Monday, August 23, 2010

Anxieties on Parade

Look, They're Doing High-Kicks

I've never been what you'd call an anxious person.

No, for 99% of my life, I've stomped through my days like a lumberjack, crossing tasks off my to-do list with one hand while rooting around in a bag of Chili 'N Cheese Fritos with the other.

At the end of a typical day spent blissfully ignoring 1) my mounting credit-card debt, 2) the unzipping ozone layer and, 3) the Situation in the Middle East, I would snap into my footie pajamas, collapse into bed and saw logs like Hoss Cartwright until it was time to start it all over again the next morning.

At least, that's how it used to be.

I Miss Those Days (Dammit)

What is it they say about hindsight? About not appreciating how good we had it when we were in the process of having it? Something annoying, no doubt. Annoying but accurate (= even more annoying).

[Oh, great. I just flash-forwarded to a time in the not-too-distant future, I'm sure, when I'll look back on this moment and think, "Wasn't it great when all I worried about was how I was starting to develop annoying anxieties that disturbed my sleep patterns? Those were the good old days, boy. Yup, that was a Caribbean cruise compared to today with, you know, the chronic explosive diarrhea and that weird buzzing mole on my clavicle. *sigh*]


Yes, that's the situation: I am developing free-floating anxieties that are part Ninja, part door-to-door salesman. They lurk, nay, they lie in wait, timing their approach for the moment when I am most vulnerable.

Their arrival makes me feel like someone who has answered the door while running a bath upstairs. "You got me!" I want to say, shifting from foot to foot. "For the love of God, what must I buy to get you off my porch?!"

The anxieties slip into my room before dawn in their sparkle-appliqued caftans and elastic-waist pants, Lee Press-On nails clacking. (I've never gotten a clear glimpse, but that's how I picture them.) They begin their flat-footed polka around my bed like those dancing hippos from "Fantasia" and, no matter how hard I resist (telling myself I'm still dreaming that I'm a back-up cage-dancer for Sammy Davis, Jr.), the anxieties still get me.

And there I am: awake in the dark, my wide eyes glued to the ceiling and my mind grinding on a seemingly insurmountable problem, such as:
  • When I take the kids to the orthodontist, should I park at a meter on the street or in the parking structure?
  • Is it time to give in and start wearing reading glasses on a chain around my neck?
  • Did I accidentally spend all of our money? And, if so, on what? (Corollary: did I keep the receipt?)
  • Was the "pashmina" I just bought actually woven from Paris Hilton's castoff hair extensions? *
(*I'm not making these up, friends.)

Of course, once morning comes and I'm lying face-up under the coffee-maker spout, those little problems that plagued me in the dark of night seem like piffle. Silliness. No big whup. Why, then, do I fester from 3-5 AM that I will not be able to find Morticia and Gomez if they go over to the grocery store's frozen aisle to fetch a box of Hot Pockets? For God's sakes, I hardly ever misplace the children!

Apparently, this is how I am now.

But Why?

What happened to the rock-solid, keep-on-truckin' Anna of yore (or at least six months ago)? Who or what took a can opener to my suit of emotional armor? Was it I who neglected to button up the seat of my mental long johns? I'm feeling a draft and I don't like it one bit.

Seriously, what gives?

Some Theories

#1: It's A Natural Part of Getting Older

Let me get this straight: no matter how much we eat right, exercise regularly, give generously to public television and scoop our dogs' doodie with earth-friendly bags we will, in return, start twitching through the night like a popcorn kernel on a hibachi the minute we sprout our first gray hair? Are you friggin' kidding me?

If this is how the system works, then - at the rate I'm going - I'll be flapping around town in a chicken suit long before I qualify to order off the back page of the Denny's menu.

#2: It's Only Temporary

This sounds reassuring...on the surface. But look a little deeper into the notion of "temporary" and I think you'll agree it holds precious little comfort, especially where sleep-deprivation is involved.

For instance, anyone possessing even a passing familiarity with cosmology will tell you that our universe is constantly expanding - an expansion that will ultimately lead to its destruction a few million years down the road. Which is to say that our universe is (say it with me) temporary.

I don't know about you, but I just can't go that long without a decent night's sleep.

#3: I've Been Hexed

It's quite possible that someone out there somewhere has fashioned a mustachioed sock monkey with troublesome in-between bangs and a generous smattering of sun damage across the cleavage.
Hey, it happens.

Fortunately, I'm close to perfecting my Reverse-Hex-O-Matic, which I've fashioned in my garage from a set of Buick hub caps, nine extra-long pipe cleaners, 47 pounds of baking soda and 3.6 yards of scrap hot-pink craft felt (along with a few other secret ingredients best left unlisted).

So, you know, at least I've got this option covered.

#4: I'm Losing My Mind


Now we're getting somewhere.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Now, THAT Show, I'd Watch

Less Dancing, More Plumbing

As I idled at a red light yesterday (something I r
arely have time for during the week but enjoy doing to relax on the weekends), I happened to look up from my crocheting and notice a billboard.

"So You Think You Can Dance?" it read, as beneath the towering title an impressive squadron of moist, chiseled youth mamboed, watusied and breakdanced by.


Did I think I could dance?

I reviewed my lifetime of dance experien
ce - the hours spent perfecting my early moves in my room ("Le Freak! C'est chic!"), the time spent grinding my taffeta-clad hindquarters across various school gym and cafeteria floors ("Let's get physical, physical..."), college halls ("Chaka Khan! ChakaKhanChakaKhan!") and, later, the sticky poured concrete of some of Los Angeles' least exclusive night clubs ("Whoomp! There it is!").

Where had it all gotten me?

Did I measure up?

Did I care?

No, I concluded. I did not.

As the light continued to burn red and I put the fi
nishing touches on the cowl-neck minidress I was fashioning for our cockapoo, I pondered the fact that life for me had changed at some point along the way.

Sure, I could remember a time when I went dancing often enough that it mattered to me to be at least halfway decent at it. Honestly, though, those memories seemed just as scratched and dusty as my recollection of the time in middle school when Tim Herron nailed me square in the face during a game of dodge ball out on the covered blacktop. (Fartknocker.)

Yes, life had changed. Many of the interests of past years had been crowded out by new, more pressing concerns. The transition had been
gradual, but in the end the shift was significant.

Bottom line: I could not relate to this show.

concept, however, still had potential.

Turns Out That...

...with just a few tweaks, the "So You Think You Can..." concept can easily be customized to address the goals and interests of a regular schmo li
ke, well, me.

Here, then, are just a few of the ideas for spin-off shows that I jotted down in the Hello Kitty notebook I always keep in my car for just such occasions. (I would have cranked my window down and pitched the ideas directly to the producer getting a shiatsu massage in the back of the Town Car next to me at the light, but 1. all my primo air-conditioning would have escaped, and 2. I was afraid the fact that my Gremlin needed a wash would put me at a disadvantage, negotiations-wise.)

For your consideration:

Spin-Off Show Concepts
Target Audience: Moi

So You Think You Can...

Grocery Shop Without a List?

So You Think You Can...
Apply Liquid Eyeliner?

So You Think You Can...

Synch Up Your Blackberry?

So You Think You Can...
Wear Those Jeans?

So You Think You Can...
Get the Tub to Drain Faster?

So You Think You Can...
Switch to Decaf?

So You Think You Can...

Understand Escrow?

So You Think You Can...

Finish Vacuuming Before Your Guests Arrive?

So You Think You Can...

Finally Return Those Movies?

So You Think You Can...
Get Your Security Deposit Back?

So You Think Y
ou Can...
Make it to the Gym This Week?

So You Think You Can...
Trim Your Own Bangs?

So You Think Yo
u Can...
Get a Decent Night's Sleep?

So You Think You Can...
Remember to Close the Garage Door?

So You Think You Can...

Get Your Hip to Stop Making That "Click" Noise?

An Apology

I'd like to apologize to BlogHer - both the organizers and the attendees - for being unable to make the trip to New York earlier this month to spea
k on the BlogHer '10 humor-writing panel. As many of you know, my mother recently was hospitalized and, as a result, it was impossible for me to travel to NYC. Many thanks to the conference organizers for their gracious understanding of my dilemma and to everyone who has sent emails and tweets of support. My mom is doing better and I will always be honored to have been invited to speak.
Thank You!

Big thanks to
Laugh Out Loud for featuring my "Iron Ma'am" piece! LOL is a very fun (and funny) site that's looking to harvest the blogosphere's humor highlights. Check it out!

Click for a Cure

I've previously shared my friend
Kevin's family quest to find a cure for Juvenile Myositis - the disease that threatens the life of his young daughter. The CureJM cause is SO CLOSE to gathering enough votes to secure a $250,000 research grant from Pepsi that each and every vote makes a real difference. If they can move up literally one spot to #2, they'll get the funding. There's no charge or commitment to show your support and - truly - each vote counts. You can vote here every day 'till September 1. Thanks so much for your help.