldeman and Erlichman going to be questioned, do you think?  [Oh yeah.]  That’ll be interesting. 
     Did I tell you what happened to Robert’s gym suit?  That it was torn?
(What Robert was this? How did his gym suit get torn and why did I care?  What was I doing with Robert’s clothes in a bag?  I thought old people were supposed to have perfect recall of events that happened years ago.  BBM 3-21-03, ignoring the coverage of Bush’s war and escaping to my keyboard)
J    I saw a bag out here.
B   I was gonna put them in one of those—what do you call those places—Morgan Memorial bins.  When I stopped at Ed’s office to pick up my Martha’s Vineyard photographs, he saw the bag and wanted to know what it was.  So I told him.  He starts fishing these things out and says, “Waste not, want not.”  There were some socks, and he said, “I can use these at the Boat Club.  I take my son-in-law’s old sweaters, I don’t know why I can’t take this stuff, too.”  
J   I have things at home that I ought to get rid of.  They’ve been around for years, and I never wear them.
B   I know.  I’ve got stuff in my closet, too.  I have three or four summer-type dresses that I get out every year and hang up.  Then I don’t wear them.
J   To me, it’s important to be comfortable, but I’ve got so much stuff I wonder why I ever bought it.  But you don’t know whether you’ll like it or not.  I’ve got slacks and they look good, but then there’s something about them I don’t like.  (speaking into the mike) This is a very important conversation.  I wouldn’t want you to miss this.)
B   I replayed some of yesterday, but I’ve erased it. 
J   Why did you erase it?  Shouldn’t you ask me first? 
B   There was a funny part when I said I had a good article on Buckley, and you said, I don’t want to hear it.  Then I went to my room to get my glasses.  You were standing there talking to yourself the way you do and saying, I was just kidding, Barb, I really do want to hear it.  But not that loud, you added, sort of chuckling to yourself.
J   Why did you erase that?  You couldn’t use it later in an argument?
B   That was the only part you would have laughed over.  It wasn’t that good, and it had long pauses.
{long pause}
      Oh, Ed repeated his offer to fly both of us to the Vineyard if we want to use his little cottage.  It’s at the Oak Bluffs Airport.  It has no cooking facilities, that’s one problem, but we could get a hot plate and a frying pan and fix some meals, make sandwiches and have cold cereal for breakfast. 
J   Why does he want to fly us over there? 
B   To be nice.  Like the fellow in the movie I saw with Ed.  You’ve heard me talk about “Bloom in Love”? 
J   Yeah, that’s George Segal.  Hey, do you know that’s playing at Loring Hall right now?  I’d like to see it. 
B   I wouldn’t mind seeing it again, I got such a kick out of it. 
J   What’s it about?
B   It tells about it here on the entertainment page.  This couple broke up, and (reading) “then Bloom sees Nina with a date, a drifting would-be musician named Elmo, one of her welfare cases.  Bloom is jealous and enraged.  He’s determined he must have Nina back.  Playing the role of the friendly ex-husband, he works his way into Nina’s life, hoping to sweep Elmo aside.  He develops a pot-smoking camaraderie with him, discovers he likes him, which temporarily stalls the master plan.” 
     I loved that because if Ed were to do anything like that, thinking he’d work his way back into my life by making a friend of Jack, or pretending to, he would find that he liked you. 
     “The master plan is further stalled by Nina’s perception.  She fully understands what he’s up to, which makes him more determined.”
     And I loved this about “the author’s running comments on our screwed-up manners and mores.  The ironic imbalance of Nina and Bloom spending thirty-thousand dollars on psychiatry, while she doles out food stamps to the needy.”  Jack, we should have seen “Klute” tonight.  Tomorrow we’ll be watching “All in the Family.” 
J   I know we should have seen “Klute” tonight, but I really didn’t think I was coming over, Barb. 
B  Where'd you get a crazy idea like that?
J   Well, because.  I felt that nothing was said, and I didn’t say anything—
B   You used to.  You used to be very definite about wanting to know when you were going to see me again.  Before you even came through the door, you wanted to know.
J   You’re giving me chills, Barb.
B  That’s the refrigerator.
J   I know just what you’re going to say.  “Well, Ed has something in mind for this weekend, Jack, and he was wondering if you wouldn’t mind.”  I know I’m going to get that.
      You’re looking at me like you know it, too.  {silence}  Barb, you’re not talking to me.
B   I’m looking for my glasses.  {more silence except for rattling of ice cubes} They’re out on the lawn.  Maybe you’d get them for me.  [Out where?  By the pool?] Out by the lawn chair. 
J   (calling) You didn’t say anything, Barb.  You didn’t say anything while I was doing all that sounding off.
B   Well, I was thinking.
J    I wish you wouldn’t do that.  Here’s your glasses.  What were you thinking about?
B   What might occasionally happen.  He wanted to know if I’d go to Florida with him for a week.  I said, "Well, I was going to go with you this spring.  Then Marilyn said you couldn’t do it."  He’s promised me that if this ever happens again—
J   He promises that no girlfriend of his will ever tell him he can’t go away with his wife.
B   Exactly.  Or if it happens again, he said he’ll realize that that’s it.  [What is?]  That this will be the end of his resuming anything with me.  He understands it’s difficult for me, but he’s so miserable, and this is the first time in his life he’s ever been completely alone without anybody to love him.  
J   So what do you know now that you haven’t told me?
B   Since the last time we talked, you mean?  All I know is, I believe him when he says he’s alone and miserable. 
J   Did I ever tell you about the time I was working with a fellow, we were going down to the Shawmut Bank to straighten out some flexible retirement annuity plan that Shawmut was handling.  He said, I can’t leave right away, I’ll see you down there.  Take my bag down and use whatever is in there.  He had a very attractive wife.  Very attractive.  I’m going through the bag, and I found these pictures of his wife.  Nude.  Completely nude.  I didn’t do much work after that.  You know pictures of naked women in magazines are fine—
B  But if it’s somebody you know . . .
J   Yeah, and I do know this girl.  I met her at an office party.  She’s all over the place.  She’s on the bed, she’s over a chair, she’s in the tub.  Holy cats. 
B   Did you see the nude man in Playboy?  He’s the first decent nude I’ve seen yet.
J   What do you mean?
B   It's the first one where you see him standing there, exposed.  The first fair, turn-about-is-fair-play picture of a nude man I’ve seen.  The one of Burt Reynolds in Cosmopolitan last year was a farce.
J   You mean this one showed you enough?  Is that what you mean??
B   Yes.  Instead of his knee being raised and coyly hiding everything, he’s standing there, dangling.  [He is?]  Yes.  
J   No, don’t get it, Barb!  I don’t want to see it!  [Yes, you do.]   I don’t, Barb.  I might have looked at it until you used the expression “dangling.”
B   So what’s wrong with that?  It’s only a male appendage. 
J   You know, I looked at this magazine.  But I never noticed this.
B   You’re like Ed, describing his shock at seeing Elsa and Porter in the Thaxters’ swimming pool dressing room.  He said, I couldn’t tell you what Elsa looked like naked.  I said, Why don’t you say you couldn’t tell me what Porter looked like naked?  
J   He looked at Elsa.  Now he couldn’t tell you what she looked like. 
B   He said he turned around so fast that he didn’t really see her. 
J   Hey, this is a sign of things to come with Playboy, huh?  They’re going to have both sexes.  [Unless the Supreme Court decision goes the other way.]  Yeah. 
B   That whole chapter is about porno movies and what a difficult time the guys have making them.  Or making it, I should say, with all those lights and cameras and expectations.
J   Jeez.  This shouldn’t be publicized.  You know that.  Maybe you think it’s all right.
B   People don’t have to look at it.  If it’s so bad that you can’t stand it—[True, dear.]—you can close the magazine.
J   True.  But it’s getting bad that they are putting things like this in magazines.
B   I agree that what they’re doing does cheapen Playboy. 
  Yeah, but why do they do that?
B   Because it makes money, and because there are people who don’t have enough fulfillment otherwise in their lives who like to look at those things.  Lonely men, older men.  And many more women are going to these movies than used to.  They’re bored, their marriages are maybe getting stale . . .  
B   You know that lounge chair you set up for me in the yard?  We were all supposed to bring chairs to the last Samaritans meeting, so I thought that chair would be light and easy to carry.  I sat down on it, and it collapsed with my arm caught on one side of it and my leg caught on the other, so that I could not move.  I couldn’t get up.  It took two guys, one grabbing each arm—
J   Are you trying to make me happy?
B   —and then at the end of the day I couldn’t fold it up to save me.  Did you have any trouble folding it up?
J   Yeah, I did.  The damn thing was driving me crazy.  I don’t know why it collapsed unless you didn’t have it set up right.  [I guess I didn’t.]  Well, take another minute, will you, when you’re unfolding it?
B   I’m glad that there was rescue at hand, or I’d still be there.  Really, the more I tried to move my arm or my leg, the more the thing pinched.  It was like a trap. 
J   So they got you out of it.  Did you get back in it?  [Very gingerly.]  Did they set it up for you again?] 
B   I tried to talk them into trying it out. 
J   Who were they, Barb?  [There were two different people.]  Oh, really?
B   One was uh—[Never mind.  I don’t want to know.]  One had something to do with electronics.  I don’t know what the other one was, but he was a big guy with dark hair and glasses and slightly pockmarked skin.  He was the one I was telling about you.
J   How come you tell guys about me all the time?
B   I just got into it.  I was talking about how I happened to come to Silva Mind Control because of my insomnia, so he asked me if I’d ever heard of Recovery.  I had, I had tried it a couple of years ago.  I went to two or three of those meetings.   It was back at the time when I was still trying to live with my marriage, and I wouldn’t tell Ed where I was going.  I’d say, I’m going out for the evening.  It made me feel quite daring.  What bugged me about it—we had a book to guide us, and I looked up Insomnia in the index   It infuriates me when I read that people who think they have insomnia sleep a lot more than they think they do.  As long as they’re lying there, they’re getting enough rest.  I figure anybody who can write that nonsense has never had chronic insomnia—[That’s right, that’s right.]—because I know the difference.  I know what it feels like to sleep soundly and dream and wake up feeling great.
J    I know what it’s like because I had it one night.  I couldn’t sleep all night. I don’t know how you stand it when you lose as much as you do.  I really don’t, honey.
B   Maybe some people can lie there wide awake, or can get up and read.  That’s fine for them.  Some of these geniuses like Thomas Edison used to get along on only three hours sleep.
J   You don’t seem to hate to go to bed because of it, though, do you?
B   I always go in hopes that I’ll get a decent night’s sleep.  But it’s partly pride or vanity or whatever you want to call it.  I know that I not only feel better, but I look better.  When you get to be over forty, it shows.
J    I don’t see how you can go to bed, knowing that you’re not going to go to sleep.
B   Because I’m usually just as keyed up as I am right now.  [I know it.]  I don’t feel sleepy.  And when I do feel sleepy, I know what it feels like.  Rarely do I stumble into bed and go right to sleep the way I did whenever I was pregnant.  Nature took good care of the babies-to-be.
J   That’s what I mean.  How can you go to bed not being sleepy and hoping to go to sleep?
B   Because it’s bedtime.  If I’m alone, I’ll read until eleven-thirty or twelve.  I’ll try to read something boring, hope I’ll get drowsy, hope I’ll get to that wonderful point that happens once in awhile, where I can hardly hold my eyes open.  Then I know I’m going to conk out.  That doesn’t happen very often.  So I lie down and I hope.
J   Maybe if you repeated what you were doing when it happened, it might happen more often. 
B   I think I’m just too full of nervous energy.
J    That’s what makes you argue with me, your nervous energy.  [Oh, really?]  Yeah.  [It is not!]  It is, it is.  [It is not, it is not!]  Yeah, it is, Barb! [No, it isn't Jack!] There’s something, yeah, it’s your nervous energy, especially down there in Florida.
B   That was my time of the month, and I’m getting into it again, so watch it. 
J  Thanks for the warning.
B  Anyway, I was telling this George—
J  Are we getting back to me?
B  — that I had dropped Recovery because when it came down to it, it seemed that all I needed to do was separate from my husband.  I’d tried to work things out with him, but I just wasn’t happy, and so I had a trial separation, and my whole life has changed.  I met someone a year ago that I’m in love with, and I’ve never been happier. 
      How’d you like the sunset tonight?  Did you see it?  [I see it every night on 128.]  It was beautiful, the prettiest one I’ve seen in a long time. 
J    Maybe you saw something I didn’t.  I just saw a pretty sky.  I’ve seen some fantastic sunsets, and I always wish you were with me.  I always wish that I could get here in time for you to see it. 
B   Gee, it seems funny.  Nowadays there are so many things I can do to make life interesting, and two or three years ago I was casting about, always looking for something and not finding anything, feeling so at loose ends.  And now here are all these activities, and I can’t get around to doing half of them because I’m too busy.  There aren’t enough evenings in the week.  I’m not complaining.  [No, no.]  I’d rather have it that way than the way it was.
J   It’s great to be loved.  It’s vital to be loved and to love. 
B  Just as much for big people as little people.
J   It’s everything.  I knew Marie loved me, but I didn’t know how important it was to me.  When you lose it, and you don’t have it either way, you don’t love anyone and no one loves you, there’s not a deader feeling than that. . . .

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