Tuesday, March 30, 2010

NOLA pride

If you are at the home of someone from New Orleans, chances are you will see at least one Fleur de lis on display.

This is not (entirely) because of the Saints’ Superbowl win. New Orleans natives like to show off their NOLA pride whenever they can. When you love something, you show it. I’m surprised I don’t have a framed picture of Drew Brees by my bed.

For one thing, we’re an excessive culture, and overdo everything. It's not just one modest New Orleans T-shirt; it's a hat, a sweatshirt, a bag, a tie, a bumper sticker, a bottle opener, bedroom slippers and a watch.

It also helps that the Fleur de lis is super cute and looks good on everything: Jewelry, flags, posters, glasses, belt buckles, cufflinks, dog collars.
It's a city-wide staple, like red beans and rice on Mondays.

Even though my twin sister, Joy, and I live in South Carolina, our New Orleans pride still remains intact.
You can see two Fleur de lis emblems before you even walk into our house — one on a garden flag in the front yard and another on a WHO DAT flag, still hanging on the front door.

Inside, you will see an iron Fleur de lis in the front room, a Fleur de lis mirror, a Fleur de lis stand next to the TV and two Jazz Fest posters framed and hanging on the wall.

In the kitchen, we have a Fleur de lis pot holder, Fleur de lis glasses, a photo of crawfish spread out on Times Picayune newspaper, a brass band in the CD player and a picture of us with a superimposed Drew Brees on the fridge.

**(For the true New Orleanians: we also have K&B coasters, refrigerator magnets of both McKenzie’s and Venezia's, a Michalopolous print, a New Orleans Water Meter doormat and a T-shirt that says “Makin’ groceries").

And that’s not counting the LSU paraphernalia — coasters, pitchers, flags and a door mat leading to the porch. (Go Tygas!!!)

Whenever I’m away from New Orleans for a long period of time, I forget how commonplace showing NOLA pride is.
I’ll come back to the city and get all excited when I see someone with a Saints jersey, forgetting that everyone in New Orleans has a Saints jersey.

In South Carolina, when I see a New Orleans shirt or Louisiana license plate, I freak out and run over and make small talk, wave wildly or give a thumbs up sign, depending on the circumstance.

“Who Dat!!!!!” I’ll yell, which usually does the trick. It makes me feel like I’m a part of a special New Orleans club. (Hey, I’ve got an LSU hat, too!! Let’s be friends!!)

When Joy and I went to visit her married college friends (Go Tygas!!!) in Tampa, Florida on New Years, I was delighted to see all the New Orleans touches throughout the house: NOLA paintings, Fleur de lis symbols on plates, napkins, photo albums. Their dog is even named Gumbo for crying out loud.

When I heard that they got engaged after he put the ring inside a piece of king cake during Mardi Gras, I thought it was the most romantic thing I’d ever heard.

I went to our town's annual Cajun Festival this past weekend, which made me dreadfully homesick.
For one thing, there was drinking….in public….outdoors.
(If I were president, the first thing I’d do is make open containers legal everywhere. It immediately lightens up the mood).

It was easy to spot the Louisiana natives at the Cajun festival: they were the ones huddled under an LSU tent draped in Mardi Gras beads. The ones that were dancing in the rain and wearing shirts that said “Make Levees Not War.” (True dat!!)

They also weren’t afraid to dive right into the boiled crawfish.
Have you ever had crawfish? Not many people in this part of the country have. They even call it crayfish, that silly bunch. I tell them it’s like spicy shrimp.

I often wonder if my New Orleans pride will subside once I eventually move back to the city.

I know that when I do move back, I’ll have to tell myself that everyone in the city wears New Orleans clothing and, no, that is not an open invitation to talk about where they went to high school, what year they graduated and if they know so-and-so.

But, would I still deck out my house with New Orleans emblems and posters? Will the WHO DAT flag make it? Would I still wear Fleur de lis's on my shirt??







You bet ya mamma and dem!!!!

-Jenny

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jackholes and wet hens

I’m a big fan of good quotes.

I’m not talking about movie quotes, motivational quotes or even Mitch Hedberg quotes (although, Mitch Hedberg quotes never get old).

I’m talking about standout quotes from everyday people who are mad about something, happy about something or just talking about life.

It’s the newspaper reporter in me; I hear a good quote and my ears perk up. My hand starts scribbling down every word as if its got a mind of its own. The more bizarre a quote, the happier I get.

Take this one woman, who called our office because she wanted to organize a city-wide “prayer day” to pray for all the people who are in jail.
“Can you put something in the paper about it??” she asked.
I had a few questions.
“They may be locked in, but they’re not locked out from God’s love!” she exclaimed.
Then she hung up.

This week, I spoke with the sheriff of the small town where I work, about dancers at a club showing too much skin. You may remember I went undercover to check out the bar myself and found it terribly raunchy.

The old, Southern sheriff was giving me general quotes about what his undercover officers saw when they went in the bar, but nothing the sheriff said was very interesting.

“In my opinion, it was stripping,” he said.

“They were naked?” I asked.

“No, but their panty lines were really low, especially in the back.”

“Low? Like really low? How low would you say?” I asked.

“One girl had panties down below her butt cheeks and the crack of her backside was showing!”
He paused.
“Great, that’ll do it,” I said.

Hearing the sheriff say the words cheeks, crack and backside was just one of many *gems* I’ve heard over the years.
I follow a basic rule of thumb: If it makes me laugh, it’s getting printed.

Several years ago, I had to cover a meeting where a group of residents were mad that they couldn’t take their dogs out on the beach without a leash anymore.
The month before, a dog (who nobody claimed) had bitten a tourist and the council enforced a strict “leash only” policy.

One openly gay man led the fight for “leash-off” time, and he served as a spokesperson for the group.

“Look!” he said to the council. A slight flick of the wrist. “We just want to play with our pooches! (Although, with his fluctuation, it sounded like "pew-chiz”)
“Is there something wrong with wanting to throw the ball around with our pew-chiz??” he exclaimed.

He wore shorts and loafers with no socks. The council settled on leash off time from 5-7 p.m. on weekdays.

I covered a beach town for several years, and wrote about a neighborhood bar that started a game called the “Crabby 500.” It pitted hermit crabs against other hermit crabs to see which one could get to the edge of the table first.

A council member was playing the game one night, and I asked him to weigh in.
“As a single guy, I would recommend the crabby 500 as a great first date,” he said.
Oh yea? Why's that? I asked.
“Because It’s very socially active.”
His quote was helped by the fact that he was short with a high-pitched voice like a cartoon character.

I’m just scratching the surface here. I hear new quotes everyday. I wish I could record them and put them all together in a montage. Here are a few I remember, all said by old men at council meetings:

“I’m as mad as a wet hen!” (Are wet hens mad? Really?)

“This is Malarkey! Malarkey I tell you!”

“Lend me your ear.” (This was seriously used in a sentence.)

Jackhole!” (Jackass and asshole combined? Or did he say “Jackel?” I can never tell with these accents.)

“Now look who’s wagging the dog’s tail!”

“You’re all just a bunch of birdbrains!” (Pretty sure this insult was used in a Full House episode once)

“I never met a hog I didn’t like.” (A judge in a BBQ competition)

“Oh, look at Captain Underpants over here!!” (The name given to an unpopular council member. I have no idea what this means.)

Unfortuantely, we can't print all good quotes.
One letter I received made me laugh considerably, although it was a letter in response to an error in our paper (NOBODY’S PERFECT, PEOPLE!!)

The article stated (incorrectly): “The issue arouse when…”
instead of: “The issue arose when...”
(D’OH!)

I got a handwritten letter in the mail two days after the paper printed, addressed to me in black permanent marker.
Inside was my article, cut out of the newspaper and marked up with a red pen like an English paper.
The offending paragraph was circled and the word “arouse” was underlined with two X’s on either side and the word NO!!!!! scribbled above it.

The accompanying note (and underlined words) said,

“Dear Jenny, I was so aroused when I read your article that I arose from the table to write this letter.
Oh well, as Alexander Pope said, ‘To err is human, to forgive is divine.’”

Thanks. Jackhole.

Just kiddin

-Jenny

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

For Project Runway Fans…



I attended Fashion Week in South Carolina with wide-eyed wonder.
Models walking the catwalk? Here?
It almost seemed like an oxymoron.

But, no, this was real. On a particularly cold Tuesday, I found myself sitting in the front row of a long catwalk under a big tent in the middle of a downtown park, wearing my most fashionable purple top.

I was in the front row because I am a member of the media, and, therefore, fit to judge the outfits from up close.
I felt like Heidi Klum. Auf wiedersehen!

Now, don’t tell the bored-looking PR girls who gave me my media pass, but I wasn’t there to cover the show for the newspaper.

We had already run an article about the featured designer in last week's paper, so I was there for fun. And for fashion!

For that night’s show, several clothing stores downtown had put together a “spring collection,” including Banana Republic (man, do they love khaki!) and a new store that sells Seersucker jeans.

(Yes! Seersucker jeans! Talk about an oxymoron!)


Welcome to South Carolina!

As the models walked down the runway, I took mental notes for how to copy the looks from clothes I already own, and then thought about how terrible, yet funny it would be if one of the models fell (I may be going to hell).

Someone then interrupted my thoughts by tapping me on the shoulder.
“Is that seat taken?” asked an effeminate, well-dressed black guy.

“No, go ahead,” I said. He loudly stepped over the other chairs making quite a scene to get to the front row with a large camera and reporter’s notebook in his hand.

He started scribbling notes as the models paraded down the runway. I couldn’t imagine what he was writing. I snuck a peek at his notes and saw he had written down, “interesting pant.”
Haha. Pant. Singular.



Interesting pant indeed!



"Purple pant."


Later that week, I continued to abuse my Fashion Week media pass by attending the end-of-week gala (also under the big tent), which was quite the soiree.
Seventy bottles of vodka lined the walls and there was a very small platter of vegetables and cubes of cheese. I was not surpised.

Don’t tempt the models with food! Some are wearing leotards for Christ's sake!

My mom keeps telling me that no one pays attention to shoes, but that was certainly not the case at this party.
I actually saw photographers taking pictures of just people’s shoes, mom.

I wondered for a moment if my runway reporter friend refers to them as just “shoe."
The perfect shoe to complement the perfect pant perhaps?

I, for one, was not wearing the perfect anything to the gala that night.
The plan was to wear the most fashionable dress in my twin sister’s closet, but my spray sunscreen failed me that day and I got embarrassingly burned at the beach. The dress would have put my splotchy red arms on display for everyone to see. Not fashionable.

Really, I looked like a burn victim with an odd-shaped red slash on my body. I joked with my other media friends at the gala that some designer would try and use me for a charity.

"Just because she's deformed does NOT mean she can't be IN FASHION!" I imagined a designer saying, as I paraded out on the catwalk with a custom-made S-shaped dress strategically covering my burn.
"Look, now she's a swan!"

I ended up having to wear a shrug (yes, shrug! Fashion word!) which meant I had to change my outfit entirely which made me fashionably late to the gala. Ha

The music was hip and current, with lots of Lady Gaga songs that I didn't know, and I even got up and danced on the catwalk with a crowd of people. (Everyone was doing it!!)

Oh and I met a celebrity! Carol Hannah Whitfield, the season 3 final candidate for Project Runway!! Do you watch Project Runway? It’s one of my favorite shows. I keep trying to get people to watch it.

I’m a curious person by nature, and I had a ton of questions for Carol Hannah:

Do you still keep up with any of the other contestants? Yes.

Do people recognize you and come up to you, like, all the time?? Yes.

How much of the show is real? “99 percent.”

Awesome.


Me and Carol Hannah, y'all! Look, she's wearing a shrug too! Made out of...a sherpa??

Yes, it was quite the weekend I had imagined. Now, I know what you're thinking:
"Jenny, do you feel more fashionable now that you've experienced a real-life fashion show? Do you have any tips on how to act more like a model?"

The answer is no, not at all. My feet are killing me from the shoes nobody noticed, and I’m still sunburned.

But, this week I’m going to check out those seersucker pants. Ahem. Pant.



Interesting.

-Jenny

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I’m not on crack, I’m just really tired

I’ve never had a problem with Daylight Savings time before. None at all. In fact, I distinctly remember asking one year if the time really changed, because I hadn’t noticed.

Not this year. No, this year, for some reason, losing an hour has literally kicked my ass.
I have been tired since Monday, which means I have had a headache since Monday.

And this week has been so busy with work-related functions/meetings/kickball playoffs!! that I haven’t been able to take as much as a cat nap.

Maybe it doesn’t help that all the clocks in my house (that don’t automatically reset themselves) still display the old time.
Well no wonder I’m tired, it’s REALLY six-thirty in the morning! I thought as I looked at my car clock on the way to work this morning.

The oven clock falsely told me earlier this week that it was 10 p.m. so I stayed up a little later watching recorded episodes of The Office on DVR.
Then, all of a sudden it was eleven — no, actually midnight. Stupid oven.

What is it about Daylight Savings this year that’s got me all turned around? Losing an hour seems like losing a week. I can’t seem to catch up. Maybe I have meningitis.

(Yes, I actually considered that I might have meningitis, based on my symptoms on WebMD. Some might find that paranoid.
“Maybe you’re just anemic and you need to take vitamins,” instructed my mother.)

It doesn’t help that it was terribly, unseasonably cold this week — who wants to be up early when it’s cold??? No one, that’s who.

Perhaps the bigger problem is that I’m not a morning person. I set my alarm 30 minutes early on purpose to allow myself to snooze, because I need to “transition” into actually waking up.

And then, when I finally manage to sit upright, I punch the air in front of me, whining.

My dad is a morning person, and his enthusiasm and general good mood before 9 a.m. baffles me. My mom, brother and twin sister did not inherit the early morning gene.

“I’ve already done all my errands and made breakfast and lunch!” My dad would say when we would stumble downstairs blurry-eyed on Saturdays. “The only thing up before noon around here is the damn cat!”

In the small South Carolina town where I work, the 94-year-old mayor is quite the man about town.
He’s been the mayor for 50 years now, and still runs a large lumber company in the heart of downtown.
Today, I had to take a photo of him and some other important people, in true Southern fashion, at a BBQ restaurant.

“How are you hungry at 11:30?” I asked him, as he sat down to order a basket of ribs.
“I’ve been up since 5,” he said.
“What?”
“Yep, I’ve woken up at 5 a.m. every day of my life,” the mayor told me. “And, as long as I have a good breakfast with eggs, grits and bacon, I’m good for the day.”
“But, it’s still dark at 5 a.m.!” I said.
He laughed.
“I doesn’t matter to me!” he said. “A good businessman gets up early!”
I politely ended the conversation right then, hoping he forgot that I was almost ten minutes late to take the photo.

It's not like I hate Daylight Savings time. I actually love it. Longer happy hours! No driving home from work in the dark! It’s the first sign of summer.
It’s just the getting acclimated part that’s killing me.

I have come up with a solution to this problem: have a nationwide accepted siesta, like they do in Spain. olé!

Afternoon siestas were one of my favorite things about Spain when I studied abroad during a semester in college. Daily mandated afternoon naps?? Yes, please!

I studied in a very, very, very, very ,very small town that was heavy on tradition. During the two-hour siestas, all the shops and restaurants would close, nothing was on TV and the streets were quiet.

There was literally nothing to do but sleep, sleep, sleep. I had no problem immersing myself into that custom. I miss it everyday.

When I came back from my trip abroad, I spent the next three months sitting at a desk all day for an internship. Like clockwork, 20 minutes after I ate lunch, my head would drop to the desk, SIESTA mode in full effect.

Nothing worked. I drank diet coke, pinched myself and shook out my entire body, trying to get the tiredness to leave. But, with heavy eyelids, I still longed for my bed.

One time, in true desperation, I tried to remember if there was a closet I could lock myself in for an hour in order to sleep (I didn’t find one that was suitable).

“Oh, well, you’re probably just anemic,” my mother said. “You should take vitamins.”

-Jenny

Friday, March 12, 2010

People are strange

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that people are strange. They get married by Elvis in Las Vegas, take baths with their cats and then enter them into cat shows and they rock mullets for real.

There’s a man in the small South Carolina town where I work who walks up and down Main Street all day and night dragging a 10-foot-tall wooden cross on his back. When it gets dark, he plugs in Christmas Lights to it so you can see the illuminated cross from the road.

Some people considered the French Quarter “duck lady” in New Orleans strange, as she would talk to her pet duck as if it were a person, giving it commands normally reserved for dogs like “stay” and “speak.”

Some weirdos even order nacho cheese as their salad dressing at Applebee’s.

The Doors figured out that People Are Strange in 1967. Here, take a listen while you read on….


Now, I’m sure you have your own “people are strange” stories, perhaps I am even included in them (so, what, sometimes I like to dance by myself in the kitchen. And separate my cereal and milk. And, yes, that is a sleeping mask I wear to bed. Sometimes.)
But, enough about me. Let me tell you about a few standout weirdos I have encountered:

In late 2005, two months after Hurricane Katrina destroyed my hometown of New Orleans, I was at a party in South Carolina and began talking to some people about the terrible disaster.

"Yes, my parents are OK, they evacuated even though that in itself was a nightmare.
No, we don’t know if their house was flooded or not. They can’t get back in the city and Google Earth hasn’t updated yet."

Naturally, Hurricane Katrina was the most devastating thing that I’ve ever experienced and it quite literally broke my heart.

I was living in South Carolina at the time and felt helpless 800 miles away. I was glued to the TV for updates, frantically calling my parents even though the 504 area code for cell phones was spotty for weeks.

As I was discussing Hurricane Katrina with fellow party-goers, out of the shadows came a weird, sweaty guy wearing all black who I had noticed earlier standing by himself in the corner.

“You know,” he said in a soft voice, interrupting me mid-sentence. “The government makes hurricanes.
I immediately spun around on my heels to look at him face to face.

“WHAT did you just say?” I asked firmly, loudly.

“The government makes hurricanes,” he said. “My uncle is in this really secret part of the military and said there’s this base in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico where they make the water really, really warm on purpose so hurricanes gain strength.”

I kind of lost it.
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?” I sort of screamed at him. (We were outside on the porch, so I didn’t make too big of a scene.)

“YOU’RE TELLING ME THAT THE WORST THING TO HAPPEN, EVER, WAS INTENTIONAL? IS THAT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING TO ME? YOU'RE SAYING THE HURRICANE WAS ON PURPOSE???”

He backed off a little, and the other people on the porch took over berating him for that nonsense.

"GO BACK TO THE CORNER!" I shouted.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I was at a Wal Mart in McComb, Mississippi and I was wearing a T-shirt with a gargoyle-like face on it. As I was walking down the main aisle, an old man came right up to me, and pointed to my chest.
“Is..that…man….sticking…his tongue out at me?” he asked in his Southern Mississippi drawl.

I looked down at my shirt. Yes, I suppose the gargoyle is indeed sticking his tongue out, I didn’t think anyone would take it personally but, yes.

I politely smiled and walked away, feeling his eyes on me until I got to the sporting goods department.
What a weird dude, I told myself.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another weirdo I encountered I had never actually met. But he did wreak havoc on my email account.
I was logged on at a “shared” computer at the college library, desperately sending out my resume to any newspaper that was hiring: South Carolina, New Orleans, Las Vegas (seriously, haha) New York. And I didn’t log off when I was done.

I continued to send out emails with resumes and cover letters to professional newspaper editors and publishers.
Then I sent an email to my twin sister, Joy, who called to tell me that there was something….odd at the end of my email. I suddenly had an email signature, on the bottom of every email I had sent out, she said.

“What?” I asked. “What does it say?”
“Um…”

Horrified, I looked in my sent folder and saw an email I had sent to a business publication.
Written at the bottom of the page, underneath my long list of qualifications and credentials was:

“I kept my email logged on to a public computer and I’m lucky this is the only thing that happened to me: Quimby for Mayor.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I screamed so loud my roommate woke up. “Who the F*CK does that?????”
Clearly a nerdy Simpsons-lover, my roommate pointed out. What a freak.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And aren’t there just some real weirdos on Facebook now, too? I’ve got a “friend” who constantly posts photos of what she ate for lunch….a burger? With ketchup? Really?? Get. Out.

Another person on Facebook posts suicidal status updates daily. To make it more bizarre, no one ever comments on them, not even her husband, who is also on Facebook. Let’s call her Samantha Smith.

Samantha Smith I wish I had a happier place to work. I can't stand the sterility so quiet you can hear a cricket fart.

Samantha Smith I am five fuckin seconds from telling them. where to stick this fuckin place -- hate it hate it

Samantha Smith when in doubt -- the good old standby * TRUST NO ONE* so true. could anyone remove the fuckin knife in my back ??

Samantha Smith I hate my life and I wish I were dead. !!! maybe I should just pull into oncomig traffic.

Samantha Smith my new Mantra. DIE bitch DIE. and don't touch me. I am NOT your friend or even frienemy. DUH

Samantha Smith gonna pull out the OUJI board and see if I can contact my dead life

Samantha Smith crapfuckingtastic.

Samantha Smith I have decided b-days suck. I haven't had a good one since I was 7.


Woah now. Weirdo. Would you like to borrow my sleeping mask?

-Jenny

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Famous faces

I haven’t met any celebrities, but I have bothered a few of them in public.

And by bothered, I mean quasi-stalked.
And by quasi-stalked I mean I followed actor Giovanni Ribisi in the airport for 20 gates just so I could tell him that I thought he did a really good job playing Phoebe’s brother on Friends.

I was the year 2003, and I was at the Atlanta airport flying from South Carolina to my hometown New Orleans during a college break.
I was mindlessly walking around the terminal waiting for my flight with my neighbor from New Orleans (he was flying back from his college as well, and we had the same connecting flight) and suddenly he pointed to a man and said, “Isn’t that Giovanni Ribisi?”
“Who??” I asked.
“That actor. Giovanni Ribisi. He was in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds.”

“You mean that guy from Friends?” I asked. “Phoebe’s brother?"
(Yes, I watch syndicated television.)
“Yea, I think so.”
My eyes widened.
“Are you sure?"

I took off after him, with my neighbor grudgingly in tow as I bobbed and weaved through passengers and rolling luggage. A celebrity! How exciting!
I finally approached him and noticed he was wearing headphones. (Translation: don’t bother me). I was not deterred.

I tapped him on the shoulder.
“Excuse me, do you have the time?” I asked.
I’m pretty sure he rolled his eyes, because, really, there are hundreds of other people in the airport without headphones on that I could have asked, not to mention TV monitors every ten feet I could have glanced at.

“Um, yea, it’s one o’clock,” he said, annoyed, and walked away.
OMG It was totally him.

OH MY GOD THAT’S HIM! I tuned around and mouthed to my neighbor, who was about 20 feet back. He nodded. “Great, let’s go to our gate now.”

“No! I’m following him!” I announced.
What? Why?”
“Because I want to tell him that I think he’s a good actor!”

I actually hadn’t seen any of his work aside from Friends except for a movie called “The Other Sister” where he played a mentally retarded person. So, I wasn’t going to bring that up.

I thought about what I’d say to him as we passed gate after gate, keeping his backpack in my line of vision (I believe this is the stalker mindset…never lose focus of the target, ha).

It turns out his gate was at the complete other side of the airport. I followed him for 20 or so gates — more I think — and then hesitated when he finally sat down in a seat, for a flight to Boca Raton, Florida. (Giovanni Ribisi goes to Boca, y’all!)

“OK, OK, tell me his name again,” I asked my neighbor, who had stopped being amused 10 gates back. He huffed.
“Giovanni Ribisi.”
“Robitzi?”
“Ruh-bee-zee.
“Ok. Got it.”

I walked right up to Giovanni and sat down in the empty seat next to him.

Yes, hello, I’m the crazy girl who just asked you for the time a half-hour ago and look here I am again! How about that!

I would have been scared if I were him.

He took off his headphones.
“Are you Giovanni Ruh-bee-zee?” I asked.
“Ruh-bit-zee,” he corrected me, curtly.
I cursed my neighbor for his poor pronunciation lesson.

We then looked at each other and I had nothing to say. I was flustered by him correcting me, and then I couldn’t remember the prepared speech I had.
“Aren’t….you….Phoebe’s brother from Friends?” I finally mustered.
“Yea.”
Another long pause.
And another.
“Um…you do good work,” is all I could manage to say, and then I quickly got up and pulled my neighbor with me as I walked red-face the mile back to our gate.
“I’m an idiot,” I said. “Hey, what do you think he was doing in Boca?

My second brush with celebrity came last year when I saw the MAC GUY at a bar in Los Angeles.
His name is Justin Long and my sources had told me that he was currently dating Drew Barrymore, which made him a B-plus list celebrity.

My brother, who edits movies in Hollywood, and who is not fazed by even B-plus list celebrities, quietly pointed him out to me as we grabbed drinks at the bar near his house.

OH MY GOD,” I mouthed. “That’s Justin Long!”
I had a nice view of him from the L-shaped bar, and noticed, clearly, that the woman he was sitting with was not Drew. Draaaaaama.
“That’s not Drew Barrymore,” I told my brother, who laughed and told me to quit staring.

Justin Long looked just like he did in the commercials, long shiny brown hair falling around his face. Kind of a “dopey, but lovable” look. I then saw him get up from his seat and walk outside, leaving his drink and jacket at his seat.

“I’m following him!” I told my brother. “I bet he’s outside smoking or something! I’m going to introduce myself!”
My brother laughed.

I took my cell phone outside with me and made a fake call as I scanned the small, smoking crowd for The Mac Guy. I quickly saw him (The Mac Guy smokes cigarettes!) and walked closer, pretending to have gotten someone’s voicemail on the phone.

Right as I was about to sidle right up to him, I overheard what he was saying to his friends.

“So, the bouncer is so annoying he’s all, ‘Justin Long! Justin Long! Justin Long!’” I heard him say aloud.
I paused. That was going to be my line.
I smiled at his (not Drew Barrymore) date and backed away slowly, then walked back inside to tell my brother what happened.

“Oh, sorry you got recognized in public Justin Long!" I said, as I took a sip of my vodka. "Look at the Mac Guy over here with a big head!”

It’s fair to say that my two celebrity “encounters” didn’t go as planned. I was scolded by one, and I’m pretty sure the diatribe about the bouncer was directed at me before I could come up and ask him to recite lines and sign my shirt.

I thought about this when I spent the greater part of Sunday watching the “fashion police” pre-Academy awards show, the Academy Awards Show and then the follow-up “fashion police” post-show on Monday night.

You can tell that some celebrities are just so annoyed that they have to be bothered on the red carpet and in turn, they give these curt, almost rude answers to the questions being asked.

“God, celebrities can be such a-holes,” I said. I believe it was clothing designer Tom Ford who prompted that comment. (Oh, and what was he doing at the Oscars anyway?)

I mean, it wasn’t like the interviewer was bringing up long-lost TV spots from shows that are now way into syndication.

It wasn’t like he was followed through the Atlanta airport by a crazy person who wanted to know the time.
Maybe he should have brought Drew Barrymore as his date.

-Jenny

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Murphy’s law

When I was in college, during the one cold winter month of the year, I walked eight blocks (eight blocks!!) to class through the heavily populated campus only to then notice that my skirt was tucked into my tights.

Mortified, I immediately stepped off the sidewalk with my open palm covering my behind and walked backwards towards a brick wall, stepping on a well-manicured garden in the process.

I smiled at passers-by as if I was simply waiting for a friend while I frantically put both my hands behind my back (and under my backpack) to rearrange my skirt, embarrassed beyond belief that I had crossed three major intersections with my entire rear end exposed and now I wished I was dead.

You’d think that five years later, I’d have a more mature reaction to embarrassing moments. But no! I wouldn’t dare be mature about anything that causes me to lose face, haha.
No, but really.

So, it’s not surprising that after messing up the dance routine at an aerobics class — and THREE MIRRORS that line the room capturing my un-coordination — I left in the middle of the class and hysterically cried in the Gold’s Gym bathroom.

“I looked like a moose!” I cried to my twin sister, Joy, after she fetched me from the stall.
She had gotten all of the aerobic steps correct, which added to my frustration.

Everyone had stepped up on their little platform and threw their arms left while I stayed on the ground and went right.
I then spun around in a circle, but no, we weren’t on the spin yet. When I realized this, I stepped on my own feet and almost face planted into the floor.

“Horrible!” I wailed.

Once Joy convinced me to leave the bathroom, I made a beeline for the exit, pointing my red face downward in case any of the other 20 people in the class recognized me.
“I’m never coming back here again!” I said.
“I’ll just say it was me,” Joy said.

It’s inevitable that at some point in your life, you’re gonna look dumb.
No one can breeze through life being cool all day, every day.

(Yes, even you, Emma Watson! Hermonie Granger would have run to her little dormitory and cried all night long over this!)

I wonder what the lesson is for dealing with embarrassing moments. Perseverance? Courage? Plain bad luck?

I get regularly embarrassed everytime I drop a kickball during our weekly games.
I routinely sing the wrong chorus in songs, get honked at in traffic and make newborn babies cry just by holding them (thanks, kid).
(Oh, and embarrassing moments involving alcohol deserve a whole separate posting.)

-One time, I was racing a friend on the beach and my bikini bottoms tied on the sides and I pumped my arms when I was running and the bottoms — you guessed it — got untied right as I was crossing the finish line. I was completely naked on the bottom for all to see.
Horrified, I ran into the ocean bottomless, everyone laughing as I cried alone with the fish.

-Once, when I was just starting out as a reporter, I accidentally wrote in the paper that the Mayor’s name was Carol. It was Carl. He was not pleased.

-I was on a date in college when I bit into a lug nut that was in my salad.
Really, I couldn’t make this up.

I thought it was a nut (go figure!) but when I couldn’t bite all the way into it, I pulled it out of my mouth, all covered in green-salad spit.
“What the---?” I said as I put the metal piece on my bread plate. We both stared at it.

“How is everything?” the server asked right then. Perfect timing. My face was bright red.

“Actually, she found this lug nut in her salad,” my date said. I turned purple.

“Oh, so you don’t want lug nuts in your salad?” she asked jokingly, and took the plate away.
I don’t think I said two words after that.
She came back with a fresh salad and said the plates are chilled in a refrigerator and “a screw must have fallen off from the inside of the fridge and onto the plate.” I was still purple.

Even though I got two free meals for my “inconvenience,” I'm too embarrassed to redeem them.
Hi, I’m the one that chomped on a lug nut! No bill for me, please!
Ugh, I’d die.

So far today, nothing embarrassing has happened. But it’s still early.

I haven’t run into a council member at the grocery store while holding, female products and frantically and obviously trying to hide it behind my back (again).
I didn’t run over a seagull with my car on a busy road nowhere near the beach (again).
I’m not even dressed like a meatball.

But, again, it’s still early.

-Jenny
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