Tuesday, February 23, 2015
Morning at our house at The Club at Morningside in Rancho Mirage. It is about fifteen miles east of Palm Springs. Our house is on the golf course, and we have a swimming pool (none of which I will be able to afford much longer if my son doesn’t cool it with the credit cards). I usually lie in bed for a while after I wake up, but this morning I was startled by a loud ker-plunk coming from the pool.
I got up and looked over and there were two beautiful ducks, a male and a female, cruising happily in my pool. I took some pictures. My dog — a hunting breed — completely ignored them and kept sleeping.
Then, the dreaded phone calls….
My bank, which has been on a tear of calling me about whether certain checks are authentic ever since Big Wifey wrote a VERY large check in error to Citicard (see comment about our son above). So I had to deal with that.
Then, the Mistress Distress Index ticked up. Almost every woman I know in the greater Southern California area is the Mistress of a man. I know this sounds insane, and I am sure my sample is wildly unrepresentative, but there it is. They are all Mistresses in one way or another, i.e. kept by married men at least to a large extent.
The first text, actually consisting of about fifteen consecutive texts, was from a woman who is the gf of a former highly successful agent, latterly a producer and now a stock market investor. The woman was in shock because the man is cutting her back because his Netflix and his Google are not soaring the way they were.
So, before he cut back, he gave her some super expensive designer clothes. But she’s decided she would rather have the money and now the super exclusive store on Rodeo Drive won’t give her the money back in return for the never worn clothes. Will I help her sue?
Next Mistress Distress Index Call from a beautiful woman who used to live near our house in Malibu. She’s not young and that’s a problem, but she’s still good looking and she had a cardiologist buying her Range Rovers and Tiffany bracelets and paying her rent, but now he’s concerned because his rental mini-store warehouses are slumping. Plus, he’s decided he’s gay. So he wants her to move to a larger apartment but not a penthouse in the same building. Have I ever heard of such cruelty? Would I call him for her and tell him how ungentlemanly he’s acting?
I offered to take her to a 12-step program instead. She obviously needs it because she texted AND called at about 10 a.m. and was totally blotto.
She’ll think about it.
Next, a call from a thoroughly beautiful mixed race, half-black, half-Irish woman. Her married boyfriend has offered to take her to Kauai for a week but he wants her to go business and he’ll go first and they won’t even sit next to each other. Again, this, by itself, is a war crime.
By the way, this woman rides around in a new Jaguar convertible. Until she met the man in question she drove a ten-year-old Buick. She lives on about 200K a year of his money and before she met him, it was minimum wage at Starbucks.
I suggested she try some perspective.
“No,” she said. “He’s an old man. He’s forty-five. I’m twenty-five. He’s eating up my youth. He’s got to pay.”
“No,” I said, “the real question is whether you can do better somewhere else.”
Now, you might have thought I would ask, “Do you really love him?” But of course in these situations, that’s a bit, ummm, complicated. The Mistresses do love the man. But a big part of the man, in fact his main part, is his money. Without the money, he’s a totally different man.
So, if the Mistress is not getting the money, then in fact I have to urge them to don their economist hat and see where — if anywhere — they could get a better deal.
The Kauai-bound lass brightened up. “That’s a really good point.” she said. “I’m so glad I called you. You’re really smart.”
“Thank you,” I blushed.
Next call, from a former gf of a rock star who got blindly high, hit her, was arrested by the LAPD, and the first thing he did when he got out on bail was to get high again and kick her out. She sounded super high herself so I got off that call pretty quickly.
These calls just kept rolling in as I sat on my pool furniture and snapped pictures of the ducks.
The next one was from what is perhaps my favorite study object in many a year. This is a Slavic-American beauty who works part time as a magician — a rare female magician. Well, maybe not that rare. She’s also studying politics at USC. She’s also the Mistress of a wealthy man who runs carpet stores and owns rental properties. They all own rental properties, obviously.
She’s furious because her bf (married, of course) got her a shiny, lovely X5 and she just happened to discover in the glove box two awful facts: It’s LEASED and it’s USED!!! What kind of miserable cheap creep can he be? Why should she even see him anymore?
“I agree,” I said. “Give him back the car and never speak to him again. In all of my life I have never heard of anything so awful. Leased AND used. He’s practically a mass murderer.”
The ducks looked calm. The pool was calm. The golf course was an endless emerald. In the distance there was snow on the Santa Rosa Mountains.
There was a long pause. “I can’t break up with him. I need for him to pay my tuition,” she said in a barely audible voice. “And I’m working more or less full time on the Sanders campaign. So I don’t even have the magician act going on now.”
“Don’t worry,” I said. “The Sanders campaign will be over soon. Just keep your eyes open for the next guy.”
“Who are you seeing?” she asked me hopefully.
“I take my cue from George W. Bush. I have one wife and two dogs and that’s plenty.”
I got into my bathing suit and swam for maybe a half hour. The ducks had left by then. When I got out of the shower I had a call from M., a woman I like a lot. She’s about 60 and her mother was a slave laborer at Auschwitz and survived. Her father was also a Holocaust survivor and a great guy. She told me she was about to be evicted. I told her I would help, and then I went to my 12-step meeting and I am not allowed to tell you a thing about that.
Wifey was dressed by the time I got back. “How was your morning?” she asked me. She had been sound asleep through my calls and texts.
“Not bad,” I said. “The keepers are still paying the bills and the cutbacks are no more than to be expected as the commodities super cycle unwinds and the Fed begins to raise rates. I see maybe a bottom to the market right here.”
Wifey nodded approvingly. She knows I go berserk when the market tanks. Any sign of stability encourages us both.
Off we went to lunch at the clubhouse on a veranda overlooking the golf course and a lake and long necked birds flying just over palms. Our waitress, a friendly, lovely tanned woman, asked my wife where she grew up.
“On Army bases in Europe,” Wifey said.
“Her father was a huge war hero against the Nazis,” I said with pride.
“My grandfather was on the other side,” she said.
“Really? Was he in the Wehrmacht?
“Really. He was the biggest fighter ace of the war,” said our waitress. “In fact the biggest fighter ace there ever was.”
“Was it Adolf Galland?” I asked.
“No. Erich Hartmann,” she said.
“You are kidding!” I said to her. Then I noticed on her uniform that her name card said “Hartman.”
“No,” she said. “One hundred and fifty victories.”
“Wow,” I said. “Wow and wow and wow.”
What could I say? This man, dead for about a quarter century, had helped to facilitate the German war machine. What worse can be said about a man? And yet, and yet, what an incredible warrior he was. He flew roughly one thousand missions, almost all in Southern Russia. He “only” shot down seven Americans. He was never shot down. Not once. And as much as I wish he had never learned to fly, our waitress had nothing to do with him at all. She did not choose her grandparents.
But here we were. The Jew ordering his sandwich. The Oklahoma-born daughter of a Silver Star hero ordering her cheese plate. And the granddaughter of the hero of the Herrenvolk, Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster and every other possible decoration, taking the order and professionally at that and as pleasant as could be.
And the ducks are probably back in my pool and more Mistresses have undoubtedly called, but I left my phone charging in the kitchen.
Erich Hartmann’s granddaughter taking my order for lunch. IT IS UNBELIEVABLE! God bless America.