Saturday, January 27, 2007

Traveled Down the Road and Back Again

I dreamed I was at a pool party (which was lousy because it was raining) and I went up to talk to this girl I recognized from Warner elementary. I got a few words out before she said, "Really? You think I want to talk to you? No way." And she told me that because she'd been unpopular, I had been mean to her, but this didn't compute, because I thought I'd been the one who was unpopular with other people being mean to me. Had I been mean to her? I couldn't remember. But I'm sure that this much is true: even though I had braces and oversized Sally Jessie Raphael-red glasses and big Jewish hair I hadn't yet figured out how to manage, and I figured myself for a target of some kids' ridicule, I'm sure other kids had it way, way worse.

I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't have friends. In fact, of friends I've been blessed with a surplus. What fortune!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Broadcast News

Years back, shortly after we'd moved to New York, my girlfriend and I wanted to coauthor a book about customer service. We were both Californians who had been shocked and appalled by the sorry, sorry lack of service or respect given to the customer out there and we wanted to tell those stories. (For example, once at my home branch of Citibank on First Avenue, the "service specialist"--who'd been brought out in an attempt to pacify me after I'd insisted on more help--told me that the reason they hadn't posted a notice about some huge fee I'd been assessed is because, "This is a bank, not a library.") My friend is now, impressively, working on a book about Turkish politics, for which she was paid a spectacular advance, so my potential coauthor is tied up with other projects.

But, even now back in L.A., I've got stories. CVS recently converted my local Sav-on pharmacy to its nameplate. I have a single prescription there, and it's always a nightmare trying to fill it--there are long lines, nobody knows what they're doing, the staff is suspiciously young, your drugs are never there even after you call in to verify they're ready, they never have your proper insurance information, they never get your name right, and therefore tell you after an hour that they're turning up no records for a Ms. Goobin. I'd had so many shockingly bad experiences there (i.e. a month ago I waited nearly two hours for them to figure out my prescription, so that by the time I got out to the parking lot with my validated parking ticket, the attendant told me I'd been in there way too long and had to pay. If you know me personally, you can imagine about how well that went over.) that I actually laughed out loud the other night by myself when I saw a commercial talking about how CVS is so friendly and knowledgeable and is sure to save you time and money, and always delivers on their promises of being ready with your meds when you're in a hurry.

So I'm in there last night, and it's roughly after-work time, 7 PM or so, and there's almost no line, and I'm actually remarking to myself that things seem to be running more smoothly, and maybe CVS has worked out the kinks by now. So I'm giving the guy all my personal information, including insurance data, prescription info, phone number, birth date. This goes on for a few minutes, until some of his coworkers from way back in the pharmacy start hollering at him: "Turn off your speaker phone!" My girl-issue pills: public record.

Haunted by Dreams

Last night I dreamt that I had intended to write a story about the Central Park Conservancy's Halloween ball (an event I have actually covered in real life, twice, and enjoyed very much), but somehow it got forgotten in the shuffle until months later when I got an email that included somebody's high-resolution photos from the ball and a note telling me to post them online straight away. But I'm thinking, "No one wants to read a story in January about a Halloween ball! It's too late! Why doesn't anybody but me use any common sense anymore?!"

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Keep Writing."

I have chronic sleeping problems in general. In October 2006, I didn't sleep basically at all because I was over the moon about my new guy. In December, I didn't sleep because I traveled so much and ate and drank in excess. On Friday night, I had a nightmare about An Inconvenient Truth, after I had just seen it, and that was wrapped up together with a work nightmare (glacial melting was threatening to drown all the attendees at a conference my magazine was hosting, and forcing us to cancel the remainder of it). Saturday night/Sunday morning I dreamed I was writing a story for the Web site, and it was particularly tricky because I was trying to come up with smart headlines and decks, and, worse, I was linking and formatting the document, and it was really exhausting. I have dreams about work a lot, and this is troubling because I'm not curing cancer, but rather I'm writing about parties, and that shouldn't be particularly nightmarish, except that I work so much and the buck generally stops with me which stresses me out constantly.

Last night, I was having a work dream--about writing or assigning some story. This caused me to wake up before 7 with no alarm, so I lounged in bed reading the book I'd started last night with such optimism. This is a book written by a woman whom I'd seen speak at UCLA, and who had signed her memoir, "Keep writing!" which always tickles me. (I have a lot of those in my bookshelves.) The basic premise is that the author is having an affair with the dance teacher she'd started going to for lessons to impress this other guy she'd started dating, who was big into dancing. (This topic is particularly close to me these days, since I'd had mini panic attacks related to the fact that my guy is so into dancing, and that's not my area. See also "not sleeping well in October.") The girl is a yoga-going, horse-riding, self-proclaimed unfashionable tomboyish divorcee, so I was just enjoying her story although not particularly relating as I was reading last night. But this morning, I kept reading after I'd woken up from my nightmare, and she was talking about being a journalist covering the Golden Globes and the Oscars and other galas that are "supposed to be great but never are" and about never feeling thin or young or insidery enough at those things, and that that in small part contributed to making her feel like she's drifting around, living her life on an iceberg with a camp stove, subsisting, and seeing the mainland on the horizon where people are really living. This has got me in a mood, all day long. Thank heaven for one particular friend in L.A., the bioinformatician-slash-reformed-party-girl, who indulges all these moods and gratifies me with commiseration and empathy.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I'm Cured

...cured of the idea that having a real job in a real office again might be fun. i'm posting from my treo in the jury assembly room in the criminal courts building after having woken up in the dark to report to jury duty downtown by 7:30 am. I resented having to set my alarm, and be on I-10 while the other suckers were on the 10. and I resent that I can't go to my 10 AM rock'n body sculpt class at the gym. plus its one degree in l.a.--after reaching almost 90 on monday and tuesday--and I'm cold in my gold flats. over it. can't wait to go back to working in my jammies at home with my coffee maker and my cat.

Update: I didn't get picked for jury duty. Yay. Of the people left in that room at the end of the day--maybe 25 of the original 250--one was me, and one, I noticed late, was Selma Hayek. And here I was, feeling sorry for myself for the unfortunate fate of jury duty right during the professionally inconvenient time of awards season. I guess it would have been rather inconvenient for Selma too. Turns out stars are just like Us!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Helps to Have a Best Friend Who's a Lawyer When Your Building Management Company Is Like Mine

"I can assist you in researching the law and drafting a letter to the management if you like. It would basically say, 'under the General Obligations Law, Article 7, these are the landlord's obligations...return the security deposit within a 'reasonable time'... generally ruled by NY courts to be 30 days from the end of the has been 90 days (whatever it is)...return my deposit by January 19 (two weeks from the date of your letter?)...if I do not receive the deposit by that date, I will file (we should attach the form so they know it's not an empty threat)...I look forward to receiving my check in the amount of $3,???.??...Nice doing business with you bitches, Love Alice!

Ok, let me know how you want to proceed. I know this is a hassle for you but I love this stuff."