Carla and I went to the Vintage Expo to look for my wedding dress and we found it! A pink cocktail frock—when I say pink, I mean old rose/blush/coral color—fitted through the top and with a skirt that goes out. Beautiful old-fashioned detail, lace V-neck, revealing some cleavage but not too much, some heavy brocaded embroidery, an overlay of –I think it’s netting. I don’t know the words to describe all the details. It’s feminine and pretty and a little bit fancy, but not over-the-top. I hope my five-year-old nieces, both high femmes who adore a children’s heroine called Fancy Nancy, will like it. I won’t be swathed in yards of white satin or anything. And the dress is inexpensive enough so that if I change my mind, I haven’t broken the bank or anything. Now I just want to lose ten pounds—it fits as is, but it would be easier to squeeze into and out of if I were a little thinner.
The expo was fun—booths and booths of vintage clothes, some of them very beautiful, some dowdy. There were wool jackets with real fur collars, cowboy and cowgirl boots with stencils and engravings in different colors, and outrageous hats. I tried on one that was as big as a platter with peacock feathers, ribbons, and fabric flowers all over it.
“This looks like something Minnie Pearl would wear,” I said to Carla. She looked dubious.
“Minnie Pearl would take one look at that thing and say ‘No, it’s too much, even for me.’”
I really did love that hat. If it hadn’t cost $225.00 I would have been tempted to buy it.
There were some very interestingly and eccentrically dressed people at the expo. We got a sense of a sub-culture of people who live for the precious objects of the past.
Carla got a beautiful black crocheted sweater. Then she convinced me to by this Joan Crawford-esque ball gown that really is too tight—a long full French blue skirt with a black lace overlay, and a black velvet top. Stunning. If I move the button over on the chest to give the girls more breathing room, and if I buy a wide black velvet belt at Joanne’s to cover the gap between the skirt and my stomach, it might almost work.
It was fun to be on a normal date with Carla. I say “normal” but of course nothing is. She tires more easily these days; the three hour trip was a marathon expenditure of energy for her. I told her several times I would understand completely if she wanted to back out, but she didn’t, and I was glad for her company and her sharp eye and even sharper opinions, to wit: “Honey you’re too old to wear something dowdy.” Said with total love. The ALS is always there, the wheelchair and the handicapped accessible bathroom that isn’t really accessible because the stall is so small she had to do a 100-point turn just to get into and out of it. But we were focused on fashion and wedding stuff and girl talk. It was just an outing and it was also a small miracle.
The wedding is coming together without too much angst. I think it’s because both C and I are not agonizing about the decisions. Neither of us really care about all the stuff you’re supposed to have or do. We just want simplicity, quality, and intimacy. No need to interview every caterer in the Bay Area, or listen to every band, or try on every dress.
Meanwhile, I finished the second draft of the empathy essay and I’m now ready to do the third one. It’s an interesting journey this essay—it’s really challenging, it takes me so many places, including pockets of unhealed anger and resistance. I’d rather work those things out in draft form than publish them unedited.
C is finishing up work on the in-law even as I type this. He’s done a prodigious amount of work, and today we bought a shower curtain and some other last-minute odds and ends.
Yesterday, five cops were shot a few miles from where we live. Four of them died. It was the worst single day for police murders in California history. Today the city is still in shock. We see officers riding by in their patrol cars looking grim. I asked C if we could drive by the site after our hike. We did and saw a few cops putting flowers in plastic buckets at a makeshift shrine on the desolate block where the firefight happened. There were some American flags there, also in a plastic bucket, and a skeleton TV crew filming the whole sad little scene.
C asked if I wanted to visit the site “out of compassion” for the cops, and I said no, it wouldn’t do the policemen a damn bit of good whether we went there or not. I just wanted to bear witness.
I think our love affair with the HBO show “The Wire” influenced my response to the shootings. “The Wire” is such an intimate portrayal of the police subculture; the cops’ brotherhood with each other, their jokes and profanity, their drinking, their despair and loyalty and street-smarts and vulnerability. We are both caught up in the characters’ lives and loves and drinking problems.
Our street has a strong police presence; it’s not unusual to see cruisers with their lights flashing, making busts on street corners or pulling people over for passing the stop signs and also, I’m sure, checking for drugs. What happened thirty blocks away could just as easily have happened here. In all the talk that follows a drama like this, I hope gun control will become a focus. If that parolee had been armed only with a knife, he might have been able to do some damage, but he never would have been able to kill four people in just a few minutes.