Saturday, May 24, 2008

but full of significance

Last night, I was at a full moon festival (one solid week late) and read aloud from Chapter 7 of the Wind in the Willows with a 9- year-old girl who was there with her mother. That was my favorite part of the evening. (Except for the women who came in dressed like drag queens at the end. Yes, they weren't drag queens. Yes, they were women... yes, they were something else altogether...)

Children with Witches. Witches with Trannies. And A wind came sweeping through the back yard of the magickal shop and everyone knew there were many visitors there that evening.

We did unspeakable things to carnations and apples. The little girl offered a Cherry to Diana and Pan and thanked the people who haven't come into her life yet. She was far, far shorter than I was.

In other news, earlier that day, in my quest for health and wisdom, my therapist instructed me to beat a chair with a pillow. We were working with anger. I had to keep my knees bent. Like in horse stance. Either right before that or right after that my therapist went into a Trance and then, either before or after that, I touched her Breasts.

After the Moonrite I snaked from the Village to Little Italy. I met St. Anthony there.

I asked him, "So, new? Play me a miracle." He asked me if I had bothered to look at the sky or feel my feet on the ground yet that evening.

And then as I was turning to go, as an after thought, he said, "Funny, you know Bob Dylan, asked me the same thing once."

Then again there was a wind.

I told him I'd see him again soon.

Reserved, shy, but full of significance, it hid whatever it might hold behind a veil, keeping it till the hour should come, and, with the hour, those who were called and chosen. - W. i. t. W.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Counting of the Omer

At a little after 10:15 Thursday Night I parked my car at a Fire Hydrant and ran.

In my long history of rash and automatic moves I have NEVER moved so fast. Whatever the hell it was that was happening, I sure as hell was not going to miss it, not in my neighborhood, not on my Earthen watch, and certainly not for the want of a legal parking space.

Some times a wrong turn is not just a wrong turn.

I had no idea what I was seeing. There was a parade-sized crowd of them standing in a circle- Black Hat to Black Hat to Black Hat- It seemed as if the entire population of Hasidism were there. From my vantage point, out of the window of my car, I couldn't make out what they were all looking at, there were Hundreds of them, with their black coats and broad shoulders and backs to me.

I had taken a wrong turn in South Williamsburg on my way to the BQE west and then next thing I knew I was running toward a crowd of Jews, toward a part of town I had never been to, and as I got closer and I could see more, toward a very large Fire.

What appeared to me to be A Bonfire.

My first thought was "it's a celebration." Then I saw the Fire Trucks and wondered if it was a holiday or, instead, a house fire and if I was simply- childishly- gawking at an Orthodox Misfortune.

Then the smartest part of me said that no apartment fire would put that many people on the street. She's my favorite part of me. I kept running toward the crowd.

I arrived to a revelry made up of men, women, children and firemen.
The Hasidic population of Williamsburg were throwing down and apparently, I had caught it all in the Nick of Time as the New York City Fire Department was hard at work with their Anti- Semitic Fire Hoses.

I slowed my jog and walked toward the crowd (no alarms and no surprises.) I got a little closer so as to see the source of the flames. In the pyre, wood pieces. Chunks and bits and morsels.

I was close to a gaggle of men Religiously Obligated not to touch me and I felt my body being very careful not to get too close. It was as if It wanted them to know It knew the rules.

My Body: Don't worry anybody. I got you. No handshaking. No footsies. Just don't ask me to leave.

I had pulled my hood up over my head somewhere between the Car and the Fire; I was peering out from under it. That was something, I heard myself saying as I laid it over my brow, now why did you do that?

To cover my hair? To blend? To be incognito? Respect? Spydom? I wasn't sure. I guess it was mainly because I didn't have a wig so I had to improvise.

I stood for a couple of seconds, smiling wanly at the men who turned around, who were surprised to see one of Me there; when suddenly, as if we both somehow had been pulled to the same spot, there was another Me there, a girl just walking home to the apartment she undoubtedly rents from one of the guys now standing in the Paganistic Circle at the corner of Flushing ave.

I joked to her, "This happen a lot 'round your parts?"

"I have no idea what's going on, I'm just walking home."

She turns to one of the men with the pe'ot, "What is this?"

And this guy, this Jew trying to enjoy his party, he hesitates and from out of nowhere I realized... I knew! I knew what was going on! Well, partly knew anyway. Enough for the next part to happen.

He mumbled and spelled the name of the Holiday, Lag B'Omer, and told her to Google it and then took a Noble Silence.

She pressed, "yeah, but-"

And then, as easily as not finding the BQE, I began to answer her question (to my surprise as much as to all of the Hasidic men around me.) I roughly described something about the end of Passover and the 49 days leading up to the next holiday, which I was sorry to admit I had forgotten the name of.

"Well there you go," broke in the Hasid, "she's answering it, better than I could." He looked at me a little inquisitively.

Smart ass that I am, I just shrugged my sweatshirted shoulders and said, "Member of the Tribe."

Somewhere in there,The girl, the other Me, the Me who did not cover her head- either disinterested or bemused by my cluttered and clangy explanation- walked away. As proud as I was that I knew SOMETHING, I still didn't know a thing about this fire.

"You should see it in Israel. It burns for days."

He was Israeli. I could tell.

"Did the Fire department know it was happening?"

"Of course," (They all say of course when something is Blatantly Obvious) "We do it every year!"

Of course.

I knew I had to go home and Google all this myself. I had the general, but none of the specifics.

The blare of a siren and an incoming Fire Engine cut into our conversation and my friendly South-sider was gone. As the crowd aggressively began to disperse, I was less careful with my body. I looked at the Children and the Mothers. I wanted to ask them questions, but could tell by the body language of the throng that they were moving inside, and in my experience the women keep a tight lip anyway or simply remind me that I am a descendant of Sarah's and to be a good Jew. Thanks, Ladies.

The Fire almost out, dull -glowing in the wind, was my cue and reminder that I had been granted ten minutes of luck. It was time for me to take what I saw and go back to my abandoned jalopy before the good municipal servants of the Outer Borough of Brooklyn , bored of the pyromanical tendencies of the Jews, towed my car.

But before I turned around to leave,
The Fire said,
Keep talking to that Rabbi, child.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


This past Sunday at the Good Old Burp Castle we had Opera Night. We played Turnadot by Puccini from beginning to end and with the deft skills of Tom the Hart (I have decided that would be his Mobster name) we were even able to follow along in a Libretto, no less.

Rigoletto by Verdi

We will laugh, we will cry, and we will drink Italian wine.

See you then at 7pm if I don't see you sooner!


Friday, May 16, 2008

the old switch-a-roo

Gay marriage in, Salmon fishing out.

California. Way to call 'em.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

On Reiki and the Rabbi's Pants

I am wearing the Rebbe's pants. They are blue. They are sweatpants. I am wearing Kabbalistic sweatpants.

No such thing you say?! Come closer child and tell that to my Dockers brand, elastic waisted treasures.

The Rabbi gave me his pants. It all happened very quickly.

I was sitting in the Den. I had arrived late (again) and the Rabbi had been waiting.

Note: I do not in anyway shape or form condone this behavior. In fact, I would say, in a perfect world, never keep a 96- year- old Rabbi waiting. I'm sure there could be a clever refute to my claim, but I will leave it be for now.

Es Geht.

I had arrived in a pair of jeans, per usual, except in my haste to get out the door, I grabbed a pair of ripped ones and being me, didn't think too much about it.

While we are on the topic, it is probably notable to bring up that I have a strange relationship with pants. I know a few people who have strong opinions on the state of affairs with my pants.


I know. I know.

And now the Rabbi has an opinion too. And one less pair of pants.

Like I said, we were in his den, talking about Wanting What you Want, an Old Tailor That Had Never Existed in Some Village that Had Never Existed, and Things in Life That Do and Do Not Fit You; when he suddenly got up, said stay right here, and hobbled out of the room.

When he returned he said, "speaking of things that fit, put these on, right now. "

I laughed.

He was serious.

"I don't know if you know this or not, but the ones you are wearing are ripped. "

I smiled and told him I knew.

He held the athletic wear out to me, "I'm not sure where these pants came from, something my ex-wife probably bought me, but see if they are your fit."

He tossed them at me and told me to go in the other room and put them on. See if they are a fit, he says, leaning on his cane.

I slipped into his kitchen, pulled down my drawers, and came to find that a few seconds later I was wearing a pair of ridiculous, penguin reminiscent sweat pants and that I had never felt so hip or happy.

He loved them.

I am going shopping today. If you see me this afternoon you will undoubtedly see new clothes or at least new pants that were not previously owned by a 96- year- old -man.

Can it be true that I hate shopping so much that it would take the chagrin of an old Tzadik to get me to H and M?

And in other unrelated- to- pants news, I am now a level one Reiki Practitioner. I am still not one hundred percent sure what that means for me, but it sounds powerful and significant doesn't it?

All kidding aside, it is a fascinating healing art and I have to practice, so if your chakras are anywhere near me in the near future hit me up for a tune up!

PS Do you have any idea how much I love having a cell phone entry that just says-"The Rabbi"?
Do you have any idea how much I love these pants?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Ducking Under Bumble Bees

In the tradition of the Lone Gunmen from the X Files, those scientists that help Clarice Starling, and the Three Wise Men that appear under the stars with gifts for the Baby Jesus, come my own brilliant trio to help me understand strange moths and just who that Tennis player/mother was who came out of retirement.

Hint. It wasn't Joan of Arc. She was never anybody's mutter.

So, thank you guys for inspiring me back onto this old girl. This Old Girl called 'Shawdenfreude', which my pal, confidant, and medical experiment, Tom Hart told me seems outdated for who I am these days.

People have been crazy and times have been strange these days. Don't you know.

Like, I think it is worth mentioning, that in my free time I have been hanging out with a 96- year- old Kabbalistic Rabbi because, I am, apparently, searching for something that looks like a spiral and a big bright light. I opened for him last Sunday at a lecture. He told me I was a little Rabbi anyway, and that I would be just fine.

This Rabbi loves being alive. This Rabbi is going through a divorce. This Rabbi lost his first family in the Holocaust.

You know what this Rabbi does every morning?

He gets up and screams, "I -am -alive!"

Now, you skeptics, (me skeptics) might say sure, at 96, I'm sure that you're as relieved as hell that you are alive.

But this guy, this guy...well, he sees Bumble Bees, that I'm afraid of, ducking under on his back porch and tells me, chuckling, that see, even he wants to be an angel for me.

This guy, and others, is why New York is where they put me for now.

And also, if you never hang out at the bar where I work, I am sad to say you are sadly missing out.

So, here is to the Three Wise Men/Trivia Men/Lone Gunmen; Tom Hart, the genius cartoonist who came in yesterday wearing an electric doo rag because his doctors made him; and Dr. Joeseph Gelberman, My Rabbi, who is 96 years young and knows where to tell the sadness to stick it. Right in the Chokmah.

As for me...

You're right guys. I don't have to work that hard.

Thanks for finding my blog.