Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Straight Up, Shot Down & Frizzy

I'm sloshing through an unfamiliar Barnes & Noble. There are mounds of sand in my shoes and my legs are tired. And I have to pee. I've already been lost twice and it's getting late. So when I end up near a Barnes & Noble, I run in to grab a copy of "Straight Up & Dirty". The sand is from the beach. I hate the beach. The reason girls lay out at the beach is because they know they can't look sexy walking on it. Sand is unbalanced earth. I don't care who you are - I bet even Jessica Alba looks like the creepy little guy from Lord of the Rings when she's walking on the beach. But let me start from the beginning... "I'm not feeling well today, I'm bloated, my face is breaking out all over the place..." I complain to Kim while I try to find my way around Holland. I'm lost and pissed and I am also apparently close to my cursed time of the month. "And I bet the guy I interview today is really cute." And....he was. I've had this nagging insecurity lately that I don't look like a real reporter. That when I get to a story I look like your typical outsider/high school creative writing geek. And when it's that cursed time of the month, it doesn't help. You don't feel very pretty no matter what. When I set up my interview with my subject at a manufacturing plant in Holland - I was excited. I'm more comfortable around laid back places like machine shops than I am around big corporate business types. But when I pulled into the parking lot, I realized I was at a corporate-esque manufacturing plant. Big shiny letters on the wall and a receptionist at a half moon desk. She paged him and he came around the corner in cargo pants with a small, chocolate brown puppy at his side. As if it wasn't bad enough that he was cute and I felt like shit - in order for me to see the new product he'd invented - we had to go see a completed one out at the beach. We got into his jeep and the hot air turned my hair into a brillo pad. He had the windows rolled down instead of air conditioning - typically, this would be part of his charm - the "I'm so outdoorsy" thing. But it was hot and I was already sweating, my hair could scrub a casserole dish clean and now it was being blown all over the place. We got to the beach and the sand immediately built up inside my black slip-on shoes. We were both sweating. Walking on sand is like trying to stand still on a waterbed. When we finished going over all my questions, we headed back to the jeep. It was delightful a delightful reminder, trudging upward through sand, that I am completely out of shape. And a smoker. Luckily we parted ways for a minute so I could catch my breath in private. When I get home, my legs are achey and I am exhausted. It's all I can do to curl up on the loveseat under my mink blanket and listen to Rachel narrate her cleaning rituals to me over the phone. When I get to work, a minor second wind in the wings - another blow. Another story I've written has been rejected. The Tribune writes articles for special sections - paid for space by advertisers. A full page ad with a story. They have the right to write their own if they don't like what's submitted by the Tribune. But this is the second time it's happened to me. I don't quite understand. The interviews go great and I usually come out with a great story. But apparently my "great" isn't in their direction. There is that insecurity I already tote around like a Louis Vitton and now this. I can't help but wonder if it's supposed to mean something. So...I'm in that place. There's sand still stuck in my shoes and I still feel like crap.

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