Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm a Packing Loser

Packing is a skill. I'm a packing loser. Regardless of how short or long the trip I'm equally dazed and anxious. First of all I have to decide which suitcase best suits my needs. But what are my needs? This begs other larger life issues so I try not to be too caffeinated at this point or my head starts spinning around like Linda Blair in the "Exorcist." I recently had to pack for an eight day trip to Seattle. How much clothing does eight days require? This question overwhelmed me as I stood in front of my closet. My first reaction was to burst into tears and throw myself on the bed. I resisted and instead stared into the black void of my wardrobe.

Weather is a big factor when packing. Seattle could be hot, cold, rainy, or all three at once. Oy! I reconsidered crying. I decided to start with something simple, underwear. Eight days , eight pairs...unless I went running or worked out, then I needed sixteen. I began flinging them out of the dresser drawer and ran short at 12. In defeat I went back to my closet. One black sweater, four black tops , one black jacket, one blueish black jacket, one strapless black dress, one black dress with sleeves, one pair of black pants, whoops, forgot the black tops for under the jackets, one black mood was getting blacker by the minute. I felt desperate for color. Ah ha, white! I pulled out every white thing in my closet. My bed was piled with possibilities. The trick was to eliminate, eliminate, eliminate! And was it too early for a martini?

Stumped, I considered calling Mom or fashion guru Karen for help, but didn't. I was a grown up and could pack without counsel. I maturely decided to take everything. OMG, I forgot shoes. I madly flung five pairs on the bed. I now had only one suitcase that fit the bill, the GIGANTIC black one! It took sitting and bouncing on it to get it to close. I was sweating and my leg was bleeding but I was determined. Yes, my entire closet was in the suitcase. I was prepared for any event from black tie to climbing Mt. Ranier. The bag was so bulky and heavy that it nearly snapped my wrist when it flipped over as I pulled it.

I wore two things in eight days and am considering seeing a therapist about packing anxiety.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Flunked Public Transportation

I am bad at public transportation. In the city I walk , drive or take a cab. When my friend Sandy mentioned how easy it was to get around by bus or train all I heard was "blah, blah, blah, blah." I practically stamped my foot and said "you can't make me." "TAXI!" is one of my favorite words - except they are getting pricey and I'm cheap. One Friday night in a moment of financial panic and feeling uncharacteristically reckless I decided to take the bus to meet friends for dinner. I thought it would be frugal, fun and fantastical to use the handy bus pass Sandy bought me. He went so far as to demonstrate how to put the card in the machine when you get on the bus. What was I, a dope? I think I dozed off . "Whatever," I finally muttered in recognition of his "show and tell" moment.

I was all dressed up and sweating in my cute little black dress as I stood in the heat waiting for the Michigan Avenue bus. I longed for my air conditioned car because all I could think about was how much it would cost to get the dress cleaned. I clutched my plastic pass ready to simply slip it into the machine when I got on the bus. "Easy as pie" I thought as the metal box sucked it in. I waited for it to come back....and waited.....and waited.

"Excuse me , Ma'am, I said to the driver, my card didn't come back."

"That's because you put it in the wrong slot. It's not comin' back."

"But, but, that card had $18.00 left on it." I might have sobbed or swooned; I can't remember.

"Not any more, that card is gone. "

I stared at her in disbelief. I was taking the most expensive bus ride in the history of Michigan Avenue.

"Well how much does it cost to get back later?" I whispered as I felt feverish and desperately in need of two martinis.

"Here's a pass , this will get you home." She must have realized I was dazed and confused and didn't want to call for medical back-up.

I was devastated to say nothing of the $$$ I was out. I flunked public transportation. Shoulders stooped I slunk down into a seat. I peeked around to see how many people had witnessed my stupidity. Thankfully no one was snickering or telling their children, "that's what you get for not paying attention to what you're doing." I know I learned a lesson.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Hot", Not "Formerly Hot" For Me

 Now I've heard everything. Women in their 30s and 40s are lamenting their new status as "formerly hot." Bummer girlies but you ain't seen nothin' yet. Author Stephanie Dolgoff in her book "My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches From Just the Other Side of Young" declares that women in their late 30s and early 40s fall into a new category: adult 'tweens, not quite middle-aged, but no longer reckless, restless, or gravity defying." Their new title is: "Formerlies. " Give me a moment to weep for these poor creatures. Boo hoo. Now Stephanie, get a freaking grip. Be hot as long as you can. Squeeze yourself into your "formerly" clothes because menopause is lurking and then you'll be formenting not lamenting. Trust me you'll never get those outfits on again. Better yet, let's trade places - I'll be 40 and you can officially be menopausal me. What fun. Maybe you'll be less confused about what is appropriate to wear or what shoes to buy. I'll trade your Dolce and Gabanna dress and uncomfortable Jimmy Choos for my comfy flats and baggy gym shorts. Happier?

I don't get it. I'd happily take back 40 with my dewey complexion, uncolored hair, and sex drive. Hey "formerlies" wait for the day sex moves from the top of the "to do" list to after taking out the garbage and re-tiling the bathroom floor. According to the girls it's a big relief not to be ogled by strange men on the street. Hello! Someone please ogle me. Just one teenie tiny ogle would make my day. I remember the time construction workers turned their heads in unison when I walked by. Now I turn and stare at them and in their eyes I'm "Nana."

Who wants to be a "formerly?" I don't ever admit my age no less give myself a title. I love cute little dresses and skinny jeans. Is there really an over 30 dress code? I don't think so. I adore high heels and they come in handy standing on a chair changing the batteries to the smoke alarm. I haven't tried re-tiling in them yet. I'm back to the brown hair of my youth and think it looks fab regardless of the endless trips to cover my gray roots. I never care if "below the knee" skirts are in; I like short. Call me crazy or delusional. I'll take delusional over "formerly" any day. And Stephanie, call me for a reality check.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Plane Ride to New York or It's Faster to Drive

"We're running low on fuel and will be landing at Kennedy instead of LaGuardia," the pilot announced. Excuse me!? I was packing up the $24.00 worth of magazines I bought for the ride from Chicago to New York thinking we were almost at our destination. I was wrong. Yes, $24.00 and yes I had buyer's remorse 3 pages into this week's "People." But more to the point "We're running out of what?!" Who says that even if it is true? I thought I was on American Airlines not "Air Holy Crap!" Shouldn't that be the bubble over the pilot's head and not a public service announcement? I believe in conserving gas also but at sea level not 32,000 feet. Was this part of the economic recovery package? I pinched myself to see if I was dreaming. Damn, I was awake.

"Right after we fuel up at Kennedy we'll hopefully be leaving for La Guardia," the pilot said as we started to descend. "Hopefully," as in maybe we won't be leaving? Meanwhile across the aisle a man was having cardiac problems and using the oxygen mask that never comes down except in the pre-flight demonstration. My head was spinning; we were low on fuel and a man was in cardiac arrest. I love New York. The minute we landed paramedics rushed on to the plane to take away my aisle mate. "Good luck little buddy." The passengers however, were growing restless and wanted off. I heard folks bitching and moaning all around me. They must have come to my conclusion; it was faster to walk to Manhattan than wait for fuel and the flight back to LaGuardia. Everyone with carry on luggage fled. I had checked my bag. I vowed to never "check" again but in the meantime I was trapped and sober.

"Ladies and gentleman , the pilot was back on the speaker system, we need to consider re-balancing the aircraft because so many passengers disembarked." I never took physics so imagine my imagination. The plane would take off titlted to the right unless me and the 12 other folks who were left played musical seats. I think I briefly lost consciousness.

Self rightousely I announced to the flight attendant I needed a drink, a free drink. The airlines may have taken my sanity but they were not taking my money. I think she needed a cocktail also as she happily broke out the wine. I scarfed down as many glasses as I could on the 13 minute flight to LaGaurdia. Time was not on my side, but I'm a competitor. Uh oh the plane was tipping - or was that me? As I walked off when we arrived I stared at the pilot who scared the bejesus out of me. Next time I'm driving.