Zoe & Sophia Enjoy a “Sleepy” Webcam Morning and Rethink Dancing for An Interstate Audience

January 11th, 2010

January 11th 2010

Thank you for the WONDERFUL ADVICE you’ve offered the 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 be so generous. For instance, what advice would you give your BFF as she cried, “I CAN’T SEEM TO PLEASE ANYONE–WHAT DO I DO?”Any advice you can give to Zoe would be helpful, but this is what Sophia said.

Just before dawn broke on a Sunday morning in early January, Zoe awoke to the second day of solid snowfall. The last thing she remembered before going to sleep was lying in bed with her laptop on her stomach watching “Nurse Betty.” Sophia was lying next to her engaged in a text war with her soon-to-be-ex Marty. But when Zoe looked to her left, all she saw was her laptop lying where Sophia had been. Sparky, Zoe’s incontinent stoke-victim yellow Lab, was asleep on his pad on the floor, surrounded by sizable turds his bottom had purged involuntarily during the night. Just as every other morning, Zoe knew the moment she stirred, she would have to race Sparky to the back door and get him outside before his bladder let loose in a steady stream all over the floor. Silently she counted “one, two, three…GO.” Zoe grabbed Sparky’s collar and made a mad dash through the kitchen, then pulled open the door and shoved him gently through it.

What Zoe didn’t know was that Sophia was sitting outside the door doing a Buddhist meditation. The train wreck which followed occurred when Sparky tried to go up and over Sophia to relieve himself. He knocked Sophia out of her proper meditation posture, and she lay sideways with her legs still akimbo and her face smashed into the yellowed snow. Because it was not yet light, Zoe didn’t see Sophia, so she tripped over her and landed face down in the white powder, barely missing poor Sparky. Zoe pulled herself into a crouching position and squeezed Sparky’s mid-section, helping the dog express the last of his urine. Throughout, Sophia remained, like a wooden Buddha, lying cross-legged on her side.

“Sophie, what the fuck are you doing? Get inside,” yelled Zoe as she brushed the snow off herself.
“Okay,” Sophia said, detangling her legs and standing up stiffly. “What’s on the agenda for today?”
“Go take a shower. You’re covered in pee,” said Zoe.

When Sophia emerged from the bathroom, she wandered into the kitchen and noticed that Zoe’s lap top was turned on, and the table was piled with various files from work, but Zoe was nowhere to be seen. Zoe was a top level executive in a company that negotiated contracts coast to coast for actors, musicians and others in the entertainment field. She earned her excellent income by working long hours, even on the weekends. To the world she appeared a sophisticated, meticulously dressed professional, who had every aspect of her life in check. As Sophia started to go look for Zoe, she heard a banging sound coming from outside. She put on her coat over her bathrobe, and went to investigate. What she found was the Zoe she knew, dressed in a 1940s mink coat, long johns and knee-high wellington boots, raking snow off the roof.

“Could you grab a shovel,” Zoe yelled down, “We need a pathway to our cars. We’re supposed to have a lunch date at noon.”
“This is a blizzard, Zo. I think we need to cancel.”
In the spirit of the U. S. Postal Service of not allowing rain, sleet, snow or hail to thwart her mission,” Zoe yelled down, “Just do it.”

But Sophia was right. The weather was too inclement to permit travel. A half hour later, the women sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee and looking out the window of Zoe’s 1790 home on Lake Winnipesaukee.
“Isn’t New Hampshire pretty when it snows?” said Sophia.
“Whatever. Why can’t we live somewhere warm this time of year?”
“Did you forget we’re going to Florida next week?” asked Sophia.
“Shit. I haven’t even thought about what to take.”
“Let’s do that today.”
“Do what?”
“Let’s start packing for Florida.”
“Okay, but first let me try to get Jackson from Florida on-line to check out the weather down there,” said Zoe. Jackson was a tall, handsome, successful African American man whom Zoe had been virtually “dating” for a couple of months. He’d invited the women to come visit him for a week. Zoe shot off an email to him, and Jackson jumped on-line within a minute. Then Zoe booted up her webcam so the three of them could talk. He too was drinking his Sunday morning coffee and reading the New York Times.

After a few minutes of benign conversation, Sophia said, “Ask him if he wants us to dance for him.”
“He can hear you and see you, Sophie. And no, we are not dancing for him this morning. In fact, I’m a little “sleepy.” You stay out here and read one of your Buddhist books or something. I’m going into my bedroom with Jackson and take a little nap.” With this, Zoe flipped back her blond hair, grabbed her lap top, and sashayed her slender torso and long, lean legs to the bedroom, closing the door behind her.

Normally, Sophia would have pulled one of Pema Chodron’s books of Buddhist teachings from her purse and started to read the tattered pages, which were covered in food and tears. But she felt slightly abandoned and wanted to communicate with someone, so she decided to see if she had any new emails. She found two of them. One was from Marty, her soon-to-be-ex, telling her that he was leaving their marital home momentarily and wouldn’t need it for the next three nights. The battle she fought and lost the week before was for Marty not to stay at their house on the nights he couldn’t stay at his girlfriend’s. Marty’s girlfriend, Fugly, as Sophia called her, had visitation with her children certain nights. Sophia presumed that Fugly’s famous musician husband and legendary father-in-law did not think Marty should sleep at Fugly’s on the nights the children were there.

Marty apparently didn’t have enough influence to force the issue with Fugly, so he insisted upon sleeping at the marital home on the off nights, notwithstanding that it was driving Sophia insane. Sophia’s anger and helplessness escalated every time she thought about having to find elsewhere to sleep those nights. She railed against the unfairness of having her life governed by Fugly’s child visitation schedule. But one thing Sophia and Marty knew for sure was if they spent the night under the same roof, in the morning there might not be a roof.
Rather than fixating on her despair, Sophia opened the second email, from her niece Llewellyn, which read:

Hi, Aunt Sophie. How are you? I hear you have a lot of snow up there. Down here in Texas, it’s really hot. I’m writing because a friend and I are flying up to Vermont next month to go skiing for a week, and I want to see you while I’m up there. I hope you’re adjusting to life without that cheating bastard Uncle Marty. I thought men in their fifties would have it more together than the twenty-somethings I date. But I guess disinterested (unless you count horny as a synonym for interest) and self-absorbed pricks crop up everywhere. How silly of me to assume that the ratio of assholes (with their transparent “a-hole-is-a-hole” attitude) to genuinely interested men, naturally leveled out in direct proportion to their need for Erectile Dysfunction prescriptions. Anyway, my friend says you should bring “Auntie” Zoe too and any of my cousins because we’ll have her family’s large ski lodge all to ourselves, and it has plenty of bedrooms. I love you. LuLu

Sophia was tickled to hear from her beloved niece, and couldn’t wait to tell Zoe. But she would have to wait since it didn’t appear Zoe would be free any time soon. Rather than hang around, Sophia decided to pack up her stuff and drive five miles through the blizzard to her home, now that Marty was gone.

Several hours later, after the snow let up, Zoe drove to Sophia’s house. She brought with her a change of clothes and her bag full of make-up, lotions and hair paraphernalia. When she walked through the door, she was aghast at what she found. Every surface in the living room was covered with piles of summer clothes. Zoe covered her ears to block the soundtrack to South Pacific, which blared full-blast. Sophia, dressed in a bra and a grass Hula Skirt, was dancing barefoot amidst scattered bits of shard from several shattered plates, singing “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Out of my Hair” at the top of her lungs.
“Fuck sake, Sophie, what are doing?”
“Packing for Florida.”
“Did you forget we have a dinner date in Dover tonight?”
“I thought we cancelled due to weather.”
“No snow days for us, girl. Anyway, that was our lunch date. And what’s with the broken plates?”
“I’ve been wallpapering. Come see.”

Zoe followed Sophia upstairs to the narrow hallway which led to the master bedroom. Plastered along one wall were several pictures of Fugly.
“Where’d you get those, Sophie?”
“Marty must have forgotten to take them with him. They were on his nightstand.”
“Why did you put them on this wall?”
Sophia ripped away one of the glued-on photos, revealing a hole the size of a fist.”
“This is the hole Marty punched in the wall last summer as he screamed, “WHY CAN’T YOU FUCKING TRUST ME?” And with this, Sophia fell to the floor sobbing.

“Go take another shower, Sophie. “You’re scarier than a Stephen King novel, Marty’s a shithead, and we have a date. Just do it.”
“Okay, Zo.  Did I tell you that Fugly has fat, misshapen thighs with purple pimples on them?”

“Many times.”

After their showers, the two women spent the next hour side-by-side in the bathroom, applying lotion and moisturizers to their well-preserved faces and limbs, drying their blond hair, and artistically making up their lovely faces. As they dressed in pencil skirts and cashmere sweaters, Sophia asked, “How was your day, Zo?”
“It sucked.”
“Why?”
“James from Boston is mad at me because we’re going to see Jackson in Florida next week.  Marlon from Brooklyn is mad at me because I’m honest with him about the guys I date. He says I’m whipping him with the truth. George is mad at me because I asked him to dogsit Sparky tonight, and on and on and on. But let me tell you what Jackson said.”
“Wait a sec, Zo, I forgot to tell you–Lulu’s coming up to Vermont in February on a ski trip, and she invited us to come along.”
“Too bad it’s not warm in Vermont in February. But it would be great to see Lulu again. Shit, look at the time. Hurry up or we’ll be late.”
Just as they climbed into the car, Sophia’s phone rang.
“Hello.”
“It’s Marty. I left some pictures at the house. Please don’t destroy them.”
“Not to worry. Hey, Marty, this arrangement isn’t working. You need to figure out something else. I don’t give a shit why you can’t live at Fugly’s full-time, but you can’t stay at the house anymore. I can’t keep moving around like a gypsy.”
“You’re such a selfish bitch, Sophie.”
“Bite my long, lean thighs and beautiful butt, Marty. You made your bed, now go fuck Fugly in it, and leave me alone.” With this, she slid her phone shut and burst into tears.”
“STOP CRYING,” shouted Zoe.
“Why?”
“Your makeup will smear. Fuck sake, could you just arrive at one of our dates looking as if you weren’t entirely off your rocker?”
“I don’t think so, Zo.”
“Read some of Pema’s Buddhist teachings for a few minutes. But do not read them aloud to our dates this time, okay?”
“Ok.”

Sophia opened Pema’s book When Things Fall Apart and began reading. After a few minutes she turned to Zoe to tell her about what she was reading.  Sophia explained that when things fall apart in our lives, we can find the tender, vulnerable place in ourselves, and we have a choice to either shut down, letting our bitterness take over, or we can feel that tender place and embrace the groundlessness. Instead of expecting that life can be lived without pain, we can accept that everything is forever changing, which can be painful. But we can grow if we stop grasping at a past that is gone. Rather than forever running only toward those things that make us feel good, we can slow down, and begin to love that tender, hurting place within us. We can also grow and heal by letting go of trying to control the way life unfolds and just appreciate what life is in this instant.

As Zoe negotiated the icy roads, she listened and nodded thoughtfully. When Sophia finally took a breath, Zoe cut in and said, “You know, Pema’s all about compassion, even toward people who hurt us. Through compassion, we can find our noble hearts.”
“Humm,” added Sophia, just as they parked the car and headed on foot into the cold night.

The dates Zoe chose for the evening were sight unseen, except for the thumbnail picture of hers from Match.com.  He’d agreed to bring a friend for Sophia. The two women looked ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS as they walked slowly into the crowded, dimly lit Blue Latitudes restaurant in Dover. Then Zoe spied her guy sitting at the bar. She grabbed Sophia’s arm and began backing out the door.
“What’s wrong, Zo?”
“I’m sorry,” said Zoe, “I just can’t spend an evening with that toad.”
“How do you know he’s a toad?”
“I can tell from here. Let’s go back to your house and clean up the broken plates. Then we’ll sort through your clothes and pick stuff for you to wear to Florida. We need to find some open space in this evening, and it isn’t here.”

“Is that a Buddhist thing, Zo.”
“Dunno.”

As they scurried back to the car, Zoe texted her Match date to cancel, just before her phone rang.

“Hello…oh, it’s you. Hi,” said Zoe, her facing lighting up.
“It’s Jackson in Florida,” she mouthed to Sophia.
“I tried to tell Sophie that earlier, honey,” Zoe purred into the phone. As they drove out of Dover, Zoe listened to Jackson talk. Sophia wasn’t paying attention. Instead, she stared out at the stars and the falling snow, feeling peaceful for the first time that day. Suddenly, Zoe put down her phone and burst into tears.

“What’s wrong?” asked Sophia.
“Now Jackson’s mad at me.”
“Why?”
“He said I didn’t sound that enthusiastic about visiting him.”
“That’s ridiculous. You’re excited, aren’t you?”
“Totally. “BUT–I JUST CAN’T SEEM TO PLEASE ANYONE–WHAT DO I DO?”
“I watched a re-run of the Bill Cosby show yesterday.”
“That’s not so helpful, Sophie.”
“Wait, listen. I once read a quote by Bill Cosby. He said, “I DON’T KNOW THE KEY TO SUCCESS, BUT THE KEY TO FAILURE IS TRYING TO PLEASE EVERYBODY.”
“That works,” said Zoe.
“You forgot to tell me what Jackson said to you earlier.”
“I can’t remember now.  Hey, let’s go tanning on our way home.”
“Okay,” said Sophia, with more enthusiasm than she’d expressed all day.
“Did you bring your eye goggles?”
“I never go anywhere without them. The tanning bed is the absolute best place to do my Buddhist meditation. You know that, Zo.”
Whatever.”

Off roared Zoe and Sophia, the amazing, single, fifty-something women, on another adventure as the Sublime Consumers of the Lightness of Being.

To be continued, but read about Zoe & Sophia’s preparations for their trip to Florida then the trip itself.  But if you want to read earlier adventures, keep reading the posts below.  And, as you can see, these women need your advice, so please, keep your comments rolling!

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  1. Arthur Fonzarelli
    January 11th, 2010 at 12:18 | #1

    Hole in the wall? Pictures of Fugly? Fact or Fiction?
    Guess who…

  2. January 11th, 2010 at 15:01 | #2

    Hi, Mr. Cool Guy,
    Zoe wants me to tell you she loves your last name. Sophia, although she was crying too hard to talk much, wanted me to tell you your last name reminds her of one of her favorite TV characters, The Fonz. They both said, if you like this adventure, you should keep reading down. I say to you, Mr. Cool Guy Fonzie…Julie K never kisses and tells.
    Rock on, sweet fan.
    J.

  3. AMI
    January 11th, 2010 at 15:22 | #3

    Sophia, your niece LuLu sounds positively marvelous- I would love to meet her someday! :) I truly hope she can make it up to Vermont soon and feel sure that she will bring extra reserves of soft tissue and Nutella with her when she does. The story about the Fugly wallpaper was hilarious and sounds like it provided Sophia with a much needed sense of retribution. My personal vote is that Sophia use something more permanent like gorilla glue to start adding to the collage of evil-doing. Then, someday soon when Sophia is feeling like she no longer needs the physical evidence of her smoldering fury and Marty’s selfish, cliched, mid(or not-so-mid) life crisis bullshit around for comfort (which is still completely reasonable right now) LuLu can fly up for an impromptu visit and they can knock it down together and build something new and truly beautiful in it’s place, that will belong only to Sophie and serve as a reminder to her that it is ok to let ugly things be ugly for now, just so long as you eventually replace them with something lovely and positive for yourself. xoxo

    P.S. I wish Sophie werent wasting so many of her tears on Marty, when she could be using them to celebrate the wonderful things in her life…like LuLu :)

  4. Joan Debow
    January 11th, 2010 at 15:43 | #4

    OK this is a repeat because I posted in the wrong place…

    Although Zoe seems the hard-ass she must be an amazingly generous person to want to love a dog with such messy problems! She should really think about selling that house in NH on the Lake and get a nice place in the city with a walkout patio and big back yard for Sparky. Hey! More chances of meeting a “real” guy. Besides all that snow in NH can’t be good for the vintage fur coat!

    Perhaps Sophia would like a little joint compound to help make the photos over the holes more permanent? Or!…She could have them heat transferred on to a T-shirt that she wore to the bed that she shares on alternate days with Marty?

  5. Fonzie
    January 11th, 2010 at 16:09 | #5

    Hmmm, someone I know just got a job silk-screening tee shirts. Might be easier to pull off the Fugly shirt than you think.

    And Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli is by far one of the coolest American sit-com icons to date…

  6. January 13th, 2010 at 18:28 | #6

    I think silk screen t-shirts sound like a good idea, sweet fan. Niece Lulu and her mother are thinking they might try distributing some with the logo, “You go, girls. Zo & So Are Tripping the Light Fantastic.” Do you think that’s a good logo Fonzi? I think ANYONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would prefer to look at pictures of Zoe and Sophia than of Fugly, unless they really love trolls. In that case, she’s got the field all to herself.
    Keep writing, sweet fan, Fonzi.

  7. January 13th, 2010 at 18:31 | #7

    You are right, dear wonderful fan…at least Sophia thinks so. She loves Zoe dearly and knows her noble heart, especially toward poor Sparky. Who else would devote such loving kindness toward an incontinent dog that everyone stares at when he walks sideways and emits poop without warning? Zoe has a HUGE HEART, at least that’s what Sophia thinks, along with dozens of Zoe’s dates. Keep writing, sweet sister…and rock on while you’re at it.
    J.

  8. January 13th, 2010 at 18:43 | #8

    Hi, sweet Lulu.
    Okay, let me just tell you a thing or two about Lulu. The reason the new wall had to go up in the first place in that hallway was that when Lulu was about 12 years old she was doing a fancy dance step and put her foot through the wall. It was years later before that cheating, lazy son of a pathalogical liar got around to fixing the wall. Then presto…he punched a new hole in it for Sophia to fix, as he tippped out the door to go F^%$k Fugly. Ironic, isn’t it? Sophia wants you to know that she grew fond of the old hole because everytime she looked at it, she thought of her beloved Lulu. Zoe wanted me to tell you that first, she loves Lulu to bits, and second, she thinks the gorilla glue is a good idea. But she thinks a better idea might be to sketch two gross thighs covered in purple pimples that hang from the gaping, fist sized hole. What do you think, Lulu?

  9. Maizy
    January 13th, 2010 at 19:39 | #9

    I love LuLu sooo much … she says all the right things to Auntie So … things Poppy should say sometimes but…. Anyway how much do I love Zo … she is all over it … Is that a Zen Thang “whatevah” indeed I agree… Oh and Sparky needs doggy Depends … Zo must have a good heart b/c if Sparky was my dog well let’s just say I am a little tooooo self centered to worry about his problems!

    Ohhhhh and how funny is Soph when she just sits in the pee snow … Soph I agree with LuLu fewer tears for Marty … Eventually it won’t hurt so much

  10. January 14th, 2010 at 18:42 | #10

    @Joan Debow
    Hello, sweet fan
    Sophia said, “Just so you know “joint” compound…well, let’s just say “joint” for short. In the joint, on the joint, over the joint, with a joint.” Okay, that was Sophia and she gets a little carried away. Zoe says compound nouns, compound verbs, compound men, pound, pound, pound….” Okay, it’s time to shut both of them up. They’re getting ready for a date, and they lose their minds a little trying to think about words, concepts, emotions, holes in walls, hysteria. Oh, shit. There I go. Let’s suffice it to say, that Zoe has a very big heart for man and beast and especially for BFFs. Keep writing, dear fan.
    Giddy up, sister.

  11. January 14th, 2010 at 18:51 | #11

    Okay, which one of you let Sparky hear that he needs doggy depends…don’t you know Sparky is not only tender in the heart, but SERIOUSLY VAIN. Now, he thinks the whole world is laughing at his anus. Poor Sparks. Zoe thinks Maizy is wicked cool. And Lulu told me to tell Maizy that she’s amazing. Sophia is hanging upside down from the shower rod, but she did ask that I convey you must be the most amazing Maizy in the whole wide world…you are, aren’t you? Oh, shit, now she’s screaming “I and I have fun in the shower stall.” Let’s get that Rasta (not) lunatic to the bin, where I believe, everyone agrees she belongs.
    Kick it up, sweet sistah.

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