Last nite while we were falling asleep I lamented to Scott, "I didn't have any adventures today. All I did was go to the bank and I didn't talk to anyone."
Well, all that has changed. Just got home from getting my hair cut. Isn't it amazing at the coincidences that bring new people into our lives?
I go to a very exclusive hair salon. I am extremely particular about my hair cuts. When you decide to go all white, as I have, you must have a great hair cut. Amanda does my hair. She's friendly and sweet but she rarely talks. Getting your hair cut is hugely boring so I've got to subtly lead her into talking, about anything, to make the time go faster.
I never look in the mirror. Can't stand to see myself. When I do, I shock myself. Who's that old gal? I wonder. Whose wrinkly neck is that? No, I will not wear a turtleneck or a scarf to cover it up.
Ralph, the stylist, is over in the corner looking much oldern me. He used to cut my kids' hair. Now he's cutting the hair of some elderly fellow. The elderly gent is finished, hobbles up to me and Amanda and says, "Is that a man or a woman whose hair you're cutting?"
Amanda didn't hear but I did. "I'm a woman!" I shouted. "When you get to be my age, it's difficult to tell."
When Amanda finished, I walked up to pay. The old dude was still there. "Now do I look like a woman?" I said slipping on my gorgeous new faux leather jacket from Chico's without pockets. Why on earth would they make a jacket w/o pockets.
"Who says you're not a woman?" said the elderly gent.
I detected he might be Jewish by the way he spoke but of course I said nothing. A younger man was waiting for him.
"Are you his son?" I asked.
"No, I'm his student. Marian Filar is a famous concert pianist."
I asked the spelling of his last name and said I would look it up. He lives nearby.
Said the student, "He lived thru 7 concentration camps and has written a book about it."
"Oh," I said, turning to Filar. "You're Jewish like me."
"Hitler was Jewish, too," said Filar. "Except he changed his name."
"Yeah?" I said.
"Yeah, he left off the S."
I laffed and paid my $15 haircut bill at the Cuttery and left her a $5 tip.
Filar's book is called from Buchenwald to Carnegie Hall. He was a Polish prodigy who at age 12 played the divine Mozart Piano Concerto in D Major with the Warsaw Philharmonic. This is how Hitler treated the Jews. People who bring pleasure and brilliance to the world.
According to my Internet sources, Filar (pronounced FEE-lahr) nearly died of malnutrition in the camps. After he was freed, he remained in Germany and studied piano with renowned teachers like Walter Gieseking. Imagine the humanity of such a man as Filar remaining in the country where antisemitism had become the national slogan.
I of course want to write about Filar. I'm thinking of doing a new Compass magazine just so I can interview him and visit him and hear him play. He lives in a nearby retirement community.
On my New Directions website I'm promoting the screening of a new program about mental illness - Minds on the Edge - debuting on Sunday on your PBS channels. The show is sponsored by an extraordinarily forward-looking foundation who are among the leading philanthropists in mental health. Several years ago we got an amazingly generous grant from them.
This morning I called them up to ask if we can apply for another grant. Eleanor said Yes, send us in your Letter of Intent. I haven't written a grant in 6 months so I was happy I still remembered how. Nimbly I was able to remember the key things to emphasize speaking truthfully about our amazing support group and all the great work we do. Two pages tops.
Was I in the mood to sit still and type up the LOI? Absolutely not. But I forbad myself to move except to drink a glass of water. No, you may not get a cup of hot tea. No, you may not put on Smoky Robinson and the Miracles, No, you may not check your emails and see if anyone has commented on your blog, No, you may not look out the kitchen window to see how the leaves are doing on the trees. You just sit right there, Ruthie, and type till you finish.
I printed it out, sat on the couch and read it over. Oops! Left off an important qualifying word. Retyped it, then went upstairs to type up the envelope on my IBM Selectric.
Ran it over to the Bryn Athyn post office where they're putting in a new traffic lite. Bryn Athyn is in the midst of the Pennypack Creek basin. Scott and I often go for long walks down the train tracks there. The train stopped running in 1983 after a labor dispute.
Back in 1921, the year my dad was born, there was a two-train head-on collision on these single tracks. Twenty-six people died, most of them burned to death by flying coals from the coal car. The engineer and the conductor were found guilty of negligence.
My daughter walked me thru the installation of PayPal on my business website. Yes, I am a shill of the ruling class. PayPal. We've gotten some nice donations so far. I called PayPal for info and spoke to a man who identified himself as Jefferson. He was very helpful. Every time he asked me to do something he said Please. I was so grateful.
At the end of the call, I said, "And where are you located, Jefferson?" I expected him to say India but instead he said, "Manila, The Philippines."
"Oh," I said. "You've been having some terrible weather there, haven't you?"
"Yes," he said. "Lots of calamities here in the Philippines."
"Take good care of yourself, Jefferson, and your family. I wish you the best of luck."