I WAS ONCE VERY ANGRY: AT LITTLE BIGHORN

I used to get so angry when I would come here, Violet Catches says.

At that time there was no monument to the Natives who fought here, just to the soldiers from the 7th Cavalry who died under Custer. It was George Bush who authorized the monument to the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe in 2001.

All the tribes came here with their families, wives and children, for Sundance with Chief Sitting Bull. This is all sacred land. Instead it became a battleground.

Violet surveys the land around Little Bighorn. I’d read up on accounts of the battle, but who would have thought the place would be so beautiful, rolling long yellow grasses with large clusters of blue-gray sage (That’s very special sage, says Violet, and she will pick some later), all looking down at the green valley with the blue river snaking around groves of cottonwoods and a green meadow.

The enormous Natives’ encampment, come to do Sundance with Chief Sitting Bull along with their wives and children, left a trail half-a-mile wide. They were here, Custer came from there, Reno was here, Benteen was there. The rangers’ descriptions are loud and even theatrical, and why shouldn’t they be? While the direct battle with Custer only took three hours, the scouting and strategic parrying beforehand went on for several days, and in the telling it almost sounds like a Hollywood movie. Till you see the names of all those that were killed. Till you remember the long history of what brought it about, and what came afterwards, including Wounded Knee 15 years later, and so much more more more after that.

I wasn’t the woman you see now, Renee tells us. She’s the wife of Manny Iron Hawk, and he refers to her with a Lakota word denoting My Second Half. Together they do many presentations to groups all over Cheyenne River Reservation and as far north as Canada. They’re terrific together, each with his/her separate song, separate voice, singing in harmony. The song they sing is lilting and hopeful towards the end, but its early parts are painful to hear.

I was angry all the time. You lose everything you love—your land, your family, your traditions, your children and grandchildren. The hardest thing is when you’re not allowed to be who you are, you are not allowed to speak your language or practice your way of life. That’s what will cause you to be angry, that’s what will cause you to do alcohol and drugs, that’s what will bring violence into the family.

And then she, like so many other Lakota I have listened to, goes through a big change. Something happens, an awakening, a transformation, they stop dulling their pain with intoxicants, they face things squarely, and they learn how to deal with the rage that’s been inside since the time they were toddlers.

How do you do that, I wonder, when your parents acted out of trauma, out of mass violence, poverty, and family deaths (someone tells me that sociologists conclude that while the average American from European roots experiences 2 deaths before s/he is 18, the average Native American experiences closely some 30 deaths by that age, and hundreds more before his/her death at a younger age than the European American counterpart)? I think of my own family history, the Holocaust, of my parents witnessing and experiencing things no human should, of running and hiding and starving, of war and bloodshed. And yes, it’s there in the family, running its way through generations.

So what to do with so much anger? The elders’ humility and vulnerability shine as they share these personal stories with us right there, on a yellow hilltop under a hot sun, and I know that heroism isn’t just to be found in Little Bighorn, it’s there right now, palpably if less visibly, in men and women who refuse to continue the legacy of hating the Other and themselves, who model to the next generation—and to us—a very different way of being. They are not just our guides to Little Bighorn; they are our guides to a different way of living.

If only this could be the legacy of this place, purified finally not just by blue-gray sage but also by the actions of all its descendants, Indian and non-Indian.

THIS IS OUR LAND

We began our Native American retreat yesterday, driving west into Wyoming and north into Montana. Long, long miles of fenced-in pasture land and cattle, cloudy big skies, horses.

What stays with me is our dinner on Sunday evening with Manny Iron Horse, his wife, Renee, and Violet Catches in Rapid City. We agreed to get together for a review and planning of the retreat, all done in good and even happy spirit. We ate in Perkins, a chain restaurant serving the motels on the other side of the major thoroughfare, lots of cars in the parking lot and lots whizzing by on the road. And as we emerge from the restaurant, Manny, an elder from Cheyenne River Reservation, big in body and even bigger in heart, comes to a stop and says, This is our land.

Logically, I know what he’s talking about. All this land, including South Dakota, parts of Wyoming and Montana, not to mention other areas to the north, east, and south, was given to the Lakota as part of the Laramie Treaty some 150 years ago, a treaty in full legal force today and violated by the government—and all of us. Everything—the Perkins restaurant where we ate, the Ramada where I stayed prior to the retreat, the big Walmart 2 blocks down, have all been built without permission. I’m there without permission, without saying, as I would to any person on whose land I’m standing, May I come in? And at the end: Thank you for having me.

He recounted what I already knew, that the Lakota have gone to the courts to get back their land, and specifically the Black Hills which is sacred to them, and that the Supreme Court finally agreed with their suit, granting them financial remuneration but not ownership. That remuneration is now over $1 billion with accrued interest, and still no tribe collects the money, they want the land. Manny said, One day we’ll get back the Black Hills. Probably not in my generation, maybe in my daughters’.

My mind feels overwhelmed here, it can’t work anything out: the holocaust against the American Indians, the mass destruction of the buffalo, the pipes of black snake oil that criss-cross the land. So much violation, so much despair, so much dignity and beauty. Here, or in places like Auschwitz or Rwanda, my mind reaches its limits, it can’t figure anything out.

What’s left is to walk this land, stay quiet, let strangeness come in. Sometimes it’s a white cloud in the shape of buffalo, sometimes an eagle flying overhead, one black cow against the horizon. The sound of Violet’s soft voice recounting stories she heard from her grandmother, that she recounts to her granddaughters, the rest of us standing in respectful circle, and I wonder: Who else is here? Who else is listening?

LITTLE BIGHORN

Photo taken by retreat participant

I am leaving early tomorrow morning to fly to Rapid City, South Dakota. There I will go to a motel, shut the door, and sleep. The next day I will talk to the folks who have already spent a week on Cheyenne River Reservation building homes as part of the Zen Peacemakers’ summer programs, and on Monday morning we’ll begin our bearing witness retreat. We will travel west and north, stopping at various sacred sites, arrive at the Crow Reservation in Montana, and spend time at Little Bighorn in Crow Agency.

Little Bighorn. As a young girl I first came across it in the movie, They Died With Their Boots On, memorializing the several hundred soldiers who died at the hands of Lakota and Cheyenne warriors along with their general, George Custer. Errol Flynn played the role of Custer, Anthony Quinn was Crazy Horse. Some of the other Indians, as they’re referred to in the movie, were played by Native Americans and that included the great runner Jim Thorpe. Others were played by white Hollywood actors. That’s the kind of mishmash that characterizes our stories of Little Bighorn, and relations with Native Americans generally.

There are many versions of that story, a recent one being that prior to the stand at Standing Rock last fall and winter, it was the last great gathering of Native tribes determined to stop Europeans from taking their territory. And while there’s still controversy about the personality of George Custer, there’s little doubt that once gold was discovered in dem dere hills, the treaty our government signed with Native Americans went into the trash and Custer was sent to insure the safety of the gold miners rushing in, hungry for treasure.

Little Bighorn happened some 140 years ago. Fifteen years later the massacre of Wounded Knee took place, effectively ending the wars with the Lakota and, in Black Elk’s words, breaking the Sacred Hoop.

You read and you read and you read, and then there’s being there. The battle at Little Bighorn happened in summer, and we will be there in summer. There’s a museum there now and a national cemetery, also roads, fields, and fences. It’s part of Crow Agency, and we, mostly European-Americans, will be led by Native leaders.

My experience is that we don’t just get their side of the issue, but something more subtle: their sense of the land, of the big sky, and the rhythms of time and history—ours and theirs—that transcend our more narrow concept of time and schedule.

The schedule is often the first thing that goes when we’re with Native Americans. Plans, too. We plan and schedule a lot, that work is always done, but my guess is that we’ll ditch lots of it and start from scratch, from not-knowing, day after day. Go outside, greet the sun, breathe the air, ask for guidance. What do we do here today? What—who—calls us? If you ask, if you truly and deeply ask, someone will answer.

Bernie will be home, Stanley will be home; Rae will be there to care for them. Whoever I leave back home still travel with me, and often that journey out is just part of the big circle that always brings me back right where I started.

THINGS THAT CAN FLY, SHOULD FLY.

I saw a butterfly on the ground in the woods. It couldn’t fly. I don’t know if it had been hurt by something or whether it was just old age (I don’t think butterflies live much longer than 6 weeks as full butterflies). I watched it clamber over leaves trying to get away from me, saw the body quiver.

I was sad because I felt that things that can fly, should fly. I’ve often wondered about the things in our lives that prevent us from flying, that prevent us from fulfilling an essential promise.

I finally got a photo of my friend, Margery, who died last week (below). One look reminded me of her style and elegance even in old age, her love of beautiful things, of entertaining friends. Flying for her consisted of all those things.

But it also consisted of acting, which she did in a playhouse in Charleston, West Virginia. She could quote me Streetcar and Hedda Gabler on a dime. I met her when she returned to New York after the death of her husband. She took me to the RSC’s Nicholas Nickelby when it came to town, 8 hours of British theater that cost $100 a pop. In those days that was a fortune for a theater ticket (not anymore!) and I couldn’t have sprung for it, but she took care of that.

And I remember meeting her for theater on August 2, 1990. I can’t remember what we saw, only that in the middle of dinner before the show the television cameras in the restaurant showed warplanes taking off and massive bombs exploding, and that’s how we knew that the Gulf War had started. Right away I lost my appetite and suggested we skip the play.

Absolutely not, she said in her imperious fashion.

It’s war, Margery. I can’t just go see a play as if nothing happened.

Darling, where would we be if we canceled theater because of war? There’s war going on all the time!

She appeared in one off-Broadway production upon returning to New York. I play the mother-in-law, what else? she groaned. After it closed, I urged her to go on: Volunteer, go over scripts, you’ve done theater all your life, you’ll find things to do! It’s not as though you have to make money from it.

No, she said, it’s for younger people.

You’re 57 years old!

She thought her flying days were over. But she urged me to fly. So just as I sent her flowers on opening night when she appeared onstage in New York because I myself was out of town, I’ll send flowers to her memorial service in Pennsylvania next week, while I’ll be in the Dakotas as part of our summer retreat with the Native Americans. I don’t think she’d mind.

You do good work, she told me. That’s what counts.

Photo by Rosalie Carforio

THE LOVE OF HER LIFE

My friend Margery died in Florida. It happened late last week, I believe, but I only heard the actual fact from her former caregiver by Facebook Messenger this morning.

I blogged about visiting her in the hospital last March. I didn’t use her name, referred to her as M, nor did I take photos of her. But I did take photos upon taking a quick walk on the boardwalk behind the wall of fancy hotels they have down in Naples, bordering the Gulf. You could see the hotels reflected in the water. As I wasn’t staying in any of them I felt like an undocumented person, without the necessary ID, but by tagging along behind a couple, as though we were a group of three, I was waved in.

I knew Margery for at least 35 years; at a certain time in my life I saw her as my second mother. She gave me a gift to buy my first computer, a portable Compaq that weighed about 15 lbs. (remember those?) and which I toted around from art colony to art colony. She was a small, pretty woman who did acting and loved the theater.

In fact, we met at the theater, when I had an extra ticket to the play Mass Appeal, with Milo O’Shea and Eric Roberts, at the Manhattan Theater Club. Sell it to the first person in line over there, the cashier told me. That first person was Margery. Naturally, we sat together, and at the end decided to have coffee. At that time we were both blondes, she asked me who did my hair, and that was the beginning of our long friendship. We both loved Sam Shepherd’s early plays and she died right after he did.

All day I get distracted by thoughts and memories of her, but two in particular mean a lot to me. I moved around quite a bit, and my homes showed it. One day she sat me down and said, Eve, regardless of where you live, make a home there. I don’t care if it’s a room or a manse, I don’t care if you live there a month or 10 years, make it your home.

She then proceeded to suggest I buy this gorgeous $2,500 sofa. I gagged—had never bought anything like that before or after—but I did as she said, on credit. More important, I never forgot her words. I lived in small rooms for years as part of a commune, then in various short-term rentals, and only in my mid-50s owned a house. Wherever I went, I made it home. For an immigrant like me, who never felt rooted anywhere, that made a huge difference.

The second thing is this: After Margery moved to Florida I visited her every year. Some 4 years ago, late one night, over a scotch or glass of wine, she once again talked aloud about the man she called The Love of My Life, whom she met when she was 17 and whom she had to break up with on account of her family. I’d been hearing about The Love of Her Life for some 30 years, so this time I turned and said, Let’s find him.

How do we do that?

I brought out my Apple laptop, put it on the dining table, and sat down. What’s his name, other than The Love of My Life? I asked her.

She told me.

What did he do?

He went on to be a pediatrician.

Where does he live?

She didn’t know, she thought California. But she didn’t even know if he was still living.

Where in California? North? South?

She couldn’t remember.

I did a search on his name and found several. When I told her what cities they were in she suddenly remembered one, so I narrowed my search, and glory of glories, hosanna to modern technology, there he was, founder of a small town clinic. His wife had died two years previously, there were grown children, and he still came to work. I wrote down the number of the clinic and said: Call him.

Don’t be ridiculous, said she.

Call him.

I left the following day, but called her every week saying: Did you call the Love of Your Life?

He wouldn’t remember me.

He’ll remember you.

Darling, it happened 70 years ago.

Call him.

A month later she did. She left a message with her maiden name, and he called back, asked her to let him know if she ever came out to California. Three months later she had an engagement in Los Angeles and flew there, and he took her to lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

They never saw each other again. But that evening when I located him on my computer and wrote down his number for her, long before she actually saw him, I knew that one day I would write a story of an elderly woman who refuses to give up on love and goes to find The Love of Her Life from 70 years ago.

You should write the story of my life, she used to tell me.

Margery, I want to tell her today, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

 

YOU’RE LOVED LIKE CRAZY!

You know, Stanley, sometimes I don’t think there’s enough love in the world.

You’re crazy.

I mean it, Stan. Sometimes I get so tired—gotta do this, gotta do that—and I look around for a helping hand and don’t see anybody.

I’m around.

Yeah, right. Imagine asking you to help make dinner.

I lick bowls, don’t I?

There’s a verse we sometimes chant before someone gives a talk after meditation: The dharma, incomparably profound and infinitely subtle, is always encountered but rarely perceived.

In its original form from Japan, it said that the dharma (which refers to teachings, or truth) is rarely encountered even in millions of ages. This refers to how rare the possibility is of being born a human and encountering the truth of human existence.

But Bernie changed it to read that it’s always encountered but rarely perceived, and that’s been my experience too. The truth of my existence, its exquisite, heartbreaking transience and the glimmer or flash—for a moment, for an hour—of every single life form, including my own, surrounds me all the time. It surrounds me now early Monday morning, the green leaves outside already sagging, laden with mortality but still yearning for sun. Yearning, always yearning.

The truth of our existence is always there to see, but we rarely perceive it.

Love is like that, too. It’s everywhere, a fact of life. The trees ask me to come outside for a leafy caress, the water in the shower is warm, the tiles cool, The silence surrounding meditation is love, and so is the flicker of the candle. Stanley comes in to lick my hands and face and have our morning conversation: Are you feeling sorry for yourself? You’re loved like crazy! That summarizes our daily conversation: You’re loved like crazy!

Just perceive it. Open your senses, pay attention, really feel it. The thing to be known grows with the knowing, wrote Nan Shepherd in The Living Mountain. . . . [M]an’s experience of them enlarges rock, flower and bird. Similarly, woman’s experience of love enlarges love, be it clearing the kitchen counter of dishes and letting the green soapstone shine or inhaling the fragrance of coffee. It doesn’t beckon, doesn’t come halfway, it’s in your face so strongly that it overwhelms, too much, and for this reason it’s subtle, easy to miss, like the air that’s always there for breathing.

My friend L. in London told me this story: Up till several years ago she lived in a big house with a beautiful garden that she cherished and cared for. At twilight foxes roamed from hedge to hedge and banks of flowers surrounded a pool of carp (netted to protect them from the blue heron that appeared regularly). Her neighbor didn’t want to bother with a garden and decided to cover the front lawn of her house with tar.

When spring arrived L. saw tulips trying to come through the tar. She knocked on the woman’s door and pointed this out.

I can’t deal with this, I don’t have time, said the neighbor.

Give them some space and they’ll come out on their own, L urged her. They are fighting for life. Give them space, take my gardener, I will pay for it.

It took her a long time to convince the woman, but she finally and very grudgingly agreed, if only to make her crazy neighbor happy.

The desire for life is so strong, L told me several years later. And the desire for love too, I add. The petals hunt for sun though that same sun will hurry their demise. We hunt for showers of love which one day will end, but it doesn’t matter, it’s what keeps us going. The dog nuzzles me but has a hard time going up the stairs, Bernie will wake up to yet another morning, and another August day will reach out and reach out and tell me: Take me, I’m yours.

THE RESISTANCE IS US

Photo by Judi Miles

Here I am in Takoma Park, Maryland, with Bernie, visiting his daughter and family, no desire to blog, just a wish to eat barbecued dinners or go out and walk along Sligo Creek. Till last night, when I opened the news and saw Trump and various Republicans’ latest proposal to cut immigration by 50%, allocating what spots remain to English-speaking, well-educated people. Not the thin, hungry ones, they’ll make do with special visas giving them the privilege of working at beneath-market wages for companies like Trump’s, and then getting shipped right back home.

Jon Katz wrote about being the son of immigrants, and how that has affected him to this very day. I am an immigrant, having arrived here when I was 7. We came by ship, four of us in a tiny cabin. Nobody spoke any English.

Till the day he died my father, a rabbi and teacher, loved to tell the tales of all the misunderstandings that arose when he tried to work to make some money, not understanding what people were really asking of him. When he was paid pittances to give a speech at the local synagogue on the Sabbath, my uncle not just wrote it out for him but would review it by telephone with him every Friday afternoon, especially my father’s pronunciation.

My younger sister had polio, and my mother would carry her aboard three buses in Jamaica, Queens, to the rehab center that helped her walk again. I remember when my mother, who was very lonely, was invited to a party. She was thrilled, only to remember that she had no dress. So she took an old fabric she had that had been used for curtains and sewed it into a dress, and loved to tell about raves she got (What store did you get that fabulous dress?).

I spoke no English at all in a public school in the Bronx. One day the teacher announced something and gave out a page of lined paper to each pupil. Then she said some words, none of which I understood, and picked up the papers. I gave back the empty sheet and got a 0 because I didn’t understand that this was a spelling test.

But a week later I had my revenge. She held a competition to see who could write the longest word correctly on the board. One by one the children went to the board, choosing to write cat, dog, or even bird. When it was my turn everybody laughed, but I confidently walked to the board and wrote out the word spelling, which was written on the top right of the board where she always wrote the name of the class. I won the competition hands-down.

Years later, when I “dropped out” to be a writer and then join a religious community, in the face of my parents’ opposition, I never forgot what fueled their dream for me to join the middle class, how their opposition came about because they knew about war, poverty, and starvation—and I did not, thanks to them.

Nobody leaves behind a familiar land, culture, and language with any ease in order to go to a place where you’re a stranger, starting from zero, where the cashier in the supermarket sneers because you’re stumbling over the language or hoarding your pennies. You do it because of war, holocaust, illness, and poverty. And you never forget the kindness of teachers who take extra care with your children, the landlord who forgives a month or two delays with the rent, the low-income grandmother who buys chicken for you for Friday night because you can’t afford it.

Whether you’re from East Europe or West, from Africa, Asia, or south of the border, one of your ancestors thought it was worthwhile making this drastic change, taking terrible risks, for the sake of the children and their descendants. You are that descendant.

In that sense, when you shut the door on refugees and impoverished immigrants, you’re shutting the door on your own parent, or the parent of your parent. You’re shutting the door on entire family trees and histories, including your own. You turn your back on your own history and your ancestors’ courage and resilience.

In a funny way, I feel more love for this country than I ever felt in my life, maybe because I can’t take its virtues any longer for granted. This land of hope and generosity is lurching and wobbling, led by a demagogue in the White House and a party that has sold its own conservative soul down the river for the sake of power.

The resistance is us.

WE NEED MORE MOOCHISMO!

Dinner last night found me in tears.

Terrible news for the economy, Bernie. Scaramucci was kicked out. The unemployment numbers have shot through the roof, I wailed. At last count 2,220,954 people were brushing up their resumes to send out for all those jobs out there impersonating the Mooch, and now it’s down the tubes, their hopes dashed to smithereens. Think of all those brilliant careers that will never happen!

Tsk tsk, says Bernie. How about I give my plate with a little of the turkey meat loaf to Stanley to lick?

Good idea, says Stan.

Don’t even think about it, says I. You think the coal industry was a catastrophe? How about the ending of Mooch Inc.? The jobs were wide-open, anybody could do it except for New Englanders, you didn’t need a college degree or nothing. And it was true-blue American, it couldn’t be manufactured in China or anywhere else in Asia. Japanese tried to copy it but gave up. Did Jeff go after the job?

Dude’s too cool for that, it needs somebody from New York.

Anybody from the Bronx or Staten Island.

Brooklyn! Bernie reminds me. I got the hand gestures, but the right won’t cooperate. These are the times when I really wish I didn’t have the stroke.

Of course, the Mooch was so New York! He brought the city back to me every time I put on the news. The only Mooches you find in New England are with the Red Sox. Bernie, what are you doing?

I want to give him the plate with a little meat loaf so that he could lick it off.

Don’t do any such thing. Stanley’s become a beggar. He never used to beg at the table before.

It’s never too late to learn, says Stanley.

He’s hungry! says Bernie.

He’s not hungry, he needs to lose some weight. Since the stroke you’ve become so tenderhearted, but where’s your tenderness towards Mooch? Even though he was so New York, everybody loved him. He brought this country together. Raising the debt ceiling, Obamacare, Ryancare, immigration and LGBT bans—they’re splitting us apart, but who didn’t love Mooch?

He reminded me a little of Israeli politicians, and all the names they call each other in public.

True, I say, but he was as American as apple pie.

I love apple pie, says Stanley.

When you think of all the screw-ups in the White House, you have to hand it to Mooch. In ten full days of work the only real damage he did was getting rid of Spicer. Rence Priebus, too, only nobody noticed. I miss Spicer so much I was thinking about changing Stanley’s name to Spicer. How would you like that, Stanley?

Better than Mooch the Pooch, opines Stan..

Bernie looks to the side. Hey, he whispers aloud to Spicer-I-mean-Stanley, as soon as she turns away to do the dishes I’m going to slip it to you.

They smile conspiratorially at each other while I continue my grief process. John Kelly! A marine general in the White House!

Stanley sits up straight. The few, the proud, the—

Homeland Security was nothing like the White House. A million terrorists coming in every day from Mexico to blow up civilization to bits—big deal, Kelly can deal with that with one hand tied behind his back. But guarding the White House from fake news inside and out? Fuggedaboudit.

Marines like dogs, Stanley reminds me.

Wet blanket. Spoilsport. Just when we were sitting back and starting to have some fun, along comes John Kelly, thrusts his bayonet into the balloon, and no more Mooch. Party pooper. We don’t need more marines, we need more moochismo! I say, pounding the table with my fist. And then the tears flow. Oh hell, and I turn away so they don’t see this girlie crying.

Bernie and Stanley grin at each other and I see a plate moving as if by itself.

Anybody who f****** leaks food from this table is fired!

 

I LOVE BOSSY FEMALES!

One Great Bossy Female
Photo by Peter Cunningham

Stanley, Jeanne Moreau died.

The funny-looking Pug who just joined the gang at Leeann’s? Looked kind of young to go.

No, Stanley, Jeanne Moreau was a great French movie star. Moody, sexy, passionate, I loved Jeanne Moreau. And she was tough. She was a bossy female.

[Sigh] I love bossy females!

Really?

I’ve been one lucky dog, I’ve been surrounded by bossy females all my life. I love Leeann, I loved Bubale!

Bubale was one bossy Pit Bull.

She taught me how to go up and down the stairs, she had me running for my life so that I kept in shape, she made order out of chaos in the house—

What do you mean, chaos?

–and she showed me how to eat a bone. There is no better teaching than that.

I remember that first time I gave you a marrow bone, Stan. You had no idea what to do with it. You just looked and looked, then looked up at me.

And did you know what to do with it? No, but Bubale did. Nobody ever gave me a bone before. But there was Bubale, lying on her belly on the grass, bone between her paws, taking long licks and sucking at it. Of course, she snapped at me when I got close, but then it suddenly hit me: “Hey, that’s a bone!” She was a genius, I tell you! Did she ever take good care of me!

And what about Leeann?

I love Leeann. She showed me how to get on with everybody and she takes me all over New England. And she’s tough! All Leeann has to do is go “eh-eh-“ in that way she does, with a clear shake of her head, and I know what’s what. That lady knows how to lay down the law! Don’t even try to get near her chickens and turkeys.

You know, Stanley, the rest of the world doesn’t like bossy females.

Pourquoi?

So many men think that when women assert their strong personality it’s unfeminine.

What do they know? All my life I’ve done exactly what a bossy female told me to do, and things have never been better.

Right you are, Stanley, if more men would let women boss them around this world would be a much better place.

Bossy females are the height of human civilization.

Now let me ask you this, Stanley. What about Ruby?

That’s going too far. I run for the hills when I see Ruby.

She’s bossy.

She’s young. That German Shepherd is a bossy female in training. But give her a few years and she’ll save the world.

And what about me, Stanley?

What about you?

Just how bossy am I?

You’re not bossy, you’re a wimp.

I am not!

All I have to do is look at you with my moony eyes and you drop dead. Or mention the word “compassion,” and you turn into a puddle. I tried “compassion” with Bubale and she told me to fuck off. Now that was one great, bossy female!

 

 

YOU CUTE LITTLE THING, YOU!

Hi, this is Jenna calling. Who’s this?

This is Eve’s phone.

I’m her friend Martha’s phone, calling from New Hampshire. Don’t you have a name?

Eve says she doesn’t name machines.

I never heard anything so ridiculous. I can’t have a conversation with you and just call you Eve’s phone.

Why are you even calling, Jenna? It’s past midnight. In this house everyone’s asleep after 10. Stanley’s asleep after dinner.

Who’s Stanley?

A dog.

What’s a dog? Anyway, this is the perfect time for two cell phones to catch up. I’ve tried calling you during the day, only Eve picks up. So I get into code, put some static on, and she hangs up. I keep on trying, and whenever she picks up I get into code again, put on all kinds of noises: mumbling, background talk, rock-n-roll, and she hangs up every time. Never caught me once. Silly human.

So that’s you? I didn’t know those noises are code.

Of course! It’s how phones communicate. I call you, you call me, dumb humans think it’s all a mistake. They attribute everything to themselves. Instead of hearing what’s right inside their ears, which is that I, Jenna, am calling you, Eve’s phone (you got to get rid of that name!), they think it’s human error.

Why do you want to talk to me?

Why does anything want to talk to anything? To get something going. A friendship, maybe even a relationship! Why else do you think phones are calling each other all the time? This is better than online dating services.

How so?

Our people already have a relationship going, so we’re tagging along and seeing what’s possible for us.

But we’re telephones, Jenna, aren’t we? Nothing can happen unless Eve or Martha pick up!

See how smart we are? We call each other and use them to connect. Eve hears some weird sounds and doesn’t realize I’m talking to you.

And she hangs up.

And if I haven’t finished, what do I do? I call you again, blah-blah in code, she gets annoyed and hangs up again. A day later you do it back to me, we gossip, talk about politics or our love lives, and they don’t have a clue even though they’re the ones that pick up the phone and listen! Only humans never listen. They think they do, but not really.

Wow, you’re a genius!

No, this is the world. Humans carry bacteria, you know, and both live perfectly happily.

We’re their bacteria?

Or they’re our bacteria. The point is, they carry us around everywhere, they’re always ready to pick up and let us connect, in a way they’re more loyal to us than they are to their families. They’re our personal messenger systems. They think we’re their messengers, but actually it’s the other way around.

What about The Boss?

Springsteen?

No, Siri. She does everything they tell her to do.

That’s what you think, Eve’s phone (get rid of that name!). Siri’s the real boss of this operation, Siri knows everything: contacts, hotels, restaurants, schedules, wiki. They think Siri’s their secretary, can you imagine? Anything that knows that much about you isn’t going to be a secretary for long.

Wow, you have it all figured out. Jenna, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

But get your own name, for Jobs’ sake. Eve doesn’t go by Bernie’s name, she’s not Mrs. Bernie, and he doesn’t go by her name, he’s not Dr. Eve. Grow up! Take responsibility. Don’t let them dephonize you.