Blue Angels

MASKING PAIN WITH PINK GLASSES

Pink Glasses#2dup

Mental illness affects many of us in one way or another. I have a cousin who has suffered from bipolar disorder since he as a teenager, and a good friend whose son has been tortured with various mental afflictions for many years. Like so many challenges in life, the sufferer is usually not alone but  affects those around him/her. Since Veteran’s Day is coming up, I can’t help but remember those I know who endure Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The excerpt below comes from a book I wrote, which is on sale on Amazon. It’s a true story and revolves around Porsches.

Pink Glasses

Betty excused herself from the table of her divorced girlfriends in the chic Los Angeles bar/restaurant and slowly pushed her way toward the bathrooms, about ten excuse-me’s away. When she hadn’t returned twenty minutes later, the others began to look around.

“I see her,” Joyce said. “She’s deep in conversation with some fellow in pink sunglasses. Don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it, except for Halloween!”

Celia and Liz strained to see where Joyce was staring.

“He’s very attractive, and looks interesting,” Liz offered.

“She’s bringing him over, girls,” Celia said excitedly, looking forward to some male interaction.

They watched as Betty and the tall lean man in the pink-frames with darkened pink lenses pushed their way through the tightly meshed crowd toward the table of women. Wavy dark hair was cut close around the man’s small head; it resembled a military cut and was much shorter than the current style. As he got closer they could see his dark brown, somewhat unruly eyebrows sat over kind brown eyes. At ease with himself, he was smiling as if he’d known all of them as friends for a long time. They noted he was handsome and dressed casually in a navy blue-plaid shirt and tan pants. He wore loafers without socks.

A chair at the next table was empty, and Celia pulled it over. “We’ve got a chair for you,” she said as she looked up at him hopefully, waiting for an introduction.

“This is Will,” Betty said and then introduced each of the friends.

The empty chair was between Celia and Joyce, and Will sat there leaning into the table as if eagerly waiting to hear whatever the women had to share with him. The friends looked at each other with surprise, they were taken aback by his open friendly manner. Nearly all of the men they had encountered here hid their feelings and kept their thoughts to themselves.

Most men would be a bit put off and act mysterious confronted by four intelligent women, Joyce thought to herself as she scrutinized their guest. She wasn’t currently involved with a man; maybe she’d explore this one.

“You girls come here often?” Will asked.

“Once in a while,” Joyce offered and added, “I haven’t seen you here before.”

“How do you know if you don’t come often?” Will answered, smiling. The others laughed, a bit self-consciously, caught in their attempt to be cool.

“Will told me he was a Navy pilot, girls. Remember Top Gun?” Betty asked.

“A Navy guy who favors pink sunglasses!” Celia remarked, a bit too pointedly. She looked slightly embarrassed after her remark and made a note to herself to stop treating all men as if they were Malcolm, her live-in for so many years.

Liz, the tender-hearted, interjected, “Men need a little softness in their lives. What’s wrong with pink? It used to be the rage in the ‘50s, with charcoal gray.”

“And, of course, we all remember the 50s!” Betty couldn’t resist and laughed at her willingness to reveal her true age.

Joyce, who had recovered from her earlier faux pas, asked, “So what do you do?”

“You women,” Will answered, laughing lightly, “you don’t waste any time. Or is it just this place? Everyone wants to know how much money you make. Or what sign you are.”

“I didn’t mean it that way,” Joyce said petulantly as she ran her hand through her shoulder-length blond hair.

“Girls, girls,” Betty interrupted. “Give him some breathing room. Will, are you sure you can handle all of us?”

“I’m between jobs,” Will said quickly. He leaned back in his chair looking softly from behind the pink lenses; a small smile played upon his attractive, yet childlike and vulnerable face.

To find out what happens, check out: http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

PINK GLASSES ON NAVY PILOTS? By Victoria Giraud

                                                                                                                                     Pink Glasses

The divorcees in the chic Los Angeles bar/restaurant were attracted to Will’s spirited zaniness mixed with a gentle nature. They had no idea what mental turmoil it masked. Far from rich, Will, a former Navy pilot and Viet Nam vet, had to rent a room from one of his new friends, yet he bought a brand new Porsche and kept his old one.  What was he concealing?

Betty excused herself and slowly pushed her way toward the bathrooms, about ten excuse-me’s away. When she hadn’t returned twenty minutes later, the others began to look around.

“I see her,” Joyce said. “She’s deep in conversation with some fellow in pink sunglasses.  Don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it, except for Halloween!”

Celia and Liz strained to see where Joyce was staring.

“He’s very attractive, and looks interesting,” Liz offered.

“She’s bringing him over, girls,” Celia said excitedly, looking forward to some male interaction.

They watched as Betty and the tall lean man in the pink-frames with darkened pink lenses pushed their way through the tightly meshed crowd toward the table of women. Wavy dark hair was cut close around the man’s small head; it resembled a military cut and was much shorter than the current style. As he got closer they could see his dark brown, somewhat unruly eyebrows sat over kind brown eyes. At ease with himself, he was smiling as if he’d known all of them as friends for a long time. They noted he was handsome and dressed casually in a navy blue-plaid shirt and tan pants. He wore loafers without socks.

A chair at the next table was empty, and Celia pulled it over.  “We’ve got a chair for you,” she said as she looked up at him hopefully, waiting for an introduction.

“This is Will,” Betty said and then introduced each of the friends.

The empty chair was between Celia and Joyce, and Will sat there leaning into the table as if eagerly waiting to hear whatever the women had to share with him. The friends looked at each other with surprise, they were taken aback by his open friendly manner. Nearly all of the men they had encountered here hid their feelings and kept their thoughts to themselves.

Most men would be a bit put off and act mysterious confronted by four intelligent women, Joyce thought to herself as she scrutinized their guest. She wasn’t currently involved with a man; maybe she’d explore this one.

“You girls come here often?” Will asked.

“Once in a while,” Joyce offered and added, “I haven’t seen you here before.”

“How do you know if you don’t come often?” Will answered, smiling.  The others laughed, a bit self-consciously, caught in their attempt to be cool.

“Will told me he was a Navy pilot, girls.  Remember Top Gun?” Betty asked.

“A Navy guy who favors pink sunglasses!” Celia remarked, a bit too pointedly. She looked slightly embarrassed after her remark and made a note to herself to stop treating all men as if they were Malcolm, her live-in for so many years.

Liz, the tender-hearted, interjected, “Men need a little softness in their lives. What’s wrong with pink? It used to be the rage in the ‘50s, with charcoal gray.”

“And, of course, we all remember the 50s!” Betty couldn’t resist and laughed at her willingness to reveal her true age.

Joyce, who had recovered from her earlier faux pas, asked, “So what do you do?”

“You women,” Will answered, laughing lightly, “you don’t waste any time. Or is it just this place? Everyone wants to know how much money you make. Or what sign you are.”

“I didn’t mean it that way,” Joyce said petulantly as she ran her hand through her shoulder-length blond hair.

“Girls, girls,” Betty interrupted. “Give him some breathing room. Will, are you sure you can handle all of us?”

“I’m between jobs,” Will said quickly. He leaned back in his chair looking softly from behind the pink lenses; a small smile played upon his attractive, yet childlike and vulnerable face.

 

To find out what happens, check out:  http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

BEING SINGLE IS NOT ALL FUN & GAMES By Victoria Giraud

 

US Navy Blue Angels in formation

So-called local “watering holes” can hold many surprises; who knows whom you will meet and there are many bittersweet stories among the patrons. Since I was always interested in people’s personal stories,  I discovered some truths about various “regulars” of the male gender, and a few became friends. I have a friend who told me many times that I like to interview people. It’s an old habit from my newspaper days, besides, how else do you get to know someone?

One such person was Bill, a former Navy fighter pilot, who’d been part of the highly skilled Blue Angels, and flown in the Viet Nam War. He was up to having fun of all sorts, even if it made him look foolish. During Happy Hour at Ottavio’s, a classy bar restaurant one night, a girlfriend of mine challenged Bill on his offer to do something crazy. She dared him to take off his trousers and boxer shorts (he was wearing a suit and tie) in front of everybody. He managed to slip them off without causing too much of a stir: his shirt had a long tail, which kept him modest. He handed her his boxer shorts and stood there grinning while people stared. Since only his bare legs showed and not his naked fanny, no one protested.

Does it look better than it tastes?

So far, I’ve never seen Bill’s stunt repeated, but a male friend told me he once rode a horse naked (a la Lady Godiva) to a local Western bar for Halloween.

During a time when I was having financial challenges, Bill, who had bought a brand new Porsche and was feeling generous, lent me his older Porsche for about a month. As I got to know him better, I discovered Bill’s charm and enthusiastic boyishness varied during periods of highs and lows, as did his life. He suffered from bipolar disorder, which soon became evident. During manic times he’d take several showers a day (enough to begin peeling off his apartment’s bathroom wallpaper) or pop in for a visit to my apartment and then head for my wine with a large plastic “to-go” cup  (he ignored any rules about drinking and driving — he drank while he drove). I often wonder what happened to this essentially sweet man.

Before Match.com and all the Internet dating sites, Los Angeles had the Singles Register newspaper, which was readily available and crammed with hundreds of ads from all over LA. The ads were somewhat similar to the more modern ads of today, but without the bells and whistles of graphics, photos, tapes, and computer services, etc. A man or woman with an imagination and willingness to create an enticing ad could have a field day exploring Love or Lust. Things weren’t as threatening in the days before AIDS sprang into full life.

In my personal ads I mentioned I enjoyed walks on the beach, candlelight dinners, great conversations, good movies, and the like when those descriptions were a bit fresher. This type of ad is totally passé at this point, but then so are newspapers. The method of contact was also old-fashioned. The respondent was required to send a letter (the kind that uses stamps and is now called snail mail) and encouraged to send a photo. Those letters could be flowery and clever or very simple. Analyzing the handwriting, if you knew how, gave a clue about personality. Photos, then, were as unreliable as they are today.

I’ve always appreciated creativity and good writing, but I soon learned that the “buyer” must beware; not everything or every person was as advertised. Someone could be 20 years older or 20 years younger than you might have expected.  Oddly heartening, however, was the fact that these advertisers often genuinely believed what they wrote about themselves. Optimistic advertisers actually did see themselves as looking younger, having all their hair and a great body. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even if it’s just your own eyes.

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