Archive for the ‘Misadventures’ Category

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100 Accomplishments

January 4, 2009

SATURDAY
3 January 2009

A few years ago, I was reading one of the hippie/raw food eating/metaphysical philosophy books I own (and cherish, thanks very much), and the author touted the importance of making a list of 100 things you want to accomplish in the next year.  These aren’t resolutions, mind you.  This is another way of visualizing the life you’d like to lead for the next year.  Much like a vision board, I suppose.  A big, comprehensive list of the things you want to do, see, have, learn, experience, etc.

In the several years I’ve done this exercise, I’ve yet to come up with 100 things.  Can you believe that??  I’m even including things like, “I replaced all of my tattered underwear!” and “Purchased a fancy watch!”  I came up with everything my brain can imagine that I really want right now.  Special thanks to my sister for posting a similar list on her blog from which I ‘borrowed’ several fantastic suggestions.

One of the challenges is that the accomplishments have to be measurable.  Nothing vague like, “I will be in the best shape of my life.”  However, “I gained 15 pounds of muscle” works, as does “I returned to tai chi play three times per week.”  Sometimes, I admit, I’m not 100% successful with this.  I know I’ll keep revamping and revising until it’s compliant with this rule, though.

The list is all over the place – career stuff, personal stuff, travel items, material things.  Writing the list makes you think BIG about everything you want in your life, and not stopping until you reach 100 really forces you to expand your mind.  Here’s my list as it stands right now:

1.  New apartment that is quiet, peaceful, near the beach and where I can have a pup
2.  New bicycle
3.  New car
4.  One screenplay optioned (minimum)
5.  Ran a marathon
6.  Added 15 pounds of muscle
7.  Wrote two new screenplays (minimum)
8.  Became financially independent – my investments earn enough to pay my expenses
9.  Earned $1000 worth of writing income per week (business, creative, technical, articles, etc.)
10.  Up and running with my iPhone
11.  LA365 blog receives 50,000 hits per day
12.  Arctic Dog Films website is up and running
13.  Learned to surf! (and own all the accoutrements)
14.  Met and am sharing life with my next great love
15.  Enjoying my new MacbookPro w/Final Cut and ACS4
16.  Studied & developed my intuitive abilities and put them to use (reading people)
17.  Learned to speak French
18.  Learned to speak Spanish
19.  Went for an extended trip to Paris (and explored Europe, too)
20.  Bought a new guitar
21.  Took guitar lessons and relearned to play
22.  Wrote a song on my guitar
23.  Produced and starred in my own cabaret show
24.  Directed and produced ILLUME
25.  Completely simplified and organized every aspect of my life (a la “Coach Yourself…”)
26.  Went on a ski trip to the Rockies
27.  Trip to NYC
28.  Secured production deals with two companies (one is a major studio)
29.  Started voice lessons again
30.  Relearned TaiChi grand long form
31.  Began regular yoga practice
32.  Took an RSVP, Atlantis or Zoom Vacation
33.  Had a sitting with a professional photographer
34.  Gave $15,000 to charity
35.  Volunteered at least 10 hours per month
36.  Enjoyed monthly spa days
37.  Swam with dolphins
38.  Went horseback riding
39.  Had lunch, dinner or drinks with Oprah Winfrey
40.  Returned to an 80% raw food eating plan
41.  New Vespa
42.  Saved 6 months worth of expenses as a reserve
43.  Paid off my credit cards
44.  Paid back monies owed to my family
45.  Current with my taxes & loved by the IRS
46.  Earned $1,000,000 income!!!
47.  Went on a yoga/meditation retreat
48.  Take an Alaskan cruise
49.  Landed an agent – both literary and directing
50.  Hired an assistant
51.  Hired a housekeeper
52.  Hired a personal, raw food chef
53.  Purchased a high-end watch
54.  Purchased a hi-def television set
55.  Raw foods and health supplements are delivered to my home
56.  Traveled to the Grand Canyon
57.  Traveled to Australia
58.  Developed a photography hobby
59.  Enjoying a sleek, new NIKON D60 digital camera for aforementioned hobby
60.  Finished a triathlon
61.  Revamped my wardrobe/style/image & am able to cultivate it authentically
62.  Wrote & produced fun webisode series about dating
63.  Bought a piano and took piano lessons
64.  Acted in a small role in a film
65.  Performed in a play or musical here in LA
66.  Had coffee, lunch or drinks with Meryl Streep
67.  Had a successful pitch meeting at Focus Features which resulted in an option
68.  Talked with Steven Spielberg at an industry event
69.  Attended a swanky Oscar after-party!
70.  Wrote a novel
71.  Unloaded my Minneapolis condo
72.  Rescued at least two dogs
73.  Attended a Hicks/Abraham seminar
74.  Dinner with Jerry & Esther Hicks
75.  New collection of fancy-schmancy underwear
76.  New running shoes
77.  New running shoe heel inserts
78.  Sweet new rollerblades
79.  Attached a name actor to ILLUME (minimum)
80.  Was mentored by and established relationships with multiple entertainment industry pros
81.  Purchased a brand new professional-grade video camera for vlogging & webisode work
82.  Took golf lessons
83.  Bought golf clubs and golf accoutrements
84.  New backpack/satchel thing for hauling around all m’stuff
85.  Became a certified Life Coach
86.  Slept under the stars
87.  Went to Disneyland
88.  Planted a garden and grew my own vegetables
89.  Went skinny dipping
90.  Kissed that someone special in the rain (see #14)
91.  Went for a moonlit walk along the beach
92.  Went to a drive-in movie (double-feature would be awesome!)
93.  Joined a book club
94.  Visited every major film studio lot in Los Angeles
95.  Took a Hawaiian vacation
96.  Watched the northern lights
97.  Have a new home stereo system
98.  Bought some sweet BOSE noise-reduction headphones
99.  Read every script nominated for “Best Original Screenplay” within the past 10 years
100.  Watched every “Best Picture” Oscar winner for the past 30 years

Give this exercise a try.  It isn’t as easy as it sounds!

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Day 101: 101 pounds of Chocolate

December 5, 2008

WEDNESDAY
12 November 2008

Today I asked the neighbors next door if I could walk the dogs for them.  I figure if I have some down time and can help out, why not?   I saw the two teen aged sons out in the dog pen FINALLY cleaning up the poop piles, and thought it was a good time to make the inquiry. Surprise, surprise.  They were more than thrilled to ask for their dad’s approval on this measure.  After all, it’s one more neglected chore they can fully avoid.  What teenager wouldn’t jump at that?

Two of the dogs at once would’ve been too much, so they gave me Chocolate who is the younger of the two as I understand it.  Again, these puppies are s’dang sweet, I’m turning diabetic just thinking about them.  Hmm.  Is that comment PC?  I hope I’m not offending actual diabetics by making such a statement.  I’m sure Mary Tyler Moore reads this blog and she’ll chime in with a comment if I’ve crossed the line.

Chocolate was CRAZED on this walk.  How could she not be?  She’s over 100 pounds of pure muscle and she lives in a 10-foot by 20-foot area every day with another big dog like her.  Oh, and joy of joys: she has no leash training either.  She’s a puller and does not know the meaning of the words “sit,” “heel,” or “no.”  And she’s STRONG.  About twice as strong as I was ever used to Hank pulling and about 800% stronger than the 5 lb. Tinkerbell.  Yeah, good times.

To make matters worse, at one point the neighbor dad – Oscar – came walking down the street with Chocolate’s sister Bella.  Chocolate is a little neurotic, so when she saw Bella she went ballistic.  Barking, yelping, howling, wailing.  And yes, pulling.  With both of my hands holding the leash, I thought she was going to dislocate my shoulders trying to get to Bella.

Is it me, or was that totally inconsiderate and just plain lame of Oscar to bring Bella out when he knew Chocolate would go berserk the second she saw her sister – also knowing full-well, I’m sure, that Chocolate is not good on a leash.  A leash which was about a foot too short, by the way.  It was likely the same leash these neighbors used with their previous canines, who were smaller lapdogs that were killed one night by coyotes.  This happened even after repeated warnings from Yvonne and Ed to take those little dogs in at night.

When I think about this, and also remember the day the neighbor mom flat out told me how their family doesn’t have time for these two big dogs, it begs the obvious question:  um, why the hell have them?  Obviously, I don’t think not owning a dog makes you a bad person.  But owning two huge animals like Bella and Chocolate who require exercise, training and routine, then NOT giving that to them… well… there’s something not right about that, in my humble opinion.

My biggest concern was that Chocolate would get free of me, and with no obedience training, I’d have no way to get her back.  This was something I didn’t want to be responsible for.  I mean, if a dog won’t even sit on command… that’s bad news.  And sad, considering you can teach a dog to sit in about 10 minutes.  Unfortunately, now that Chocolate was out of her cage for once, the last thing she wanted to do learn how to sit for me.

ALL dogs want to do is make us happy, make their owners happy.  And German shepherds are damn smart dogs.  I mean, hell – they can be trained to sniff out the difference between dirty socks and cocaine at LAX.  Surely some basic commands aren’t out of the question, not with countless books, trainers-for-hire, TV shows and the internet all offering information about this.  Geez.

I became more and more frustrated during the walk.  Not with Chocolate of course – she was just being instinctual and doing what she knows.  I was more upset with her owners, and the fact that this walk idea was probably not going to work.  When I took Chocolate back to the house, Oscar asked me “So how was she?”

“Well, she was a crazy bitch and you know it.”

I didn’t say that.  I wanted to though.  I think I managed to tactfully express that she did OK, all things considered.  I left it at that.

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Day 100: Dang, 100 days already?!

December 5, 2008

TUESDAY
11 November 2008

Yvonne and Ed’s house is haunted.  More than once, Yvonne has mentioned how their cat Asta can see ghosts, or ‘shadow people’ as she calls them.  These are the things our eyes seemingly catch every so often, but we write them off as our mind playing tricks on us.  Come on!  Is it not bad enough there are killer coyotes from the underworld lurking outside (like the one I talked about here on Day 65)?  Now I have to deal with ghosts, too?  Crap.

Of course, Yvonne and Ed are in Tahoe for the week and I’m in the house alone, so it’s completely logical that NOW is the time when all the creepy, creaky, things-that-go-bump will all rear their disembodied heads.

Last night was the strangest night.  I didn’t sleep well.  SOMETHING was keeping me from sleeping.  Asta wasn’t helping.  He sleeps in the bed with me on occasion, and last night he was particularly active – he was up, he was down, he was out, he was sitting on the windowsill, and then I wake up and he’s 4 inches from my face staring at me.  Maybe he was stealing my breath or whatever that old wives tale that is (or was that only something I saw in a movie?).  Asta is darling and I don’t think that’s in his constitution, but still… cats are sneaky that way.

Ed and Yvonne have a cuckoo clock in the kitchen and another grandfather clock in the hallway, both of which go off every hour (of course).  One of the songs the kitchen clock plays is this pseudo-“Edelweiss” knock-off, and in my half-sleep/half-awake freakiness about the shadow people, I swear one of the times it went off, it sounded like the most hellish, demented version of that Rodgers & Hammerstein anthem you’ve ever heard.  My half conscious mind immediately conjured images of the Von Trapp Family singers’ heads exploding all over their coordinated, curtain outfits.  It was like a totally disgusting, effed up deleted scene from Scanners or something.  Immediately after, the grandfather clock in the hall began playing what sounded like a bell-tolling death march.  Yikes.  Did I eat cheese before going to bed or what?

At around 4am, I swear someone or something was walking through the house.  Now, Yvonne and Ed arranged for the neighbor girl to take care of feeding their outdoor cats, but there was no way she was coming over at 4am.  Plus, she’d have no reason to walk all the way from the back hall (where the kitty food is), through the house to Yvonne and Ed’s bathroom.  Even weirder:  whatever it was brushed their teeth while they were in there.  Yeah, I know, but I swear it was for realz.  Do the undead really need to be concerned with plaque buildup and healthy gums?

I’m sure you’ll agree what I did next makes perfect sense.  Unsure whether it was the neighbor girl, an intruder with dental hygiene issues or a phantasm, I called out, “HELLO?”  Now, I wasn’t fully conscious and I’m completely defenseless, so this was the smart thing to do, right?  Sure it was.  Unfortunately, I was in one of those dream-like, paralyzed states where you can’t move or form words, so instead of “HELLO?” it came out “glurm-flum-thhhhh.”  I am so damn menacing, right??

I’m not sure what happened next, but at least I woke up in one piece.  Very strange night, though.

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Day 98: Possum eviction

November 11, 2008

SUNDAY
9 November 2008

Today, Yvonne and Ed left for Tahoe for a week.  Before they left, Ed asked if I’d help them with a possum ‘issue.’  See, they have a little kitty-condo in the backyard for their outdoor cat Alpha, and this morning Ed discovered a possum had taken up residence inside of it.  Apparently, he couldn’t get the thing out by banging on the exterior of the box or poking the creature with a stick.  Lazy bastard.  The possum, not Ed.

Being a city boy, the possums I usually see have tire tracks across them.  I wanted to see the thing for myself, thinking I’d see something like this.  What I saw instead was lazy blob of fur… smelly, lethargic and it really could not have cared less that I was present.  He barely moved.  “There’s a reason they call it ‘playing possum,'” Ed said.  Oh yeah.  Right.

So… my charge was to blockade the entryway once the possum was out of there.  Even though Alpha wouldn’t be able to use the condo for a while either, Ed wanted to send the possum the message that it was not to get used to the idea of living in there either.  I checked before I left to walk Tinks.  The thing was still there.  Got back home in the afternoon?  Still there.  Early evening.  Still there.  Dang.  I thought, “Maybe it really IS dead.”  I threw some crab-apples from the ground at the kitty-condo’s plywood siding.  Nothing.  I shook the post.  Nothing.  Dang.  I went online to see if I could learn of any food items that might coax the possum out.  No such luck.

FINALLY, at about 11 o’clock, I thought I’d look again.  I searched the garage for a flashlight, and found one that Ed must’ve bought at an X-Files fan expo.  Seriously, I turned it on and there was a hum like a nuclear reactor had just been activated.  I wasn’t prepared for the .44 Magnum-like kickback.  Anyway, it turns out the lazy-ass possum had left, so I found a board to cover the entryway, but needed something to secure the board, because according to Ed, ‘those bastards are damn crafty.’  I went back into the house en route to the garage again, and the back door had closed.  Thankfully, I knew were Ed and Yvonne hid the spare key, so I went for it… and it wasn’t there.  Oh SNAP.  Locked out of the house, no phone to call anyone, 11 o’clock at night and the spare keys were gone.  Son of a bitch!

I knew Ed and Yvonne were having a neighbor girl watch after feeding Alpha and collecting their mail, and figured she must have the spare keys.  Dang… but where did she live… fart if I know.  What could I do but go knocking on doors?  “Hi, I know you’ve never seen me before, but do you have the keys to that house over there?  Could I have them?  Thanks.”  Yes, this was going to go well…

LUCKILY, my acute sense of observation had seen Shanna (the neighbor girl) walking across the street after meeting with Ed to discuss the particulars of cat feeding, and I lucked out.  Thankfully the family was still awake and I regained passage into the house.  I’m not really sure where I would have gone or what I would have done.  What’re the odds I’d lock myself out of the house the first night Yvonne and Ed are gone, and the spare key is with the girl across the street.  So lame.

So back in the house and back in the garage, I searched for something to secure this board to the kitty-condo.  Bungee cords, twine, electric tape… whatever.  I found some thick string on the back of a shelf.  As I pulled it off, there was a workbench avalanche of assorted tape rolls and hacksaws.  I’m not kidding:  FALLING HACKSAWS!  Hope I’m current on my tetanus shots.

Back at the condo… I was never a boy scout or anything, so it’s not like I have tremendous skills in knot-tying, but I think I managed to shore things up pretty well.  I feel bad for Alpha, though.  He’s gonna be homeless for the next week!  Poor little guy… and he won’t come in the house either…

So… mission accomplished for today.

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Day 84: A Very Brady Bike Ride

November 2, 2008

WEDNESDAY
28 October 2008

I had a meeting today with my seminar small-group coach Troy.  It was an interview of sorts, in that he has a project on which I may be able to help, so this was a chance to learn more about his project and show him some of my mad skillz.  I gathered a few of my corporate samples to show him.  I’m always hesitant to show my corporate work because it is such a completely different animal than feature work.  All the same, most of my projects in that milieu are pretty slick and high-end.  In addition, the budgets I’ve had to work with as a producer in the non-broadcast/industrial video realm have been larger than what most independent producers have to work with.  I’m learning more and more through this Flash Forward class that I have more transferable experience and cachet than I was previously acknowledging, and I’m grateful for this self-discovery.

Yesterday, I had to relinquish Robert the BMW to one of Darrell’s friends who would be using him for a few days.  With that, today became a bike & subway kind of day because I was meeting Troy in North Hollywood.

I haven’t talked about this for a while, and it sounds pretty ridiculous, but my riding acumen on this bike comes in fits and spurts.  Some days I’m super-confident, zipping down the streets, up driveways, down curbs, past gawking tourists.  Other days I’m as wobbly as Jan Brady riding her bike without her glasses (even AFTER Marcia confronted her).  Today was a Jan Brady day…

Let’s start with my bike helmet, and the fact that it looks like a consolation prize won at an 8th grade nerd convention.  I’ve had it forever, and it’s time for an upgrade.  It’s hard to feel like my usual suave and sexy self (ha!) once I’ve stretched the kevlar straps across my face and locked them together.  Today’s helmets are more sleekly designed and fashionable, which are adjectives that are not typically associated with me.  Even so, I’m able to deal with the geek factor because I’ve known people whose lives have likely been saved by their helmets.  Let’s face it, brains smeared on the pavement = not sexy.

On my way to the subway station, I went over a HUGE curb that must’ve been about 9 inches high.  Please don’t ask how I’m able to easily assess – almost unconsciously – this specific unit of measure.  Anyway, after my back tire hit the street, I heard a thud, and noticed the under-seat satchel that holds the bike lock and a spare inner tube had snapped off and was on the ground.  Ugh.  Great.  Another item to carry around in my already over-stuffed backpack.  I’m grateful I heard the thud, though, otherwise I would have arrived at my meeting unable to lock up the bike.

The best moment, however, was when I was riding past a restaurant on Sunset Boulevard.  Since it was a sunny day – what else is new? – this fine, upscale establishment had some shade umbrellas up to protect the delicate patrons out on the patio.  The umbrellas were out in the middle of the sidewalk right in the riding path, AND they were angled at 45-degrees, so it’s not like I could very well duck under them.  I’m not painting a great picture here, I admit, but suffice it to say the damn umbrellas were in my way.  As I was delicately attempting to navigate between one of them on one side and a light post on the other, my shoulder BARELY grazed the umbrella and over it fell.  SOOOO embarrassing.  Truly.

I stopped, parked the bike, and walked back to reset the thing.  This particular umbrella had been protecting a table of 7 or 8 twenty-somethings, all of whom were now looking at me like I had just touched down from the planet Neptune. Their faces were contorted into various shapes of disbelief, repulsion and utter confusion.  It was as if they’d discovered their trust funds had been depleted, I’d keyed all of their cars and was now going to force them all to wear clothes from The Gap.  I could see the wheels turning as they soon looked to one another for what to do next.   I imagined the whispers: “OMG, do we call someone?” or “Don’t look directly at him.” or “Poor people are so clumsy.”

It was one of the more amusing anecdotes from my otherwise busy day.  Oh!  After my meeting with Troy was over, I stayed behind for a while at Panera and saw Tim Allen, the Home Improvement/Santa Clause movies dude.  He parked his car, plugged the meter and, I’m guessing, was just a-walking around NoHo tending to some errands.  So weird to see celebs in their natural habitat.  Perhaps, like me, you are wondering what the hell he’s been up to lately.  Here’s some info about that. There’s actually a Toy Story 3 in the works.  Who knew?

Otherwise, not much more to share today.  The Jan Brady incident had a lasting effect that carried me through the whole day…

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Day 82: The USPSWTF

October 31, 2008

MONDAY
27 October 2008

Dear God, what a day.  With so many phone calls, emails, names, numbers, ideas, people, places & things oozing out of my brain, I half-expected to find a word jumble on my pillow this morning.  I knew a lot of my energy today would be trying to wrap what is left of my mind around all of the information downloaded to me over the weekend.  I managed to be pretty successful though, and got through a lot!  I’m not sure I will continue to be as productive, but I’ll sure try.  After all, with no housing at the moment and still seeking gainful employment, I DO have some basic needs to which I must tend.  Food and shelter, anyone?

This was the day, however, when I decided it was time for my own mailing address.  I can’t keep imposing on Darrell to meet me every 3 or 4 days with my mail.  That ain’t right.  I went online to determine what I needed to take to the post office so the process there would be quick and painless.  Lo and behold, I discovered you can now apply and pay for the PO box online, so it simply becomes a matter of taking the application into the post office (along with two forms of ID), getting your keys and voila!  You’re off and running.  Fantastic!

I arrived at the West Hollywood post office with everything in perfect order.  FINALLY!  In another 10 minutes, I could cross this off my list.  Woo-hoo!  The wait in line wasn’t all that long.  The clerk was friendly and reviewed my application to make sure everything was correct.  I handed over my two forms of ID – my shiny new California driver’s license and my U.S. Passport.  It was about 10 seconds later when I think I heard an audible SCREEEEEEEECH as the PO box application process came to an abrupt halt.  “I can only accept one of those as a form of ID,” the clerk informed me.  “The other needs to be a secondary form… a voter registration card, a lease agreement, a work ID.”

HUH??!!  I admit, I didn’t think she was serious at first.  I told her that online at usps.com, there was a page indicating the acceptable forms of ID, and that these were both on the list.  “I know, but the website is wrong.”  OK, then… “Do you have a mortgage statement or a rental agreement with you?”  Of course!  I always carry any and all housing documents on my person, just for special occasions like these.

“What about a corporate ID?  A work ID with your photo?” she asked next.  This was confounding to me – the idea that a corporate photo ID would trump my U.S. passport, even if I worked at, say, Chuck E. Cheese.  Or Eastern Onion.  Or Raging Stallion Studios (imagine THAT company’s holiday party).  In this circumstance, these IDs have more power than my government-issued passport.  Last time I checked, it was the same government that owned the very building I was standing in, and employed the clerk I was speaking with.  I can travel to China wearing a bath towel and a jockstrap as long as I have my driver’s license and passport, but I can’t rent a 3″x5″ post office box in West Hollywood with them.  Can I get a “WTF?!”  Incidentally, I would not be surprised if someone actually HAS walked into that post office in a bath towel and jockstrap at some point.  Remember, we’re in West Hollywood.

“So…” I posited, “with these two forms of government-issued ID, both of which are acceptable as indicated right here on line 5 of my USPS PO box application…” – I pointed to the document for emphasis – “…you still can’t help me?”

“I can’t,” she said.

I took a deep, cleansing breath and tried to go to my happy place.  “Is it just me, or is it completely ridiculous that the information on your website and on this application in front of you doesn’t match what you’re telling me?”  To be clear, I wasn’t mad at her or bitchy with her.  I was matter-of-fact.  She’s just doing her job and giving me the facts as she knows them.  I simply wanted to make sure I wasn’t off my rocker.

“No I hear you, and I get it,” she said.  “Welcome to the United States Post Office, sir.”  Well, that’s reassuring. If I’m not mistaken, this is the same organization that will be delivering my election ballot to the county registrar in the next few days.  Wonderful.

She handed me another list – dated April 2004, FYI – of acceptable forms of secondary ID, and told me if came back today with another one of them, I could go directly to her window without waiting in line again. The only other item I had on the list was my voter registration card back at Darrell’s, buried God-knows-where in one of the boxes I cart from place to place.  I did manage to find it, went back to the post office, and of course, she was on her coffee break.  Internal heavy sigh #1.

Another clerk helped me set up the box and gave me my keys.  I asked to buy some ‘forever’ stamps, and was told she didn’t have those.  More blank staring from me.  “You can buy them in the vending machine outside.  It takes credit cards.”  Internal heavy sigh #2.  If I thought an audible heavy sigh would have gotten me something, I would’ve gone for it.

I did manage to find a helpful manager outside by the vending machine, and told her about the past hour-and-a-half of my life with the USPS.  She said the website changed about a month ago, and they’ve been dealing with situations like mine ever since.  I also pointed out that this conversation was probably happening in every post office, in every state, every single day.  Like the clerk before, she empathized with my frustration, threw up her hands and said, “Welcome to the United States Post Office, sir.”

Is this their slogan now?  Did I miss an advertising campaign?  “Welcome to the United States Post Office” inflected with the tone “We totally suck.”  Time for a new ad agency, wouldn’t you say?

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Day 77: The Plot Twist

October 24, 2008

WEDNESDAY
22 October 2008

After a generally productive day, I had the privilege of taking Robert out for a drive.  Darrell requested some ‘alone time’ at his own house (the nerve!), and asked if I’d be OK heading out for a while… taking the BMW out to get coffee or something.  Hmm.  Twist my arm.  Ouch.  You don’t have to ask me twice.  Anything to sink my bum into Robert’s buttery leather seats.  I just needed to be back by 7:30 to drive Darrell to the airport.

Ah, Robert.  So loverly, even if he does need a little TLC at the moment.  He has some serious brake squeakage going on, and his key fob is being a little temperamental.  Still, I love him.  That’s just the kind of guy I am… in today’s shattered economy, I’m STILL willing to drive around West Hollywood in a less-than-perfect BMW convertible that’s not mine and accept him for all his temporary mechanical flaws.  If that kind of unconditional love doesn’t reach the deepest corners of your soul and affect you profoundly, I’m not sure anything else I could say would…

I asked Darrell to drive Robert out to LAX because (1) he knows where the hell LAX is and (2) I was confident my granny-style of driving would drive him to the brink.  Hey, when I’m toodling around in a $50,000 car that’s not mine, I tend to err on the side of octogenarian driving technique.  So what if it takes me 25 checks of my blind spots and 12 minutes to make a lane change?  In my care, Robert remains unscathed.

Upon returning from LAX, I checked my email and found I’d been thrown a bit of a curve ball.  Honestly, it felt more like a boulder beaned directly at my cranium.  Without going into all the sordid deets, my housing situation for November is now unavailable.  Jinkies!  So the bottom line is now: I have 11 days to find new housing since I can only stay at Darrell’s until November 2.   I felt the whole dynamic of my situation alter.

I was pretty frustrated at first.  Pissed would not be an understatement.  And the reasons don’t even matter.  Tomorrow is my birthday, and perhaps with age comes perspective.  I’m grateful I realized relatively quickly that the anger and frustration wasn’t going to find me a new place to live.  I sent out this huge email to friends and acquaintances in Los Angeles asking if they had ideas for me, so we’ll see what comes of it.

After more time (and, I admit, a lengthy email venting session), I really did start to feel some peace about it.  Instead of being mad or upset, I would instead choose gratitude.  Gratitude for the opportunity to grow and change.  Gratitude I’m doing my best to make a bummer of a situation into a positive experience.  And gratitude for a better understanding of who I am, and who I want to be.  Eventually, it occurred to me this probably just meant to be.  The Universe is conspiring in my favor, right?  There’s a reason for this hiccup, even if I can’t see or understand it at this moment.  With the right perspective, it’s all good, even the bad stuff.

I do my best in all situations to look at what role I played, and if there was anything I could have done differently.  In events and circumstances leading up to this situation, I realized there were definitely things I sensed at my core – perhaps even subconsciously – that I didn’t act upon, and now I realize I should have.  The particulars don’t matter and aren’t important.  Trust your gut, AJ. This seems to be one of those lessons I need to be taught over and over again.  Maybe all of us do.

I have unbending faith things will work themselves out, and I’m intrigued to see how.  It’s like I’ve just witnessed a plot twist in a good movie, and I’m not sure where that leaves our hero.  Still, I definitely want to keep watching and see how it turns out.