My BFF, Satania, took the train down and stayed with us over the three day MLK, Jr. weekend — and for several weeks prior to her grand and glorious arrival, I was verily trembling with excitement! How can you not adore someone who gave you so many of the things that made you who you are today — like Elvis Costello, Bucky Fuller, and Bill Burroughs — and fail to verily drip with quivering anticipation regarding their impending arrival? Someone who is always there for you — even when you act the fool and the no-talent meathook? Someone who never judges you and yet still gives the bestest advice on every aspect of life? Someone who will play Ethel to your Lucy every time — and not question you nor hesitate for even a moment when you turn to her and breathlessly exclaim, “Okay, we got just five minutes to stuff all this cheese into a tuba before boarding our transatlantic flight for the states. Are you with me?” Someone who will selflessly lift her shirt and show her titties to your husband so he can finally see what you’ve been talking about all this time when you say, “They may not be as perky as they were when we were 18, but goddamnit, she’s got good nipple placement, doesn’t she”?
Next to Gregory, Satania is by far the most intelligent person I know. Lemme tell you, I consider myself to be no slouch in the smarts department, but compared to these two, I am a moron of biblical proportions. Both are self-taught, early, ol’ school programmers, and when they get going on their technical and scientific stuff, all I can do is just sit there in my prison jellies, singing old Bay City Rollers songs and pickin’ chiggers from deep within my girlish bouffant. I suck. But most important of all, like my husband, she is endlessly interesting. For me, that is a non-negotiable character trait. If you don’t possess it, I can certainly like you — but I can never, ever adore you.
Satania I adore.
Like me, she was born into a working class, blue-collar family and grew up in The San Joaquin Valley. When we met, I immediately recognized that she so clearly belonged to what Thomas Jefferson called, “The Natural Aristocracy”, a wise and gracious nod to the kind of character, virtue, and awareness that no amount of money can buy you…the kind you are born with, not to. Within five minutes of our first meeting as waitresses at Bob’s Big Boy in Fresno, we both understood we would be inseparable forever. She was standing by the pie case minding her own bidness when I blew past her with a wry smile and a handful of steak knives, and said, “Step aside, sister, or I’ll shank your ass.” We were immediately like peas and carrots — and all these years later, we remain so. We have five kids, four husbands, three ovaries, and over 20 years between us; we are The Neverending Story.
Unlike me, however, she is naturally chic and stylish — in that amazing, effortless, French sort of way. We are both just over 5 feet tall, but she has one of those lovely, feminine, pear-shaped sort of bodies that clothes just seem to fit. I, on the other hand, look like a linebacker for the Colts — albeit a diminutive linebacker for the Colts who is wearing a Dorothy Parker wig and crimson lipstick; her body is mine flipped upside down. And her hair? Bitch has got what I call a $500 head of hair; brown and lustrous and perfectly curly — the perfect hair for a bob (which, of course, she claims mine is, but fuck all that.) So, looking like she does, she could very well be a contemptuous, catty bitch — but the wondrous part is, she isn’t. She’s butch like I am — what I call a “Third Sex” woman…and she is every bit as generous with her style tips and wisdom as she is with everything else in her life. We have shared cigarettes, toothbrushes, literature, men, money, clothing, secrets, and bathwater. She is endlessly decent, endlessly ethical, endlessly loving — and I love her endlessly. She is a wonder.
A few weeks ago, I sent her a rather austere email containing simply the following two pictures that I believe very clearly illustrate where we’re headed a few decades down the line. I think this pretty much says it all:
At any rate, after several fun-filled days of lying around, obsessively watching all the History Channel shows I had TIVOed in anticipation of her arrival (Cathar Trail documentaries coming out our buttholes? You betcha! Hurray!), talking in great meticulous detail about every little thing, working on a project we are writing together, and drinking copious amounts of our favorite hot tea (Earl Grey REPRESENT), on Sunday morning we decided to actually get dressed and head out to the awesome Melrose Trading Post Flea Market at Fairfax High with Gregory, and then over to Canter’s for some serious Jew Food. Gregory’s pipples sure know how to chow! Yummy!
When we got there, we were positively famished from scouring all the hipster bins at Fairfax High. Ah! Luckily for us, the menu is vast and astonishing and our tummies were all a-flutter with gastric juices!
The ceiling at Canter’s is like this ancient, back-lit, plastic tile amalgamation of an idealized East Coast Autumn day — crisp, fiery orange leaves with a breathtaking blue sky behind them. Get thee to New England in the Fall, goddamnit!
And it’s one of those ol’ school delis that presents you with a plate of complimentary dill pickles and provides phone jacks at every table. They are ensconced behind the condiments, which, pre-cell phone era, served to accommodate all those Hebey VIP types — and as anyone who knows me knows, I have always wanted to be a Hebey VIP…which explains why I married one!
We ordered Matzoh Ball soup (the best in the city!) and Reuben sammiches (With corned beef, of course. Pastrami reminds me too much of my mother’s Filipina cooter. Don’t ask.) and proceeded to eat like savages. In between my ridiculous tearing up every five over the sweet sweet sweet little old Jewish lady eating soup across the aisle from us, all I could do was gaze over the pickles and bagels, smile, and pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. After all, outside of one’s babies, how often is it that you get to spend an entire day with the two people you love most of all in the whole wide world?
Come back, Satania! We love you!