Thursday, June 25, 2009

Business Trip

Midnight sunset over Chicago. The bigger the hotel room, the longer the walk to the bathroom to get water in the middle of the night, the lonelier the unworn bath robes in the closet make you feel. A hotel bar unvisited, its characters unrevealed, a hotel notepad unwritten on. A cocktail dress worn for (practically) nothing. A heart unexplored over a cab-view of the windy city. Like a stranded showgirl somewhere very far away from Vegas. I shut the curtains at 11:13 pm over downtown Chicago fronted by a flashing neon "Chicago" sign. If I had any sense of adventure I'd throw my heels back on and walk till I reached that sign. And inside I would find the stories that Im dying to write. Instead Ill use up the entire bottle of hotel shampoo and wait for my outlook to load. Then spend a little time worrying about the people that I love for various reasons before falling asleep with the lights on. Where's "home" when you need one.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chaos Casserole: Dreams with Holes that still Hold Water

Its almost my 25th birthday. Half of you are thinking "oh my god she is still a baby!". The other half are thinking, "damn we are getting old". I mean when did we get old enough for our car ensurance to drop? Who makes that executive decision that we are mature, old and responsible enough to do our own taxes instead of crashing our cars? Regardless, impeccably timed with this said birthday, I found my first broken vein in my leg, accompanied by a swath of quite unwelcome tiny spider veins on my previously unblemished thigh. This sent me into a frenzy of uncensored paranoia and overexaggerated despair. something, besides my brithday itself, reminding me that there were forces all around me moving me along in a direction I, excuse me, never agreed to go. And, it announced, it was taking my body with it, very much without asking. This realization, along with the lack of any ability to prevent this slow kidnapping of my youth, instantly unhindged me in the most unflattering way - I was beyond pacification, leaving a trail of feathers as I fluttered from person to person in my life asking them to somehow quell my panic while telling them at the same time that they couldnt possibly. This, as you can probably imagine, didnt go over so well, especially with those who had been rowing upstream against cancer all year. Most of them gave me a similar trying-not-to-look-annoyed look (this look can be also be effectively administered over the phone, by the way) and said.... "A vein." Ooooookay. "Yeah." says I. "With many many more to come, perhaps in torrents over the next few years!!!"
.....Was the answer. Somewhere deep down I know how silly it was. And how out of my control, either way. But somehow the symbolism of the find rose like the tide to my conciousness and suddlenly I was Paul Revere, riding like hell to deliver the bad news to myself as an unwelcome realization. "The denchers are coming! The vericose veins and the smile lines and the mortgages and the divorce lawyers and the viagra and the midlife crisis that never really resolve just become routine and your inevitable, undeniable end. They are all coming!" So I killed two birds with one stone and delivered the message to everyone I knew at the same time. And werent they just so grateful that I did!

A few days later, as I was picking up the feathers i had lost and sticking them back on, I thought, hey this is ok. Time to bite the bullet, accept the inevitable and make ammends. Everyone gets older, wiser, happier even if you do it the right way. And nobody does it completely gracefully. Except maybe budhist monks. (And damn they must have some spider veins something awful from all that sitting still.) Its the best I can do to keep taking care of myself the best I can and the rest will have to be just the buildup on the side of a good tub of yogurt. This was my thinking anyway. I could do this. I could make the best of this. I wouldnt make it out alive but I could still do my best to at least show up at the door of my 30s someday with clean underwear and all my sweaters color coded. With this new philosophy I felt almost redeemed and pacified for the most part. And ready to face the weekend with fresh energy. Seeing that almost everyone I knew was out of town, it was the perfect opportunity to regain control of what I could impact, eat well, cleanse my life's palette, buy a few small things I still needed for my apartment, improve my posture, save my money, give my hair an olive oil treatment and color code my sweaters. All that and just generally make the best of the great life I did have. Good plan! I was so excited about the prospect of bringing order, peace and overall health back into my life that went on a sideways bindge after-work mani pedi with my girlfriends and brought in two bottles of wine that ended at last at 3:30am in the morning.

I woke up this morning with no covers, light streaming in and contacts curled up in my eyes. There was a plastic bag I had evidently placed next to my bed in case I had to throw up (always thinking, even while not thinking...although i apparently stumbled all the way into the kitchen to get this instead of pulling over the trash can that was less than three feet away from my bed...but regardless). With the yard sale of clothing, underwear, jewelry and electronics around my bedroom I was shocked i was able to remove my clothing without ending up in it. I was one ipod holder down but somehow still in possession of my ipod. And, as I rove around wiht one blind arm for my blackberry (which is three inches from the charger cord but not plugged in...clearly i had made a good geographic effort anyway) I pick up a voicemail confirming my appointment with a hair dresser in the west village, "hairdresser to the stars" with a quote from britney spears and Calvin Klein on his brochure, for 3:30pm. Now THAT will be affordable, Im sure. My calls to cancel the appointment are fruitless into the afternoon. And no website seems to exist that give pricing. I dont even remember if the appointment I had so magnanimously taken the liberty of making for myself is for color or a trim. Right around then my alarm goes off at full blast (in hitting snooze I had accidentally turned up the volume ten decibels). It is 7:45 in the morning. My un color coded sweaters are pulled out like the pork innards from my closed in some desparate late night (or should I say early morning) hunt for something SO crucial I cant remember what it was. Now THIS is what I call graceful.

So, instead of cleaning up, I simply sat down on the fold of my already wrinkled rug hunched against the sharp edge of my bed, turned my alarm down but left it blaring, unburied my laptop from underneath the wet towel i let sit on it all night and started writing this blog, still enjoying last night's wine, as it has been sitting in my mouth all night.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury. Yes, I do have one last thing I would like to say to you. As I enter into adulthood, wether I have been sitting on its doorstep for 5 years or already cleaning its floors but havent known it, here is the biggest thing I have learned. Never stop trying to plug the holes...but always know your floor will always be wet. Seriously. For what I percieve to be the most important lesson Ive learned in early adulthood, and from what I keep observing as true throughout all the possible birthdays, it sure seems both random and pointless. But in everything you do ... work for world peace, solve the economic crisis, save the Siberian tiger, selflessly raise your family while you do someone elses finances all day, enjoy photography when you are not waiting tables, earn your yellow belt in martial arts, look for "the one" online or in seedy bars, whatever it is that you DO and no matter how successful or unsuccessful you are at will always be doing it as if you were aiming for a beer can half a mile away with a colt .45 after 5 rounds of Wild Turkey. I mean life is so totally haphazard. And we are never prepared enough or sure enough of ourselves for it. And that is, like, somehow so totally ok. Since the thing about life is that no one makes it out alive, might as well ring 'er in ungracefully.

But thats the plugging holes part - you cant STOP trying to create your perfect life, stop trying to fight the aging process or stop trying to save the world. Just like you cant just stop wearing sunscreen. You cant stop chasing your dream even if you eventually realize its not really your dream. Because everybody needs things to DO, waves in the world to make, people to love even if you loose them in the end, one way or another. No matter how far on or off the mark your everyday or lifelong efforts might be, the world still knows YOU were here. Its your tree-trunk initials on the soul of the world and on the sould of everyone around you. How about that for immortality. And sometimes, if you look in the right places and in just the right light, you get to see the fruits of what you DO. And thats what keeps you going on, doing what you do. For the other times, like when you end up facedown on an unswept floor on top of sweaters that are not color coded in a heap on a saturday morning that was intended for order, well sometimes our spider veins get the best of us. Keep on trying trying to plug the holes, knowing their will always BE holes. Big ones. Like this morning. Me? I want the world. I want Africa, I want China, I want Peru. I want to help people across the world see themselves in each other. Somehow. Sometime. Thats what I want to DO. And Im doing it, in small ways, the only way I know how, hoping for days when I can DO that even more. But in the meantime, you could say Im still living my dream. But who put all these damn holes in it? :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Writer's Blo..g? Excuses for having nothing to say

I keep meaning to write a blog post. I really would like to get regular about writing this thing. Time managing, and all. And...its not like I dont WANT to write it. Its just that... I dont know what it is. But every time I carve out time to write a post, (a really really insightful one this time), I just cant think of anything truly interesting to say. Anything truly interesting that takes less than five minutes to read, that is. And if you can only think of interesting things that take longer than five minutes, then they are no longer interesting. True? I think so anyway. I thought of ten different topics sitting here staring at a cursor on an empty screen - the search for meaning in everyday life. The resounding truth of inevitable imperfection. Career - a calling or a copout? Why being in love deserves to be taxed just like beer and cigarettes. Airports (just airports. enough said). How I really believe (really) that entrepreneurshialism has the power to save (and brave) the world at large. Skinny jeans - they dont make us look skinny. All of these topics and more presented themselves to me for the taking. And yet not one of them seemed worth translating, even into a measely blog. Whether they reeked of Conde Nast (can blogs come with scratch-n-sniff perfume samples? because some of mine probably should), bordered on cynicism that is just trying to be cool, sounded suspiciously sentimental, or lily-leaped all over self-reiteousness in snow-white ballet slippers, none of them were worth pursuing. No offense, skinny jeans. And so, after fifteen minutes of my slotted "artistic" time elapsed, I found myself barbarously scratching off the dead skin on my right shin leftover from my sunburn two weeks ago while slurping cold bedtime tea and asking myself how long I had to sit here until I would be allowed to break into the no-transfat cardboard cookies I bought for four dollars more than delicious oreos. It was then that I decided to throw in the towel and call it a wash. Its a BLOG, not a term paper on French philosophy. Or a United Nations proposal for 2009 socio-economic development programs in 23 developing countries. Or even a self-help book (paperback, even). Better luck next time.
Until then....