Monday, December 12, 2011

Jerry Maguire Moment

I'm waiting to have my Jerry Maguire moment. I feel it coming with each approaching day. Not his moment of enlightenment when he sits at his computer writing his Mission Statement and then he sends it out and then he wonders whether he should take them all back. No. Not that moment.

I'm talking about the moment when he gets laid off/quits and he waits there in front of everyone, begging anyone - ANYONE to stand up and join him - and everyone just keeps silently staring at him. And he tells his ex-co-workers that he knows that they're all waiting for him to "flip out" (insert Oprah couch-jumping imitation here) and he decides that the goldfish is coming with him and he waits. And there is silence. (Then, of course Renee Zellwegger goes with him but that isn't part of my moment.) My moment ends with the silence.

When I realize that in all honesty and in real life, for all their talking and bravado and finger wagging and feather ruffling, no one really cares enough to stand up. And I look like more like the angry disgruntled William Holden "mad as hell" crazy woman than I already do, standing there, holding onto a goldfish and the last of my dignity.

Then after I leave, the murmurring starts..."Isn't she the one that sent out that strange Christmas card with her cat on it? Did you understand it? It was weird. I didnt' get it at all....Was she really always "cold" inside? Why was she always waeing that ratty fake leather jacket? She was weird."

But then who cares? I'll have already moved on to my next life with my goldfish, Bessie.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Pomp and Circumstances

And yet another year has passed.

As I stand in the library of my office, I watch another class of wide-eyed, optimistic and enthralled seniors graduate from high school. They are jubilant. Their parents (step-parents, relatives, friends, whomever) are there, watching with pride on their faces. The ceremony is unchanged probably since the beginning of commencement ceremonies….and the traditions as well. The popular kids get the loudest hoots & hollers…the obnoxious horn-thingy rents ear drums in two….the band plays – the caps are tossed in the air, and another summer begins…the juniors are now seniors and have this day to dream about all summer, while the newly graduated concentrate on the biggest 3 month party of their lives (even if they have jobs) because come fall, comes adulthood. College. Junior college. Trade school. The working world. The party is over. They know it. But they have NO IDEA. None.

This is the 10th of these graduations I've eavesdropped on since working here. And the first class I saw dancing with their diplomas are now 10 years out in the world. I wonder about them at times. Some are just finishing medical school, some a few years into their law careers. Since the crash, some are waiting tables at restaurants their parents used to take them to. And some are waiting tables, but they really want to direct. I wonder where their dreams are now? Are they fulfilled as expected? Or are they tucked away in a box in the backs of closets in their parents now-guest rooms along with their yearbooks and letterman's jackets?

Their first reunion will be this fall. The first time some of them will see each other again since this day 10 years ago. Ah, the peacocking that will go on at that party…10 year reunions are all about the had-nots proving to the hads that they made something of  themselves. The unpopular girls hoping that the cheerleaders are fat & divorced. The geeks & nerds hoping the jocks got fat & bald. (That is usually how it goes. Unless you went to high school with Troy Aikmen or Eli Manning – bad break, there, then).  It's ugly. Everyone tries to prove to everyone else that they are SPECTACULAR and SO HAPPY and life gave them the golden ring and they're riding it all the way to the top.

Everyone is lying.

The only thing that makes it better is the alcohol. And hopefully you have someone on your arm to make it less daunting. Once you walk inside and put on that name badge, a weird thing happens. You step right back in time – everyone looks so different: for about 2 minutes. Then the clock turns back magically and everyone looks the same. And the same old cliques re-clique and you're in high school all over again. It's weird. But you down a few drinks, try to eat the dry chicken and the gray broccoli and unless you're either hammered or having fun for real, you bolt out of there as quickly as possible and thank your lucky starts you survived high school one last time.

I hope these men & women are really going for it. Living their dreams. Becoming what they WANT to become instead of becoming something out of necessity. Before they get stuck and can't face their 20th reunion because the future firemen and princesses turned out to be parking patrol agents and secretaries.

To this year's class of 2011 and all future classes – live. Be. Don't settle. Do everything you can that makes you joyful and if something feels twinge-y in your gut, walk away from it. Don't sell your soul for money or fame or a Prada bag or a large salary. Because a large salary at 20 sucks at 40. Believe me. Life is long when you're stuck in it. But if you're dancing through it, life seems very, very short. Always remember the feeling you feel today and strive to feel it for the rest of your life.

And congratulations.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Your Name Here

As I sit here at what the IRS loving refers to as my "job" and I refer to as "that place I go to everyday where they suck the living soul out of you" (and simmer down, 'tweens, not Forks (as an aside, is that still a relevant reference? I never know anymore)) I look over to my right and see a little gold spark of inspiration. It seems the silliest little thing in the world but it brought me back from the brink of financial ruin (well, not RUIN, per se, but unable to finance myself out of a paper bag with directions, two hands and a flashlight).

On a day like today I'm needing a little inspiration and as I stare at this little gold miracle I have dreamlanded myself into the back story that I'm about to share with you now.

What could this mystery talisman be? A magnet. Yep. That thing that goes on the fridge that keeps your grocery list and next dental appointments all snug & secure and in your face.

This one came from my friends at American Express. Only they weren't really my friends (refer back to paper bag statement noted above). It came addressed to me in an envelope and it FELT like a credit card was inside – you all know the little jolt of excitement you feel when you touch the bottom corner of the envelope…maybe? Just MAYBE some company was feeling generous that day and sent you a card you didn't apply for? Maybe you got lucky? Maybe whatever, who cares as long as there's a card inside with your name on it?

I quickly tear open the envelope and pull out the coveted prize…and it was this magnet. The American Express Gold Card. Looked just like it. With a number on it and everything! Oh Happy Day!! And I looked at the bottom left corner and it said "Your Name Here". Sigh. What the hell? Like THAT was ever going to happen.

Flashback a decade or two earlier.

My hair was bigger, body parts where they should be, not where they've fallen to, optimism written all over my soul and hope all over my face. My Dad had an American Express Gold Card and because my dad rocks totally, *I* had an American Express Gold card. With My Name There. And then one sad, sad, probably rainy, winter day Dad decided that he no longer wanted to pay the $50 annual fee (Gee, that really WAS a long time ago!) (I KNOW!! Right??) and he decided he was going to cancel his card. Which meant my card too. Which so totally sucked (again, I refer you back to the paper bag reference above). What was I going to do? No credit and no hope of credit until I cleared up my previously debauched, college-days-abused and discarded credit of my youth. F-U-C-K!!!!!!!!!

Flashforward to me, looking dejectedly at this magnet that had the audacity to mock me in my own living room. I couldn't even get a secured $250 credit card from Bank You Up The Ass. I laughed at this Holy Grail totem of that once possessed, but now lost, treasure. And I tossed it in the trash. I opened the rest of my mail and it, too, went the way of the circular file. And I sat on the sofa. And sat. And moped a bit – no lie – but I mostly just sat.

And I got up, and went into the trash ("Ew! Gross!" – the recycling – relax) and I pulled that damn magnet out and brushed it off and brought it here with me to work. And I put it in a place where I had to see it every single day. And I made one of those dorky "After School Special" promises to myself that one day – ONE DAY – My Name would be Here. I cringed & ordered a copy of my credit report and barely peeked at it before I cried. LOL! HORRIBLE!!!! But I chipped at it one little piece at a time and by God, six years later, it came in the mail.

The real one. With My Name Here.

So I have to remember as I wallow in despair at nearly closing time that with enough patience and enough determination and SOMETHING to inspire you, we can get out of whatever shithole we've dug ourselves into. We just have to figure out what that is. Sometimes you'll know it instinctively and sometimes it will come to you out of the blue, in the mail, daring you to be.

Where does your name belong?