On every press trip I’ve ever been on, there are two types of people: There are those who babble on and on about how wonderful and amazing every single thing is and then there are those engage daily in what I refer to as a grand travel-story pissing match. It’s inevitable that both types are on trips. Occasionally, someone will deviate (I like to think of myself as being somewhere in the middle, for example), but for the most part, people stick to these two categories.
I don’t mind the gushers. Sometimes it’s weird because they’ll start saying how wonderful something is before they’ve even seen it because they’re just ahead of themselves in excitement, but they’re nice to have around in general. They’re the type of people who laugh at your jokes no matter how bad they are and tell you that you look fabulous even when you know that’s not true. You know you look fat. How can you not like them?
The pissers on the other hand, I do not like. Even a little. Laura accused me of falling into their ways the other night and I hate to say it, but she might have been right. I tend to get caught up in those things. Typically, a chief pisser asserts power early in a trip—usually the first night. He/She tells travel story after travel story, talking incessantly so that no one else and speak, ignoring all else said, and one-upping anything that might come close to topping their most recent story. Throughout the trip he/she continues to name drop hotels, locations, destinations, and people. Usually, I want to punch this person by the time the first cocktail reception is finished. Also, this person is always older, single, and frequently mentions their cats at home. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
The chief pisser on this trip was no exception. I knew who she was before I’d had my second glass of Champagne at our opening reception. For the most part, I didn’t mind her as much as some chiefs I’ve met. I listened to her stories, dreamed that one day I too might travel across Australia by train to dive in the Great Barrier Reef, and decided that if she was the chief for this trip, then that wasn’t so bad.
Until this morning. This morning at breakfast I sat near her and we began a discussion. I’m not going to go into details because, well, this is on the internet. And while I seriously doubt the chief would take the time to look up a lowly plebe like myself, one can never be sure. I will just say that the conversation was one in which I was absolutely correct about something and she was absolutely wrong. It was a factual matter. As in one that could be immediately solved with the help of Google. But she wouldn’t back down. And, after having been told I was wrong about 4 times, I decided to smile nicely, continuing stuffing my face with eggs benedict, and silently wish death on her.
When I returned to my room and told Laura, she said she thought this was good for me. The only thing I hate more than someone telling me I’m wrong, is never being able to prove to the other person that they’re wrong. So, it was an exercise in patience. And self control. I wanted to throw poached eggs drenched in hollandaise at her face, but I didn’t and for that, I’m proud.
We’re going to lunch now. I’m considering challenging her for the chief position. Yes, that’s right. I will stoop to that level. Judge me if you will but at least I didn’t throw food.
My apologies ahead of time for the profanity (especially to my mother), but this was too good to pass up posting. (Thanks Chris for the link)
God dammit. I hate you cat. I hate you so much. You’re raping a weener dog! They’re like living cartoons, and you’re raping one. It’s like pure evil descended upon pure happiness and joy. You son of a bitch ginger cat!
There are weeks when the news tends to be seriously boring. You know the ones; The New York Times starts running random stories about dog packs in Georgia or crazy people in Texas and they don’t stop because THERE IS NOTHING ELSE TO TALK ABOUT.
Not this week. I feel like I can’t check cnn.com enough times in a day to keep me up to date on what people are talking about. I missed one speech and 24 hours of news last week and suddenly became an idiot because I didn’t know who Joe Wilson was. I turned off the US Open match between Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters early and missed seeing tennis be taken down a notch in sophistication. I was on a flight during the VMAs so that when I woke up this morning I just thought Kanye was your every day, run-of-the-mill a**hole, not actually the devil. I sat outside at dinner tonight and therefore couldn’t see the television inside the restaurant to alert me to the fact that the 6’6” hottie from Argentina took down Federer in the finals. And now I find out via Twitter that Patrick Swayze has died.
Seriously. I feel like I need to hook up an AP Wire to my brain for the next few days. Just so I know what other people are talking about.
Sometimes I hear other people’s stories and then I wish they had happened to me because they’re so good that I wish I could tell them as my own. This is one of those:
Someone I know (who shall remain nameless) was walking his dog, Hank, the other day. Hank is a German Shepherd mix and is still kind of a puppy. As he walked up the street, he looked behind him to see this guy. (Better known as crazy “Rogue Helicopter Guy.”) Apparently his parents live in the neighborhood and he comes by occasionally.
Rather than simply walking on the street though, Rogue Helicopter Guy was on a skateboard. And even better than that he was holding on to two leashes with miniature dachshunds on the end. The dachshunds were pulling him. Like a modern day, warm weather dog sled.
He directed the dachshunds to the top of the hill where Hank and his owner were waiting, perplexed by the sight. When the dachshunds and the board came to a stop, he paused to talk, explaining that this was a great way to exercise the dogs and suggesting he try it with Hank. Although, he warned not to try it with rollerblades. Apparently, he’d tried that and it was dangerous.
The best part of this story though is that as he rode away, dachshunds sprinting in front of him, he actually yelled “yah yah!” cowboy style.
Seriously people. I am going to start lurking around in this neighborhood so I can see this sight and tell this story as my own. Also, I’m taking Rosie. So she can see just how good she has it.
“What is the quality you most like in a woman?
High-spiritedness, wit, a love of repartee and wordplay and allusion and jokes—in other words, an English major.”—I’m only about, oh, 40 years too late, for Garrison Keillor, who answered this Proust Questionaire in Vanity Fair. Like ships passing in the night… and all that, you know?
I know it’s so wrong, but the first thing I thought when I read this article was “It’s about time someone did that.” I can’t count the number of screaming toddlers in Wal-Mart I’ve considered slapping. Of course, the best thing about this article is actually the photo of the alleged slapper. He appears to actually be growling at the camera—still angry, no doubt, about that baby.
So I’m tryin’ now while I’m rhymin’ not to brag about the island Or the crib in Hawaii where all the walls slide in House wide open, we could bring the outside in I think you should hear about it, but f*** it, I’ll be quiet
I just spit it how I live it, I don’t be lyin’ Would it make you feel better if I put my pockets on the die? If I made less money, started to dress bummy? Would the haters and the critics have more respect for me? Should I downgrade the crib and the way I live? Nah, how about I don’t we just say I did?
This morning I called my mom on the way to work. The first time I called it was busy. I tried back a minute later and it rang.
My mom:Hey! Did you just call?
Me:Yeah, I did. Why?
My mom:Well, we switched our phone service because I found one that would save us $40 a month. The guy told me our new one would be the same as the old, but I think we might have call waiting.
(Note:In 2004, somehow my parents accidentally got call waiting. It was a disaster. You couldn’t get through 30 seconds of a phone call without them saying “Oh wait! Gotta go! Someone’s calling!” Then, of course, the someone would be a salesperson or the electrician or someone equally boring. So, they’d call back 5 minutes later after you’d already starting doing something else and they would want to keep talking. Of course, what was worse than that was when I would call them, they would hang up on someone else to talk to me, and then as soon as I said hello, they’d say “Sorry! Can’t talk right now! We were on the phone with your brother!”
It was a learning experience. I learned that some people are not meant to have call waiting and those people are my parents. I was thrilled once they ended the service.)
My mom:I know! I hate call waiting! It’s so rude. I don’t know how we got signed up for this.
Me:Yeah. Maybe you should try to get rid of it.
My mom:I definitely am. So, are you excited about going on vacation for a few days this— wait! Wait! I have an incoming call. I think it might be your dad because I just called him. I’m going to go ahead and talk to him. I’ll talk to you later! Have a—
Me:What?!?! You said you didn’t want call waiting! Don’t hang up on me!
My mom:Oh yeah. But I needed to talk to him.
Me:You have a problem. Get rid of the call waiting. We’re not doing this again.
I’m all moved in. After weeks of unpacking heavy boxes, yelling at my dachshund to stay away from wet paint, and doing very cliché-ish things like repeatedly hitting my thumb with a hammer, my house has become a home.
Sometimes it feels bittersweet though. As was well documented here in this blog, I had many hesitations about purchasing a home. I was afraid of the commitment. I was nervous about the responsibility. It’s funny though, there are things I didn’t consider that I think a lot about now that the rushed days and hurried nights of moving in are over; things like loneliness and wondering what I’m doing.
My house is quiet now. It smells like lemons and vanilla and a little like the pumpkin coffee I’ve become addicted to as of late. There are cozy nooks for reading, a large kitchen for cooking, a front porch for rocking, and a back yard for stretching in the sunshine. And on Saturday morning as I stood around a plate of warm blueberry muffins, laughing with friends in my kitchen, it finally felt like it was mine.
One of my favorite movies is Under the Tuscan Sun. Lately, I’ve felt a little like Diane Lane’s character, Frances, in the movie, wondering why I’ve bought a place this large just for myself. And wondering what I’m supposed to do next. In one part of the movie Frances says, “I bought a house for a life I don’t even have.” Her friend Katherine responds with a story: “When I was a little girl, I used to run around in the fields all day, trying unsuccessfully to catch ladybugs,” she explains. “I’d get tired and lay down for a nap. When I awoke, I’d find the ladybugs walking all over me.”
I love this image. I imagine happiness creeping up when I least expect it. I have no doubt I’ll have many happy hours in my new home. After all, I already have. But sometimes I like reminding myself that this home of mine won’t bring happiness—life does that on its own, when you’re not looking for it.
There is another line in the film that says, “What are four walls, anyway? They are what they contain. The house protects the dreamer. Unthinkably good things can happen, even late in the game. It’s such a surprise.”
I am, if nothing else, a dreamer. And life always surprises me. I am excited for the ladybugs.
I’d wanted to read it for awhile after seeing this and this written about it. Apparently there is some debate as to how much it cost to actually produce this article.
Regardless, I think it’s one of the best magazine articles I’ve ever read. It’s well reported, well written, and most importantly (in my humble opinion), an incredible story. As I read it I found myself crying several times and seriously angry on more than one occasion. It’s a story about human nature at its best and worst. It gives insight into emotional toil of those left in New Orleans in the days immediately post-Katrina like nothing else I’ve ever heard or read. And, not to get too political here, but in light of all of the talk about universal healthcare these days, it’s an interesting insight into the humanity of doctors, nurses, and patients.