Zoe & Sophia Dance for an Inter-state Audience on Webcam on Their Adventures as the Sublime Consumers of the Lightness of Being

January 6th, 2010

Jan 6

Could more of you PL-EASE offer ADVICE to two single women, whose lives are suddenly crashing in chaos? Zoe and Sophia, BFFs for thirty years, find themselves unexpectedly cast into the world of re-creation and redefinition after decades of being faithful wives to George and Marty. They need advice from anyone willing to offer it. For instance, what advice would you give your BFF after she ACCIDENTLY LEFT ON HER WEBCAM, WHILE HAVING WEBCAM( U-NO) WITH A MATCH.COM DATE AS ANOTHER DATE WATCHED FROM A FEW STATES AWAY? Any advice you can give to Zoe would be helpful, but this is the advice Sophia gave her.

Early on the eve of Christmas Eve, Zoe finished the last of her gift wrapping. She couldn’t deny her mounting excitement about the arrival the next day of her beloved grown children, Meg, Sara, Jamison and Emily. Not only did their visit thrill her, but it would create a comfortable buffer between her soon-to-be ex, George, and the irritation she felt whenever anyone even breathed his name. Zoe’s house was spotless, except for the permanent stains left by her dog Sparky’s incontinence, a condition the poor stoke victim couldn’t avoid. Sparky limped around behind Zoe, casting sweet glances her way, as a large turd involuntarily plopped from his bottom. Satisfied that the house was clean enough, she felt restless and decided to drive five miles down the road to see Sophia.

Zoe fully expected to find Sophia in her usual stance, head down on the dining room table sobbing, with a fire roaring in the fireplace and a laptop with a black screen sitting next to her. After Sophia’s disastrous first Match.com date, even turning on the computer was traumatic, not a promising state for a writer. But to Zoe’s surprise, Sophia was nowhere to be seen. Remnants of Sophia’s dinner of Chex Mix and Nutella chocolate spread were visible, especially the spoon sitting erect in the half-eaten jar–waiting to be tomorrow’s breakfast.

“Sophie?” yelled Zoe.
“In my bedroom,” Sophia yelled back. Zoe wended her way upstairs and through the maze of rooms in the large 1770s house. When she stepped into the bedroom, her heart sunk, realizing Sophia had slipped into an even darker funk than usual. Sophia lay curled in a fetal position on the left-side of the king-sized bed, where Marty, Sophia’s cheating, soon-to-be ex-husband, used to sleep. Sophia clung to Marty’s pillow, laughing through tears, as one of her favorite movies, “Bridget Jones’ Diary,” blared from the TV.

The scene playing was the one in which Bridget has been jilted by her lover and decides her path to happiness is Vodka and Chaka Khan. Sophia looked as if she too were striding down that path, but in reality, her puffy red face and her slits called eyes were the product of a moroseness that escalated to hysteria at a feather’s weight of provocation.
“Oh, you’re a good time,” said Zoe.
“Thanks, Zo. Come watch. This is my feel-good movie.”
“When does it start working?”
“Actually, it already has. I remember watching this film during the summer, when I was having my nervous breakdown over the fact that I sensed Marty was in an affair with Fugly, but he wouldn’t tell me the truth. All he kept saying was that I was crazy. Then he’d scream at me to trust him.”
“And this movie makes you feel better–why?” asked Zoe.
“At the time I was so miserable, and I regretted that I would never again know the heart-pounding rush of new love.”
“And you never will if you keep spitting bits of peanut crap in your dates’ faces then attacking them like a rabid rat.”
“You said my first Match date went well?”
“Did I, Sophie? Well don’t listen to anything I say.”
“Don’t worry. I don’t. Anyway, that’s the upside of what that prick Marty did to me. Do you see?”
“Not really. Do you have any wine?”
“On the counter in the kitchen, but let me finish my movie.”
“Sophie, you’ve seen it dozens of times. Let’s go downstairs and sing along with Mary J. Blige. Maybe we can pull up some cool guys on my webcam and dance for them. But for fuck’s sake, clean off your face. The mascara’s down to your chin.”
“Okay, Zo.”

Sophia poured them each a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon while Zoe shoved Sophia’s silent laptop out of the way and set up her own, the one with the built-in Webcam. They talked about how much they looked forward to having their children join them for Christmas. Zoe relayed her reticence about spending two days with George underfoot, but Sophia divulged that she was happy that Marty had agreed to join her and the children for Christmas Eve, even though he would be spending Christmas with his girlfriend, the insipid, troll-like Fugly.

“Hey, why don’t you write to James in Boston,” said Sophia.

“He’s mad at me.”
“I can’t commit. I don’t know what I’m looking for, Sophie. He’s a really sweet guy and a great lover, but I’m not ready to be in love yet.”
“I hear that, sister,” said Sophia with ridiculous bravado, since the only thing she’d learned about life in months was how to commit to a better brand of tissue to avoid her crusty nose syndrome, the one caused by crying so much.
“Let me see if I can’t get Marlon in Brooklyn to talk to us,” said Zoe, “He’s never seen you, and he might enjoy your dancing.”
“What do you like about him, Zo?”
“He has haunting eyes and he’s smart.”
“Don’t forget the “Burger” advice Nick gave you about James..” Nicholas Thorndyke was a childhood friend of Sophia’s, a painter who now lived in Vermont.  After Sophia’s breakup, he rushed to her side, and when she was not on the edge of madness, drooling and crying like a fool, she was grateful for Nick’s warm feelings. From time to time he drove down from Vermont to spend time with the women.
“What the fuck is “Burger” advice?”
“You remember Burger, Carrie’s boyfriend, on “Sex in the City.” He’s the one who advised Miranda that if a guy was too tired to join her for a night cap after a date and was not returning her calls or emails, that she should realize, “He’s just not that into you?”
“Yeah, alright, I remember,” said Zoe rolling her eyes and grimacing that her friend’s mental state was such that TV characters were her only other friends—characters from a show that had been off the air for several years. “Go on. What did Nick say?”
“He said that you should be careful that your attraction to Marlon from Brooklyn isn’t really about feeling adamant with respect to someone you can’t have, while marginalizing others who are throwing themselves at your feet.”
“Nick’s got some wisdom,” muttered Zoe. “Could you turn up the music?”

As Zoe connected with her Brooklyn crush, Sophia turned up the music and began to dance. She didn’t understand the Webcam had no wide-angle lense, so while she put on her best dance moves for Marlon, the only one who actually saw them was herself in the mirror since Zoe wasn’t paying the slightest bit of attention. But thinking she had an audience, Sophia whipped her long, blond hair as her leggy, slender torso grooved out to the music.  Then Zoe turned to her and said, “Well, I guess that’s that.”
“What do you mean?”
“Marlon’s decided the distance was too far between us to pursue a relationship, so he dumped me.”
“I’m sorry, Zo.”
“No problem. It’s like sand in water; the guys just line up. But I will say, he was my favorite so far, and I’ll miss those haunting eyes at night staring at me through the Webcam, which I’ve placed on the pillow next to mine every night since we started “dating.” That way, I sorta pretended he was there. Too bad I never got to meet the guy.”
“Bummer,” said Sophia, twirling around to MJB’s music. Then all of a sudden, the lyrics that said, LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT ALONE, started playing, and Sophia was off on a screaming fit of repeating the words, as one fist clutched a copy of Pema Chodron’s Buddhist teachings while she used the other fist to pound herself in the stomach, like some lunatic.
“SOPHIA, KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF.  I’M TRYING TO DATE HERE,” yelled Zoe over the clatter of MJB’s voice at full blast and Sophia crashing to the floor in her rocking despair.

Sophia stood up and lowered the music before saying, “My therapy session was good today.”
“I’m glad, Sophie, why was it good?”
“I realized that Marty’s betrayal was so devastating and my hurt is so deep, that I have trouble telling him I need to stay away from him for my survival. Unfortunately, that disconnect is excruciating for me, but if I don’t do it, I’ll never feel better.”
“What did your therapist say?”
“He asked again if I’d looked into volunteering at a nursing home.”
Zoe just looked at her friend quizzically, thinking perhaps Sophia had missed a few sentences in between her epiphany and the therapist’s advice. “What did you tell him?”
Sophia sighed and said, “I told him I was busy nurturing you right now.”
Zoe rolled her eyes and said, “Oh, that’s plausible.” Sophia looked over at her, about to balk at Zoe’s sarcasm, but she didn’t when she saw a misty look cross Zoe’s eyes. Then she said, “You’re really excited about the kids coming tomorrow, aren’t you?”
“How’d you know that’s what I was thinking?” asked Zoe.

Sophia knew Zoe so well that she often read her thoughts. She also knew Zoe was a fish out of water when the last child left the nest. She was the quintessential mother throughout their childhoods. Although George spent much of that time finding reasons not to work, Zoe worked her ass off making sure she could pay for the kids to go to the best schools and to attend any extra-curricular activities they wanted, from soccer and basketball to violin to trips to Paris and Africa. Zoe worked long hours her whole career, but she always had time to clean their large house by herself and to play with her kids, to teach them how to use a computer from the time they could talk and later, to toil over their homework with them. Her devotion and energy were unrivaled as far as Sophia could discern.

“Wow,” blurted Zoe, splintering the quiet moment. “Will you just look at who is on-line tonight?”
“Tom, the guy from D.C.”  The man Zoe referred to was an occasional virtual companion. He was a political lobbyist in Washington D.C., who was just selected as campaign chairman to help some wild, liberal Democratic candidate begin his run against President Obama. Zoe realized this could be a short-lived, rather unfulfilling career move, but she didn’t care. The guy loved phone sex.
“What’s he want?” asked Sophia.
“What do you think?”
“Should I go to bed now?” asked Sophia.
“Give it a few minutes. Let’s dance for him.” By this time Aretha Franklin was belting out tunes, and Zoe jumped up to join Sophia dancing.  Zoe’s long, lean body moved sensuously as the women gave it their jazzy best to get Tom from D.C. worked up. This wasn’t difficult since he spent countless hours on-line getting worked up by quite a few women and Zoe knew this. After a couple of songs, Zoe put her hand on Sophia’s shoulder and said, “As much as I like your company, you need to take your Nutella upstairs now and either have your nightly text war with Marty or watch Bridget run down the street in her underwear and hurl herself into the arms of her new love, Mark Darcy. Three’s a crowd.”

“Is that a Buddhist request, Zo?”
“Sounds like.”

As Zoe and Tom from D.C. did their thing downstairs, Sophia decided to ignore Zoe’s instructions, especially about the Nutella since she was saving the rest of the jar for breakfast. Instead, she took the tattered pages of Pema’s Buddhist teachings upstairs and started to read about the notion of abandoning hope. What she understood was that “hope” could be imbued with a non-conventional meaning.  According to Pema, hope can be the other side of fear. So, if Sophia hoped for something to be a certain way, then she’d be consumed by the fear that it wouldn’t turn out the way she wanted it to. Hopelessness, on the other hand, could led to confidence that she was okay just as she was, allowing Sophia to find self-love, while embracing the groundless open space of existence. After she finished reading, she started making signs to pin up all over the house that said, “ABANDON HOPE.”

All of a sudden, Zoe burst through the door.
“OMG,” she cried. “You won’t believe what just happened. While Tom from D.C. and I were having our “date,” I DIDN’T KNOW THE WEBCAM WAS ON, AND MARLON FROM BROOKLYN WATCHED THE WHOLE THING. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Without saying a word, Sophia held up one of her signs as the answer: “ABANDON HOPE.”
“Hey Sophie, you’re outta food. Let’s go to my house and have a spinach salad. But you can’t have any freaky fits, okay? I have to keep the house clean.  My children are coming tomorrow.”

Without bothering to change from her nightgown, Sophia followed Zoe out to her car, and the mercurial, fifty-something single women sped off on another adventure as the Sublime Consumers of the Lightness of Being.

To be continued…read about Zoe & Sophia’s preparations for their trip to Florida then the trip itself. But as you can see, these women need your advice. Won’t you please offer them some?

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  1. Maizy
    January 7th, 2010 at 01:17 | #1

    Hahahahaha Zo is funny NO FREAKY FITS INDEED

  2. Maizy
    January 7th, 2010 at 02:06 | #2

    That Zo is funny huh! Soph my sweet it does not sound. Like Marty is worth the heart ache of nasty nose and internal injury Zo is right lay off the freaky stuff lady

  3. Maizy
    January 7th, 2010 at 02:09 | #3

    That Zo is funny huh! Soph my sweet it does not sound. Like Marty is worth the heart ache of nasty nose and internal injury Zo is right lay off the freaky stuff lady. . .

  4. January 7th, 2010 at 15:53 | #4

    Sophie agrees that Marty’s not worth the pot he pisses in. But…Sohie’s a little hurt that you think she can lay off being freaky. It comes with the miserable territory. However, since any advice is better than no advice–she’ll try to control her fits! Thanks for the advice, sweet fan.

  5. January 7th, 2010 at 15:56 | #5

    Zo agrees with you that Sophie is given to wild fits of frenzied dispair…the poor, poor thing. But Zo loves her because she knows Sophie’s trying to let off steam at the same time she’s trying to LET GO ala her idol, Pema Chodron. Thanks for the observation, sweet fan.

  6. February 12th, 2010 at 04:13 | #6

    I am completely impressed with the article I have just read. I wish the writer of juliekknight.com can continue to provide so much productive information and unforgettable experience to juliekknight.com readers. There is not much to state except the following universal truth: It’s hard to retro-fit correctness. I will be back.

  7. March 9th, 2010 at 13:21 | #7

    Hi, Joenbaldwin (if that’s your name)
    Is that really your name? Zoe and Sophia want to know if you are a man or a woman. They are also thrilled that you think what they do is productive. Which thing do you think is most productive–getting Chex Mix stuck on Florida Guy’s butt or doing Buddhist meditation in the tanning booth? They love the universal truth bit. Is saying that it’s “hard to retro-fit correctness,” the same as saying we can’t re-write history. Or is it the same as saying we can’t un-ring that bell. Or is it the same as saying we can wish that horrible wrongs committed against people in the past could be corrected, but they can’t, that all we can do is define what is correct for today and go forward with that value in our pockets? Zoe and Sophia are screaming for me to shut up because they say I’m blathering on and it’s irritating them. So I’ll close with telling you that I hope you come back, but don’t return unless you bring dates for Zoe and Sophia. And they’d better be good ones. No toads, do you hear me?
    Rock on You…whatever your name is.

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