It's not that complicated

We had tried to see It's Complicated once over the summer at my parents' but turned it off part-way through because it didn't seem appropriate for my 12-year-old cousin Charlie. Then last night Alex and I tried to watch it again but this time he passed out before me. I was amazed that he even agreed a second time to watch it but really impressed when he kind of sighed and winced at Meryl Streep surveying her big, empty kitchen (which she for some ridiculous reason wanted to renovate so she could have a "real" kitchen) after the youngest daughter left for college. But at that point I don't think you realize she wants to renovate what is already a stunning, luxurious room, you just kind of feel bad for her being left alone (oh yeah, she's also divorced). I kind of half-smiled to myself thinking Alex felt bad enough for her to actually sigh when he followed it up with, "I just realized that I packed my lunch for tomorrow but now I'm going to have to carry it around all day because I'm going to that school." [He's going to visit a preschool on East 139th; I'm going to another, nearby. Wally is in South Ozone Park with his grandmother presumably wrestling the dogs and consuming endless amounts of orange cheese.] My grandmother Miriam who schlepped to Brooklyn every week to visit Dara and the girls even in her 90s would have shut him up immediately (and loaded him down further, of course, with several cans of V-8, a bag of almonds and several oranges, (already peeled)). 

We have one more preschool tomorrow and then will hopefully make a decision, although currently Wally's Special Instructor is trying to get his IEP changed to a smaller, specialized classroom as the schools that have met him said they'd never take him in an integrated (half "typically developing" and half delayed). Not necessarily that he's so delayed but that he's so disruptive and would not get enough one-on-one time. 

Alex doesn't mind carrying things like amps or bookshelves or couches but he doesn't like to schlep. It's really weird. Even just a big water bottle he considers a nuisance on the subway. The lunch would have been kind of awkward to bring today (don't know if he did or not) because it was leftover pizza he made last night. He buys the dough from Luigis, a pizza place on 26th, and then makes a sauce and adds sauteed veggies. I don't know if I reported on this blog that he became a vegetarian recently (3 days after Thanksgiving, but as far as I know bearing no relation to the event). People say this all the time but he really is the LAST person in the world I would have ever expected to become a vegetarian. I remember BBQs I went to with him (true, mostly all teeming with Brazilians) where no one consumed anything BUT meat. No carrot sticks, no potato chips, no macaroni salad, no pickles, nothing but chicken hearts and blood sausages and God knows what else. There was one birthday at his cousins' where I said I'll just eat whatever else they have, can always fill up on sides or dessert or whatever but there was nothing else to eat in the entire house. Not even bread. His aunt did offer me fish and I still can't get the sound of her shrieking voice out of my head when Alex said that wouldn't do either.

So anyway he made this great veggie pizza, though he told me on the phone as I schlepped back from Queens (I am always schlepping an absurd amount of stuff, often w/out good reason) that he had made a nice bulgar lentil soup with potatoes and carrots. I was disappointed, having pictured a more festive meal rather than "It's hot and there's plenty of it" (Where is that from again? Three Stooges or just something my dad used to say?) but tried to be grateful and open-minded though I couldn't picture bulgar in a soup and thought he'd probably confused that with barley. Alex is  a great cook, just instinctually, but I think to be that way you have to be willing to take chances and he's ended up with some doozies (Baking Soda in Pad Thai once to "thicken it up"...I won't go into further detail). 

So I don't know if Alex brought the cumbersome lunch with him today up to 139th. Though picturing it reminds me of my dad working as a pizza delivery boy and not realizing you had to carry the pizzas flat. Schlepping up to the 5th floor of a 5-floor walkup was no problem with the pizzas tucked tidily under his arm. He may have lasted no longer at that job than at law school, where the requirement that everyone wear a suit was met with immediate withdrawal from the program. Sometimes I think I should just blog about my dad's stories but maybe I'm conflating them all with episodes of the Three Stooges or more likely the Marx Brothers

This is one of those rambling posts that doesn't end up connecting or winding back around like an episode of Seinfeld but I gotta go. But one question I just thought of: Do Jewish people like to schlepp so much because it's sort of encoded in their hard-wiring to be homeless starting way from the Babylonian Exile? Or does it have more to do with so many comedic role models? Marx Brothers, Three Stooges, Seinfeld, Larry David, Adam Sandler...Jackie Mason, I know there are others. Or maybe they just so feakin' neurotic that they can never decide what to bring.

Anyway I invite any further thoughts on the Jewish-schlep factor and also any spoilers on It's Complicated are more than welcome. There's no way I can't sit through Meryl Streep's "Oh-isn't-life-funny-and-sad-and-wonderful-and-can-you-believe-I'm-doing-this-at-my-age and I-just-want-to-enjoy-the-moment-but-it's-all-such-a-mess" guffaw or that unclear sibling/husband or is he invisible? Jim from The Office playing a less-funny Jim from The Office for one more second (awake or asleep).


  1. If I had my choice of being the fifth Marx brother or the Fourth Stooge, I would've voted for the former, but anyone viewing the vignettes of my life would've assigned me the latter role.
    Yet, I lifted "It's hot and there's plenty of it," from neither a Marx nor a Stooge, but from Billy Budd.

  2. Can't believe I got you to come out of hiding. But you did not clarify the law-school dropout story. Couldn't you have at least made do with the schmatta you wore to your wedding?

  3. It wasn't so much the requirement of wearing a suit that turned me off, it was the idea that you needed three years of practice wearing one to get it right. Seeing how I look in a suit in pictures over the last 40 years, I realize now that I may have underestimated the amount of practice needed to get it right.

  4. I only stopped eating meat when I realized how much of a hypocrite I was. I feel that if I want to eat meat , I should have to kill it, skin it, gut it, clean it and cut it. Since I don't have to guts to do that, I'll stick with veggies!


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