Thursday, August 31, 2006

Kids Say the Darnedest Things

We're trying to plan a Thanksgiving trip to Colorado with my aunt, uncle, and their two young children. So last night, I call Uncle and to my delight get cousin Anders (age 10) on the line.

HomeValley: Hey buddy! How's it going?

Anders: Good! I started school on Monday.

HV: Well, that's cool. How's your teacher?

A: She's really nice.

HV: Is she older? Younger?

A: Probably, like, middle-aged. You know, like... 25.

HV: [laughs uproariously] You know I love you, buddy, but the next time I see you, I'm going to have to rough you up.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Turbo Prop, She is Hardy

I hate to fly.

There, I said it.

I love to travel, but I hate to fly. Thus, flying is a necessary evil. I took my job because I love to travel. But I still hate to fly. Hate. To. Fly. To sum up: HATE.

Typically, I can stomach the bigger jets. Or, just, you know, ANY jet. But there ain’t many jets that will take you to Syracuse, y’all.

Behold – the Turbo Prop.

Just the word “prop” is enough to invoke fear in the heart of this jittery air traveler. We used “props” in my high school musical performances (shut up.). We totally used fake suitcases that no one cared about for one particularly rollicking song on a train in The Music Man. So, as my example flawlessly illustrates, prop = fake.

The Prop plane that just pulled into Gate F 20 at Philadelphia International to transport me to Syracuse has two propellers. Two. Propellers. It is too tiny to warrant a jet way, so any minute now I will be shuffled out a doorway, placed onto the tarmac, and begin trekking to the door of the plane. There is always a lovely flight attendant on hand to welcome me aboard. Typically she says, “Sit anywhere after Row 4.” Yes, my 134-pound ass needs to move to the back to level out. The. Weight. Of. The. Plane.

It just puts my soul at ease.


Driving on I-76 to the airport this morning, I hold J’s hand firmly in mine. We don’t say much at 5:55 AM, but for once I am not grumpy. It’s a nice change. I am, however, acutely anxious. We listen to the new Ray LaMontagne CD and my eyes dart from side to side. “Pretty foggy this morning,” I start.

“That doesn’t have anything to do with how planes take off. They don’t take off based on what pilots can see.”


“Then how come planes sometimes can’t land in a fog?”

J says nothing.

The irony is I have been welcomed into a family of flight-lovers. J’s dad is a commercial airline pilot. Last week, he flew to Bangkok and possibly Uzbekistan. I know! J also loooooooovvvveeess to be airborne and has taken flight lessons; even flown a plane or two (he’s badass, ladies). So naturally, I expect J’s dad to assuage all of my in-flight fears. At dinner last night, I bemoaned the prop plane trips I frequently take.

“Well, the prop plane is really like any jet,” Dad of J assures me. “It’s just… Hardy.”

And then later, in flight…

They actually just canceled the beverage service on my tiny “plane” - the one beacon of light, the single ray of hope – as “it will be quite bumpy,” and they don’t want the lovely flight attendant to be injured while serving me my diet coke and miniature bag of pretzels.

Save my Jeebus!

And back on earth…

I live to write another post. Do you think my general practitioner prescribes valium?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Burma or Bust

J and I are in the early stages of planning our next big trip. In late May – early June, we explored Greece (plus one night in Paris). Some day soon I will begin to write about how insanely wonderful Greece was, from the Acropolis in Athens, to the small island beaches of Naxos, to the delicious octopus and cheap wine I consumed each night, to the spectacularly beautiful (and likely indescribable) Santorini, the island formed from a volcanic eruption (And J and I stood next to the mouth of that volcano! We are awesome and fearless.), to the whirlwind adventure of Paris in one night (seriously, you haven’t lived until you’ve trekked from the Invalides, to the Eiffel Tower, to the Champs d’Elysees - or in J-Speak, The Avenue of Champs -, to the Arc de Triomphe, to the opera house, to the Louvre in like, 3 hours. I am not kidding. That is one intense 9 mile loop, kids.).

* Have just drifted into a Greece-induced dream state, and will likely begin the process of depicting our journey tomorrow, because it was just that awe-inspiring and fantastical and fucking wondrous.


Our next ambitious trip may be Thailand, which I hesitate to talk about because 1.We are not totally sure we can go at the appropriate time (i.e. not in typhoon season); and 2. We are not completely confident we can afford it until we gather how much it will actually cost.

And also: 3. We really need someone to tell us where not to go. Yesterday J sat intently reading the travel guide we purchased this weekend, and matter-of-factly suggested we skip Bangkok, head to Chiang Mai, and then perhaps country-hop to Burma or Laos.

“Sounds great!” I say, but I usually smile and think everything is awesome and wonderful. I am useless in trip-planning in this respect. I also take helpful notes where I transcribe things like, “Bangkok = crazy sex trade” and “Must remember to tell J not to point feet towards Buddha in temple.” All the important things.

J continues reading. “Hmm,” he says, “Maybe we won’t visit Burma (or Myanmar).” He reads aloud from the book, depicting a border conflict that can intensify and result in HomeValley and J getting hit by pieces of shrapnel or other weaponry.

“Fun!” I assert. Thailand is going to be an amazing adventure and I love it already.

Later that evening, we continue to peruse the handy travel guide. “Hey!” I perk up. “Do we need any, like, vaccinations?”

“Hmm,” J scans the pages seriously. “Only diphtheria (got it), tetanus (have it), hepatitis A and B (hmm...), measles/mumps/rubella (MMR – money), polio (I guess?), typhoid, and varicella (WTF?)."

“Awww, honey,” I say. “We can get our vaccinations together!”

Who wouldn’t want to visit Thailand with this girl?

How to Win Friends and Frighten the Ladies

Last week, in the Springhill Suites in Peabody, Massachusetts, I ran my first full four miles in forty minutes. I tried to be blasé about it, but when I finally turned off the treadmill, a kindly older man remarked, “I think you wore out the machine!”

“I know!” I boasted merrily. “My first four miles!”

When you travel a lot of the time, you make friends where you can. It gets lonely on the open road. The man and I chatted for some time, discussing our businesses, our residences, my intense marathon training schedule (No, really).

At some point a random, lurking man had entered. I had seen Random Man in the elevator the evening before, after I had gone for a long run and subsequently raided the makeshift kitchen by the hotel’s lobby. Armed with a frozen dinner, microwave popcorn, granola bars, and sodas, I greeted Random Man (as you do), and sheepishly looked at the food in my hands. “Dinner,” I said. And then I bid him good night as I headed towards my room.

So Random Man lurks in the gym now, and slips himself into the conversation just as I am saying goodbye to Kindly Older Man and making to leave.

“So you’re from what part of Philly?” He asks.

“Um, just south of the city, actually,” I offer. I grasp the door handle.

“Wait – um, so… My brother lives in Philly.” He asserts.

“Cool. What part?” I ask politely, if slightly impatiently.

“Hmm. The suburbs, I think.”

I get the door open. Kindly Older Man slips out. “Well, great, so have a good - ”

“Uh – wait!” Random, suddenly Nervous Man, commands me. “You were the girl I saw in the elevator last night?”


“Yes, that was me,” I assure him.

“So... Are you going to eat another frozen dinner tonight?”

Ah, the awkward segue.

“Yeah,” I say cheerily. “Love those Lean Cuisines!” (What the fuck am I doing?)

“Well, um, because I was thinking, maybe we could grab a bite to eat?” From Random to Nervous to Earnest.

“Oh,” I say, smiling kindly as I prepare to offer an oft used cliché for letting a dude down gently: “I don’t think so. I have to get up super early tomorrow. But thanks.” I smile again sympathetically (because I’m kind of an asshole), and turn to leave.

Oh, but we’re not done yet.

“Oh man, me too! I mean, I have to get up really early too. We don’t have to make it a late night.”

“Um, I don’t - ”

“Seriously, I’ll just work out here, then get showered, then we can go.”

From Random to Nervous to Earnest to Creepy. Time for the big guns.

“Yes, thank you, but I really have some work to do upstairs, plus I have to call my BOYFRIEND. But thanks.”

He is unfazed. “Are you sure? Because - ”

“Yes. But thanks.” Finally, confident that I have sufficiently thanked him for the offer, I remove myself from the gym and retreat to my room, though not before grabbing one of those delicious Lean Cuisines and marveling that life on the road certainly has its perils.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The one with all the lameness.

I only wish I had some pearls of wisdom to wax poetic about this afternoon, faithful readers, but alas, my weekend was loooong and muuuuuundane and at times quite painful.

I am suddenly this really lame yet completely lovable girl who misses her boyfriend terribly when he goes away for debauchery-filled bachelor party weekends.

And I did have good intentions for my alone time, and even created a list, y'all, of things I planned to do. Here is what I accomplished:

  • Got yelled at by irate cab driver who was horribly resentful that I forced him to drive to Queens.
  • Yelled back.
  • Did not tip cab driver and slammed door with all my force as I struggled to get my bags out of cab before he took off, tires screeching.
  • Apologized to boss, who was still on the other end of my cell, amused at the exchange.
  • Muttered, "I fucking hate New York."
  • Consumed 1.2 bottles of pinot noir.
  • Danced around gloriously messy apartment to Beyonce's "Deja vu."
  • Visited picturesque Astoria Park twice and ran (a bit) and hiked (a lot).
  • Got much-needed pedicure, complete with bright red toenails.
  • Ordered prints from Greece.
  • Neglected to pick up prints from Greece.
  • Ate three bites of delicious, low-fat mint chocolate chip ice cream.
  • In drunken stupor, placed ice cream in fridge overnight.
  • Refroze ice cream. Bad idea.
  • Shopped in SoHo.
  • Saw Little Miss Sunshine, and awwww.
  • Slept with cell phone clasped in hand.
  • Whined something fierce when J called at 1:30 AM on Friday night.
  • Answered trivia questions about J at 1:30 AM on Saturday night when friend of J called from bachelor party.
  • Got two out of three trivia questions wrong.
  • Watched four episodes of Sex and the City. Contemplated titling this post: "I couldn't help but wonder..."
  • Realized that I need to see boyfriend, at very least, once per week. Discovered going without could potentially bring out psycho hose beast within me.
  • Watched a reprehensible woman and her absurdly repugnant mother plan a wedding on Bridezillas. I'll never get that hour back.
  • Teleconferenced with Allie during Teen Choice Awards.
  • Had mixed feelings about K-Fed performance. Have definitely gone insane.

I remain hopeful that the upcoming week, and weekend, will restore my fabulousness and stimulate the creative juices. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I gotta know right now.

I just adore my boyfriend J. He's kind and caring and supportive and totally AWESOME. He didn't even make fun of me last Sunday evening when I tearfully recounted the Tale of the Wide-Eyed Boy at the Theater, a young lad of about twelve or thirteen who was completely excited about meeting the cast of Beauty and the Beast, and whom I looked at and felt my heart swell, for surely this child was special and kind and was probably picked on mercilessly at school. And I cried for this boy on Sunday night, like some sort of PMSing psycho hose beast. But J just nodded and listened and understood, and promised that our future son would never be bullied, even if he ended up taking ballet lessons or being completely into musical theater. You see? He humors me and makes me feel better. And he brings me flowers for no reason. And he cleans my apartment. And he doesn't yell when I break or spill things. I really couldn't ask for more.

So J and I always talk about THE FUTURE. In THE FUTURE we will live together, and get married, and have completely successful careers, and then we will have babies and drive minivans and be infinitely happy forever and ever and dance on our piles of money. Not even necessarily in that order (kidding, Mom!). We're not in a real rush, even though someone (friends, family, coworkers) inquires at least once a day if I am engaged? Or when do I think I'll be engaged? And it will be before Christmas, right? And when do I expect we'll start trying to have HomeValley and J juniors???


To sum up, I love J. And relax, everyone. It will happen. In THE FUTURE. Though I dare say, I think my darling sweetest sweetheart does have some causes for concern about the Imminent Move In Date to be Discussed in Another Post, most of which were brought to light this evening in a forty-minute telephone conversation:

Me: I haven't been feeling that great this week.

J: Oh no? Should I pretend I am you for a second? [Mimics HV voice]: That's it! We are making you a doctor's appointment this instant! Those symptoms are not normal!

Conclusions: I am a hypochondriac.

Me: I actually ate too much yesterday, alone in my hotel room with the minibar.

J: Oh man, you are totally going to be one of those wives who sits around all day and eats bon-bons [laughs].

Me: [seethes because I hate that stereotype that seemingly has no basis in reality] Of course, but when you get home from a long day at the office, I'll make sure I have your ice cold beer ready, and dinner on the table. No - we'll actually eat dinner in front of the television and only grunt at each other.

J: Yeah, well, we'll have to regulate the bad TV you watch.

Conclusions: I am extremely lazy. And watch too much Bridezillas and What Not to Wear.

J: Aw, babe, I do want to take care of you for the rest of my life, and it's great that we can split the tasks, you know? Well, except the sewing. And the ironing. And the... [trails off].

Conclusions: Should you think otherwise, he is busy listing skills I have never acquired.

Perhaps J should do some sort of Pro/Con list before making the leap? I advised him to sleep on it, and give me an answer in the morning.

P.S. The only I thing I do before 8 AM is obsessively edit blog entries and post them, or perhaps run. I may also answer a call from J, but then I truly only grunt at him. But I will not - no, cannot -answer calls from coworkers pre-shower. Why are they blowing up my phone?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Separated at birth?

You know, I was considering making my "Suckage" lists a regular weekly feature on the site. Like, next week's would probably include a brief description of how I single-handedly managed to get oil in THREE spots on my fabulous new Express Editor Pants last night, when I didn't even eat anything with oil. However, earlier this afternoon, I was driving my rental car out of a parking garage in Government Center, anxiously attempting to make my way through the ticket booth. I realized I had been waiting an awfully long time for the car ahead to move. Waiting. And Waiting. WAITING. Finally, one enormous asshole emerged from the passenger side, and asked: well, like, is there an ATM in here? I hate you, Parking Garage Girl. And so I waited while this asshat went to find cash. And I then I decided that I will never suck as much as this girl. Ever. And also, last night at dinner, some people in my company decided I look like Anna Kournikova, and when I came down to a meeting this morning, all fresh-faced adorned with ONE HUGE PIMPLE, someone actually said, "Hey Anna!" So really I am pretty awesome, and thus, don't suck. Ya know?

This evening my New England tour has moved just 15 miles north of Boston, to Peabody, Mass. I'm debating if I plan on leaving my hotel room tonight. I've got a ton of work to catch up on, y'all.

And though I have concluded I am pretty awesome in real life; in the blogosphere, I am actually quite needy. So while I know some people actually do read this site, and then are kind enough to email me about it, or mention something I wrote in conversation: don't be scared to post a comment. No really. I welcome feedback. Seriously. You can post anonymously too, for example: HomeValley, I know you and therefore can tell you, you don't look a fucking thing like Anna K. And then I will reply something like: Thank you for your comment; but, agree to disagree? You see how much fun that was??

Finally, friends, I will be home all by myself this weekend in NYC (we need to reconnect, she and I), so I promise I will write completely wicked witty posts that are guffaw outloud FLIPPING* hilarious and, you know, have actually topics. So check back, gentle readers.

*Edited for 1st grade class.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Some examples of my suckage this evening:

  1. In my cranky state, I actually tried to pregame for a work function, but couldn't manage to open the $20 bottle of merlot in the minibar.
  2. I took a twenty minute shower despite running twenty minutes behind schedule (stupid wine bottle!) and while standing idly in said shower I sang Nick Lachey's "What's left of me."
  3. I did a fucking horrific job of popping my pimple. It became only slightly less pronounced but developed a halo of BRIGHT RED around the small mound of suckage.
  4. When I tried to cover it up, I realized I forgot my stupid bronzer.
  5. I also forgot hairspray.
  6. The front desk wouldn't bring me any.
  7. In the absence of bronzer, I tried to cover up my fucking BRIGHT RED zit with foundation and lots and lots of white powder.
  8. I resembled a BIG WHITE ghost, with a BRIGHT RED fucking pimple adorning its chin.
  9. I made eye contact with, and then promptly ignored, a Senior VP in the hotel lobby.
  10. My boss ignored my phone call for directions to the restaurant.
  11. I was fifteen minutes late for dinner because I stopped at a CVS on Hanover Street to purchase bronzer and hairspray.
  12. I thought about the suckage list I would compose on this blog while I waited in line at CVS.

To bed with me.

Why "Beantown?"

Grrr.... Boston. I used to think I had good Boston karma, as I interviewed for my current job in this fine city, and by "interview" I mean drank beers, watched the Sox win the World Series, emerged from Joe's Pub triumphant (and like, I don't care about the Sox), trekked to Fenway in stilettos, ducked into a Mexican restaurant to avoid would-be exuberant rioters, and drank margaritas til 2 AM. The next morning, I actually had to buy fancy sneakers at a local boutique, as I was completely hobbled from the walk. But I got that job, yo.

And that job has brought me once again to Beantown, as they say, and I am cranky. Lugging my bags from South Station to my fancy hotel this afternoon, I got the distinct feeling that people were just milling about, with no fucking sense of purpose. Stark contrast to New York, where you can be mowed down by a biker or a businessman on a mission at any given moment. I have been trying to be effective and get some work done before an event tonight, but really I keep tapping into the minibar (just the popcorn and soda, y'all, at least until 5 PM) and popping the large pimple on the left side of my chin (yes: pop, apply antibacterial ointment, repeat). Ugh.

And so it is 4 PM, and since I have been awake and on the move since 5:20, I have surrendered to Oprah (20th anniversary DVD - eeeeee!!!) and the overwhelming desire to blog and share. Did I tell you that my darling sis came to visit this weekend? Lovely Cat, J, and I traipsed around Manhattan, from Central Park to Radio City to Tiffany's (eeeee!). We said goodbye to J when we reached Times Square and the theater; we saw Beauty and the Beast and I became characteristically overstimulated and sang songs throughout intermission. Cat says the kid next to me stared as if I was crazy the entire time. Naturally.

The next morning, J and I gave C the tour of downtown Manhattan. She was silent throughout; I suppose Wall Street is not very exciting when you're twelve. She finally spoke again when we emerged from the Holland Tunnel.

"OH NO!" She cried.

"What's wrong, Cat?"

"We're in Jersey. (Sigh.)"

I suppose I should make myself presentable and figure out where the hell I'm supposed to be tonight. Ah, the life of an international pop icon.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I heart the First Amendment!

I hate to be an alarmist, but my profile views jumped from 32 to 55 just two hours after my last entry. I told you.

I know Pop Star and Allie will remember this, but recall the show The State on MTV (1993 - 1995ish)? The old skit, a young student is sitting in a classroom and muses, "So let's say, you know, I happen to say, hypothetically, I don't know - I'm going to shoot the presiden--" and then suddenly ten secret service men pop out of nowhere, tackle the guy, and cart him off to his inevitable doom??

Err - let's stick to inane pop culture references and stories about my hearty appetite, shall we?

P.S. I couldn't find the skit for you on You Tube (coincidence??), so let's watch this one:

"Mother of Satan?"

WTF, terrorists?

When things go on high alert around these parts, I tune out. I heard Diane Sawyer talking about some explosive cherry-red cocktail this morning called "Mother of Satan" (apt), but I couldn't be bothered to pay attention. Just so long as I can still bring a book in my carry-on luggage, we're okay. And yeah, just as long as no planes explode mid-flight over the Atlantic. All this talk of terrorist plots and mass murder on an incomprehensible scale is heart-warming, no?

To see or not to see World Trade Center; that is the question. Any thoughts on this? I'm leaning towards not going. I think I'm in the "too soon" camp. I also have conspiracy theories about Oliver Stone and GWB working together on the film to drum up support for the war in Iraq, but you know, I am sure Big Brother has tabs on "Queens is the New Manhattan" (I have like, 32 profile views, y'all), so I won't elaborate.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Now that we're friends, I think you should know something about me.

I am a glutton.

I am a monster when it comes to food. I eat and eat and eat, and then I eat some more. Gee still tells people about the time we went to "What's the Scoop?" and I ordered the PIGGY special; a concoction consisting of about a ton of ice cream. I devoured the entire enormous bowl ravenously, barely working up a sweat. What's worse: I was about twelve at the time.

Blessedly, my metabolism is able to keep up with my voracious appetite. My weight hasn't fluctuated much since high school, though some days I eat enough to feed a small third world country. Just this Sunday, gentle readers, I went to the requisite family dinner and scarfed down two heaping plates of spaghetti, rigatoni, and meatballs; immediately followed that up by snacking on cheese and crackers and bagel chips; shortly therafter had a mild panic attack when I realized we were leaving and would thus miss the ice cream cake; but was gratefully appeased when Aunt Gina allowed me to dig into her famed chocolate roll cake. Oh, then I made J stop for water ice on the way home. I'm not kidding.

And my God - as we watched the Birds' starters drive impressively down the field on Sunday evening (but WTF, Garcia?), I ate cookies and guzzled diet Dr. Pepper (oh by the way, I am that girl, the one you catch in the drive-through at McDonald's ordering a two-cheeseburger meal and an apple pie, and um, yes, a small diet coke...).

But today, friends; today I frightened myself. I flew to Syracuse this morning and decided I'd just pop off to Dunkin Donuts before hitting the office. I'll just grab a bagel, I think. But wouldn't it be nice to surprise my team with doughnuts?

And what would it hurt to eat that everything bagel with vegetable cream cheese, and then maybe that one vanilla creme donut. And maybe that first, second, third slice of mushroom and green pepper pizza. And just maybe that frozen Snickers bar that Bob has so thoughtfully presented to me.

When it comes to food, I'm addicted like Mel Gibson. Suddenly I am one double cheeseburger away from yelling anti-Semitic remarks at the cop who pulls me over for reckless driving; I'm not drunk, I'm just furiously scarfing down french fries.

It needs to stop, preferably before J organizes the intervention.

I finally figured out how to create a title for each post.

And it only took two months.

Monday, August 07, 2006


A dear friend of mine is going through a break-up. I feel for her. She's spending time with friends and reading "The Bible" (see: He's Just Not That Into You). She's trying to be strong. We're all rooting for her.

I've been there.

At times, it's fucking maddening. It hurts so much that you're not sure you can can go on in the wake of the gut-wrenching pain, the sudden and shocking waves of grief that rush over you when you hear his name, or breathe in the smell of him unexpectedly in a department store, or lay in bed at night, quietly weeping, as Delilah is dedicating Journey's "Open Arms" on your local soft rock station.

And shame on you, Bob Barrett, for putting me through this palpable heartache at the tender age of sixteen, when I actually had to skip school to mourn the loss of our three month relationship, by the end of which we'd spent approximately six evenings together. I watched a break-up special on MTV that day and believed that God was mocking me. I sobbed bitterly for hours, lamenting the loss of my first love, cursing myself for ever having fallen for him in the first place.

Until he called a few days later. It had all been a mistake; he loved me, after all! I was whole again! I could breathe!

Until he broke up with me unceremoniously again one month later. Cue "One Last Cry" by Brian McKnight, Delilah.

Yes, it was an unfortunate pattern.

But less than a year after our first meeting, I finally got fed up with the pattern. BB was a cad, and when he acted grotesquely one evening at a friend's house, I pulled myself together, went outside, and sat down on the pavement. I cradled my head in my hands and sat there, breathing in and out. One of BB's nicer friends came to my side a few moments later. "Aw, don't cry. He's just an asshole."

"I'm not crying," I said. I looked up at him and smiled. "I'm fine."

I left that night hopeful. It was as if every trace of feeling for Bob had been erased. I was a clean slate. I had loved and lost and come out stronger on the other side. I was a cliche, of course, but I didn't mind. I was empowered.

I wish I could say that was the last time I let a mean boy get the best of me. It wasn't. I made more mistakes, missed opportunities, and betrayed my best interests occasionally. I am not proud. But it is true that I am stronger; I am better for having gone through all the bullshit. The single most liberating experience of my life was to cut my losses in an awful coupling and move back to New York. And then it's true what they say: love eventually finds you when you're not looking, when you find yourself happy and content and wonderfully single and spectacular. When you are a whole person.

I read once that perhaps you never get over your first love, that first heartache; that maybe you just learn to live with it. I don't buy it. I think it's damn hard work to feel the pain, allow for those waves of grief until they become less frequent, and then shake it off like Mariah Carey and get on with it. Get on with life. Open yourself up to new experiences. Date. Watch a romantic comedy or two and believe that it sometimes does happen like in the movies. Get a haircut. Join a gym. Read a book. Peruse Dr. Phil's website for advice. Travel. Call friends. Dance at Goon's through 2 AM, until Antonio comes over to interrupt the story you were telling.

And because I am so cliche-happy today, dear friend who will remain nameless, remember: This too shall pass. Superfox.

Note: I wasted an hour trying to get a photo of Robbie Hart on this post. Blogger hates me. Just picture him singing his song to Linda ("listening to The Cure a lot..."). Awesome.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

"Do you know where... the toilets are?"

Monday night, against my better judgment, I attended an industry networking event. Ahem, excuse me, this was "not a networking event!" It was an exercise in "community-building!"

Enter HomeValley. I've just trekked to the corner of 9th Avenue and Hell from Chelsea. I'm covered in a fresh layer of sweat, my feet are swollen and aching in my stilettos, and I can't get to the cash bar fast enough. I throw down eight dollars for a vodka and soda in a dixie cup, and make my way into the dimly lit room to commence building community.

I've convinced Pop Star to meet me for a quick drink before his date this evening, but I am not expecting him for another fifteen minutes, which is, in fact, eternity in this non-networking purgatory. I glance around and attempt to look friendly.

A minute passes. I make eye contact with a young woman wearing a black feather boa. She introduces herself to me as the host of the event. "Is this your first party?" She bubbles. I confirm this with a bright smile. "A virgin!" She exclaims. "That's great! I'm hear to make sure everyone is having a great time and to help you meet people!" Suddenly, she grabs a frightened-looking young man, squints to read his name tag, and introduces him to me.

"So you two can chat," she says. With a flip of her boa, she disappears.

"Hi." I smile. "Is this your first time?"

"Uh, no. I went to an event last week."


Awkward glance around room.

"So," I begin again. "What do you do?"

"Uh, financial reporting."

"Great! That sounds exciting!"



Awkward glance around room.

"Um, where's your office?" I ask.

I barely listen to his response. I am busy compiling a list of things I'd rather be doing than having this conversation. Gynecological exam. Root canal. Gauging own eye out with scalpel.

Mercifully, the conversational wizard leaves me alone soon after with my thoughts of self-mutilation. I scan the crowd and make eye contact with the only other person not ensconced in a group of chattering non-networkers.

Fuck it. I walk directly towards her, arm extended to shake her hand. "Hi there!" I say, and she responds in kind. Mandy is actually quite nice, so we grab a seat and begin talking about our jobs. I begin to feel slightly blue when I learn her career is much more interesting than mine. I nod casually as she utters the phrase, "And then, Peter Jennings said to me..." though I begin sinking deeper into job-related depression. Pop Star arrives and blissfully buys a round. We sit and talk to some strange cats. I break the rules and exchange contact info with Mandy. We finally make to leave after what seems like hours.

It's 8:10.

Email from Pop Star this morning: If I had heard that sketchy Puerto Rican guy say one more time how his daughter got into Penn on pure merit, while others use politics, I was going to kill him. At least you made a contact.


It is Wednesday now and I've made a full recovery, though I've given up any activities that involve going outside, save walking a few blocks to the gym. I am in real marathon training mode this week. I don't want anyone to get too excited, but after my entire family pointed and guffawed at me when my marathon training was announced last Sunday (like, really supportive, Mom) I've developed a new determination to prove everyone wrong.