Monday, June 30, 2008

Come along and be my party gal

Image from wallyspam

Since my husband is an academic, I don't go to fancy representational functions very much these days. And I can't say that I miss them. But as a child of the diplomatic corps, representation was one of the few constants in our nomadic life. Before I went out - whether it was for a simple walk or out to an embassy party - my parents often told me, "You are a representative of the United States of America. Everything you do reflects on our country." And the thing is, I took it very seriously and, till my teens, moved through these places with decorous care, like a girl practicing posture by walking with books on her head.

Well, last night, I went with my husband to a swank museum-show opening. His department had loaned a painting to the exhibit which was why we, the poor country mice, were invited to this open-bar, sit-down-dinner, very monied extravaganza. And, before I go on, let me just say that it is a sin and a shame that people who have hideous taste in clothes should be allowed to have buckets of money. There was a man there, a very wide man, in a bright coral-pink jacket and blue-and-white striped seersucker pants, and no he was not gay or being purposely arch and loud. The rich have no excuse for being tacky. Sorry, had to vent.

In any case, it was very odd, because, as we drove up to the party I was still just me - the silly, loud, mother of four, with a (pretty) second-hand-store shirt. But the moment the valet parker opened my car door and said, "Good evening ma'am," I became Representational Lady. I smiled enchantingly, introduced myself to numerous strangers, casually mentioned my husband's job title, pushed him forward to chat once introductions were complete, and just generally worked the crowd very vigorously. And it was as natural to me as breathing. At the end of the party, as I was making sure to say a warm goodbye to every single person I had spoken to that evening ("SO nice to meet you, Martha. Yes we MUST get together for lunch soon. We'd so love to see your husband's collection."), one of the men I'd spoken to leaned over to me and said, "You are dynamite, just dynamite!" Yes, it was kind of creepy, but it was also funny and enlightening. Because, until that moment, I hadn't realized I was being that old "dynamite" uber-representational me.

As we drove home in our rented Korean pumpkin (the insurance company has still not processed our claim), and I slipped back into my tatty everyday skin, I realized that I could easily, and fairly happily, have led a very different life. Normally I'm a say-it-as-I-see-it kind of gal, and killer-charm diplomacy is not what you you think of when you think of me. So it's strange to discover this talent I'd forgotten that I had and that I don't have any use for. Strange, but also fun to discover that, unlike most of my old clothes, the silly pretty gown and the ridiculous glass slippers still fit, and I can still do the dance, though I choose not to.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This comment went on so long that it turned into a post

Thank you all so much. It's very cheering and touching that you're still there and, in the midst of all this turmoil, willing to lend a cyber ear (which, in this case, would be an eye, I guess, though 'Lend an eye' doesn't sound pleasant, but I digress....) and offer commiseration and support. I am firmly planning on an extremely tedious and boring summer full of run-of-the-mill activities and annoyances and postings on same. And on our Brand New RED Mazda 5

which will join us in a week and which my husband chose and will obsess about (I think this is as close to a mid-life-crisis and the attendant car as this excessively sensible man will ever get)! And after a Spring like the one we've just had, what's a little more consumer debt, in the face of an adorable, fuel-efficient, RED car?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Testing, testing, 1 2 3 testing.... I think the keyboard still works.
By way of explaining why I haven't posted in forever and ever, let me just say, it's been a really sucky Spring. All of you know about the Knuckleheaded husband's health problems and surgery. But what I didn't tell you about because it was so quickly superseded by the husband's illness, was that my YA novel was rejected by Scholastic. Which, given that it's in part about the Castro in 1979, is not entirely surprising. Still, it was disappointing. It's moved on to the next publishing house, but I'm defensively preparing myself for another no. The common wisdom is that getting published is not so much a reflection of talent as it is a reflection of persistence. So I'll try to be brave about rejection and persistent even when I don't feel brave, none of which I'm very good at.

And then, on top of all that, this happened -

The crumpled thing in the back is what used to be our minivan before a drunk going over 100 mph smashed it and four other cars, including a police cruiser. But no one, including the drunk or the cop, were seriously injured. So rather than feeling like Mrs. Job counting up her tribulations ("Oy, Job, my mother always said I should have married that dentist in Sodom!"), I'd like to try to pick myself up off the floor and stand back up so I can see the blessings I still have around me.

So, if anyone is still there, I'll be trying to post here more often.