Sunday, October 23, 2022

Carly Simon's Sisters

Two nights ago we were lying in bed -- me reading the New York Times and Dave drifting off to sleep -- when I exclaimed, "Oh my God! Both of Carly Simon's sisters died!"

(I don't know if you caught that news item, but they died within a day of each other, both from cancer in their early 80's. Carly herself is in her late 70's, which I find astonishing.)

To my surprise, Dave started laughing. Apparently he found it ridiculous that I should be at all concerned about Carly Simon's sisters. He laughed harder and harder, and you know how laughter is contagious -- so then I was laughing at him laughing. And all this over Carly Simon's family tragedy. So inappropriate -- which somehow made it funnier.

Sometimes I think I am a terrible person. But maybe being a bad person is like being insane -- if you suspect you are, then you're probably not.

Despite that momentary mirth, I actually feel like I've been unreasonably cranky lately. The other day I was handling my glasses and one of the arms snapped off. I got so annoyed, thinking I'd have to go to the optician and get them fixed, and of course I couldn't easily see how they'd broken because -- well -- glasses! I flung them down on a table and pouted about them, and later, when I fetched another pair of glasses and was able to finally examine the first pair, I realized they were easy to fix and I reconnected the arm with no problem. (They just clip on.)

And when I was wrestling with those Excel spreadsheets on Friday I kept groaning and exclaiming, to such an extent that one of my co-workers asked if I was OK.

Perhaps I need to relax. And have a little more sympathy for Carly Simon. (Although Dave was the primary offender there.)

Dave had to work most of yesterday -- he's helping kids prepare their auditions for an Honor Band competition -- and while he did that I spent the day on my own. I seldom get alone time at home, so it was nice, even though I spent most of it doing housework -- vacuuming, washing two loads of laundry, and scrubbing the bathroom, which is probably my least favorite household task. (Upside: The bathroom is beautiful now, or at least as beautiful as our bathroom is capable of being.)

Then I took the dog to the cemetery, which is looking quite autumnal.

I noticed that this dramatic gravestone has been thoroughly cleaned. It used to be very dark, with the exception of the angel's face, hands and feet, which had been scrubbed white. The effect was very odd. Now the whole thing has been washed and it looks much better.

Dave came home in the evening and made a pot of chili. We had a package of ground beef in the fridge that he'd planned to use, but it was two days past its expiration date and looking a bit gray, and I told him I wasn't sure using it was wise. I hate to throw away food, and we almost never do, but in this case he bought a fresh package. Better safe than sorry. I wouldn't want to end up in the cemetery, like... No, I am not going to say it.


Moving with Mitchell said...

Sometimes we just can’t help ourselves. It’s a sad story about Carly Simon’s sisters. Nice they lived into their 80s, but hard on family that they died at the same time. HOWEVER, yeah, I probably would have reacted like Dave to your shock. Is that going to be your monument? The angelic librarian?

Ed said...

I had no idea she had sisters, nor ever thought about it. After searching and reading their stories, it is really sad they both died from cancers. I keep hoping someday we will put an effort towards finding cures for it.

I've thought someday I would like to spend some time cleaning the gravestones of some of my ancestors. Some of them that I could read many years ago are almost unreadable now. But the ones that need it are the ones that are far away and thus would be at least an overnight trip to do so.

Andrew said...

Carly Simon...long dark curly hair...You're So Vain was about...not Richard Gere...Warren Beatty.

I know what to do with terrible men. You sound like my mother. In frustration at not being able to do something, she will throw it on the floor. But in her case, someone else will fix the problem.

Strange that a foot pokes out of the cemetery gravestone. It is one ugly set of toes.

Linda Sue said...

That poor stone figure has to stay on the same page for eternity, that is the problem with static art.Reminds me of the claymation "Closed Mondays",and the painting of the woman scrubbing the floor- forever. Gorgeous cemetery- Olga looking especially gorgeous too. Your contagious laughter infected me, way over here! The Simon "girls" were old and ill- death is no surprise. But they were babes, right? Who knew? Highly attractive!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Carly Simon said of her sisters Lucy and Joanna, "As sad as this day is, it's impossible to mourn them without celebrating the incredible lives that they lived. We were three sisters who not only took turns blazing trails and marking courses for one another, we were each other's secret shares. The co-keepers of each other's memories."

Please read this out to Dave and see if he keeps on laughing. We should not speak ill of the dead but we should also avoid giggling about them.

P.S. I wonder what the angel in the cemetery is reading. Perhaps "The Wrath of God" by Lucy and Joanna Simon.

Rachel Phillips said...

I'm with Dave. He wasn't laughing at the dead sisters at all. I have been known to have similar reactions. I was once in Venice with an elderly art historian, my guide at the time who I was with for a week, and he knocked on my door and told me he had fallen on the Academia Bridge and could not join me for dinner because he was shaken up and weak. I felt dreadfully sorry for him as any fall is bad but at 80 years it must be worse and I worried for him but after he had gone and I shut the door I fell into hysterical laughter and couldn't stop.

Bob said...

It would have been the same thing at our house. Though I think, at first, Carlos might have asked who Carly Simon is ... then he'd laugh at me.

Colette said...

I think your shared inappropriate laughter is the sign of a strong relationship.

Boud said...

Sometimes that laughter is a release of some emotion or other. I just did a little memorial planting for my recently deceased last sibling and a friend who'd died about the same time. I was telling a neighbor that the addition of the friend was a late idea, so anyone else who wants to get in on it, let me know. We were both screaming hysterically before we'd finished, and I felt a lot better.

And I had to find out who's Carly Simon when I first noticed her sister in the news.

Jennifer said...

Hahaha! Your last line killed me! (Geddit? Killed me? Okay I'll stop now).

Red said...

I liked Carly Simon. Now I'll have to find some of her music and listen again.

NewRobin13 said...

I read the news about Carly Simon, and I have to say my memory is so bad these days my first thought was, "Who is Carly Simon?" Her name was familiar, but I couldn't remember why. Well, that led me to google her name and figure out why it was familiar. So now I knew her sisters had died within days of each other. But the emotional impact of that had already slipped away.
Sometimes we just have to laugh at everything. These days it's the best balance to the insanity of the world.

Ms. Moon said...

Inappropriate laughing is something that I wonder if anyone has studied. It is such a common human reaction to so many situations that really do not seem to warrant laughter. If it happens in a public place (and so often in a church, or some other setting demanding dignity), it can be horrifying for the person trying to stifle their laughter.
We have all been there!

gz said...

It's like laughing at someone who has slipped and fallen..the laughter is a "thanks be its not me" relief reaction.

It is a beautiful graveyard. A place for calming walks...and squirrel chasing...

ellen abbott said...

There's something about being in bed and drifting off to sleep that inspires hysterical laughter. This used to happen to Marc and I a lot. But that was before he started snoring so bad that I spent many a night on the couch and now have my own bedroom.

Nice that someone cleaned up the angel. I wonder what book that is, blank pages or is there some writing?

The Bug said...

If it's late at night I can almost guarantee that anything will give me the giggles. I'm usually punch drunk by then. Sometimes all Mike has to do is look at me & off I go. Ha!

I do most of my cleaning when Mike's not home (partly because his lungs don't like the cleaners I use - even the supposedly "green" ones), but also because he gets in my way. This weekend we've spent all our time together though, so he'll just have to work around the vacuuming.

Sharon said...

I had not heard that about the Simon sisters. That is sad but I completely understand the spontaneous laughter. Laughter is very addictive and thank heavens for that.
I'm lucky that I've been working from home so much lately. No one can hear me grumbling and growling over different applications.
That tombstone is looking almost new. And, the cemetery looks great in it's fall cloak.

Elizabeth said...

Haha. I love this -- and the picture in my head that you've put there of the two of you in bed laughing is lovely. Beautiful moments. I understand the irritable thing -- and it's a good reminder that in acknowledging our irritation, we can kind of, sort of, get out of it. That statue is remarkable -- is it a Victorian cemetery? I read a beautiful book with a student by Tracy Chevalier that was all about Victorian mourning -- in London!

jenny_o said...

No matter what the reason, those moments of shared hysterical laughter are magical.

And when I find myself irritable, it usually means I've had increased stress in my life.

Probably not a coincidence that the increased stress can CAUSE the hysterical laughter!

Kelly said...

I'm often guilty of inappropriate laughing. But if you're not hurting anyone in the process (in this case, laughing to Carly Simon's face), it's probably therapeutic.

I think that angel is quite lovely.

Debby said...

I have to say firstly that Dave was not laughing at the death of the Simon sisters. He was laughing at YOUR response to it. You were laughing at Dave, half awake and half hysterical. It's a slight distinction, but hopefully enough to let yourself off the hook about it.

That is a big loss, though, isn't it?

That angel looks much better cleaned up. But it did get me off on a tangent about symbolism. Angels have different meanings depending on how they are posed. I did not realzie this. They all symobolize the link between heaven and earth, but if they are reading a book, it is mean to demonastrate the importance of the Word. The bare foot symbolizes stepping out in faith.

I'm glad that you and Dave did not...well...I'm not going to say it either.

Wilma said...

Lucky for you and Dave that laughter is the best medicine . . .

River said...

Very wise to throw out the greyed ground beef. That stuff goes bad so quickly!
I have a niece who was named for Carly Simon, her mum was a big fan.

Margaret said...

She also had a brother who died a while back at 71. Of cancer too--which would scare me if were Carly. As I get older, 80s start sounding younger but they really aren't. It's a decently long life. I've been cranky lately too; I think it's the stress of the election and the issues in the world/country. The change in weather/seasons sometimes does this to me too. Glad your glasses were easily fixable!

Steve Reed said...

Mitchell: I don't know why I was so shocked, except by the timing. Yeah, that is a very librarian-ish monument, isn't it?!

Ed: Sad, but then again, they were in their 80s.

Andrew: I feel like throwing things on the floor sometimes. A childish response and yet sometimes we can't help ourselves. (I never actually DO it, though.)

Linda Sue: Carly was certainly a babe. Even I thought so!

YP: Well, as Debby points out below, we weren't really laughing about the sisters' deaths. Dave was laughing at my extreme reaction, and I was laughing at his laughter.

Rachel: I think laughter is sometimes the response we have when we don't know WHAT to feel, and in your case it may have even been a bit of relief that your guide wasn't hurt.

Bob: Dave has a vague sense of who Carly Simon is, but I bet he couldn't name one of her songs.

Colette: Or mutual insanity!

Boud: Exactly! Joni Mitchell wrote a line years ago that has always stuck with me: "Laughin' and cryin', you know it's the same release."

Jennifer: Let's BOTH stop! LOL

Red: I have lots of her albums on my iTunes!

Robin: I guess if you weren't a fan "back in the day" you wouldn't necessarily remember her now. I had many of her vinyl albums.

Ms Moon: God, yes, that's the worst -- when you're in the middle of some solemn occasion and you can't stop giggling. It's a tension release. We HAVE all been there. (It is equally mortifying to cry.)

GZ: And perhaps a "whew" that the person is not hurt.

Ellen: Has Marc ever been treated for his snoring? I think there are procedures to help bring it under control. Dave snores too (and so does Olga) but fortunately I can sleep through it.

Bug: It IS much easier to clean when no one else is around. For one thing, I can turn on my music! (And play Carly Simon!)

Sharon: It IS funny how one person laughing can eventually make a whole roomful laugh.

Elizabeth: Yes, it's partly a Victorian cemetery, though it's still being used for modern burials.

Jenny-O: EXACTLY! Stress can bring on both laughter and irritation (and other reactions too).

Kelly: I like the angel too, especially now that it's been cleaned. I always thought the head was a little too large, but the proportions aren't as problematic now that it's all one color.

Debby: YES! Thank you for understanding what we were and were not laughing at. And thanks also for the explanations of the symbolism in the statue. I didn't realize the foot meant something!

Wilma: Thank goodness for that. We do seem to keep each other amused.

River: Yeah, it's not like steak, where only the surfaces are exposed to air and/or bacteria. Grinding introduces contaminants all through the meat.

Margaret: Yeah, I read about the brother too. How strange to be the last of the bunch. It used to be that living into your 80s was a rarity! Nowadays it's pretty routine.

Jeanie said...

Hope the crankiness eases -- that's never fun. Gorgeous angel at the cemetery. Poor Carly -- that's a load. But sometimes you've just gotta let go!