Tuesday, June 17, 2008

This Just in: Czar of Fun to Wed

The picture above displays the core Driving Miss Craisy members minus a couple of women and our two brave men. Today’s featured member (Volunteer of the Week!) is Lisa.

Lisa is the Czar of Fun. Her fertile mind is always dreaming up little “mystery trips” as she calls them to places like Little Kabul in Fremont or hot air ballooning or the like. Lisa is getting married this summer and if it were anyone else I’d be worry about her Czar of Fun status being compromised. So many couples become partners in the business of home-making and forget about the fun they had courting. I’m happy to say that was not one of the problems in my marriage but I see it happen to people and it’s subtle and gradual. Lisa and Alan won’t fall into this trap. They are on a delightful adventure together.

Here’s a sample of the ways Lisa earns her way in the world: stilt-walker, balloon animal making clown, giant dancing cookie, movement teacher, face painter, acting teacher, painter of sculpture guitars, horse rider, elf, improvisor, writer…the list goes on. She is multi-talented, super driven and outlandishly original. Lisa once read that Orson Wells liked a particular brand of cigar from Amsterdam. When she was there, she picked up a box and carried them around in her car in LA thinking to give them to the great director one day. Well one day came when she was doing an event dressed as an elf ( she’s short so it’s plausible that she could actually be an elf though pixie fits better). The party was across from Wells’ apartment so afterwards she showed up at his door and presented him with the cigars…dressed as an elf. Wells died not long after and I imagine him in his boozy decline, reeling to the door only to be met by and elf bearing a box of his favorite cigars. I imagine him waking up in the morning marveling at his crazy dream then spying the cigars on the coffee table. I do believe in fairies. I do.

I remember crashing at Lisa’s house once and she put a mint on the pillow. I hit my head getting into her car ( my coordination is not so great now) so she gave me a “special kid” helmet to wear. She is the queen or whimsy, the Duke of Daring, the Sultan of Silliness.

She is also a hell of a chauffer, organizer of bodywork, maker of practical gadgets, duct-taper of boobs for strapless dresses, transporter of wheelchairs, purchaser of soy chai lattes and dispenser of love. Hardly a day goes by when Lisa doesn’t call with a perky “just a check-in call, no need to call back.” Hardly a favor have I asked that she hasn’t said “yes” before I could finish my request. She almost single-handedly made it possible for me to direct my final show. Without her it wouldn’t have happened.

So when she overestimates my energy or bravery (“Carla, is it okay if we pick you up and put you on the top of the car for a photo?” “No, Lisa.”) I adore her all the more because it’s her relentless optimism and her fervent hope that somehow this is all a bad dream and I’ll return to robust ( though not as robust as Lisa) Carla that keeps that brilliant mind churning with ideas of how to make my last years a magical mystery trip.

Now, don’t you wish you were marrying her?

In other news, my lithium levels are low. I take this as a good sign. Maybe when they get to where they’re supposed to be I’ll notice a “not change.” That would be really nice. Last night my son ( who is reading…for fun… a book on Tort Law) and I took the bus out to dinner and to see Kung Fu Panda. I was so happy to be doing something silly with him. The wheelchair/bus maneuvering is getting easier and easier. Once I get my permanent chair I’ll be able to go out on my own on the bus and give Driving Miss Craisy a well-deserved break.


Anonymous said...

Just when I'm certain I've outgrown my crippling ENVY problem, I'll come here and read another post like this and I'll be a puddle of green again.

I'm not even sure who I am more envious of?

Do I wish I were more like Carla? That goes without saying.

Do I wish I were more like her friends?

Do I wish I had friends like that?

Do I wish I WAS a friend like that?
Oh, yes.

I love you, Carla.
It's nice to see Lisa's smiling face as well.

I have pictures of you guys from my wedding. I just found them the other day. I was like, "well, shit, look at that!"


Anonymous said...

you are an extraordinary woman, carla. a great and poignant writer. blessed with wonderful friends and family. thanks, again, for sharing your life so openly on this blog; i have truly appreciated the experience here - the learning, the loving, the sharing. may the goddess be with you, dear one.

Anonymous said...

I'll never forget watching Lisa in the hospital with you. After lovingly massaging your feet, she sat next to you and asked if it would be okay if she could set up an appointment with your former therapist (she had already contacted her and the therapist said she would love to meet with you, free-of-charge). A single tear rolled down your cheek when you replied yes, but that you felt bad. Lisa responded with a matching tear and the comment that it's a good thing you have this accepting-help challenge because otherwise you'd be perfect and we'd have to hate you.

Both of you lovingly wiped the tears from each other's faces, and I've been grateful ever since for having witnessed such a moment.


Anonymous said...


I do not know you or your work (my loss), but just read about you in the SF Chronicle. I am so sorry to hear about your illness, but please do pay serious attention to what I am going to tell you. There is something that can stop the development of ALS. You should look into using medical marijuana. I have personally met an ALS patient who has been living with the disease for 20 years. When she was diangnosed she was told she would have 5 years at the most. It took her a while to get to the point where she started using medical marijuana, becasue it was illegal and still is in the state where she lives, but once she did begin using it her symptoms never progressed beyond what they were when she started treatment. I promise you this is the truth. Do not waste another day. Good luck. M.