Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dear Jayne

Dear Jayne: Through this blog, I have been very fortunate to "virtually meet" a lot of amazing people--funny, creative, and talented people. In addition to the sizable army of Russian spammers who enjoy frequenting this blog (I like to call them "spamniks" or "spamonauts"!), people have visited from Holland, Portugal, Canada, the U.K., all over the U.S., Japan, India, and who knows where? If you use "private browsing," I certainly do not know where. I hope it's pleasant.

Anyway, Jayne, here's the thing. When I think about the bloggers I've encountered, I picture a big dark globe and all of you bloggers are these bright little lights twinkling across the dark globe. There are the Canada lights, the California lights, the Massachusetts lights, the New York lights, the Florida light, South Carolina (North Carolina?), New Orleans, Maine, Arizona (New Mexico?), England, Wales. Yada Yada. As the box that Lily holds below says: "Each lamp burns independently."
There you all are, lamps burning bright, twinkling across the dark globe, creating. So funny, such good writers, good artists, good photographers, there you all are. In the peak time when we were all blogging a lot, the collective glow from us all felt very bright and warm to me. It made the globe less dark.

Behind those lights, all of you have big, real lives that go beyond that twinkling. I know a little bit about some of you, and I know a little bit about you, Jayne. What I know about you has given me tremendous respect for you--as a mother, as a daughter, as a wife, and a really strong person with the best and darkest sense of humor I've ever experienced. Here's one of my favorite comments that you made on my blog once: "Be careful if you try and laugh gaily whilst throwing your head back in a becoming female manner, because when I tried it something clicked in my neck, I fell over, and I squashed a plate of ham sandwiches." 

So, Jayne: Today I learned that you have died. And that feels incredibly unfair to me. I sit here sending good thoughts to your family. And I sit here thinking about you. Because I am thinking about you, I will do two things. I will ask people to consider donating their organs, because you asked them to consider doing that.

And Jayne, I will tell you this: I will always remember you, I will never forget you, and your light will always be there twinkling across the dark globe for me. (Note: I believe you would be the first to point out that it would actually be a lot better to still be alive. I agree.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Dear Express

Yeah, it's me. You know me. You know that I make copious amounts of sweet coin rain down upon you. You know I will buy your sassy little skirts. You know I will buy your vibrant-hued sweaters. You know that any minute now I will buy another "Skater Dress." Somehow you sense this, high up in your Express Castle of Knowledge, even 'though I have not yet placed my order. You know that this is not my first "Skater Dress," Express. You have the Big Data to prove that. And still, after five Skater Dresses, I'm not sure why I'm buying them. Why does one person who does not skate need five Skater Dresses?

Okay: Let's do some hermeneutics on this dress, shall we? Perhaps that will provide some clues. A cross-comparative literary analysis of multiple Express "Skater Dress" descriptions reveals the dress unilaterally promises to be "laidback, frisky, supple, amazingly flattering, charming, easygoing, super-cute." Laidback, frisky, supple, amazingly flattering, charming, easygoing, super-cute. Laidback, frisky, supple, amazingly flattering, charming, easygoing, super-cute. HOLY CRAP, EXPRESS! I think I might want to date this dress instead of wearing it? In fact, I maybe want to marry this dress. I am probably ready to settle down with this "laidback, frisky, supple, amazingly flattering, charming, easygoing, super-cute dress." I, too, will vow to be "laidback, frisky, supple, amazingly flattering, charming, easygoing." We will make a great laidback and supple couple, this dress and I, and our union will be quite affordable ($39.90 MARKED DOWN!).

So: That's it. Express sucks me in with their bamboozling adjectives and sheer cunning. But, I'm drawing a line with Express. And, where am I drawing the line? EDITOR PANTS and COLUMNIST PANTS.
What the what the what? I'm an editor/writer. Does that mean I need one of each of the above pairs, even 'though they all look the same to me? When I stop editing, do I have to strip off my editor pants, put on my columnist pants, and start writing? And vice versa? And vice versa? What's that, Express? I think I hear you faintly calling "Yesss you need one of each paiiiir" from high up in your Express Castle of Knowledge. Somehow, this is not a surprising answer from you.

Okay, I'm sure the descriptions will help. The Columnist Pant has: "...a head-turning tailored look." In stark contrast, the Editor Pant has a: "flawless fit." What the what the what? First, both are too perfect to mesh with the rest of my wardrobe. These pants set the bar too damn high. Most often, I select pants that do not turn heads and do not fit flawlessly, but that mix and match well with classic coordinates such as Godzilla t-shirts. Second, I henceforth (or henceforth after I purchase my "Skater Dress," actually) refuse to shop at Express until they give me a detailed, five-page brief that explains the difference between "Editor" and "Columnist" pants. I know they can do it. I have faith in their "super-sleek, profesh, sultry, relaxed, user friendly" ability to do so.

A Telephone Chat with My New Friend

My New Friend: "My dad retired last year, but he decided he wants to keep working part-time. I go, 'Dad: Just enjoy retirement!' But, no. He goes, 'I can't just do nothing!' So, he does stuff like deliver flowers and take on odd jobs. Plus he likes to walk for two hours every day. He says he's making up for lost time in staying fit--all those years that he was working bent down just about double over a desk and just screwing up his back really bad, y'know? He has lost a ton of weight walking--which is why he hates winter, usually, like I told you--he wants to keep walking. Fortunately, it has been unusually mild here this year. He's still walking a lot and, believe it or not, he still has his summer tan! He gets a really great tan. Now, me, I take after mom. She's Irish and she can't tan. She just burns. So, she always looks like the underbelly of a fish. I look like that, too. Like the underbelly of a fish! Both my dad and my mom look really young for their ages."

Me: "You are going to look young forever--you have great genes on both sides."

My New Friend: "Yes! I really do have great genes on both sides, except only one side gets tan--like I told you--and I take after the other side...the underbelly of a fish side. Like, my mom and I will burn into red tomatoes if we take one step outside the front door in the summer and my dad, like, turns golden brown like a toaster waffle right away and he just stays like that. Never burns. Never ever ever burns. Ever."

Me: "Man! That's great! Golden brown like a toaster waffle! So.....Has my credit card gone through yet by any chance? 'cause I better get back to work soon."

My New Friend: "Oh, yeah! The computer processed it 10 minutes ago. You're all set. Is there anything else I can help you with today? Do you have any questions about your account?"

Me: "Nonononono. I really appreciate your help, and I hope you and your family have a happy new year!"

My New Friend: "You are the chattiest customer I've had in awhile! You have a happy new year, too, hon!"