25 September 2006

Finding Lloyd Dobler

To this day, one of my favorite movies is Say Anything. I watched for what must be the 200th time the other night, and it got me thinking (dangerous, I know). My friends and I always fawn over Lloyd Dobler, how he is such a great guy, why aren't there more guys like him, he gave her his heart and she gave him a pen. How dumb is Diane Court, woah? Right? Right?

I am not sold.

We all say we want a guy like Lloyd Dobler (I definitely think it helps that he is played by the delicious John Cusack, but I digress), but really, I don't think we do. Take the romanticism out of the movie, and he is kind of a stalker. He has what he terms a date with Diane at the mall, when in reality, he just sat next to her. He asks her out - which is great - but then on the first date says his whole summer, his whole being at that point, was to be with her.

That would creep me the hell out. First date love professions? I'd be running for the hills.

He opens doors, he puts his jacket down for her over a puddle, he stands outside of her window with a boom box blaring a very romantic song. He patiently teaches her to drive a stick shift. He shivers and acts vulnerable, and she is all over him.

As perfect as that sounds, the lack of toughness or edge to him makes me think that type of guy only wins in the movies.

And in fact, until he gets that edge, until he asks her to rip up the letter, pretend she never got it, she has lost interest. Then, he refuses her, and she wants him back! That to me is realistic, because someone being good all the time gets boring.

If Say Anything were made today, Lloyd would be Googling Diane, checking out where she has been mentioned. He'd be posting love comments on her MySpace page or commenting relentlessly on her blog. He would send her a text message to avoid having to deal with Mr. Court, and sending her love eCards. And it would still be creepy.

Does Lloyd Dobler exist? I wouldn't be surprised if there were some guys out there that are like that, but I seriously doubt women would be loving them like so many of us love the guy in the movie. For me...I think I will take a heaping spoonful of Lloyd Dobler, seasoned with a dash of Joe (of Joe Lies, When He Cries), with a sprinkle of Jeremy Piven's character (of Give Me My Keys, I Love You Man).

21 September 2006

Slow Dancing, Swaying to the Music

Music. Although it is cliche, it really is the soundtrack of life. It has more power than it should, transporting you to a place in time, forever seared in your memory. When I hear Doo Wop (That Thing) by Lauryn Hill, I am immediately back in the cafe in Venice, Aussie boy by my side, other hostel mate swaying and singing aloud. I hear Duerme Conmigo by Jarabe del Palo, and boom, I am in Reyes' class, her yelling and me and Rafa for giggling while she is trying to talk. Humpty Dance? In Penny's rec room with my 8th grade class, actually doing the Humpty Dance in a big dance circle.

Music can also set the mood. It can set the party mood, the Celebration (Kool in the Gang- every A's win). Shout...gets the wedding going. Anything by Maxwell...well, that sets a different kind of mood.

I thought of this today while listening to Jeff Buckley. Talk about mood setting music. Listening to his "Grace" album, it was definitely put together in a way to set the pace for a dark encounter on a steamy night.

I never thought of music this way until college. Supposedly, a friend of a friend took a women's study class at Berzerkely. Supposedly, in this class, the teacher evaluated the song Satellite by Dave Matthews Band (the original version on the Remember Two Things album, not the remastered one). And, supposedly the teacher said this song is supposed to imitate a sexual encounter - the foreplay, the climax, the afterglow. (must be a very quick encounter, though...that song clicks in at less than 5 minutes)

So that theory popped into my head today as I was listening to Grace. The whole album is set in that same way. There is a kind of melodic intro, followed by a quickening of the pace, the beautiful climax in Hallelujah, the tender cuddle, then it starts again. It is a brilliant and completely dirty way of thinking of this album, which is at once beautiful and haunting. There is a big of melancholy in it, as well, a tinge of regret, a feeling of this is the last time. It is perfectly succinct, the perfect accompaniment.

Isn't that the way most encounters are? Even in the most stable of relationships, everything can be the last. And when you are in that moment, all you want to do is hang on to it; once it is over, there is the melancholy that follows feeling so good. And then soon, it passes, and you are left with the sweet memory and new possibilities. It is at once beautiful and haunting.

20 September 2006

Out Damn Cold!

And so it starts.

Apparently, cold/flu season kicked off this week. I arrived at work Monday morning to find a "wellness kit" on my desk, full of Emergen-C, lifesavers, Purell, and Kleenex. So very thoughtful of our office. Unfortunately, too late for me!

When I showed up at work, it was just to pick up my computer and head back home. I had hoped to get there early enough to not see anyone; I was in a tshirt and jeans with my unwashed hair pulled up in a ponytail, looking like death warmed over. For some reason, my boss had showed up early, so she saw me, promptly chastised me for even showing up and shooed me out of the office.

Looking back, I realize I was getting sick last week. I kept getting good nights' sleeps, but waking up feeling like I had gotten hit by a truck in my sleep. I thought I was just recovering from the wedding the weekend before, but now I know that was not the case (well, not fully the case). It also explains how I got tipsy so quickly that Friday night. I woke up Saturday morning, a little hungover but also with a big lump in my throat and clogged ears. I felt progressively worse throughout the day, even though I tried to tough it through a wedding, and my convalescence on my couch began upon my return home on Sunday.

Being sick really knocks me for a loop. I am too antsy to be sick. I would rather lay around and do nothing when I am feeling well, when I am not being FORCED to lay down because it is the only thing I can do. Laying here sick this week, I suddenly felt the propensity to clean...clean my kitchen, clean my bathroom...anything but lay down and nap. I got to the kitchen, but fell asleep before I could concentrate on the bathroom.

It is like loving to read, but not being able to do it when the teacher tells you to. I guess a part of me (maybe all of us) does not like to do what I am told.

I got sent home again today from work. I figured after two days it was out of hand, and I needed to get into the office. My coworkers watched me closely, without getting too close, and the first sniffle they heard was the cue to get me out. I went home under protest.

It has been a long time since a cold has kicked my butt in this way...damn it!

11 September 2006

Where Were You When...?

Up until 2001, I often wondered what my generation would have as our "I remember exactly where I was when..." moment. My parents had JFK, my grandparents had Pearl Harbor, but up until five years ago, I wasn't sure what ours would be. We had the Challenger explosion (I was in 4th grade, sitting at the reading table when Mrs. Jenkins came running in the classroom to tell us), the 1989 Loma Prieta quake (I was laying on my bed crying after fighting with my parents), fall of the Berlin Wall (this one I don't remember where I was, sadly) Rodney King (at home sick from school)...these things were all big, but they didn't necessarily make me feel like I was suddenly living in a different world.

Everyone has their 9/11 story...

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was working at a trade show in Atlanta. It was hot and sticky as I walked, in my suit, down to the convention center. I went down to the meeting room where I was to start my working day, my coworker Dan joined me shortly after. We were in a windowless room at the bottom of the center, so really had no idea what was going on around us. Suddenly, one of our editors walked in and told us a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Dan and I were confused...it must have been some commuter plane or something; the WTC was not in the flight path of any airport. The editor called her husband, a reporter for the Atlanta Journal, while I stepped out to go check the Internet. When I came back in, she was on the phone giving us the bullet. Two planes. Not commuter. Another plane at the Pentagon. At the PENTAGON? Our last fortress? This was bad.

The Internet was slow and jammed. My other coworkers started arriving, and hadn't yet heard what happened. We were supposed to go to the Braves game that evening, so they were going to pass out tickets. We still hadn't seen any video, and didn't understand the magnitude. They went up to pass out the tickets, and were back quickly. A client had said there would be no game, and when they finally saw the TV, they understood why. They immediately called back to California and had someone rent them a car in Atlanta to drive home, just in case. Other coworkers struggled to contact their family members (phone lines were all tied up everywhere), some of whom worked/went to school right next to the WTC. We all wondered what would be next. Here we were, across the country, away from our families with no clue when we'd get home.

I didn't see the footage until about 2pm that day. And what I saw devastated me. Then I saw that Atlanta was on the target list, as the Center for Disease Control is there (and right down the street from our hotel). We wandered over to the Hard Rock Cafe, which was short staffed and running out of food...yet everyone was patient. We all just needed to be together. Our boss wanted us to go back to work the next day; most of us couldn't understand. Our boss' daughter was across the street from WTC; I think she needed to keep working to avoid thinking about what could have happened. We watched the news, waiting to hear word of survivors, rarely getting it.

For me, the hardest part was being away from my home. Part of me has always felt that, even though they were scared, those who were home in New York were lucky, they were home and close to people who loved them. I was alone and scared. I had no idea how or when I would get home. And I had no idea what the world I lived in was to become.

I finally made it home on Saturday, two days later than I was supposed to be there, so, not too bad, considering. The check-in and security lines snaked outside of the Atlanta airport, but, despite all the people, it was silent. No complaining, just worried faces making their way through. The military was there with their huge guns. Everyone checked out everyone else in the waiting areas; people of Middle Eastern descent got wary looks. After a few hour delay we got on the plane, quietly. Every bump caused distress, every call button pushed caused wonder. When we landed, you could see the visible relief on everyone's faces.

I was so glad to be home I practically ran through the airport. It was one of the only times I have been met in the airport (usually, if I am picked up, it is outside). I still remember the look of relief on my mom's face when she saw me, and the tightness of her hug when I neared her. I was home, safe; it felt almost selfish, but I was still glad.

It has been five years, and the world is a different place. I don't understand the type of hate that would cause someone to do such a thing. I don't understand how this could be done in the name of a loving God. Maybe I have little faith, but I also have a great love of humanity.

I finally have my "I remember where I was when..." moment; not a day goes by where I wish I didn't.

04 September 2006

A Year Later...

This past week marked the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. A year ago, we were all glued to our televisions or to the Internet, watching human agony and wondering why no one was helping. It made big news when one or two people went down to help, and when money was finally sent down, and real federal help, we wondered why it took so long, although we were relieved it finally happened.

Even now, I watch the footage, or they show how the affected areas look today, and I personally am still left wondering how this could happen in the United States. It looked like the tsunami affected areas in southeast Asia. Here, in the land of plenty, these people lost everything and no one was there to help them. Yet we are forwarding an agenda of war and killing on another country's soil, spending billions of dollars to "spread democracy" while our own people drown and rot in bacteria-laden water. There is all this killing going on so that we can have our claim on oil and prove our dominance, but we don't have the money to prevent devastation like in the South.

Part of me wonders how our government could not have fixed those levees, which they were warned would give at any moment. Then I look around my own state. We have failing levees, many which started to crumble and cause floods earlier this year when we had 1.5 months of rain. And our government has been warned time and again what would happen if those central valley dams broke. And closer to home, we have a bridge, one of the most heavily trafficked in the world, that may collapse if there is a major earthquake. And there is all this fighting over where that money is coming from, which has held up construction time and again, and meanwhile should the big one hit thousands may die. Where are our priorities?

I don't understand how all this could happen, and if I was the type who prayed, I would pray for all of those rebuilding their lives in the wake of the disaster. And, with elections right around the corner, I can only hope that the American people wake up and stop furthering the agenda this administration has set forth (there have been plenty of alarms going off - Katrina and other hurricanes, illegal wiretapping by our president, his staunch refusal to admit perhaps he was wrong about this whole war thing, critical leaks by his administration...).

Wow, this took a different path, but I am angry, and I think it is time others get angry, too!