Friday, April 29, 2005

The Other Is Awesomely Gold

Yesterday, I was feeling decidedly un-awesome. It’s been a less than stellar week, I stayed out ridiculously late Tuesday night, spent all of Wednesday recovering, then woke up Thursday clear-headed enough to realize just how not awesome I was feeling. I made it to Starbucks and got bounced out of the Awesome Guy’s line (not awesome), I was totally swamped at work (not awesome, but better than being bored), and got home later than planned (not awesome). I had plans to go with my friend Amy to meet up with some friends from high school to eat and watch the Mavs game and I gave serious thought to canceling so I could sit at home alone and feel not-awesome. But our one friend, Kirby, was in from Austin on business, I hadn’t seen him since Melissa & Clint’s wedding however many years ago, and I didn’t know when I’d see him again. So I bit the bullet, changed clothes, and followed Amy a crazy-long way to the sports bar where we were meeting.

Here’s what I remembered within moments of arriving: There’s nothing like old friends to put you in an awesome mood. When you talk with old friends, it’s like code language. Words, details, names can get omitted and you still all know exactly what and who you’re talking about. Your landmarks are all the same, and I don’t mean only the physical landmarks, like your high school. (As a side note, when the Awesome Guy asked me this morning where I was from originally and I said Odessa, the other guy behind the counter said, “You guys have a great football team.” Love it. [Even if it’s not true anymore. Still, with Friday Night Lights, many people now know that landmark. Go class of ’89…])

With old friends, it’s shorthand. Even though your present-day lives may not have crossed in five years, somehow that stuff is easily filled in, even if it’s filled in in a decidedly (different type of) shorthand fashion. (An example: Kirby: “How was living in LA?” Me: “Terrific. I had a blast. I self-destructed in Los Angeles.” Larry: “You self-destructed in LA?” Me: “Yeah.” Larry: “Anybody need another beer?” Perfect. And I’m not being sarcastic.)

A couple of highlight quotes from the night:
Kirby: I've heard three of your stories, and two involved you bulldozing someone. From now on, I'm calling you the Bulldozer.
Me: Yeah, but the third one involved me getting bulldozed.
Kirby: I don't care. I know plenty of other stories. To me, you're the Bulldozer.

Kirby: You bulldozed her to the curb. You’re like a Pam.
Larry: I’m, like, a male Pam.

Larry: Are you wearing… shorts? Or underwear?
Kirby: I’m wearing shorts. (Climbing back into the hot tub) I’m wearing boxer… shorts.

Do you ever laugh as hard with people as you do with old friends? Whenever my best friend Shannon and I are together, we laugh hysterically almost non-stop. It’s unbelievably fabulous. And we’ve been friends since we were three. Same with my friend Melissa. It’s an endless laugh-fest, unless something’s wrong with one of us, and then we know we can always call each other to cry or complain or dissect – regardless of how long it’s been since we’ve spoken.

That was one of the beautiful things about being back in LA recently. Even though those friends haven't known me 31 years (wow, that's scary), there are still years spent together, and a knowing of each other that comes along with that. And having that moment of reconnect has put me back in touch with my LA friends in a way that was somewhat missing before, and I love that.

That's not to say that you can't ever have that with someone new. As soon as you begin to spend time with someone, you start to create that knowing and the older you are, I think, your stories come out sooner; you build faster. And if you continue to spend time with and invest in that person (as long as it's a mutual investment), you'll look up one day and realize that your new friend has become your old friend: someone who has known you, who knows you now, and who wants to continue to know you in the future. Two very new friends convinced me to come out Tuesday night and, even though I regretted it Wednesday, they had me laughing and happy when I had no good reason to do/be either.

The fact is, with old friends -- even ones you haven't seen in years -- you’ve got history. They want to know who you are now –- but it’s always filtered through the who-you-used-to-be and, in a way, that’s nice. Because the who-we-are-now is always informed by who-we-once-were. How awesome, then, to have friends who can know both?

In other awesome news: I have a kick-ass new t-shirt that says, “Proud to be awesome.” Love it. Thanks, Sam.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

You may not be able to tell, but right in front of the school bus is a homeless guy pushing a shopping cart down the middle of La Brea at rush hour. Also: Nice view of the hills. Posted by Hello

Mollie, Theresa & I meet at The Grove. Posted by Hello

The Slums of Beverly Hills aka my old home.  Posted by Hello

Joel & Carrie pretend they don't want their picture taken. Posted by Hello

Ah, St. Nick's. Posted by Hello

Tania & me back on our old stomping grounds. Posted by Hello

Salt Lake City from the airplane window. Posted by Hello

In Other News...

I'm going to die at 58 due to my "super wild lifestyle."

What Age Will You Die?

And, at heart, I'm 28.

What Age Do You Act?

So I wonder if my countdown begins with my real age or the age I, apparently, act?

I'm Not a Total Hick

Your Linguistic Profile:

50% General American English

30% Dixie

15% Yankee

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

Thanks to Jay for the link!

(Here's a reason I'm proud of this post that has nothing to do with the fact that I'm 0% Midwestern: When I initially cut and pasted the code into the post box, the whole thing was light green and white and, as such, totally unviewable on my blog. All by myself I figured out a new color code and switched it to black and gray. Yay, accidentally learning html!)

Saturday, April 23, 2005


I think I am leading my own parallel life. I just opened my notebook to make a list of things I need to do and saw the following:

Clean bathroom
Exchange Victoria's Secret stuff
Clean bedroom
Mother's Day present

What's odd about this list is this: 1) I made it a year ago. 2) All of the same things were about to appear on my new to-do list with the exception of exchange VS stuff, which I did last night. Though, of course, I had to also purchase new things while exchanging.


Here's something else odd: While waiting to exchange/purchase at VS last night, a conservative-looking couple in front of me (wearing matching shirts) -- who looked to be in their late 40s -- were checking out. The salesperson paused before hitting total then said, "Are you ready?" and they said they were. "That will be $702.49."


My salesperson then told me (after the happy couple left, of course) that they'd been shopping for "outfits." Excellent. In, you know, an extremely creepy way.

Friday, April 22, 2005

I am =

“Who am I? Who am I? I am a walrus.” – The Geek, The Breakfast Club

“I write because I can’t do any of the following: paint, sculpt, sing, take photos, play an instrument, commute, wear a suit, remember appointments, return phone calls, work for a boss, concentrate in a meeting, serve food and drink, teach, or do anything else at all, really. Nor can I ever ignore the urge to try and get out what’s in, however hard I try.” – Nick Hornby

My friend Tai, on his blog, recently questioned whether or not what we do defines who we are. It made me think of my old office-mate’s (see “The Awesome Guy”) screensaver that read: Work is what you do, not where you go. I wonder, though, is it just as true to say: Work is what you do, not who you are?

When someone asks what we do, how often do we say, “I’m a [fill in the blank]” as though our job = “I am”? I think of the various second halves to that “I’m a” in my life. I’m a student. I’m an assistant. I’m a writer. I’m an assistant (again). I’m a student (again). I’m a teacher. I’m a writer (again). Yet, I never stopped being a writer. I’ve been writing since I could hold a pen and form words. I just went through periods where I felt like a total fraud equating the “I am” with “writer.”

Sometimes I think our “I am” is all about validating who we are, the choices we’ve made, what we’ve “become” to ourselves. I remember reading some writing book once upon a time (perhaps it was The Artist’s Way?) that stressed the importance of claiming your art as your title. Practice saying, “I’m a writer (painter, poet, composer, director),” so that you feel confident saying it to others. Yet, for me, I never felt confident saying that sentence until the day I was officially employed as a television writer. And then I felt elated to say it. I remember the exact moment, standing in the red light of a tiny bar in LA called El Carmen, waiting for the bathroom, where some guy broke the waiting-for-the-bathroom silence by saying, “What do you do?” and I said, “I’m a writer.” And suddenly, it didn't matter at all that the bouncer-slash-model I was seeing wasn't being all that attentive.

There’s also a strong element of our definition that’s for the sake of others. How do you see me? How will my fill-in-the-blank change or alter that? When we tell someone about a friend of ours or someone we’re seeing, and they say, “What does he/she do?” we know there will be a response (spoken or unspoken) to the “He/she’s a…” This answer will inevitably shape the impression of this as-yet-unmet person in the same way our own answer does.

Then we have a separate group of definitions for others that have nothing to do with their chosen (or fallen into) occupation. He’s my ex-boyfriend. She’s my best friend. My boss. My colleague. Some girl I met. This guy I really like. Whatever. Sample conversation: “I had dinner with T.” “Who’s T?” “Oh, this guy who works in insurance.” You wouldn't use this definition of T unless, of course, the only reason you had dinner with T is because you need to have some sort of conversation about insurance that involves dining. Because what defines T for you/me is who he is in relation to who you are, who I am. And in that version of “I am,” I am no longer “writer;” I am, “That girl I’m talking to” or whatever.

My friends and I always have nicknames for people that become their definitions. Coffee Boy. Taco Bell Mark. BPR. Girlfriend Josh (so named as to distinguish him from another Josh – and to constantly remind us that it didn’t matter how cute he was, he had a girlfriend). White Wine Guy. Angry Matt. Hot Matt. Cadre Ted (named after his dog when we met at a dog park). Imagine my surprise upon meeting Cadre Ted’s friends who said, “Oh. You’re Dog Park Pam.”

I think however others fill in our blank (either to our faces, or when speaking of us to others) the fill-in-the-blank that truly matters is our own. And just as that definition changes depending upon whom is speaking of us, it changes for us as well. Maybe “changes” is the wrong word. We are, at all moments, many “I am”s.

My own: I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am an aunt. I am the new girl. I am her friend. And I am a writer.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

[Insert Cliche About Home Here]

Greetings from Los Angeles.

First, some favorite quotes that made me feel right at home:

While getting ready, I mentioned to Carrie that my friend Bruno might be coming out. Carrie asked who he was, and as I gave details to remind her, she said: "Oh, right. Hot guy. In that case: lipliner."
Tania: "At this point in our lives, girls, we can't afford to be picky."
As 24-year-old Sean told us of a girl he met at a bar who kept a flying squirrel in her bra: Tania: "Excuse me. What's your name again?" Sean: "Sean." Tania: "Sean -- you're lying."
At Swingers, I came back from the bathroom to find the guy who'd moved to make room for us at the bar gone. Me: "Where'd he go?" Joel: "Gus had to leave. He said goodbye." Me: "His name's Bobby."
Just as I'm about to fall asleep, Carrie popped out of her room and called down the hallway: "Pam. I just realized. I can't date the 24-year-old. ...His last name's Barry."

It is, as always, fabulous, weird, and only slightly surreal to be back in my pseudo-home of LA. Whenever I come back, I feel this odd mix of I totally don't belong here with It feels like I never left. (To be fair, for the eight years I lived here, I often felt like I didn't belong here at all, and I just as often felt like I belonged nowhere else.) Driving home from Swingers at 3 in the morning, in my head I was going back to 1050 Shenandoah, not Carrie's place. Our night was a perfect replica of so many nights before: ridiculously good sushi & sake @ Sushi Roku, drinks @ St. Nick's, post-bar grilled cheeses at Swingers... This morning the air smelled like LA morning air (which is, actually, wonderful); brunch @ Caffe Latte with Anthony, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf on Robertson w/Carrie (Jake Gyllenhaal & Sean Hayes sightings), shopping (oh, the credit card bill that will be coming; love Kitson now)... then quick trips to Whole Foods & Borders (like I need to add more unread books to my pile of unread books, but, whatever, I got a 25% educator's discount + tote bag filled with stuff; also, Kissing in Manhattan [David Schickler] looked interesting) before returning to Carrie's house to get comfortable and relax.

The thing about going home to a home that isn't your parents' home is that you aren't ever really at home there again. You can drive by 1050 Shenandoah but there are cars in the carport that aren't yours and it's been repainted. If this were still your home, you'd have a pile of bills, groceries to buy, a refrigerator to clean out, animals to feed. "Going home" means going on vacation and coming back to what's really home: bills, errands, etc.

But then I suppose that all depends upon your definition of home.

The selected quotes and thoughts on home bring to mind the Cheers theme. And now I can't stop singing it.

Tomorrow morning begins the meetings I am here for in the first place, and what will be missing on this visit home is running from place to place to see all of my friends. And, really, what is it but our friends and our family (who are so often one in the same) that make up our home?

Yes, I'm aware that there's a certain sap element to this whole post but that's what happens when you go home: You get nostalgic for what you've left behind.

One final, unrelated note -- A terrific t-shirt spotted on a girl in Beverly Hills today: "If you're awesome and you know it, clap your hands." Love it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Awesome Guy

I haven't been able to go to My Office lately (aka Starbucks on Beltline) because I've been going to a Real Office. This doesn't, however, mean that I've not been going to Starbucks in general. Oh, no. I am firmly entrenched in the nasty grip of Starbucks addiction. (I think it's the crack they mix in with the coffee. It has nothing to do with my complete lack of willpower for almost all things tempting.) Today I had every plan to get to the Real Office at a decent hour, meaning something close to the 8:30 when everyone else comes in. Now, I know myself well enough to know that arriving somewhere at 8:30 a.m. is a virtual impossibility for me, so I decided to shoot for leaving my house at that time. Seemed like a safe goal. (If anyone has tips for getting up in the morning, I eagerly await them. Unless you're naturally a morning person. In that case, I have two words for you. Yeah, you know.)

So. I set two alarms and had a wake-up call, yet, of course, I still overslept. Even so, I made it out the door at 8:42. I was crunchy because a) I'm always crunchy in the morning, b) I've been crunchy in general for several days and had not shaken it, and c) I was leaving later than planned.

This should, perhaps, have prevented me from going by My Office, but it did not. See above re: addiction. Also, I miss My Starbucks. I miss my office-mates there: the sweet older guy who was uncomfortable as the guy who orders some pink lemonade concoction everyday made small talk about where he planned to pick up boys later that night; the two businessmen who so blatantly eavesdrop on my phone conversations so as to comment on them when I get off the phone (and on subsequent visits, as in, "Hey, whatever happened with...?"); my T-Mobile hotspot... I do not, however, miss the Creepy Guy who insists I'm in his chair every time he comes in -- regardless of what chair I'm in. But that's a different story. Mostly, I miss The Awesome Guy (more to come). On my way to My Starbucks, I remembered the resolution I made as I was going to bed last night: I decided to try that thing people always say works -- I was going to choose to be in a good mood today. (I always think it's total crap when people say that, by the way.)

On my way to Starbucks, I remember my resolve, and I choose to be in a good mood. I go so far as to say out loud a ridiculous morning phrase from a motivational speaker in Vegas. I'll spare you. But it did make me laugh out loud (at myself, but, whatever).

When I walk in and see that The Awesome Guy is working, I feel like the universe is in alignment with me on this good mood business. Let me tell you about The Awesome Guy. He is not awesome because he's adorable -- though he is that. He's not awesome because he gives me my coffee fix -- though he does do that. The Awesome Guy is awesome because every time you say, "How are you?" the Awesome Guy smiles and says, "I'm awesome." And that makes me smile every single time. How awesome is that? There are days when The Awesome Guy just says, "Okay" or "Good" or whatever and I feel sad to know he isn't feeling awesome because I want The Awesome Guy to always feel awesome. How perfect that today, on the day I'm choosing to be in a good mood, The Awesome Guy is awesome?

I left Starbucks and pulled onto the tollway to find it at a dead stop. Normally, I would take this opportunity to bounce my leg up and down, clench my teeth, and forget all about breathing, because, dammit, I'm trying to get to work on pseudo-time and the world is not allowing me. Today, I was simply psyched to have more time to sing on the way to work. Yes, I'm serious.

Here's the thing about this choosing your mood business: I've been in a good mood 99% of today (I had to take a point off for getting out of bed). I see that extra 1% in my very near future.

Here's one last note: If you aren't actively using the word "awesome" in your vocabulary, I highly recommend it. Thanks, Awesome Guy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Men Are From... Where?

It's no secret that men and women are wired differently. In, like, a ridiculous way.

Here's a story:
I was at the gym at my complex tonight with two big guys who were working out together, spotting each other, talking supplements, guy stuff. The first piece of their conversation that I pay attention to goes something like this:

Giant-Armed Guy: I wrote down a list of movies we should see together on my business card and gave it to her.
Smaller Guy: I don't get it.
Giant-Armed Guy: Then I called her and was like, "Yeah, scratch [whatever movie he said] off the list, because I saw it without you."
Smaller Guy: Yeah, dude, I learned the hard way you should never give your business cards out to girls.
Giant-Armed Guy: Well, it was all I had.
Smaller Guy: Like, at first, you're like, cool, she's calling me? Then, a few days later, she's calling, saying, "Why haven't I heard from you?" and you're like, shit, why'd I give her my work number? Now she's calling me at work. You know, you can get like 100 business cards printed up for like 20 bucks with just your phone number on them.

And then I tuned out because, frankly, the display on the treadmill was more interesting.

I should note that the TV on the right was playing a muted version of the Miss U.S.A. pageant. The TV on the left (closest to the two guys) was blaring rap videos. I chose neither.

Moments later, two other gigantic guys come in. [Seriously, three of these four men had biceps bigger than my waist.] One takes an elliptical, the other a bike. The one on the bike notices the pageant on TV and says, "We gotta change this shit." But then the bathing suit competition begins. You take your guess whether or not they left the beauty pageant on.

So now I'm on the treadmill and all four guys are glued to the Miss U.S.A. pageant as perfect girl after perfect girl parades out in matching bikinis. They make the (appropriate?) oohs and yeah-that's-what-I'm-talking-abouts, then I hear this:

Smaller Guy: Dude, that one's got some chub on her. Look. See that? She's not all tight.

I look to the TV where a girl with ridiculously toned thighs and obvious ab muscles does a little twirl for the judges. Then I hear:

Smaller Guy: Oh, no wonder. She's from New York.


I go back to Entertainment Weekly to read about Lost. Now, many of you know that the one show in the world I most do not want to read about is Lost. But, read I do, to avoid further such meathead comments. (I don't, by the way, think it's any big surprise that it's Smaller Guy who makes this comment.)

I leave the gym, shower, and go to my friend Amy's house for some wine & a weekend debriefing, and I fill her in on the exchange at the gym, which sparks a conversation about the disconnect between men and women. Here's what we come up with:

Men always say that women are all about playing games. We're not.* When we're younger -- say, twenties -- guys play games with us and think we get that that's what's going on and, as such, participate. But really, we're at home going, "I don't get it. He said he'd call...?" Then our friends -- who have the clarity to see the game-playing happening to us, but not to themselves -- say, "You can't call him, for like four days." And we do that, and of course, he comes back (until we give in and let him know just how much we like him, then it's all about "return to go; begin again."). Or we cave and call -- saying we don't need to play games, why should we play games, we like him, what's wrong with that? -- and he vanishes into the ether. But once we hit our thirties (and slowly come to accept that fact), we know games when we see them. We don't wonder why he hasn't called; we know why he hasn't called. So now the question becomes: Do we take the bait? Do we play back? Do we like him enough to put up with this when we've really got plenty on our plate already? And the answer is: Sometimes.

Yet other times, we fiercely embrace something like Sheryl Crow's "Run, Baby, Run." A sample lyric for demonstration purposes:

From the old familiar faces and
Their old familiar ways
To the comfort of the strangers
Slipping out before they say
So long
Baby loves to run
For whatever reason, the girl with the business card didn't call the gym guy fast enough. And maybe she had no intention of calling him ever. But is he really going to get in with the "I'll show you" phone call?

I'm reminded of a terrific book called Animal Husbandry by Laura Zigman (which was made into a painfully-bad movie saved only by Hugh Jackman's abs called Someone Like You.** [Someone needs to tell Ashley Judd she can't act, stat.]). The book describes a scientific study called Old Cow-New Cow wherein a bull mates with a cow, then loses all interest in that cow. He's had that cow; been there, done that (literally). He wants New Cow. The scientists try to disguise the Old Cow as New Cow by dressing her up. Nothing doing. He knows it's Old Cow. They take the scent of a New Cow and put it on the Old Cow. No go. He gets it. He wants New Cow. Bull is only satisfied when he finally has New Cow. Then -- guess what -- he doesn't want that cow anymore. She's become Old Cow. And the hunt begins again.

My friend Seree once came up with an excellent analogy about men and women. She said that men are a chest of drawers. They've got a drawer for work, a drawer for sports, a drawer for women, etc., and they can only be in one drawer at a time. Women, on the other hand, are walk-in closets. Walk in, and it's all there, all the time.

So in the midst of this massive gender disconnect, can we ever hope to untangle the wires and find that balance? Will the bull ever be happy with his Old Cow, or will he forever be seeking the New? Can any of us get our friends/family/coworkers/therapists/whoever out of our heads long enough to determine what we want, rather than what others want for us? And can't we, in the end, just get along?

What would happen if all men and all women everywhere agreed to a moratorium on game-playing? Would it be like a giant train wreck with the carnage being broken hearts? (Can you picture it? Little shattered hearts everywhere amidst the debris; maybe one lucky couple rising up from the ashes...) Or do games actually save us in the end? When one of us begins to play the game, is it actually a subconscious desire to end a relationship without having to be the guilty party? Or is it a subconscious fear of pursuing a relationship with the knowledge that it could end badly, or just end, period, so we wreck it before that can happen? The fear-of-success so I'll ensure failure plan.

(Am I starting to sound like Carrie Bradshaw? If only I had a little Apple on the back of my computer, then I'd be more able to embrace the part.)

The thing about games is this: There's usually a winner, and there's usually a loser.
It's so very rarely a tie.

*In fairness to men (and know that that phrase alone somewhat kills me), I will admit that there are women out there who knowingly play the game without needing encouragement. But that's not what I feel like talking about and it's my blog, so there.
**I do know that I'm being somewhat hypocritical simply by commenting on Hugh Jackman's abs here, but, really, have you seen them?

Friday, April 08, 2005

Bras, Abercrombie, & Other Secrets

Let me say up front that I hate shopping for bras. Hate it. To me, the only upside of shopping at Victoria's Secret is buying cute pajamas (a new pair of which I am wearing at this very moment. V. comfy.) For years I just wore little tank top things (think of training bras) and called it good.

Yesterday, finally accepting the fact that, no, my favorite beige bra did not disappear into the ether; it was, in fact, taken by those nice people who took everything else that belonged to me and rifled through my lingerie drawer in the process. I also finally accepted that my favorite black bra is, in fact, too big. So, Victoria's Secret it was.

The women who work at VS love to do bra fittings. Love it. I think if I were a lesbian, the first place I'd put in my application would be at VS. I tell the first lady exactly which bra I want and in what colors. She says she should really do a fitting first to determine my size. I know my size (see above re: black bra too big). I tell her I know my size. I tell her my size. She whips out her pink tape measure and tells me to hold out my arms. What she really says is, "Hold out your arms as if you were going to fly."

I hold out my arms as if I were going to fly.

She does her special measuring then tells me my size. Which I already knew was my size. I backtrack and tell her that I usually wear one of the Angels and describe it. She squints at me a bit, this bunned, bespectacled lady, and says, "I think you're going to love our padded push-up bras." Because, you know, my self-confidence needed a boost.

She proceeds to bring me a BOX of bras. Every push-up, padded bra that VS offers. I cave only in that the two I walk out with are not the ones I walked in to get, but I do not get these ridiculous padded things she thinks I will love. I don't believe in pretending. I make myself feel better by buying ridiculously cute, comfortable pajamas.

I go back out into the mall.

I decide (for some unknown reason) that it's time to give Abercrombie & Fitch another shot after my v. long boycott. Perhaps I am influenced by doe-eyed, perfect-skinned, previously-mentioned A&F manager. I meander through. I survey the other shoppers, the workers, the posters. I am reminded that I am much too old to shop at Abercrombie; I remind myself of their cruelty-to-bunnies t-shirt; I reflect briefly on the fact that Evan used to simply call me "Abercrombie."

I walk out.

I go to Banana. I fit right in. Perhaps this is why I'm a Luxe member. Perhaps this is why a couple of days ago I got the "Because you're one of our most valued customers, we've increased your spending limit" letter. I reflect briefly on receiving and celebrating said Luxe card and Joel's saying, "You know that just means you've spent a ridiculous amount of money at Banana Republic, right?"

I walk out.

I go to The Gap and buy maternity clothes for my sister.

My Animals Are Confused

I'm actually sitting at my desk for once in forever and decided to hide all cords and let the bunnies come out to play a bit. My cat Jasmine had to get in on the action, so she stalked in, touched noses with Sidney (tiniest bunny - 2 1/2 pounds), then rolled over to "play" with him. Before she could bat him with her paws, Sidney, oblivious, hopped away under the couch.

Meanwhile, I get involved in Internet-ing and eating mass Lifesavers and drinking my vodka (because it's just that kind of night). When I finally emerge, I find that Jasmine has eaten the rabbits' hay and has, kindly, thrown it right back up in the hallway. Sidney has managed to escape the office and I find him right where I know he'll be: in my bedroom, happily munching on catfood. No one has bothered to tell the little guy that he is, in fact, a vegetarian. Gracie, the most bad bunny if ever there were a bad bunny (bless her heart, that girl will go to lengths to get into trouble) is back in her own room, stretched out on her rug, looking at me as if to say, "See? I'm not always bad."

For those of you keeping count out there (those of you in my Lifesavers Anonymous circle), I'm on Lifesaver #18 and reaching for #19. Yes, I'm aware that they strip my tongue of my tastebuds and make it impossible for me to eat other foods without stinging pain. Yes, I'm aware that they give me a stomachache. Yes, I'm aware that all this hard candy is not good for my already bad teeth. Yes, I don't care.

Time for a refill.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

"Look and Feel"

I've been an absent blogger and now I'm being an irresponsible one. My parents are somewhere in the air approaching Dallas and I should be making my house parent-ready, but instead I have been shopping all day and now I am blogging. So, well, yeah, whatever.

So this last week or so I had my initiation into the world of advertising after landing a freelance copywriting gig. Yesterday marked my first official "presentation to the clients" which was stressful in preparation and exciting in execution.

During my time working on the the website, among other things, I learned how to call someone an idiot in Malay (my art director, Sok-Kien, is Malaysian), which actually translates to "stupid egg," and I learned that the phrase "look and feel" is used over and over again in the ad world. As in, "If we use stock photography, we won't have a consistent look and feel." "Basically, the whole look and feel of this concept will be intimate and warm." "What we're trying to accomplish with the look and feel..." You get the picture. Anyway, now we wait for word from the client as to which concept of the three we presented that they like best.

It's as close as I've come in a long time to a full-time job. I haven't had one of those in a crazy long time. An actual full-time job would be good for two reasons: a) steady income, and b) health insurance. The last full-ish-time job I had was my distance learning teaching gig for Keiser College. The pay could certainly be called "steady" but hardly "income." Ridiculous. Health insurance I've not had since May '02 when I landed myself in the Delray Medical Center with chest pain that was first diagnosed as a heart attack, then simply as "unexplained chest pain." My insurance paid a whopping $3,000 on my $16,000 bill, I got to fight the hospital to understand that my yearly salary as a graduate teaching assistant was less than what they wanted me to cough up, and then I lost all coverage.

Which brings me to one of my many musings of today: When is anyone going to actually do something about the health insurance crisis in our country? It's not like I'm an irresponsible person who refuses work, or purposefully remains uninsured so as to let someone else pay my way. I work; I just happen to work freelance and part-time and whatever else pays the bills at the time that allows me to write. And still I've got these cardiologists in Florida sending me $900 bills monthly (that started arriving TWO YEARS after I'd been hospitalized). The truth of the matter is this: Had I been a) uninsured or b) a single parent, my bills would have been taken care of. What kind of message does this send?

Three other short and wholly unrelated thoughts:
1) Is there any errand worse than going to the bank?
2) Isn't it weird to think there are people in the world who have this concept of Who You Are and it's actually not remotely who you are?
3) Should I be concerned that I'm drinking a glass of wine in the middle of the afternoon just so I can throw the bottle away before my parents arrive? Have I forgotten how incredibly old I am? (And, really, how can I when I spent a piece of one night this week sitting at the bar with a flawless-skinned, rosy-cheeked, early-twenty-something who manages an Abercrombie & Fitch?)

And my favorite quote of the day: "It's 900 square feet of ghetto bliss."

If only I didn't have to go unload the dishwasher and remake the bed and wash the wine glasses and put them away, I'd go back and rewrite this entire blog entry. The whole look and feel is very inconsistent.