Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oh, The Things I Could Have Said

Hindsight, stairway wit, 20/20 vision, looking back, Monday morning
quarterbacking; these are the terms that come to mind after
encountering a rude bitch in a packed supermarket (well, admittedly,
not all these terms come to mind. Some come to my mind, but others
come from the thesaurus).
After taking Ollie for a walk on Palm Beach (where I overheard a water
taxi tour guide tell his party of two that the homes along the water
there have a $349,000 yearly tax on them), we went by Publix, our
grocery store, to pick-up some pie makin' goodies for Turkey Day (or,
maybe it will be Tofurkey day considering a vegetarian friend is
hosting me this year).

I had to wait for a parking space and many people just left their cars
in illegal areas, it was so busy. Once inside, I found what I needed
and got in line. The lines were also very busy, as you can imagine.
When the Check-Out Girl told the woman ahead of me that she didn't
have $5-worth of quarters at the moment, bitchy woman with the fancy
headband sneered at her, "Oh, you've gotta be kidding me!"

Checkout Girl apologized and sent someone to get Ms. Bitchy Quarters
some change. While she waited, she started checking me out (my
groceries, I mean). Although I hate it when others do this to me, I
had to crowd Ms. Bitchy Quarters to swipe my card because she was
still standing there, being very busy and important waiting for her
quarters to appear. "Excuse me" I said politely, to get the swiping
machine, you know, because now it's my turn?

"You don't mind if I finish here, first"  said Ms. Bitchy Quarters, annoyed

"Oh, no. I don't even mind that you're holding up a very long line of
people in a very busy grocery store two days before a major holiday.
What I do mind is you sneering at Check-Out Girl, who is working very
hard tonight, and snotting out, 'Oh, you've got to be kidding me!',
when she doesn't immediately have a ridiculous amount of quarters to
help support your tacky slots machine addiction.  THAT, I mind." and
then I smile cheerily after thanking Check-Out Girl, take my bag and
turn to Ms. Bitchy Quarters and say in a sugary sweet tone while
crinkling my nose ever so slightly, "Happy Holidays!".  This leaves
her appalled but also thinking about her behavior, which leads her to
apologize to Check-Out Girl after I've left, not to mention re-think
how she treats telemarketers who, while they are completely
undesirable, are people just trying to pay their bills (types the girl
who screens all her calls to avoid said telemarketers).

That's what would have happened if I had the guts, and the hindsight
at the moment.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Green Hoodie Has a Home

This evening I went to Target to exchange some white t-shirts because
they are not quite the right size for the order my godmother put in
from my etsy site.  As I entered the store, a light from the clouds
beamed down on a pair of pants. Dark teale velvet pants.  I think I
may have audibly blurted out in Schatner-ish "I     must     have
them!" as I B-lined it to the rack. While wandering the clothing
department, it was clear... a shipment of new stuff had come in.

I found a green cable knit-like hoodie and snatched-up that badboy, too.

I own a green hoodie but it's falling apart. Really, I should have
just gone ahead and named the thing Linus. I've been wanting to
replace it, but I have never met it's equal. Until now. I had to
giggle at myself as I tried on the new green hoodie and gently clasped
my hands on front of me, gazing at the sweater as if I were a proud
mama watching their kid take a bow on their on their elementary school
stage and sighed, "Awe, you're coming home with me".

I shall love you and hug you and call you Linus II.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I was waiting to talk with Gwyn, our office manager, while our
21-year-old intern tried to explain to her why he had trashed some
photos he'd taken, rather than archive them (I think anyway, I walked
up half way through the chat). He umed and welled his way to getting
nowhere in an explanation until he got "distracted" by something on
her counter and looked at it, interested. After watching him hem and
haw his way down Avoidance Avenue while eating a giant piece of guilt
pie, I got annoyed, "Dude, spit it out, I have to talk to Gwyn." I

He finished his thought and Gwyn and I started our conversation.

Now, I will point out right here that it was not a case where I
interrupted their conversation to have my own with Gwyn. I know when I
do this, I notice it the minute I do it, and generally, I halt myself
while squeaking out an embarrassed "sorry".

I'm writing about it though, because it brought me back. When I was
21, if someone had blurted out what I blurted out this afternoon to
our intern puppy, I probably would have cried behind closed doors. Or,
at least would have spent the rest of my internship thinking that
person making the comment must not like me. They think about me and
think about how much I suck. How lame I am  (of course, I'm completely
unaware that they have better things to do than think about me at

Just when I think I've come along way in the area of not letting what
others think of me effect me, I'm curt with (or really, just rude) to
someone else. Not that intern puppy is crying himself to sleep right
now, I'm sure far from it, but he will be getting a little "sorry I
was bitchy at you" email from me once I complete this entry.

Just in case he is a crybaby.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Prime Minister Bhutto

I took a photo for The Palm Beach Post in the winter of 2003.
Former Prime Minister Bhutto was speaking at the Society of The Four
Arts on Palm Beach. I knew her title, knew I was honored to be
photographing her, but I didn't get the weight of it at the time. I
knew I had about five minutes to take her picture and I couldn't go
anywhere with her. When I placed her for a photo initially, she said,
"Isn't that bad feng shui - being by the mirror like that?"  She
repositioned herself and I took the picture with the largest man (her
bodyguard) I have ever seen in my entire life standing by.

When I saw on the news that she was returning to her home after eight
years away, I was happy. I was proud. Not because I had taken her
photograph, but because she is a woman and she is who she is. To have
such strength is awe-inspiring to me. To be so passionate about
something that you aren't afraid to fight for it. We're not talking
about picket signs or writing a strongly worded letter, we're talking
about returning to a homeland where there will likely be countless
attempts on your life. Others will die because they believe in you.

Then, when she did return home, there were thousands there to welcome
her. Thousands who maybe thought to themselves Finally, she is home
and we will have democracy. We will fight for democracy. We have our
leader back. What must it be like to be her? To know all the people
have such faith in you that they will rally for you outside your home
despite the fact that hundreds died days ago when a bomb went off at
your homecoming parade.

When you know there are people who want you dead and
who-knows-how-many who are willing to die to kill you, do you just get
used to that idea? Furthermore, as one of her supporters, or even a
citizen of a country in unrest, do you get used to the idea that you
could die at any time from a bombing. Does it just become second
nature to you or are you the hairs on the back of your neck always

We hear about death in other countries. One hundred thirty people were
killed when Bhutto's parade was attacked. It's just a number to us. We
are not connected to the people and it is so physically far away that
it doesn't seem to effect us personally in the US. Maybe as humans
it's necessary to separate. Otherwise, you would be terminally
depressed if you really put some thought into the fact that countless
people, people who are standing-up for what they believe in, or people
who were simply going to the local market, die every day. The idea of
dying while picking-up your groceries is completely foreign to us.

I think we have just accepted that people die. We've accepted that
that's just the way it is. Well, that's just the way it is in other
countries. That would never happen to us. Because if it was something
that was happening to us, we would never stand for it. But, the
numbers we see now, those numbers of people dying so far away, they
are only a brief mention during the commercial break before the start
of your favorite violent forensics show.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I recently got the third season of Felicity on DVD. I have been
watching a lot of Felicity. It was put aside for a bit to watch a few
episodes of Life Goes On, but since I've run out of crackers and wine
to go along with that show's cheese, I am now back to Felicity. At
least until My So Called Life shows up from Netflix tomorrow.

I just finished watching an episode in which Felicity and Noel, who
are extremely close friends, have a huge falling-out because she's
in-love with her boyfriend and Noel, who is not her boyfriend, is
in-love with her. They have a fight - him saying that he needs to take
his post-graduation job in Seattle to get away from her, and that he's
haunted by the idea that he will never get over her.

This got me thinking about my college life and life beyond.  I have
had a (very) few relationships where we simply grew too important to
one another. It's the only explanation for me as to why they end in
weight-loss inducing blazes of glory.

In college, I became dependently close with my best friend at the
time. We lived together with a slew of others our junior year. He and
I hung out all the time, stressing about our futures. We would stay up
till all hours of the night shooting the shit about everything and
anything, while listening to the Indigo Girls (yes, how very college)
sharing our dark and, again, oh-so-collegiate, deep moods. In the
winter, his mother got very sick and died within a few weeks. I west
home with him to Delaware for the funeral. I didn't cry. I remember
feeling this responsibility to keep it together for him. On the drive
home, back to school, it got dark as we got closer to "home". Indigo
Girls were on the stereo, of course, and the song "Virginia Wolf"

"...and the voice at the other end comes like a long lost friend
so I know I'm all right
life will come and life will go
still I feel it's all right
cause I just got a letter to my soul
and when my whole life is on the tip of my tongue
empty pages for the no longer young
the apathy of time laughs in my face
you say each life has its place"

Each life has its place.  I lost it at that point, and he questioned
why it had taken me so long.

A few months later, I was hospitalized and diagnosed.

My college years had quite a few made-for-movies moments like the
one's listed above. Kind of like Felicity without the fantastic
lighting. Or the hot boyfriends. Or the abnormally large apartments.
Aside from the death of a loved one, I wouldn't change any of it if I
could. Looking back on them now as an adult, they are a bit eye
rolling, but in reality, those moments have become sort-of a freckle
on my DNA.

I do wonder sometimes, what the point of such close relationships are.
The kind of relationships where their opinion means so much to you and
it's almost as though you can't pick out a fucking t-shirt without
getting their thoughts on the color. The kind of close relationships
that, when the shit hits the fan, you block the person out and don't
speak to them again until you run into each other at a wedding four
years later.  Being diagnosed is a piece of cake (mmm, cake) when
compared to those post-extraction recoveries.

One time, when I extracted myself from this type of situation, it was
as though I'd lost a limb. Another time, I didn't miss the person at
all. I kept expecting it to creep up on me, but to this day, I don't
miss them.  When I befriend people, I don't ever wonder to myself how
it will end. I don't wonder - will they be a lost limb? Or will they
be un-missed?

I remember my friend Meg and I talking years ago (she too lived in
that house) about things we learn in school but don't feel are going
to be used in the real world. I remember telling her that all the
filler we were learning was to expand our brain. Work the brain, which
is supposedly a muscle, so we can figure out other shit in the future
that will hit us like a ton of bricks because they forgot to teach it
in a 101 class.  That combination of the calculus and philosophy 101
would somehow help strengthen the part of the brain that would help us
figure out how to get our taxes done while building those shelves that
HAVE to go up this week-end. Or, something like that (that's a crap
example, but I'm just a pretend writer so it's ok).

Point is, I never wondered why about my relationships. I mean, I'd
wonder about a person's actions or behavior like any other perfectly
healthy overanylitical freak, but I'd never wonder in the overall
picture, why did I have this relationship and why am I not still close
with them? I think it's the same premise as the brain theory, in a
way. Not to be all After School Special but I suppose our hearts - or
a combo or heart and brain - need the experiences of the past to help
us grow as a person. Thanks to the Felicity episodes of my past, I can
spot the future ones from, like, a mile away. Lesson learned. Next
quasi-crisis averted.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Oliver's NonBirthday

Today is supposedly Oliver's birthday. Except it's not. Today is the
day the previous owners' vet claimed to be his birthday. Or at least,
today's the day the owner's claimed to be his birthday and the vet
confirmed it. After his age-related eye injury taught us that he's
actually more like (insert whisper here) eight or nine, we now know
the original date to be inaccurate.

Looking at his old and extensive vet records, it's interesting to see
what his life was like before he came to me. Some notes written on
them, "Called owner and gave him lab results. He said he'll have teeth
cleaned when he drops them off for boarding".

"Them". When he drops "them" off. Ollie used to have another dog
around him. He also had all the same issues he has now, minus the eye

Much like I wonder what breed he actually is, I wonder how old my dog
is? Maybe I wouldn't care if birthdays weren't such a big deal in my
family. But, they are, and now I'm a bit peeved that I could turn to
my dog and say "Happy Birthday" on the wrong day because no one
freaking wrote it down right. I suppose it's like that doggie costume
party - more for the owner than the dog.

I could claim his birthday to be June 6 since that's the day I got
him, but, it would be weird. June 6 would come around and I knew I'd
be celebrating a false date (keeping in mind, "celebrating" means
turning to him, saying "Happy Birthday!" and him sitting quickly for a
treat, a treat that I will give him. That would be the extent of it).

This makes me think of my dear friend Rachel, whose birthday was
declared to be the day her parents adopted her form Korea at age nine.
Of course, she KNEW when her real birthday was, so she was all what
the hell? My birthday was nine months ago! Far more of an egregious
error than Oliver's I realize. I always think of Rachel in January,
even though her "birthday" is September 28.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I woke from a dream this morning in which I lost control of my car and
it went off a bridge, plummeting into a large body of water. When I
woke, I found myself in that not-quite-awake state, thinking about the
dream. Suddenly, I was visualizing the car going into water. How would
I deal with it? I'd learned on TV that your should break your window.
But, the challenge comes from the fact that you are supposed to wait
for the car to completely fill up so the water pressure inside the car
is equal to the pressure outside of the car, making it possible to
swim out. Still, I put myself in this scenario and can feel mild panic
in my chest as I visualize the various ways I could deal with it.

Then, the dog is with me in the car and I am now trying to figure out
how to get the dog out. Will I be able to get him in by arms before we
hit the water so I can try to stop him from slamming into the
windshield? Will he breathe in the minute I allow the water to rise
above his head? Will he know to swim up if he is smart enough to hold
his breath? What do I do if he panics and won't let me drag him out of
the car under the water?

I run this scenario over and over in my head, slightly different each
time, until finally, Oliver's head pops up over the edge of my bed,
pulls me from this un-reality and I am completely relieved when I pull
myself out of it completely.

When the hell am I likely to drive off a bridge anyway?