Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

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Contact The Media
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Saturday, January 17, 2004  
There is a "credible" "rumor" hitting the sportswaves that the Detroit Tigers have offered Ivan Rodriguez a 4 year, $40 million deal.

Yes. The same 10 time all star Ivan Rodriguez.

Yes. The same 1999 American League MVP Ivan Rodriguez.

Yes. The almost record loss 2003 season Tigers.

This would be great if it happened.

I think.

It would be great for the Tigers.

But what about Ivan?

Is he keeping a deep dark secret (like arthritis)?

Why would one such as he, he of the 2003 Florida Marlins, he the at times Lone Shining Star of the Texas Rangers, he the really good player, even consider a move to Tiger Town? Now, of all times in his career?

Is he a hockey fan? Maybe he's thinking of all those Red Wings games he'd get to see during off (baseball) season.

Remember Ivan, hockey playoffs go into June. You know, two months into the regular baseball season. When you'll be on the road. A lot.

Inspired by Eminem and the rough truism of 8 Mile, hoping to rough up his edges a bit, bring out his inner bad ass and finally shake that "Pudge" nickname? (Ivan the Terrible is just so cliché, though, so please don't go there)

Ivan, Detroit ain't all rap-offs and trailer parks.

Since he already has a Detroit-esque nickname, "Pudge" why not just go ahead, get it over and move there?

Ivan, remember Mark "The Bird" Fidrych? Yeah, not too many other people do, either. Playing for a Detroit team, with a stupid nickname, no matter how great you are, spells doom. If you're playing in Detroit, and want to be a bad ass (or at least taken seriously), you've got to have a killer nickname. "Pudge" just isn't it. "Pudge," Ivan, is the nickname of more than half the male population (and many of the females) in the Detroit area. Fine if you're a fan, but not if you're a $40 million player.

Heard the story about The Nuge's Texas Chainsaw Accident and thought, "Man, what a bad ass! He's from Detroit, and his nickname sounds almost like mine! Hey, I'll move to Detroit! Maybe we can hang out! The Nuge and The Pudge. That would be so cool! Maybe he'd even let me be on his reality show!"

Ivan, please. Let it go.

As he drove by a Little Caesar's pizza he realized he does look a lot like Little Caesar and the endorsements and product tie-in opportunities are just too staggering to let pass by?

Ivan, I don't think any of us really want to see you in a toga with a speared pizza in one hand while you gorge a slice with the other. Well. Any of us other than Mike Illitch, that is.

As I sit pondering this possible boon for the Tigers, I can't stop wondering: Why?

Maybe Ivan is at a crossroads in his life and career. Maybe he wants to give back to the community. (face it, signing on with the Tigers right now is nothing shy of charity, no matter how many millions the deal is) Maybe he figures he can stomach just about anything for four years with a $40 million paycheck. (Does that include a signing bonus, I wonder?)

Then I thought: Maybe, like me, Ivan's just sick of his job. Maybe he yearns for a change. He tried Florida, and that went well for him, but something just wasn't there. He wasn't fulfilled. Not really. Not in the deep, intrinsic ways. Oh sure, it's a good job, good money, decent benefits, but there must be something more.

Behold: Tiger Town.

(and a $40 million paycheck)

I try to not think about athletes and the insane amounts of money they earn. I become even more cynical and jaded and, well, not a lot of fun to have at sporting events when I think about player's salaries and endorsement deals and the huge amount of money that is exchanged in the name of a "pastime."

But for the moment, I will ponder: If I were Ivan Rodriguez, what would I do for four years for $40 million? What concessions to my personal and professional integrity would I sacrifice?





(silence, please, I'm trying to think)









Okay, let's try a different tack. What would I, Trillian, do for four years for $40 million? What concessions to my personal and professional integrity would I sacrifice?










(shhh. my mind is a big racing clutter of synapses firing faster than I can think)








Okay. So there are a lot of things I would do, endure, if you will, for four years for $40 million.

And oddly enough, moving to Detroit is one of them.

Me and Ivan. Who knew we had so much in common?

3:31 PM

Friday, January 16, 2004  
Because It's My Cultureth, That's Why
Maybe it’s me. Really. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I do have latent unrealistic expectations.

I am doubting myself because apparently I am the only one in my office who has a problem, erm, challenge with a person in a job which requires telephone interaction with clients and the general public who refuses to speak full English. In America. She speaks Spanglish. And has a very thick accent.

When it’s convenient.

Which is whenever she doesn’t want to deal with a client or the general public.

Which is when it is a client or general publican who does not flirt with her or whom she deems worthy.

Or when the client or general publican requires assistance beyond, “I donna do dat, I transfer you.”

These are not blind rants, venting at a singular incident. I have nothing against an accent. Nothing at all. Of course I don't. And I have no problem with her need to identify with her culture. Fine. Go ahead. Great! One big melting pot! How very interesting!

But I’ve been observing this person in action for a few years. Hers is a calculated manipulation of perverting language in such a way to suit her immediate needs in any situation that might not bode well for her, or which she simply does not want to handle.

I can vouch for several conversations wherein I have heard her speak English so clearly, so properly, so undialected, accented or Spanglished that she could pass for a Mayflower descendant raised in Ohio. (For the record, she was born and raised in Chicago, a fine product of the Chicago Public School System.) These Henry Higgens approved conversations occur when her immediate supervisor, our division director, or the rare anglo client, general publican or service person she deems worthy of her esteem are present. In short, if it is someone who signs her paycheck or fits her definition of cute or rich enough to qualify for flirting, she is the very embodiment of proper English elocution.

She's a Spanglish poseur.

Annoying? To many of us, yes. I am not alone in that regard. Because we end up getting the calls she should be handling in the first place. She transfers calls at what we think is complete random. Yesterday she sent me a caller who had misdialed the number and was looking for another company entirely. This girl was too lazy to bother to tell them they had the wrong number. Wait. Lazy’s not the word. It takes more effort to transfer a call than to say, “Sorry, you’ve got the wrong number.” And of course, if she had pronounced the name of our company properly in the first place, the misdialer would have known they had misdialed. Instead, the conversation went like this:

“Big Name Company, this is Trillian.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. I was looking for Another Company Entirely. Are you affiliated with them now?”

“Not that I am aware, I have not heard anything about us manufacturing polar expedition gear. Were you looking for their advertising office?”

“No, I just want to return a parka.”

“I think you’ve got the wrong number. This is Big Name Company.”

“Yeah, I kind of thought I dialed the wrong number, but I couldn’t understand the first woman I spoke with, I thought she might have said Another Company Entirely but I wasn’t sure. I told her I wanted to return a parka and probably needed customer service, she connected me to you. Sorry to bother you.”

“No problem, good luck with the parka.”

This happens on a daily basis in our office.

For the past three years, this woman has been butchering and bending the English language into her own special brand of Spanglish. Clients and coworkers have complained. A lot. But when confronted about it, her response was to get a lawyer to file a complaint with our HR department claiming we were violating her civil, personal and cultural rights.

Eyes bulged. Gasps gasped. Memos flew.

And she continues to maraud the English language in a most times incomprehensible jumble of random English and Spanish words. Except under the aforementioned circumstances.

Seriously. There are times no Babel Fish in the Universe could translate what comes out of her mouth. Because on top of Spanglish, she also litters her conversations with street slang.

And yet, still, her primary job function is to answer calls from clients and the general public.

I won’t even begin to attempt to explain, redeem or mock what lies beneath her, erm, colorful speech. Suffice it to say we don’t have to worry about losing her to think tank.

Oh. And she lies. Too.

And uses her Spanglish to cover her lies.

I have learned certain catchwords.

“M? Have you got the copies of the I Need It Now account ledger?” I may inquire, regarding getting copies made of a report someone else tasked her with a week prior.

“¿Que quopies? ¿Que ledgé? I didna know nuthink subre quopies.” (What copies? What ledger? I didn’t know anything about copies.)

“J. said he gave you the account summary to copy for those of us going to the Big Meeting tomorrow. If you’ve got the ledger I’ll just make my own copy.”

“No, no legé. Nunca tenía no ledgé. Jew shoulda ask J. He neber ask me to copies dos papeles.” (No, no ledger. I never had no ledger. You should ask J. He never asked me to copy those papers.)

I always know better than to ask M. if she has what she’s supposed to have. Many times I don’t even bother. It’s all about how lucky I’m feeling at a particular moment. And the planetary alignment. If I’m feeling like a company girl I will follow protocol and ask the designated person for what they are supposed to have, even knowing full well they most likely do not. But in the interest of cutting slack and following procedure, I will go to the designated source. Other times, when I’m feeling like the cynical renegade that I am, I go directly to the person who would have tasked M. with a specific request.

So off I trot to ask J. for the account ledger.

J. rolls eyes when I tell him M. didna know nuthink about the ledger or copies.

J., now incensed to my level with this issue, decides this is the last straw and storms down to confront M. about the copies.

“You didn’t make the copies for the I Need It Now account? I gave them to you last week! The meeting is tomorrow!” he barks at her.

“Ohhhhh, jew mean deese paples?” producing the account ledger with a huge bold title proclaiming, I Need It Now Account from her in box, “I didna know she need deese paples. I think she need some udder paples.”

Yes. It’s subtle, but the lies are in there - it’s all in the semantics of her Spanglish. The trick to catching her is in the deese and dos.

An hour later I heard her in the copy room, flirting with the Current Copier Service Guy, I hear her say, in the plainest most American clear voice, “Is that what’s wrong with it? Is that all?! Tee hee. This big machine with all it’s pieces and places always confuses me.”

“Let me show you how to fix it so you won’t have to call me next time.” Service Guy tells her.

“Oh, but then I wouldn’t get to see you! Tee hee.” she replies.

(Current Copier Service Guy is really cute. A few weeks ago our copier suddenly began malfunctioning on a daily basis. When the leasing company had the nerve to send someone other than Current Copier Service Guy, there was a 15 minute Spanglish tirade in which names were called and curses on families were invoked if Current Copier Service Guy was not sent immediately.)

And yet, this lying, time wasting, unwilling to speak English except around the aforementioned people woman is earning a very healthy paycheck. Many people roll their eyes at the mere mention of her name. Others take deep calming breaths. Most have developed coping techniques. I have tried, but now I’m thinking, “No. This is wrong. This is interfering with her ability to do her job and impeding on the ability of others to do theirs.”

So I dared say something to M.’s supervisor about the increasing in frequency misdirected calls M. sends around the department. I told him of the Parka Incident.

You would have thought I had said the ultimate blasphemy. He closed his office door, and urgently whispered, “Do you want another threat? Are you crazy?! You know the situation with M. You know we can’t imply those things. What’s wrong with you? You as well as anyone knows we have to respect her culture. We just have to deal with it.”

“But she’s not doing her job. And she’s interfering the rest of us.” I stated the obvious.

“You won’t have a job to interfere with if there’s a lawsuit.” he deadpanned. I knew he was serious. I know the threat is real.

And so, apparently, we all have to continue to tolerate the breaches of communication, happy to have a job and not be named in a civil liberties lawsuit.

I am mere days away from wearing a kilt and Viking horns and a Helga wig and speaking in a brogue so thick no one can understand me. Ebonics? Spanglish? HA! It’s brogue for me! It’s my heritage and there’s nothing anyone should be able to do about it. Or, wait, more annoying, and far less quaint, perhaps I’ll start speaking in Shakespearean Olde English. It is my cultureth and it would suiteth me kindly to speaketh in such mannered tongue.

I can do it. I will do it. I swear I will.

11:50 AM

Thursday, January 15, 2004  
Rituals and Lack of Great Expectations
One Rather Cynical Woman's Adventures in Prayer and Saints
I've been getting a lot of comment on the St. Andrew Prayer-A-Thon thing. Some positive, some negative and a lot of, "But what about...."

I gave my final analysis summary Friday, but here's a more in depth study.

I am not Catholic, to begin with, so the whole saint thing was way out of my field of belief or understanding. The pomp, circumstance and ritualism of the Catholic church is, well, not my thing. Living in a very Catholic city, I hear a lot, daily, about this saint and the other. At work, out on the town, and even on the local news.

I generally try to ignore it. Because thinking about it, putting too much thought or reasoning behind the reasons, religion and rituals only serves to get me angry, confused and more than a little blasphemous. In religion, as in every other aspect of life, I strongly believe and adhere to a "to each their own" and "mind your own business" philosophy. I refuse to condemn or condone. Mine is not to judge, I merely observe and report. Above all, I try to be respectful of other's beliefs. So getting riled up to the point of speaking out about or against it bothers me very much.

That is much of the reason why I endeavored to try out the St. Andrew Prayer-A-Thon and see it through to the end. Who better than a non-Catholic to maintain objectivity about prayer and saints and the granting of earthly wants?

I began the whole thing on a lark. I openly admit that. Just an investigative reporter looking to uncover The Truth about St. Andrew, his prayer and the whole granting of desires thing. And to see just what it is that Catholics around the world do, experience and feel by praying to a saint.

Because of my lack of belief, I never expected anything to happen, or anything to be granted to me. As Ford so prophetically (and somewhat drunkenly) texted: It only worx if *u* piously beleave. U dont pisly beleev in anything anymore.

My opening attitude at best was one of, "Okay God, if that is your real name, here I am. Yeah, I know, it's been a while. I've been busy, okay? Geesh. You of all people should know that. And what have you done for me lately? Anyway, look, I've got this St. Andrew prayer card and I'm gonna use it. I'm cashing it in like a Get Out of Jail Free card. I'll say this prayer the prescribed times per day until the 25th of December. I'll do it! Let's see you get out of this one! Ha!"

I know it's wrong to test God, any Supreme Being, the Universe, evolution or whatever you believe in, so spare me the email. I know it's wrong and only courting disaster.

And yes, I openly admit deep down, past the "I'm just an objective reporter on a fact finding mission" attitude a very small part of me thought, "and what the heck, why not give the God thing a chance? I don't need or expect proof, but a few answers to a few mortal coil questions would be helpful."

What I discovered in the process is that I found myself looking forward to taking a few minutes out to quietly say the little prayer. To have a brief moment to myself, making myself do something outside of my usual activities and thoughts, and far outside my personal comfort zone.

After the first week, when I struggled with why I was doing this, I just did it. It became a ritual. And that gave me pause for thought. This was not a habit, it was, indeed, a ritual. Whether or not I wanted to call it that, use that term, I was carrying out a ritual.

And I sort of liked it.

I had to work out a few issues with myself about why I was doing this. The whole test thing. I knew it was not right for me to question God. Me of all people. Me who has not always been a staunch supporter. Of any supreme being. And was it really respect? Or was it guilt and shame for, well, for a lot of things regarding me and the St. Andrew Prayer-A-Thon that kept me stubbornly praying?

I worked through those issues. It took a lot of introspection not only about myself, but moreover, the very nature of the ritual of prayer. I really studied the words of the prayer. The meaning of each and every one. I locked onto visuals. I allowed my mind to be open to the possibilities of the representation in the prayer and realized, "The Truth or not, this isn't such an awful thing to respect and remember." And the devout among you will say, "Aha! See! God was already working His magic on you!" I will have to ask you to hold your comments for the question and answer period at the end of this session.

Moreover, I realized that if the premise of expectation is removed from the ritual, if it's just a few moments of focused thinking, a little remembrance and respect, it's not a bad thing. Regardless of personal beliefs. But removing (or never having) the aspect of expectation is key.

This is why I don't have a more, well, religious presence in my life. I don't have lofty expectations. I've never once thought God, the Universe or any other supreme being owes me anything. I never expected anything to be handed or granted to me.

Ah.

So why carry out the St. Andrew Prayer-A-Thon?

What I realized is that I really enjoyed my St. Andrew time. Just me, the prayer, my imagination, St. Andrew and I guess, God. Oh and Jesus, too, I guess.

Like it or not, my life, my family, my friends, my work, my society MAKES me partake in Christmas. Period. There is no escape.

That is exactly how the holidays make me feel: In dire need of escape.

And here, given to me by a guy in a Santa suit in Canada, was a trap door. A way out. A few minutes every day to respect and pay attention to the whole reason for Christmas in the first place.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not someone who needed to be reminded of "the reason for the season." That's why I feel in need of escape - the holidays are so over processed, so marketed, so hyped, so...everything, that it's a sham to me. A disrespectful abuse of religion. Whether it's your religion or belief or not.

My St. Andrew time gave me a little moment of reflection. Whether or not I Believe is another issue entirely. The point is that my little ritual gave me control over a few minutes of my life. It gave me a chance to focus on very specific words and the images they conjured for me. All was calm, all was bright.

But I had another problem. Erm, challenge.

It's about granting a desire. That's what St. Andrew does, apparently. Well. The way I understand it is that he acts as a conduit, a middle manager of sorts. And I needed to ask for something. Since I had a complete lack of expectation, it was difficult to come up with a true desire. Something that wouldn't mock the system by being, well, foolish, yet something real, something earnest.

What should I request? It had to be something specific, very individual to me, and private enough that there would be no mistake it was from God to me and me alone. And not just a coincidence. Something out of the realm of my perceived possibility. World peace? Too big, too global, too beauty contesty. We need targeted results. An end to pain and suffering? Too big, too global, too unknowable. No doubts or uncertainties could color the results. A new job? Hmmm. Good one. But too within the realm of ordinary, mortal possibility. Bath products? Fair assumption at least one of my family or friends will cover me there, so no. How about a specific bath product? Again, no.

The answer became very clear to me. I came up with the absolutely perfect request. And I was sincere about it.

Every night, from November 30 through December 25th, I made time for my little St. Andrew Prayer-A-Thon.

But it wasn't all tranquility and enlightenment.

Twelve days into the Prayer-A-Thon, on December 11, I nearly fell off the prayer wagon. (Donkey cart in this case?) If there was ever a final nail in a coffin, an all hope is lost day, that was it. Events conspired to make my request completely impossible. It was as if God was shaking a finger at me, and in a big booming echo reverb voiceover said, "Ha! Bother me, will you! Take THIS! Bwa ha ha. You should have asked for world peace. Or a nice gift set from Bath and Body Works. End the charade, leave poor St. Andrew alone."

I nearly stopped that night. Because, if there were such things as signs from God, I had one that day. A neon sign saying, "You Foolish Mortal, This Will Never Happen. Here. Let Me Give You Something You Least Expect to Prove It To You!" Poof! A horrible, ironic, devastating and crushing blow made it's way to me. A blow from out of the blue that directly correlated to what I had decided to request from St. Andrew. "It. Ain't. Gonna. Happen. So Just Stop Now."

Well then. Fine. It's not as if I had any expectations anyway. But I was concerned that perhaps I was messing with things I had no business messing with and what happened that day was a "warning" to just stop the whole thing.

I thought about changing my request mid Prayer-A-Thon, but I didn't want to introduce another variable into the equation. (Hey, if I'm going to test, I'm going to do it right!) And I thought a lot about just not doing it anymore. What was I really endeavoring here? I thought, "Oh what's the use? There's nothing to prove, and I didn't expect anything anyway, so why bother?"

Why bother indeed.

Because I liked my little ritual and the fact that it was getting me through the holidays with slightly more sanity than usual.

I went home that night, beaten down by a lot of things, and what did I find myself doing? The St. Andrew prayer. The pull of the ritual was stronger than my own pull of negativity. On that really bad day, even through all of my murky issues, I was able to focus and visualize and step outside of myself through that ritual. Again, please hold your Power of God comments for the question and answer period at the end of the session.

Afterward, I was more than a bit surprised at myself and my resolve to see this through. I sinisterly thought, "Ha! I'm not giving up! Throw me all the signs, pain and suffering you can, but I'm. Not. Stopping! Let's see you grant THAT one now! I for one would like to see how you'll pull off that one. Go on, go ahead. Run along now, go work on it. I'll be waiting. You can't throw me off course. You should know I'm stubborn that way. And I didn't expect it anyway!" (I can be a bit relentless in my pursuits of folly.)

Yes. I was setting up St. Andrew and God to fail. But, was that not exactly what they had done to me? Or at the very least, they were testing me right back, much in the way I was testing them.

But I liked my little moments of quiet reflection.

"We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction." (MacArthur)
The next night I made a little addendum:

"Okay look we all know what I do and do not believe, and we all know why I'm here, but we all also know I am doing this out of respect and that's got to count for something. It's never been about the granting of a desire or me having expectations for the impossible. So if you are out there, thanks for listening. I don't expect you to fill my request just because I recite this prayer every day, but I'm not going to stop just because all hope is lost. I'm gaining other things along the way. Look at me! I'm learning!"

The St. Andrew Prayer-A-Thon nightly ritual continued as planned.

December 24, 2003
Something happened that can only be described as the answer to a prayer. That very specific, unique, individual to me, yet impossible thing was given to me.

As if on cue.

I'm not one to "freak out." Don't panic! is of course my motto.

But I was in such a state of shock and disbelief that I didn't accept it at first. Very much like the Mod Hair Ken Christmas incident of my youth. I didn't want to even acknowledge it. A miracle for me? Me?! St. Andrew, God and I guess Jesus heard me and gave me(!) that very specific and impossible thing?!

So stunned and shocked was I that it had to be given to me four more times that night before I would answer the call from above and acknowledge it. At that moment, the fifth time, I was in such a state of disbelief and shock I would not have been the least bit surprised if St. Andrew himself showed up at my parents' front door saying, "Look, this is what you asked for, why are you so surprised? Do you not want it now? Have you changed your mind? Because me and the boys had to work really hard to get you this, it wasn't easy, you know. It's true, it really is, now just take it, okay? I've got a busy couple of days ahead of me. If you could just sign here."

And yes, I was gracious and full of gratitude and wonder and amazement and, well...

...all things were possible.

I dared not tempt by questioning. I knew I had to accept it. I made the rules, and so I couldn't bend or doubt the results. My little lark that grew into guilt that turned into respect that led to a ritual resulted, as promised, I mean, at the very stroke of the hour promised, the granting of a sincere and steadfast desire.

There was much rejoicing. And my heart did grow three sizes. And I admitted that I was indeed now open to possibilities I had previously, well, not embraced. Happiness, relief, wonder, awe and most of all, gratitude.

Two weeks later it was taken away from me.

And of course it was a tremendous letdown. Not in terms of the whole ritual, I gained a lot from that, beyond the granting of a desire. The letdown was having something I really wanted and needed given to me and then taken away. And then being left standing there with nothing but more questions, more unknowns, and more cynicism than one person should ever carry inside them.

I'm not blaming anyone. I don't see this as proof there is no God, or that prayers to saints "don't work." After all, technically, I did get what I wanted. Sort of.

Or it was all just an enormous, extremely enormous, overwhelmingly impossible, coincidence.

What I've now concluded, God or not, is that I did in fact receive two gifts:
The ability to open my mind enough to accept that rituals, like prayer, are okay. Regardless of beliefs. It's the act, the moments of focus and imagination that matter. Particularly when the aspect of expectation is removed.

And, I did have two really fabulous weeks.

[grid::ritual]

After all that, it's a bit difficult to launch into Thursday's Things I Know for Sure, because clearly, I don't know much of anything. Except:

• In work, beware the Articulate Incompetent.
In love, beware the Charming Bastard/Bitch
In life, beware Greeks Bearing Gifts
(In summary: things are almost never what they seem so mind how you go)

• A+B=C/D
A: Ashton Kutcher looks like Prince on The Butterfly Effect posters.
+
B: The Butterfly Effect posters look like the Gothika posters.
=
C: Halle Barry looks like Prince.
/
D: Halle Barry is Prince. (Have YOU ever seen them in the same room together?)

9:25 AM

Wednesday, January 14, 2004  
"Renewed Spirit of Discovery"
US Space Initiative Fact Sheet here

3:31 PM

 
**Don't forget! Tomorrow, January 15, is ANOTHER GRID BLOG DAY!!!

Topic: Ritual [grid::ritual]
Simply write a blog about ritual - any take on it. And include [grid::blog].
See: Notes from Somewhere Bizarre




First Ozzie, now this.

Clearly the Universe is sending a message: No more washed up early 70's rocker reality shows!

What gets us here at the Guide is that these guys always survive. With Sho/Lo - mullet intact. And go on tour the next year. How is this possible? Is it the years of drug and alcohol abuse so chemically altering their molecular structure that they are impervious to death by blunt force trauma? The rock and roll you can't kill me attitude they were born with? The selling of their souls for a recording and touring contract all those years ago?

Speaking of reality tv, it's Wednesday, and that means:

Reality Wednesday
Hotel.

Yes. The re-birth of that 80's classic Love Boat on Land, updated in a hip modern reality format!

Scene: Oh yeah, baby, we're makin' the scene all right. We ARE the scene! (Über Grand Hip Hotel (ÜGHH) grand opening party)

Contestants: Hotel Industry Professionals (sales and marketing folks from every hotel chain in town); Meeting, Events, Marketing and PR people from every possible industry; "VIP's" and esteemed hangers on.

Goal: The contestant who can survive an Über hip hotel grand opening party without being bullied, liquored up or otherwise forced against their will to sign a contract for business with the über grand hip hotel will be given immunity from future sales calls from Über grand hip hotel's obnoxious sales rep.

The contestants converge upon the Über Grand Hip Hotel for an evening of music, food, booze and oh, yeah, to check out the Newest, Hottest, Hippest venue in town! Yeah Baby!

The opening has been long anticipated, as the location of the hotel is in a speculative (read: risky) parcel of what may be prime real estate if they can make a go of it in this town. Other hotels are watching closely to see how successful or not ÜGHH is in this location. The meeting, event, marketing and PR contestants have long been anticipating it because the building was a total renovation, ÜGHH is touting competitive rates and supposedly the catering crew is very good. And frankly, even though the city is over saturated with venues, this one just might have enough of a name to boost attendance at some of the "more difficult" events. (You try to convince cattle auctioneers to attend a convention titled: Tax Law and Cattle Auctions: What Every Dealer Must Know. In January. In one of the coldest cities in the country.)

The contestants are curious.

The sales force of ÜGHH has been lobbying the market months prior. Trying to get events and names on the books prior to opening. No stone has been unturned. Everyone in town knows at least one member of ÜGHH's sales force and has long since developed diversionary tactics when ÜGHH sales reps call.

The contestants are suitably impressed as they enter the lobby. No detail has been spared in making this A Truly Memorable Evening. It's Going To Be Fun! Have A Drink! Look, I've Got Your Specs Right Here. Come On Over Here Let Me Show You Our State Of The Art Booking System. Oh Look! I've Already Got Your Specs Loaded And There They Are Now! All Ready For You To Sign! Have Another Drink! Isn't This Fun! What A Fun Night! We're All So Happy To Have You Here. We Really Mean That. What Can Any Of Us Do To Get Your Business?

Contestant 1 (Meeting, Event, PR person): "Leave me alone and let me have a look around to see if it's right for my event."
Contestant 2 (Hanger on): "Keep bringing on the scotch! Har har. Just kidding. Where's the bar, though?"
Contestant 3 (Rival Hotel Rep): "Look, you know I'm just casing the joint, so don't try that with me, if it works out, we'll send you our overflow. What did that booking system set you back? What IT group did you use?"

ÜGHH Rep: "Why don't we take a little tour, yes? That would be fun! I know the official tour begins in an hour, but you are all so special I think it would be okay if I gave you a sneak peak." Conspiratorial smarmy smile and arms outstretched in one of those move along now/hug/squeal of delight combo gestures.

Contestant 1: "No really, that's okay, I can wait for the official tour."
Contestant 2: "Will we go past a bar?"
Contestant 3: "Lead on, let's get this over."

ÜGHH Rep: "Come on Contestant 1, it'll be lots more fun in our little group than that big tour group traipsing all over the place."

Contestant 1: Trying to find an out, anything, anyone, any chance of escaping another second of mock intimacy with the ÜGHH Rep and other contestants, and the non stop sales pitches. She spies an associate of a former colleague who was married to his roommate from college. Bliss. Glee. An out. "No really, I just saw the people I was supposed to meet here..."

Contestant 3 flashes contestant 1 a "I know we just met, but if you have an ounce of decency and compassion you will not leave me alone with ÜGHH Rep and Contestant 2" look.

Contestant 1 reviews her options and assesses probable outcomes. She's at a crossroads.

Stay with the little group and take a scary tour, not so cleverly or impromptuly orchestrated by the ÜGHH Rep, or pull a "Bob? Bob What'shisname, is that you? I haven't seen you in ages, how are you!?" and then impose upon Bob in the form of shadowing him for the next two hours.

Deal with a sales pitch of insurance and time-share salesman proportions from ÜGHH Rep for who knows how long, which will no doubt be strewn with constant badgering in the form of innuendoes and elbow nudges, and bad jokes about her industry...or risk potential snubbing, or possibly worse, enthusiastic zeal from Bob.

Staying with the small but obnoxiously led by ÜGHH Rep will put her in good graces with Contestant 3, who happens to be a hot shot at a hotel Contestant 1 occasionally uses for events. This small act of kindness could be a wise "networking" move. But that would mean Contestant 1 cares about her job and "connecting" at events such as these. (She steadfastly tries to convince herself she does not.) And isn't that really just a form of bribery? (She steadfastly agrees with herself that it is, indeed, a form of implied bribery.)

Contestant 1 has a brief What Am I Doing With My Life And How Did It All End Up Like This moment.

Contestant 3 senses she's losing Contestant 1 to Bob at the bar, and makes a power play. She knows she's got one chance to make this work, so it calls for the heavy artillery

"Contestant 1, you've used our booking system, Jana told me it worked really well for your group next month."

The old, I Know Who You Are, And I Know Your Rep At Our Hotel, We're Good Friends And Talk About You All The Time, And I Know Your Booking Needs, So Let's Just Cut The Crap And Admit We Both Know If You Stay With Me In This Little Tour In Hell I Will Tell Jana To Cut Your Food And Beverage Rate maneuver.

Contestant 3 is good. Very good. Contestant 2 and the ÜGHH Rep are naive (and drunk) and oblivious to the implications just hurled at Contestant 1.

Contestant 1: "Yes, so far there have been no challenges. But then it's such a small group with very few details - it's really all about the food and beverage. If we send them home full from a good meal and drunk they're happy, we're happy, you're happy. Ha ha."

Touché. Take that Contestant 3.

The brave and somewhat risky, Okay Fine You Want To Play Dirty, I'll Play Dirty. You Want Me To Save You From Being In A Hotel Room ÜGHH With ÜGHH Rep And Contestant 2. You Need Me And My Business. Your Rates Are So High I'm Here Scouting For An Alternative Venue And It Ain't About Booking Systems, Sister, So The Food Better Be Charlie Trotter And The Booze Better Be Good And Distributor Rate counter maneuver.

Very well executed by Contestant 1! Yes, she's brought her game tonight! This is her night to shine! Contestant 3 doesn't stand a chance against this move and knows it, but gives it a last ditch effort.

Contestant 3: "Has Jana had you over lately? We've got a new chef and we're very excited about the new menus."

Ah. Getting close to the end of the round here. Contestant 3 is clearly admitting defeat with the Okay Fine We'll Cut The Fees And I'll Have Jana Call You In The Morning To Arrange Dinner At Our Four Star Restaurant If You Promise To Not Leave Me Alone With These Losers! play.

Contestant 1: "No, I haven't been over since last summer, I heard you had a new banquet chef, I haven't had the opportunity to check it out. Broken ankle and all."

Oooooh. What skill! What tactic! What a power play! She is in the zone, baby, in the ZONE! We haven't seen a Do You Really Think You Can Buy Me Off With Dinner, A Sales Dinner, At That And By The Way I've Got The Best Option Out Of This Stupid Tour Right Here On My Ankle So You're Going to Have To Do Better Than That If You Want Me To Stick Around This Sales Rep From Hell since Contestant 5 back in '99. Look at her go!

Contestant 3: "Oh, yes, I heard about that, how awful! Are you feeling better?"

She's out. She's lost it. She might as well forget it. A Look I'm Desperate Here Forget Jana I'll Give You Whatever You Want always signals the end and no other options left to play.

Contestant 1: "Much better, getting around like a champ for the most part. ÜGHH Rep, are we going on that tour now?"

Signaling game over, contestant 1 takes pity on Contestant 3, she has been a worthy opponent after all, and this smaller tour will potentially get her home sooner anyway, so she uses the graceful winner ploy of Okay, Done Deal. But One Word From ÜGHH Rep About My Industry Or Drunken Pass From Contestant 2 And I'm Outta Here.

The group goes on the tour, and oh, yes, the hotel is indeed very Über Grand and Hip. Along the way they pass several other "sneak peak before the official tour" groups being led by nefarious ÜGHH Reps. So many that it can only be assumed no one will be on the "official tour."

Quasi celebrities and hotshot execs are littered in the other groups the little foursome passes. Contestant 2 exclamations over each celebrity sighting. (keep your cool, man, you're just a hanger on, don't blow it, man!)

Contestant 1 ponders the three possibilities for the Celebrity Turnout. They are here out of: contractual obligation; free food and booze and a stay in the hotel; or gasp, because they actually want to be here.

ÜGHH Rep does make several "good natured" digs at Contestant 1's industry. Contestant 1 decides, even though she really does like the venue, the prospect of dealing with ÜGHH's sales force is unbearable. Contestant 3 is a very worthy opponent, even if their rates are high, professional courtesy and respect are worth the extra money. ÜGHH may indeed be very cool and hip and the added boost some events need to increase attendance, but Contestant 3's venue and sales force at least have an amount of class.

As soon as they are possibly able, Contestants 1 and 3 make their departures. Contestant 2 is last seen at the bar laughing loudly and inappropriately with a C List celebrity and other hangers on.

ÜGHH Rep has moved on to other prey.

Who wins? Contestant 1, of course. Nothing signed with ÜGHH and a possible reduction in fees for an event at Contestant 3's venue.

9:19 AM

Tuesday, January 13, 2004  
Far Out, Man, That's Really Deep
Frankie and Benjy are renovating a very old home. It's, well, it needs a lot of, um, work. It's a process not an event. They're in this for the long haul and they're okay with that. Happy and excited about it.

They send me weekly update photos and even the occasional digital video.

The project status can briefly be described as: A mess.

In their endeavor, they decided to start with the basement. It's a walkout basement, not a basementy basement. They had all sorts of plans to make it a chic haven of tranquility and hip minimalism. Which Frankie had accomplished in her homes and life prior to the arrival of Benjy. (Insert: When Two World's Collide here)

Frankie wanted to get back to a cleaner, uncluttered environment of her life before Benjy, if only in one area of their new home. Benjy agreed. He aspires to uncluttered minimalism.

But he likes stuff. He's a collector. He's got every album, cd, cassette and yes, 8-track he's ever owned. His parents saved everything, I mean everything from his infant to 18-year-old days. And now they've sent it to him because he's "finally settled and has a big enough place" for all of it.

He was thrilled.

Frankie was not amused.

The boxes started piling up in the basement. The chic haven of tranquility and hip minimalism became a typical basement depository of crap. Frankie's darkroom was the sole area untouched by Benjy's vestiges of youth. But the vestiges were encroaching ever more near her lone sanctuary of minimalism.

She'd had enough. "That's it," she proclaimed. "We are going to go through every one of these boxes, sort out this stuff and regain our lead on the renovation of the basement."

Within two boxes she was a goner. It's wasn't just Benjy's youth in those boxes, it was hers, too.

Here are two people, from completely different backgrounds, who met "later in life" after living very full lives all over the world.

All I can say in summary of their courtship and subsequent union: Opposites can and do attract and can co-exist peacefully and happily.

The basement. Boxes of Benjy's stuff.

What they discovered is how very, very similar their youths were. They heretofore thought they were so different. He: Greaser. She: Soc. But when summarized though stuff, those infant to 18-year-old years told both their stories.

It's easy to dismiss the crap of youth as "just stuff."

But I beg to differ. As Frankie and Benjy are discovering, those things are artifacts that unite us. Items of proof that the experiences of youth are not so different after all. The two have been utterly lost in the memories each and every item invokes. One item will remind them of another, and stories of said items. Frankie is discovering she wishes she had some of the items of her youth.

Frankie, of all people. Frankie who does yoga and plays the cello. Frankie who is not the sort of person to acquire stuff, let alone yearn or long for stuff lost. She's unencumbered and "enlightened," to say the least.

But now she is clinging to Benjy's stuff, making it theirs. (Benjy, being a good natured sport, is eager and happy to share his stuff with her. Yeah. We love Benjy.) Even some of the items Benjy was happy to part with are being grabbed by Frankie with a, "You can't get rid of that! No! It's so cool. My brother had one of those!" zeal.

There have been some "issues" with all of this, as well. During moments of nostalgic memories, an object will be mentioned. Something Frankie had, an "expensive" item. That Benjy never had but always wanted. This could cause problems for a lot of couples, but not for these two. Because it was a long time ago. Benjy is not jealous of what Frankie had, but a little awed. "You had one of those?! Even the rich kids at my school didn't have one of those! Too bad you didn't keep it." Benjy is not jealous because a) he loves Frankie very much, b) because when they met, Benjy was earning three times the salary Frankie was earning, and c) it doesn't matter. It's stuff. And if Benjy wanted one of the items, he could now go on eBay, find it, submit a high and ridiculous bid and have the item he had been latently yearning for all these years.

Which is exactly what he did behind Frankie's back. He took mental notes and surreptitiously scoured eBay for items that brought a faraway look and happy stories to Frankie. (awwww. We just love this Benjy guy).

The holidays were filled with shrieks of joy and delight over obscure 20 - 30 year old items.

And in this week's photo installment of the house rehab project, there is a video unveiling of the nearly completed basement renovation.

Which looks like a movie set from a movie filmed in a late 60's early 70's basement.

Egg chair, vinyl studded padded bar and all.

The dichotomy of all of this is giving me a lot of pause for thought. Rich girl who had everything she ever wanted (and then some) goes out, lives a very full life, enlightened and filled with a yearning for simplicity and just a few "really good things." She doesn't yearn to accumulate because she's never known what it's like to want things, to be unfulfilled in the stuff area. Her need for stuff was always sated in her youth, consequently her adult life has been filled with a longing for fulfillment of intangible needs. She didn't eschew the lifestyle, she was never a Bo'ho. She was completely satisfied with a few "really good" things that she truly liked.

Benjy, on the other hand, while certainly not raised as a poor or homeless waif, did not have every item he ever wanted. He had a lot (obviously, by the boxes and boxes still arriving weekly) but yearned for more and better than what his parents could afford to give him. He went out, burning with desire to "make a lot of money" so he could acquire things he wanted. Which is why he is such an avid collector. And clings to the items he has acquired.

The two meet, midlife, and what happens? Rich Girl's search for the intangible ends with the nicest, most sincere guy she's ever met. Who happens to be stinking rich. At a time when she was, well, not exactly rolling in money. Poor Boy's search for the tangible ends with a woman who reminded him of deeper, intangible needs he'd been missing, at a time when he was, well, not exactly the most emotionally fulfilled person.

And now they've got the most swingin' basement rec room this side of 1974.

10:38 AM

Monday, January 12, 2004  
So scary. So what?

10:00 AM

 
*DON'T FORGET TO NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE BLOGS*
The Bloggies are taking nominations through Monday, January 12. (TODAY)
VOTE NOW!!! VOTE NOW!!! VOTE NOW!!!!
2004 Bloggies


Q: How many crippled chicks does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Trick question. A person with a broken ankle shouldn't be changing light bulbs.
A: One, but she needs to be stupid enough to try to do it on her own with a broken ankle and injured neck.


Okay. This is it. January 12, I am proclaiming that I hate 2004.

I swore, I vowed, I sent positive thoughts into the Universe that I would have no more accidents, incidents or health related issues.

But in spite of my positive thinking, ooops, I did it again.

Why? Because my bedroom overhead light burned out. And I was stupid enough to think changing the bulb was no big deal. I was dumb enough to not consider the facts that my ankle is not fully healed and I suffered a bit of a setback whiplash-wise last week on The Orbiter.

When the bulb in the bedroom light burned out, it never occurred to me that it would turn into such an issue. I know, you already think it's an issue and you haven't even seen me or my bedroom. "Uh, Trillian, you're in rehab for a severely broken and damaged ankle, and didn't you just fall off a treadmill last week and re-injure your neck? Shouldn't you have someone help you with that? I mean, doesn't climbing on a stool and reaching up to change a bulb seem a bit risky in your current physical condition?"

You're right on all counts. And I did consider them. Briefly. But at the time light in the bedroom was more important than any physical limitations I might currently have. I blame it on my blonde highlights. And denial of my physical limitations.

And the fact that I have slight compulsive tendencies about certain things.

Flipping a light switch and having the room immediately bathed in light is one of them.

I know people who go days, weeks, even months before changing a light bulb. "Oh, yeah, I keep forgetting to change it..." they'll say, voice trailing and go on living with the inconvenience of a burned out bulb and NOTHING HAPPENING WHEN YOU FLIP THE SWITCH!!! SWITCHES ARE MEANT TO BE FLIPPED, AND THINGS ARE MEANT TO HAPPEN WHEN SWITCHES ARE FLIPPED!!!! IT'S A UNIVERSAL RULE, IT KEEPS ORDER IN THE CHAOS!!!

Forget?! How can you forget?! Just change the bulb when it burns out, job done! Annoyance over! (James (long ago former person of interest) I now publicly decry that had you not broken up with me, this facet of your personality would have eventually caused me to break up with you. There it is. I finally said it. Had you been perfect in every other capacity, I might have overlooked it. But you weren't.)

That is why when the bulb burned out I immediately fetched my little step stool, handy pack of bulbs (always at the ready) and away I went not unlike Bob the Builder. I even said, out loud to Furry Creature: "Can we fix it? YES WE CAN!!!" convivially tussling his fur and whistling a jaunty tune all the while.

(You know this is going to end in disaster, so if you want you can stop reading now.)

My apartment has high ceilings. Yeah, okay, ooooh, ahhh, how charming. We're all so impressed. But with those higher ceilings comes added dimensions of maintenance solutions. Fortunately, I 'm tall and long limbed, and with the aid of a small step stool, the light fixtures are a semi-easy reach for me. Changing the bulbs in the overhead fixtures has never presented a challenge for me.

I just didn't give it much thought, okay? I've done it loads of times and it didn't occur to me that it would require any mobility or grace beyond even my current diminished condition.

It's a light bulb. A swutting light bulb. If I've deteriorated to the point that I cannot change my own light bulbs...

Yeah. I have some pride issues to work on, too.

I climbed on the stool, realizing, "oooh, ouch, my ankle hurts when I do that. Hmmmm. Have to ask "Kimmie" about that. Okay, just don't do that, be careful, change this bulb and get down from here."

I unscrewed the little cap thingy that holds the frosted glass shade in place over the fixture. There's also a little decorative plate between the screw cap and frosted glass shade. And a rod that comes from the ceiling through the fixture and apparently holds the whole affair together.

One screw cap: Check.
One decorative plate: Check.
One frosted glass shade: Check.
One rod from ceiling through fixture: Check.
One burned out bulb: Check.
One new bulb: Check.
One stupid honey blonde highlighted woman who just now realized her neck and shoulders really hurt when she raises both her arms above her head while looking upward: Check.

I removed all the pieces and placed them on the bed. I also repositioned the step stool so that "If I do fall, I can fall to the right and land on the bed." Yes, I now considered the possibility that this might not be the best idea for someone in my condition.

But now I had the whole thing apart, it was now just a matter of replacing the bulb, re-assembling the shade, screwing on the cap and job done. The possibility of calling someone to help me had not entered my stream of consciousness.

I did, however, revise my action plan. I would break it up in small jobs. Go back up there, remove the dead bulb. Get back down, take new bulb back up, replace it then come back down, fetch the shade assembly, go back up and finish the job. Yes, the up and down bit hurt my ankle, but the arms and shoulders up in the air for prolonged periods bit hurt worse.

I will also admit, the loss of economy of steps in my revised action plan bothered me. I like to think of myself as efficient in some capacities. Capacities like: changing a light bulb, taking out the trash, doing laundry...as few steps and as little time spent on these things as possible the better and happier I am.

But as a bow to my current disabilities, I now conceded that I would need to add a few steps, take it a bit slower than usual. Give me some credit here, I did consider my condition and revise my action plan.

And took cautionary procedures for an emergency.

I removed the dead bulb, went back down, set it off to the side, got the new bulb and went back up. The new bulb didn't go in as easily as the old one came out. The rod smack through the center of the fixture complicates the issue. And my now burning to the point of fire shoulders weren't helping. Once. Twice. Three times. And then once more I had to stop to let my arms and shoulders dangle by my sides to relieve the pain in my neck and shoulders. I was now very frustrated and mad at the whole situation.

Insert: This is a Symptom of My Entire Life in Crisis Moment Breakdown Here.

(To the uninitiated it goes something like this: Everyone else my age has a spouse and maybe even children to do/help them with this sort of thing. I can't stand living alone anymore. I just want my life and HWNMNBS back so I don't have to be a pathetic crippled chick living on her own in an apartment with a cat. Even if the apartment does have high ceilings. I'm too old for this crap. I'm not a kid anymore. I've paid my dues. I've proved I can change a light bulb in a high ceilinged apartment, many times. And a lot of other things, too. I passed my Miss Independent Test with flying colors. A long time ago. I'm not even supposed to BE here. I was supposed to leave and be married and living happily ever after now. This is what happens when you don't take the life path that was meant for you. It all goes wrong. Sliding Doors. The muggings, the injuries, the job I hate...all of it are because I simply was not supposed to be here. I am supposed to be far away with HWNMNBS. Since I'm not where I'm supposed to be my life path is now one long walk trudging through nettles and thickets. Why do I have to suffer for this? It's so unfair and what have I ever done to anyone to deserve this and I just miss him so much and why, why, why?!)

Yeah. It's not pretty. Even under normal circumstances. I try to avoid these moments, but they usually hit when there is a catalyst of the smallest kind.

Like changing a light bulb. Which makes my shoulders and neck hurt. Which makes me worry about falling off a step stool. Which makes me feel really stupid and small and needy.

There I was, having a Life in Crisis Moment with an aircasted ankle on a step stool, trying to get a new bulb in the socket. I gathered myself together, mustered my stamina and ambition and made up my mind this was it. This time the bulb would be screwed into the socket. I was determined.

I steadied myself with my right fingertips on the ceiling and attempted to insert the bulb with the left. And finally doing a slow, methodical but good job of it when my vision blurred from leftover tears from the above Life in Crisis Moment. I just got the bulb threaded into the first twist of the socket, and I was not stopping now. (dammit) Blurred vision or otherwise. (dammit) But I couldn't see. (Leftover mascara pooling and stinging in my eyes didn't help the situation).

I did a guy thing. I attempted to crane my neck such that I wiped my eyes on my arm/shoulder. I'm not proud of this, but there it is.

(You know what's going to happen next so you can stop reading.)

This movement caught me off balance.

Had I just stopped, got down, taken a break right then, everything would have been fine.

But no. I just got the ornery bulb threaded and I wasn't stopping. As I tried to regain my balance, I also tried to quickly finish screwing in the bulb. (Efficiency still paramount in my mind.)

The bulb snapped out of the thread.

Insert slow motion egg scene from Risky Business.

The force threw me backwards and even further off balance. The glass part of the bulb hit the fixture's rod. And shattered. I closed my eyes to avoid the spray of glass.

So much for the emergency action plan.

Even as I was falling I was thinking, "Fall to the right, fall to the right!" But I was hopelessly going very left. Which meant my fall would be broken with my dresser.

As I laid dying, still clutching the fragments of the light bulb, I thought, "Crippled Chick Found Dead in Apartment Clutching Broken Light Bulb." With a subhead of: "This is What Happens When You Don't Follow the Life Path You Were Meant to Take."

What seemed like a long time later, but was actually just a few minutes, I realized I might be bleeding. I felt something weird on the side of my head, just above my ear.

Why is the first inclination and reaction to put your hand to the wound? You know it hurts, you know where it hurts, what is the need we have to touch it?

I brought my hand back around (other hand still holding the broken bulb).

Insert: Hand covered in blood from gaping flesh wound in side of head here. Any slasher movie clip will suffice.

Enter blank screen and tinny muzak while Trillian passes out here.















Hey, is that The Girl from Impanema? I love that song.

Eventually, I came back around. I don't think I was out all that long. But by now I had lost all track of time. Time is meaningless when you've fallen and cut yourself with a broken light bulb.

I am more than just a little squeamish. I'm a lot squeamish. I'm the type to faint or be violently ill at the sight of real blood. Actually, I have to stop typing this now because I am feeling ill.





Okay. Better.

That's how squeamish I am. Something else of which I am not proud, but there it is.

So "dealing with" a gaping flesh wound is not exactly the sort of thing I have a lot of experience in, nor is it something for which I am even remotely versed as to proper treatment.

Water. Water is always good.

Water and towels. Bathroom.

Must. Get. To. Bathroom.

Stand up, feel faint, sit down.

Repeat as necessary on way to bathroom.

Take one look in the mirror (again, why?) and nearly produce another gaping wound from falling in the bathroom.

I know any wound to the head always bleeds a lot. I know this. But how is it a little cut, a tiny little cut from a shard of glass, just above my ear, nothing more than a paper cut, really, can create a scene straight out of Helter Skelter?

Insert another brief Life in Crisis Moment here.

I then got towels and water and soaked the area. Which oddly enough didn't hurt apart from a little stinging.

I amaze myself with my fortitude at that point.

I was right, it really wasn't that bad. Apply pressure. Lots of it. And ice. Yeah. Ice. That's good, right?

Eventually, it did stop bleeding and really, it's such a tiny little cut I can barely find it.

And then I went back in to finish the job. What a gal. What a trooper.

Another rhetorical question: Why is it that after this sort of ordeal, the original task that was causing so much trouble is a piece of cake on the first try after the whole fiasco? It's as if the Universe says, "What was so difficult about that? What was all the fuss? I fail to see the problem. Those honey blonde highlights have gone to your head." and then raises its eyebrows, shakes its Universal head dismissively, picks up its newspaper and walks away.

And you just stand there, "Yeah, but it wouldn't go in so easily before...but...see..."

Huge mess to clean up, though.

We can send men to the moon, a rover to Mars, people to Mars, yet we can't make a shatterproof light bulb? Electronic and glass people, there's a niche here. Build it, they will come.

9:14 AM

 
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