This is still not the illuminating second half of my post on dreams. Just hold on, my very hot readers. I'll get to it. Something tells me I'll soon have lots and lots of time to blog. That something is my TV show's strike captain, who has yet to bring me any news from my guild that doesn't strongly imply my writing skills will soon be applied solely to large squares of posterboard on sticks.
So, yeah, a strike may hit my industry as soon as November 1st. I don't have much ranting to do on the issues. Plus, more to the point, I don't have any control over the sitch at hand. Therefore, I apply my brainpower to something I can actually have an impact on: the entertainment of you.
This post is about the brain juices stirred up by the raging So Cal fires. I live in Santa Monica, which is close enough to the Malibu fires that my boogers are sooty. (By the way, this post will likely be only tangentially Jewy. So if you need a direct hit o' Hebe, tune in later. We got some in the proverbial hopper. Till then, shalom.)
This disaster really hit me upside the head with the feeling that bad shit can rain down upon my house at the whim of the gods. The worst moment of the week came when I heard a chick on NPR say a fire is headed toward the San Onofre nuclear power plant (you know, the one that looks like two perfect boobs with erect nipples?). Nothing like knowing you're close enough to soak in a nice dose of radiation to really put your life in perspective.
Which, as you know, I live for. Not radiation - things that put my life into perspective. This may be a sign of fantastic narcissim. But, you know, I write a blog wherein I constantly call myself wildly attractive, so I doubt you're shocked to hear I managed to make the latest natural disaster ever so slightly all about moi.
So, the last few days have been crazy hectic at work, aka impending strikeland. Ordinarily, I have a couple of built in pressure-valves in my day.
1. My commute. My car is basically American Idolville. By which I mean, I sing my ass off all the way to work, and all the way home again. It never fails to make me feel awesome, if not sad for the world at large that I am not a pop star so you can all enjoy my rendition of "Dance Dance" by Fall Out Boy.
Honestly, it's kind of embarrassing.2. My walks with Mojo. Something about watching his buff, dwarfy self painstakingly sniff out patches of grass worthy of his poo just calms me right down.
But, this week neither activity was all that relaxing. I listened to fire news in the car. And on walks, the air quality was noticeably post-apocalyptic. All in all, the cortisol has really been pumping. Perhaps it is the fact that my anxiety dial is already turned up that led me to a long sleepless night of obsessive rumination and... crafting.
The Mojo in question, looking all cute on purpose.
Am I the only one who does this - channel my inner on-crackness into craftness? I have a friend who told me that when she's on coke she likes to decoupage. Perhaps it's the same with me, except that my natural brain chemistry is plenty jacked enough that I've no need of nose candy. Such is the way it has always been, since I was a wee poetess languishing in the suburban wilds of Redlands, California, up at 3 a.m. and consumed with worry over school or - let's be honest, it was never school, it was always over some stupid boy. It was only a matter of time till the bedazzler came out. Put it this way: I am really stoked not to have bipolar disorder. I know people who suffer from it, and they would roll their eyes if I called myself manic. But. When the stress hormones are running high, I find myself standing in my living room grooving to some livid chick singer who doesn't shave her legs, a spray paint can in one hand and a jar of glitter in the other. It ain't pretty.
So, I created some can't-quite-call-it-art work, I baked some cookies that come in a tube in the milk section of Vons, and lo - the night was still young. Sleep seemed like a distant ship unlikely to let me aboard. The TV said the fires had consumed one billion dollars in property, a writer friend emailed me to say he'd be less offended by the producers' negotiating tactics if they just out and out asked him for a blowjob, Mojo gave me this look that said, "Sera, put down the paintbrush and back away slowly from that ugly-ass thing you're making"... and suddenly, I was fifteen again. By which I mean: fuck the facts, this felt like it all had to be the fault of Some Stupid Boy.
That is when I had the following sudden totally on-crack inspiration: hey, I should google all my ex-boyfriends! This requires momentary utter retardation because... I don't know about you, but the gentlemen who are no longer invited to the party that is my world (or, you know, have revoked my evite to theirs) are absent for substantial reasons. I'm actually close friends with a couple of my exes, but there are also a couple who inspire me to never, ever take the freeway exit closest to their house, no matter how much time it would save. Shit does happen between people. Especially when they spend a large amount of time together, banging. Banging, especially exclusive love-filled banging, is a prime indicator of future problems, like the end of said banging arrangement, or relationship if you'd rather go with the classical term.
This would have been so much easier in, like, 1835, when there was no internet. But now, when my mood is already fire-stoked and strike-authorized, I check them out. See if they're famous now. Like, maybe they're really famous and rich, and they bought a giant house... in Malibu, oops. Or, I will hereby admit publicly on a forum read worldwide (if not, and I sincerely do hope not, by one or more of my actual exes, to whom I can only say with a smile: you're so vain, I betcha think this post is about you), see if their myspace says they're In A Relationship. Which, if so, would possibly lead me to click on their "friends" until I found the lucky new chica currently experiencing that experience I experienced back in the day (she wrote neutrally and with admirable self-restraint) when I was all young and sincere and flibbertigibberty and would never have dreamed the dude in question would one day be nothing more than humorously self-deprecating blog fodder. And then I look at her pictures and judge her. What can I say. I'm not the Dalai Lama.
Here's the part I associate with being Jewish. After I do this, I feel massively guilty. It probably isn't merely Jewy to feel that way. But guilt is just so Jewrific, and I do sometimes say "oy" when I feel it. I know that googling the non-dearly departed isn't technically stalking so much as the internet-age equivalent of poking yourself with a sharp stick. Yet it scores on the guilt scale: above the guilt I feel for not having set foot in schul in eons; below the guilt I would feel if I, say, actually spied on someone, with like binoculars or whatever. So it scores about at "sneaking a look at your dad's Playboy collection when you were seven" guilt level.
I consulted a friend (not the Cocaine Decoupager; a different Very Hot chick) who tells me she never, ever googles her exes. A second friend (male and gay, to try to get a cross-section here) tells me the only people who never, ever google their exes are Amish.
Yet I surely do wish I didn't ever feel like raising the binary ghosts of my Hanukahs past. Because no good ever comes of it. At best, it's like scratching poison ivy rash; doesn't quell the itch, really, and usually makes it spread. You click closed the search window and feel that quease in your pit, like you ate too many raw cookies. If you are me, you think, Shouldn't I be above this? I mean, I go to therapy. I read Jung. I keep a journal. I exorcize my inner demons for a living by naming the bad guys in my scripts after my stupidest ex-boyfriend! My friend Raelle even occasionally assists by naming the bad guys in her scripts after him! I should have this shit in check, yo; right?
And then this morning I went to coffee, and I got to eavesdrop on two nice Jewish ladies at the next table. I knew they were Jewish because one was conveniently labelled by her gold Chai necklace and the other, well, she kinda looked like my long lost cousin from back in the shtetl, except blonde and carrying an Hermes bag. They were talking about Hermes Shtetl Lady's sister, whose house had just burned in one of the many fires. I gathered the house was pricey and also the object of dispute in the sister's divorce. And then a highly fortuitous thing happened - the sister called Hermes Shtetl Lady's cell phone, and I got to eavesdrop on that convo too.
So, guess what? Yes, having to flee from the burning house sucked huge ass for this woman. Yes, her kids were in a tizz. No, it doesn't matter if you are rich or poor; having something happen to your home shakes you to the core, to the root chakra or whatever it is in your body that needs to feel some security in this snarly world. But here's the bit that interested me: within moments, the conversation drifted over to the woman's ex-husband. The classic "You don't know for sure he's dating her, and even if he is, it doesn't necessarily mean blah blah blah" kind of stuff. As though the world were not on fire. And then Hermes Shtetl took her turn, wallowing in boyfriend indecision to her sister on the phone, then hanging up and wallowing some more with her coffee date.
This brought to mind a passage in the Oprah-worshipped memoir lite, Eat Pray Love. The author says she heard an anecdote about traumatised evacuating boat people - how even though they'd just lost everything, all they really wanted to talk to a therapist about was how they liked this guy, and the guy seemed to like them but then dated their cousin instead. Or, as Sime commented when I sent him the draft of this post - it has always been thus. When Mount Vesuvius exploded, someone in a nearby town surely commented, "It was so horrific, what happened to those people in Pompeii. And it really made me think about my life, and, like, how I felt when Lvcivs left me. Man, that was emotional lava."
I don't know about you, but I need to be reminded of this. Because I am just so damn lucky. No, seriously. I have my dream career and live by the beach with the best dog ever and, knock on wood galore, my home was spared by the fire. So I feel pretty petty when I think about the icky past that seems too small to cause such nasty blisters on my overworking brain. So it is nice to be reminded: Yo, neurotic Jewish lady with the little dog ... You're normal.