Monday, July 30, 2012

Know Thyself, Just Not Very Well

I was overwhelmed by the positive response I got on my last blog.  Thank you so much, everybody--you rock my blogworld!

I was going to say "I love being creative," but that seems a silly thing to say.  (Although, you will notice I went ahead and said it anyway.)  It's who I am.  The logic portion of my brain is about the size of a microbe. Then there's a sad, cobwebbed-laced chunk for my libido, and a hefty chunk for my love of beer and the rest is all dedicated to creativity.  So saying "I love being creative" is kind of like saying, "I love the largest portion of my brain.", which seems weird.  You know what, I'm going to make this whole paragraph optional, you don't have to read it if you don't wanna.  Oh, wait. . . .sorry.

Anyroad, the frustrating thing to me about my creativity is I never know when I'm being any good or not.  I mean, I don't think I ever really suck (except in certain improv games, but everyone does that from time to time), but sometimes I'll do a scene, or an improv thingy or write something and I'll get all giddy because I think I really nailed it and nobody else thinks it's that special.  On a scale of 1-10 they judge it a "meh".    And then I'll act or improv or write something I think is okay-but-not-special and people say they love it.   I don't expect to be consistently Really Good, that's unrealistic.  But I wish I had better Spidey Sense about when something I do is better than usual.  Maybe there's some kind of chip I could get implanted in my brain (perhaps in the unused libido section) that would send an alarm when I do something RG like, "Hey fuckface, this is Really Good!"  You science types out there, work on that for me, will you?

Now, on a scale of 1-10 of things that are A Major Problem, this is definitely a "yeah, whatever".  It does not rank up there with my Weird Personal Magnetic Signal that Kills Computers, Appliances and Vacuum Cleaners or  my Inability to Go More Than Two Months Without Falling Down, so I'm okay living with this conundrum.  And, I have faith in science.  Silly Me.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Tale of Bridey O'Toole

In 1976, I lived in a residence for women run by Hungarian Nuns.  I had few friends, but I did become close with a 40-something Irish practical nurse named (I swear to God) Bridey O'Toole.  Bridey took care of a wealthy, mentally disturbed woman in Michigan, but kept a room at St. Mary's, so she could come back to visit.  On the plane to NYC in 1976, the stewardess (because that's what they called them then) was pouring her a cup of tea when they hit some turbulence and she poured boiling water on Bridey's leg, melting her polyester pants and giving her 2nd degree burns.  She ended up staying in NYC longer than she planned to have physical therapy on her leg.  Part of her therapy was taking long walks.  And, since I had no other friends or any other activity on Saturdays, Bridey and I would take long walks every Saturday; from 72nd Street where we lived to 34th Street and back. 

Bridey was a hoot.  She had red hair, and a brogue as thick as Guiness.  She had 100 or so brothers and sisters back in Ireland that she supported.    Before she went to work for the Crazy Michigan Woman, she was the nurse to a retired Jewish Jeweler, she called Papa.  She worked for him for 10 years and in his will he left her $10,000 for every year she worked for him.  That was a lot of money in 1975.  (Not that I would sneeze at it today, either.) For some reason, Papa knew all these famous people (or so Bridey claimed). The two people I partcularly remember her going on about were Don Ameche and Jaye P. Morgan, star (?) of The Gong Show.  The stories were entertaining, but I didn't believe them for a second.  I was raised by  Crazy Irish Women and I'm used to them telling totally fictional stories that they swear are true.  

Well, one day we were walking down Fifth Avenue and all of a sudden Bridey gets all flustered and starts running down the street, waving her arms, yelling, "Jaye P!  Jaye P"  I stand on a subway grate, hoping it will open  up and swallow me, while quietly trying to get Bridey to shut up.  But, damn, if a woman doesn't turn around who IS Jaye P. Morgan and she says, "Bridey!  Bridey O'Toole!  How great to see you!", and gives Bridey a big hug.  I was floored.  It turns out I was the one full of blarney, not Bridey.

On my birthday, she took me to lunch at the Waldorf Astoria.  The meal was delicious, but Bridey spent the whole lunch telling me that now that I was 24 I better get married in the next year or I'd be a spinster for life.  It was just like having lunch with my sister.  We went to the movies afterwards, she let me pick, and I chose "Dog Day Afternoon".  We sat close to the front and in the row directly back of us was the Local Chapter of the Black Panthers, fully uniformed.  At one point in the movie, Bridey turned to me and said in an Irish Whisper, which could be heard from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, "Debbie, doesn't that man look like he has nigger lips??"  I figured it didn't matter if I was a spinster then, because I wouldn't live to see 25.  Irish Women are not known for their subtlety.

Bridey stole away in the middle of the night a couple of months later, leaving me a lovely book on Dylan Thomas, because she knew I was a fan.  But no good-byes, because that wasn't how she rolled.  I never saw or heard from her again.

But I did get to meet Jaye P. Morgan.  Wow.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Just Stuff

A few years ago, the Army had a marketing campaign whose motto was, "Be All You Can Be".  I don't know if that's possible.  At least not for me. 

I certainly can't Be All I Want To Be.  I want to be tall, I want to have straight hair, I want to be able to dance and sing really well, I want an acting career, I want a bra that really get the idea.  None of those things are possible in Debbie Reality.  Meh.  I've reconciled myself to most of them, though  I will never stop searching for a bra that really fits and makes the girls look good and is comfortable, and doesn't cost a small fortune.  It has to exist, it just *has* to. Some may say that I'm a dreamer. . . . .

This does not mean I don't like who I am--I do.  I am a Strange Bird, but thanks to a year in therapy and some awesome drugs, I have come to embrace my Strangeness and think it's kinda cool.  I no longer feel guilty or feel that I'm a bad person because when I care, I care too much; that I take my acting and improv work so seriously;  or that I gave Bad Steve all my money.  It just means I think with my heart more than with my brain; I have an undying passion for my art and I am Unbelievably Naive and truly thought Steve  loved me and would pay me back.  I was wrong.  I backed the wrong horse, which is why you won't find me hanging out at the track.  But none of those qualities make me the Subpar Individual I used to believe I was.  They just make me...Me.   So while I don't know if I can ever Be All I Can Be, I am content with Being All I Am Right Now.  Which is a Short, Curlyheaded, Klutzy Receptionist with Saggy Tits.  Who is happy with her life. 


Friday, July 20, 2012

What Do You Expect?

While I'm waiting for my Prozac to kick in, I'd like to write to you about Expectations.

Not the Great ones that Chuck wrote about, but Normal Everyday Expectations. 

I don't have any.

And since I seem to be creating too many single sentence paragraphs here, I will elaborate.  There has never been a single, solitary instance in my 131 years on this planet where what I expected to happen exactly happened.  There have been rare occasions where part of my expectations were realized  (I knew no good would come out of that whole Archduke Ferdinand assassination thing), but usually my expectations are fulfilled in one of two ways:

A.   The exact opposite of what I expected; or
2.    Absolutely nothing.

Not that I am always disappointed in my Failed Expectations.  Some A's and 2's have been quite pleasant. 

A Example:  I forgot to take my raincoat to work yesterday and I expected to get soaked.  It didn't rain.
2 Example:  Several  years ago I was exposed to one of those stomach virus thingys and I thought I would get it.  I didn't. 

Wow.  Those are two incredibly lame examples.  I bet you expected more.  See??  That's what I'm writing about!  If you don't have any expectations, then you're not disappointed and, sometimes, (although certainly not in the case of this blog) you are Pleasantly Surprised.  Like  I am now, as my Prozac starts to take effect.  Ahhhh. . . . . .

BTW, on a completely unrelated note, I would someday like to write a novel about a 19th Century Street Hawker called Great Expectorations.  But don't expect anything from it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Games People Play

Normally, I enjoy things I do well; like parenting, acting, improv, reading, se.  . .well, you get the drift.

But the exception to this Debbie Rule is games.  I *love* playing games, but I really suck at it.  In the little over a year that I have been playing Words With Friends, I can count on one hand the number of times I actually won a game.  I am slightly (*clears throat nervously*) obsessed with Yahtzee, which I play about a million times a day, complete with my own OCD rules.  I get absolutely giddy if someone asks me to play Monopoly, but I don't think I've ever won a game in my life. 

I don't know why I love something I can't do well.  I guess I believe that one time I might actually win a game.  This is the same Naive Optimism that makes me believe that Unicorns will one day rule the world and Bad Steve will one day pay me back the money he owes me.  Okay, naive might be too light a word. . . delusional is probably more realistic.  Oo, wait, I like that--delusional is probably more realistic.  Every once in a while, I come up with a good one.

Anyroad, the point here is that I really love to play games and I almost always lose, so if anyone out there in Readerland wants a Major Ego Boost, WWF awaits.  You may already be a winner.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

I've made a couple of good decisions lately. 

Taking this job was a good decision; not that I really had a choice.  It was my only offer in three months and the cut in pay seemed a small price to pay for (hopefully) restoring my sanity.  It ain't perfect, but what is?  And I could have done worse.  Or not done at all.

Getting the Kitties was a good decision. We are getting along famously and waking up to those two sweet faces in the morning is a joy.  Rojo is a little bigger and very outgoing, while J Clyde is teeny tiny and shy.  Nothing like their namesakes, but Uber Adorable and they make me even more happy than going to those two establishments do.  Which is saying something.

Naturally,  making these two good decisions feels weird. That's not like me.  (Reference:  the chorus of Paul Simon's "Something So Right".  That's how I feel right now.  The rest of the song is a love song, and therefore irrevelent to me, but enjoy.)  I would like to believe that this is a *sign* that my life is finally taking an upswing, but my Pessimistic Irish Nature can't grasp that concept.  Instead, the PIN tends to believe that this is just the rainbow before the apocolypse.  I'm stocking up on duct tape, cat food and beer, just in case.

Regretting past decisions is a waste of time, but I do it anyway.  If I hadn't decided to quit theatre in college, I might actually be making a sort-of living in it now.  Or not.  And, I wouldn't have had my kids, which is the best thing I've ever done.  And, I sincerely doubt I would have ended up in Birmingham, which is about 1000% better than me staying in Pittsburgh.  I made the decisions I made and that's how my life was meant to go. So shut the fuck up, Deb.

I mostly regret not being more ballsy when I was younger.  People scare the shit out of me (I know I've told y'all that before) and my tendency was to not say anything even when I wanted to.  I guess I was afraid that people would hate me forever if I said something they didn't like and I would end up alone.  Now that I have ended up alone, it's not as apocolyptic as I thought it would be.  My kids are awesome and so are my friends and now I have Rojo and J Clyde, as well.  So, these days I shoot straight from the hip and so far none of the above-listed Awesomeites have abandoned me.  Of course, the kittens are pretty young. . . .(Mental Picture:  My two Kitties with little bitty bindles over their shoulders, sadly walking away from my apartment.)

 I'm thinking of taking the high road on this issue and choosing to believe my life is going to get better and better.  As long as I pay attention and don't take the curves too fast, I think I could end up in a nice place.  With Kitties in tow.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Real Phoney

So, this is how my Friday morning started.

I get a phone call at work from a cell phone in Cambridge, MA.  It is some guy asking me if I will give him a spanking, as he really needs one.  I politely decline.  (Although it does occur to me that, along with refilling the candy dish, this may be one of my new duties.  I'll check with the Office Manager later.)

He calls twice more.  I politely hang up on him.

THEN, I get another call from Cambridge, MA from this kid's father, asking me if I just got a prank call.  I said I had.  Dad asked me what the kid said and I told him.  Dad freaked out, said his kid was only 15 and he wanted to scare him out of this annoying habit by telling the kid he was going to send the kid to my office and really have me give him a spanking; the worst of his life.   This did not make me feel any better about the situation; in fact, it just creeped me out more than I already was, which was plenty.  I politely hung up on Dad.

The point of this charming tale, other than to make you feel better about your Friday morning, is to illustrate just  why I hate talking on the phone.  I am truly phonephobic.  It sometimes takes me days to screw up my courage enough to call someone.  I approach making a phone call the same way I approach killing a cockroach; I close my eyes, and hope it will all be over soon.  I would rather spank a 15-year-old kid in Cambridge, MA, than make a phone call.  I think you get my point.

I'm not really sure exactly why I hate phone conversations so much.  I am Extremely Awkward in any social situation, but especially in one-on-one confrontations.  If there is more than a five-second lull in the conversation, I get panicky and start spouting NASDAC indices or speaking in tongues or telling inappropriate jokes just to fill the Deathly Silence.  Now you know why I'm alone.

I am sure, Clever Reader, that you have, by now, sensed the delightful irony in a Phonephobic answering  phones for a living.  Well, if Awkward is my middle name, then my Confirmation name is Irony.  Cause that's how I roll.  Awkward and Ironic.  A match made in Purgatory.

Thank God for texting/messaging, enabling me to actually stay in touch with people without having a stroke every time I pick up the phone.  Otherwise, --wait, my phone's ringing. . . Gotta go, it's Spanky and Our Gang from Cambridge again.   Where's my paddle?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Smile, Darn You, Smile

When I was a little kid, I asked my parents why grownups didn't smile very much.  They couldn't come up with a valid answer.  From my vantage point, being a grownup seemed way more cool than being a kid and I thought if I ever became an adult I'd smile all the time.

Well, ostensibly, I am a grownup now and, no, I do not smile all the time.  But I sure as hell smile more than the people I work with.  Man, what a bunch of Crankypants!   And the higher their rank, the more cranky they are.  I don't know why they're so pissed off all the time.   I know they make about 10,824,537 times more money than I do.  Ditto for the amount they get laid compared to me,  so what do they have to be grumpy about??? If I could make decent cash and get some dick every once  in a while, I'd be floating on air.  But here I am,  living hand to mouth and hand to---well, you know,---and I still manage to smile and say "Good morning", where these sourpusses just slither on by without a word.  They act like they graduated from the Snape School of Social Skills.  (Except Alan Rickman is hot and they aren't.)

Hey, wait a minute.  I just had an idea.  (That's a bad sign.)

What if the reason they are grumpy is because they're NOT getting laid?   Perhaps I could start a "side business" and kill a whole mess o' stones in one throw, as it were.  It worked for that Mom in Manhattan, right?  Oh, wait, she's in prison now.  Okay, maybe not.  I told you it was a bad sign.

The grass is always greener, I suppose.  I think they should be happy because they have money and sex.  They probably walk by me and say, "Gee whiz, that middle-aged, slightly stoop-shouldered woman with the curly hair has no responsbility at work  and a big bed all to herself at home--talk about lucky!" 

And, after all, I am the one with a smile on my face.   :)