After a Fashion
Old men shouldn't throw stone canes in glass nursing homes …
UNO, DOS, TRES ... My brother Bill's daughter is visiting Austin right now. Fifteen years old, smart, funny, pretty. But, oh, entertaining a 15-year-old when you're among the elderly and infirm can be a challenge. There are only so many trips to the convenience store or to Wal-Mart that a person can take, and she didn't always say what she really wanted. "Uh oh," I thought. "She's going to be high maintenance and need to be entertained." I conspired constantly. I'd already set up a television and DVD player in her room. I knew there was a box of Barbies around (well, duh), but was she too old for Barbies at 15? ("Nonsense," raged a voice in my head. "You're never too old for Barbies!") I get exhausted so easily now anyway that I thought about just driving into the parking lot and taking a right and driving directly through Wal-Mart's door until I reached the section I wanted. The aisles are certainly wide enough for a car, and there are no such things as stop signs to impede you. The first night Annie was here, I hauled her to Wal-Mart to pick out some things – snacks, drinks, toys, whatever. She smirked all through the Hannah Montana department (every department seemed to be the Hannah Montana department – there's even Hannah Montana cereal, for those brave enough to find out what Hannah Montana tastes like) and ignored the clothes and housewares, snapped up a couple jugs of Windex-colored Gatorade, and announced that she didn't need anything else. We stood in line at the cashier, and I was gazing at all those impulse items they taunt you with while you're corralled in there. My eyes were caught by the familiar red box of a deck of Uno cards. Uno, I thought. God, I used to play Uno night after night with my friends. The game is the perfect platform for social interaction and provides the opportunity to display many different emotions. I bought the deck with a glimmer of hope. Soon we were in an Uno frenzy. When Annie's friend Brenna flew down to visit with Annie, it escalated. We bought a Skip-Bo deck and were soon able to play it in the dark, which we did in the backyard by torchlight. But who wants to hang around night after night and not go anywhere? Next episode: Fiesta Texas.
NEW WAVE CHIC I missed the Blondie and Pat Benatar concert last week. Silly me, I would have had a great time, but I was just too tired to make it. From the photos, Benatar looked great: youthful and sporting long hair. Debbie Harry, on the other hand, looked like nine miles of dirt road. It pains me to say that. There was a time when Deborah Harry was the chicest woman in the world. Her blond hair, heavy eyeliner, and smart dresses made her the envy of the style world. But somewhere she lost it. I'm not talking about getting old. I'm old enough myself to have people talk about me, but Debbie! Did you look in a mirror before you went on stage? Love you anyway.