By Debbie Gold Hadar
Yes. Rantings. I rant – or write – to you from a small and sheltered corner of London, where the temperature outside is languishing somewhere between 1-6 degrees, and inside it feels like Ibiza because I canâ€™t turn down the central heating. So itâ€™s a question of skipping around the room, scantily clad until itâ€™s time to go outside, whereupon I must don my industrial strength steel wool cami-knickers and girdle set; and, to my clothing ensemble on top of this add hats, coats and various scarves and brave the English winter.
Seriously, shame on me. I lived here for 25 years. Youâ€™d think I might have some sort of recognition factor, that my body – if not quite embracing the cold as a long lost friend, might have at least shown an inkling of comprehension. Apparently not. God itâ€™s freezing here.
(Not as I type, of course, which Iâ€™m doing semi-nude in order to avoid melting into a puddle.)
On the plane on the way over here, I was fortunate enough to catch the latest chick flick. My colleague – a lovely man who resembles the Little Shop of Horrorâ€™s Seymour Krelbourne in attitude if not in looks (seriously, I was looking out of the taxi window exclaiming at how central London has changed for the better, he was squinting at the pavements for signs of perennial flora) and I very much enjoyed â€œPrimeâ€, starring the magnificent Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman – two of the better actors of the female persuasion. Ever. In my not-so-humble, although much considered personal opinion.
Maybe youâ€™ve heard of this movie? Thurman plays Raffi (I know. I know!) – a newly-divorced 37 year old woman with a healthy attachment to her Jewish, successful therapist (Streep). On the path to post-marital enlightenment and happiness she falls for David, a Jewish 23-year-old wannabe artist (who was total eye candy and made the movie even more compulsive viewing than it already was).
David, of course, being Streepâ€™s son. A Jewish boy and the ultimate shiksa. Every Jewish boyâ€™s wet dream; every Jewish motherâ€™s nightmare:
â€œNo, donâ€™t worry about me, I like it here with my head in the oven, this way the light doesnâ€™t hurt my eyes, and Iâ€™ll die quicker than waiting for the heart attack that Iâ€™ll get when you walk down the aisle in the Church. Or maybe you should just smack me over the head with your baseball bat, dollink. And do something with your hair.
Thurmanâ€™s character is 37 years old. Thirty. Seven. Years. Old. So am I. So how come I donâ€™t look that good? Why is my bone structure not as flawless? How is it – more importantly – that I donâ€™t reside in a Greenwich Village to-DIE-for apartment, working in the world of the Arts, rubbing shoulders and hob-nobbing with the hoi polloi? No fair, no fair. Life sucks.
I have great personal affection for Uma Thurman. She doesnâ€™t know this, because, of course, weâ€™ve never met. But I know if we did, weâ€™d be great mates.
Firstly, apparently weâ€™re the same age. So thereâ€™s common ground there.
Secondly, sheâ€™s an actor* and so am I. OK, so Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction, and her latest aforementioned effort donâ€™t quite match up to my role as Louise/Chemist in the TACT production of Tom and Viv a few years ago, or my role as Yenta in the student production of Fiddler on the Roof (that set Sacha Baron Cohen on the road to fame and fortune as Ali G). But still. Sisters under the skin and all that.
Thirdly, she looks like such fun! Despite the patented klutzy elegance, that renders her both aloof, charming and yet approachable, thereâ€™s a sense of fun about her. You just know sheâ€™d be good to talk to about the best place to buy scented candles, or where to get really cool throws for your living room, or dish the latest gossip in Hollywood. Your basic girl talk, boys-and-makeup conversation – women everywhere are nodding acquiescence, I can feel it.
The problem is, of course, how she manages to get away with looking so fablious, even when sheâ€™s tired, dirty, upset, distraught. How does she manage to wave her hands around as she does and yet never be told â€œdonâ€™t fling your hands around like that, youâ€™ll take someoneâ€™s eye outâ€? Thatâ€™s impressive.
Where am I going with all this? Nowhere. Iâ€™m just sayinâ€™.
So, what else is new? London is bollock freezing. And I donâ€™t even have any. Ahem. Fortunately, due to a particularly timely case of brain relapse, (not on my part, as will become evident) I have a new, fleecy and particularly sexy new coat. Made by The North Face, which as those who know will tell you, (and I now number myself among such beings, having become very familiar very rapidly with the ins and outs of winter attire in the icy isle) are the label to wear. You know how, when you get out of a taxi at the airport, the last thing you want to do is forget your coat? So sure enough, the last thing that Seymour did, bless him, was to forget his coat. Panic ensued, frantic phone calls to the moked abounded. You can imagine.
â€œErâ€¦ hello. No, I donâ€™t want to order a cab. I just got out of one… No wait! Come back, I need to ask you about my cab driver. Yes, the one who drove me here. No heâ€™s not with me. Thatâ€™s the point. I need to know where he is. You see I left my coat in the back of the cab. Yes, I know itâ€™s hot today and I didnâ€™t need to wear a coat today. Iâ€™m flying to Europe soâ€¦ Yes the weather has been very mild, youâ€™re right, winter is probably over. Yes.. noâ€¦ can we please get back to the cab driver? Yes, the driver who drove me here. Whatâ€™s his name and his pelephone number, so I can call him, and see if he can bring me my coat? You donâ€™t know? Oh youâ€™ll ask. OK, thank you. Yes, Iâ€™ll hold.â€
5 minutes passed.
â€œHello, yes? OK, wait, let me write that down [frantic fumblings with pen and the back of his e-ticket on my hastily procured shoulder]. Thank you.â€
Seymour dialed again, I waited with bated breath, my shoulder aching a little.
â€œHi, Shmulik? Are you by any chance the driver who brought me and my female colleague to the airport about 20 minutes ago? From Place of Work in Tel Aviv? Oh I seeâ€¦ you didnâ€™t just leave here, youâ€™re only on your way to the airport now. OK, fine. Thank you.â€ (He hung up). â€œDammit!â€
Seymour distractedly started mumbling about timetables and when he can get out to buy a new coat and what is he going to do, and how is he going to fit in buying a coat with all the other scheduled occurrences on our agenda. I watched as he chunters to himself, and react with surprise when he suddenly smacked his hand to his forehead, rather ferociously and yelled â€œOh, Iâ€™m an eejit!â€.
I smiled at him amiably. â€œYes. Andâ€¦?â€
â€œThe receipt! His name will be on the receipt!â€
Suffice it to say that yes, he did contact the cab driver, who was by now too far from the airport to return the coat, which had been his initial wish, but did say that heâ€™d drop it back to the office for him.
And in the airport, we found a two-for-the-price-of-one deal on The North Face fleece jackets, which means that we both are now protected against the bitter London cold. None of which permeates into this room, which could easily double for a sauna.
So if youâ€™ll excuse me, Iâ€™m going to lie back and savour the warmth while I can. Be well, yâ€™all.
* PS Yes. I use the word actor and not actress. It is not a word that requires gender-specification. I stand firm on that. Your comments welcome, as always.
March 24, 2006 at 7:24 pm
Your writing displays the perfect combination of panache and substance. I love it. You are immensely talented, and I canâ€™t wait for the next submission.
March 25, 2006 at 12:14 am
Wow. Thank you, Michael. *Blush*
March 26, 2006 at 8:52 pm
When were you in Lodon? And why didn’t you call!! (P.S oh yes – almost forgot,well written piece).
March 27, 2006 at 3:28 pm
As I enjoyed the film you mentioned , the way you write about it is very nice,you are indeed
a talented writer, keep it up.
March 28, 2006 at 8:17 pm
I laughed so much. I’m going to keep this note short, because I have to go and search for everything else you’ve ever written; I’m sure all your articles are just as good as this one (even though this is the only one I play such a dominant role in).