Friday, January 25, 2008

Gettin' Down in Funkytown

I'm in a funk. I can't help myself. I've been a aggravated mix of frustrated, overwhelmed and just straight bummed for the last few days.

I know that this sounds like the kind of emotional girl alert that any guy with half a brain runs from before he gets burned. But even though my guy is selfless enough to jump in to my emotional zoo with reckless abandon, and even though I know inherently what's bothering me, actually expressing it is a horse of a different color.

I know I'll be OK, better than OK. I know that I am incredibly blessed, and that the things that get me down should not have such a hold on my heart.

I just can't get that across to the Mayor of Funkytown, who has taken up residence in my spirit - he's brought the U-Haul, planted windowboxes of wilted gray flowers and everything, and now I can't get the dang guy to leave. And hes not even like the cool dude from Funkytown with the sweet moves who's casually dating an iPod silhouette. This guy is a little gray man in a big gray overcoat no matter the weather. He smells like yesterday's ham sandwich, brown bananas and uncreative despair.

He doesn't even have the gumption to have a good reason for his stubborn rental of my soul. He's cruel to to anyone with hope, ties my tongue when I should speak, and cultivates his garden of dreary gray-ness in my heart, of all places.

The more I think about it, I realize it's time to evict such a drag on my spirits. It's time to plant bright daisies in the windows and break out the cutesy yellow galoshes instead of the gray overcoat I've drearily shared with my "friend" the Mayor. Even if it's raining... why let him make me act like it?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Flattery? Anyone?

Okay, guys, I need your help. (Yes, you. All three of you.)

I've written some restaurant reviews for a Hungry? Thirsty? guide to Orange County, and they want a bio/self-advertisement about yours truly for the guide. It has to be 40-60 words and hopefully convince the reader that I am the girl they want for glittering, moving, breath-taking, fabulous prose.

The trouble is, I have to write this little spot of genius, and it's a little awkward to write about myself, even if it will get me the chance at some other (grossly overpaid) freelance opportunities... or a byline. You really don't need to pay me. I'll take a byline. Really.

Anyways, if anyone has a sentence or two about my writing style, something you've liked from the blog, something you think I should say about myself or something I should cover up, now's the time to share. Because I have a Word document with my name at the top, and that's about as far as I've gotten, so I obviously need some help.

"You are... my biggest fan."
~Guy Patterson, That Thing You Do!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Waiting for the Elevator

Waiting for the elevator is a weird experience. People to whom you would normally nod to in passing, or maybe even mumble a "howyadoin...good," are now off-limits when in the lobby.

We all stand there, like the creatures of habit we are, staring up at the little lights above the elevator doors and begging it to come quickly and put us out of our misery already. The "ding" of an arriving elevator sends the whole tribe of waiting people into a well-disguised tizzy, and we all file into this little metal box and declare our preferred floor to the surrounding air - hoping that someone will find it in their hearts to push that button for us and not leave us here forever.

Once in the elevator, we have something new to watch: the numbers as they go up or down, respectively. This is even BETTER, as we get a rewarding "ding" for every floor we pass. Wait 'til you get promoted to the 10th or 12th floors, honey - now that's a elevator-riding euphoria I can't even describe. (Not that I would know, being only a sixth floor dweller, but I think this is why the big cheeses are so chipper all the time. Or maybe it's because they eat money for breakfast. Not sure.)

Normally, talking in the elevator is frowned upon, but if you must, you only have three topics of conversation to pick from. If early in the week, you can ask about the weekend in very general terms - not what you did, just whether or not it was "nice", if near the middle of the week, you can talk about how you don't want to be here/you're tired/you're glad it's ___day/your boss is a meanie, and if it's the end of the week, you can ask, (generally and non-threateningly, again) about the weekend - something bland, unimaginative and obvious is most preferred, like: "You ready for the weekend?" To which anyone with any spark of fun would say something like, "No way, man, I can't bear to leave, I'm gonna park under my desk with a can of Pringles and befriend the janitors after they lock up tonight" or "Yeah, dude, can't wait, my pet lions really need to stretch their legs and we're almost out of fresh meat in our neighborhood" or something... but of course no one ever does.

So we ride around in these little metal boxes (they never fail to remind me of the escape pod in Star Wars that C-3PO and R2-D2 get away in. You know what I'm talking about - don't act like I'm such a dork...) and get more boring by the day, and think silently of how desperately we need a Diet Coke while we watch the numbers ding by.

One thing I've discovered, though: if you're tired of riding the elevator silently with a bunch of people and want to ride it silently alone, or just be alone so you can talk to your imaginary friend, whichever, all you have to is not brush your teeth and look mad in the morning. It worked for me today, that's all I'm sayin'.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Just Because

Today I got up early, I had a blissfully hot shower, pulled on my favorite khakis, and threw some random odds and ends in my lunchbox. I desperately need to go to the grocery store, but in the interim I'm stuck eating baby clementines, BBQ Pringles and instant oatmeal left over from last weekend's camping trip.

Work is full of little episodes like this:

Scene: Every-day-looking office supply room, full of highlighters and pens and Kleenex boxes. Two middle-aged men are standing, staring blankly at the shelves holding said necessities, when I walk in, in search of a pink highlighter. (Give a girl a break, I need some reason to edit stories... this week it's pink ink.)

Me, feeling funny and quippish, fresh from the weekend and already tired of my desk: "Don't worry, guys, the screen'll come down in two seconds... the cartoons are about to start."

Guy #1: "Actually, we were waiting for a sideshow."

Guy #2, smiling at me: "And we just got it."

Me, thinking: "Exit, exit, pink highlighter! Yes! Exit, exit, laugh, OK. Aaaaaand scene."

Other than random encounters with creepy men, the day has gone fairly smoothly. No big catastrophes, no major triumphs, just one long vanilla milkshake of an afternoon.

This weekend a group of us went camping in the hills by San Diego, and while we weren't very hard-core about it, we definitely had a good time. It's the little things that make up a trip like that - Bum Steer BBQ sauce, (watch YouTube for it, it'll be a big hit) hot cocoa in the mornings, "secret" fishing spots on the lake, endless firewood gathering, and Man-lympics, which mostly consisted of growing facial hair and throwing large pieces of trees back into the forest, accompanied by war cries.

Definitely silly. So much so, in fact, that I've already lost half my readership (now we're down to one, thanks, Mom, for hanging in there,) and I feel ridiculous for even writing it down. But the truth is, we are pretty silly people after all - we're a whole lot nerdier than we'd like to think, and the best belly laughs come from an honest acknowledgment of our own and each other's quirks.

So I'm going to steadfastly continue to get a kick out of you... and you're more than welcome a giggle in my direction as well. Life is just funny... and so much better when we look at it that way.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Plan for the Unexpected

No, I don't know how to do this.

A while back, one of our friends referred to Adam and I as "Spontaneous and Outdoorsy" - and while I was flattered, I had to admit that I'm really not. Outdoorsy? Sure. Spontaneous? Does "trying to be" count?

A few months ago, I rear-ended someone in the midst of lunchtime traffic. It was my own fault, simply not paying enough attention combined with a supreme impatience with crowds, but a bummer nonetheless.

Thanks to this little episode, my hood was no longer shutting properly. Adam wired it closed for safety, but now with a sadly flapping hood, crushed front bumper and the additional dings and scratches accumulated in daily life, my beloved Rocky was looking more and more like a loaner from the Clampets then my pampered one and only.

I was devastated. It sounds stupid, and I feel stupid even writing it, but this is my truck. My Rocky. (I name everything, Rocky is one of my all-time favorite movies, and a fitting name for such a boyish truck.) He and I have hauled horses, hay, tack and all my personal belongings from one side of the West to the other and back again. We have four-wheeled through mud, muck, snow and ice, and even braved those flooded Abilenian roads with a cab-load of hungry ACU freshmen, bound for "the other side of town" come hell or high water. He has been a refuge, a way out, a magic carpet - and I have washed, cleaned, changed oil in, and been proud of, my old boy for over 6 years.

"It's just a thing," Adam said as I cried at the wire poking out of the grill and Rocky's overall disreputable appearance.

Beyond my emotional distress, though, I couldn't see how this would get resolved. Obviously, the hood had to get fixed. But I spend the majority of my paycheck paying rent, the rest goes to the gas that Rocky gleefully guzzles, and there's not a great deal left over for car repairs, let alone a new front end on an old pick-up.

I'm ashamed to say that I steadfastly refused to believe that it would be OK. Honestly. I dug my feet in and wallowed in my misery like a champ, crying over a thing and ignoring the wisdom floating around me.

I put my duress in the back of my mind though - managing to blissfully forget about the troubles of truck-ownership until we dropped Rocky off at the Body Shop for an estimate.

"What's the matter?" asked my patient and long-suffering boyfriend. I tried to hold it in, but my ocean-deep lack of faith came bubbling out. Soon I was again terrified... and blathering on about it as though volume of words could fix what a short prayer would have. As much as I would've liked to think that I had conquered my fear, I had merely covered it with distractions, and when those were gone, and so was my poor excuse for Faith.

Thankfully for me, though, God's patience doesn't run out as easily as my Faith in Him does. While I doubted my future, the mechanic fixed my hood for no charge and God smiled at me while I shook my head at my own foolishness.

The beauty of Life is that it is so unexpected - both good times and bad. Here's to the new lessons I've learned: that people are infinitely more important than things, that God is faithful, and that even the best of trucks don't last forever.

With his working hood and slightly straightened front bumper, though, I think Rocky has a few more adventures in him yet.