Friday, July 29, 2005

Three times a bridesmaid. . .

never a bride. . . forget that shite. It should be more like, "First one to the alter gets the bridesmaids" or "Once a bridesmaid, forever committment phobic."

I kid, I kid. A little.

One of my all-time favorite peeps is getting married this year. And I'm in the wedding. Yipee! Okay, now that the honeymoon phase of being included and loved is over, I'm starting to see that this wedding business is not a joke. Not even a bad joke. Or a pun. For example, so far all that is required of me is to call the bridal shop that is making the dresses with my measurements. Sounds easy enough. Well sure, it sounds easy. I'm sure it would be easy too, if I had a tape measure - or if I had a "tape measure buddy" I want to see at me in my underthings to make sure I don't transpose any of the numbers when I write them down. Molehill ---> mountain. You get the idea. And this is just one tiny task. The other day the bride-to-be left me a voicemail including all the wedding stuff she and her finance had been doing - they registered at Crate & Barrel and Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They had bought their wedding rings the day before. . . the list went on. I had to rest for two days before I could return her call.

If I wasn't seriously single enough, wedding planning by proxy is sealing the deal. When I get married, you can expect to read about it on here - I won't worry about whether or not I'll pay for an open bar on the big day and you'll send nice comments and lots of page loads instead of gifts and we'll call it even.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Posing Class

As every good housesitter/nanny/tutor/personal assistant knows, social graces aren't what they used to be. These days it's not enough to know which fork to use or to chant "runny on the right, lumpy on the left" to oneself during a formal dinner. For 'preliminarily mobile' 20somethings, good manners is all about knowing one's place in the social hierarchy, or being comfortable with not exactly knowing one's place, but remaining nimble in the meanwhile.

Like many of my peers nearing the halfway mark to our 5 year college reunions, I've been more successful at collecting degrees than fat paychecks. This does not dissuade me, however, from planning ahead and preemptively trying on the lifestyle I aspire to. I drive a snotty European car and shop at the overpriced grocery store nearest my overpriced apartment.

This is all fine and good, but things start to get weird when I'm employed by those who've gone a generation or two ahead into yuppiedom (which, by the by, stands for Young Upwardly-mobile People) - the people who drive their late model snotty European cars to the overpriced grocery store nearest their overpriced homes, located just across the gated subdivision entry from my apartment. Most of the time, these people are gracious employers who give advice and have earnest appreciation for my efforts. Nonetheless, it's still a little weird to discuss world affairs or party-planning strategies like peers while keeping in mind who's working for $15 an hour and who's not. Oddly enough, I've sometimes felt that the more humbling end of this deal is that of the employer. There've been times when a tutoring gig has gone south and instead of throwing in the towel, I've remained on the payroll to do little more than watch parents lose arguments with their kids and get advice about neighborhood delis to check out. Sure, I'm admitting that $15 is enough to buy an hour of my time, but you're the one paying to chat it up with me rather than spending time with your family.

I've read The Great Gatsby. I know wealth and socialite fame don't guarantee happiness, and both can be disappointingly empty and hollow. All I'm saying is that it can be a very awkward task to negotiate building networks and contacts with doing odd jobs when you have more letters behind your name than zeroes in your net worth.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Thinking about my doorbell.

No one really ever "stops by" anymore. The art of dropping in is lost. People don't even (well, with the exception of my family) 'visit' other people anymore. We go for coffee or tea or lunch. Perhaps we've been brainwashed by Starbucks, or perhaps the strongwilled independence we all hone in our efforts to be upstanding, terrorist-hating Americans dissuades us from admitting any desire to just "be" with other people. In my entire life for which I have long-term memories (so that's age 15 on), I can count on one hand the times people I'm not related to have gotten into their cars, driven to my house, and knocked on my door - without calling beforehand. And I must say, it was a welcome surprise each time. I think I was even a little bit flattered - especially when the caller in question was a person of the male persuasion I was either dating or interested in dating. So go forth and drop in on each other, unless you live in Los Angeles, in which case you can't afford the extra gas. There's a good deal at the Shell station on Santa Monica and Federal by the way-- $2.58/gallon.

This afternoon I said to the nine-year-old I nanny, "Ah, I've had this one song stuck in my head all day."
"What song is it?" he asks.
"I don't think you'd know it."
"Well, try me. Sing it."
I look into the earnest little face and start in on the catchy White Stripes tune, "I'm thinking about my doorbell, when ya gonna ring it, when ya gonna ring it. . . " An emotionless stare looks back at me, eyes open wide on a head still waiting for its body to grow into it.
"Well that sounds dumb," he says after a pause.
Yeah, he's right. It does. But I still like it.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

From the archives*

10 August 2001

Opening night, American Pie 2 (yeah, I know. Deal.), AMC 30, Houston

Overheard waiting to enter theater:

Well, she says it doesn’t get to her but I know it does cuz’ I know how I felt when my boyfriend got someone else pregnant and we became exes. . . What Chris doesn’t realize is that I’m almost over him, this [baby] is the only tie between us and in a couple of weeks it will all be over. I don’t like being the other woman. I want to be number one. He says he can do things with me that he can’t with her and that he’ll miss all the things we do together. Sounds like a personal problem to me. What Chris doesn’t realize is that I’m almost over him.

Seriously.

*the old-fashioned kind – perhpas you're familiar –they're small bound volumes and an ink-projecting, stylus-like deceive is used to record information.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Shit happens. In droves.

Today I return home from nannying and instead of finding my inbox/usual blogroute filled with administrative minutiae, humorous anecdotes, and general miscellany, it is inundated with things that make me ill. Today was not a stellar day for Southwestern Alumni. (Spoiler alert - if you want to have a really good day, don't keep reading - Google kittens and puppies instead.)

First, I get an email forward that an acquaintance's dad has died unexpectedly in some kind of freak medication error at the hospital. I don't know this woman well or her father at all, but I like to think that hospitals are where one goes to get well, not to get dead.

Second, I'm absolutely stunned when I read another email relating that an acquaintance and sometime classmate at Southwestern died on Saturday night when a truck ran a red light and broadsided her car in New Mexico as she was driving home from a performance. I'm sure that frequenters of Mask & Wig and Theater Department productions would agree that Heather McGaughey brought a freshness and sense of energy to the projects she worked on at Southwestern. Having been impressed with her and being a huge nerd who's better at typing than talking, I Googled her several months ago and discovered she was doing some type of musical theater in the Midwest post Southwestern. She was acting in New Mexico at the time of her death.

Finally, my familiar blogroute (via NerdElite) tells me that another fine* Southwestern alumnus was recently arrested for pedophilia. This guy was awarded a King Creativity Fund Award the same year as Heather McGaughey and another friend and me, but the link to his project is gone now. Nevertheless, you can read about his arrest here. Who knew the Texas Attorney General made it so easy to read about your local newsmakers - and watch videos of their arrests?

Someone get Kansas on the phone. I am not an especially punitive person but would be more amenable toward Intelligent Design if they could show me an algorithm that selected for bright, happy young people with their shit together as opposed to pedophiliac seminarians. Did I mention that part? That's right, this guy was taking some time off from the learning how to spread the good news to go have sex with a (fortunately fictional) thirteen-year-old child.


*facetious. I don't know him, but did recognize the sunglasses.

Ogling Optometrist

Why is it that every male optometrist I've ever visited are always creepy in this overly familiar, lecherous way? I haven't experienced this with female optometrists or male opthamologists. Yelch.

Public Service Announcement for male optometrists:

Please limit your commentary to the health of my eyes. Please avoid commentary on the color of my eyes or the cuteness of my glasses. If I make reference to my dad, it is because I think you are creepy and want to subtly remind you that in some spheres (i.e., mine) it is inappropriate to hit on women whose fathers are older younger than you are.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The outside of my DMV registration renewal envelope

informs me:

For the price of a postage stamp, you:

*Help fight air pollution, traffic congestion and tax increases.
*Save valuable time, money for gas and wear on your vehicle.
By using the mail, you have chosen the easiest way to submit a DMV application and have assisted us with providing better service.

Thank you,
Department of Motor Vehicles

For those of you who have not had the pleasure (and by that I mean "suicide induction experience") of becoming acquainted with the LA DMV, let me assure you, I save a lot more than the price of a stamp and gas money by avoiding it. Assumming your local DMV is anything like any of the other 110% of DMVs I've encountered in the lower 48 and Alaska (I could just tell about some of them from driving by), you know what I mean. The DMV is a place where efficiency is avoided at all costs - as are pleasantries. I'm pretty sure they don't even allow cheeky Garfield mugs or tired xeroxes about how Mondays suck. Once the DMV Czar finds out someone's been putting nice messages on the outside of the return envelopes, you can bet some anomolous, chipper bureaucrat's going to have some remedial training modules to complete.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Well it's something.

Fortunately I don't have any new tales of drunkenness with which to regale you. In fact, keeping busy has left me a very dull girl. No one wants to read about grading papers and getting the biannual smog check.

You may, however, be interested in learning that on Friday, on my way to The Hammer's Sundance Summer Shorts, I saw Paul Reiser standing in line to buy a movie ticket for Batman Returns in Westwood. He was staring at the floral print collapsible chair I was carrying. Then, just a few moments ago, some friends and I were having yogurt at The Big Chill in West LA when in walks Rhea Pearlman with her son. I think my friend sees her too and raise my eyebrows to exchange what I assume is a knowing, 'hey, there's Rhea Pearlman' look. She hadn't noticed. Not wanting to cheat my yogurt partners out of a celebrity siting, I discreetly start the 'don't look now, but. . . ' whisper, which is of course even silly to mention. They're going to look. Now.

In other news, I'm thinking about getting my shit together soon. I'm really motivated to do it, only I've yet to determine the antecedent of 'it'. Usually summertime is a time for getting inspired to do 500 things, making a list, doing about 27 of them, and finally being satisfied with catching up my photo albums, cleaning my office, and updating my renter's insurance policy. This year is different somehow. I'm still getting some niggling errands done (note smog check) and enjoying the long, guilt and homework free evenings, but I'm not inspired to do anything special. I didn't even make a Summer 2005 To-Do list. I had it on my list a few weeks ago, but I never got around to it. If anyone sees my edge lying around, please Fed Ex it immediately. I'll reimburse you. One of my favorite qualities about myself is my continual belief that good things are on the brink of happening. I will get around to those essays. I will have a sex life. I will decide what I want to be when I grow up. I don't know how long I can last without this illusion.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

That special touch

Not anyone can be a part-time nanny. One has to check a few notches of self-respect at the door upon joining the ranks of the hired help, those earning an hourly wage, who are paid in cash, and who don't have a last name anymore (and thus have nothing meaningful to contribute).

During my ill-advised inebriation last weekend, one of the (less, surprisingly enough) obnoxious things I said to an interested party of the male persuasion was, “We’re PhD students, we’re smart, that bullshit doesn’t work on us!” in response to his lame attempts hit on my friend and me. This might also be a fitting thing to say when parents of my charges’ playmates give me a quizzical look that says I don’t look nearly Mexican enough or failing actress enough to be a “real nanny.”

Truth be told, my gig is pretty sweet as nannying goes. The kids are old enough that the things they like to do are fun for me too. I never have to do “voices” aside from those intended to persuade them to eat fruit or put their dishes away. The best part so far might have been the day I arrived to find a family rushing off to a doctor’s appointment. The mom took both kids to the doctor while I cozied up with a gossip magazine to wait for the repairperson. I guess this gets translated as “management and supervision skills” on my resume?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Nth trial learning

I'm proud to report that I can count the times I've drank way too much on one hand - less so to report that I used up another finger last weekend.

Friday night got off to an excellent start. Some friends and I caught a free Ozomatli concert at the California Plaza downtown. Tens of free outdoor summer concerts happen any given week in Los Angeles, ostensibly to "promote community and celebrate summer." I think the greater metropolitan area is trying to apease its guilt about the outrageous cost of living and scarily viligant parking enforcement.

After Ozzomatli, we went to a bar in Culver City for a friend's birthday. Leaving around midnight and still a little tipsy, I said, "Is anyone interested in a little contest?. . . " Never say that if you're me. Especially if you're me and thought your late lunch would tide you over for the entire night. And under no circumstances should you (if you're me) end your night by chasing whatever drink you had with a Long Island Iced Tea (especially if they're served in pint glasses).

The contest: I challenged a friend to see who could get/give the most numbers of potential suitors. I made the challenge when I thought we were going to the dive bar around the corner from my house. Instead we ended up at the cheesy, Brentwood Todd (consultant, leased BMW, powder blue button down shirt - untucked, trendy jeans, loafers, lots of hair products) hangout down the street - my least favorite bar in the city (and thus the "potential suitors" is amended to "breathing persons"). Being a (slightly handicapped, given the considerable alcohol intake) neophyte at this game, it didn't occur to me that it one should get numbers, rather than to give out one's number. So I didn't learn everything I needed to know in kindergarten.

Later, in my apartment, I thought the slight slip down the stairs, the revisiting of the Long Island Iced Tea, and the fact that I was essentially bedridden (save for two bathoom trips and one soup/dvd run downstairs) until 8am SUNDAY morning was penance enough for my poor choices. Nope. Not only did one of the guys I had given my number to call me twice Friday night (you know, to remind me of the jacuzzi party at their place - the one where "we have French doors." -- what?), but he called me NINE times throughout the course of the weekend. Nine times in less than 48 hours. Clearly, this is not a "Rules" man.

Okay, so the hangover and the persistant calling are my penance. Fair enough. Not so fast. At a barbeque on Monday one of my friends reminded me of a choice remark I made to the persistant caller. It wasn't so much tasteless or sleazy as it was totally obnoxious. I was no longer puzzled why someone wouldn't get the idea after the eighth time I didn't pick up, but moreover wondered why he'd even call at all. And just for good measure, it became an even ten calls last night.

Seriously, I have learned my lesson.

Friday, July 01, 2005

It's not that I had thought I had seen it all. . .

But I was pretty sure I was well on my way. Gather round boys and girls, I have something very curious to share with you today.

The capitalization of affection and social exchange are old news. A good chunk of adults hand over portions of their incomes to online dating services. Many of us joined sororities and fraternities. Writers pay three times the price of a coffee so they can change out of pajamas and lounge around a café all day instead of their studio apartments. You know all this. What you may not know, however, is that now, as we speak (figuratively), people are paying actual domestic currency to attend Cuddle Parties. Seriously. With strangers. Please – take a moment. . . Okay, ready? Yes, for only $30, you too may attend a Cuddle Party at which you will be allowed to practice setting and adhering to your own personal boundaries while enjoying the healing benefits of touch – for three and a half hours. Skeptical, are you? Think cuddle parties are only for still closeted-to-themselves lesbians and dirty old men looking to cop a feel? Think again, say Cuddle LA directors Rebecca Reagan and Andrew Schwartz. Fifteen simple rules make Cuddle Party a “safe and fun space for exploring affectionate touch.” If you’re curious, sex and dry humping are verboten, although kissing “and nuzzling” are fair game, provided verbal consent has been granted.

Maybe I’m just a little slow to warm up, but I think Cuddle Parties sound absolutely and unconditionally repulsive.