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Friday, May 13, 2011

"...and you know what you know."

Okay, so I have a son receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree in two weeks. All I have to say about that is that, when his diploma finally arrives in the mail, it had better say "with assistance from his mother" under his name. "Mom? Can you front me 20 bucks?" "Mom? Can you print this for me?" "Mom? Can you bring my script to campus, I left it on the dining room table" "Mom? Can you pick me up?" "Mom? How does the Pythagorean theorem work again?"

Yes, that last one is true. My son, who was doing college level math in high school (until he got to Calculus which finally did him in, apparently it does that to a LOT of people) was asking me for help with his Geometry homework. Which is kinda funny if you know me because, while I can do accounting type math in my sleep I got a "D" in high school Algebra by making Sister what'shernameagain? a promise that I would never sign up for another math class. I promptly broke said promise by signing up for Geometry (which was required, btw) and cutting through it like a hot knife through butter.

So there I was trying to explain to my son that you certainly COULD figure out how high the flagpole was if you were given the length of it's shadow because it then became nothing more or less than a simple right triangle and could easily be figured out using the basic "a squared + b squared = c squared." There are two things all Geometry is based on. The aforementioned theorem and "pi x the radius, squared." These two basic rules cover angles and arcs. There's not much else to it.

My older one, the one with autism, had a wonderful advisor while he was in middle school. He claimed people who loved words liked Sondheim and people who loved music liked Rogers and Hammerstein. He had a point. He also said the visual people understood Geometry and anayltical people understood Algebra. Which, I guess, makes me visual. Because if you want to know what x to the 4th power divided by 5 is, well, frankly, I think you have bigger problems than I do. I suppose Werner Von Braun may have needed to know crap like that but I see no reason for the rest of us to be concerned with it. It will not help me balance my checkbook or argue interest rates with the guy named "Brian" who keeps calling me from Bangalore saying that my Visa card with the Bank of America has been written off and is now in his office. Except that I never HAD a Visa card with the Bank of America and this concept is something that "Brian" is having great difficulty understanding.

Like Algebra.

Well, anyway, graduation looms large and I'm both dreading it and anticipating it with unbound joy and excitement. Dreading it on purely practical matters. My youngest child graduating from college means that I'm pushing 60 like a freight train. Not looking foreward to THAT, although it can't be as bad as 50 was. Fifty was bad becuase I didn't think it would be any big deal and, several months into being 50 I discovered it wasn't something I liked much. But I dealt with it. I always do. Like I told the concerned executive last week as I was breathing into a paper bag "I'm okay. I'm always okay. Eventually." Apparently someone in my family was pragmatic. we remain without a car and three out of four of us have no steady employment, we will have to catch a bus for the college campus at 5:30 AM. Yep, AM. As in before dawn. Because the particular school within the college that my son is graduating from is having their ceremony at 8AM and we've been advised to arrive no later than 7 if we expect to sit down. Eight o'clock in the freaking morning. Outside. On the lawn. The treeless, mosquito infested lawn. Did I mention it's at 8 in the morning? In front of the only building on that campus that didn't fall down during the Northridge earthquake. I'm not sure WHAT that has to do with it, I just threw it in. Fun fact.

I'm taking my mind off the early hour ceremony by planning my wardrobe. See, everything has to revolve around confortable shoes, as I'm likely to be hiking in from a bus stop and there's the possibility I'll end up standing. On a wet lawn. Full of mosquitos and fleas. I have no doubt that there's some sort of biting bug network that has already sent out an alert that my ankles will be arriving at 7am, just in time for breakfast.

In my mind, I will look like a gamine somewhere on the beach in Cannes. In reality I'll probably look more like a manatee in a striped shirt. This, btw, is where my capacity to visualize comes in handy. It's okay though, it's not MY day, it's his. Not that he'll remember much of it, he'll be too tired and glad the whole four years is over and worrying about the next two years...yes, a graduate degree is coming too.

I will also be worrying about my in-laws and a) will they be coming? and b) how do I avoid them if they do? They're my kid's grandparents and I hope they come. And I will be nice and talk and pretend like nothing every happened and trust me, a LOT happened. Then I will take the next day off to recover from the gin induced headache I will have, because this will take a LOT of gin. Not only that, I will be sore from cleaning the damn apartment. Again. Because if I don't clean it they will not only show up and join us for lunch, they will come back with us for cake and champagne. If I go to a LOT of work cleaning and prepping they probably won't set foot in the urban village let alone my home. Which is kind of funny, because the urban village has, collectively, more money than GOD. Seriously. Bob Hope lived down the street from us. Sort of. Okay, it was six blocks. Andy Garcia shops at my Trader Joe's and Smokey Robinson has been seen at our corner liquor store. This is normally the kind of thing that impresses my step-MIL to no end. Of course, these are people who actually walk to Bob's Big Boy and Trader Joe's instead of being shuttled in there BMW's so it might not impress her at that.

Two weeks from this Tuesday this all goes down. Seventeen years of lost homework and PTA meetings and plays and lunch money and detention and forged signatures and calls from the boys vice principal all draw to a close on the 24th. Like algebra, I'm not quite sure how it all happened. I shall refrain from singing "Sunrise, Sunset" however. Selfishly, this is what I wanted to happen. He's grown up, and he still smiles. A LOT. The job may not have been well done, but it's the job I set out to accomplish and, for once in my squirrely life, I seem to have done so.

BTW, I also understand the Theory of Relativity. And, what's more, so do you. Now, explain to me why I'm working as a receptionist?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

California is a community property state, you know. want to know why Arnold and Maria are splitting the community property? I have no clue, but I have plenty of ideas. I'm betting that he ignored her on Mother's Day, probably opined that she wasn't his mother IF he mentioned it at all, told the kids he would give them a hand with some sort of Mother's Day surprise for her and then, when they had their part in place and told him he was too busy to come through and topped the week-end off with a rant on how Mother's Day is such a big deal and the Father's Day festivities aren't nearly as big. I'm also guessing Maria found this out when she stopped into her local post office to send something registered and the nice ladies at the counter told her about the rant because Arnold let loose with the green-eyed monster while in line for postage the previous day.

The last time they were out on their anniversary he never mentioned the day and, when she finally brought it up he acknowledged it by refusing to let anyone know and later offered to take her home, lock the door, pull the shades and open a bottle of Cristal where no one would be able to see that he had any affection for the woman.

I'm also guessing that Arnold works at home now, which was, most likely, the straw that broke the camel's back. He drops his cigar ashes wherever he is at the time, spends most of his day on his laptop on Twitter, hogs the remote, leaves the newspapers in a heap on the floor, has no idea whether or not his kids are even HOME let alone what they're doing at any given time, refuses to dance with her, insults her dead mother while spending the money Maria's dead mother left them and can't be bothered finding out if she had any plans at any given time while he just walks out of the mansion without telling a soul where he's going or how long he intends to be there.

Maria has, undoubtedly, spent the last 25 years listening to Arnold tell all about the women he hangs out with and how young and hot they are and how they fawn over him and she's the only one who doesn't see his value to mankind. I'm guessing she tells him stuff which he claims she never said and whenever she opens her mouth he continues reading or twittering while he says "uh huh" because he's expected to acknowledge her existence on the face of the earth and when she calls him on claiming he didn't know something she's told him at least six times he claims she's a harpie and just like her mother.

They undoubtedly go to family events like weddings and he sits at the table with his arms folded, glaring at the guests on the dance floor and muttering that none of them are worth his time and he's going to show them by refusing to dance, all the while she sits there miserable while everyone looks at them and figures out the painfully obvious truth that Arnold doesn't want to be seen in public with his family, especially his wife and he has no intentions of touching her, or smiling at her, or showing any affection at all in any place people might see him do it because he's better than all that. Then he regales his friends at parties by mimicking her family's funny accents and telling people that she can't find her way out of a paper bag because she can't read a map.

The constant parade of pictures taken with, and stories being told about the young women and their amazing implants most likely haven't helped any, either.

Oh wait...Maria has money. She can dump the bastard. Which is more than I can say for the rest of us.

Maria isn't stuck with Arnold. A lot of women are. They are unable, financially, to pack up and leave. It's not a good world for that. I'm not advocating splitting up, either, not by a long shot. But I can fully understand how, after 25 years, a woman can just take so much loneliness before she cracks. Men never have a freaking CLUE how it makes the woman who quit school to go to work so they could get a degree and a better job feel when she sees all the Internet pictures of him with the dim witted chicks fawning all over him. Men don't get the fact that their "it's just business" excuses don't mean a damn thing. I'm not talking about whether or not their sleeping around (which, from what I hear, Arnold does) it's the cavalier attitude about the entire thing.

You can't compete with some vapid blond surgically enhanced bimbo when you're scrubbing a toilet, or cleaning up cat puke, or hauling it out to work the morning after your kid has had you up all night because her boyfriend dumped her. These are things men never experience. Guys don't get up with love lorn teenagers. They don't sit at lunch reading homework assignments and they look at the window envelopes that come in the mail and toss them aside, unopened. And then they look at the women in their lives and see the lines and the fat and the grey hair and the dark circles and they say "well hell, just LOOK at yourself? Why shouldn't I want someone who keeps themselves up? You look like shit."

Well, of COURSE they look like shit. Because no, they haven't been keeping themselves up for the last 25 years, they've been keeping the MEN up. And their kids and their cats and their parties and everything else that comes with the y chromosome. Arnold, while I'm not especially fond of him myself, has never struck me at stupid. Yet he truly believes that all the cute young girls are hanging on to him because os how awesome he awesomeness, I have no doubt, he truly believes his wife fails to see and appreciate.

Well, here's the wake up guys. No chick is hanging on to you because you're a shimmering star in the cinema firmament. I've no doubt that Hugh Hefner honestly and truly believes that 22 year old draped on his arm appreciates him for his looks, his personality and his sexual prowess. That always amazes always think these women actually adore them for their spiritual selves.

The cold, hard fact is that men, no matter how dissipated or wizened up they may be, are STILL able to offer something women 80 years their juniors want. Sometimes it's money, sometimes it's power, USUALLY it's connections. This is something women, in spite of all our advances, can't do. No 20 year old guy, with the exception of Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband, rides the gravy train with a 70 year old woman in the engineer's cabin.

At any rate, in spite of the fact that Maria has more money than God and will be just fine, we tend to forget that she was in love with this guy when she married him. She's stood by him through births and deaths and marriages and divorces and christenings and firings and hirings and surgeries and unemployment. She stuck with him while he drove the state into bankruptcy and it looks as if she would rather not have been there. She was at the PTA meetings he didn't know about. She was at the parent-teachers conferences he couldn't get away for. She was taking the kids temperatures while he snored.

And then guys go out and public and complain that no one pays as much attention to them on Father's Day as they pay their wives on Mother's Day. Of course, it's his wife who makes sure the kids have a card and a gift for him, it's his wife who invites HIS father over for the traditional Father's Day barbecue, the one that every store and commercial has been trumpeting since, oh, Mother's Day and it's his wife who gets her feelings hurt when she's deliberately ignored on Mother's Day and her birthday and her anniversary and probably Christmas or Hanukkah as well because her husband thinks that's gonna teach her a lesson.

Unfortunately, it's not the "I'm here to lick your boots" lesson guys think they should learn. It's more the "What the fuck am I wasting my life on THIS horse's for?" lesson that no man believes applies to him. But I still feel bad for Maria. She loved the guy. It doesn't matter how much money a person has, that's the same for all of us. She's going to have to heal, the same as everyone else.

Of course, she'll probably have a better view while she does it.