Adios to ghosts

Recent true events:

• I misplaced the turquoise ring my mother gave me. I always thought it was a romantic ring – maybe one my father had given her. I asked her what it meant to her (without telling her I’d lost it), and she said she’d had it made after The Divorce. Since that conversation, I’ve since thought of it as The Divorce Ring and – in some ju-ju bad karma way, I’m sure, I had been wearing The Divorce Ring on my left hand, where you’re supposed to wear your wedding ring. Yeech. Maybe it’s good I lost it?

• My red Beetle, specifically its perky antenna, does not fit into my Silverlake garage. So, every time I back out, I put the car in “R,” roll a few feet, then “P,” and move the antenna. The other day, instead of “R”, I put the car in “D.” And GOT OUT of the car. VRRRRREAHKRRASH! The car crashed into my shelves. I wrecked my car in my own garage.

• My house key. I put it in my pocket. My pants were too damn tight. The key fell out somewhere between: work, Indian food, home. House key. Gone.

I was relaying these facts to my friend Darren, who proceeded to tell me he’s lost:

• A 40-yr-old tree in his backyard to some sort of fungus.

• His hipper-than-thou glasses he got in Hong Kong – he was getting out of his car and as he shut the door, he heard a loud CHRNIOK! And realized he’d slammed his car door on his own glasses. So much for wearing sunglasses in a parking garage.

• His Tivo remote. Guy lives for Tivo.

When I asked him if he’d lost anything else, he said suddenly: his wife.

I said: Oooof.

Ever since he and his wife split earlier this year, he’s been lost in every aisle of every supermarket, every bookstore, every drugstore, overwhelmed by the choices spread out in front of him as a new divorcé: what to wear, what to eat, who to be.

And I suddenly didn’t know if it was Full Moon Fever that was causing our lives to go haywire or if it was something else – some giant earthy clearing out of our homes – similar to, but not as dramatic as – an earthquake (which, I think we are vastly over due for one. Buy your cartons of water now, kids), but both of our homes have been rocked to the core. I’m distracted and have lost my touchstones. He’s lost his foundation.

We shake off the rubble and emerge into the daylight of new realities, looking around. He’s eating prepared meals that arrive on his doorstep every night in a tan bag. I’m still looking for the key to my house.

I did, whilst typing this very post, find my ring. I had hid it in case of thieves – silly, I know, but I seem to be wired to squirrel – I had hid it behind some cards on my dad’s Olivetti Lettera 23 typewriter that he received for his high school graduation. My dad thought this deco masterpiece was junk and his wife had tossed it in a bin headed for the Salvation Army until she remembered I liked to write and pulled it out for me. I’m so glad she did – I love this machine, the 48 beautiful black keys and one shiny red button: the correction tape. The ability to cover mistakes and move on, imprinting ink into a fresh white page.

My mother has taught typing for 40 years. Can you imagine? From the manual to electric to Apple II-e’s to the sleek white Mac she now teaches from. And here is this fantastic Olivetti antique: A Mother/Father Machine.

I have two cards, a book, and a map on the Olivetti roller, as if they’d been freshly typed. The book: “Adios to Ghosts.” The map: Vintage NYC. The cards: one is a girl, hands on either side of her wide smile, saying, “I’m elated.” The other is a guy checking his watch, saying: “It’s time for love.”

My ring was behind “Time for love.”

I slipped it onto my right hand and twirled it around. Elated.

12 responses to “Adios to ghosts”

  1. This was like waking up to my own little Aimee Bender story, delivered to my home page.

  2. LP says:

    Wow, I got an Olivetti typewriter for my high school graduation too! The last generation ever to do so, certainly — I started using a clunky PC in college two years later, with giant floppy discs and glowing green cursors. Don’t know where that typewriter ended up, but they are really beautiful machines. Can’t remember that I ever wrote anything too impressive on it, though.

    And I lost my driver’s license this week, at Larchmont Village. The very next day, it arrived in my mailbox; whoever found it got it into the mail right away. It’s a friendly town, LA.

  3. Marleyfan says:

    Loved the post!

    Useless typewriter information:
    Typewriter- a word typed using only the top row
    Tesseradecades- longest typed word using only left hand
    Phyllophyllin- longest typed word using only right hand

    Glad you found the ring

  4. Jeremy Zitter says:

    I can’t find my favorite pencil (or my backup favorite), and I have to go teach in 4 minutes! Ack!

    But this awesome post made up for my loss…

  5. WW says:

    Other things not in this post but on the mind:

    1. Glad we lost Gonzales. Finally! But Chertoff? God no…
    2. Glad we didn’t lose Owen Wilson
    3. LT’s fiancé is hot.

  6. lt says:

    yes, my fiance is very, very hot. last night i had to ask him to stop touching my calves with his sweaty feet.

    great to see you the other night, ww. two gw-ers randomly meeting in one small pizzeria back room. cool.

  7. MF says:

    I’m so glad you found the ring because I was worried that I was gonna have to come to LA to turn your house upside down and find it for you.

    Great post!!

  8. WW says:


  9. cynthia says:

    great post very funny

  10. farrell fawcett says:

    one of your best posts. glad you found the ring. sorry about the garage. you made me wish i had a vintage type writer like that. and with such a story. how awsome.

  11. Beth W says:

    This was a fun post to read. I haven’t lost anything recently thank goodness. I couldn’t find my TV remote control one afternoon. I needed it to turn to channel 3 and use the VCR but I was forced to watch Oprah instead. Oprah featured people whose homes get too cluttered and drove them insane. I decided it was a sign and cleaned out my closet.

    #5.3 has me laughing uncontrollably

  12. Stephanie Wells says:

    Your details here are absolutely delicious!! What a delightful read!