Outstanding Submissions: 12
Rejections: 2, 1 form, Jubiliat, 1 personal, Camera Obscura
Camera Obscura enjoys my writing but felt too much distance from the narrator–definitely something to think about as I take another look at the story in question. Jubilat acknowledges my writerness by addressing me as Dear Writer and letting me know my submission just wasn’t a good fit. All this bad fitting lately is really getting me down.Â I need a writing tailor.
PSA: Elizabeth Hildreth, I saw that you e-mailed me while I was clicking Delete All Forever in my Spam folder where your e-mail had hidden itself and just as I released the trackpad button I recognized your name (if I’m thinking of the right person/poet) so, can you please resend your message because I am an obsessive e-mail organizing freak? I love e-mail!
Friends, I wish I had something witty to share today but I don’t. Instead, I’m going to tell you the story of one of the most annoying, depressing and pathetic holiday weeks in the history of holiday weeks.
I realized last year I would not be able to spend the holidays with my family this year because, in the best of all worlds, I would have at least one interview at the MLA convention in Philadelphia. I was kind of bummed because I don’t think I’ve ever not spent the holidays with my family but I’m an adult. I was able to maintain a fair amount of composure and I also consoled myself by landing several interviews.
As an aside, how inconsiderate is it to have a convention two days after Christmas for like 40 years? In 2011, the convention will start toward the end of the first week in January which is a vast improvement but I am shocked it took this long for MLA to make this change.
Anyway, I had made my peace with the necessity to prepare for my interviews and travel to Philly. That said, this past week was quite the bummer. Most of the people I knew were out of town. The weather was miserable. I had to deal with three crises.
The Clothing Crisis
I ordered a suit from an online purveyor of clothing and when it arrived, it was too big because as those who know me know, I’m involved in a weight loss situation where it is difficult to gauge the sizing of new clothing beyond the technical term of a little less fat than before. I couldn’t walk without the pants falling around my ankles and believe you me, the sight of my pale brown thighs is not a sight I would subject a non-paramour to.Â Given that I was buying the suit for my interviews, I knew I had to take action.
As an aside, I do recognize the run on quality of that sentence.
There was no time to return the suit and wait for a new one to arrive so I took the elephant garb (which is, fittingly, gray) to a tailor who took the pants in so I wouldn’t look completely ridiculous and the whole affair irritated me because if I lived in a place with appropriate retail options, I wouldn’t be subjected to all this online shopping and ill-fitting clothes which are much like all the ill-fitting stories I keep sending out into the universe–a universe which hates me, I think.
The Retail and Dining Crisis
On Christmas Eve, I realized it might be a good idea to travel with a garment bag suitcase so as to better preserve the unwrinkled nature of my newly dry-cleaned suit. I went to Shopko, Walmart and JC Penney, the only stores in town (and half-assed versions of those stores, believe you me), but I had no luck–each store had a sadder selection of suitcases. By the time I stood in the back hallway of JC Penney, not even in the main store but rather, the dimly lit and shabby walkway between the store and the salon and customer service area, looking at these off-brand, flimsy suitcases that the TSA would likely destroy with their half-assed attempts to “screen” my luggage, I realized the futility of my project. Now, you might say that this was a matter of poor planning but I will ignore you and blame the town instead. I was going to have to use one of my regular suitcases and iron my suit in Philadelphia. I was bereft not because this was a big deal in the grand scheme of things but because it was Christmas Eve, and I was in hell, alone, while my family engaged with one another convivially in sunny Florida. I stood in the (s)mall parking lot, and it was raining, creating a potent parking lot porridge of slush. If my cheeks weren’t so cold, I could have cried. I raised my hands to the sky, threw my head back and shouted, “What more do you want from me universe? I give up.” There were a few uncomfortable stares from passersby but one woman, getting on in years with a hitch in her step, walked over to me, patted me on the shoulder and said, “I hear you, honey.” It was nice to know someone did.
I rendezvoused with my friend B, and we agreed to go out to dinner only not a single restaurant (of the four or so) in town was open save for The Library, a restaurant whose service is generally quite abominable. As an example, I once ordered a steak. They brought me a Black & Blue steak, which was covered in Blue Cheese which I am allergic to. I said, and quite politely, “look, I’m not trying to be difficult but I cannot eat this.” The server took the steak in the back, scraped the cheese off and brought it back to me less than two minutes later at which time I said, “So, you’re trying to kill me?” We were both quite sad about this turn of events. Not even Perkins was open. Dinner was not to be. I went home and supped on mini-pretzels and a Lean Cuisine Panini and tried to drown my sorrows in Diet Cherry Pepsi. A gentlemen friend offered me some venison but I was not that desperate. I told him, “Venison is not the answer to everything. I hate venison.” Then he looked sad because he is a hunter gatherer who had procured said venison himself and I felt bad so I gnawed on some venison jerky which made me want to hurl.
The Car and Travel Crisis
Plane tickets out of Houghton, were, as usual, exorbitant, so as usual I decided to fly out of Green Bay which necessitated driving there on Christmas Day. The weather had been quite strange for the previous 36 hours–rainy and slushy and at times snowy and blizzardy, like Mother Nature had forgotten to take her Haldol. On my way out the door, a friend surprised me with a phone call (sexy voice, sir!) and we had a lovely brief chat that I had to cut short because I needed to get on the road. It was a little after 1 pm. I put my bags in the car, and backed out of the garage only to find myself stuck in about 2 feet of slushy snow because the landlady had not yet had the driveway plowed for the day. I was shocked because I drive a very big 4WD SUV. In my mind, nothing can stop me. This very attitude is why I’m always surprised when I receive a rejection.
Not yet realizing the severity of the situation, I did what any moron with no understanding of cars would do and slammed my foot on the gas creating a lot of spitting snow, exhaust fumes and useless commotion. The car did not budge but I did create some ice slicks beneath each tire that were very slick indeed. After five minutes of this absurd behavior, wherein my panic increased exponentially as I tried switching into different gears and 4WD High and 4WD Low, probably breaking the transmission in the process, I took a deep breath and put the car in park. I got out and in a fit of insanity tried pushing a huge SUV, still in “Park”, alone. The car rocked gently and the grill mocked me with a bit of a sneer. I got back in the car and stared at my reflection in the mirror. A sad, sad girl looked back. I didn’t want to call my gentleman friend or anyone else I knew because it was Christmas Day and I didn’t want the probably contagious misery plaguing me to infect their holidays as well.
Then I did what any sensible person would do and called AAA. Now, as I understand it, they provide roadside service in the case of an emergency. The woman on the phone (but the word I am thinking of is not woman) was real snippy and said that their tow truck drivers cannot provide assistance to people stuck in unplowed driveways. I said, look, this is the UP. The tow truck driver will help me. I lost it a little because I was holding on by a very very thin thread. I said, isn’t this the point of AAA and I swear to god, she said, AAA provides roadside service so I said, look I AM ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD IN MY DRIVEWAY REQUIRING SERVICE DURING AN EMERGENT SITUATION.Â I thought, please, let me not get all girl and start crying. I really tried to maintain my composure. She got all huffy and said she would call the tow service and they were like, of course we’ll help because they know the deal around here, only they wouldn’t be able to show up for 2 hours because they were backed up. I said, ok, that’s fine, and I continued to sit in my car as if my inertia might somehow magically free my car from the death grip of the ice slicks and 2 feet of snow within which it was trapped.
While all this was going on, my 86 year old landlady who is… special, was watching from her window. She called me on my cell phone and said her son was coming to help and sure enough, a minute later, he was tapping his fingers on my car window. He, his wife and I all got shovels and literally began digging my car out. We were super tough. We even had to shovel snow from under the car. Then we put down kitty litter and Jimmy (son) got all butch and said he would drive the car out of the predicament as I was now calling the snowbank, which he did. He pulled the car into the garage and said, “You didn’t look at the end of the driveway, did you?” I shook my head, feeling a profound sadness spreading to the rest of me from the core of my soul because I knew exactly what the next obstacle would be. The snow plows had plowed us in. A snow blockade, about 5 feet high, was effectively preventing any vehicular entry or exit. I threw my hands up again and this time, shouted, “SERIOUSLY???”
I called to cancel AAA in the interim.
Jimmy extracted the snow blower from the garage and went gangsta on the snow blockade while I went into my apartment and tried to compose myself and ate some more mini-pretzels. About fifteen minutes later, he knocked on my door, and told me a path had been cleared. I thanked him profusely, offered him a picture of my first born child and went on my way.
As I drove the 220 miles to Green Bay, the weather got progressively worse and the sky got progressively darker. I fishtailed at several points and reflected upon how fitting it would be to die, alone, on Christmas, driving on an unplowed and depressing stretch of rural highway. It was a very long drive. Normally, I am not fond of Green Bay but yesterday, I was ecstatic to pull in to the Airport Radisson parking lot and check in to my room where I ate some depressing room service and promptly fell asleep at 8 pm or so which is the earliest I have ever fallen asleep.
Good news! I was refreshed when I woke up at 4:30 to catch my 6:30 flight.
That’s all I have to say about that.