Even Paranoids Have Enemies

Unfortunately for me my mother, who is taking a trip next week to visit my brother, Michael, and his brooding wife, Asia, saw articles about a second group of people stealing luggage at Sky Harbor Airport. A thousand pieces of it. Now most people would read the article and know they’ve arrested the crooks and maybe have a lingering thought of not putting anything irreplaceable in their suitcase.

Not my mother. If you’re an OCD paranoid then this becomes the focal point of your week.

“Jean, did you see they’re stealing luggage from the carousels at the airport?”

“Mom. I saw it. You don’t have to worry. No one will take yours.”

“How do you know? I pack my good things and someone might want them.”

She calls as I’m racing out the door to assist a client with bringing his small factory in the Scottsdale Airpark up to gender standards (that doesn’t mean telling the male employees they have to take down their explicit calendars; there’s more to it) and Maury has invited a visiting Sri Lanka physician for dinner which means I have to serve something besides prepared food from Trader Joe’s frozen food section.

“Mom, no one will take a suitcase without wheels made out of cheap orange vinyl. Besides, your size 14 dresses only fit a small segment of the population.” I don’t mention that the mothball smell will drive people away like an invisible toxic shield.

“Jean, don’t get flip with me. That woman has previous arrests for forgery and identity theft. She could try to impersonate me.”  The idea of a meth addict trying to pass herself off as a seventy-something Jewish mother amuses me.

“Mom, carry everything on the plane with you and hold it on your lap until the flight attendant puts it in the overhead compartment.” She thinks this is a good idea so I’m free to rush out toward my stress-filled day to explain to a Kiev-born hairy guy why the secretary and the receptionist have to have the same on-site standards as the male employees. And, that he should hire some women for his production line. They manufacture tufted hassocks with fringe. Don’t tell my mother. She’ll want one.

Culinary Dropouts Have a Place to Go

I can identify with beauty school dropouts because the chemicals make me sneeze but a bunch of chefs with sharp knives and no place to go? That’s another story. Here’s a place that doesn’t want Scottsdale socialites who order Cosmos. They’re after the foodie industry types. So when Maury decided we should have a date night, I suggested Culinary Dropout, a new Sam Fox restaurant. It’s the place to be seen…if you’re not wearing Birkenstocks. What can I say? I inherited my mother’s bad feet.

Occupying a former restaurant space whose name was demeaning to women and that attracted the Juicy/Ugg crowd, I was delighted to support a new concept: uniform-free wait staff, entrees for $20 or less, 47 kinds of beer and cocktails called El Matador, Sauerkraut Smashed Irishman, Between the Sheets and the Brazilianaire with bright pink foam on top. The casual, cool, purple walled, emerald chandeliered spot  draws a crowd. They even invented a new word to describe it: gastropub.

It’s for the thirty to forty crowd, although I didn’t feel out of place even if I was the only one not in a short black dress and high-heeled boots. Many of the men had hair combed into a point on the top of their head a la Baby Huey. Maury didn’t notice. He was wolfing down the soft pretzel appetizer with provolone fondue, a gastronomic treat for a man always on a diet.

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