Before getting to the meat of this next post, I must apologize for my absence! I am actually in London now with the BumbleB, visiting my parents and sister. It’s day one and I’ve miraculously avoided regressing into my usual 16 year old self around my mommy dearest. Though I’ve 5 more days to let my inner teen rip. Anyway, it was a mad week packing and taking care of crapola – so this post is long overdue. And will now be told in two parts.

This is part one.

I’ve always liked a good cry. I literally used to bawl watching Little House on the Prairie. Lassie? Fuggedaboudit.

I’m prone to sentiment. In fact, I often don’t feel fully alive unless I’ve had a good cry. Clears the emotional passageways.

I’ve also, however, successfully turned on the tears at will.  Only when absolutely necessary, mind you.

Like the time when I turned on the waterworks at a beauty salon. The story goes like this:

When I was 22, I was asked by my piano teacher’s brother to go to Cannes for the weekend with him, on his boat. My teacher, Dominic, was earnest and sweet. His brother Roderick  seemed comparatively dashing and rather dangerous, though in retrospect he was just another creepy older man who produced bad television programs.

I said ‘Yes’ not because I thought he was boyfriend material, or because I liked him or even really knew him. I was bored, living at home, thought it would be glamorous and wanted to torture my mother.

The weekend approached, and as part of my crucial prep list, I’d made an appointment to get my ‘stache waxed. Couldn’t be seen in Cannes, dahling, looking like Foo Man Choo.  I wrote the time of my appointment down wrong, was half an hour late and arrived at the waxing joint to be told they had given away my appointment. It was 5 o’clock and I was leaving the next morning.

Visions of myself mingling with celebrity Eurotrash with a dark caterpillar resting on my upper lip kickstarted enough adrenalin to produce real, live tears.  What’s worse, I made up a horrible lie (may God damn me straight to hell) that I had been stuck in traffic VISITING A FRIEND IN THE HOSPITAL and therefore it was NOT MY FAULT and COULDN’T THEY PLEASE???

They said they could fit me in. Victory. Though I felt horribly guilty about my lie (yeah, right) I gloated inwardly at the fools who believed me. Now I know where the boychild gets his tricks.

(Aside: The trip to Cannes was a disaster, much to my mother’s “I told you so” glee. His “boat” was a glorified dinghy. I caught a cold and spent the entire weekend creating a large mountain of snotty tissues. The crowning moment came as we were sailing and he told me, “If I fall in the water, don’t worry. This is how you steer the boat.” Though I’d had dark fantasies of pushing him overboard, the thought of manning a dinghy alone in the ocean made me puke, just a little, in my mouth.)

As I said before, I don’t turn on the tears very often. But last week, the trick took another turn in the spotlight.

In preparation for the trip to London, I had to get my passport renewed (of course, needed to rush it as had put off renewing it for months.)  Which meant a trip to Hudson Street in Manhattan to the federal Passport Office to get a rush renewal.

My appointment was at 9.30 and there I was again….LATE….and  convinced my appointment would be given away as I rushed through security and grabbed my belongings from the xray machine.  Which would mean I’d either have to trek here some other time OR never get my damn passport and be stranded in Brooklyn for EVER.

The nice security man, sensing my neuroses were on overdrive, told me to jump to the front of the line to the information desk.  The stern woman who greeted behind the glassed counter, however, told me “Ma’am, you MUST go to the back of the line.” And quite right she was.

Yet I couldn’t help sputtering back:  “BUT BUT BUT the security guard told me I could.”  And in all fairness, this being a rare moment without the BumbleB ergo-nomically strapped to my bust, I think I lost my mind just a little with visions of being sent home on the C train and having wasted precious time that I could have been making up a new crockpot concoction, because I was about to MISS my appointment dammit!!

“Ma’am,” the lady responded, just a little more firmly. “Please go to the back of the line.” Not a smile for the poor dishevelled mother who has traveled miles multiple subway stops literally trudging through Siberia a gentle snowfall to get her passport renewed.

My response? “But I’ve got 2 sick children at home…” (a minor untruth.)


And then? “Have you no heart?” I cried out, tears streaming down my face.

Yes, I actually told a bureaucrat who works at the front desk of a federal office that she was heartless. Sally Field coached me on that one.

Just so you know, even though I gave an Oscar winning performance, my tears had NO effect.  Serves me right, because boy did I feel stupid when I finally got my blue ticket and was sent upstairs to wait for my number to be called, just like at the deli counter at Fairway, in line like everyone else. Not going to miss my appointment. Just an overwrought, undersexed woman nearing 40. Aren’t I special?

Stay tuned for Part II… tearful breakdown in the customs line at Heathrow.

Valium, anyone?