Revenge Travel: Part Deux

Revenge travel part two

PhotoCredit:Newsroom.Mastercard.com

For my second installment of Revenge Travel, I chose Providenciales, (Provo) Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean.

I wanted an island experience; an island where I had never been to before, and where I could read, relax and feel clean white sand between my toes.

It’s important to note that the Turks and Caicos only came onto my radar because American Express Travel sent me an e-mail offering a sweet deal at the resort, in the time frame that I was looking for.

My plans came together pretty quickly once I had made my decision, and so naturally I took it as a sign; a positive sign. A sign that said, yes, this is where you should go next. I thought it was a good idea to be away for my birthday, as it was the first one after my break up.

Somewhere between thirty-thousand feet over the Atlantic Ocean and waiting forty-five minutes in line at customs, I remembered that I actually didn’t want to be traveling. Instead, I wanted to be still. I wanted to address the trauma of the demise of a seven and a half year relationship, and it’s by-products, and fall-out, including, but not limited to, how I was going to see the kids.

However, after I found out that my ex had taken off to Europe (how original… I said to no one), I was compelled to take my passport out of the drawer.

I felt old and lost among the hundred or so tourists whose vacations had begun on the flight from New York and who were already wearing their sarongs and Kappa Sigma muscle T-shirts, in  line at the Provo airport.

Fully dressed from head to toe, I waited for my passport stamp, trust me, it was the only thing keeping me alive. Anyone looking around the hoards of people in customs would have easily picked out which one of us did not belong, due to her, I am not in a vacation mood, puss on her face.

What was I thinking? Revenge be damned. The last thing I needed was to lie on a chaise lounge with a drink in my hand, watching lovers frolic in the sea while I contemplated my navel. I had spent more than enough time in deep contemplation, and the only thing that my navel yielded was a lint ball.

Unfortunately, these admissions were late in coming, and instead I smiled up at the passport stamp man.

I was now stuck on an island with college kids, the recently engaged, honeymooners, and parents who had escaped their asylums for a few days—and each and every one of them were drunk. It felt eerily similar to being at one of my brother’s parties that he’d have at our house in high school, while our parent’s were away, when I stayed locked away upstairs in my room studying, or writing poetry, or composing love letters to Bobby Emerson. My point is, I felt profoundly out of place.

I checked into my hotel, and I was instantly upgraded to a spacious suite with an ocean view. This would have been a wonderful surprise, had I been on tour with The Partridge Family, and Reuben, (including the musical instruments). I did not need that much room. It only depressed me further, and made me feel even more alone than I already did.

I went through the motions of being on vacation, which was a lackluster attempt at best. I walked into breakfast each morning, and quietly sat at a table set for two, pretending that my non-existent companion had the shits, due to a contaminated lettuce leaf, and couldn’t leave the suite. Telling myself this story made me feel only slightly better, as it was like acting in a play.

I read several books on the beach, and romped in the ocean on a paddle board until my skin shriveled up like a prune. The hotel staff was scattered and inattentive with just a hint of rudeness. I was convinced that it was because I was flying solo.

On the afternoon of my birthday, there was a knock on my door. I had no idea what or who it could have been. I didn’t order room service, and no one, including my parents, even knew where I was staying. That probably wasn’t a good idea. If there was an emergency, a hurricane for instance, and the resort was washed away, nobody back home would have known that I, too, had been washed away.

For half a second, I thought that perhaps my ex had hired a private investigator, or had done his own sleuthing and had found me. Yes, I suppose I was still romanticizing, and all of the hot sun had made me loopy.

I opened the door to find a staff member holding a tray with a piece of chocolate cake on a plate. “Happy Birthday” was written in white frosting along the rim. What? How the f’ did they know? He came into my suite and placed the tray on a table in the entryway, and looked around the cavernous room. “Oh, no family?”

Was he kidding me? How did he know that my family wasn’t frolicking in the ocean or rehearsing in the beachside cabana? How rude, Mr. Cake Man. Now if you don’t mind, please extricate yourself from my presence.

The pit in my stomach, which was the size of Toledo, never dissipated the entire time I was on my dreamy Caribbean getaway. It was a dreadful experience, and I was miserable. Taking a trip alone to a resort that mainly catered to couples certainly was not the healthiest, or wisest, decision that I had ever made. And if I were to guess, it probably wouldn’t be my last.

The experience reminded me of the time that I went to a podiatrist because I got a coupon in the mail. I was shocked and dismayed when the doctor (and I’m only guessing that he was an actual doctor, because I never actually saw a framed degree on the wall) said that I needed surgery to remove both of my bunions. I only had one bunion.

I guess sometimes a deal isn’t. And sometimes what you think is a sign, isn’t.

When I returned home, I put my passport back in my drawer, hoping that I wouldn’t have to use it for awhile. And I didn’t… until I did.

Revenge travel would see more miles and more stamps.

To be continued…

Revenge Travel

Revenge Travel

PhotoCredit:Kingofwallpapers.com

It was a hard choice to make but I knew that some of my precious literary babies wouldn’t make the final cut and that they would be left out of my upcoming book, THE GIRLFRIEND MOM: KIDS? NO, THANK YOU, I’M NOT HUNGRY. It wasn’t personal, they simply didn’t serve the bigger picture. Don’t be sad for these unfortunate outcasts, as they will live on here in this blog. 

***

The Captain and Tennille, the famous singing duo from the ’70s that were known for their love songs, lied. Their hit “Love Will Keep Us Together” was a sham. Love will not always keep people together; those two are now divorced.

For a while I fantasized that my boyfriend and I would find our way back to each other. I even romanticized the breakup. I thought that once he saw the ass-ness of his ways, he’d make a YouTube-worthy gesture, and we’d live happily ever after. I wouldn’t stop believing that love conquered all and that our relationship could survive the quirky way he disobeyed traffic laws (stop signs were so pesky), or the fact that we didn’t have much in common, or that I had sacrificed a part of who I was to be with him, would all prove inconsequential in the face of the love and passion that we shared.

Experts say that staying busy helps get over a breakup or maybe it was Oprah—hallowed be thy name—who said it. For me, travel had always been a salve. However, if you’re traveling after a breakup, you probably shouldn’t go to a place that you have been with your ex in the past or that he’s been to with his new girlfriend or to a place where the native language is that of your ex (if it’s other than English).

My ex knew that there were few things in life that made me happier then getting a new passport stamp, so it was therefore deplorable, and an act of utter betrayal, when I learned that he had taken his new paramour overseas and stood by her side in customs while she got stamped. It was an act of treason that cut me to the quick. To punish him I would travel without him, and collect so many stamps that I’d run out of pages, and have to request new ones.

Revenge travel was born.

I wanted to be classy in the days and months following the breakup, but I fell short, like way short, like Martin Short, short.

Sorrow cost me a lot of frequent flyer miles. Seven months after we broke up, my ex went to Brazil, and I went to a yoga retreat in Mexico. A retreat had been on my to-do list for a while, and now I had the extra motivation that I needed to book my ticket.

***

Haramara Retreat in Sayulita, Mexico, had no electricity or Internet, and guests were gently, but firmly, asked not to flush their used toilet paper. Instead, you were encouraged to throw it in the wastepaper basket next to the porcelain bowl. I found this curiously fun. It did take me a couple instances of “Oh, crap, I forgot” before I got on a roll. I was afraid that the retreat police were going to knock on my hand-built, environmentally “friendly” cabana door and make me fish it out with my bare hands.

I don’t know why I was surprised that there were three yoga classes a day during the weeklong yoga retreat. It was a goddamn yoga retreat! The sessions were wonderful, but I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t just a wee sick of downward-facing dog and child’s pose. I was a Pilates girl. I went on a yoga retreat to help me get my head out of my ass, and funnily enough, by the end of the week, I was able to put my ass over my head.

All three of the daily meals included fresh, local, organic food and fruit that I had never heard of before nor could pronounce. The wellness center was built into the forest and was surrounded by unpaved trails, a private beach with climbing rocks, and an infinity pool that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. It was not low rent.

Sharing the property with the human inhabitants were scores of gulf crabs that seemed to be suffering from dyslexia. These crustaceans would trek up, or rather side-shimmy up through the lush hillside, and stop when they hit the dirt trail. Unfortunately, they’d shimmied in the wrong direction. They should have headed toward the ocean, but instead they had landed on the footpath, where they would take their final crustacean breaths and expire.

Interesting fact: crabs’ teeth are inside of their stomachs. I would have thought that my stomach had teeth from the gnawing and crushing that I was feeling.

Each night we walked back to our rustic (constructed without machinery) cabanas by flashlight and literally hopscotched over what looked like the remains of a massive crabby suicide pact. It made me think of my ex’s kids and how they would binge watch and quote from SpongeBob SquarePants.

The ocean was rough and loud, which, gratefully, lulled me to sleep each night. I luxuriated in the open-air shower with its unobstructed views of the whitecaps. I was not at all concerned with my hair shedding and clogging the drain, because there was no drain. My strands slid freely off the shower floor into the jungle.

The resort informed us that we were among a mélange of wildlife. I knew that they didn’t mean freewheeling lemurs like in Madagascar, but what specifically was considered the wildlife wasn’t exactly clear. Every bed had a net that hung from the ceiling, and I closed mine every night to protect me from the animals, even though it was hot and humid, and it made it difficult to breathe. There were no actual cabana walls but I convinced myself that the netting would protect me in case of an attack.

I shared a room with my yogi friend, Carla, and one evening I got up to go to the bathroom. It was pitch-black, and I couldn’t see my hands in front of my face. I stumbled into the bathroom half-asleep, and I sat down. It wasn’t until I felt warm liquid dripping down my legs that I realized that I was sitting on top of the toilet seat cover and not on the actual toilet seat. I was peeing myself. “Shit!”

Carla yelled from her bed, “What happened? Are you okay?”

How does one respond with dignity? “Nothing. I’m fine. I just peed myself. Go back to sleep.” I cleaned myself up and laughed because it was funny…and gross. I hopped back into bed, returning to my cocoon, but I couldn’t sleep. “Carla, are you awake?”

“Yeah, are you okay?”

I was trying hard not to let my ache completely envelope my body. “Yeah,” I lied. “I can’t believe I peed myself. Although I can’t say that it was the first time.”

Carla laughed. There is no greater satisfaction for me than making someone laugh. “I can’t stop thinking about the kids. The whole fucking thing is so unfair.”

I could see Carla’s silhouette turn toward me in her bed. “It’s going to take time. For what it’s worth, I think it’s so cool you still want to be in the kids’ lives. They’re lucky to have you.”

“Most people think it’s weird. I don’t understand why. I didn’t break up with the kids.”

“That’s probably because most women wouldn’t be able to handle it.”

I could feel hot and sticky water pool in my eyes. “I’m not sure I can either.”

“But you are. I’d get up and give you a hug, but it’ll take me ten minutes to get out of the netting. Try to get some sleep.”

I thought again about peeing myself and I fell asleep with a grin on my face.

***

By day three, I was as relaxed as I was ever going to be or wanted to be. I tried to keep my mind still, being on a yoga retreat and all, but my thoughts continued to drift. I’d swing back and forth from despair to anger. Was I being a fool to think that I could maintain my relationships with the kids without cracking up in the process?

I strolled down to the ocean (unlike the crabs) and sat on a large, jagged, and uneven rock (ow). As I teetered off-balance, which was an obvious metaphor for my current state, I watched the waves; beautifully balletic, as they washed onto the shoreline and then flowed back out. I tried to breathe in time with the sea.

I was in a pristine and tranquil environment: healthy, fortunate, and surrounded by like-minded people. I had to change the tape that played on a loop in my head. I refused to piss away my time with negativity and the past. I didn’t want “breakup stink” to penetrate the remaining days of my retreat. Obsessing over my relationships with the kids, while perched on a craggy rock, that was dangerously close to sticking me where the Mexican sun didn’t shine, was not productive.

Before I left New York, I dreamed that Mexico would provide me with answers, signs, or something to tell me why the caged bird sang. Praised be that sweet, sweet Jesus when the owners of Haramara said that they were offering their guests the opportunity to take part in a temazcal ritual, or sweat lodge. I was the first to sign up. The sweat lodge is also known as a house of heat and is used in Mexico and Central America for spiritual and health reasons.

I would surely be released from my emotional shackles and purified, thus emerging anew. Perhaps I’d stop using phrases like emotional shackles as well. Carla and I joined forces with a few women from San Diego who were on their own retreat, and we got our spiritual on.

There were thirty of us gathered in front of an igloo-like structure, which symbolized Mother Earth’s womb. The female shaman told us the history of the temazcal. I was only partially listening because I was imagining how claustrophobic it might be in the womb, and then I started to panic thinking about the heat. Was it going to be like Bikram yoga hot? How hot exactly?

When the shaman finished her introduction, she assured us of our safety (which had the opposite effect) and said that if at any time during the ceremony anyone needed to leave for any reason, they could simply get up and do so. She instructed us to drop down to our knees and kiss the ground before entering Momma Earth’s womb—out of respect, like knocking before entering a room…or womb.

Actual volcanic stones were heated outside of the igloo in a fire pit by a fire man (I forget what his actual title was) who then carried them into the womb one by one, which made me sweat just watching him.

The stones were placed in a shallow pit in the center of the igloo. When the last stone was lowered down, the shaman had us yell in unison, “La puerta.” Fire man stayed outside, closed the makeshift door, and then covered it and the hole in the ceiling with thick Mexican blankets.

We were now in the darkened, moist, and steamy womb. Huh, just like I remembered it. The shaman talked about respecting the earth as she poured water onto the hot stones, which instantly became steam and turned up the heat. It was like Bikram yoga on steroids. Okay, that’s enough water, shaman lady. I get it. It’s hot. 

Every crease, orifice, and nail cuticle was sweating. I wanted to release as much shit as I possibly could, but I couldn’t catch my breath, and I could have sworn that my eyebrows had been singed off.

I took deep and deliberate breaths while telling myself that I could leave at any time. We sang, we introduced ourselves, and we shared our reasons for coming back into the womb. I told the group that I wanted to move forward. Some confessed that they were stuck either in their personal lives or in their careers, while others talked about family struggles. Again, I stopped listening. I was too hot to focus on their babbling.

After what felt like an hour, but was probably more like fifteen minutes, the shaman instructed us once again to yell “La puerta!” and the door magically opened.

We crawled out of the womb one at a time and drank in the fresh air as fast as we could. There were three more rounds of this, and I didn’t think that I could head back in. I heard others declaring the same.

Carla and I smiled at each other because we knew that, although it was extreme, that we would go back in. After a second drink of water and a little time, we slithered back into the womb. This time, I put my head down on Mother Earth’s lap, which was a lot cooler and less disorienting.

By round four, I was certain that my brain had lost mass, and I didn’t have any to spare. The shaman asked us to go around the womb and, with one word, express our wishes for humanity or some such esoteric sentiment. We began, and the words started to fly.

“Love.” “Peace.” “Kindness.” “Animals.”

After six or seven people had gone, one word turned into paragraphs, prayer recitations, and postgraduate theses. Did they not hear the shaman’s directive? I wanted to scream, “One word, people! The sooner we do this, the sooner we get out. Step off the soapbox, and let’s wrap this shit up.”

If this sweaty lot of people were truly spiritual and solicitous, they would have been less preoccupied with the shrinking polar ice caps and the extinction of the Iberian lynx, and more preoccupied with the fainting bodies beside them.

Unfortunately I didn’t leave the retreat any more centered, grounded or forgiving, as when I had first arrived. I did, however, work on my tan. Even in such a peaceful and meditative environment I couldn’t shake my rage and disappointment. I knew that I had to stop clinging to the past as if it was my lifeline, but the thought of letting go, and moving into the unknown, was downright frightening. I wasn’t entirely convinced that I had the energy, fortitude, or cojonas.

I had no regrets going on the retreat and shedding five pounds of water weight in that igloo, but I came home less enthusiastic about traveling. That was, until my birthday rolled around four months later. It was my first birthday post breakup, and I didn’t want to be in New York alone, knowing that my ex was in Spain with his girlfriend—as if packing my bags and leaving my apartment would somehow make me forget.

Revenge travel continues next week.

Invisible at Fifty

Becoming invisible at fifty

PhotoCredit: Bryan Fuller

I recently read an interview (more like a Q&A) with author, Elizabeth Gilbert, in The New York Times In Transit section. Now while I wasn’t one of those readers who went insanely gaga over EAT, PRAY, LOVE, I was inspired by her latest work, BIG MAGIC.

All of this aside, I was taken aback by her response to the columnist’s question about whether she had met people who started traveling later in life. This was EG’s answer.

“My mother, for one! She was 55, and finally had the freedom and the means, and she woke up to the reality that my dad’s not a traveler. Now she and her sister-in-law do a trip every year. They’ve been to Chile, Turkey, Thailand, up the Amazon River. They’re really adventurous. Fifty is the age women start to become invisible, but the flip side of that is: Invisibility is a super power— it makes them safer to travel.”

I had to catch my breath. Invisible? Was she shitting me? It’s bad enough that profound and obvious ageism exists in this country, er, world, and that women are practically shamed for getting older, losing estrogen, collagen, ass mass, and their lovers, boyfriend’s and husbands to younger models, but EG, a woman whom other women look up to, tells Diane Daniel of the New York Times, hey, women disappear starting at fifty, but it’s okay, because now they can travel safely to war torn Syria because no one will notice them? It’s a win-win. 

Hey, maybe that’s how we fight terrorism. Let’s send a shit ton of fifty, sixty and seventy year old women, into Iraq, Nigeria and Lebanon. They’ll fly under the radar and then hit them with a surprise attack and take out the top leaders thus defeating militant groups around the world. Fuck drones, send in the old ladies.

And how is invisibility in the real world, not in the D.C. Comics world, a superpower? I hope that three years from now, when EG starts becoming invisible that she feels powerful. Me? I prefer to serve up my super powers front and center, with klieg lights spotlighting my fifty self; seen, visible and loud.

Perhaps I’m overreacting. Perhaps I misunderstood her comment. Perhaps I’m taking it personally, as fifty gracefully saunters up to my doorstep. I just don’t think that we ever need women, or men, (I’m an equal opportunist) to feel, in any way, shape or form, that they’re going to blend in with the scenery once they hit the big 5–0.

Happy Father’s Day

PhotoCredit:NewYorkerMagazine

PhotoCredit:NewYorkerMagazine

Happy Father’s Day.

When I was a little Dani, about four or five years old, my father invented a character called, the Tickle Monster, long before Josie Bissett’s, Tickle Monster Laughter Kit, which included cuddly tickling mitts. I’m not sure why you would need a kit to tickle someone, but whatever. My dad was the original.

My brother and I used to share a bedroom in a cozy two bedroom apartment in Yonkers, New York. When my parents were home, and not behaving like the 25 year-old’s that they were; that is, partying with the downstairs neighbors, and nursing Sunday morning hangovers, my dad would don a random piece of clothing to mask his true identity, and he’d become, the Tickle Monster.

We’d hear growling, monster-like noises outside of our bedroom, and as the sounds grew louder, we knew that the monster was getting close. My body would tense in anticipation of the monster’s entrance.

Our bedroom door would fly open and my dad would come barreling in, often tripping over a Tonka truck or a Dr. Seuss book, that my brother or I left in the middle of the room. With his arms flailing, and his back hunched over, he pretended to look for us, even though we were right in front of him, jumping up and down on our beds, screaming, “No, no, go away,” as we laughed. He took his time, relishing the sound of our little kid squeals.

The Tickle Monster went to my brother first because he was an easy target. The kid would freak out, at the mere suggestion of being tickled. He screamed so loud that he’d gasp for air. Watching my brother squirm and shriek like a little girl, always made me giggle.

I was never ticklish. Seeing his two kids laughing together in the same room, instead of beating the crap out of each other, was pure joy for my father. Even at the tender age of four, I was like the character Morales in, A Chorus Line, “I felt nothing.” My dad loved playing the part, so I smiled and pretended to. (best acting job to date)

This particular brand of play was out of my father’s comfort zone. He was the reading and writing type; the parent that supervised homework, exposed me to Miles Davis, quoted Rolling Stones lyrics, and read Crime and Punishment to me at bedtime. He wasn’t so much into kid games, or child-like make-believe, but he put his heart and soul into the Tickle Monster and I couldn’t bing myself to tell him that I felt nothing.

From the time that I was twelve or thirteen, my dad knew exactly who I was, and thirty years later, little has changed. I recently reread a letter that he wrote to me when I graduated from high school. At the time, I passed it off as a father being a fearful parent, but how wise that Tickle Monster was.

“Firstly, you seem to be an anxious young bird who has learned how to fly, and now is trying to examine every tree in the forest. I can assure you that you will do that but racing to them will defeat your purpose and you will not maximize your enjoyment of them. Like constructing a building with blocks, a foundation must be laid before the spire can be placed on top.

Unless you have certain experiences to call upon, you may miss out on some wonderful fun. You know that I have never stopped you from exploring some very dark places; yet I am fearful of you missing something because of a lack of patience. Sometimes it is better to sit by the ocean and look at the sea, sense it and slowly feel it come over you, slowly and with all of its feeling, comfort and awe. Oh, yes, it is great fun to dive in, but how many people who do that could tell you the color of the sea and how beautiful it smells. Most times the short term is not as fulfilling.

And yes, each day is a challenge to your moral sense. Each day you will have to make up your own mind as to what to do- (unless you want to call us). You know how much I love you as my daughter, but now as you begin to leave the nest and start to fly, I relish in the fact of how much I like you. And remember our telephone number is 238…. Love, Dad.”

When I graduated college, my father wrote me a poem and I turned his words into a song for Father’s Day, mainly because I couldn’t bear to buy him one more pair of socks or golf shirt.

LISTEN TO IT HERE: Love Daddy

Jiggling Your Boobs is Healthy

I don’t know wPlasticNoseJobhy, or how, the weird and outrageous find me, but they do, and because they do, you are the lucky beneficiaries.

I bring you the Beauty Lift High Nose. My god, who was in this pitch meeting? Lift High Nose? It really doesn’t leave anything to the imagination, does it? The manufacturers sure didn’t want there to be any confusion as to what this proboscis contraption’s purpose was.

When the Beauty Lift High Nose is worn snugly around the problematic proboscis just three minutes a day, it will aid in lifting your snout higher on your face, (who knows, it might make it up onto the forehead- if that’s your desired final resting place) as well as making it firmer.

Now I’m no plastic surgeon, but I wasn’t aware that schnoz firmness was an issue for people. But if it is, than those people may want to try this nifty gadget. Vibrations emanate from all sides of the plastic doohickey, and, well, it just may do the trick. And everyone knows that a firm and lifted beak screams youthful vigor.

And did I mention that it was a fraction of the price of actual rhinoplasty?

But if the Beauty Lift High Nose isn’t your cup of tea, than what about the Breast Gymnastics Hand Massager. The title is a bit more nebulous, and honestly I really don’t know where to begin with this one. My breasts are going to do gymnastics? I read gymnastics and I think balance beam and back handsprings. How do my boobs fit into the equation?

Basically it’s a hand massager that’s used to reshape sagging boobs, and because of it’s size, it can reach around into those places that your hands cannot. (Although that’s what lovers are for). The plastic hand is even molded in the shape of the woman’s hand who developed this cutting edge product, so it’s as if she’s feeling you up.

The woman has developed a system called, Breast Gymnastics, which consists of a bunch of different ways to massage the breasts, including jiggling and juggling them. She claims that this will increase breast health and improve their shape. I’m all for healthy mammaries and keeping gravity at bay, but the fact that Breast Gymnastics is a thing confuses the fuck out of me.

Back in the day, we called this massaging a self breast exam, or simply playing with ourselves (because we could). Sometimes, when we were lucky, we had someone else play with them.

Why do I need to read a book, watch a video, or buy what looks like a fancy back scratcher, to do this? Someone enlighten me. Please.

breast-gymnastics-hand-massager-3

LiftSaggingBreasts

The Highly Improbable Was Hi-Larious

Coincidence or Random

PhotoCredit:kalw.org

I’ve always been fascinated by signs, symbols, synchronicity, coincidences (or not), and seemingly random convergences that make you shriek, okay, that has to mean something.

I believe that we’re all energy and that we can will an idea, or an image in our mind, into existence (or get close) because of the power of suggestion. It’s also entertaining to think that the universe has a mind of its own and can be a total bitch, acting out just to fuck with us.

I was practically strangled by a few random coincidences (or not) the other evening. And if the highly improbable had not occurred, and was therefore highly hilarious, I might have drowned in a puddle of my own tears.

It’s been awhile since I went to the theater. I’ve been busy, culturally unmotivated, and not in a Broadway state of mind. Shit, I never thought those words would ever fall from my mouth. In any case, a friend invited me to see the play, The Father. I didn’t know what it was about other than there probably was a father figure figured into the show.

I googled and saw that Frank ‘Dracula’ Langella was starring and who doesn’t like Frank? Certainly not my mother. When Dracula was on Broadway, my mother went Lady Gaga over Mr. Langella, and she was quite vocal about it. I remember thinking, whoa, mom, you’re a mom. You can’t like another man, you’re married—to my dad. Innocence is lost on the innocent.

I met my friend outside of the theater and we caught each other up on our lives before showtime. The more we talked, the more I realized how little socializing I had done this past year while I wrote my book. I had put blinders on, and I stayed laser focused. It worked, but in the process I hadn’t tried to make anyone, (other than myself), laugh, and it seemed that I had forgotten how to string words together without the aid of a keyboard and computer screen.

Once inside the theater, we padded down to the tenth row center. Geez friend, what’s with the lame seats. I was so close to the stage that if Dracula sneezed, coughed or threw up, I’d get it in the eye for sure.

The thing that I love about the theater is that no matter how many menacing announcements are blared through the speakers, or dirty looks from your fellow patrons, some entitled old bitty from Queens is going to confidently pluck a mint out of her handbag (fisted from the restaurant where she ate her prix fixe, pre-theater dinner) and unwrap it during the hushed denouement.

It is a mystery to me why audiences still have to be reminded not to be rude and douchey—in the same way that I don’t understand why there are still signs in women’s lavatories reminding them not to throw feminine products in the toilet. Are women throwing maxi pads, some the size of newborn sized diapers, into the bowl? Do men have the same reminders in their stalls? Please don’t flush your hankyDepends? Condom?

The curtain went up and a regal Mr. Langella was sitting in an arm chair in a Parisian flat stage right. I knew what the play was about two minutes into the opening scene; a man (F.L.) is struggling with dementia (Alzheimer’s) and the effect it has on his family. What an uplifting topic to tackle on a sunny Sunday. My ex’s father died from Alzheimer’s. Again, totally uplifting.

Mr. Langella stood up from his chair, wearing pajamas and slippers, and shuffled towards centerstage where he addressed the actress playing his daughter. I hung on his every word and then something distracted me on the wall upstage center.

It was a poster—of what I couldn’t quite make out but my eyes were drawn to the bottom edge. I blinked, and then I blinked again. There, in big bold letters, was my ex’s first name. Clearly it was the artists’ first name as well. I blinked a third time because well, three’s the charm. Yup, still there.

There are over twenty Broadway shows currently running. My friend could have easily gotten tickets to an Off-Broadway show, which are numerous. Nope, the first time that I get out to the theater after a long hiatus, I see a play about Alzheimer’s, seated close enough to the stage to make out the friggin’ details of the set dressing.

Why? Because sometimes the universe can be a real wench. “Give my regards to Broadway…”