Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My life in Pure Romance


So the other night, I'm doing a party in Bessemer City, NC. And it is Country. And as I'm driving there, I'm marveling at the subtle little twists and turns that my life has taken which have led me to be driving through the backwoods of NC with a car full of "marital aides."

Anyhow, the party wasn't all that well attended, but the people were nice and it was a decent take at the end of the night. There were two hostesses who are Pure Romance veterans and so they knew exactly what they wanted to purchase. The first hostess had just finished placing her order and was writing me a check while the second hostess was telling me her order. Suddenly, she stopped talking and she whispered to hostess #1, 'I think Ray's Grandma just came in.' I had no idea who this was, but from the horrified looks on both womens' faces, I assumed it was not a good thing she was there.

The first hostess, who owned the home we were in, walked out of the bedroom and tried to shut the door behind her to keep our new visitor from seeing inside. (Keep in mind, this was about 10:45 PM and Grandma Crazy just walked in and shouted hello without a knock or anything!) She said to Hostess #1 with mounting alarm in her voice "What are you ladies doing?" To which #1 delicately replied "We're having a ladies' party Mom." And all hell, literally, broke loose. Outside the bedroom door, I could hear Grandma Crazy going on and on about how we were bringing the devil into the house and how we were going to have to pay someday and did we think it was worthwhile to spend eternity in hell?

While this was going on outside, Hostess #2 was telling me that Grandma Crazy is actually #1's Grandmother-in-Law, but raised #1's husband because his mother died from complications of childbirth. And apparently she is quite the burr in her daughter-in-law's side, calling the police because she thinks her son is being poisoned by her daughter-in-law, accusing her of practicing witchcraft, etc. So I am hoping against hope that she will not come into the bedroom and am trying to hurry through #2's order.

AND... the door flew open. Grandma Crazy walked in, her 5 foot 3 inch body full of righteous (literally) indignation and accusation. She takes in the product sitting on her son's bed. She saw my bins full of lotions and lubricant and the like. She saw money changing hands. And she was horrified. She began her lecture. It's pretty amusing, so I was keeping my lips pressed together as tightly as possible.

"Ladies" G'Ma Crazy intoned, addressing all three of us. "You are beautiful, intelligent women. Do you know that what you are doing right now is putting your immortal soul in great peril? You have two places to go when you die. One of them is heaven and one is hell. And right now, all of you are headed to hell!"

Then she turned to address me directly. "Ma'am. How many places do YOU think there are to go when you die?" Inside my head I'm saying, 'Do I want to tell her I'm Jewish and I don't believe in any afterlife at all?' And as I hesitated, she prompted me. "Do you think there are three or four different options you can choose from? How many do you think there are?" Well, I have made the very smart decision at this point to play along to get her out of there faster because I want to collect my money, throw stuff in the car and begin the very long 45 min. drive back to my house so I can get some dinner and get to sleep sometime this evening. So, for the very first time in my little Northerner life, I invoke the "M" word. "No Ma'am," I said politely, "You're right. There are two." I was having a hard time keeping the amusement off my face, but I made a valiant effort. I think she sensed my inner struggle, but assumed that I know the path to righteousness regardless because she was pleased with my answer. "That's right," says Crazy. "There are two places. And there ain't nothin in this whole world, in this whole life, worth spending an eternity roasting in hell for!"

She turned to me again. "Who are you" she demanded. I was desperate to say, "I'm the Northern Headonistic Jewish Pure Romance consultant who is instructing your daughter-in-law on how to have a better orgasm ma'am." But instead, I stuck with, "My name is Sheri, ma'am." "Sheri," she responded, "You look like a smart girl. Do you read?" "Yes ma'am," I answered. (HONESTLY, I have never called anyone ma'am in my life! And suddenly it's coming out every other word!) "And I bet you understand what you read, don't you?" I had no idea where this was going, of course, but my strategy seemed to be working because she is talking quieter and looking triumphant. "Yes ma'am." "Well, Sheri, I suggest you go home and pick up your King James' bible..." (Sure, I keep it on the shelf next to my Stephen King books!) "...and you need to read it cover to cover and see if you can't find your way back to God."

She continued on in that way for what seemed like a very long time, although it was probably only about 5 min., while internally I struggled with the decision of whether or not to continue putting together #2's order while she talked. I didn't. Instead, I just kept repeating, "Thank you for thinking of me ma'am. I appreciate your opinion." And eventually she gave up and went away.

#1 apologized quite a bit after she left and we all laughed about it. And I finished taking their orders, packed up my five million pounds of stuff and started the drive back to Charlotte. And along the way, I thought about what she said.

I don't mind her belief that my soul is doomed to hell. It might bother me if I believed in hell at all, but I don't and so I don't mind. And frankly, I gave advice to a woman that night whose marriage is in real trouble because of their sex life. So if the advice I give manages to make her marriage better, I'm confident God will be pretty pleased. At least, the God I believe in will be.

I think, as usual, what bothered me the most was the assumption. The assumption that I am a Christian. And I know I was in the country and I'm in the south and the assumption is pretty logical down here. But it still frustrates me that people think everyone is exactly like them. That there is this automatic assumption when someone is bagging my groceries at the Harris Teeter that they need to tell me to have a Happy Easter. And that I feel guilty if I don't say it back, when all I want to say is, why do you assume I celebrate Easter? But I wouldn't say that cause it makes people uncomfortable.

When we were kids, I used to tease my sister and tell her she had Gentile-envy. She used to bug the hell out of my mother begging for a Chanukah bush. I never cared. Honestly, I thought the whole tree thing was cool, but I was just as happy to light the menorah. Either way, I got presents. And that's the end game for most kids anyway. Dad used to make us march around the house singing Chanukah songs before we could get our gifts and he would invariably make up extra verses to the songs to keep us marching longer while we whined and pleaded for our gifts, which he cleverly hid all around the house. After singing we would take off looking for the presents which, 6 nights out of 7, were boring things like socks, or a new jacket that I didn't care about at all. But the real joy is in the unwrapping for me, so I was happy. Seemed just as fun to me as sitting around a giant tree opening gifts. And I still have no Christmas envy. And I don't have a problem with Christmas either. But sometimes, when the woman filling my prescription at Walgreens wishes me a Merry Christmas, I wish that people would maybe step outside of their own comfort zone and stop assuming that the whole world thinks how they think and believes what they believe. And every year I tell myself I am not going to be bothered by it because people are just saying Have a Nice Day with different words. Maybe after a few more years here, I'll be immune to it.

One can hope.And so... tonight let me share yet another chapter in the ongoing saga of "Are you SURE this is my life?"

Sometime in 2007, I did a party for a woman who got my name through the corporate office. She was nice and everything, but all of her guests showed up an HOUR late and by "all of her guests" I mean all FOUR of her guests. Anyhow, one of the woman there was African. Let's call her "A". She didn't wind up buying anything, but she came into the order room for a while to talk to me about some issues she was having physically with her sex life. It wasn't an easy conversation to have because her accent was very thick and her English... not so great. But got the point across eventually.

She said to me that night that she wished women of her culture didn't feel it was so tabboo to talk about sex. She thought a lot of them could benefit from hearing me talk. So I told her to feel free to send me any of her friends that needed help and I would work with them one-on-one. She's done that a few times since. Couple of women who were having issues with their sex life and wanted product that their partner would never know about... which makes me sad cause it sounded to me like the partners were a big part of the problem (what, you mean it's hard for you to finish when your partner asks you every couple of seconds if you're ready yet? Shocking!) but I always do the best I can to help them.

A few days before New Year's, "A" called me again, this time on behalf of a man she knew who was having some issues. I talked to her about some product that I thought could help and she gave me his name and number and asked me to call him directly. As we were hanging up, she added "He doesn't have English so good, but he will understand you."

"He doesn't speak English," I questioned, concerned. Cause God knows I don't speak nothin' else.

"No, he speaks French, but he will understand you. He just won't talk well."

"Okkkkaaaayyyyyy, I'll give it a shot."

So I called "C" and it went better than I expected. I told him that "A" had filled me in and I had a few products in mind to help him and when I got back to Charlotte after the holiday, we could meet and talk about them. Somehow, I had it in my mind that if I met with him while holding visual aides, he would understand me more than he would on the phone.

Since then, he has been very anxious to meet with me. He was not at all pleased when I got home from Nashville (where I spent a rockin' New Years with she of the Snelly-ness) with bronchitis and was too contagious to leave the house. I finally re-entered the world today and so I agreed to meet him at his work. And there-in lies the source of our first English --> French road bump. Somehow, directions were beyond our ability to communicate to one another. When I asked him for the address to his store, he didn't understand the question (!!!). He kept saying something about an Exxon station. I had NO idea what he was talking about. So I tried to figure it out myself on-line and was lead astray by inaccurate information. Basically, I wound up wandering the streets of Charlotte for a while. I kept calling him, hoping he would either figure out what I meant by, "What's the address" or put someone else in his store on the phone who maybe spoke some more English. Alas, I was disappointed. He kept talking about the Exxon station. Finally, I realized he was telling me to pull into the Exxon station by his store and ask for directions from there. I am wayyyyyyy too stubborn and lazy to do something like that, so I just started driving around in circles until I finally stumbled onto the location by sheer, dumb luck.

He pulled up next to me in the parking lot and was nothing at all like I pictured in my head. I got out of the car with the product I had brought to talk to him about and he invited me into his car. I got in, against my better judgment, and got out the catalog to start talking to him about his options. As I'm talking, I'm trying to remind myself that he's probably not understanding everything I'm saying, so I'm trying to speak in easy words. But at the same time, my Pure Romance training has ingrained deep in me the need to use the REAL words for body parts and body fuctions. To avoid crude words and use language that doesn't scare people. Sadly, the words that don't scare people are, in many cases, multi-syllabic and much less a part of the vernacular than the slang. So the two voices in my head are warring as I'm trying to explain to him how a c-ring works.

He finally decides which product he wants to try and I pull it out of the bag and pass the toy over. He immediately rips the bag open and starts trying to figure out how to put it on. NOW don't get carried away, pants stayed zipped the entire time (thank the LORD!) But he was holding up the new c-ring, asking me what went where and how it worked and how he could keep his partner from knowing he was using it... (which he can't. Cause it vibrates. And unless she shoves some double "a" batteries up his butt and assumes he works like a vibrator, she's gonna notice the difference.) And the entire time I'm trying to explain to him, he's getting more and more confused. We pull out the bullet and I show him where it goes on the toy and he continues to be confused.

And this is when I realize that, technically, I am breaking the law. (There is actually a law saying that if I hold up a toy and explain it's usage to a man with the intention of selling it to him, I am committing solicitation. Is that RANDOM or what? But it's a law!) If there is a cop in this GIANT empty parking lot that we are sitting very conspiciously in the middle of, and he sees what I am doing, he could really have me arrested. And I could lose the whole business. So now, as I'm trying to explain to this befuddled man, I'm also looking around me furtively, trying to see if the SWAT team is closing in to bust me. (Those of you who partook in illegal substances with me in college will remember the paranoia that can plague me when I know I'm doing something I shouldn't.) He notices my discomfort and wonders if we should drive closer to the building where we will be hidden from sight. HELL TO THE NO BOBBY BROWN! I am not going to go sit in a car, hidden from the world, to talk about sex toys with a French man I have never met before! I'll take my chances on prison.

It's about this time when the thought that has been hanging out in the back of my brain finally comes to the forefront. Really? Is this my life, really? Am I really hanging out in the parking lot of a furniture superstore in a 78 TransAm with a missing ceiling with a french-speaking African explaining how to use a c-ring for the love of God?

And now we're off to the races. Cause now, as I'm desperately trying to explain to him that he should wear this toy for no longer than 30 min at a time or his penis may fall off, in my brain, I'm cycling through the following thoughts... 'nice, Jewish girl from a wealthy Cleveland suburb... wore a blue sailor dress to my Bat Mitzvah... played the flute in the marching band... majored in television in a half-way decent college... worked on the Olympics... met Brad Pitt once... really? How did I get here again?'

Of course, that's not to say I don't enjoy my job. I love my job. Can't imagine doing anything else with my life right now. And truthfully, I admire this poor man who has to sit in a car with a woman he has never met before to explain his sexual issues. I know quite a few men, and women for that matter, who would rather have the bad sex than have that conversation. (Crazy people!) But still, in moments like these, I wonder... how on earth is this my life? How on EARTH is this my life? Seriously, how on earth is this my life?

Poor "C" and I finally gave up trying and agreed that I would call "A" tonight and explain to her everything he needed to know and she would then translate for him. Probably a good decision for us both. I am saved the frustration of trying to explain and he is (hopefully) saved from wearing his c-ring too long and having his penis fall off. I got out of the car, returned to my own safe haven of a Honda Element and pulled away as quickly as I could without looking like I was pulling away as quickly as I could.

Five minutes later, back on my home turf, I was driving through my neighborhood when I heard a honk from the car beside me. I look over and there, in the SUV driving next to me, waving enthusiastically, are the President/Founder and the CEO of Pure Romance. Who are usually in the home office in Cincinnati. So weird... right? What are they doing driving down my street? Turns out they are in town to shoot a recruiting video and saw the magnet on my car and realized I was one of them so they wanted to say hello. (Did I mention that I worship these two people and am more intimidated by them than I ever was by the Brad Pitts of my former life?)

I decided that their sudden appearance by my side in such a random fashion was fate reaching out to me. Telling me that although it seems like a weird life and such a random detour for an admittedly strange but none-the-less ordinary girl from the mid-west, it's really where I am meant to be. What I am meant to be doing.

Which is good, cause if this wasn't the right job, I'd have to go work for someone else again. And that would SERIOUSLY inhibit my sleeping in every day of the week! I do have my priorities.

So the other night, I'm doing a party in Bessemer City, NC. And it is Country. And as I'm driving there, I'm marveling at the subtle little twists and turns that my life has taken which have led me to be driving through the backwoods of NC with a car full of "marital aides."

Anyhow, the party wasn't all that well attended, but the people were nice and it was a decent take at the end of the night. There were two hostesses who are Pure Romance veterans and so they knew exactly what they wanted to purchase. The first hostess had just finished placing her order and was writing me a check while the second hostess was telling me her order. Suddenly, she stopped talking and she whispered to hostess #1, 'I think Ray's Grandma just came in.' I had no idea who this was, but from the horrified looks on both womens' faces, I assumed it was not a good thing she was there.

The first hostess, who owned the home we were in, walked out of the bedroom and tried to shut the door behind her to keep our new visitor from seeing inside. (Keep in mind, this was about 10:45 PM and Grandma Crazy just walked in and shouted hello without a knock or anything!) She said to Hostess #1 with mounting alarm in her voice "What are you ladies doing?" To which #1 delicately replied "We're having a ladies' party Mom." And all hell, literally, broke loose. Outside the bedroom door, I could hear Grandma Crazy going on and on about how we were bringing the devil into the house and how we were going to have to pay someday and did we think it was worthwhile to spend eternity in hell?

While this was going on outside, Hostess #2 was telling me that Grandma Crazy is actually #1's Grandmother-in-Law, but raised #1's husband because his mother died from complications of childbirth. And apparently she is quite the burr in her daughter-in-law's side, calling the police because she thinks her son is being poisoned by her daughter-in-law, accusing her of practicing witchcraft, etc. So I am hoping against hope that she will not come into the bedroom and am trying to hurry through #2's order.

AND... the door flew open. Grandma Crazy walked in, her 5 foot 3 inch body full of righteous (literally) indignation and accusation. She takes in the product sitting on her son's bed. She saw my bins full of lotions and lubricant and the like. She saw money changing hands. And she was horrified. She began her lecture. It's pretty amusing, so I was keeping my lips pressed together as tightly as possible.

"Ladies" G'Ma Crazy intoned, addressing all three of us. "You are beautiful, intelligent women. Do you know that what you are doing right now is putting your immortal soul in great peril? You have two places to go when you die. One of them is heaven and one is hell. And right now, all of you are headed to hell!"

Then she turned to address me directly. "Ma'am. How many places do YOU think there are to go when you die?" Inside my head I'm saying, 'Do I want to tell her I'm Jewish and I don't believe in any afterlife at all?' And as I hesitated, she prompted me. "Do you think there are three or four different options you can choose from? How many do you think there are?" Well, I have made the very smart decision at this point to play along to get her out of there faster because I want to collect my money, throw stuff in the car and begin the very long 45 min. drive back to my house so I can get some dinner and get to sleep sometime this evening. So, for the very first time in my little Northerner life, I invoke the "M" word. "No Ma'am," I said politely, "You're right. There are two." I was having a hard time keeping the amusement off my face, but I made a valiant effort. I think she sensed my inner struggle, but assumed that I know the path to righteousness regardless because she was pleased with my answer. "That's right," says Crazy. "There are two places. And there ain't nothin in this whole world, in this whole life, worth spending an eternity roasting in hell for!"

She turned to me again. "Who are you" she demanded. I was desperate to say, "I'm the Northern Headonistic Jewish Pure Romance consultant who is instructing your daughter-in-law on how to have a better orgasm ma'am." But instead, I stuck with, "My name is Sheri, ma'am." "Sheri," she responded, "You look like a smart girl. Do you read?" "Yes ma'am," I answered. (HONESTLY, I have never called anyone ma'am in my life! And suddenly it's coming out every other word!) "And I bet you understand what you read, don't you?" I had no idea where this was going, of course, but my strategy seemed to be working because she is talking quieter and looking triumphant. "Yes ma'am." "Well, Sheri, I suggest you go home and pick up your King James' bible..." (Sure, I keep it on the shelf next to my Stephen King books!) "...and you need to read it cover to cover and see if you can't find your way back to God."

She continued on in that way for what seemed like a very long time, although it was probably only about 5 min., while internally I struggled with the decision of whether or not to continue putting together #2's order while she talked. I didn't. Instead, I just kept repeating, "Thank you for thinking of me ma'am. I appreciate your opinion." And eventually she gave up and went away.

#1 apologized quite a bit after she left and we all laughed about it. And I finished taking their orders, packed up my five million pounds of stuff and started the drive back to Charlotte. And along the way, I thought about what she said.

I don't mind her belief that my soul is doomed to hell. It might bother me if I believed in hell at all, but I don't and so I don't mind. And frankly, I gave advice to a woman that night whose marriage is in real trouble because of their sex life. So if the advice I give manages to make her marriage better, I'm confident God will be pretty pleased. At least, the God I believe in will be.

I think, as usual, what bothered me the most was the assumption. The assumption that I am a Christian. And I know I was in the country and I'm in the south and the assumption is pretty logical down here. But it still frustrates me that people think everyone is exactly like them. That there is this automatic assumption when someone is bagging my groceries at the Harris Teeter that they need to tell me to have a Happy Easter. And that I feel guilty if I don't say it back, when all I want to say is, why do you assume I celebrate Easter? But I wouldn't say that cause it makes people uncomfortable.

When we were kids, I used to tease my sister and tell her she had Gentile-envy. She used to bug the hell out of my mother begging for a Chanukah bush. I never cared. Honestly, I thought the whole tree thing was cool, but I was just as happy to light the menorah. Either way, I got presents. And that's the end game for most kids anyway. Dad used to make us march around the house singing Chanukah songs before we could get our gifts and he would invariably make up extra verses to the songs to keep us marching longer while we whined and pleaded for our gifts, which he cleverly hid all around the house. After singing we would take off looking for the presents which, 6 nights out of 7, were boring things like socks, or a new jacket that I didn't care about at all. But the real joy is in the unwrapping for me, so I was happy. Seemed just as fun to me as sitting around a giant tree opening gifts. And I still have no Christmas envy. And I don't have a problem with Christmas either. But sometimes, when the woman filling my prescription at Walgreens wishes me a Merry Christmas, I wish that people would maybe step outside of their own comfort zone and stop assuming that the whole world thinks how they think and believes what they believe. And every year I tell myself I am not going to be bothered by it because people are just saying Have a Nice Day with different words. Maybe after a few more years here, I'll be immune to it.

One can hope.

I do apologize in advance if this is an uncomfortable subject for the men in my readership (such as it is)...

So throughout my Pure Romance presentation, I ask the party-goers questions to keep their attention and provide them with an opportunity to do more than just listen to me run my mouth. I always tell them that I do not acknowledge shouters and they must raise their hand if they know the answer, whereupon I will call on them to give me the answer. If they get it right, they get candy. If they get it wrong, they get candy for being the student willing to walk up to the blackboard when the teacher asks for volunteers. Cause you know I was never the one to raise my hand when a question was asked and did everything short of physically removing my own eyeballs to avoid making eye contact, lest the teacher be reminded that I am there and decide I should be called upon.

Sometimes I get strange answers to questions. One that is typically answered incorrectly is "Why are all of our products sugar-free." And at EVERY single party, three people yell out, Cause of diabetics! Which seems like the right answer, although it isn't, so I understand the inaccurate guess. (Psst... the right answer is because sugar=yeast infection.)

HOWEVER, I always ask at a certain point in the presentation if someone can tell me what is the one part of the human body that exists for no other reason but pleasure. I stress before I call on anyone that this body part serves no other function at all. It is there only to bring pleasure to a person. (For those of you who are picturing a little man in a boat right now, that is correct! Once again, sorry to the squemish.)

Now I don't expect everyone to know the answer to this. I'm not, after all, unreasonable. And sometimes a question can put pressure on people. Not make them think straight. I get this. And the desire for candy is strong. I get that as well. But at a party last night I heard some of the strangest answers ever, and sadly, this is not the first time I have heard some of these answers.

The first one, I believe, was EARS. Yes, ears. Those things we hear with? You know? And even if you discount hearing as an important function, we can also count on things-to-tuck-our-hair-back-with-when-we-have-no-sunglasses-around as a useful function. They are also a good area from which to dangle accessories. And speaking of sunglasses, how about the fact that ears hold up that which provides me crystal clear vision. All of these are functions served by the ear. I do recognize that some people find pleasure in the ear and yay for them, but can we all at least agree that the ear serves many useful functions? I hope we can.

Another fun answer I heard last night was tongue. Tongue. Did I say that clearly enough? TONGUE! CLEARLY, the tongue serves no other function than to bring pleasure. That whole taste buds thing-- totally a myth. The assistance it provides with both chewing and drinking, not actually true either. Just pleasure. Yup. Sure.

And last but not least, last night's big winner of my "How do I keep a straight face and not call this woman a moron in front of all of her friends" contest...

LEGS!

Yes, legs. Apparently, in this woman's world, she doesn't use them to walk. She doesn't use them to hang her feet off of. She doesn't even use them to wear fashionable pants with. In this woman's very limited world, legs are there for pleasure. And nothing else.

Now, I realize that not everyone is a rocket scientist like yours truly. (and by rocket scientist, I mean someone who could not figure out the tax on an order if the fate of the entire universe rested upon it.) And I hate to bag on these lovely women who give me money and something to do on the weekend nights. But seriously? SERIOUSLY?

Oh the things I am learning about human nature. And today's lesson is, when a question is asked and candy is the reward for knowing the answer, just go ahead and scream out any minute thought that pops into your mind. The candy makes i

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Auditorially Stimulated

So... I've always loved music. I have a connection to music that seems a bit more obsessive than what most people feel. When I love a song, or even when I hear it a lot over a short period of time, it becomes imbedded in my mind. I will always remember every word of it (for more information on how this has ruined my practical memory, please see last year's blog.) Which is kind of funny but not really all that unusual. My Grandfather, in the last year of his life, became obsessed with the fact that he couldn't remember to eat lunch when he was hungry, but could remember every word to every song he knew in his youth.

The weird thing is, not only do the words and melodies stick in my head, but the situation and emotions imbed themselves as well. So after a while, whenever I hear a song, I remember where I was and what I was doing when I was either obsessed with it or when I was hearing it everywhere I go. Which then prompts me to comment to people nearby, "This song totally reminds me of..." Which I'm sure is quite annoying. Cause who really cares other than me, right? But the thing is that I get so caught up in these memories and the emotions that go with them, that I can't seem to keep it to myself.

The other day, I was teaching Pilates to a few women. The radio station that played in the background was apparently playing a lot of songs from the year I turned 13, because every song put me back at a Bar/Bat Mitzvah party. Every freaking one! Dancing in my socks (which I naturally wore over my panty hose to keep them from tearing), watching the boys on the other side of the room (far, far away from us of course) whisper and play with matches and wishing they would come over and ask me to dance, seeing relatives rallying around the Jew-of-the-day, congratulating them on not dropping the Torah. All that. And I kept those memories in as long as possible, but I just couldn't help myself. I blurted out, "It feels like a Bat Mitzvah in here! Anyone have a glowstick I can make into a halo?" To which the nice waspy southern ladies who I was working out at the time responded, understandably, "What?" "Nothing, don't worry about it. Pull your abs in."

Yesterday, I was playing around on the XM and tuned to the 80's channel. They were playing Phil Collins, "Inside Out." As a angst-ridden high schooler, I played that song A LOT! And there is a line in the song that says "Let me in, I'm through with wasting my time!" which I recall screaming at the top of my lungs as I sang along. (Go ahead, you can lose respect for me for singing along with some Philage. I understand.) As soon as I heard that song the other day, I found myself mentally slipping back into that angsty place... that feeling of being misunderstood, angry, confused and hormonal. For a minute, some part of me was sitting on the floor in my childhood bedroom, cranking the music and singing as loud as my lungs would permit. And even though I changed the channel quickly to avoid it, I sank into that mood for a good half hour and had a hard time returning to the good mood I had been previously walking around with.

This happens to me all day long, wherever there is music playing. I have such specific memories attached to so many songs that sometimes it feels like dodging landmines. 'Crap, that's a Ryan song.' 'Oh man, I heard this song so much when I was working for Leeza.' 'Wow, Paul loved this song. I wonder what happened to him.' 'Oh god, I heard this song one night driving home after a crappy day of working on Wayne .'

Some songs are forever taboo. There's the Rolling Stones song that reminds me of the night my first boyfriend dumped me. The one that reminds me of being fired from that Disney show. Another one that reminds me of a really angsty night in college. These are songs I know I need to avoid like the plague because it takes me a really looooooong time to pull myself out of the moods I know come with them.

Some songs are great memories. From a fun family vacation or a great night in college with my friends. Songs from shows I really enjoyed, or songs that we played while we worked (Can you say Whitesnake, Paige?) or songs we danced to in the nightclubs in London.

Sometimes I try to recondition my brain to connect a different memory to a song. Doesn't seem to work very well. Only accidentally. My mother loves Barry Manilow, so his music used to remind me of being a little girl and make me feel warm and safe. But I used it so many times to pull myself out of bad moods while I was working in Salt Lake, that now it just reminds me of being miserable in Salt Lake.

Because of all this, I think I have a stronger connection to my past then I should. I know I spend too much time thinking about it. It's hard to stop. Memories are just everywhere, and they are so strong. I don't know how to avoid them. And the thing is, I don't always mind. In fact, a lot of times, I like it. When they are good memories, I'm excited to relive them. When I heard "Roam" by the B-52s today, it reminded me of taking a tour of Ithaca's campus for the first time, and how excited I was about how close college seemed, how soon I was going to get out of Shaker. And as I remembered that feeling, my life felt so open and full of possibilities.

Sometimes even the bad memories are good to remember. There is another Phil Collins song that reminded me of being 17 and saying goodbye to my best friend who was moving to New York. I hear that song and think about how sure I was that I would never see her again and it makes me so happy that we stayed close and have kept our friendship going another 20 years. Makes me feel accomplished.

I may sound like I'm complaining here, and I may be to a degree. But really, if you gave me the option to change this, I wouldn't. Some part of me likes the connections. Even the bad ones.

What I do wish I could change tho, is the feeling of being so out of control of my reactions. I would like to be able to have these moments of my life on playback but I would like to watch them from a safe emotional distance. Maybe if I didn't constantly emotionally relive my past, I could let it go and focus more on what's going on in my life right now.

Once again, I am solution-less on this issue. I shall continue to live in my mental auditorially-stimulated time-machine.

Maybe I should just find a channel on XM that only plays songs I've never heard before. Think it would work?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Admit It!

You all thought I was exaggerating, didn't you? Well... here's some proof for ya...
video video video

Monday, July 20, 2009

How to Know You're in New Orleans

8:30AM: I'm headed down the street with one of my fellow production-ites to go to Starbucks in the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Sadly for me, I'm dressed for my day at the Superdome, which means I am layered to the eyeballs because it's freezing in there. So my walk to Starbucks turned me awfully sweaty in the thick N.O. air, especially since I am also schleping my computer, a binder and God knows what else, in my computer case.

I turn the corner onto Canal and there in the doorway is the most aggressively average looking Transvestite/ prostitute I have ever seen. She looks me up and down and says, "Good morning" with a very bright smile. I respond in kind and as I pass her by, she gives me another glance and says, with a very surprised inflection, "Oh! Nice tits!"

Naturally, I say, "Thanks very much." And I continue on my way.

Hello, New Orleans.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Comfortable is a relative term...

Internet dating. There are so many pitfalls and traps. And it's so easy to get sucked into cliches when putting your profile together.

For example, does every guy out there aged 25-45 really like long walks on the beach? Is it really that universal? Isn't there someone out there like me who thinks that sand in your shoes is overrated?

Also, do that many people enjoy badminton so much that they are compelled to list it as a hobby? Cause I don't see badminton clubs sweeping the nation.

Then there are the people who like to work hard and also like to play hard. Is it me, or is that code for I-love-getting-drunk-and-throwing-up-in-some-random-stranger's-garden? Okay, that may be a bit cynical, and since I don't claim to either work hard OR play hard, it's probably not fair to judge. But I remember my old boss used to use that line all the time, and as far as I could tell, playing hard for him meant meeting the other power biz chino and polo shirt guys out for drinks for a few hours and talking on the phone to clients the entire time. So maybe my impression is incorrect.

But my fav of all the fav cliches are the guys who are looking for girls who are equally comfortable in black-tie or sweats.

Ok, um, what? EQUALLY comfortable? Let's evaluate that for a moment. Because is anyone EVER comfortable when they dress up to go out somewhere? I mean, maybe men can be comfortable in ties and suits, if they wear them everyday, and I guess tuxedos aren't that much different. But seriously, guys? Have you ever seen the shoes we wear when we wear black-tie attire? Do they look comfortable to you?Do Spanx, or panty hose, or anything else we wear to keep our bodies in check while wearing fabulous clothes look as comfy as sweats to you?

Let's see these two scenarios side-by-side, shall we? Do a little side-by-side comparison.






















"Honey, let's stay in tonight and watch some TV."
"Oh, fantastic idea sweetheart. I'm so tired and I have been waiting for the chance to wear my new strapless bra with underwire under my new black tie gown. Let me just throw my hair into a chignon and I'll be all ready to get comfy."

Am I ranting? Of course. Am I exaggerating? Uh huh. Do I think that perhaps I am taking it all a bit too literally? Well, duh. Am I completely wrong? Possibly. Am I amused by the idea? Abso-freakin-lutely.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go put on my new stilettos and do some gardening. Have a lovely evening!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Take a Moment Friday

I'd like to start a new tradition here at the blog. Each Friday, I am going to pick one thing and Take a Moment to Appreciate It. So here goes today's.

I am doing a party for a woman tonight who is folding me into her birthday celebration. She has rented a hotel suite and invited all of her friends. She is having Ladies' Time from 5:30-8:30 and I will be attending as part of that portion.

She gave me an invitation so that I would know the details and where everything is. It's a pretty straightforward invitation, mostly unremarkable. Exept for this one part, which is my favorite.

At the bottom, under the directions, it says "Please bring a gift."

I love that! She wants gifts. So rather than leaving any mention of gifts off, in the hope that people will just assume to bring them, or being socially correct and saying "no gifts" and then hoping people will ignore that directive and bring them anyway, she's putting it out there. Please bring a gift.

Someone who actually asks for what they want. Huh. Doesn't hope, doesn't hint, doesn't fantasize about it. Just asks. How often do we actually do that in life? I can't speak for everyone, but I know I don't do it all that often. So it shouldn't be surprising to me when people don't read my mind, but it always seems to shock me.

So, on this Take a Moment Friday, let's take a moment to appreciate someone who is willing to risk putting themselves out there and asking for something they want.

I shall now follow the lead and ask people to forward my blog on to people you think may enjoy it. And maybe leave a comment.

(That was scarier than I thought. Better hit Publish Now before I change my mind.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Richie's Bid for Freedom

So, the first time was a week ago today. No, you know what? Let's start a bit further back.

My sister's dog, Ernie, made his first attempt at freedom early last week. Somehow, he got out of the gate in the backyard and went off to check out the neighborhood on his own. My sister lept in her car and chased him down, luring him into the backseat with hot dogs.

My poor sister. She lives on a main street and her dog is lovable and sweet and very endearing, but not the brightest bulb in the box. We're talking about a dog who tried to eat a skunk and then looked so sad when it sprayed him right in the face. You could practically hear him thinking, "Well, what did you do that for? I just wanted to eat you! Why would you hurt me?" So, when my sister said to me that she was grateful she had the presence of mind to take along hot dogs to tempt him into the car, I agreed. It was a smart move. And I said a silent prayer of thanks in my head that Richie has spent hours upon hours in the backyard and never gotten out or tried to eat a skunk. See? I willed it into being! Stupid, stupid, stupid.

A week ago today, I was out all morning. As I was driving home, the sky was just starting to return to normal after several hours of rain and thunderstorm. I was relieved that it was ending before I got home because, as previously discussed, Richie can get quite manic when thunderstorms roll into town.

I pulled down my street and noticed that the woman who cleans my house had parked in my driveway. So I pulled up to the curb and parked. As I was getting out, a very nice man who was getting into his minivan down the street yelled hello to me. Then he asked me if I knew anyone in the neighborhood who had a Corgi. I yelled back that I had one, as my heart started to beat faster.

I walked toward the man who was yelling to me that he had just seen a corgi trailing a red leash (which I leave on him when my cleaning person is here so she can get him back into his room when she leaves with little difficulty) walking down the street. Naturally, I instantly began to panic and started running down the street toward the car, my mind already trying to calculate where he might have gone.

Fortunately, this lovely man had realized that a dog walking down the street with his leash on and no owner didn't seem right and had picked him up and put him in the car. The man got out and opened his back door. "Come here, buddy," he said and I saw Richie's head pop out of the door and look around with interest to see what was going on. Very nonchalant. 'Oh gee, what's happening out here?' I wanted to kill him and hug him at the same time. He caught sight of me and smiled before jumping out of the car and walking toward me. I grabbed his leash, gushing thanks to this wonderful, wonderful man (who was a little scary for a second when he said that his wife had always wanted a corgi and he had been about to call her and tell her he found one... um...) Richie started pulling on the leash like he thought we would go for a walk now. As if my legs were still working and not shaking like crazy. Sorry, buddy. We had to go home right away so I could have a quiet nervous breakdown and try very hard not to yell at my cleaning person for letting him out when the gate was open. Which I know was not her fault, but I wanted to yell anyway.

Anyhow, we all recovered and it became a funny story to tell for the next few days. I tried not to think about what could have happened and just focused on how fortunate I was that the timing worked out the way it did.

Two days ago, Ernie, apparently having gotten a taste of freedom and liking it, streaked out the side door of my sister's house while someone was leaving and ran off down the street. My poor sister had to run after him and finally caught up with him when he was a couple blocks down. Now she's worried that every time she opens the door, he's going to make a run for it. And I don't blame her. Again, as she told me what happened, I stupidly said a silent prayer of thanks that Richie didn't get any further on his freedom run and that I had learned my lesson. Jinxed it again!!!

This afternoon, I came home during a thunderstorm. I let Richie out to pee but he was so freaked out by the storm, he refused to go. I shut the back door and walked away for a second thinking if I wasn't standing there, maybe he would go on his own. Um... I thought wrong.

No, instead he made a break for it, no doubt looking for somewhere to get away from the storm. If the storm is in his house and in his backyard, then surely he can get away from it by leaving those places.

I returned to the door less than a minute later and he was nowhere in sight. Completely panicked, I got in the car, stalled, and then backed out, terrified that he would come running up the driveway and I wouldn't be able to see him. (He's REALLY SHORT!) I drove around the block, stopping at a park near my house, where I very enthusiastically and loudly, screamed "RICHIEEEEEEE" at the top of my lungs several times. (Think STELLLAAAAA. That's about right.) I turned around to get back in the car with absolutely no idea what direction to head next when I saw two ears crest the hill of the block next to the park. I hoped against hope that it was him. That he had heard me scream and was running to me.

It was, although I don't think he heard me yell. I think he was just still trying to outrun the storm. He was running, running, running, ears flat back, in the rain. He was, of course, just to torture me as much as possible, running down the middle of the friggin' road, just so a car could not see him and run him over as they drove by. I was standing there yelling, "Come to me Richie! That's a good boy, come on Richie." I didn't want to back the car up for fear of running him over and I was afraid if I wasn't right next to the car when he got to me, he would take off again before I could reach down and grab his collar. So I just stood next to the car, yelling his name and clapping my hands together (our signal for "come.") He got to the end of the block and I was just about to stop freaking out when I realized he wasn't running at me. He didn't seem to know it was me. Like Forrest Gump before him, he was just running. He turned the corner and started heading toward the house.

Fortunately (how many times can I use that word in this post), when I yelled his name again, he realized it was me and changed course. I opened the car door and he jumped in, shaking and panting (which made two of us.) I got in the car and sat behind the wheel, trying to calm myself down. My legs were shaking too much to put the clutch in. I kept seeing everything that could have gone wrong flashing behind my eyes. A car. Another dog. Him getting lost and not knowing how to get home.

We got home and I was too afraid to put him down outside so I carried him into the house. Did I mention he doesn't enjoy being carried? He squirms and squirms until he either falls out of my arms or I put him down. Which I did and then flopped down on the couch.

I wanted to be mad. I wanted to punish him. But all I could feel was grateful. So I sat down on the floor next to him, petting him and telling him I love him. I started to lecture him about never leaving the house again, but he was apparently not interested, because he got up and walked to the other corner of the room and laid down, panting, drooling and staring at the ceiling, no doubt wondering why he couldn't get away from the storm.

'What is it with my Granddogs,' my mother asked me. I honestly don't know. But I am choosing to blame Ernie for being a bad influence on Richie. Now granted, they live in seperate states and have only ever met once since Richie doesn't know how to play nicely with others. But still, let's blame Ernie. It's less stressful for me.

And I've had enough stress today.