Sunday, March 31, 2013

Our House (1970, CSN&Y)



I'll light the fire
While you place the flowers in the vase
That you bought today

Staring at the fire
For hours and hours
While I listen to you
Play your love songs
All night long for me
Only for me

Come to me now
And rest your head for just five minutes
Everything is good
Such a cosy room
The windows are illuminated
By the sunshine through them
Fiery gems for you
Only for you

Our house is a very, very, very fine house
With two cats in the yard
Life used to be so hard
Now everything is easy
'Cause of you

This Woman Is Dangerous

1952, on the set.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Something True

A couple of years ago I confessed, via e-mail, to someone I loved, via e-mail, something that I'd seen when I was 12 that I'd never told anyone before: that my father had once shot at my mother.

Her reply, via e-mail: "How cool! Your mother shot your father!"

Dammit, Irony!

OK...so I was just here a mere TWO days ago, saying how I was basically condescending to stay another 3 weeks at a temp job that I dislike, even though they wanted me into May... (How "kind" of me! How "fair"!) :)

Well, get this: When I got to work this morning, my boss beckoned me to follow her to an office down the hall. "Very mysterious," I thought and told her. (She didn't want people to overhear us, she said.) Once we got settled in, she told me that an anonymous person in the office didn't think I knew how to answer the front-desk phone properly...and so today was my last day!

Now, the only time I've been on phone duty is during the receptionist's lunch hour. And I don't recall any problems, other than not having access to the electronic waiting list that would have allowed me to check in students. I was truly puzzled and asked my boss if I'd been unfriendly or lost any calls... No, it was more like I allowed a couple of calls to go to voice-mail when I was busy on another line, rather than answering each line and putting the person on hold. (!) Huh?! She went on to explain that it wasn't my fault, that she hadn't told my temp placement boss that someone with more phone experience was needed; I'd been doing fine with the "event planning" portion of the job, next time she'd just have to take a closer look at the temp candidates' resumes, etc.

At which point I brought up that she probably WOULD have hired me based solely on my resume, since I'd been mainly answering phones for the past 4 months AND that last year I'd worked in a busy advising office just like this one...and they LOVED me! :)

The obvious answer is that she was probably peeved that two days ago I gave HER notice when I said I'd be leaving on the 19th. And so she decided to show ME who's boss. But no, she wasn't really like that. She had been one of the nice, unphony office ladies. I think that I probably offended one of the phony ones by not chirping in conversation with her. This was a very "chirpy" atmosphere, where askance was looked if you didn't beam and babble all day about how delicious the cookies were or how it was Friday. (And an office with "Spring is in the Air!" spelled out on the walls with pastel construction-paper letters, accompanied by paper Easter eggs and shamrocks and rainbows. NOTE: The students served are ages 18-21, not 5.)

Now, I in no way ACTED superior to my surroundings. (It's a pet peeve of mine when over-educated hipsters who can't find a job and have to take something they feel is "beneath" them act surly and bored and eye-rolling.) I didn't at all act that way. I might've bitched HERE, but at the office I was polite and friendly and more-than-competent (well, to the best of my ability after only a week and a half). I just didn't BURBLE and CHIRP! :) I hate that I just got punished for not doing so!

Sigh.

Anyway...It is, of course, no Tragedy. Just a loss of a bit of stability, a schedule (without which I tend to stay up and up and up, drinking 'til 5 or 6am for want of anything better to do---which totally ruins the next day for anything productive, etc., an endless crappy cycle).

My freelance boss was happy to hear that I was no longer employed during the day and could devote a lot more time to her stuff for the next month. Stuff that pays $27 an hour instead of $15. Stuff that involves actual mental work and doesn't involve being judged on how you say "Have an AWESOME day!" So I'm not going to suffer or anything. But STILL. Rejection doesn't feel good. Even if it's rejection from an environment I didn't even like. (Reminds me of back in 2010, when I got canned after only ONE day from entering subscription information for a newspaper. It was a horrible, tedious job and I hated it, but THEY didn't know I hated it! They just hated ME!) :)

All this temping stuff is seeming WAY too much like dating! I'm tired of it! While I refuse to "settle" for anything, a stable home-base in life WOULD be nice for a change. Anything: a real job, a real person to interact with emotionally, a real home that's not a one-room apartment around people 20 years younger than me... SOMETHING... Something true.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Doodle Story



My current temp job was initially slated to run "through the end of April, maybe into May." Today I had to draw the line: April 19. I think a 3-and-a-half-week notice for a temp job is fair. I think that's mature of me. After all, ten years ago, I would have upped and quit that very day even a regular job that annoyed me. (At that time, always being hired for something else immediately, not knowing anything at all about a REAL recession, which I experienced for the first time beginning in '08.)

It wasn't a "hate thang" this time, like that month-long job I had last September where the 2 ladies there were psychopathically hateful to me (reminding me WAY too much of my mother). This time around -- after just a week and a half -- it was/is just a bunch of random sloppy shit, plus some generic "office-people shit" thrown in (not nearly as psycho as that September place, but...slightly bordering on it).

The "random sloppy shit": I needed/need clearances to do 90% of the things they're asking me to do. After a week and a half, I've still only gotten maybe 50% of the permissions. And yet I'm daily asked to sit at the front desk and answer students' questions...without the proper access to their records that would enable me to help them. Same with other things: accessing counselors' schedules, accessing waiting lists, etc. And then I'm also told to make financial deposits, set up audiovisual equipment for meetings, etc. It's chaotic, and nothing I've been able to figure out with simple common sense. It all takes specialized knowledge (and clearances) that I haven't gotten. It's mentally draining on a daily basis.

The "office-people shit": That's along the lines of various people saying cheerily, "Whenever you need anything, just ask!" And, "We're a great group! If you ever have a question, anyone here will help you!" Some people are indeed nice and helpful. But the ones I need the most (my immediate bosses), when I've asked, they've either acted like I was annoying them, or else they gave incorrect information that, when I relayed, made ME look stupid.

There's no reason for any of that!

But perhaps the most clear--in my mind--reason why I cannot stay after the next 3 weeks: Last week, there was a student job fair that lasted all day, with the kids intermingling with professional recruiters. One of the "office people" put out beforehand a big tin tray of Cheez Doodles for people to snack on. I said conversationally/jokingly to the guy who was training me at the fair: "Cheez Doodles aren't the best thing to serve, huh? That's about the messiest thing that people could be eating right now!" (You know, handing out resumes, shaking hands, etc. With ORANGE GUNK all over your hands!) I barely got a nod out of him.

I knew right then, when he didn't even chuckle, that I wasn't among My People. That I had to escape as soon as reasonably possible.

-------------------------------------------

p.s. I just read Edward Albee's "The Zoo Story" for the first time last week. It was annoying as hell to me; I'd read/seen/heard that exact same thing a million times before. But then it dawned on me: The guy wrote this in 1958. At that time, it had NOT been read/seen/heard ever before, except in private. Still, I don't LIKE Albee. To me, he's like reading Bret Easton Ellis in the '80s: Truth as seen from a hangover, a post-drug binge, completely drained and negative, which isn't Complete Truth at all (as anyone who's recuperated from a drink/drug binge will tell you long afterwards). Worse, Easton and Albee don't even seem to have ever enjoyed the HIGH/glorious part of a binge. Which is as real as the nasty aftermath.

One reason I like Tennessee Williams a lot, and a lot more as a playwright than Albee, is because of Williams's JUICE, his HEART. Williams always found true reasons why people live, not just easy, "hip," self-congratulatory pride in identifying negation. (DUH! Lots and lots of horrible stuff out there, why we should feel like dying.) Williams knows / is capable of revealing both the depths AND the heights. Albee... Like I said above: Life as a hangover. A view as false as the opposite-end-of-the-creative-spectrum fake cheeriness espoused by the office people I've been working around lately.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bowling for Bullies

I was in a car with my nephews after school today, and the 11-year-old was eager to tell about a YouTube video he'd just seen at school.

(I sound completely mean below but, I swear to god, the kid was laughing the whole time and I was playing off his reaction! He was torn: His Mama wanting him to be/appear to be good, me eeeevilly encouraging him to...laugh at BOB/FRANK jokes!)

NEPHEW: We saw a sad video today.
ME: What was so sad?
NEPHEW: It was about bowling.
ME: BOWLING?! What in the world is sad about bowling? You know what I really hate? When they put up those blocks so little kids won't feel bad about all the gutter balls they throw.
NEPHEW/HIS MOTHER: No, BULLYING!
ME: Oh... Don't bully fat kids. Don't bully gay kids. Don't bully nerdy loners. 'Cause they'll come back to shoot you. Well, the fat kids won't. And the gay kids won't. But the nerdy loners...
HIS MOTHER: STOP IT!
NEPHEW: We saw a guy with no arms and no legs...
ME: What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs tossed into the water? BOB! [ha-ha-ha!] What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs lying on a grill... [p.s. Click here for more!]
HIS MOTHER: STOP IT! Honey, what did you see today?
ME: Don't listen to your aunt at all. Whatever I say is exactly the OPPOSITE of what is right. I'm sorry. Now...
NEPHEW: We saw a man with no arms and no legs. I started crying at safety patrol today.
ME: You started CRYING? WHY?!
NEPHEW: Because he said that 5 people over on our half of the room would kill themselves.
ME: [oooof]

I have no actual idea who my nephew just saw today. I did find this YouTube video of armless/legless guy Nick Vujicic who's currently touring schools on behalf of god, but he doesn't seem like he would make kids cry.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Abortion

Sometimes the light comes warm and red

I later would have said
like sun through closed lids
on a floating summer's day

(I would not have looked away)

The light is different today, hard
and white.

If I knew what to say
I'd pray for
good night.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Poet Frank O'Hara

When I took my first poetry-writing class in college when I was 20 in 1985, just about the only poet I truly knew deeply and loved was Sylvia Plath. (Discovered in high school after reading "The Bell Jar" and then learning that she "also" wrote poetry.)

I'd read stuff in high school like Wordsworth and Dickinson, of course, but I never really FELT them. (Dickinson, I later in grad school, age 28, finally properly "got" psychologically.)

In that first writing class in 1985, my professor, David Wevill, assigned as an accompanying textbook to our own student writing "Contemporary American Poetry" (edited by A. Poulin, Jr.).

I had no context whatsoever. All of the people within were complete strangers to me. (Only years later was I to learn that a "lifestyle" or a "school" or a "political angle" accompanied these shamans.)

One of the poems that I remember most to this day from the book is "POEM" by Frank O'Hara. There I was in the class, a young, stupid kid seeking truth-n-beauty, stuff I'd always assumed was weighty and serious. And here was Frank O'Hara, capturing a personal moment in time inspired by a tabloid headline...

At 20, from an extremely restricted upbringing in a town of 5000 in rural Texas pre-cable or Internet, I didn't even know what "tabloid headlines" were (we got the "Fort Worth Star-Telegram" and "Time" and "Reader's Digest" and four channels in my home); I just knew that I'd FELT like that before... (and been mocked for how much, say, the Bay City Rollers and "Gone With the Wind" meant to me psychologically/emotionally when I was 12; or how much the Beatles, and then John Lennon's murder, affected me when I was 15).

Frank O'Hara, and specifically this Lana Turner poem, also opened up to me, an ignoramus, just how much ANYTHING GOES in poetry. And also how joyful a poem can be! This poem made me smile then and still does. I'm so grateful for it.


POEM

Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky and suddenly I see a headline
LANA TURNER HAS COLLAPSED!
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up

---Frank O'Hara, 1964


----------------------------------------------------------


A p.s.: I also especially love another poem of O'Hara's, "Autobiographia Literaria":

When I was a child
I played by myself in a
corner of the schoolyard
all alone.

I hated dolls and I
hated games, animals were
not friendly and birds
flew away.

If anyone was looking
for me I hid behind a
tree and cried out, "I am
an orphan."

And here I am, the
center of all beauty!
writing these poems!
Imagine!

Friday, March 15, 2013

People Paid to Touch Us

I like getting my every-two-month pedicures. (I'm a late bloomer; didn't get my first pedi until I lived in NYC, when I was over 40. Until then, I'd always done my toenails myself, scrunching over them, becoming angst-ridden when the polish didn't go on evenly or got on skin, and just having the patience for one coat, which still, to me, took forever to dry and then started wearing off in a couple of weeks.)

So today I had my first pedi since mid-January. The last one in honor of the Cat Power concert I was about to attend the next week (not that anyone was going to see my toes in winter, but just that a pedi made me feel good and "put together." Like a fresh haircut, I suppose, except a secret one). And this one today in honor of it being Spring at last! The trees here in Austin just bloomed last week, and now it really is sandal-weather at last and people WILL see my toes. And I am prepared!

Aside from the aesthetics of having nice toenails to show off in warm weather, I also appreciate my pedi appointments because a part of them---the scrubbing-off-of-callouses part---feels like I'm going to the doctor! i.e., the sensation kind of HURTS, but it's all for a good cause and afterward I feel like I've accomplished something useful.

And then there's a third thing (but the first part of the process): The kinda sexual aspect of it. Before anyone starts clipping and buffing and scrubbing you painfully, and before the polish---the result you're there for---is applied, there're about 10 minutes of pure physical pleasure: The foot-whirlpool and then the lotion they apply by hand and the foot/calf massage they give you. I've been going to this place for a couple of years now, and every time during this first stage, I'm thinking, "Oh, this is nice. I think I need to start going to a masseuse every couple of months, too." And then, "Wow. This (the pure physical sensation) must be why men go to hookers. Should I think about going to a hooker? Well, no, that would probably get too psychologically weird. But...this is nice..."

My pedis are done in an old-school place run by Asian ladies. $20 for about an hour's worth of attention. The ladies (usually 5 or so, ranging in age from maybe 25 to 50) say hello with a smile at the beginning and after that, barely speak, to either you or each other. There are 2 TV screens in the place, and some stereo speakers, but I've never seen anything on a screen or heard any music. There's just dead silence. I always forget to bring a magazine, and so spend my hour staring into space, trying not to stare at my neighbors getting their pedis or at my own pedi-lady (don't want to make her feel self-conscious). Nothing to do but concentrate on all physical sensations, harsh or soothing...and notice the faded plastic flowers and 1980s "glamour-nails shots" decorating the walls...

I wonder what more high-end nail places are like. I'm guessing like my mid-end hair salon: White stylists hooting-and-hollering amongst themselves, chatting non-stop amid loud, trendy music to distract from the intimacy of the physical service they're performing for strangers.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

To see a World in a Grain of Sand



Weeks ago, I posted this geological photo here (a slide from a rock sample taken from 4 miles below the earth's surface), something that I thought was striking (and ideally wanted blown up to 6 feet and hung above my couch). Today, the last day of the temp job where I saw this picture, I mentioned to the professor whose report I had been working on just how beautiful I thought some of her slides, including this one, were. I was genuinely interested, and she lit up with more info. This particular image, before being blown up, is--get this!--THE SIZE OF A GRAIN OF SAND!!!! ALL of this! [NOTE to self: Don't you ever, EVER, act like you're bored and/or deprived again. If you're feeling bored or deprived, it's because you haven't looked closely enough around you. There are literally a trillion x a trillion things out there to be discovered and amazed by.]

When I gushed to her that, "You should frame these things and sell them, they're so ...neat looking! And the composition..." she laughed... and then e-mailed me as an attachment a copy of this picture too large to open on my computer, but large enough when I figure out where to take it that I can, indeed, have that 6-foot image above my couch!! To top it off, she quoted William Blake to me--saying how geologists love it (she just quoted the first line, but below is the whole, from his "Auguries of Innocence"):

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus’d upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fiber from the Brain does tear.

He who shall train the Horse to War
Shall never pass the Polar Bar.
The Beggar’s Dog and Widow’s Cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.
The Gnat that sings his Summer song
Poison gets from Slander’s tongue.
The poison of the Snake and Newt
Is the sweat of Envy’s Foot.

A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for Joy and Woe;
And when this we rightly know
Thro’ the World we safely go.

Every Night and every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight.
Some are Born to sweet delight,
Some are Born to Endless Night.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Lisa Vanderpump is also hot!

Was actually a bit excited to learn today that one of my TV girlfriends (Hilary Farr and Kris Jenner and Barry Weiss are the others) is going to be a contestant on the new season of "Dancing With the Stars," which starts on March 18. I haven't watched the show since 2010--it was ONE thing that my mother and I could enjoy together back when I was trapped in her house sans job/money right after moving back from NYC--but I will again now...and I may even vote this time! :)

Pomes and TP! (Necessities of Life)

I was doing something so very tedious today at work that I had to keep taking mini-breaks to stay awake...which involved popping thing after thing into my cart on Amazon--after making sure the same wasn't cheaper on eBay!

Today began as a poetry-on-CD day: Plath on the BBC, Ted Hughes on the BBC, Hughes reading from the whole of his work just a year or so before his death. The only other thing I was craving but couldn't bring myself to get was the Anne Sexton CD: The very lowest price I could find online was $42.99 for the one disc--USED!! (The Plath and Hughes were discounted at $10 or $15.) (Weeks ago, I'd already ordered the "Poetry Speaks" 3-disc set, and the Caedmon 3-disc set; still haven't listened to anything from either of them. But they're there when I want to!)

And while I was busy stocking up on poetry discs, I had a brainstorm about something else entirely: Since Amazon was so good about fulfilling my every desire right upon my having it... Could they... Was it possible that they... would send me TOILET PAPER??? Don't mock, you people with cars out there! :) As a bus-rider with 2 grocery tote-bags to carry home, anything more than a 6-pack of toilet paper takes up WAY too much space in a bag. AND... I also dislike the high price of my favorite brand, Cottonelle, at my closest grocery store: $5.99 for a 6-pack! And, sans car, I can't go hopping around town looking for sales and stocking up... Would Amazon possibly... Oh yes, they DID have TP for sale! :) $28 for 48 rolls, baby! And to be delivered straight to my door! Weeeeeeeee! (In both senses!)

(Though why I had to get 48 ROLLS I still haven't quite figured out. Where in the world am I going to put all of them in a one-room apartment?!)




Joan Crawford, 1942.



Sometimes just looking at Joan Crawford's face completely cleanses my mental palate.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Oh my god, like...

In 1982, Zappa came out with the song "Valley Girl," which completely (totally!) nailed the idiocy of Cali-speak. The song caught on nationwide with the media (pre today's "going viral"), with everybody talking about it, mocking the intonations and slang. Which in the few years following led, thankfully, to the fading out of the dialect. (Out of embarrassment, I hope, because once the spotlight was on them, the speakers realized they sounded so stupid.) Here's the 1982 song (with accompanying images by a YouTuber in 2012):



I mention all this now because for the past couple of years, "Valley/Cali-speak" has unfortunately been making a comeback, this time all over the place...even among the young hipster-scruffs in Austin, Texas. In the '80s, the same Austin drop-outs would have cut out their tongues rather than being caught talking in this dumb-Valley/Cali girl way.

Today, though, I can't go one block without hearing the same intonations so deservedly mocked 30 years ago. Last week, for example, a couple of 19-ish scruffy punk chicks with guitars got on the bus, sat behind me, and then proceeded to talk tediously like Kardashian SoCal socialites for the 20 minutes that I was on the ride with them: "Oh my god, [name of random band] is so, like, 2010!"

Sunday, March 03, 2013

All the dogs of the world are dead.

"...when you come to prison and you stay the fifteen years, all the dogs of the world are dead when you come back out; there is no dog that was alive when you were out last time."

--Charles Manson (2012)

---------------------

I cannot stop thinking about this.

Survivor?



Someone on my Joan Crawford message board recently posted the above 1988 clip from Christina Crawford, promoting her then-new book "Survivor." In the clip, Christina mentions not ever having a "roadmap for survival."

Um... Her own adoptive mother had QUITE the story--AND "roadmap"--of not just "survival" but also triumph over just about the worst circumstances imaginable: From extreme poverty, sexual abuse, etc., to the very pinnacle of her chosen profession (and then high-level maintenance once the peak of fame had passed). You'd think maybe Christina could have used her own mother's obvious experiences as a roadmap of sorts.

And how, compared to Joan's own story, is Christina actually a "survivor" of anything truly horrendous?

The older I get, the more I realize what ACTUAL hardships people of earlier
generations went through. My own father, for instance, born in 1940, grew up in
rural East Texas and had an outhouse for a bathroom. My German mother, born in
'41, had to hide in cellars while her block was bombed multiple times by the
Allies during WWII. (Her family lived in Wolfsburg, site of Hitler's new
"Volkswagen"--and suspected munitions--factory.)

Christina was born in '39, the same generation as my parents. I'm pretty sure
that while growing up in Joan Crawford's house in Brentwood, she had full indoor plumbing and that no bombs ever threatened her. I'm sorry she had to eat raw meat and I'm sorry she had to write multitudes of Christmas cards and I'm sorry she had to re-clean her private bathroom for no logical reason. But I don't consider her to be a "survivor" of anything other than psychological warfare with her mother. And psychological warfare with parents is a centuries-old story. Nothing special about Christina's story other than that her mother was famous and that, therefore, tabloids were willing to listen to Christina and publish the story simply for the scandal value.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

First Lover (Re-found on Facebook, 2013)



This was the first person I slept with, 23 years ago, in 1989.

Upon finding this photo on Facebook a couple of days ago (an account she only JUST opened last November):

What's with that awful Hitler-esque comb-over?
Smirk and eyes and dimpled Irish chin still sexy. (Still affected by those eyes; this photo makes me feel like she's still about to fuck me.)
And...She's now over 60 years old! (I can't get over the fact of my OWN aging: I once slept with someone who's now over 60! When I see this shot of her, I still think of me as 23 and of her as 36...)

Friday, March 01, 2013

Misanthrope?

I am one who is easily irritated---surprise! :) But I don't think I HATE "humanity"... I find certain segments of EVERY type of people annoying (and I find myself annoying at times), sure: hipsters hanging around outside my apartment building at all hours, aggressive homeless people, smug/dumb Texas office ladies, loud "gangstas" on buses, smug/aggressive frat boys... OK, so there's a long list! But I don't hate HUMANITY, dammit! :)

Today at work, they needed the small, dark, totally undecorated office I'd been placed in as a temp so they could print discs, make bound notebooks, etc. So I was moved to the much-bigger (and with windows) office of a regular lady who's out of town (visiting NYC!).

After about an hour in her office, I found myself wishing for the small, dark, blank space again. "WHAT is it that is getting on my nerves in here so much?" I was wondering. I mean, there was a wall of windows, and plants, and colorful decorations...much livelier than where I'd been stationed, for sure.

One thing was the fact that the table with the computer was facing AWAY FROM the windows. "This isn't where I would have put it," I harrumphed. I kept having to look over my shoulder to see the sky! And then I noticed that there were (unnecessarily) FIVE tables crowding the whole place: A main desk (not used for work, just holding knick-knacks and the phone); the computer desk; a table with reference books and random (non-work-related) junk on it; and two smaller tables with nothing but knick-knacks/photos. It was claustrophobic, not just inefficient...

And while I was working on the computer, I kept looking up to see...MY FACE! There was a mirror hung on the wall just to the right of the computer. Why would somebody want to keep checking themselves out all day long?!

The woman whose office I'm in is 65-ish, and apparently a local actress, according to my boss AND the clippings all over the office. I've been here about a week now and have never been officially introduced to her (she was out the day I started; then, a couple of days later, the NYC trip). But my boss has been raving to me: "Oh, you'll LOVE _____ ! She's quite a character!" And, yesterday: "You look quite dramatic today [I was simply wearing all black]--- _____ would love your outfit!"

From the clippings posted, the lady has been active in local theater since 1985 or so, garnering a couple of "Best Austin Actress" acclamations from the weekly paper (most recently in the mid-90s). The few play publicity photos around the office were for things I wouldn't particularly have wanted to see. And that mirror on the wall behind the computer led me to explore a sneaking suspicion: That there might just be too many photos of HERSELF in here! Just for kicks, I decided to count... 14 photos of HERSELF in one small office! The next most was of her daughter (maybe 7), then 3 or 4 of her grandkid and several with friends...

So this, strangely to me, is what got me to thinking about my own possible misanthropy. "Generic office ladies" have always gotten on my nerves, but here was a vibrant woman doing interesting things like performing and going to NYC in her free time (instead of just talking about what school function she'd just attended for the grandkids or what sick aunt she'd just visited, for example). So what was my damn PROBLEM?! ... The too-many photos of self, the plays that were local and insipid...And then also the various anti-George W cartoons posted everywhere (look, I disliked Bush because he was incompetent, and I never voted for him--or his father--in ANY election, Texas or nationwide, but...STILL overtly defining yourself by being anti-Bush...in 2013?!). And, yes, even all of the "OBAMA WINS" front pages of local papers from '08 and '12... It was all too "Austin-y" for me. Too much "Look at me, look at me! I was big with the weekly paper nearly 20 years ago, and I supported the first black President...TWICE! I'm SPECIAL!"

I dunno. Does she, to me, represent "me" in some way? Someone who obviously had bigger dreams at one point, but who 30 years later had to settle for displaying local clippings in order to get SOME recognition from someone/anyone, even office-mates?

In my defense, I've never schlepped my now-framed letter from Ted Hughes to any office I've ever worked in! Oh, but I do keep mentioning it HERE! But wait a sec: Even if I do continue to brag 16 years later about receiving a letter from Ted Hughes... IT WAS FROM FRIGGING TED HUGHES! The frigging Poet Laureate of England! It wasn't merely the local paper saying they liked my poems! (Which the same weekly paper lauding this woman actually HAS said on a couple of occasions; I used to edit a local poetry 'zine in the '90s! :) THOSE I don't display!) :)

My irritation at her (albeit second-hand) also made me think about the times I've hung out with (1) actors and (2) musicians in real life.

I've been to maybe 4 local cast parties in my life; in each case, the people from the show at the party were still obnoxiously EMOTING all over the place. (I've never had a personal relationship with an actor. Since I'm such a big Joan Crawford fan, I need to think honestly about how much I would have liked her in real life: She's both hot and intuitive onscreen, and I would have wanted to have had sex with her in real life... but admiring artistically and/or sexually doesn't mean "liking personally" or "being able to stand being around"...If I think 14 photos of oneself in an office are too much, wonder how many shots of herself Joan had around her house?)

Musicians, I've been around a lot more: lived next door to and hung out with, partied with during and after shows, etc. They're definitely fun/interesting ON THE SCENE, but sans surroundings, they're kind of plain and dull, little affect... But almost all I've known have also had an innate sense of humbleness, despite their freakish talent. An attractive quality. (The majority of actors, on the other hand, seem to have little ability to magically "channel" -- a very rare, shamanic quality, and the prime qualification for the job -- and instead just want to be seen and commented on. They miss the whole point of the craft. But they can fake it, unlike musicians, who have to actually be able to DO something.)

Writers, I still like after knowing some! :)