Posted by Elliot Steingart
It’s hard for me to live a private life now that I write a blog that gets 200 hits a week. I miss the days when I could casually walk through the streets of Los Feliz and not get asked, “Are you Elliot Steingart, blogger for “Some Reservations?”
When I am asked to sign someone’s copy of the Jewish Journal, I do even if I’m not featured in the print edition; anything for my readers.
I’m not just a critically adored blogger. I am a human being who should not have to look in his rearview mirror to find cars following him, and passengers snapping photographs and shouting “Steingart! Steingart!”
What if I didn’t write about myself at all? What if I took a vacation from blogging and took up golf? No one would know where to find me, nor my golfball.
What if I kept my relationship private? I could harmoniously argue with my girlfriend without involving anyone else.
I’ve considered taking an extended vacation where I could enjoy the summer months without the added pressure. Who would I be letting down? You or me?
Besides there has been much speculation about the upcoming Jewish Blogger Awards. I’ve been nominated in the past, but this is my year. This is the time where I will finally win the Jewie for “Some Reservations!”
The host, my friend and editor Jay Firestone will present the Jewie to me in person at a privately held luncheon in West Los Angeles.We will harken back to the early days of “Gifelte Bitch” when we took the written word for granted.
“How could I follow up such highly acclaimed blogs as “My Dad’s an Asian Male Model?” I would ask Jay.
“You did. That’s what’s important.” He’ll assure me with a pat on the back.
I’ll remember that as I continue to strive for excellence in blogging, the benchmark for any freelance blogger. I know this blogging comes at a price. There are people that know way too much about me. There are people who judge me.
Even my girlfriend said recently, “I like you because you are controversial. That’s why some people don’t like you, but it’s what I respect about you.”
“Controversial?” I asked.
I’ve never made a racist comment or spoken bad about a political party. I wrote about her period, but I thought it flowed.
Out of respect to her I have never once mentioned my girlfriend’s name. She has one too. It’s a nice, unusual name that means something in a foreign language. She is not some imaginary girlfriend I conceived for this blog. She is real and alive and maybe sharing this blog with a friend of hers. She is supportive and has pushed me to continue on. For that, I thank her.
I cannot control if someone will read this blog and judge me. He or she should as long as the judgment is fair, and positive.
As long as I can remain honest I will remain relevant to my readers. I will not be stricken with writer’s block. For no writer will ever cock block me from coming up with a new idea. It’s up to me. And that’s the speech I’ll make to thunderous applause while finally holding my Jewie high in the air.
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6.25.13 at 9:36 am | The longest day of the year
5.24.13 at 11:43 am | Taking the Socks off
June 27, 2012 | 12:53 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Vacationing with a girlfriend for the first time is a chance to earn her affection while becoming best friends with bellboys, bartenders and waitresses.
Mammoth, a ski and summer destination located in the Eastern Sierras 8,000 feet above sea level, is the kind of place that leaves an indelible impression on any first time visitor like my girlfriend. The mountains are spectacular, the lakes, pristine, but what would Mammoth be without the seasonal staff members whose respect would mean everything to me.
When we arrived at the front desk of the Village at Mammoth we were greeted by Michael, a calm, but eager fellow. Michael and I took turns saying each other’s names.
“Hi, Mr. Steingart.”
“Hi, Michael,” I said.
“We have you staying with us for three nights. Is that right Mr. Steingart?”
“Yes, Michael. That’s right.”
“Would you like two room keys, Mr. Steingart?”
“That’s perfect, Michael. Thank you.”
Michael handed me the room keys and provided thorough directions to the parking lot.
We threw our luggage in our room. My girlfriend complained her head hurt, and pointed to the fire alarm which was beeping.
“Will you call Michael?” she asked.
It was okay for me to call since Michael gave me his number. I remembered it because it was zero.
“Hey, Michael. It’s Elliot. We have a slight issue on our hands. The fire alarm is beeping.”
“I’ll send someone up right away,” Michael exclaimed.
“He’s a great bell boy,” I told my girlfriend.
“He’s not a bell boy. He’s called a concierge,” she corrected me.
“We’ll agree to disagree.”
We ate hamburgers at a restaurant called “Burgers” across from our quarters. After which we visited the corner pub in the basement of a lodge. I recognized the bartender from the last time I was in Mammoth three or four years ago. He was wearing the same Hurley fitted cap, same short sleeve button down shirt too. Chris, the locals called him.
“Hey, Chris.” My girlfriend called to him. “I’‘ll have a Blue Moon, please.”
I noticed a $3 special for New Belgium’s Winter Ale. “I’ll have one of those.”
For $3 I don’t care what season it is. I did, however, notice the fine selections of whiskeys and bourbons when I spotted the one and only, Dickels!
“Ever have Dickels?” I asked the guy to my right.
“No. How is it?” he asked.
Chris chimed in. “I have a group of guys who come in after they hit the mountain and ask for George Dickel.If you like Jack Daniels. You’ll like Dickels.””
“I know Dickel’s well,” I assured Chris.
I begged my girlfriend for her gold coins and selected the evening’s music on the juke box. The Smiths and Talking Heads guided us through the next few beers which because of the altitude rendered us drunk. At 11pm Chris rang the bell.
“Last call! Last Call!”
My girlfriend could not argue that Chris was now the bell boy. I might have blurted out “Really??” when I heard “Last call” at 11pm, but Chris did not seem like the kind of guy that would take lightly to city folk questioning his grasp of Pacific Standard Time.
We awoke wanting to visit one of the lakes nearby. Of course, who better to suggest a lake than Michael?
“Which lakes would you recommend?” I asked Michael who then handed us a map and began highlighting the different lakes.
“I suggest you visit Twin Lakes.”
Michael described how to get there and I assumed that my girlfriend was listening because I was not.
“Do you have any fine dining recommendations?” I pondered.
I wasn’t sure who I was trying to impress more—-my girlfriend, or Michael.
We drove around the different lakes, jacuzzi’d and enjoyed happy hour in the village. Our last night was poised to be special as we drove forty-five minutes up the 395 to the Inn at Mono Lake, a quaint restaurant right off a stretch of highway with stunning views of Mono Lake.
“We are a bit early,” I informed the hostess. “But we do have a reservation.”
The hostess guided us to a two top nearest the window with premium views of the lake.
The hostess returned. “I’m Chelsea. I’ll be serving you tonight.”
She was still Chelsea. That hadn’t changed, but her job description had.
My girlfriend ordered a pinot noir. “I’ll have the Cote du Rone.”
“Which one is that?” Chelsea asked. “Sorry, I should know all the wines.”
My girlfriend kindly pointed to my wine of choice. We ordered bruschetta to start and a 12 ounce New York Strip and a pork chop for our entrees.
“The pork chop will take 25 minutes to prepare. I thought you should know that,” Chelsea mentioned.
“Perfect,” I responded.
Chelsea returned to refill our bread. As she motioned for the bread basket, my girlfriend was reaching for the basket herself. At once, Chelsea’s arm got stuck under my girlfriend’s arm. My lovely girlfriend had put our waitress in a Chinese arm lock.
“I’m so sorry!” Chelsea apologized.
“She’s aggressive towards waitresses. You better watch out!”
When our entrees arrived we admired the lake while enjoying the richness of the meat. We recalled Michael’s recommendations and Chris’s affinity for Dickel’s.
“Do you think Chelseas knows Michael and Chris?” she asked me.
It was the million dollar question, but the billion dollar question was to come. We would leave the next morning and wanted to make scrambled eggs. We had a problem. There was no butter in the condo.
When Chelsea came back, I closed my eyes, pretended she was Michael and mustered the courage by asking, “Do you have any butter?”
My girlfriend entered the conversation. “Sorry, we are trying to make eggs and don’t have butter.”
“We have a whole stick of butter but I might have to charge you for it. I’ll see what I can do.”
I left for the bathroom and when I came back my girlfriend said an elderly woman notified the bartender that Chelsea didn’t know what she was doing. I found that hard to believe because when she came back with a to go box I peeked inside and found a half a stick of butter.
I added the amount on the tip and below where I signed my name I wrote a little note that said, “Thanks for the butter.”
The memories of Mammoth will remain, and the friendships with those who took my money will forever be in our hearts.
June 20, 2012 | 11:13 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
“Dating Elliot Steingart”
I’m tired of writing about myself, so I asked my girlfriend to write about me.
“I have been dating Elliot Steingart for close to three months now. I like how he sends me special sneak previews of his blog. Even when I need to get to sleep Tuesday nights, since I like his blog the best, I will stay up late to read the brand new “Some Reservations.” Of course, when my Dad reads his blog it can get awkward when Elliot talks about sex with his lady friend…
I like spending time in his sleek and modern studio apartment. Elliot constantly asks what I think of his apartment and I give him approval by saying, “Your kitchen table is great.” We have to sit in different parts of the apartment to get a different view. It’s hard because in the studio there is not much undiscovered territory. Every time Elliot finds a new spot he gets excited. “I like this spot, great view of the apartment. New vantage point. What do think? Do you like my place?”
I appreciate how he always does his “chores.” To Elliot chores include folding a blanket to put away in his closet and wiping the kitchen floor with a paper towel then asking me “What’s the best way to get clean the bathtub?” I usually end up washing the dishes and am still trying to introduce him to a Swiffer. He says he has one but the floor is still being cleaned with paper towels. He’s currently out of paper towels, and the floor is not clean.
Elliot is very helpful when it comes to finding my favorite television programs. Each night, like clockwork, I ask “Is there any crime on television?” and he never lets me down. “NBC should have some good crime. Or should we watch 48 hours?” He says, as he flips deftly through the cable guide. I know I can count on a man that can find me some good crime.
I can always rely on Elliot to motivate me when we run. Not only is he a top-notch personal trainer, lightly tapping my ass every block to keep me going through the torturous hills of Los Feliz, but he often saves my life, as I like to step out in front of moving vehicles. I can’t tell you how many times he has yanked me back from certain death as an SUV whizzes by.
I’ve never dated anyone like Elliot who does imitations in the nude. Whether it’s weighing in for Weight Watchers, pretending to talk to his coworkers or doing an impression of a celebrity, I am always surprised when he does so without wearing pants. It keeps me on my toes. One of his best impressions is Arsenio Hall. Elliot loves Arsenio and he often hoots and pumps his fist like Arsenio did the time he won Celebrity Apprentice. It’s endearing, except after sex.
Elliot isn’t perfect and he tends to lose his temper when I do things like spill red wine on his jeans. In my defense, we were in a cemetery watching Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddy Kruger was creeping towards us. He often is too honest telling me things like “your skirt looks it came from an old ladies closet” or “that belt is weird.” He wants me to know what is on his mind. Most often it’s not what a lady wants to hear.
Yes, we have our religious differences like Elliot calling Jesus names like Jesus Christopher. But in the end this Episcopalian really likes dating a Jew and I think we get along very well, but I don’t believe him when he tells me that Billy Crystal was mentioned in the story of Leviticus.
In conclusion, dating Elliot Steingart is just swell.”
Hopefully, she’ll write my next blog: “Elliot Steingart, World’s Best Lover.”
June 13, 2012 | 11:46 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Aviv, one of my best friends, must decide this summer if he and his girlfriend, Moria will stay in Tel-Aviv where he’s lived the last two years or move to the U.S.
Aviv planned an entire trip to show Moria around America. Their stop in LA was my chance to not only show them a great time, but convince them to stay for good.
Vivo’s one of the nicest and most loyal friends I have. I knew he was a good friend when freshman year at UC Santa Cruz he gave me a ride to the airport. I knew he was a best friend when he picked me up from the airport. Plus he loved hockey and laughed at what I found funny. Only Vivo and I would obsess over our neighbor Anna Peters simply because her last name was Peters.
If I could convince my work partners to offer discount tickets on my company’s website and persuade my girlfriend to give me all her quarters so I could do laundry, I surely could convince both Aviv and Moria to quit their jobs and move across the globe to Los Feliz.
It would take a two pronged approach where I would first win over Aviv and then slowly coerce Moria. I wouldn’t meet Moria until Saturday night so Vivo, our buddy Todd, and I could all have a night in Los Feliz. Friday would be an easy going night where we could reconnect and hit a few of the local spots on Vermont. Aviv crashed on my two person love seat, the perfect sized couch for a small point guard.
I awoke early Saturday morning feeling motivated to step up my game. I turned on the Xbox to play NHL 09, a favorite video game of ours.
“Want some action?” I asked.
“Sure, whatever you want,” responded Vivo.
“Best of 3. Loser buys breakfast.”
The first two games of the “Breakfast Classic” were tied at the end of regulation. I won the first in overtime. He won the second. Game three would decide who would buy the breakfast burritos. Mike Richards on a great feed from Jeff Carter put it stickside past Marty Brodeur to end it once and for all! I enjoyed my breakfast more than usual and took Vivo to my favorite store, “Bling Circus,” where we tried on vintage baseball hats for a half an hour. We complimented each other’s taste in fashion like teenage girls at an H & M.
Because Vivo had not spent much time in Los Feliz, I took him to the driving range where after shanking most of our drives to the bordering neighborhood of Silverlake, we agreed to a putt putt challenge, the inagural “Griffith Open.” Each hole was worth a $1 in the first round. During the second round we would average the best overall score with the winner receiving a free lunch. Another close contest would end on the 10th and final hole, a self-made par 3. Aviv overshot his initial putt. I undershot. His next putt was towards Silverlake. Mine found the hole. Lunch was better than usual as we enjoyed a 20 ounce schooner of Newcastle and an order of chicken wings.
I felt like I was doing my best to convince him to move back aside from taking all of his money. We drove back from the course listening to KDAY’s back in the mix weekend while wearing our new LA Raiders and Golden State Warriors snapbacks. It felt like we were best friends from 1993.
“You have to wear your snapback tonight,” I told Vivo.
My girlfriend came by with a whole picnic ready for “Nightmare on Elm Street” at Hollywood Forever, a quintessential Los Angeles summer experience.
This was my time to make a favorable impression on Moria whom I embraced with a warm hug.
“What do you think of Aviv’s new hat?” I asked her.
“It’s ugly,” she said.
“I think it’s pretty cool.”
In the cab I needed to get to work. “So, what do you think of LA so far?”
“It’s nice. It’s not what I expected,” Moria said.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“The houses aren’t that big.”
“Aviv said you were staying in a mansion in Beverly Hills?”
“Yes, it’s nice. I just thought it would be bigger.”
Due to the massive crowd at the cemetery we placed our blanket on the cement where Vivo and I put our arms around our girlfriends, enjoying white wine, green olives, and buffalo mozzarella. Moria settled back into Vivo’s lap falling asleep as Freddie first appeared on the big screen. Though spooky, I empathized with Freddie since we both have very long nails.
After the film, Moria and Aviv came back with my girlfriend and me. We sat around my kitchen table and talked like grownups. Moria told us how family is important to her and talked about her father and how she liked Los Angeles more than San Francisco.
“I want to live in a big house,” she said.
“There are lots of big houses in LA,” my girlfriend added. “Some of the houses in Bel Air go on for miles.”
“I want to have a big family,” she replied.
“How many kids?”
I found out the same time as Vivo that he’s going to be having four kids. The Brady Bunch seemed to like LA. Why couldn’t the Levys?
Before their flight Vivo drove back over to Los Feliz with Moria to say goodbye. We met at Coffee Bean and drove up the Griffith Observatory, my last ditch effort to show Moria the best views of the city of Los Angeles. “This can be yours,” I said. “You can be a star.”
“I don’t want to be a star,” she said laughing.
Does anyone know a real estate agent? We need to find them a big house quickly.
June 6, 2012 | 11:11 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Since renegotiating my premium cable package my life has improved exponentially. I have a girlfriend and a wide selection of PG-13 movies. It’s satisfying to know that my needs are met almost automatically.
I know that life’s pleasures don’t always come on demand.I try to make the best of the situation or else fake it the best I can.
For many reasons, I thank my girlfriend for having her period this week. For one, her menstruation has become a source of inspiration for this blog. Periods test a three month relationship. What was once a quick fix for us is now a shared sacrifice. I’m part of the period cheering her on as she conquers the latter days of her menstrual cycle. Periods are like a 5k for vaginas and I’m there at the end to give her a big hug, and pat on the back. If she’s up for it, I’ll take her out for fro-yo.
You have to make the period fun, and lighthearted. Thanks to Showtime On Demand, she and I watched “The Beaver.” Mel Gibson played a very convincing manic depressive psychopath. The movie wasn’t the most uplifting period piece, so the onus fell on me to come up with some better activities.
Running low on ideas, the two of us visited Albertsons twice in the last two days. Secretly Albertsons is a perfect place to spend time with your girlfriend. It holds a special place in our hearts.
On one of our first dates I told her to meet me at Albertsons where we could buy a bottle of wine before figure out our next move. First she had to find me without using a cell phone. A certain amount of risk was involved. I didn’t want to be caught redhanded holding a hard salami stick. I swiftly wheeled past the seafood and took a hard left at the deli. I ordered the $4.99 deal which is two chicken breasts and two salads, and then I asked for half a pound of turkey breast. I was asked “what’s next?”
“I’m going to check out someof the aisles,” I said. “Maybe buy some pineapple juice.”
She caught me deliberating between Dole drink and Minute Maid. Three months later we are buying couscous together. I am staring at the beer specials when I hear, “Come on. You’re not buying any of that stuff.”
Thankfully I’m reminded that we are cutting down on weeknight drinking. I’m also working on avoiding lottery scratchers, my greatest vice. When I thought I was making progress, Albertsons introduced their Sizzlin’ Summer Sweepstakes. With each purchase you have three chances to win a new gas grill or up to $500 cash. I have a burgeoning Sizzlin Sweepstakes collection. So far all I’ve won is 50 cents off Keebler Club Crackers.
To improve our chances we have agreed to go splitsville on our collections. We are trying to combine all of our pieces and match them to see if we have some winners. It’s a temporary solution to my bad lottery habit.
After work we’ve started running and hiking past white people walking their dogs through the residential part of Los Feliz. More fresh ideas will come soon, I hope.
Sometimes devising plans for you and your girlfriend gets tricky, just like writing a new blog every week. The beauty of having editorial control is I can write about my girlfriend’s period and praise Mel Gibson on the Jewish Journal’s website. The best part about having a girlfriend you really like is it doesn’t matter so much if she is on her period. It all works out in the end. At least it did this month.
May 30, 2012 | 12:19 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Because I blow all my money on lottery scratchers, what better way to begin the summer than with some summer savings. A Dodger Dog normally costs $5. That’s why I visit Dodger Stadium on $1 Dodger Dog night.
I was worried about long lines, especially without a hot dog per patron limit. How could the supply ever meet the demand when any fan could easily order 8 dogs at a time? Eating hot dogs or anything for that matter is more exciting than watching nine innings of baseball. That’s why after every pitch you have a new vendor trying to sell you “Peanuts, Cracker Jacks!” or “Ice Cold Coke here!!” No other sport bribes you like baseball.
Make no mistake, the Dodger Dog is a special hot dog. I ordered two to impress my girlfriend. Two Dodgers Dogs is like 32 inches of weiner. My girlfriend and I split the second one so we could enjoy the weiner together. The sun was so insufferable my friend Eli saw we resorted to using napkins as visors. Eli suggested we find new seats. I just ate one and a half Dodger Dogs and was wearing a napkin visor, so Eli’s judgment seemed more on point.
We walked around the lower level of the ballpark until Eli nabbed us four seats in the shade behind home plate. A young female usher guarded our section to prevent any punks from trying to steal back the seats we stole. Meanwhile the girlfriend and I shared a Blue Moon with a sliced orange and enjoyed the sun setting down upon Chavez Ravine.
Only a day earlier the two of us sipped the remaining Modelos from her refrigerator and watched the sun set atop Griffith Park overlooking the entire Southland. From our perch we looked down across Los Angeles trying to ignore the several hikers veering off the trail to relieve themselves in the bushes. One such woman popped a squat right below us. The sound of her pee was the only sound that could be heard. It was a calming waterfall, and much needed as we head into dry season. The woman stood up, and shouted at us “When you gotta go you gotta go!”
“That’s right.” I agreed.
“Boy, you lucky you have a dick,” she shouted back.
“It’s fun having one,” I replied.
She is lucky too that she could enjoy the Memorial Day Sunset in one of our country’s great public parks. To walk through nature’s path, or pee on her brush is all the same. It’s the joy of summer. You shouldn’t have to pay to enjoy summer.
If you are going to pay, find value, or a Sport Chalet tent sale. In my search for new soccer cleats I came across a pair of size 8 Addidas “Predators.” My girlfriend seemed shocked that I tested the “Predators” by running through a deep grassy meadow kicking my knees high in the air while reenacting Brendi Chastaine’s game winning goal from the 98’ Women’s World Cup. The cleats fit okay, but for $25, they fit amazingly.
I hoped to visit Home Goods after Sport Chalet but my girlfriend seemed fed up after I took thirty minutes to decide on a pair of sandals. Granted it’s hard to try them on because they are attached by a plastic string that prevents you from walking around the store. Unless you have a Swiss Army knife, you can only pitter patter around the display rack which is what I did.
I’d be more pleased by my great summer savings if I didn’t blow all the savings on lottery scratchers. At happy hour I admitted to Eli and his girlfriend, Libby that I have a lottery problem. I’m unable to visit Albertsons without buying my favorite scratchers—-Silver and Gold, Luck of the Irish, and the Sevens. When I do win, I re-invest the money in more scratchers. If I do not get a grip on my addiction soon I won’t be allowed to grocery shop. My lone source of food will be Dodger Dogs. Fortunately, I know the night to go.
May 23, 2012 | 12:26 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
I’m not romantic in the traditional sense. My ex girlfriend said, “How come you never buy me flowers?”
“Because flowers die.” I said.
I would love to be the kind of guy that arrives at his girlfriend’s door step with chocolates. While flowers and chocolates are nice gifts, waiting in line at Rite-Aid is not romantic at all. Plus she lives in a secured apartment building. By the time she comes to the door to buzz me in the chocolates would melt.
I don’t buy into this idealized romantic standard popularized by the films of Freddie Prinze Jr. I’m not going to ever wait in the rain to win love back. She’d be long gone by the time it rained next in LA.
Nor can I imagine spending thousands of dollars on an engagement ring. If I do, my future fiancee better be okay that I’m purchasing our honeymoon on Groupon Getaways. I hope she’ll be excited about our two night stay in Catalina.
As a practical romantic, I’m attentive to her own needs while also looking after my own. I always offer my lady water when I am thirsty. I tell her she looks pretty and rub the back of her neck when she makes me.
Most of all, I like to try new things. I’m not afraid to switch it up. I invited her to take a bath with me which was like trying to fit two uncooperative Tetris pieces into a tiny box. It is that kind of spontaneity that I enjoy most. Any guy and gal can shower together, but there is greater risk involved as it is easy to slip and fall, and hit one’s head. Also one person must wait to get under the water and might get cold. A bath is the better option especially when you ask her to make waves.
I enjoy taking her places that will impress her like taking her out to see Lindsay Buckingham at the Wiltern.We drank John Jamesons, our favorite whiskey, and waited for Lindsay to play his hits like “Not That Funny” and “Tusk.” Instead he played his new song “Poor Little Raven.” The crowd was enchanted while we whispered in each other’s ears about how poor we felt for listening to “The Raven.”
We left our seats and snuck down to the floor level where we were an arm grab away from the Raven himself. After the show we stumbled into a Korean Karaoke bar where we rented a room and sang for as long as Lindsay played singing drunken duets of Death Cab for Cutie’s “I’ll Follow you into the Dark” and “Can’t Stop” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I’m excited by the little moments that we share together. Going splitsville on lottery scratchers and then taking turns scratching each row is romantic to me. Helping adjust her golf swing at the driving range was a romantic moment. Her treating me to lunch at the Roosevelt Cafe overlooking the golf course because she lost our driving contest by 165 yards was also romantic in the most endearing way possible.
I asked her if it was okay to mention her in my blog again. “I love when you write about me,” she said.
I told her my idea was to write about how I don’t consider myself romantic because I don’t buy flowers and chocolates. “Romance isn’t about that kind of stuff. Romance is about wanting to see each other a lot and I feel that’s how you are with me.”
She’s right. And by that definition I’m a lot more romantic than I thought. I’m at least more romantic than some. Imagine how David Blaine’s girlfriend feels.
“Honey, can we order in tonight? Maybe watch a movie?”
“You know I would if I didn’t have to bury myself alive for the next seven days.”
Like David Blaine, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Perhaps a weekend getaway, or another couple of blog mentions. Maybe I’ll even buy her a cactus. Cacti don’t die…
May 16, 2012 | 11:35 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
My favorite song this week is “Between Trains” by Robby Robertson written for the “King of Comedy” soundtrack back in 1983 and for me to hum to on my recent train trip aboard the Pacific Surfliner to Solana Beach station.
Following a sleepless night, I wanted to close my eyes and wake up to the sight of the ocean hearing the twang of Robertson singing “There ain’t no place …Where there’s a home I could claim ...And I’m still between trains…”
It’s hard to sleep on the train knowing you are waiting on a train conductor to ask you for your ticket. I am also self-conscious about other people watching me sleep. My move is to put my jacket over my head, and hope for the best. It’s also a great way to ward off chit-chat. No one with any social intelligence will start a conversation with the guy covering his head with a Starter jacket.
After handing my ticket to the conductor, I reached for my jacket when the elderly lady applying masquara sitting next to me asked, “Are you from the Middle East?”
“I’m from Pittsburgh.”
I then covered my face.
Instead of sleeping I wondered if the elderly woman was a secret agent of the Department of Homeland Security. She sees I have a five o’clock shadow. I’m not smiling. She asks one simple question about my ethnic background and then I hide under a jacket. I could hear Robby Robertson singing “But I’m on the run from these chains….And I’m just between trains.”
It’s a lot easier to commit a felony and board the Surfliner then it is to book a flight, print your boarding pass, present ID, go through security. The conductor didn’t check my ticket until we arrived in Irvine. I could have robbed a Credit Union and hopped off in Fullerton.
Across the aisle I could hear a woman yapping to someone named Jennifer. “Just take a deep breath, okay Jennifer? Breathe in. Now breathe out.”
I pretended I was Jennifer so I could take a few deep breaths en route to falling into a deep sleep.
“Jennifer! I’m not going to tell you again. Get a hold of yourself and take a deep breath.”
Either Jennifer was in serious danger, or the lady across the aisle sucked at teaching Yoga.
I lifted the jacket from upon my face and saw the elderly woman had left her seat. I covered up again and I closed my eyes.
In an hour I would be in San Diego. The next day our family would visit my grandmother’s grave site, almost year after she passed away. Initially my Aunt Barb wanted to put a picture of my grandma on her grave stone along with one or two quotes. Between the picture and the quotes it would look less like a gravestone and more like a Facebook page. It was hard to believe it had been nearly a year since I lost my grandma.
I texted my mom to see what she had planned for the day. “Vietnamese and beer tasting,” my mom replied.
I have to come home more often, I thought to myself. At Solana Beach my mom greeted me by saying “Guess what we did last night?”
Before I could guess, my dad boasted, “We saw Maroon Five, and Kris Kalifa. As we were leaving an 18 year old girl patted me on the back. She said, ‘I just have to tell you that you were the coolest people here.’”
“I’m sure you were the coolest Kris Kalifa fans.”
After Vietnamese we visited three North County San Diego breweries. It was nice for us to drink beer together as a family until my dad started unleashing his jokes on unsuspecting bartenders.
“Charles Dickens walks into a bar and orders a martini. Bartender says, what will you have?‘Olive or Twist?”
At dinner my mom bugged my dad about finally starting his blog. Because my dad spends so much time in the bathroom, my mom is making him write a blog called “The Bathrooms of San Diego.”
“Just be careful that you aren’t taking a picture of anyone’s dong,” I advised.
My dad took a photograph of the urinal.
On the morning of the unveiling my mom was not pleased that I would be wearing my vintage Pirate Starter Jacket to the cemetery. “The deceased don’t judge,” I argued.
I felt better when I saw that my Aunt Barb, Uncle Larry and Cousin Ari came toward the gravesite with their two Bedlington Terriors. It was a casual family affair, the way my grandma would have wanted.
We said the Mourners Kadish and each shared something nice about my grandma. After brunch we all went our separate ways. In just a few short hours I could cover my face again.
“I guess I’ll always be between trains…”