In a former life i was surrounded by super wealth – not spiritual richness rather aplenty of designer lifestyles from homes, to parties, to clothes, to shoes, to spouses, to vehicles, to garden furniture. I never felt less than or envious. I am unsure if jealously is in my emotive vocabulary as by nature I am nearly fearless plus basically I think all humans are full of crap, including myself.
What I learned in this affluent milieu is how empty and disconnected were these human beings. They barely saw the wonders of nature and consequently were afraid of actual living things from creepy spiders to giant balls of bait fish.
Nearly every Saturday in the spring I would be outside in front of 41 Sunset Avenue, Westhampton Beach, NY, working in the perennials pulling weeds, replanting volunteers, or making room for a new variety of a beauty. The birds would be singing as they established nesting territorials. The maple trees would be sprouting fresh lime colored greenery, and the Earth would begin to warm-up and awake after a winter’s sleeping under a freezing blanket of ice and snow.
41 Sunset Avenue, Westhampton Beach, NY, it’s cottage garden curb view,
A woman – tall, thin, over the top jogging like her life depended on it – would bolt by some Saturdays. I would watch her in motion wondering what she was running from with these bird legs of hers. Being a prankster at heart, I decided to foil her jaunt. Taking a chance, the next Saturday, i began to pull out the intrusive pineapple mint by the public sidewalk and pile their roots, stems, and leaves onto the cement. It was a mini-roadblock. As predicted the runner and her big nose came by but could not get by the pile of deliciously fragrant pineapple. Running in place, she yipped at me, “You can’t pile your garbage on the sidewalk.” I was bent over with my arse in her direction (on purpose).
I stood up (all five feet two inches to her height), turned around in her direction and said, “Aye, it is a wee bit of a mess, but it is not garbage. It is pineapple mint and makes a loverly bouquet.” She made a perfect toothed semi-smirky face. I smiled my normal charming grin showing off my dimples and flashing green peepers.
“Fine, but it is in my way.”
I slowly brushed off me muddy knees and with the drama of a Jane Austin scene in slo-mo removed my aqua leather gardening gloves. The die-heart Manhattanite continued to run in place.
“Ya know, the one about take time to smell the roses? Maybe ya might want to try it some time.” She stopped running in place. I was unsure if she was going to clock my mug or madly kick the mint off the sidewalk.
“You’re right. I am always getting ready to go somewhere or i am on my way going somewhere . . . . so I probably miss a lot.” Then to my surprise she plopped down on the pile of pineapple mint. The scent filled our little tete a tete. We both laughed. Me, I think, out of surprise and her because she needed to let go of stress stuck inside her like cornbread stuffing for a Thanksgiving turkey.
View of 41 Sunset Ave, from the north west corner.
My upstairs studio, 41 Sunset Ave.
From that Saturday forward, for the next five summers, once in awhile, she would stop during her runs. We would yak about flowers, the love of men, women with vision, birds, and relevancy in life on the planet Earth. When my husband and I opened Cafe HeBird SheBird she became a semi-regular customer like we were a drive-by? I only knew her by her first name as she always paid in cash.
One morning, standing at the espresso machine whipping up a diet syrup Amaretto latte to go for her, she said with a kinda snotty Queens accent, “Bonnie DiPietro, I do not think I ever introduced myself to you. My name is Donna Karan.” I did not flinch and turned on the steamer to make foam for the latte. When finished I cleverly added a latte art of a pair of swirly birds, as she watched. With a giant twinkle of a smile, I handed up the cup over the counter clad in Italian marble.
Beaming even more, I said, “On the house, and nice to meet ya.”
I am not a nice Jewish girl from Queens but i married a terrific guy from Brooklyn so maybe this is what broke the ice?
It is who we love and how we chose to live our lives that decides the authenticated quality of our three weeks on Earth – including horrific mistakes and intimate misbegotten happenings.
What we wear for hotsy rags to be trendy and look beautiful as a sensual woman is a simple feminine desire to feel good about ourselves. I have never worn a DK and probably never will. So far, I don’t need to – as my raging self-esteem is not defined by a brand or who by happenstance are illusive ‘friends’. I am a Californian. We prefer swinging colors to NYC sleek black and chic.