Hang up and drive.

Forget that stuff I said last week about foreseeing my death on a bicycle. I saw it for real today — the Grim Reaper will be at the wheel of a late-model SUV, talking on a cell phone.

Two close-ish calls yesterday — at freeway speeds! aiiieeeee!!! — and another today, although today’s would have been merely a fender-bender, caused by a guy coming up in my rear-view mirror who was both talking on the phone and READING SOMETHING he had spread across the steering wheel. He looked up just in time, chirped his tires a little in stopping, then cut across three lanes of traffic to make a U-turn.

So much for evolution.

And just for a jarring transition, how’s this: Yesterday we went rug-shopping. Didn’t buy anything — it was strictly reconnaissance for a down-the-road purchase. But we wandered into one place, and I immediately saw the rug of my dreams. One look told me I couldn’t afford it, but I could certainly appreciate it in the store. Its lines were so delicate they seemed to have been drawn with a Rapidograph, and one pass of the hand over its surface gave the telltale feel of ahhh, silk.

That is one beautiful rug, I thought, drinking in its detail and explaining its excellence to Kate (who couldn’t have been more bored). Time to check the price tag. I was guessing somewhere in the $12,000 range.

No. Thirty-nine thousand dollars.

Now, I know there are many rich people in the world, for whom $39,000 is the equivalent, in our household, of maybe $500. And I know that a $39,000 silk Persian rug costs that much in part because it’s durable, and woven to be an heirloom for generations. But even if I had their money, I still would spend my days fretting. “I hope the dog isn’t throwing up on my $39,000 rug,” I’d think. (Hell, he’d better not even walk on it.) I’d ban shoes and offer foot-washing supplies at my front door. I’d stop serving red wine. I’d put down those little plastic runners beloved by ethnic grandmas all over the U.S. This magnificent piece of art could actually make my house look worse. It would call attention to itself in all the worst ways.

That’s the test, then — not whether you can afford it, but whether you can afford to use it. I happily — relievedly — fall short.


It’s a tough town: DETROIT — School safety worries resurfaced dramatically Thursday when two students were stabbed in the chest during a fight with another student’s mother outside one of the district’s most prestigious schools, school officials said. I’m sure she had her reasons.

Shelley Winters, a woman after my own heart:

Tough-talking and oozing sex appeal, Ms. Winters was blowzy, vulgar and often pathetically vulnerable in her early films. … Even when she became the dominating force in many of her later movies, Ms. Winters often played vulnerable monsters. …Shrieking, shrewish, slutty or silly, Ms. Winters always seemed larger than life on screen. …Off screen Ms. Winters lived with an equal gusto… With a hearty appetite for food and men, she was not hesitant about naming the actors with whom she had shared a bed…

All the good ones are dying, eh?

Posted at 9:41 pm in Movies, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

11 responses to “Hang up and drive.”

  1. Fritz said on January 16, 2006 at 9:58 pm

    A couple of years ago I got rear-ended five times within the span of two years, once by a semi-truck *ouch*. Yes, my brake lights worked just fine.

    The first of this series of fender-benders was a guy who slammed into me with his pickup truck. He came up to me and apologized, saying, “Sorry about that, but did you see that BABE over there and what she was doing???”

    Umm, no. I was watching the road.

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  2. Connie said on January 16, 2006 at 10:29 pm

    We were long ago newlyweds when my father in law gave each of his kids $500 each from the payment for natural gas exploration rights on one of his Cadillac properties. (No gas.) It seemed like an amazing amount of money to us and we splurged on a 100% wool 8 x 10 Chinese style rug for the newly revealed hardwood floor in our recently purchased central city house. We thought is was so expensive, so exotic, so cool.

    We bought it at Sears.

    These days it covers most of the chartreuse colored textured tile in the TV area of our badly finished basement.

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  3. nancy said on January 17, 2006 at 7:53 am

    Our current living-room rug is 100 percent wool and was purchased at L.S. Ayres, FW’s late, not-so-great department store. I’d just moved into a place with hardwood floors and was a rug short.

    Cost $80. Still looks great.

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  4. Dorothy said on January 17, 2006 at 9:23 am

    Unless they make some kind of law that forbids driving and talking on cell phones soon, I fear in the future each of us will be the victim of an accident as a result of this. Seems like every week I hear of someone at work or in my family who had a run in, or a seriously scary encounter, with a talker/driver.

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  5. mary said on January 17, 2006 at 10:23 am

    Shelly Winters autobiography from about 20 years ago is worth reading. I indulge in junk movie star books from time to time, and this one was not nearly as junkie as most. Not really that junkie at all. She’s pretty honest about herself, although she does exaggerate the importance of her work, at times. I remember she took credit for inventing the word, “motherfucker” with her actor buddies.

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  6. Nance said on January 17, 2006 at 10:25 am

    I remember she took credit for inventing the word, “motherfucker�? with her actor buddies.

    Funny, they left that out of the Times obit.

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  7. brian stouder said on January 17, 2006 at 11:06 am

    I thought Quentin Tarantino invented that one

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  8. Danny said on January 17, 2006 at 11:33 am

    I thought Oedipus did!

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  9. Danny said on January 17, 2006 at 11:43 am

    Talking on the phone while driving is a major peeve of mine. Being a cyclist myself, Nance, I see no reason to scrap the vision of your ultimate demise. Just admend it to the fuller version. That of an errant-SUV-cell-phone-talking jackass creaming you while you’re biking.

    We see through a glass darkly.

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  10. mary said on January 17, 2006 at 11:46 am

    Those guys at the Times are a bunch of stiffs, what can I say.

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  11. Danny said on January 17, 2006 at 11:56 am

    Oh, my, this is too good not to pass along. Mouthy Parrot reveals ‘sex secret’

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