The other day when my nieces Stephanie and Laura were here I was bragging about how great my animals are.
One particularly cute thing that Elvis does is when I scratch him under his chin he closes his eyes and puts his head back.
I showed them this and E didn’t disappoint. While I was kvelling and explaining that I was going to have him do it when Julie comes so she can video it and I can put it on Facebook, I was shocked to hear Stephanie murmur to Laura “She never had a cat before. She thinks that’s special”
Then she turned to me and said “All cats do that!” in a voice louder and with more contempt than was necessary.
I gotta say I was happier before I knew that.
Yesterday something else happened that reenforced that to me.
I got a mass e mailing from David Rosenfelt saying that his new book is out.
Now I love David Rosenfelt. I love him not only because I adore his books but he’s a great guy who saves dogs. He has 25 of them. If you look at his web site there are pictures of his dogs. Most of them are old or sick but all of them are happy. They are laying around his house just chilling.
When I got the email I wrote back automatically. I said that I had just bought his last book and I was loving it.
In a few minutes I got an answer. “Thanks, Mattie”
I was so excited. He actually read my email and responded. I felt like I was having a brush with greatness.
Then I started thinking.
If someone reads one of Julie’s books and writes to her, she’d write back.
All of a sudden it wasn’t so special.
Knowledge ruined my joy again.
This then brought to mind something that happened when I was about 12. I may have written about this before but so what,
I read in a movie magazine that Dion of Dion and the Belmonts lived in the Bronx near the Bronx Zoo. It really put a bee in my bonnet.
The Bronx Zoo was only 2 buses away from my house in Riverdale. Unlike Elvis in Memphis or all those other stars in Hollywood, this meeting was a possibility.
Without telling my parents or my sisters I got dressed. Nothing was too good for Dion. I wore a party dress. It had balloons on the skirt.I topped that off with my most treasured article of clothing, a white fake fur coat lined with black fake fur.
Either there were no full length mirrors in my house or I had been struck blind on my 12th birthday because that bulk couldn’t have done my chubby self any favors.
So off I went. I took the first bus filled with happiness and expectation.
It wasn’t until I changed on 231st street and Broadway to the bus that would take me to that part of the Bronx that I had never been in unless I was with my mother or sisters going to the zoo, that a few stray thoughts creeped in and then took hold.
“Near the Bronx Zoo” is a big place. How could I find his house. And even if I could I would never ring his bell so it would have to be an accidental meeting.
What if he wasn’t outside (harmonizing on a street corner with the Belmonts which is how saw it on bus #1)?
And then the real truth hit me. Even if I found him why would the fabulous Dion fall in love with me a kind of fat, albeit beautifully dressed, twelve year old when he could probably get Sandra Dee?
All of a sudden I wondered what the hell had I been thinking. Why didn’t I realize all that at any point until now?
I selected an outfit, gathered my bus money from my allowance, got dressed and actually gotten on 2 buses without really thinking it through.
I got off the bus, crossed the street and began my long trek home.
Maybe you’re thinking that knowledge saved me but I disagree.
If I had never had that bus 2 epiphany I might have followed through, never found him, and gone on thinking that it was only rotten luck that kept us from being together forever.
Knowledge screwed me up.
You know I was just thinking. That whole going to look for Dion thing isn’t so different from how I behave now, acting without thinking.
Maybe I don’t have symptoms of Alzheimer’s, maybe I’m just a schmuck.