Connections

I know everything is connected, but sometimes things feel more connected than usual.  For instance, I haven’t really written very many posts here, yet it seems like in the last couple of weeks, there could be connected updates to nearly every one of them.

Let’s see…

Because I wrote about my Oscars search, a Very Important Reader found the entire show for me and now I’ve seen it! Kathryn Bigelow!  Hurt Locker!  I noticed that the guy who won the Oscar for writing Precious BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘PUSH’ BY SAPPHIRE  was an actor I used once.

I thought it was particularly funny that when they panned to Sandra Bullock in the very beginning of the show, they said “Can that woman act – and what is up with all that Hitler memorabilia?” since the broadcast was before the subsequent gossip.  Anyway, I do feel complete now, having finally seen the show.  Plus I was able to read and discard all the old magazines that covered the event.  My living room and I both thank Very Important Reader.

Another update…way back in January when I was in Los Angeles with Awesome Photographer and we did that drive, we went so fast that the number 9 came off my watch.  I know that seems impossible, but I’m convinced it had to do with the extreme speed and the crazy switchbacks we navigated.  When we got back, I brought it into Tourneau, who sent it off to Switzerland to be fixed.  As you can probably guess if you read the previous post, I was really on the fence about fixing it.

If I didn’t, would that mean the loveless spell would be broken?  Ultimately I decided that I couldn’t not fix it.  If the curse was to be lifted, it would have to be by something beyond my control.  Several months and over a thousand dollars later, the watch was ready to be picked up this past week.

In between those two events, the person about whom the Lincoln, NE post was written, snuck back into my life.  I was, of course, initially wary and not sure that his reappearance was a good idea, but being the ever-optimistic Sagittarian, whatever doubts I had were ignored.  We were, finally, going to spend this past weekend together.  Were.  I picked up the watch on Thursday and on Friday, Lincoln wrote me a form-letter-like email canceling.  The very day we were supposed to go.

Damn watch.

I can’t stop wondering why it is that I am hyper-conscious of connections to these arbitrary events in my life and yet I am terrible about keeping connected to the more important things around me?

My friend Kate died this week.  She was young and had two daughters.  It was not unexpected, but in some ways, that makes it more tragic.

One time when we were riding the subway, long before 9/11, she told me that whenever she gets on a train, she does a quick look-around and mentally picks out who will be her friend in the event something disastrous happened.  I laughed and looked around the car.

“Who would be your friend on this train?” I asked.

She looked at me and just shook her head.

“Um, you.  You would be my friend.”

Kate was awesome.  And it turns out I was a terrible friend.  I was her friend on that train ride.  I just didn’t go the distance.  I let time and geography and excuses get in the way.

I could say that this was a wake-up call and I’ll always appreciate what and who is around me, but that wouldn’t be true.  It’s sad, but it’s more likely I’ll post some link on Twitter than pick up the phone to speak to a friend.

But if disaster ever does befall me when I’m on the subway, at least I know I have a plan.

Working Girl

I’ve been thinking lately that I work too much.  Way too much.  Even the job title itself seems pack mule-ish:  Producer.

For years I worked on staff at various ad agencies and lived and breathed each production. Freelancing, it’s even worse.  I’m always thinking that whatever project I’m working on will be my last, so I never let myself take days off or have a proper vacation.  And, I never say no.   I have to work while I have it, I think.  And it turns out, I always have it.  (Must knock on wood!  Can’t jinx it!)

Financially, it’s great.  Life-wise, I’m not so sure.  I actually love what I do, so it’s not a drag, but there comes a point, when I’m putting in yet another hour, that I have to wonder if all this is worth it.   I used to joke that when I died, my epitaph would be “She had a great reel,” but these days those five words don’t seem so funny.  Even loving what you do, how much work is just too much?

A few years ago I was going through a particularly rough time and a friend recommended I go to a psychic she knew.  I managed to remain tear-free long enough one cold winter’s day to do it.  The guy was amazing.  He told me a lot of stuff about my past that was completely accurate and I had no doubt that he was for real.

Yay!  I was excited to hear what he’d have to say about my future.  Things would have to get better.  And then he pulled the rug out.   “You will never worry about money.  Ever.  But you will never find love.”

What?!  How could he say that?  Even if that were true, didn’t he want repeat business?  Who would ever go back to him after hearing something like that?  I was in a fragile state as it was, but this news just made me crumble.

He continued.  “Oh, don’t let that bother you; you can always buy a bauble to distract yourself.”  Whoa.

As soon as I left his place, I burst into tears.  And two seconds later, I hailed a cab up to Tourneau and bought myself a watch I had been stalking for months.  And he was right; it did make me feel better.  Sort of.  It’s the perfect watch – so beautiful, so simple and I love its weight on my wrist.  But I look at my watch a million times every day and there is at least a quarter of a million times every day that my heart stings a little.

Constantly working allowed me to buy the thing that was supposed to distract me from the fact that I didn’t have anything in my life really worthwhile outside of work?  Hmmm.

This wasn’t the life that I was supposed to have.

When I was four, I went to day camp.  Being a Montessori run one, it was pretty cool.  One time, right before Parent’s Day, they gave us each a large piece of wallpaper and some pen and ink and had us draw what we wanted to be when we grew up.  It was a pretty advanced art project for a bunch of four year olds.

On Parent’s Day, they laid out all the pictures with our names covered up.  There were probably 20 or so paintings on the ground.  There were firemen and ballerinas.  Astronauts and police officers.  Baseball players and office workers.  There was a lot to look at.  My mom asked me which was mine, but I refused to tell her.

“Which one do you like best?” I asked.  She tried to tell me numerous times that they were all great, but I was having none of it.  “Which one do you like best?”

She knew there was no way out and pointed to one.  “I love this, but I’m not sure I understand it.”

“Wait, you knew it was mine!” I said.  But I realized she couldn’t have.

“I love it,” she repeated. “But can you explain it?  What do you want to be when you grow up?”

I remember thinking that was such a stupid question.  She was looking right at it. It was a girl, outside,  holding  flowers.  How could she not tell?

She asked again.  “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  This time I answered.

“Happy.”

She still has it framed in her bedroom.

The older I get, the more I want to find a way to reconcile the workaholic me with the four year old me.  But, I don’t know know, maybe, just maybe, I’m not as far off as I think.  My work does make me happy, so perhaps I should aim for just a little less happiness in my life.  You know, get a bit more balance.

I’m going to make that painting my desktop image – as a reminder.  Hey, it’s a start.

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