One of my most prized possessions came from Wal-Mart.
I had that realization watching the evacuations ahead of Katrina. At the time I thought, they're so lucky. They had days' warnings. They had time to consider their options, pack the photos and call relatives to say, "we're coming" or priceline themselves cheap hotel rooms out of the path of the storm.And then I thought about Boo-Boo.
Where I grew up, in the middle of a national forest prone to bursting into flames every summer, we didn't have the luxury of time. If the order to evacuate came, we had minutes to grab what was most precious and get the hell out.
And let me just tell you, the threat of a forest fire is genuine. A good chunk of Los Alamos burned in 2000. A raging fire burned down the house of my parents' friends along with dozens of others in 2002.
One of my last trips to Ruidoso was a mad dash spurred by fire. One burned over the ridge from my parents' home, they were out of town and the someone needed to rescue the cats before the officials cleared the neighborhood. Thankfully, they moved up here six months later.
But again, that threat was real, and from that, we had contengency plans. My parents kept their important papers in a fireproof box. My mom used to joke that she kept a collage of my baby pictures next to the front door so she could grab them on the way out. And my job? My job was to grab my teddy bear, Boo-Boo.
Boo-Boo is a brown bear with an earnest face my dad gave me for Christmas fifteen years ago (twenty-seven minus fifteen equals twelve, yes, shut up). He came from the Ruidoso Wal-Mart. And okay, yeah, I've known for fifteen years that he came from Wal-Mart, it wasn't until Monday night that it really grabbed at my bleeding heart and shook it. Boo-Boo, with his ripped up nose and dingy face from all those years of love (shut up), Boo-Boo came from Wal-Mart
And then I went home and clutched Boo-Boo to my chest for the night (shut. up.), grateful that I still have him regardless of his parentage. I was grateful that I had my house and my family. I was grateful that my parents never lost their house, that they moved to Albuquerque. I thought of all the people in New Orleans who do not have their Boo-Boos, their homes, or their families and I was grateful for what I have. For now.Donate to the Red Cross.
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A final Sunday in Satellite...
"Hey you guys!" the mid-thirties barista chirruped when I come in behind an India-Indian (yes, the distinction has to be made in these parts) guy in rumpled green scrubs. "What can I get you two?"
The guy turns and gives me the up and down sneer. "We're not together," he says and proceeds to order a plain black coffee and a bran muffin. The woman, bless her, blanches at the rudeness and runs through his order in silence.
I wait patiently behind him, not caring that I'm in an unflattering black t-shirt advertising the One Campaign and dirty jeans, that my face is makeup free and my hair's pulled back. I'm here to type. But he gives another up-and-down sneer and waits to the side while I go through my transaction.
"I'm sorry," the barista whispers. "Really. I've seen you two come in together a few times and thought..."
I wave my left hand as married women are want to do. "It's okay."
She makes this scrunched up face that's a mixture of snark and regret. "And I was like so glad to see the two of you coming in together on a Sunday morning, like it confirmed it, you know?"
I laugh and she gives me my latte (snort from the doctor) and my cookie (double snort). He gets his coffee (eye-roll) and muffin (eye-roll) and stalks out of the shop.
"But here's what you should have said," Adam says later, after I've finished the revision and we're pulling together dinner for my parents. "You should have said, 'I can cook full Indian dinner, meat and vegetarian...bitch!'"
I try not to spit-take into the sauce. It becomes the catch phrase for the evening. "Meat and vegetarian...bitch!"
And considering Adam is currently reading the manuscript and giving it the final spit polish, I expect it'll work its way in as a punchline.
Last night wasn't my best night ever.
Pulling out of the Journal lot was almost impossible. North-bound Jefferson was absolutely packed with cars. I couldn't believe the number of vehicles streaming past. I took a right and attempted to flip a U-turn, but there wasn't enough clearance. There were too many cars. At 9 p.m.! On Jefferson! On a Wednesday!
Eventually, after turning left and flipping a uwie and cutting off a bunch of SUVs, I got onto Jefferson and proceeded to sit through three cycles at the Paseo intersection. INSANITY!
And I ended up slipping through on a yellow, or I would have waited through a fourth cycle!
Where did all these people come from? And why were they driving on my road well after commuting hours? I mean, the traffic was just as bad as leaving at 6:45 on a Friday night. I couldn't believe how heavy it was. This is Albuquerque, people, not L.A.
I screamed the entire way down Paseo. It had been a tip-the-head-back-and-rage-at-the-moon kind of night at work and I wasn't about to let little things like a top down and surrounding drivers keep me from holding back that primal scream. Oh, baby. I let it rip. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!"
I might have also dropped a couple of F-bombs.
In front of children.
Ah, they were bound to hear it sooner or later.
Mid-howl, I noted that Fountains of Wayne just isn't good angry driving music. No "Fountains of Wayne" no "Utopia Parkway" no "Welcome Interstate Managers." It's all far too poppy and upbeat.
Stripped down and moody "Pop" by U2 was about all I had in the car, but it worked. It got me down Paseo. It was there when I took the slingshot line around the Coors overpass. It urged me into dragging a cop
at the Paradise light.
Yeah, I dragged a cop last night and yet, still have my license. He didn't even blink.
It was that kind of night.
Adam met me at the door with dinner and a drink, because he's awesome like that. I slurped both down in front of Mythbusters and managed to not complain about my day and felt scads better when we went to bed. Glad every day's not like that. I'd pop.
It has been a dream of long standing to make a car salesman cry during a test drive. Sunday, that dream came true.
In the early days of the marriage, when he was playing GT3 on the playstation and the Japanese still hadn't figured out U.S. emission standards on their rally cars, we would talk about the dream test drive. It had two key ingredients: first, the car would have to have racing pedigre with at least 220 brake horsepower. Then, we'd need a slightly dim sales guy, the more patrionizing the better.
We imagined we'd do a sedate lap around the dealership; maybe take it out on the freeway in the name of "varied driving." We'd let the sales guy run through his patter about safety features and gas milage, lulling him into a false since of security while we found an empty parking lot.
From there, the fantasy kind of wandered off into the realm of tire smoke, slaloms and brake-checks; Bullit
on a small scale. At the end, the sales guy was always a quivering mass of nerves and in need of a toilet. Good times, good times.
And while we went on to buy two cars (and go on countless more test drives), we never were accompanied by a sales guy, until Sunday.
We'd gone to Carmax on Alameda to casually browse. They've always got Minis on hand, and I've always got Minis on the brain. But parked next to this week's assortment was a brand-spankin'-new Subaru WRX sedan in Rally Blue. Nothing fancy, not the STi, but still a turbocharged, 227 snorting horses monster sedan. With less than 6,000 miles on the odometer. And they only wanted $22,900 for it.
We do not buy the WRX at this time.
We do take the WRX out for a test drive.
The goofy salesguy climbs in the back seat, prattling on about the rally heritage of the car and how it's more than just a Subaru and look, there's even a Momo shift knob (he was very impressed by the Momo shift knob for some reason). Adam eases the car onto I-25 and takes it down to the Jefferson exit. Adam tells the kid to buckle up. He knows what's coming, I know what's coming. The poor kid in the back?
We take the car into an empty parking lot off Jefferson. Adam stomps on the throttle. The car comes to life. The kid in the back whimpers. "Um, you know, it's like the Pottery Barn," he says, but we're already feeling the maximum Gs of a panic stop. The kid does not finish his sentence. Adam drops the hammer again and throws the car into a full four-wheel drift. The kid actually screams, "WHOAAAAAAAA!"
Another panic stop and we switch. "Now, she's gonna be more sedate, right?" the kid asks as I get comfy in the driver's seat. I adjust the mirror, make sure I can reach all the pedals. I give him thirty seconds to calm down. And then I go off on my own test drive, which involves dumping the clutch at 4500 rpms and taking off in boost.
The tires are squealing like crazy, the sales guy is clutching the door handle and has a hand planted on the roof to brace himself and I haven't even thrown the steering wheel into full lock. I whip the car around as tight and as fast as it will go in a circle, ostensibly to test the turning radius, but really, I just like the way the rubber looks on pavement and the kid is shouting something about not wanting to die.
That's my cue and I nose the car back onto the city streets and take a leisurely pace back to the dealership. During the ride, Adam and I murmur comments to each other. "Gearing's awfully tall." "Crazy turbo lag." "Less than six thousand miles on it!" while the sales guy whimpers softly in the back.
We do not buy the WRX at this time.
We do actually talk about it, until we run numbers on it and agree that while it'd be fun, it's also fun to do things like, oh, eat and take a pass.
"How many people do you think that guy's told about the test drive?" Adam asks before we go to bed.
"Oh, it's either nobody, because he's still freaked out, or everybody.
" I say.
"Because he's still freaked out," Adam finishes.
"You realize, we lived the dream?"
"Feels good, doesn't it?"
As a post script, the next day, the sales guy calls and leaves a message on our machine: "Hi, it's ----- from Carmax, you know, the guy from that crazy test drive?"
Your children are ruining my neighborhood
My right ankle has been hurting all day. I know, riveting.
I can't tell if it's the fifteen-year-old skiing injury (exaserbated by going en pointe years later, which, ow) or if it was because I spent most of the weekend sitting cross-legged with it jammed under my left thigh and didn't bother to stretch on the rare occasion I stood up.
I've been eating Advil Liquigels like popcorn today and trying not to whimper when I have to get my butt over to the proofer. If it's not out of the twinging stage tomorrow, I'm afraid I'll have to break out the Fugly Air Cast and Even Fuglier Supportive sneakers.
But on Fugly Air Cast days, I can usually get away with wearing jeans, so woo!
I am such a jeans girl. Seriously. I have worked at the Journal for seven(!) years and I still haven't made peace with the no-jeans dress code. Four days a week, I struggle into slacks and skirts and the occasional dress, ticking off the days until Friday casual and my ability to break out the denim. It's not that I don't like to look nice. It's just that I'd rather do it in a rocking pair of jeans and a fabulous pair of heels.
God, heels. If the ankle's still hurting, heels are definitely out. (I'm in flip-flops today, also strictly banned by the dress code, but somehow, we haven't been reprimanded for them this summer.)
Oh, everyone say hi to Antonio, one of my friends from high school. He's ripped on me for a couple of enteries, so we all know he's a reader.
Last week, Albuquerque had one of the deadliest days in its modern history. In the span of about eighteen hours, one mentally ill man killed a department of transportation worker, two kids working at a motorcycle shop and two police officers. Lost in the coverage of the double cop murder was the story of the wife of one of the cycle shop kids. She had given birth two weeks previous and doesn't have a lot of money. A collection's being taken up by Wells Fargo, but we're trying to pull together a diaper drive for her.
If you'd like to contribute, please let me know in the comments and we'll get something put together.
Yeah, that? Totally done.
Satellite has become my office. Christ, when did this happen? I'm thirty-nine pages out from being DONE! done and I CAN'T WRITE AT HOME!
Can't write a word. So I should go to Satellite right? Satellite with its amazing vanilla lattes and the triple ginger cookies that really fuel the creative process...
Only Adam's fabricating a part for his car (hawt!) and has commandeered both cars for the project. His car's currently undriveable and he's gotta go on at least one belt run and "you weren't gonna be doing anything today, right?"
Around his dremmeling, Freud said I was creating a block and it was all in my head and sometimes coffee was just coffee and I was like "DOY!"
However, my mom's coming over to whisk me away in her car to the land of coffee where I am hoping to finish this this afternoon, if only so I can say, "yeah? That? Totally done."
Finally got around to charging my cell. In case you were like, "Why don't you answer the ringy-ringy? You no like me now?"
I likey, just lazy.
You can call me again. I just probably won't like answer. Ever. Woo!
Other people wake up to a blaring clock radio or the persistent "MEEP-MEEEP-MEEEEP!" nuclear siren of death alarm clock.
I wake up to Adam.
He comes bounding into the room showered and partially dressed and launches himself onto the bed like a kid playing Superman. "Poogle! It's morning! Wakey-wakey!"
That he is that excited to be sharing the day with me is endearing, even treasured. That he can't ease me from the transition from a stone dead sleep to wakefulness with oh, a cup of coffee, a bagel and two sections of the New York Times is something I can usually overlook. Later. After a cup of coffee and two sections of the New York Times.
"Poogle! It's morning! Wakey-wakey!" His face is two inches from face and the first thought of the day is oh, God, I've got morning breath.
"Phew! You've got morning breath!" Exactly.
He strokes my head and pats my shoulder. "It's time to get up!"
I reward him for his joy by riffing on "Mrrrrrgph." I stay curled around my pillow for another ten minutes while he goes through his morning routine. He changes his shirt and plays with Lucy and shaves and plops on the bed next to me again. "You've gotta get up!" he says, channeling a life coach. "You've gotta type! You've gotta do good!"
I get up and he cheers as I shuffle off to the bathroom and throw on dirty jeans under the t-shirt I slept in last night
. "Poogle! You're up! Now you can type!"
He goes to work, I stagger downstairs, make tea in my new teapot (plain purple!), flip on Headline News and go about the important work of finishing revisions, like building that perfect playlist on iPoddy, checking boards and blogs and e-mails and, urm, writing this.
I gotta type. I gotta do good.
Back when I was 19 and stupid, I had this idea in my head that I would run off to Seattle for grad school and fall into a rock band the way you fall into, I dunno, a random conversation about the origin of traffic cones. Just, I'd enroll at UW and ::bam!:: rock band.
Please note, I can't play the guitar. I cannot slap a bass. I certainly cannot keep the beat, even though I've recently started in on this thing where "someday, I'll learn how to play the drums!" No. I was going to magically dump thirty pounds, get a belly ring (because it was 1997 and belly rings
) and streak my hair blonde and become a sexy lead singer of some awesome Subpop darling. Because if you're going to be 19 and stupid with an eye on moving to the Pacific Northwest and falling into a band like falling into a random conversation about the origin of traffic cones, you're going to dream big.
I'm glad that Rilo Kiley sounds like what I was certain my rock band would sound like. And also, I'm glad that someone else is doing it. Really. You didn't want me singing up there. The only songs I can pull off with my range are selected works from the Fountains of Wayne songbook. I'm especially adept at "Barbara H." but I only sing in the privacy of my car. At night. On deserted roads. On the mesa. Under my breath.
This did have a point, but I was handed my last proof and it's after midnight and I have to be back here in eleven hours, so screw it! Another time!
Me: So did you realize we got engaged six years ago over the weekend?
Him: We did?
Me: Yep. Six years ago Saturday. August 13.
Him: And it took us nearly a year to get married? What were we thinking?
Me: That it would take forever to plan a wedding? Remember, we were going to originally do it in October, 2001?
Him: Oh, we were not
. We were totally ready to run off and elope that weekend, we were so in luuuuurve.
(Note, he's big on the revisionist history)
Me: And here's another thing. You remember that dress that I loved and wanted, wanted, wanted?
Him: Oh, yeah, baby. I remember.
Me: They still make it. I'm not sure if I'm thrilled or kind of squicked. I mean, that was six years ago.
Him: I'm kind of squicked. But it was really pretty, if I remember.
Me: God, I hated my dress.
Him: I know
. Poor poogle.
Him: Has it really been six years?
My jeans are three (or is it four?) days old.
My t-shirt has three (or is it four?) rents in it.
My forehead's errupted with three (no, it's really four) zits.
Uuuuuuugh. I smell like coffee, wine and ick. Oh, and Philosophy's "Pure Grace."
I cannot live like this.
the emo heart of Sarah Wolf
Yesterday I was blathering at Jordan about my lack of real progress on the revision. At one point, he said, "At least it's coming along."
And I was like, "Three sentences isn't really 'coming along' as 'being pulled by a choke chain.'"
"It's movement in a forward direction."
"It left nail gouges in the hardwood floor of my soul, though. How's that for emo?"
To which he said, "Very nice. I'm impressed. You should write songs."
And that unleashed the deluge of bad emo lyrics. Like:I gave you my empty heart
It was all of mine to give
As much mine as the thunder is
Echoing through the space where
The empty heart is bleeding on your dresser
Touching does nothing for me
Can't you palpate my pain
I carved your name in the soles of my feet
Because you said I walked all over your feelings
You tried to pull me into the sunshine garden
But it left toenail gouges in the hardwood floors of my soul
And I got about as much gas mileage
As a rutebega.
I hate you mom.
Your love and shuttling to soccer games
Damaged me forever.
andYou Made Me Go To Bed Early and Ruined My Life You told me I had potential
And to put down my guitar
That science was more important
Than playing my band's gigs
I was only sixteen
How could you be so cruel
To piss on my dreams
And take away my car
And tell me to be in bed by ten
Nobody's in bed by ten.
Nobody at home by ten
Why do you torture me?
And make me apply to college
When I should be a star.
You don't understand my pain
You never have.
Your minivan driving ways
Fill me with rage
I want to burn your Costco card
Like the way you burned my soul
Why do you hate me so much
To cast me into the world of corporations
To make me into a drone
And you won't even pay my Visa bill
Or buy me Cocoa Puffs.
I haven't gotten laid because
You made me go to bed by ten
When I was sixteen
And no, blowjobs don't count,
You Clinton voting whore.
I hate you.
And my personal favorite:Paris Hilton's EmoI wear my pain on my thong
Which I refuse to cover
Cover means hide.
And "that's hot"
Means there's a cancer
Devouring my essence
It's my mom's fault
For not telling me to go to school
And helping me make the scene
And my daddy
And his great uncle Nicky
He married Elizabeth Taylor
And look at how fat she is.
Fat like I want to be
My hunger feeds the media
And I don't have an ass.
You don't understand
I don't have an ass.
When I sit down,
My bones press down
It's perfect agony
Like all of my diamonds
Cutting into my glass skin
Or my dog
Eating my face
When I die alone
I'll dance on the table
Out of shame
And go out with guys
Who have the same name
And my eyes will burn
Like the eyes of devils
In weird green night vision
But I'll weep inside.
I cry inside.
Yeah, we can all blame Jordan for giving this particular ball o' fun rolling.
Wanting to partake in the writer cliche, I've parked my ass and my laptop, in the Satellite coffeeshop on the corner of Alameda and Coors, and it's already become apparent there's a writer hierarchy. There are four of us with laptops right now: three women and a guy. Based off the surface, I'm probably on the bottom rung. I'm in my favorite pair of jeans and a black t-shirt and my rockstar earrings, but I'm working off a PC. The guy, whom I recognize from a stint in the Golf Course Starbucks in 2003, is shlubby and working off an acient Dell, but I've heard he's had three screenplays optioned, so he can afford to hang around and type in coffeeshops all day.
The next woman is working on a 12" Apple iBook. She puts me to shame. She's got the asymetrical hair cut with perfect highlights, the saucy black boat-neck blouse and crisp white capris and black ballet flats and her jewelry's super coordinated. She's a hunt-and-pecker. She's got a copy of Writer's Market and the new Jennifer Weiner trade sitting under her latte. She kind of scares me.
But least you think I'm judging solely off of clothes. The queen typer is in her pajamas and working on a 17" G4 powerbook. Her hair's tied up and hasn't been washed in a couple of days and she keeps frowning and going back for more house blend. I heard her gossip with the barista and say revisions are hell
. They asked her what she did this weekend, and she said, "revised."
To which I say amen, sister.
I look at her, and I think someday. Someday I'll
be the pajama queen.
Me: So, did you notice the Bon Jovi reference?
Him: Oh, I totally glazed over it. You should have put "Call me Young Gun!" instead. That? Is way more evokative.
Me: Really? That's even in there? Because when I think about it, I think of him, guitar, leather vest, no shirt, arms spread and hair flowing, half shouting "SHOT DOWN! IN A BLAAAAZE OF GLORRRAAAAAAAY!"
Him: In front of the abandoned drive-in on the middle of a mesa, right.
Me: Think the middle-of-a-mesa bit had anything to do with the abandoned part?
Him: It couldn't have been that great for business, no.
Me: "Yeah, it's this great new place but the only drawback is you have to have a Jeep to get there."
Him: That's not a drawback.
Him: Goddamn you, now I have that friggin' song stuck in my head. ::affects Bon Jovi:: Call me Young Guuuuuuuuuun, I'm a young gun. YOUNG GUUUUuuuuuUuuuuuuN, yeahaaaayeahyeah!
Him: Oh, shut up. This is all your fault.
Me: I'm not saying anything. It's a good song.
Him: The urge to quote Triumph is strong.
Me: Resist it.
Him: You started it.
Adam returned from San Diego, and I was prepared to be all shirty about his extended trip to the sea shore, but that was before he stuck the glowy lights in my face.
Yeah, the glowy lights. Four different colors of LEDs stuck on a battery-driven fan blade. Glowy. Shiny. Pretty. What was I saying?
Ah. Glowy lights. It's a key to my personality. Shove something shiny in front of me, and automatic forgiveness.
The big discovery of the weekend was the new Wing Basket over by Barnes and Nobles. Of course, next to the new Wing Basket is the old Mattress Firm. We went in while they were bagging up our order. "Aaaaah," we said, flopping around on different mattresses. "Angels are caressing my ass," Adam said at one point.
The experience wasn't complete without the bored salesman. High pressure? No. It was like a weak low bringing up some moisture from the Gulf. During the flopping, he peppered us with interesting "facts" like, a mattress doubles its weight in ten years from body ick. To which I say "ick."
Our current mattress is five years old, does not feel like angels are caressing our asses. Has it put on a little weight? I...don't...know.
The real vintage stuff