Barbarella
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That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in another. — Adlai Stevenson

I sidled up to David and waited for him to finish explaining his artistic process to a group of his admirers. Silent and smiling, I took a moment to savor the vision of my man endearing himself to others with his artistic perfectionism and personal charm.

When I wasn’t answering questions about my man’s photographs (drawing from an osmotic knowledge acquired from years of gallery sidekicking), I spent my time appraising the trendy attire worn by the fashionistas strolling through the showrooms of Los Angeles’s Pacific Design Center. Five hours later, fatigued from sustaining an unnatural level of agreeability, I was finally alone with David in our hotel room.

“How are you feeling?” I asked.

“Good. Well, tired,” said David. He sat on the bed and kicked off his shoes. “I was just thinking how nice it would be to have a break.”

I removed the clip from my hair, shook out my curls, and sat down beside him. “Isn’t this a break? I mean, we’re out of town, away from our day-to-day responsibilities. It’s nice to be away.”

“I mean a real break, like a whole week where we don’t think about any work at all.”

“We’d have to go somewhere far away from civilization,” I said. “I love technology, but we’re slaves to being connected. The one major downside to working from home is that you never get to go home from work.”

David nodded at my observation. Though we spend almost all of our time together, it’s rare for us actually to be together in that New-Agey presence-of-mind sort of way. At home, we are each at our respective desks from the moment we’re awake until we crawl into bed. As times have been getting harder (i.e., galleries closing and our home being worth less than we owe), David and I have been hustling with an ever-increasing intensity. Our “downtime” has been relegated to sharing short breaks throughout the day, during which we’re most likely thinking about what we should be doing instead of taking a break.

Over our anniversary weekend, David and I attended the reception for his exhibition, visited with a handful of friends, and drove to San Luis Obispo to deliver and install one of his pieces. By Sunday morning I began to stress the way I always do on the last day of any trip as I start to visualize the pile of bills, emails, and chores that await me at home.

We were going through our usual checkout checklist, first packing our toiletries, then sweeping the room for any forgotten chargers, when I stopped and said, “Forget about this. We have plenty of time. Let’s go have breakfast.” I tossed a towel onto the bed to demonstrate my dedication to carefreeness and followed David out the door.

“I have an idea,” said David. They were his first words since we were seated, and I was already on my second cup of coffee. I raised my brows in question. “We could make a ritual of doing the Sunday New York Times together — lots of people do it.”

“Why would we do that? We can read the news on our laptops,” I said.

“No, you’re missing the point,” David said, a frustrated edge creeping into his tone. “It’s not about reading the news. It’s about the Sunday magazine, the crossword —”

“You want to do puzzles together?”

“No!” David took a deep breath and let it out slowly as he considered an alternative approach. “There’s an entire mood. Think about a lazy Sunday morning, the early morning light.” His voice took on a dreamy quality. “A cup of tea or coffee, both in pajamas.” I refrained from pointing out the fact that we don’t own pajamas and replaced the word with “robes” in my imagined scene. “We’re both on the couch, the paper spread out, reading book reviews or theater reviews or lifestyle articles, doing the crossword puzzle. And we might share bits, like the travel section, and have classical music or any kind of music on the stereo. It’s relaxing and indulgent. Definitely not the news — we wouldn’t be reading articles about what Obama’s doing. The point is to escape that.”

“Then why not read books?” I said. “Or we can bring our laptops to the couch and read the New York Times online.”

This time, David laughed. “Maybe it’s a generational thing,” he said. Because we share so many interests, and people often mistake David and me for being the same age, I tend to forget there are 16 years between us.

“Just because I don’t understand it yet doesn’t mean I won’t like it if I try it,” I said. “Hey, why don’t we do it today?”

“No, that wouldn’t be a proper experience, the whole thing — remember? — the whole thing is to have a lazy Sunday morning. You can’t have an un-lazy morning checking out of a hotel and driving home from L.A. and then be lazy. It just doesn’t work that way. That would be like baking a cake and putting the eggs in after you baked it.”

“Maybe you’re right,” I said. “Maybe this is just one of those age things that I’m not going to get. You know, like Gilligan’s Island or WKRP, or any of those old shows you Netflixed.”

“Or I Dream of Jeannie,” David added.

“No, I like I Dream of Jeannie. Because there’s magic in it.”

David chuckled and shook his head. “Haven’t you ever read newspapers?”

“My dad did,” I said. “Oh, wait, yeah, I can remember taking the funnies out on Sundays because they were in color. But I don’t understand what the difference is — if you want to read stories, we can read stories online. Heather and Sean have a Kindle. You can get the news on that, and we wouldn’t be distracted by email or other websites. We could focus on the one publication. You know, together.”

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Comments

aquarimary Oct. 7, 2009 @ 11:36 a.m.

Geez- just indulge the guy a little bit! You can keep your laptop nearby if your scared at first....once you try it you'll understand.And if you don't get it, at least you tried something new.

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Barbarella Fokos Oct. 7, 2009 @ 11:50 a.m.

Wow, this posted early. True, Aqua, I'm with you. We haven't had a chance yet, but I'm looking forward to our first "Sunday Morning New York Times" experience this coming Sunday! And I'll even make the coffee. :)

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Kansaskid Oct. 7, 2009 @ 2:02 p.m.

Good grief. My bride, 14 years younger, also has no idea about the theraputic value of newsprint. Browsing through the paper, New York or San Diego, is of value in and of itself. You just can't get it from a computer. While preparing to travel to the Midwest for a class reunion I was talking to an old buddy about the bike rides the five of us used to take out to Horseshoe Cliff. Now a lot of people drove out to the cliffs but only the kids rode their bikes. The quality of the experience on two wheels as opposed to four wheels is about the same as newsprint vs. computer. Try it out, you may enjoy comments on page 7 or 9 that would never be noticed on the screen.

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MsGrant Oct. 7, 2009 @ 4:33 p.m.

My husband and I read the paper together in bed every weekend. I put the paper in order after removing the ads and then he steals my sections and messes everything up. We drink coffee and read Dear Abby and our horoscopes, and just take our time. It can be hard to not think about what needs to be done, but you can break that habit by replacing with a better habit - having fun reading the paper! The chores can wait. And I still read the funnies - every day.

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Josh Board Oct. 7, 2009 @ 4:44 p.m.

Wait a second. Why in the world did he Netflix Gilligan's Island? I seriously need to know the answer to that.

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Barbarella Fokos Oct. 7, 2009 @ 5:20 p.m.

Ha! That's a good question, Josh. Probably because I made him watch all of the movies from my childhood, listed in this older story: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20.... He wanted to give me a sense of what HIS childhood had been like, TV-wise. I'm still traumatized. ;)

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LuckyJay Oct. 7, 2009 @ 8:42 p.m.

I can relate to David, one of the things I look forward to most is watching Sunday Morning, with a non-fat latte out of a mug with my Love. If the show is TiVoed or segments are viewed online, it's just not the same. It has to be Sunday morning, coffee in a mug and with my Love, no exceptions!

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Josh Board Oct. 8, 2009 @ 12:58 a.m.

I'm all for having the significant other watch things from childhood. But it's up to the person to pick stuff that's watchable!

I sometimes show my girlfriend movies I saw as a kid that I thought were cool, like My Bodyguard. Or a TV series like Taxi, White Shadow, and the one you mentioned, WKRP. Sure, a scene or two might not hold up, but for the most part, they still worked.

I'd never subject someone to Three's Company, Married With Children, or Gilligans Island -- perhaps the three worst shows in TV history.

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malinhead Oct. 8, 2009 @ 7:16 a.m.

I just did "tech cold turkey" in Ireland for two weeks. I hope you try a quiet Sunday with the New York Times. Who knows maybe even a kid like yourself could enjoy it!!

Tia Diana AD

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 9, 2009 @ 2:13 p.m.

I was talking to an old buddy about the bike rides the five of us used to take out to Horseshoe Cliff. Now a lot of people drove out to the cliffs but only the kids rode their bikes. The quality of the experience on two wheels as opposed to four wheels is about the same as newsprint vs. computer. Try it out, you may enjoy comments on page 7 or 9 that would never be noticed on the screen.

By Kansaskid

Excellent point KK.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 9, 2009 @ 2:19 p.m.

I'd never subject someone to Three's Company, Married With Children, or Gilligans Island -- perhaps the three worst shows in TV history.

By JoshBoard

My gawd, how can anyone with a brain say that Gilligan's Island is one of the worst shows in TV history? JB, that's it, we can no longer communicate on friendly terms.

Gilligan's Island has been on TV, continuously, since 1964. ANY show that is on TV for a solid 45 years should be in the TV Hall of Fame-and that show certainly deserves it.

I bet you also hated;

1- I Love Lucy 2- The Honeymooners 3- Seinfeild 4- The Beverly Hillbillies 5- The Brady Bunch 6- The Patridge Family ...............did I leave any other classics out?

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 9, 2009 @ 2:27 p.m.

Is that a beaver on David's head?

By tikicult

he wears it well, whatever it is :)

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Barbarella Fokos Oct. 9, 2009 @ 4:02 p.m.

Not a beaver, a hedgehog. And yes, he does wear it well, doesn't he? ;) In other news, this Sunday (two days away), I will give it a shot -- we're going to get the paper version of the NYT and do a lazy Sunday morning. Means I'll miss the Hillcrest Farmer's Market, but I'll try to get most of my goods a day early at the Little Italy Mercato tomorrow. I'll report back and let you know if I find reading the paper to be enjoyable.

On a side note, SurfPuppy, I love Seinfeld, but couldn't stand Gilligan's island. Too hokey for me.

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David Dodd Oct. 9, 2009 @ 4:04 p.m.

Here's the thing about the paper version of the NYT: It is virtually impossible for hackers to ruin it for you :)

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Barbarella Fokos Oct. 9, 2009 @ 4:06 p.m.

Ha! Good point, refried. In case you're all wondering what refried is talking about, my Twitter account got hacked today, but I'm pretty sure I fixed it all up. http://www.twitter.com/barbarellaf

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Josh Board Oct. 9, 2009 @ 4:24 p.m.

Hey...that animal on Davids head looks better than what the Donald has on his head!

Regarding those shows...airing continuously doesn't mean something is good. Look at the horrible movies that make $100 million at the box office. Too many idiots in the world, and also the whole nostalgia of people that may want to watch a show from their childhood.

Regarding the shows you mentioned:

1- I Love Lucy. I HAVE NEVER SEEN an episode of this show. But the clips always crack me up. The bon bon factory, eating them as they came down the line. Or the mirror reflection. Some good stuff.

2- The Honeymooners. THIS SHOW IS AMAZING. One of the first sitcoms in TV history, and still holds up well. Jackie Gleason and Carney were comic gold.

3- Seinfeild. GREAT, great show. But also an overrated show.

4- The Beverly Hillbillies. I watched it as a kid and liked it. Not sure how it holds up, though.

5- The Brady Bunch. I loved it, as does every kid that had those goofy jew-fro hairstyles that the oldest kid had in the first season. But, I watched it a few times in my early 20s, and realized it wasn't a very good show.

6- The Patridge Family. I'VE NEVER SEEN THIS SHOW. The songs sucked, though. ...............did I leave any other classics out?

I've never seen a Newhart show, but thought Hogans Heroes was okay. Soap was alright (the spinoff Benson, wasn't very good, but I still watched it).

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 9, 2009 @ 10:40 p.m.

Hey...that animal on Davids head looks better than what the Donald has on his head!

The Donald has a dead squirrel on his head, dyed orange, not really a fair comparison.

The problem is the Donald's ego is so large he has no clue.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 9, 2009 @ 10:47 p.m.

JoshBoard-you have NEVER seen the Partridge Family???

It ran after the Brady Bunch on Friday nights. The netword (ABC??) ran three kids shows on Friday night, all in a row;

1- The Brady Bunch 2- The Partrideg Family 3- Nanny and the Professor

All good shows for kids.

The first three seasons (62,63 and 64) of the "Beverly Hillbillies" are by far the best (the B&W episodes), and they hold up very well to this day. The BHB was ranked #1 in all of television in 62 and 63, and were 3rd in 64.

"I Love Lucy" is the best comedy of all time. Ran 6 seasons and was #1 4 years out of the 6 and #2 the other 2 years. Hard to beleive you have never seen that show. The candy episode is one of the best, along with the "vitavegimean" espisode, and the grape stomping episode!

Seinfield is the best comedy in recent times, IMO...........

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Joe Poutous Oct. 10, 2009 @ 7:23 a.m.

There was only one reason to love Gilligan's Island. http://dwfautographs.com/Utopia_PhotosW/WellsDawn2_Gilligans_Island_30.jpg

You can tell a lot about a guy by asking the simple question: "Ginger or Mary Ann?"

  • Joe
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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 10, 2009 @ 8:21 a.m.

Mary Ann wins that challenge 9 times out of 10! And even today at 70+ Dawn Wells STILL looks good.

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Barbarella Fokos Oct. 10, 2009 @ 9:17 a.m.

Okay, this is hilarious. David just sent me this link from "Stuff White People Like," all about the Sunday New York Times: http://bit.ly/c5U0k

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forensiclawyer Oct. 13, 2009 @ 1:15 p.m.

As a 58 y/o male that called Los Angeles home from 1957 until January 27, 1970 due to enlisting in the USN, I can recall the Sunday "family" time with my mother, father and sister. My father would invite me to "go down" with him to Canters, a Deli on Fairfax, to purchase fish, bagles and fresh cream cheese to have for breakfast. On the way out of the Deli, he would stop and buy a Sunday Times from the "paperman" that was always there every Sunday selling newspapers. Upon arriving home, we, as a family, would consume what was bought. Then, all of us would each have their own "area" in which we would review and enjoy the "paper". My father in his easy chair, my mother at the kitchen table, my sister on the couch and me on the carpet, reading the comics. I remember reading "Henry, Rick-O-Shey Beetle Bailey" and other favorites. It was OUR time as a family to ponder that world of individual interests. I learned about the OP-Ed pages, history, geography, events of WWll and Korea, and yes, that weird place called Cambodia and Vietnam. Little did I or any family member realize just how familiar I would become with these strange sounding countries. Yes, that was a typical Sunday morning with my family. I cherish my memories of that era of my life with all the gusto of life itself.

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