Literally Leah

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Assimilation… intellectually speaking. July 23, 2009

Filed under: Recreational Activity — The Under-Analyst @ 11:48 pm
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I have chanced upon a small group of intellectually superior women, The Progressive Young Women’s Book Club of Santa Monica.  I had been excited for 2 whole weeks, hurriedly reading the chosen title, “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman.  I brought my mozzarella, tomato and olive medley (we were instructed to bring a snack) along with a bottle of wine to one of the member’s house.  ann_fadiman


We did small introductions and waited for more members (that didn’t come) before launching into the book.  We strayed from the topic at hand for a majority of the meeting, instead focusing on political events, recent cultural elements and most importantly, our personal lives.  I learned that one woman was a professor at Santa Monica College and a recent foster mother.  The group’s leader was attending a rigorous boot camp daily, volunteering with handicapped children on weekends and pursuing her doctrate, or no maybe now it’s her PHD… and the other girl described her experience in obtaining a Masters and then told us that she worked for the city of Malibu in housing permits.  At one point I dumbly thought that I was on the same page and complained about my student loans, to which they all responded “for an undergrad? Oh, you should never have to pay on student loans for an undergrad!”  Not to mention for an undergrad from a college no one has heard of! (why did I even go to college? The Zoo bar?) Then it was my turn;  How old are you?  ’25, yeah, yeah not exactly fresh out of college.’   What do you do?  ‘I work at a Bariatric Physician’s office in Beverly Hills, yeah a weight-loss center, no, no, I’m the front desk, and no I don’t have health benefits’ (this launches us all into a tirade of the shit healthcare system).  Well, what is it that you want to do? (oh no.. I don’t know that answer) ‘Umm, everything, I’m still trying to figure that out…(wow, impressive, hurry and redeem yourself) I spent last year living in Spain, working.’ (This gets approving nods, thank God)  But what did you study?  ‘Gee, everything, ya know I just didn’t know… it’s like, well I’m not sure if this happens to you, but inspiration and insight always hit me at night so that I can’t sleep because I’m so excited but by morning I’m tired and completely uninspired or motivated…’ (blank stares) So what did you study?  ‘Oh right, sorry. (laughter) I was an art major, then PR and finally ended up with a degree in Corporate Communications’.   They all mumble, “corporate communications.”  “What’s that?”  “Yeah, I don’t even know what that is,” says the  professor.  I give them my standard definition, ‘It’s an umbrella of advertising, marketing,  public relations and human resources.’ But what do you do with that….(work at a fat clinic, duh).  Group leader suggests I look into fundraiser positions. “Have you ever fundraised?”  Yes, I did participate in a few Kappa car washes, but images of  my younger fundraising days quickly entered my head (every time our school had a candy bar fundraiser my mom would have to write a check to the school because I’d eat all my bars and not sell any. One time we were selling giftwrap  for a school fundraiser and I collected the orders and money from some neighbors, threw away the orders and bought candy at Walgreens with the money).  But I’m adult and have a handle on my candy consumption so maybe she was right… I could fundraise?  We end up on a conversation about a recent NPR story because one of the members admittedly states, “it’s the only station I listen to and I don’t have a tv so I listen at home too.” (God bless her) Luckily I just so happen to have been listening to NPR  and proudly offered my input.  1 point for me.  

The evening moves on and I get my fill of fresh veggies on the table (good thing I didn’t bring pizza rolls) and wine is involved so I’m happy.  We somehow end up on the topic of Law & Order SVU episodes.  The group leader shares a story involving a family member that was later made into an episode.  I tell them that my mom isn’t allowed to watch that show because afterwards she calls me freaking out about how I’m gonna get raped, blah, blah, blah.  I share with them a creepy story (one my mom called to tell me about, after making sure I was locking my door and not talking to neighbors) about a girl who is raped and murdered.  When my story is over they decide our meeting is finished….  

Our next meeting, for the new book we’re reading, will be in one month’s time.  

Maybe I can a) secure a Masters, b) get a job with a non-profit or c) become a famous writer before then.  

And hopefully I’ll be invited back.


A little thing called ‘Baggage Anxiety’ July 16, 2009

Filed under: Travel — The Under-Analyst @ 11:52 pm

I finally did it.  I put my suitcase back in the closet. I hate unpacking!  By putting it “away” I am confirming the sad fact that there is NO travel in my immediate future.  This could magically change but chances are it’s going to be a little while.  It took me a whole month to unpack from Thailand and that was only so I could use it to rush to MN for a weekend (which I actually left the marvelously tattered thing there and stole my mom’s new suitcase in its place to take back). For a while I let my friendcase stay in my room as an affirmation that I would soon be needing it to travel to some crazy and wonderful paradise.  instead it sat, taking up space, taunting me, morning after morning as I dumbly lurched about my tiny room for some appropriate “business casual” apparel. He just sat there, staring, mumbling shit like;

“going to work, huh?  Sucks for you.  Remember when we were in Europe? That was a lot cooler than here, huh.  Or how about when we took that helicopter to Monaco, that was awesome.  I bet you wish you were going somewhere better than the chubby clinic, huh? ”  

And in my early morning ire I’d glare back at him and say aloud, “You weren’t even there rollerdonkey! My old and apparently less offensive suitcase was!”  

As I was exiling the cruel capsule back to the mud-room closet I was overcome by a familiar feeling; baggage anxiety.  Why was I feeling that now?  It didn’t make any sense.  

Baggage Anxiety- the feeling one experiences before and during the baggage claim process.  Will I find the right carousel? Will my luggage arrive?  All of it?  Will my items be intact?  Will I get hurt in the process of retrieval?  

My baggage anxiety stems from a long history of luggage letdowns.  It all started on my first trip.  I was thirteen years old, going to visit my Nana in Arizona.  When I returned home, after a week of pre-teen fun in a desert home pool, my suitcase didn’t accompany me as far as I could tell.  I sat, waiting, no suitcase.  I eventually got it back after some old couple opened up “their” suitcase to find tweetybird slippers and a JTT poster.  Since then I’ve had one bag go completely missing, never to be recovered and several “temporarily” missing bags, including my latest trip to Thailand.  I have also been a victim of good ole fashioned baggage looting.  A pair of Stella McCartney shoes and a bag full of my dirty underwear disappeared from my suitcase before christmas last year on a flight back from Spain.  I had locks on my luggage, useless locks obviously. 

 I am continually appalled at the lack of baggage claim etiquette out there, it baffles me!  Everyone rushes to the baggage claim carousel which is dumb because you end up waiting at least five to fifteen minutes anyways.  Everyone attempts to secure the ideal position, close to the baggage shoot-slide but just far enough to have time to identify and prepare to seize. Everyone is spacious and uninterested until that first suitcase shoots down the belt.  Suddenly it looks like a five year old soccer game and the suitcase is the ball.  Some lady has pushed her way in front of you to see if it’s her bag, it’s not but she doesn’t give you your spot back, she remains, bitch. There’s pushing, grumbling and when your bag finally arrives it takes all your strength to push through the crowd only to lift the thing by yourself, no help, and use it as an oversized shield pushing the mob aside so you can escape.  

It was a small flight and therefore the carousel had plenty of space.  I moved some distance down the line to avoid the congestion.  A man came up to my left and another to my right.  As I watched for my suitcase I also kept an eye on them so I’d have time to move back when their luggage arrived.  I made a wrong judgement when I assumed the oversized hot pink suitcase did not belong to my neighbors.  Without warning the guy on my left lunged forward and grabbed the hideous thing and with an ugly grunt hurled it over the side and directly into my left shin.  I immediately yelped (worthy of the F-word) and shot him a look.  No apology, no “are you ok?” He simply elbowed past and wheeled the evil bitch away, leaving me on one leg cursing the baggage claim gods. My bag never came…

 There are many of these memories, too many to recount for you.  I’ve thought of writing a book, “Baggage Claim Woes” “Baggage Lame” “Tales From the Carousel” etc…

I went in and out of these memories as I put my luggage in the closet today.  Goodbye travel, for now. And as I walked solemnly back to my room and stared at the empty space where my fixture of freedom once stood, I reminded myself that it was just a suitcase.  And with that thought I opened the drawer, grabbed my passport and propped it on my dresser… the same affirmation… taking up a lot less space.


Dear Diary… July 13, 2009

Filed under: Identity — The Under-Analyst @ 9:41 pm
Tags: , ,

Aaaahhh what would a girl do without her little diary?  Granted as a mature woman I now refer to my daily grumblings as “journaling.”  Cute.  Nonetheless, I have diaries/journals dating back to the second grade.  Yes, the entries of an 8 year old are quite fascinating… “nana ate the last orange… my brother sucks…emily frank is a bitch…”  Yeah? I know, right?  I was calling girls bitches in the 2nd grade?  I was obviously never THAT naive.  While most of the teenage high school entries revolved around my latest crush my college pages usually recounted the previous drunken evening and my everlasting state of insanity.  

So what do my post-college  memoirs contain?  Curious to revisit my recent years of wisdom I leafed through today’s entries in both 2008 and 2007.  deardiary

July 13, 2008 (living in Barcelona) 1 year ago:

Waking up to such an intense, strange dream…

Brad Pitt? What!  Yes, Brad, I think we are together or at least dating, but do not know each other well.  He brings up/reminds me that I’m such a strong person because I’ve lost both my mom and dad, and I’ve forgotten that my mom’s dead so I freak out and remember and then I’m crying so very hard and nanny is there and she is crying and so I woke up today thinking 2 thoughts:

1. Brad Pitt is hot

2. Oh God, Mom never die, it’d ruin me. 

The RAT TAIL, Barcelona, what is this!?  I desperately want a pair of sharp scissors to run around the city slaying these horrific long lonely strands on the back of both men and women’s heads.  I am the Rat Tail Slayer.

July 13, 2007 (Des Moines) 2 years ago:

Bender today, was doing so good what happened?  Just watched a movie, I am feeling worthless.  I need to do something with my life.  Peace corps? Shower? What the fuck did Anne Frank do all day?  Poor girl.  Remember that place?  Amsterdam, London, getting shitty.  I think I’ll end up a crackwhore.  hhmm A boyfriend in Vegas, interesting direction to take but definitely refreshing, running again, feels good.  Flying to Vegas Wednesday, wait twice in 3 weeks is that too much of sin city?  Sick of the bar scene, learning to be by myself.  How can I ever be someone’s wife? Someone’s mother? Eeewww.  


Conclusion:  Ummmmm,  maybe “wisdom”  wasn’t the most accurate word to describe my post-college journaling… but there’s always my late 20’s, surely I’m not destined to be Bridget Jones…  Right?