Monthly Archives: June 2012

11. The Viscount of Wales

When I was a sophmore at College, my play “Whatever Happened to Sigurd Hoyer?” won best play.  Peter, a short Filipino boy with a round face, volunteered to direct it.  He would take me to a dive bar and play “Smoke Blows in Your Eyes.”  While we were stapling posters on bulletin boards, I began to sing it.

“They asked me how I knew/My true love was true/I of course replied/something deep inside/cannot be denied.”

Why are you singing that song?”  He asked, excitedly.  I didn’t know, but it meant a lot to him, and soon it became clear that he was more interested in me than my play.  He thought I was singing that song about him, when in reality I was singing it because he constantly played it on the jukebox.  He professed his love to me, and broke up with his long-time girlfriend.  I didn’t want him screwing up my play, so I played along.  He was my first mercy fuck.

He was a generous lover, and he would have iced lemon water at the ready after lovemaking.  People were shocked that I was going out with him.

One of his roommate’s girlfriends walked around the apartment naked as if this was perfectly normal.  I made it clear that I would not be doing that.

“I don’t know if I should be telling you this, ” he said, “but you know how you’re the only girl in our playwriting class?  Do you know why all the guys sat across from you?  Because we were all looking at your crotch whenever you crossed your legs when you wore skirts.”  No wonder that when I approached these guys and tried to talk to them at parties, they couldn’t make eye contact and ran away.  I was horrified and flattered.  I was a feminist, and the best playwright and most articulate person in the class, but to the guys all that mattered was my crotch.  Still, there was something sexy about it.

I met Hayden, a tall handsome boy with curly black hair, deep set eyes, and a British accent at Risley Hall one night at dinner around the circular table.  We were rubbing spoons and putting them on our faces, and Hayden began flirting with me.  He later said he had been imagining spoons stuck to my nipples.

I cast him as the lead in my play.  He played Nicky, the dejected writer who papered his walls with New Yorker rejections and served twinkies for dinner  to his daughter, Marlene.

One night I had the flu very badly.  Hayden came into my room and said, “Get up!  Get out of bed!”  He tore off the covers, revealing my bare legs, which he stroked.  “The whole dorm is doing mushrooms!”  I pulled up the covers.

“I have the flu, ”  I said wearily, “and I don’t want to do mushrooms.”

“C’mon, it will be the most amazing night of your life!”  Finally, he convinced me. “They will make you feel sick to your stomach at first,” Hayden explained, “But then you will be flying high!”

I took the mushrooms with Hayden.  First we went to my neighbor’s room and tried to talk her down from a bad trip about her love for her sister.  She was a beautiful, stunning girl who played the violin.  Hayden and I were staring at the ceiling.  Soon we were cocooning in his sleeping bag together.  “You don’t really love Peter.  I want you to break up with him and go out with me.”

A drug trip is never a good start to a relationship.

Then I went to Carthage in my brain, an ancient city known for hedonism.  Next I became every work of art, twisting my body into cubism and surrealism.

When I awoke, my ass was exposed to Hayden’s roommate and his friend, and it was the topic of discussion.  I kept trying to hike up the sleeping bag but it was hopelessly twisted.  And, say what you will about hallucinegens, but my flu was completely gone.

I took Peter into the basement where the piano rooms were and we sat on the floor of one of the rooms.  I broke the news to him.  He started crying and then ran out of the room, with me yelling, “I’m sorry!”

Peter hardly ever showed up for rehearsals, and when he did he was shaking and wouldn’t look at anyone.  This was a disaster.  I began directing the play by myself.

My father called to say he was marrying his mistress, his secretary, but I told him I couldn’t go to the wedding because that was the weekend the play opened, which was true.  My sister showed up, wearing all black, including a top hat.  When my sister brought her flower bouquet home to my mother’s house, my mother began to cry and took to bed.

Meanwhile,  a four hundred pound lesbian and her two hundred pound girlfriend, who felt they ran Risley hall and monitored all gossip, took me aside to talk about Hayden.

“Have you ever looked in Hayden’s closet?”  The four hundred pound lesbian asked.

“No, ” I replied.

“Well have a look.  He looks disheveled and never has any money on him, but he has all designer suits and he’s filthy rich.  And, ” she said seriously, “He’s the Viscount of Wales.”


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10. The Turkish Communist

When I was a sophmore at Cornell I lived in the arts dorm, Risley, which was in the shape of a castle.  I had a spacious room with a turret.

I loved going to dinner there had many friends, and starred in a Eugene O’Neill play in the castle’s theater.  I saw a poster that was a manifesto against theater.  Intrigued, I auditioned.

Hakan, the director, was a Turkish Communist.  The audition consisted of Hakan interrogating me.

“If an actor kills another actor onstage, does he kill another man in real life?”

I interpreted this to be a trick question. When I asked later on why I got the part, Hakan said, “I thought you were cute.”  So he was more Hollywood than alternative.

He cast three women.  Each night we met to read Marxist books.  I was the only one who understood them and could answer Hakan’s questios.  When no one answered correctly, he would yell the answer at us.  “It’s the Marxist dialectic as opposed to the Hegelian dialectic!”

There was no script, and we all began to get worried. There was no acting, no blocking, no costumes.  Finally, in the last week, we were giving a strange script with no plot, no characters, just meaningless sayings that were non-sequitors.  One of my lines was,”Satan is a terrifying orgasm!”

I decided the best way to memorize these lines was to read then in a hushed voice into a tape recorder  and play it back.

My roommate and best friend were concerned.  My roommate reported to the R, A. that I was speaking like a devil into the tape recorder.

The blocking consisted of us moving from point to point on a triangle and reciting our nonsense.  We wore men’s clothes and were heavily made up with red lipstick and blue eyeshadow.

“I’ve invited the professor of Intellectual History.  I just know he’ll come.”  Intellectual History, as opposed to stupid history?

Then Hakan had a brainstorm.  The show would begin with us lying on the ground, feet first, with our legs spread apart, tied up by ropes.  It was very uncomfortable and made my legs hurt.

Hardly anyone was in the audience.  My mother, best friend, ad roommate were there,.  When the curtain opened, there was a gasp.

The Professor of Intellectual History did not show up, but a reviewer did.

The review said we looked “dowdy” and that the show was about as interesting as “opening an empty refrigerator and staring at the light.”  My best friend gleefully read the review out loud and erupted into hysterical laughter.

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9. The Sadist in Brussels

Jane’s house in Brussels, on the prestigious Avenue Moliere, was a white townhouse with five floors.  Inside and out, it was decorated with beautiful moldings and designs.  It was the most beautiful house I had ever lived in.  I lived on the top floor, in a big  bedroom with a mattress on the floor and a large bathroom.

The moment I arrived as the nanny, Jane told me that she didn’t get custody of William that summer after all.  “But I want  to pay you to be my Gal Friday.”  Jane was the best boss I ever had.  We were friends and confidantes.  Jane told me that having a baby was like “shitting a watermelon.”  That I could imagine.  When I gushed about the house, Jane said, “You know, it costs the same as the house in San Francisco.”  The house in San Francisco was a small ranch house in the suburbs.

Jane often cried about William and I tried to comfort her.

“We’re going on vacation to Greece!”  Jane announced.  I was traveling to all the places in the news.  There had been a riot at a sports stadium in Brussels and Reagan told Americans not to travel to Greece.  Jane wanted to be with her lover and I was to travel around the country by myself visiting small towns where no one spoke English, which frightened me.

A travel agent tried to show me a map of the buses I would be taking on my travels.  I couldn’t pay attention.  “You’ll be fine,” Jane reassured me.

Every time I got off the local bus a swarm of young men like flies would try to get me to stay with them instead of a hotel.  In one town, I liked the look of the marble lobby, although Jane had warned me that marble was so prevalent and cheap in Greece that it was like linoleum.  I was taking a siesta (in Greece everyone stops work and goes home to have a large lunch, creating four traffic jams per day) when three feet of  water gushed into my room.  I ran down to the lobby and tried to communicate with the owner to come upstairs.  Finally I grabbed her hand and led her upstairs, and she became frantic.  They upgraded my room and put me on a higher floor.

I knew the symbol for alpha in Greece so I looked for buses with that symbol to get back to Athens, where I saw a leper on the street.  I didn’t know lepers still existed, and he was frightening to look at.  I stayed at the YMCA and immediately befriended a group of French girls, and we went out at night to the  Plaka, the old section of Athens which Plato frequented.  We drank and were called up on stage to dance.  The American men at the next table were comparing my curvy body with the body of an extremely thin girl, and were arguing over our various attributes.  As we left, I shocked the men by yelling, “I’m an American and I understood every word you said!”

When we returned to Brussels, where men did not wear sneakers  but shined shoes, Jane told me she had to move back to the states.  New people would be moving in.  “But I told them only on the condition that you could stay on the fifth floor.  I’ll give you the rest of the money in my bank account, and you can stay here until your plane leaves.”  A young African American man and a girl in her 20s moved in, and we rarely saw each other.  That is when I began eating cookies for dinner.

I took an intermediate French class in the morning, but I had to fill up the rest of  the day.  So I had this brilliant idea of putting an ad in the paper looking for people to speak french with while I would teach them English.

I met Francois in a coffee shop that sold pastries, a distinctly European place before there were any Starbucks.  “Why are we meeting here?”  Francois, a man in his 30s with jet black hair, neither attractive nor unattractive, asked.  “This place is for old ladies.”

“Your french is horrible,” said Francoise.  “You need to go to a speech therapist because your mouth and tongue are not pronouncing the French vowels.”

He picked me up every night at the house.  He would berate me for not speaking French properly, then ask me about idioms in English.  “We have a saying here…what is that in English?”  I was at the point where I was losing my English and slowly progressing in French.  He wanted me to tell him sayings my Mom always told me, like “That’s the way the cookie crumbles” and “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

“Why don’t you work?” He would ask me over and over again.  I explained in French that I was starting a teaching position in the fall at a University.  “You need to get a job, ” he said.

One day we met outdoors at a cafe.  I had a framboise, beer with raspberries at the bottom.  Everyone in Brussels had a special implement they carried with them to crush the fruit at the bottom of their beer.  Francois ordered me a strange dish, cream cheese with a whole scallion and something else I can’t remember.  I began eating the scallion whole.

“Non non non” Francois screamed in French.  He took my  plate and minced the scallion, and went through a whole process of how to eat the dish, which I could never have known.  I was getting sick of Francois.

We sat at his house watching a movie in French.  He asked me to describe the movie.  I had a slight idea of what it was about and told him the story.  He flew into a rage.  “That is not the plot of the movie!  You have it all wrong!”

The next time Francois came to the door,  I told him I didn’t want to see him anymore.  He protested.  I slammed the door in his face.

I decided to meet someone else at a cafe.  As I approached, I saw a man waiting there with no eyebrows.  I ran the other way.  I was finished with strangers.

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8 .The Nanny Diaries Part 2

I flew from Ithaca to San Francisco to testify in court.  I figured the whole thing would be a breeze, as young people tend to think.  Jane told me to dress up for court.  I didn’t have a suit, only my favorite dress from Bloomindale’s. It was a black dress with small white pinstripes, a tight bodice, a V-neck which revealed cleavage inappropriately, a full skirt, and, this being the 80’s, puffy sleeves.

There was apparently another nanny witness, and then there was not one.

I took the stand.  My journal was in evidence.  I told my story.

The lawyer for William asked, “Why didn’t you report what you saw to the police?”

“Um…I didn’t know I should have done that.”  I became flummoxed.

“Have you ever lied to your employers?” Asked a beautiful expensively dressed lawyer for the investment banker.  She looked exactly like a lawyer form Law and Order.

“No, ” I answered with confidence.”

“You didn’t sign this contract that says you were intending to become a permanent nanny?  Is this your signature?”  Oh, God.  She’s destroying my credibility, just like in Law and Order.


“But you knew you weren’t going to quit college and become a permanent nanny, didn’t you?  Didn’t you in fact return to college after the summer was over?”


“Your Honor, I submit this document into evidence.”

And it was over.  I was disgraced. The investment banker had been so conniving, he had made me sign the false statement in case I found out the truth about the abuse.

“You did your best,” said Jane.  “They said horrible things about you on the stand.”  I wish she hadn’t said that.  I still wonder what they said.  That I had left a period stain on the bed?

That tail end of senior year before graduation I became very worried about my future, and couldn’t sleep at night.  I spent nights in the living room of my vegetarian co-op, Marvin Gardens, and watched old episodes of Star Trek, with a muscled gymnast who was also pre-med.  Every night he would tell me he wished he had a girlfriend, but I stupidly didn’t get the hint.

“What about the girl gymnasts?”  I asked, those girls with the perfect thin flexible bodies.

“No, no, I’m not interested in them.”  With his muscles, I  felt  that I was out of  his league.  Of course now I realize that I, too, had possessed a perfect body.

Book smart but not street smart, I graduated Cornell summa cum laude and with honors in all subjects.  I had applied to graduate schools in English, but was rejected from every one.  I was so angry, and felt so cheated, that I actually called the chair of the department of English at Yale and demanded to know why I was not let in.

“Your languages are Spanish and French,” an old man said.  “You did not study Greek and Latin.”  A good ol’ boy.

Then I received a call from Jane.

“Karen, I got a job in Brussels, and I’ll have William for the summer.  Will you  be my nanny?  I’ll fly you out.”

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7. The Nanny Diaries Part 1

When I was nineteen, I took a friend’s advice and signed up for Anne Anders’ nanny agency on Madison Avenue in New York City, which paired college students with incredibly wealthy families.  I interviewed with an investment banker, (I didn’t realize then that they are evil incarnate) and was hired immediately.

There was no bedroom for me, only a partisan hiding a  bed.  Stupidly, I said I loved dogs and would be happy to walk their two golden retriever puppies.  Soon I found myself waking up extra early (a major difficulty for me) and trying to walk down to Park Avenue with two rowdy dogs who pulled me everywhere and two bags of dog poop.

The investment banker constantly complained about his ex-wife, Jane, and how nuts she was.  “She wants permanent nannies, not temporary ones.  Would you sign this piece of paper to say that you will be the permanent nanny?”

I felt my job was on the line if I didn’t sign my name to a lie, so I signed. (NEVER do this).

I was taking care of a sweet four year old named William.  I had no idea what I was doing and I was naive.  I was given pin money each day to take him wherever I liked.  I took him out for pizza and a coke at Ray’s pizza.  I read books while he played on the playground.  When a strange woman asked if I we would come over for a play date, I didn’t hesitate to go to her apartment.

The investment banker and his tough-as-nails wife Barb, who was an executive at a popular cosmetics company, made it clear that they didn’t want me to talk about myself, and they didn’t like me reading Sigmund Freud.

“Those are dangerous books, ”  The investment banker warned.  One evening Barb called and asked me to make a chicken dinner.

“How do I do that?”  All those years of eating my Mom’s undercooked chicken in white wine sauce as a child, which tasted sour and disgusting, and she had never taught me how to make it.

Barb was upset.  “Just put it in the oven at 350 degrees!” And she slammed the phone down.

One night I was too dumb to figure out they wanted alone time to make love.

“Why don’t you go to Central Park for a few hours?  Go watch Shakespeare in the park.  Why don’t you take in a movie?”

I ended up walking the streets of the Upper East Side, which is pretty boring with few restaurants or bars.

They took me to their cape cod summer house in Connecticut.  When I was alone, I saw some photos of William so I looked through them.  To my horror, there were photos of the investment banker holding Willliam’s penis.  But it was the 80’s, where child pornography was never talked about, so I said nothing, but wrote about it in my journal.

Then there was another surprise–a second nanny who didn’t speak English and was “Jane’s nanny.”  She had a happy repoire with William. whereas I didn’t.  Now there was another partition in the living room, another cot.  To make matters worse, Jane’s nanny did not lift a finger to help in any way.  I was furious.  I passively aggressively reacted by trying on all of  Barb’s make-up, sometimes all at once so I looked clownish.  I liberally dabbed myself with Joy perfume, the most expensive perfume since it was made of a thousand rose petals.  When I was left alone for a weekend, I slept in their bed (who wouldn’t prefer a real bed to a cot?) and left a gigantic circular period stain.  They came home early, before I could wash them.  We never said a thing about it.

I was then told that I would be flying with William to San Francisco, to live with with Crazy Jane.

Crazy Jane was not crazy about having me there, considering me her ex-husband’s spy who would be reporting back to him.  She put me in a room full of junk, but I didn’t mind–I had a bed.  Crazy Jane was gorgeous.  There was a beautiful black and white photo of her in my room.  I drew her.

Crazy Jane had a large book shelf that took up an entire wall and was full of some of my favorite books.  I instantly liked her.  Having books meant one was a good, intelligent person, a person of character, I stupidly reasoned. I was impressed that she had Gabriel Garcia Marques’ One Hundred Years of Solitude.  I had just finished it. I began to talk to her about the book.

After a few days, Crazy Jane warmed up to me.  “I see how good you are with William, ” she said.  “I’m sorry I put you up in my junk room.  Please move your things into the guest room.”  It was lovely, and I finally had my own room.

We spent a lot of time at the club, where Crazy Jane wasn’t a member and so once we got kicked to the curb.  This was before there were cell phones so we just had to wait on the grass for Crazy Jane to pick us up.  I forgot to put sunscreen on William, so to Crazy Jane’s dismay, half of William’s body was burned, and he looked like a red harlequin.  Again, I would never hire myself as a nanny.

At the club, a handsome blonde boy developed a crush on me, but I had a boyfriend back at Cornell, so I refused all of his obvious advances.  He took me to his parents’ place while they were out and played porno movies for me.  He took me out to expensive dinners.  We smoked pot together.  My boyfriend had written on the back of a letter, “I love you more than life itself.” Too bad he turned out to be gay, and I could have had a good time with blonde boy.

Once when Jane, who had now graduated from ‘Crazy Jane,’ was out, William and I watched “Casablanca.”  William became very loving in a strange way, acting like my lover instead of a four year old.  He draped a blanket over my shoulders.  He stroked me and whispered how much he loved me.  I thought it was weird.

Years later, when I was sitting in the kitchen of my gay boyfriend’s white mansard mansion (his parents had bought it for him and he was renovating it, covering everything I owned in plaster dust), Jane called and asked me to sit down.  She was crying.  “William told me his father was sexually abusing him.  Do you know anything about this?”  I told her about the photos, my journal, the weird “Casablanca” night.

“Would you be able to testify in court as a witness?”  She gave me the dates.

“The only thing is, I’m scheduled to take my GRE’s  that weekend.”

“I’ll register for you to take them at U.C. Davis.”  I agreed to go.  I figured it would be nothing like court on TV, nothing like ‘Law and Order.’

I had to go see the investment banker’s hired psychiatrist, known for publishing books about how women falsely accused their ex-husbands of child abuse.  After listening to my story, he asked in a calm voice, “Karen, why are you doing this?”

“Because I care about William!” I said and I left.

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6. Monkey Business

While in Spain for our 20th wedding anniversary, we drove our rental Passat to the end of the Iberian peninsula, and prepared to cross the border into the British-owned Rock of Gilbraltar.  Josh began compulsively shooting photos at the border.  A security guard tapped on our window.

“Sir, can you explain to me why you are photographing the border?”

“Uh, I like the flags?”  Josh answered.

“Give me your camera, I need to delete those photos for security reasons.”

He thought we were terrorists sussing out the place.  It was lucky that we we weren’t detained.

We proceeded up the mountain to St. Michael’s cave.  We walked inside to absolute splendor.  We eventually came to a cavern whose ceiling  was incredibly high.  There was an organ and seats for a concert with perfect acoustics.  The stalactites and stalagmites were enormous.  When we came out, I went into the gift shop to buy a magnet for my collection.  Outside, sitting on a tree stump, was a Barbary Macacque, posing for photographs.  I wanted to pet this ape, who was unique to the Rock of Gilbraltar.  The sign said:  “No touching.  Ape may bite.”

As we drove through the trees, Josh opened the window to get a better shot of the water below.  And that’s when it happened.  A giant macacque jumped in through the window and on to Josh’s lap.

“AAAH” said Josh.  “Get out get out get out!”

Josh had grown up in Spain, Malta, and Libya, and he missed the unique taste of the Spanish Mars Bar, which had a different taste than the American one.

There was the mars bar, in between us.  The ape grabbed it.  I had a natural instinct to protect the food, so I briefly fought the ape for it, stupidly.

The ape won and escaped through the window and sat on the top of the car.  We heard the rip of the wrapper, which fell beside the car.

“We need to get him off of our car!”  Josh said.  He pulled forward.  The ape banged his fist on top of the car.  Josh pulled forward again.  Again, the ape knocked on the top of the car.  He wanted to finish eating where no other ape could steal the pilfered bar.  Finished, he got off the car.

First, we were laughing hysterically.  Then Josh said, “That was pretty dangerous.  That ape could have bitten us.”

When we returned to the states, there was a story on Oprah about a woman who had a pet chimpanzee.  Not a wild ape,  but a pet chimpanzee.  And this chimpanzee had eaten the face off her best friend.

After our encounter with the ape, we drove to Seville.  We walked through the narrow streets until we came to the square.  We found a tapas place and happily ate the famous egg and potato omelette, happy to be eating, and not eaten.

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5. Different Countries, Different Bathrooms

During a four hour bus ride from Alexandria to Cairo through the Sahara Desert, I drank a lot of water from the ice chest next to the guard with a machine gun.  Citizens of Egypt cannot own guns, which briefly made me consider living there.  The guide was perhaps exaggerating when she said there were no rapes or murders in Egypt.  The bus broke down in the middle of the Sahara, but the bus company had a spare bus following us in case we were raided (and with an Israeli stamp on my passport, I would be the first person to be shot).  I had a plan how to save myself from Arab terrorists.  I would say, “Hun yukka habee yuk ah bee bee, ” the Arabic phrase I learned from watching “I Dream of Jeannie.”  I don’t know the exact translation,  but it is a form of endearment followed by a declaration of love.
We arrived at the pyramids, and I was surprised that the building blocks did not form a smooth pyramid, as you might think from photographs.  Apparently they did at one time.  Up close you could see the giant blocks, each sticking out.  It was very exciting to see them far away through the desert haze and then close up.
We had paid ten dollars in advance for Josh to ride the camel.  I had already ridden a camel in Israel, where my thighs hurt from being too spread apart over the camel’s wide stomach.  I was trying to get a photo of Josh on the camel, but the man pulling the camel kept moving too fast.
“Give me the camera and I will take the photos” the man said.  I gave him the camera.  He took a few photos, then places a scarf over my head, made a turban, and told me to pose with Josh.
“You are the Queen of the Nile!”  He said.  I looked miserable as he took the cheesey photo, which came out terrible.
“Can I have the camera back?”
“That will cost forty dollars, ” he said.
“No, give me back my camera!  And get my husband off that camel.”
“That will cost thirty dollars, a total of seventy dollars.”
I ran off  to get the tour guide.  The ridiculous thing about this encounter with the con artist is that we had been warned at the lecture on the  cruise ship about these ploys, but warnings had never stopped me, unfortunately.  When I an anounced that I would be flying to Puerta Vallarta for my honeymoon, a woman at a party warned me not to order any drinks when the plane stopped for fuel, or afterwards, because the ice is made of toxic water.  The plane refueled, and sure enough I was so thirsty I ordered a diet coke with ice. Of course I spent the next three days in the bathroom.
The tour guide called the police on the con man, and he was taken away.
Here’s the facebook post I wrote from the ship:
Riding a camel, ten dollars.
Taking a photo, free.
Getting off  the camel, thirty dollars.
Getting the camera back, forty dollars.
Spending time at the pyramids, priceless.
When we arrived at the magnificent Sphinx, I really had to pee, and the bathroom was far away.  I had make a terrible mistake in not carrying Egyptian change.  I don’t know about you, but when I have to pee really badly, the closer I get to the bathroom, the more urgent the need becomes.  So I stand in a long line only to realize that they are selling toilet paper and I have no change.  I run away and yell for my husband.  It turns out he doesn’t have the equivalent of a nickel either, so he just gives the gate holders to the bathroom a bunch of money, but they still give me one square of toilet paper.  I’m not like Julia Dreyfuss on Seinfeld begging for one square of tissure–I need more absorbency.  If I had had to poo, I don’t know what I’d have done.  But then the unthinkable happened, and I peed my pants once inside the bathroom so badly that I told myself “this won’t show at all.”  I looked int the mirror, and the entire crotch of my denim shorts,, back and front, was soaked in urine, and it was obvious to all that I had peed my pants.
I had entirely missed the lecture on the Sphinx.  It was so hot that my shorts dried pretty quickly.
For our twentieth wedding anniversary, we stayed in the Costa Del Sol, Spain.  We visited  the Picasso museum in the town where Picasso was born, and I was absorbed by his rose period, which no one talks about.  I thought these pink pictures the most beautiful Picassos of them all.   Josh and I both had to pee, so we went downstairs.  After I finished, the lights went off.  There I was in a stall in pitch blackness.  I felt around the door for the opening, but couldn’t find one on the right hand side, where the door openings are in the U.S.  I was getting claustrophobic and panicky, anxiously feeling all over the door to no avail. So I screamed.
“Help!  Help!  It’s dark in here and I can’t find the latch in the stall!”
A woman outside asked my husband, “Someone is not mentally right in the bathroom. What is wrong with her?”
Josh told the woman I was his wife and to go help me.  It turned out the latch was
 on the left hand side.
“Why did the lights go off?”
“To save money.”
And still Spain went broke.

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