Saturday, December 21, 2002

I don't know where I get the energy sometimes.

A clich'e statement, but it's true. After a whole day of working the Saturday before Christmas at Barnes and Noble, or Barnes and Nobles as the customers call it, I dragged my mom's power vacuum to my new apartment and vacuumed those wood floors like they'd never been before. The floors in the apartment are what a designer may call rustic, or shabby chic, which means they are in dire need of refinishing. The building was built in the 1880's, so a lot of feet have walked across those floors, which I believe are original. This means, small gaps in places where the sealing between the boards has dried, and years of dust and debris that has slipped between them. A simple vacuum would normally work, but these floors needed the hose treatment, where you take the hose attachment, go board by board, stick it face down on each crevice and let it suck everything out. With my mom's upright powerhouse of a vacuum, this is exactly what those old floors needed. Industrial strength sucking.

After vaccuming for two hours straight, I took out the mop and went over the floors with wood soap and warm water. That took another 45 minutes, as the place is huge. If I'd thought about how much work I was in for before I started, I'd never have made it, but there was something symbolic that fueled my determination to clean the floors and keep the blinders on to focus on the task at hand, and not on my fatigue and sore back. This apartment is going to be my new home, and I wanted everyone else's "stuff" out of it so I could make it mine. I didn't want the remnants of tenants past making me feel like I was moving into once again, someone else's house. Tomorrow morning, my furniture will arrive, and I want it to rest on pristine floors.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

I saw Lord of the Rings on opening night.

My mom and I were driving around doing errands and had planned on going to either LOTR or Harry Potter. I wasn't in the mood for either. Not because I didn't think the films would be good, but for the other reason that I stated in one of my earlier posts. My lack of wanting to do things, which includes going to movies. I don't know if it's because I still feel that I'm in a strange land, or if it's because I'm strictly in survival mode. I had finished my Christmas shopping, and sent in the last big tax returns that I'll be getting for a while. It was cold and windy, and high clouds were smeared under a grayish blue sky. My mom ended up making the decision for me, and said that we were going to Lord of the Rings.

I was nervous that I'd have an anxiety attack in the theatre, or feel sick. I knew that LOTR was going to be an intense movie, which worried me as far as triggering an attack. Those feelings have been creeping back up on me lately, because two major events are upon me. One, I'm moving into my own apartment for the first time in a year, and two, the usual stress of the holidays. My mom and Jack left for England today, and I'm left to deal with my own devices and fend off being pulled in every direction when what I really need to do is spend time in my apartment and unpack.

I was going to drive to Atlanta, but after serious consideration I called my sister and said that it was just too far a trip to see her for less than 24 hours and spend the rest of it with my dad, Marie and Alec. Meaning, I'd be an invisible splot on the wall after Joan left. So, seeing my sister's new house will have to wait.

Anyway, mom and I waltzed into the theatre and found an aisle seat, simply because we'd hit the 4pm show and most of the people hadn't come home from work yet. I'd been hearing all week from customers that they'd bought their tickets two weeks in advance, and here we walked right up ten minutes before show time and sat right down. The theater was full, but somehow luck was on our side. The movie was excellent, and even though I did have to pee three times during it, my anxiety attack never showed up. It was exactly what I needed. It also made me miss Los Angeles a bit. One, because were I not working in retail where people told me that the movie was starting on Wednesday, I would not have known it. And the other reason is because LA audiences are more savvy and energetic. This audience applauded a few times, but there wasn't that buzz in the air that I always felt before seeing a majorly anticipated film. Perhaps, because in Los Angeles, movies are life.

There is one bit of insider information that I had before seeing the film that I shared with my mom. This isn't a spoiler, so no need to skip down. In one scene, Viggo Mortenson kicks a helmet from one of the fallen enemies, then screams in agony over what we think is frustration at arriving too late at the battle scene. However, in reality during the filming of that scene, when he kicked the helmet he broke his foot. That scream, though it made for added drama in the film, is a scream of real pain, not acting. After the helmet kick, you can see that he's limping. Now if that isn't dedication to your craft, I don't know what is.

Speaking of one's craft, I've been painting a lot. My work schedule working just fine for me, and even with the Christmas season hitting us full force, I leave work with plenty of energy and lots of time for me. Most importantly, when I leave work, I leave it. One thing, that I've mentioned before is the customers that come to the store. Fat, ugly, and uneducated. I know that's a harsh way to put it, but it's the truth. It occurred to me the other night that most of them probably don't have a college education and some may not have finished high school. I'm not saying that these people wouldn't pull me out of a burning car. They probably would without thinking twice. It's just that most of them are a complete 180 from my Los Angeles customers. These people are unable to construct a proper sentence, the men buy car and sport magazines, and the women buy mostly diet books and romance novels. Diet books because they are fat and want a quick fix, and romance novels because they're still waiting for Fabio to rescue them on a white horse. Sorry ladies, but Fabio wouldn't be able to lift most of you onto that white horse, whether you can believe it's not butter, or not. Christmas is a welcome guest, for me, simply because people are fulfilling Christmas lists and therefore I'm actually seeing some interesting books come across the counter.

In Los Angeles, our major breadwinner was the kid's department because well, the kids there actually read. Here, not surprisingly, it's the cafe. I wish I could be kinder in describing our clientele, but I can't. They are what they are. Had I not grown up in a town with people just like these whom are ignorantly smug, it may not grate on my nerves so much when I'm dealing with them. Luckily, I drive home and enter a much more intellectual world. Where people actually pass the ball back to you instead of let it bounce off their bodies, then walk away because they don't want to expend the energy to pick it up and ask you what they can do with it.

And one more thing, while I'm being a grump. Thank God for Web simulcasts. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't listen to KCRW. Simulcasts are my live connection to cool.