I've been traveling lately with more to come, and so people have been asking me, will I be around on my birthday? I find this amusing because everyone knows by now that I can't be expected to have an answer to that. Remember that Christmas present that came with the beguiling assurance, I know you like to leave...
Yesterday I read Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing cover-to-cover, and that book is a blueprint for living! One of the things it reminded me of is an old joke in my family about how I don't like gifts. I just don't know what to do with them. I live in a very small apartment, don't check luggage, and give away an astonishing percentage of my possessions away on a regular basis.
But, of course, if one were to get an education on this subject, it would have to come from Ava Gardner's playbook:
"[First husband Mickey Rooney] called all day, pursued her at the studio, sent presents. He sent a messenger to deliver a ten-thousand-dollar mink coat. One night, frantic with desire, he showed up at the apartment and demanded she take him back."
She doesn't. In fact, she says to a reporter of the scandal, "We just couldn't seem to hit it off... As things stand now I'll ask for a divorce later."
Later, the love of her life, Frank Sinatra, visits her on location.
"[Upon his arrival in Barcelona, reporters] eagerly updated him on the latest details of Ava's friendship with the matador, Sinatra listening glumly, saying he had heard Cabre's name, knew nothing about him. He was holding a package wrapped in tissue paper, and someone asked if that was a present for Miss Gardner.
'What do you think, pal?'
'I think it's jewelry for Miss Gardner.'
(Sinatra had brought two gifts from home: six bottles of Coca-Cola -- she had bemoaned its unavailability in Tossa-- and a ten-thousand-dollar necklace.")
Which made me think, people can change.