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Duking It Out

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the majority of humanities students have no idea what they want to do with their lives, most of whom end up in law school because, as I’ve often heart it put, they couldn’t think of anything better to do.  And with the exception of a JD, I am no different.  Despite years of soul-searching and self-help worksheets and online career tests, I have never known what I really want to do with my life, at least not career-wise.  I have moved from job to job over the last fifteen years of my professional life, with a short year out to take the obligatory grad school detour, and never once have I enjoyed a single one.

Things have continued to be crazy at work.  I spend most of my time terrified that someone will find out I don’t know what I’m doing, even though I probably know more than I realize.  But it is so difficult to play a game when you don’t know the rules and you have no one to show you.  So this goes beyond bored, or dissatisfied.  This is the dark ribbon of fear, the cages you make for yourself and the distortions you place on reality.  I wish there was some way to blast those phantoms out of existence.  But it takes time, and I’m working on it.

In the meantime, I have a backup plan – my new poster arrived today, the one that says “Keep Calm and Carry On.”  I’m going to have it framed and put in my office to remind me that there is No Cause for Panic.  It is a facsimile of a poster placed all over London during World War II to calm the tube-riding public.

So enough of this maudlin musing.  Is anyone else disturbed by the recent Doritos commercial that has been airing recently?  The one in which two bags of Doritos fight WWF-style in a ring in front of an army of wiggling knit toys?  I mean, what the hell is going on there?  Are bags of Doritos and knit toys supposed to have something in common?  Are knit toys supposed to have some kind of street cred?  What age group is this advert aimed at?

More importantly, what coke-lined booze-fueled junket led to some young ad jocks coming up with this crap?

Some ads are funny.  The one about car care products that intones in a sonorous voice: “Here at Blah Blah, we’ve been conducting tests to see how children make such gigantic messes in such a short time” and then shows a child being shut up in a minivan is hilarious.  The one from years ago in which the man runs into an open file drawer whilst talking to his boss about how all the information for the meeting is stored in his brain slayed me every time I watched it.  If I could have rolled on the floor I would have.

But this Doritoes commercial is WHACK.  Whack I tell you.

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I saw
a film recently, which I thought from the previews would be the perfect chick
flick to burrow down on the couch watching when Bartender Dude was at
work. Unfortunately, it turned out to be
a sweeping Hollywood-ised version of the story of Esther, told in the most
cheesy, overblown manner possible. The
script was terrible, and the actors weren’t good enough to salvage it, but they
were pretty, and dressed in the most amazing clothes you can imagine (no, I am
serious, I would ROB A BANK to be able to wear these kinds of clothes), and
somehow madly compelling. I really wish
I could blame what I’m about to tell you on the sartorial brilliance of this
production, but the film took over my imagination in a truly adolescent and embarrassing
way.

The thing
that hooked me, the rufi that those damn Hollowoodising producers slipped into
my drink, was not the underlying story of Esther (which in itself is quite a
compelling story and well worth a read) but the architecture of the pulp
romance novel, the proven formula that hooks many a dissatisfied member of my
sex and works like crack on the broken parts of our psyches – always promising,
never delivering.

And
here are the basic building blocks – boy meets girl, boy chooses girl, mistaken
actions, conflict and obstacles ensue, crisis builds, encounter (sometimes
violent) results, truth surfaces, boy and girl passionately reunite. Only in the case of this film, it goes
something like this – (handsome and leonine) king meets (stunningly attractive)
peasant girl, king chooses (oh by the way she can read in several languages!
And has a gift for sparring wit!) girl in BEAUTY CONTEST to be his wife and
queen, like some kind of 5th century BC version of The Bachelor,
king and queen canoodle in the most remarkable clothes and settings you have
ever seen in your life (DRIPPING with bling), king mistakes actions of queen
and vice versa, king and queen come maddeningly close several times to working
things out but never quite, crisis builds, queen confronts king by publicly
entering the throne room unsummoned, at the LAST SECOND before some dude in a
skirt is about to chop her down with a big sword, king saves queen and clasps
her in his arms, king and queen passionately reunite.

I’ve
never read any pulp romance novels, but I absolutely know there is a formula,
and that it works. What upsets me is its
effectiveness. Real life and real love
bear almost no resemblance to this kind of cheap thrill effect, the
intoxication based on blindness, the drunken escape of infatuation. I love Bartender Dude like the bones in my
body, and we did go through a period when the frisson of excitement there all
the time, like a shiver under the skin, but we’ve moved on from that. It’s deeper, it’s better, and it’s different.

Perhaps
that is why, now, this stupid film hit me like a juggernaut, awakening the
soppy teenager in me (I thought I vanquished her!), making me so confused. Maybe I miss the puppy stage. Maybe my father never made me feel beloved,
set apart, a princess of the realm (actually I know for a fact that he didn’t –
the queen in this story is both protected and adored, and that alone is enough
to work powerfully on my wounded self). Maybe this is an indication that I need to borrow from the story the
elements and symbols that will provide balance and evolutionary growth. (Oh yes I like that – paper over the
embarrassing bits by pretending this is all about the evolution of your soul
and not really about your truly trashy taste.)

But
whatever it is, I cannot BELIEVE that I got sucker-punched into this situation
by a formulaic and badly-written historic soap opera of a film. This is the stuff I look down on! Freedom from being affected by this tripe is
what makes me An Intelligent, Mature Adult with Taste!

What
a load of bollocks.

I’m just like
everybody else, and the part of me that would secretly luuuuve to be the Queen HATES to acknowledge that.

[Chanelbaby]:  Hello?  Baby?  Are you driving?

[Bartender Dude]: Uh, yeah, I’m driving home.  I’m almost there.  I just called you like five minutes ago from the restaurant.

[Chanelbaby]: Okay well I’m sorry butI’mnakedandI’mcoldandIcan’tfindmy PEEEJAAAYYYYS!!!

[Bartender Dude]: (pause)

[Bartender Dude]: Are they on the chair?

[Chanelbaby]: (whimpering pause) Nooooo….

[Bartender Dude]: (another pause)

[Bartender Dude]: Oh, you put them in the guest room.

I ask you, can the man be real?  Is this even fair?  I don’t know what I did in a former life to get this lucky in love, but I MUST have thrown myself in front of a train to save orphaned, parapelegic babies, thus saving them from their crack-dealing pimp.

Everything Changes

I’m sitting in the cosy back sitting room watching The Age of Innocence (which has some of the best clothes and dinner scenes I’ve ever seen), and this advert comes on, triumphantly claiming "Victoria’s Secret has REINVENTED THE BRA!"

"AGAIN?" I said out loud to the knitting.

This past weekend, I picked up LS and drove halfway around the world to Tysons Corner, to the largest collection of shops in the area, where there is a WEST ELM.  I get their catalogs and they have the smartest collection of things.  So I went there in search of some peacock-coloured pillows for the bedroom (I’m all in a rage for that colour) which I swear I had seen in a catalog a few months ago.  When I arrived, all the pillows were either Greek island blue or pale sea glass blue, so I asked the store clerks if they had any of the peacock-coloured ones left.  "I’m sorry, we don’t," he said.  "We change our colour scheme every four to six weeks, and discount what’s left to drive it out of stock."

I swear to God, I don’t know what’s happened to me but I think I’m suddenly older.  Suddenly shopping stresses me out, when it used to be one of my favourite activities.  It annoys the SHIT out of me that product cycles are so compressed.  The time I’m allowed to savor something aesthetically and determine if I want to purchase it has violently collapsed.  Stores don’t wait for me to find the time to get to them in order to buy the things I want.  Victoria’s Secret has re-re-re-invented the bra, and couldn’t care less.  There are too many options to consider, I’m overwhelmed with the constant newness of products, none of which are on my radar for longer than a blip before they disappear.

I can’t tell if I’m just slowing down, or if the priorities for what I care to focus on and process have shifted.  But in actual fact, and to deny to myself that this could be about me becoming tragically unhip, I think that these mass manufacturers of cheap, sleek products have realised that the craze for constant changeability can work as a powerful motivation to BUY NOW and they are using that to full advantage.

What a curmudgeon! I never thought this would happen to me, but I appear to be creeping toward MIDDLE AGE.  AHGGHGHGHG.  Someone send me some trendy music and a handbag covered in chains STAT.

Hello, Big Girl

Today I broke in my brand new superfuckingcute coat.  You will gasp, I know, but it is pink, with huge buttons, and in the SWING style that is so popular now.  I luuurrve it.  When I put my hair up in a clip and wear this coat, I look like Audrey Hepburn (except of course that I am not a twig)!!!

On my way to an appointment tonight, I had to switch buses.  As I was getting off to make the change, a series of people surged forward to get on and I had to sort of fight through them.  As I was making my way down the bus stairs, an old, rather disheveled man beamed at me and said:

"Hello, big girl."

I swear you cannot make this shit up.

I guess he could have said "Hello, pink girl," or "Hello, big pink," but I really don’t think so.  I think he said "Hello, big girl."

I should have said "Hello, big hobo!  Happy LENT!"

Doing the Rocky

I am leaving in half an hour to go catch a train to Philly.  Woo hoo Philadelphia!  Sadly, I am going for business, and only for one day, so I will not be able to eat here (mum’s suggestion), or run up the steps and pump my fists in the air like Rocky (Bartender Dude’s suggestion) (which, let’s face it, I would never do because a) running, b) LAME, c) running.  I don’t even know where the steps ARE).

But I wanted to post because I haven’t in, like, forever, yo.

So here is a quick update:

1.  Job is going better.  I am no longer breathing into a paper bag every day thinking that at any second a phalanx of security staff are going to come to escort me from the building and throw me out on my ear because I have NO IDEA what I am doing.
2.  Wedding planning has stalled because the job is so demanding that I turn into a limp noodle on the weekends.
3.  Also, we had to pick up our NEW CAR this weekend, which is really an OLD CAR that my uncle fixed up for us that as soon as we had driven 10 miles toward home began to not work.  As in, the transmission isn’t engaging.  As in FUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKING hell.  We drove it home anyway and it seemed to right itself after another 3 miles or so, so we’ll have to keep an eye on it.
4.  Which do ya’ll think is better as a COLOUR SCHEME for a wedding — deep red and Indian orange, or ice blue and silver/winter white?  I CANNOT DECIDE I WANT BOTH WAHH I AM A BRIDEZILLA.
5.  I am really leaning toward the red and orange.
6.  I cannot decide if I should ask people NOT to bring their darling children OR NOT. Who will mind them when we are all getting drunk at the reception? 
7.  Are you sick of me yet?

I’m kind of toying with the idea of making posting every day my Lenten discipline.

Please pick yourself off the floor where you are lying laughing hysterically.

I’m waiting.

You know, instead of making my Lenten discipline something like, oh, say, praying for peace and an end to poverty every day, *I* the great Chanelbaby am thinking of adopting the Lenten discipline that will bring me more attention.  But in my defense, I have to say I am NOT a terribly disciplined person and one of my goals for the year (which I commemmorated at Imbolc hooray for Pagans) is to "Give Discipline a Try" and if one is going to attempt to be disciplined at something, it ought to be at something that one actually enjoys doing but never seems to get around to doing, like knitting or blogging or planning a wedding.

Well.  Let’s see how it goes.  The LAST Lenten discipline I took up was to give up CHEESE and that lasted all of three days.

Cosy

I have been sick all weekend.  It has been quite a challenge to slow all the way down to a crawl and lay on my ass on the sofa, watching Australian Open Tennis (that part has been fun) and force-feed myself liquids and that ghastly ghastly Airborne fizzy crap, and eat even though I am not hungry.  Bartender Dude is a wise old sage about this stuff and I am on bed rest at his command, following his orders.  I have been sleeping more than a NEWBORN.  Let me just outline this for you:

Friday night: in bed at 11 pm
[ELEVEN PM???? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? HOW LAME AM I?]

Saturday: up at 2 pm
[no, I am not making this up]

Saturday: in bed at 7 pm
[HOLY MOTHER OF OUR LORD HAS THE WORLD STOPPED SPINNING?  Also, I had to give up A DINNER PARTY.  Yes.  Bartender Dude got all hotted up — mmm he looked GOOOOOD — and trotted off to The Professor’s for a dinner party with MY FRIENDS WITHOUT ME.  I didn’t even drink anything all day.]

Saturday: back up at 11 pm
[watching more Australian Open tennis, two amazing matches, and reading wedding magazines, and having minor wedding planning meltdowns, to wit: "oh no I can’t afford lobster creme brulee and a dessert buffet and tables draped in saris oh no how can I get out of bed in the morning and show my face to the civilised world woe is meeeeeeeeeeeeee."  Please slap me now, NOW when I can still be reasoned with.]

Saturday: [calling BD frantically "where are you I am bored it is 3 am come home and entertain me" and BD answering via text "go to bed you sick woman I will come home when I am done having a good time and drinking" damn I love that man] back in bed, 4 am

Sunday: up at noon
[THAT’S more like it]

So now it is Sunday evening, and I am sitting in my cosy sitting room, watching the snow fall outside our windows, and eating potato chips and drinking gin (FINALLY I am feeling better) watching yet MORE Australian Open tennis and thinking about calling The Cartographer, since I have cracked the case and figured out what COLOUR SCHEME I want for my wedding because I am such a clever clogs.  (Incidentally, I called The Professor today, to generally get the de-brief on the dinner party I missed plus bore him with wedding details I have been thinking about, and he said — you have succumbed to The Machine.  FIGHT AGAINST THE MACHINE — meaning, the machine of the wedding industry, that sucks you in and forces you to sign over your first born child to catering servitude.  But I said, it is too late.  Save Yourselves!!!!)

Life is good.

Well, unless you are Martina Hingis and getting the shit beat out of you by a small Chinese chic.

Ahhh, snow….Img_0649

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