Thursday, February 21, 2013

Downhill (Or Not What It Used To Be)

Has anyone else noticed everything going to hell in a hand basket or is it just me?

From Edward R. Murrow to Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olbermann.
From Audrey Hepburn to Lindsay Lohan.
From Julia Child to Rachael Ray.
From Ernest Hemingway to EL James.
From Dr. Freud to Dr. Phil.
From Rockefeller and Vanderbilt to The Donald.
No wonder I’m so p*ssed off. Not just because I’m about to turn sixty and not just today but just about all the time and just about everywhere.
On line at the supermarket where I have to pack my own groceries.
At the gas station where I have to pump my own gas.
On hold listening to a robot telling me my call is important.
At the twenty minutes of trailers and commercials that precede every movie.
At the ads that precede internet videos.
At cell phones and their rude, clueless users.
At Metro cards that don’t work on first swipe, at double length buses that make Manhattan’s terrible traffic worse.
At a decade that began with Enron and ended with Bernie Madoff and Too Big To Fail.
You name it, it bugged me.
And, right now, you could add Ralph to the list.

Just because we’d been married since about forever did it really mean he had to go on a diet, start exercising, and buy a fancy new wardrobe?
How come he had more—and more expensive—beauty products than I did?
Since when did he spend more time in front of the mirror than I did?
Was it really fair that, almost sixty, he looked like Gregory Peck while I, just a few years younger, was beginning to look like Phyllis Diller?
Why did women who weren’t even born the year we got married look at Ralph with goo-goo eyes and why did Ralph have to look back?
“The male menobleep,” diagnosed Julia Makins, my bff who’d been married three times, divorced twice and widowed once.
Still, I wondered what happened to Ralph and me. The sizzle was gone, domesticity had set in, time and gravity had had their way with both of us.
Or was it just me?

I remember college like it was yesterday and our first apartment, a fourth floor walkup, in a neighborhood so crummy the local gang members didn’t even hang out on the corner. I remember my first job at Click magazine and the day Ralph retired from the NYPD. I remember when and why George Profett, the city’s most neurotic billionaire, hired Ralph to be Profett Media’s Vice President in charge of Security.
I remember all those things—and more—but the more important question is, why don’t I remember how I got to be almost sixty?
What happened to all those years between college and now? How did they go by so fast? What was I doing? Why didn’t I notice?
When, exactly, did I get to be invisible?
When did empty taxis start passing me by and when did the feral perfume ladies in Bloomingdale’s no longer bother to assault me with a spritz? 
When, exactly, did people stop listening to me—even when I knew more about the subject at hand than anyone else in the room?
When did my shoe size go from 7 to 8 and my bra size from 34 to 36 even though I hadn’t gained any weight (well, not much, anyway)?
When did I stop reading Vogue and start sleeping in flannel pajamas all year because our apartment was cold in the winter and Ralph blasted the air conditioner in the summer?
Was I one of those women who had let herself go?
Was I about to get dumped for someone newer and younger?
Did I need bikini boot camp, a face lift, a Brazilian wax?
Would a new hair color, a different shade of lipstick or a pair of crotchless panties get Ralph to pay attention to me?
As it turned out, what it took was none of those things. Instead what made the difference was a murder in Shanghai, a dire threat from George delivered in a cheapo Vietnamese restaurant, a gung-ho war correspondent with a humongous pair of 36 Double D’s, a washed-up Martha Stewart wannabe trying to make a come back with the help of a red balconette bra and a showdown with a one-eyed, one-legged Afghan warlord who didn’t speak a word of English.
It all began the day I bought a fake Chanel bag from a sidewalk vendor on East Fifty-third Street. I was thrilled with my purchase and knew Ralph, a label snob, would be impressed. Anxious to show off my new bag, I headed for the office, moving faster than I had in years.
So fast, I didn’t notice I was being followed.

Now the news about Anne R. Allen and me:  The first weekend of March, Anne will be teaching a seminar so we've decided to swap Sundays to give her time to focus on the seminar. Instead of our usual schedule, Anne will be posting this Sunday, February 23.  Her subject:  Self-Editing 101—13 questions to ask yourself when you edit your first chapter.  I'll be posting at Anne's blog on March 3.  

And here's the hype:  My newest, THE CHANEL CAPER, is a romcom mystery thriller starring a Baby Boomer couple.  In a nutshell:  James Bond meets Nora Ephron. Or is it the other way around?

Here's a peek at the cover:


  1. Your new heroine sounds like a hoot! I really look forward to reading The Chanel Caper!

  2. Anne—Thank you! Actually, she sounds like me. So now you know! lol

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  4. I am hooked now, so I must read the book. I love your character. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Diane, thanks so much! I love her, too. She's me, my friends and my (late) Mom. Plus I hope, lots of other women too. Smart, no bullbleep women "of a certain age." I wrote it for us!

  5. Love this! When is The CC releasing? (Don't get me started on Keith O.)

    1. Hi Jen, I'm working on the formatting right now so TCC should launch quite soon. As they say, watch this space! ;-)

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