Monthly Archives: November 2007
In 1971, at the end of the turbulent 60’s, I suddenly found myself a
member of the elite Phoenix Country Club, a low ranch building with a
great golf course right in the middle of downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
no mistake; I didn’t choose to join. The membership came with my
marriage to John Hardaway. John was an avid tennis player, and when we
got married and I got pregnant I was in no mood for country club life.
I was a college professor and a film reviewer. I was an activist and an
But the Club had an Olympic-size pool, and I had a need to
exercise my pregnant body, so I swallowed my distaste for the Club’s
morals and values (it had no women members except widows and wives, one
black member, and you could count the Jews on the fingers of one hand),
and on the advice of my new husband, began working out at the Club.
Fast forward six or seven years, two children, and one woman’s
movement later, I was down at the Club one Saturday afternoon, and had
just taken a shower with my daughters in the Ladies’ Locker Room
(prohibited, because they were under age). I was ready to go home, but
I had to find John.
John had also taken a shower, and was seated in the Men’s
Grill, adjacent to the Men’s Locker Room. I couldn’t get his attention,
so I crossed the threshhold and walked to the table at which he sat. I
said, "we’re ready." Quite an inflammatory remark.
Who knew that the sky would fall? The men freaked out, as if
something terrible had happened. The waitress (yes, there were
waitresses) asked my politely to leave. Something told me to stay, and
I began asking questions. What’s wrong with coming in here to find my
husband? Why do we have waitresses if we don’t allow women?
Sylvester, the black locker room attendant, rolled his eyes (I am not
making this up).
Fast forward to the divorce, which occurred soon after I
started my business. Many men at "The Club" became my clients, because
they knew me. That’s how it’s done at "The Club.’ Especially if you
are a man, you don’t have to be smart or good at what you do. They
only have to know you.
In a divorce, under the Club’s bylaws, the woman loses her
membership. Since by this time I was in business and actually "needed"
the Club, I wanted the membership more than John Hardaway did. He
tried to give it to me. The Club Board said no.
Another fast forward, as a good friend and client of mine, a
member of the Club Board, tried to put me up for membership again. By
this time, I’m successful, everyone knows it, and we’re in the mid-80s.
Other women have been put up and allowed to join on their own.
But not me. My friend and mentor is told that because I did
things like shower my kids in the Ladies Locker Room in defiance of the
rules, and cross the threshhold of the Men’s Grill, I am dangerous.
Many women in the Club don’t want me there. The men are afraid to
blackball me, because they think I will sue the Club. My mentor and I
have a discussion, and after I cry a lot, I agree to withdraw my
Last fast forward. The present. There is still a Men’s Grill,
and I get a call from a woman I have known for thirty-five years saying
she is finally going to challenge the existence of a Men’s Grill. There
are many issues. It’s a private club. It’s a County island in the
middle of the City. The men have ways of silencing their activist
When they call me, I volunteer to help. My business career has
been affected in a weird way by the Men’s Grill. The intimate business
relationships men have with each other at "The Club" are now
permanently lost to me. I have lost something that cannot be
quantified, and I am not alone.
I have two daughters who are very successful and choose not to
live in Phoenix. They grew up at "The Club" and left for better
opportunities. To them it is a quirky place where they stole the mints
when they were kids. To me, it was a defining moment.
For the sake of the future of all women, could we please finally get rid of the Men’s Grill???????
This was my Thanksgiving Day in Half Moon Bay this year. The dog is Chelsea’s Kodie, and the scene is the trail at Poplar Beach. Such a perfect day. Who could not be thankful to live in a place like this with such a loving family?
The video from the Second Annual Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference is up here.On this Thanksgiving Eve, I’d like to give a big shout out to Chance Carpenter from Essential Event Technologies , who donated the videography and technology to capture the presentations. I am grateful to all our community friends and partners who made our event such a success and made possible another training program for disadvantaged people who would like to be entrepreneurs.
This week, Amazon released the Kindle, a new eBook reader, to a storm of conflicting opinions in the blogosphere. Me, I usually order everything new under the technological sun, but I didn’t race off to buy a Kindle. I thought I’d wait this one out.
Was this because of my age, or my fondness for the physical substance of a “real, old-fashioned book”? I think not. Rather, it was because I discovered something recently about my own “reading” habits that may have made a Kindle redundant.
Three weeks ago, I was sitting on an airplane, listening to my downloaded “Radiohead” album on my laptop. My noise-canceling headphones were out of battery life, so I was stuck with the earbuds from my iPhone, but it was not all that bad.
This was, however, a milestone. I was on a 4.5-hour flight from Phoenix to Boston and for the first time in my life I had not brought a book on board an airplane. I have so shifted my habits that I will be listening to what’s on my laptop and writing until the laptop runs out of battery and then I will switch to listening to what’s on my iPhone. If I get stuck, I will listen to what is being broadcast on the in-flight system or watch the in-flight movie, “Hairspray” for the second time.
Unless you are part of my immediate family, you can never understand the significance of this. I got a Ph.D in English. I majored in modern literature. I had a library that numbered in the thousands, which I dutifully carted from New York to Arizona.
And although in the (first) divorce I left the books with the father of our children, we were on good terms, and if I needed a fix, I could visit the books any time, or borrow them. I never did.
Once the Internet began to make books available online, I realized I would never need them in a library again. But for a while I still bought them anyway, read them and put them on a shelf.
I don’t do that anymore. I buy books and give them away after I finish them, or leave them on the plane, bus, train, or boat. I notice I’m not alone; there’s a big “Read and Return” program at most airport bookstores. I don’t read printed material at home at all, unless it’s a magazine that comes to me unsolicited (New York magazine did that for six months) or an RSS feed. The Carnegie Endowment has just issued a report that probably puts me in a class with teen-age boys. They don’t read either. Traditional educators are panicked about this.
Preparing for this trip to California, I didn’t even go so far as to buy a book. There are enough podcasts, Scoble shows, and feeds on my laptop to keep me busy. The only time I might really need a “book” is on takeoff and landing.
The most important lesson for me is that I have shifted from taking in information on paper to taking it in online. And a lot of it is auditory or as video, an entirely different mode of learning, which I obviously find quite convenient and useful, although it was never offered to me in school. Perhaps I would have liked to listen to all the books I read over the years. Or watch them as movies. I never got the chance until now.
Today’s children are really fortunate. They can learn in so many different modalities, and I think they naturally gravitate to the ones with which they are most comfortable. Maybe when they put those earbuds in, we should not try to discourage them. Maybe we shouldn’t make them feel bad if they don’t want to “read” a book.
Thoughts? I know this is controversial. But if my foster kids had been given a chance to be auditory or visual learners, rather than book learners, I think they would be educated to a higher level by now. They remember everything I have ever told them, and very little that they learned in school. They also remember every detail of the movies and TV shows they’ve seen.
I’m coming to the conclusion that not reading is different from not learning. The Kindle will have to wait.
Sean Tierney, one of the entrepreneurs who stayed in my Half Moon Bay house recently, while he was making his appearance on The Scoble Show, took this picture of it that really captures its character. Of course I am not able to take such good pictures, but if you want to know why I love my house up there and why I am escaping tomorrow to HMB for the holidays, here’s the answer!