As a last resort in my ever more fatally depressing job search, i applied to manage a New Balance store opening up in the area. I didn't tell a lot of people about it, because i've been trying to convert my retail marketing experience to a different sort of job, one which might make my resume look better and perhaps lead me to a job i'm not embarassed in telling people at some point before i die. Why bother? I should just start wearing a MY NAME IS: HORRIBLE FAILURE tag, and be done with it.
Still, when i applied for the job my reasoning was sound: I've been in retail management for three years, and if i can't get a job as a retail manager i should shoot myself in the face.
Although they seemed very impressed with my interviewing personality, New Balance failed to call back until a full week after they said they would. During that week i went through various levels of self-loathing. I didn't get so far as cutting myself, but it's baithing suit season out there! "Hi Leah," the interviewer said when he finally called. "We offered the manager position to someone else, and he accepted, but we'd like to ask you to be an assistant manager." This is kind of like saying: We don't think you're pretty enough to be a prostitute, but we have this other job that's cleaning up after the prostitutes? and we think you'd be perfect for that.
What is infinitely more sad is that this is the only job i've been offered since i declined to be a jewelry store manager again. This is after four interviews and several hundred resumes sent out. We are poor, Rascal needs his anal sacks squeezed, and Dan needs health insurance if he's ever to go to grad school. Someone better shut up about having bigger potential, suck it up, and start slapping those shoes on old women with orthopedic problems. And when my classmates ask me what i do for a living, i'll say that i'm a full-release massage sanitation consultant.
Bedford Street in Lexington is a road that we drive on often, whenever we have occasion to visit points east, so we have many opportunities to notice the incredible profusion of 'no left turn' signs which adorn the the road's west-bound lane.
The scene is this: for a short stretch, just after the road crosses the highway, there are two lanes of traffic in each direction. On your left as you go towards Bedford is a collection of small office buildings, motels and restaurants: no roads. Then at the end of the section is an intersection where you can reverse direction. So, to discourage people from turning left across traffic into the various parking lots, the traffic engineers put up 'no left turn' signs every twenty yards or so, plus one at each parking-lot entrance. A few of them even have two or three signs on one pole. Really, I have nowhere else, ever, seen so many signs saying the same thing on such a short stretch of road.
So why is that, every time I drive that way, someone is turning left?
Leah: So, Keira Knightley did a press conference for Pirates of the longest movie ever, and a reporter was like, "How does it feel to have everyone and their mother saying you're annorexic?" and she was like, "I wasn't aware that they were!"
Dan: That's so dumb. Of course she's annorexic. If i were her, i'd be like, "Yes, i am aware that people are saying things that are true, Kent." ............ That's what i would say if i were her.......... and the reporter's name were Kent.
Coming home from the gym last night, i walk up the stairs to hear the jingle jingle of Rascal's collar as he jumps, and Dan excitedly encouraging himn in a high-pitched squeel: "It's LEAH!!! It's LEAH!!!!"
Say what you will about my lack of success in business and finance. There is nothing better in the world than coming home to a husband and a puppy who love you.
Now that i am on "vacation," i picked up a book from Barnes and Noble for a little light reading. "10 Habits that Mess Up a Woman's Diet" was the book that i bought. Hey, a little light diet reading always puts me at ease. As soon as we got home, Dan picked it up and started reading.
"Wow! Do you know that there are seven-hundred calories in those margaritas you drink?"
"And alcohol itself has calories!!! Did you know that drinking a cocktail is worse than eating a bowl of icecream?"
Crap. This is gonna be SOME vacation!
Of all the wonderful words of wisdom i have learned from MTV over the years, my all-time favorite comes from an episode of MTV's MADE. Our unlikely pagent queen is facing the horrors of the Mystic Tan machinge, and her role-model elequantly coaches:
"Beauty is pain, and pain is weakness leaving the body!"
I love the hilarious and ironic pairing of these two sayings, so nonsensical and yet so true. After all, beauty IS pain, as anyone who has ever attempted to use a curling iron will know. Pain is weakness leaving the body is a bit more debatable, because muscle soreness after a hard workout sure does tell you that you're getting stronger, but anyone who has broken a bone will tell you that, on the ride to the hospital, pain is weakness ENTERING the body.
Still, while some beauty does infact make women weaker (foot binding and Botox for example), a little blow-dry and eye-shadow will only make one stronger in the business world. And when you're aching hard after Group Power class, a little self-coaching that this pain will make me beautiful and strong is not a terrible thing.
Anyway, I guess this little gem of wisdom managed to made it into my lexecon, at least enough to rub off on my spouse. When i complain about my hunger on this new diet, Dan says, "Hunger is fatness leaving the body."
This morning during my spin class the fans were non-operational and us three soldiers who managed to make it in at 6am were sweating like hogs. I mentioned to the woman next to me that "Sweat is calories leaving the body," and she replied, "I sure as s--- hopes so!"
Yesterday, at my mother's prodding, i succumbed to the newest beauty trend and got myself a set of "gel nails." My mother has been raving about her set, since she can't manage to make her own nails grow longer than negative infinity. My mother got a set of acrylic tips last year before my wedding, and from that moment on she was freakin hooked. However, the glue ruined her nail beds and for six months she was viciously searching for a better alternative. Then at the salon she heard about gel nails. They don't ruin your nail beds and they stay shiny forever. My mother would not stop talking about gel nails. She called every nail salon in Massachusetts. All 569 of them.
Personally, I have manged to keep my natural nails long for most of my life through the ancient chinese secret of FILING AND PAINTING THEM LIKE EVERY FREAKIN DAY. Since i got to business school, however, i felt that this suddenly wasn't enough. Every woman had perfectly manicured hands at all times, some secret code of the business world i guess, akin to the meaning of "methodology" and "synergy." Weekly manicures started taking a lot of my time, and i put all my interviewing stress into mani- pedi- maintenance. So when my mom got her new gels and started raving, i had to take the plunge too. There HAD to be a better way.
My mother made an appointment for me with Krystal, the only nail-tech in the baystate area who seems to know what she's doing with the new "procedure." Her office is atop our hair salon, and when we arrived for our 9:00 appointment someone was already waiting for the 10:00. She's THAT in demand. My mother was booking ahead to September, and whole days were already filled up with clients. I swear, if i had to wait that long to get my bikini waxed, i might become a Bush supporter!
Krystal started by taking off my nailpolish and buffing my nails. "Is this the first time you've had something permanent on your nails?" she aksed.
OMG, yes! i thought. I am a fake nail virgin! Suddenly i wanted her to go slower so i could stop and think about this. Can i really commit to fake nails? Am i really ready for this step?
Thankfully, my natural nails were long enough to avoid applying the plastic tips and just cover the real nails with a lovely gel finish. When she asked how i like my french manicure, soft pink or bright white, i said "Go for the hooker white." If i'm in, i'm all in baby!
After only an hour, my transformation was complete. My beautiful gel nails are shiny, hard as rock, perma-french, and shouldn't come off for at least six months. Seriously, it's all i can do not to wonder at their beautiful plasticity all day. I can open jars and peel out credit cards. And i only feel a little dirty, like i'm cheating mother nature. Because after all, it's a slippery slope of fakeness. Next may be collagen injections. And eyeliner tatoos. And... weight-watchers ice-cream.
On Sunday Dan and i cordially attended the wedding of Becky and Eric, who were married on the beach in Newport in the presence of family, friends, and bikini-clad onlookers. The reception took place at a beach house-style hall, complete with working carousel and patio overlooking the ocean. If the band weren't deafeningly irritating, it would have been the perfect event!
The real story occurred when we were driving home. We left the party at 10:15, figuring we'd be home by midnight judging by our earlier driving time. After we got on 95, however, we found traffic at a complete stop. Complete stop in the middle of the night? you ask. Yes, dead stop, with hundreds of cars filled with drunk concert goers throwing bottles and spewing obscenities. It turned out crews had closed three lanes of 95 for paving, conveniently the same night as the biggest concert of the year in Foxborough. At about 12:30 we pulled off the road to check the map and so that i could dry-heave on the sidewalk. There was no other way to go put through this major highway that had become a parking lot. Our quaint little evening drive took us three and a half hours, and at 1:45am when we finally got home, we were both judging distance to the bushes for vomiting potential.
Dan and i slept most of the day yesterday to recover, although Dan is still wary of me using the F-word (Food) or speaking about anything that we ate at the wedding. In the future, just thinking about Newport will make our stomachs turn.
Leah regularly drinks a fair amount of bottled water, in the 28-ounce sport bottle size, so when we put our recycle bin out at the curb it often contains a fair number of the bottles. This week, though, we've outdone ourselves with two recycle bins, a laundry basket, a large plastic container, and a regular old wicker basket full of the things. What must the neighbors think? It's not our fault, though: our roommate works as a personal trainer and she brought all the trash from her gym home to keep our personal trash company. The scary thing is, it's not that far off what we could produce ourselves!
This evening i got a letter informing me that i did not pass the Foreign Service Written Exam, a requirement were i to become a foreign service officer. I'm not too choked up about it; over the course of my unemployment i abandoned my false hopes that i would ever make a big difference in the world. Mostly now i hope for a small difference, like the difference between a clean floor and one covered with dog hair, or the difference between ample ice in the fridge and no-one-else-around-here-refills-the-friggin-trays, or the difference between a whole-wheat bagel and a multi-grain flax one (7 grams of fiber!). I stand around my living room dreaming not of world peace but of decorative sconces. All of a sudden i have gotten old.
One factor that ramped my maturity from margarita-sipping 25 years to futon-cover-hemming pushing-40-year-old was inheriting a teenage daughter. Yes, our new roomate Ashley, while supposedly turning 26 next month, is about as responsible as tropical storm Beryl. On monday i cleaned her beer-cans and cigarettes off the porch. I vaccumed the entire house from two dogs worth of shedding. And i refilled the G--D--- ice cube trays from which SOMEONE had taken all the ice cubes and chucked the container back in the fridge with two lazy cubes clinging to the edge. Then today, THREE DAYS LATER, i vaccumed everything again. Then i brushed Rascal and claimed loudly: "I assume that since no fur is coming off your back, you must have already deposited it all onto the floor. I know it can't be ASHLEY'S dog, the 140 pound Saint Bernard that's shedding, because i don't see ASHLEY doing any vaccuming!!!" Dan was also sitting in the room, and he fell silent, because even he doesn't want to talk to me when i'm MY MOTHER!!!!!
Actually, Ashley is not much worse than Dan on a bad day, except that Dan doesn't come attached to Disney's Beehtoven, and when he leaves dirty dishes on the table i don't mind cleaning them up because Dan is a person who SOMETIMES HAS SEX WITH ME! Ashley i cannot say so much for. Um, thank goodness.
Oh, and by the way, SCREW YOU FOREIGN SERVICE!!!!! NICE JOB YOU'RE DOING GETTING PEOPLE OUT OF LEBANON! NOT!!!!
Bringing in the mail this afternoon I dropped a letter in the bushes next to the stairs, and when I went to retrieve it I noticed a paper down there too. Turns out it was from February 13th, a day which saw, according to the front page story, the first big blizzard of the year. It was also the day that the news came out that Vice President Cheney had shot his friend in the face. I was excited to read through all the news of that long forgotten day, but it turns out I already did; strangely, every story I looked at I could specifically remember having read before. All the comics, too. I guess that after our news-girl missed the porch with the first throw she gave us another copy. If you had asked me I would have told you that February 13th was a considerable time ago, but my specific memories of that particular issue of the paper made it seem like just yesterday. Coincidentally, I happened to notice that it was just yesterday in the world of the 'Spiderman' comic; a slower-moving comic strip I have never seen.
Also, the dogs got sprayed by a skunk this morning. But it was only a baby one, so it wasn't that terrible; not bad enough, in any case, to keep Rascal to keep trying to get close to the creature again and again. Poor thing...
On friday i woke up at 5am for my spin class, and everything hurt. Not like a good hurt, like from lifting weights or from hours on the treadmill, but a disgustingly weak hurt from a fever coursing through my body and the spirit of a thousand strips of sand-paper in my throat. m-----f----- i was sick. I hate being sick more than i hate anything else in the world, except perhaps how many calories there are in margaritas. Being sick is not only means you can't do your awesome plans like going to 6am spin class, but you can't do FREAKIN ANYTHING except lie around and moan, "Daaaaaannnnnnnyyyyyyyyyy??????? Can you briiiiiing me anouther blaaaaaaaanket???"
Saturday i was not as sick as friday, except that leaving the house to go to the store was like a collosal excursion of arctic proportions. Oh, and there was NOTHING on TV. Today i was fully expecting to be all better, but when i woke up to voice my usual, "Good morning bright beautiful world! What i wonderful day i have planned!!!" nothing came out. My sore throat had turned my mute. "Some," Dan said comfortingly, "might say that this is an improvement."
So now, not only do i feel like ass with similar levels of energy, but i can't even yell for blankets and sympathetic attention. And i'm not even losing weight; it's the feed-a-cold kind. (silent hand wringing) I really hate being sick.
I went to the doctor today to probe the source of my continued sickness. Do i have an infection? Throat cancer? No normal human cold could possible cause suck unrelenting sleep-stopping pain.
"Nope, just a virus. I recommend lozenges," the doctor said, in the best paraphrase of "SUCK IT UP" they allow him in the medical profession.
"Though if it's really bad, i can prescribe you Tylanol with Codine," he offered.
"No thanks," i said, thinking of my already all-encompassing level of boredom. "That's not really something i'd like to have in the house."
We missed some days writing in July: especially me. And now we're going to miss more, cause we're going away for the rest of the month. To keep you from getting bored in our absence, I present you with the latest internet phenomenon to capture my attention: people commenting on comic strips. The creator of this form of blogging seems to have been The Comics Curmudgeon, which covers a whole range of strips (including some I had no idea were still published: thank you, Boston Globe, for sparing us from 'Rex Morgan, MD'), but my favorite is Permanent Monday, which takes on 'Garfield'. It actually makes the strip interesting, if you can imagine that! I spent all day yesterday on that Comics Curmudgeon one, so folks with other things to do in their lives besides sitting in front of the computer should be able to keep themselves occupied with it for the next couple days.
(In reality, I recognize that nearly everyone who reads this blog will be spending this weekend the same place as us, viz., my brother's wedding (Take 2).)