Archive for May, 2005
“So there I was, opening up my new laptop – a moment which should have been one of the most momentous and…JOYOUS of times. Except it wasn’t. It was all wrong. I felt it in my bones. This laptop – it wasn’t for me. It was someone else’s laptop. Laptop destiny, ignored.”
May 31st, 2005
I’m on Weight Watchers. Yeah, I know. I’m not enormous, but I did reach an all-time high in January and frightened myself. And while it wasn’t out of control yet, I realized at the rate I was gaining, I was on a steady climb to be somewhere in the range of 200+ lbs on my 5′ 7” frame by the time I was 35 (I’m 29 now, I know, but you get what I mean – the weight creep was CREEPING ME OUT). Not good.
Anyway, it’s been great, actually. I’m surprised at how little I’ve felt deprived and how much…healthier, if I may be so cliche, I feel. It’s really done wonders for my sleep habits, overall health and even my skin. Great. Whoo hoo.
However, when I went to log my weight this week, this is what I got:
WELL DONE! You’ve recorded a loss this week. That’s great news! However, we notice that you’ve lost more than an average of 2 pounds per week over three or more weeks. This rate is too rapid — it may be unsafe or unhealthy.While we’re proud of your achievements and pleased you’re making changes in your life, we need you to concentrate on one more thing: You should slow the pace of your weight loss to no more than 2 pounds per week.
Seriously, WW, I love you, but you can shove it up your ass. First off, you didn’t warn me about the dangers of rapid WEIGHT GAIN when I packed on five pounds in four days while I was in California (did you know that they have REAL MEXICAN FOOD in California? My ass does now, thank you). Secondly, I had a stomach virus, and for the last 48 hours, I’ve either puked up everything of substance, or managed to keep down a simple meal of (yummy!) saltines and ginger ale. I know it’s not healthy.
Stuff it, like I said.
May 24th, 2005
It’s never the properly amazing things you remember about trips is it? It’s not the scenery or the perfect weather or the bland lunches spent laughing over memories. It’s the accidental hilarity that makes life wonderful. The stupid things that went wrong and wreaked havoc.
It’s the havoc we love and remember. It’s the havoc that makes the memories that we’ll share over bland lunches for years to come.
There was plenty of madness on our trip to California. From getting lost in the woods of Santa Barbara in the middle of the night while looking for the wrong hotel, to running over a possom at high speeds on the highway. The possum, by the way, wasn’t that exciting – it was listening to Jenny come undone in the backseat as she became convinced that I was some sort of overtired, delusional driver on a suicide mission to take us all into the Pacific as I yelled, “OH MY GOD. OH MY GOD,” and mowed that poor thing down, rolling it under our tires like a stone.
Ironically, it’s the trip home that sticks out most for me. I used to be a really laid back traveler, arriving at the airport 30 minutes before departure and happily winging it, even in post-911 security. Being late never stressed me out. My friends were of a similar disposition – our inherent naivete and inexperience gave us a freedom and innocence we’ve lost in our older age. Or at least I’ve lost. I now know that planes take off without you – security takes longer than you think – and I find more comfort in being able to load up on magazines and grab a pre-flight latte than the extra hour of sleep and relaxation on the front end. This is compounded by the fact that I am afraid to fly – stress before even greater stress isn’t really a combo platter I willingly sign up for.
Couple this so-called maturity with spending six years with a man who builds out an itinerary for every trip we’ve ever taken down to the minute and arrives at the airport NO LESS than two hours before flight time, even if it’s a simple Delta shuttle to New York. The itinerary is usually printed and includes time allotted for packing, waking up and drive time. It’s irritating, but endlessly endearing.
It’s rubbed off.
On our last day, we got a bit of a late start on our way to the airport. We were taking the redeye, and I don’t think any of us realized how awkward the 9 p.m. departure time would be. Assured from our friend Kim (the one we made the pilgrimage to visit!) that the airport was a mere 30 minutes away, the three of us piled into our rented Ford Focus and made the trek to Long Beach. Somewhere on Torrence Boulevard, I realized what time it was and my Inner Adam broke loose.
I didn’t handle it well. I panicked, clutching the steering wheel with a grip that could turn coal into diamonds and muttered such nonsensical things like, “What thefucklookwhat timeitisandwehavetoreturntherentalcarandgetgasandallthatand JESUS CHRIST itssolateandwhatthefuckarewegoingtodoandwherethehellarewe?” and “It’s my fault. I SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE VIGILANT WITH THE ITINERARY.”
And then, the inevitable happened.
We missed our exit. And I became SOMEONE ELSE and was rendered completely incapable of making a single decision, shouting things like, “WHERE THE FUCK ARE WE?” and “WHERE SHOULD I GO? SOMEBODY TELL ME WHAT TO DO, STAT.” while tapping my fingers to some vague African drum beat and gnawing on my lips until they bled. Jenny was silent in the back, I later learned because she was, yet again, terrified of me, and poor Eve sat in the passenger seat, saddled with the bulk of my wrath and offering soothing words such as, “It’s okay Button! We’ll get there! It’ll be okay!” and “RELAX. Please relax. Oh my god, just RELAX.”
I was so not relaxed.
By some miracle, we made it with TWENTY WHOLE MINUTES TO SPARE. I ran, threw the keys at the rental man while they checked in and held a spot for me. After arriving on the plane, Jenny informed us that this was her first flight without anti-anxiety meds, so she might be a little on edge.
She did astonishingly well, but for her habit of verbalizing EVERY SINGLE FEAR that crossed her mind, tossing it out there like a fistful of diamonds on the table. I’m familar with this tack, as I employ it often myself – putting it out there for someone else to deal with invalidates it, to some degree. I get it and feel her pain. Except when someone else does it, I don’t do so well. So, somewhere in the middle of Jenny’s diatribe about the lax security at the gate and her philosophical musings of what the pilot’s unkempt hair might mean for the no doubt apocolyptic fate of JetBlue Flight 488, I began to let my mind wander to the sound of the retracting flaps and our mysterious flight pattern that appeared to be taking us even more towards the open Pacific, which in case you are geographically challenged, IS NOT THE SAME DIRECTION AS BOSTON and is most likely the evil plot of suicidal pilots with messy hair and bad teeth and I blurted out,
“I CANNOT TALK ABOUT THIS NOW. I AM FREAKING OUT.”
A few drinks later, all was calm. There was laughter and even sleep, if you can believe it. The lion in me had calmed down and we were three friends on our way back from an amazing vacation. But what’s really astonishing is that somehow, this – this insanely miserably stressful experience – has become a havoc-filled memory that I will cherish. Our clashing sibling-like personalities. How free I am around these women to be so completely myself that I let them see the heinously ugly side usually reserved for family and Adam. The one that freaks out on planes and loses her ability to make basic decisions and screams in a small crisis.
I truly hope you are all that lucky.
May 21st, 2005
The concept of wake n’ bake is so far gone to me that it defies consideration. I don’t like waking, much less baking immediately afterwards.
The gentleman driving in front of me last week, though. He DEFINED wake n’ bake. I was happily cruising into work one day last week, heading on some back roads to the rockin’ town of Peabody (and you pronounce that PEE-budee, for those of you outside the Massachusetts dialect. Don’t ask.) and I smelled it.
Weed. Pot. Grass. Marijuana. Like it was in my car. Could it be? SERIOUSLY? It was 8:15 in the morning.
Uh, judging from the sight in front of me, it most certainly could be. The dude in front of me was lit up like a candle, smoke pouring from his windows like it was on fire. Wifebeater. Caaaa-RANKING bass booming from the sunroof. Rasta hat. Fatty firmly in hand. If I breathed deeply enough, a contact high was headed my way.
I was tempted.
I loved it. I loved the balls this dude had to light up like that in the morning. I loved the smell (I’ve always loved the smell of weed) and most of all, I loved his happy-go-lucky demeanor and attitude. It was 8:15 a.m., and this dude was lighting it UP. Okay, I did not love that he was driving, but that DID NOT OCCUR TO ME, okay? I was daydreaming of carefree days gone by and mushroom trips. Leave me alone in my drug-addled fantasy.
I think I saw the cops first. At least, I’m pretty sure I did, for his behavior was no indication that he saw the throngs of them gathered around the construction equipment on the side of the road. Smoke continued to pour from the windows. They had to smell him coming.
They did. But not before he saw them. In a last-ditch effort to secure his innocence, our fine Rasta friend threw his fatty out of the sunroof.
Guess where it landed. Go on. Guess. You know you want to.
My windshield wipers. I had a freaking roach trapped in my windshield wipers. I hope they were enjoying it, for they were smoking one hell of a fat joint of what was probably high-quality weed.
I was able to break my gaze from the flaming wipers in time to see a pedestrian cop frantically waving my fine Rastafarian friend down.
And then me.
ME. ME WITH MY FLAMING WIPERS.
I can’t pretend I handled it well. When the cop came to the window, I blurted out,
“Nothing. Er, I wasn’t smoking. He was. I mean, WHY DID YOU PULL ME OVER?” Tears were close. I had visions of jail time for possession with intent to distribute because THAT’S HOW BIG THIS JOINT WAS.
“Ma’am, I know. But you guys were close together and we weren’t immediately sure where it was coming from. And, um, your wipers are smoking.”
I had to admire them for not immediately profiling us. I mean, you see a dude with a smoking Lexus, crankin’ bass and a rasta hat juxtaposed with a chick in a sweater set and a french twist listening to Erasure.
I’m going to miss the Northeast.
May 19th, 2005
I just returned from four days in Los Angeles with my three best girlfriends. It was one of the best times of my entire life, and I can’t wait to tell you about it. I can’t wait to talk about these women and our Sideways tour through the San Ynez valley, getting lost in Santa Barbara at 2 a.m. and laughing so hard that my face hurt and I feared it might freeze in the Permalaff position.
But we’ll do that later. When I left for vacation, I expected a break from reality. I didn’t expect to have a small career/identity crisis. My upbringing, combined with my Capricorn tendencies, blesses me with a propensity to believe that work is supposed to be mind-numbingly hard, and you certainly aren’t supposed to do what you love. So, I stumbled into a career that is all of the above. Soul-suckingly boring, borderline abusive, and incredibly difficult – not challenging, yet lucrative, and I happen to be very good at it.
While in LA, I spent time with a friend of a friend who is trying to be a screenwriter. This woman is, in many ways, the antithesis of who I want to be. She has very few real relationships and suffers from brutal insecurity that manifests itself in dangerously destructive ways. She’s maladjusted. Discontent. Perpetually searching for something to make her feel more whole.
And yet I envied her so much during our time together that it almost consumed me.
She’s doing what I didn’t have the balls to even attempt. She’s in the film school at UCLA and is about to graduate. She has a writing partner and is writing scripts and shopping them around. She has a job as a script screener for a film agent. She might fail, but she’s fucking trying.
I know this isn’t right. It’s not healthy and it’s so, so very wrong. And stupid. And a waste of time. AND NOT LIKE ME. But I sat there in her gorgeous velvet chair in her small, charming apartment in Beverly Hills and I wanted to run screaming out of my skin. For the first time in a long time, I really and truly felt like a failure. I felt like a failure for not trying. For valuing stability and the potential for a family over what I really think I might have wanted. For being gutless and a total wimp and having that overwhelming Capricorn desire to contribute to a 401K and climb climb climb to some pinnacle of ambition with a clear path instead of doing what I wanted to do. For being a fool in not realizing what I might want earlier in life.
My dear friend Micki wrote a brilliant post already that sums up how I feel about what I’ve done. I’ve sold my soul to the corporate devil, thinking that writing press releases and technical whitepapers is going to fill the void for what I should have done. I have fucking failed. Yes, yes, I know my life isn’t over, but I look at what my practical Capricorn self has set out for me and I don’t see moving to LA to become a screenwriter in the cards. And it’s all my fault, for even as I write this, I have the little muses of negativity whispering in my ear, “But you’d hate LA!” “But you want children!” “But you’d die living with the Plastic Movie People!”
And they’re right. It’s not about the screenwriting. To compound the negative muses, I don’t do well with dialogue. It’s the fact that I have signed myself up for perpetual failure by continuing to devote time – mind-boggling amounts of time – to a job that breaks my heart. And the rest of my time to nurturing other parts of my life – my relationships, my cat, resting and relaxing. And I fail a lot at those, too. I’m not perfect.
So what’s it all for? Is the path I’ve chosen the right one? Will I ever get my shit together and stop fucking around in corporate America? Or – perhaps even more terrifying – will having a child actually bring me fulfillment, or will I resent them? Will it ever be enough?
I don’t fucking know.
May 16th, 2005
“Holy shit. It smells like you sauteed that chicken in feces. What the fuck IS that?!”
May 2nd, 2005