Wednesday, June 19, 2013

More About My Car - An Ode, So Soon After a Gripe.

This is funny, because I just posted about how my car doesn't have air conditioning and how annoying it is. (I'm getting used to it, truthfully.)

And today, I have new respect for my car. We had one of our epic Charleston rainstorms, where it rained for hours until downtown was nothing more than an extension of the harbor. It took me forever to make what is usually a 15 minute drive from Mount Pleasant. I got into my car at 6 p.m. and poured myself a glass of bourbon at 7:30. Whew.

I can't believe my car made it through all that water. I was so nervous, driving behind the SUVs, getting splashed all to hell (and they weren't having nearly the amount of trouble I was having) and praying my little Saturn would not stall out. She's not as young as she used to be, and she's dealt with some strife lately.

But I finally got off the crosstown and breathed a shaky sigh of relief. I saw so many abandoned cars, sitting randomly on streets that had been closed due to flooding, and all I could do was be glad mine wasn't one of them.

Besides giving kudos to my car, I learned an important lesson from this afternoon's rain-related mayhem. The next time this happens, I'm parking at a bar and having cocktails until the commute is over for everyone else. There's no point in hassling myself - I'm a writer, after all. I can work from anywhere.

Here's to being on dry land.

Monday, June 17, 2013

"Is that too much wind on you?"

I have no air conditioning in my car right now. It's not the most pleasant thing I've endured in my life, but it's not the most unpleasant, either. In fact, I decided to compile a list of the things I've discovered while riding around with the windows down.

1. There ARE slight variations in southern summer weather. I am not sure I noticed it like this before, but, for example, last Thursday was so hot, I thought I was going to die just driving around Mount Pleasant. Friday and Saturday, on the other hand, were a lot more bearable. The temperature dropped a few degrees and I found myself declaring that if every day this summer felt like those days, I wouldn't bother fixing the dang thing. Because of no AC in the car, I find myself eagerly checking out the weather every morning, a ritual usually reserved for the cooler months in Charleston (when we aren't sure if it'll be 45 degrees or 65).

2. My skirt and dress wardrobe is extremely limited. I look at my jeans longingly, knowing that I want to wear them with a tank top, but I opt for the skirt or dress. I need ventilation.

3. Other cars - nice ones too - sometimes don't have air conditioning. I've noticed other people with their windows down on the hottest days, their chins resting wearily inside their palms during motionless red lights. And I've thought to myself, I'm right there with ya.

4. 18-wheelers are loud. Especially when I'm trying to have a phone conversation. As are ambulances, other people's rap music, construction workers and Harleys. AND if I'm not on the phone, I'm playing my own music loudly enough to hear it over the roaring wind.

5. There is NO way my hair is going to look decent again until I get this problem fixed. It has been a frizzy, misshapen mess since I started pumping it full of wind and humidity. I'm tired of wearing it in a bun, but now that I think about it, I always wear my hair in a bun during the summer anyway.

6. I should probably be wearing more sunscreen, because my arm and leg are practically hanging out my window.

7. As I was telling Aaron the other night, it's much harder to daydream and to zone out with my windows down and the world oozing into my car. This might make me a better driver - I'm not sure.

8. I cannot just throw papers haphazardly around my backseat. Those suckers will fly out.

9. People are still willing to have me drive them places. Gas is so expensive, sweating for a while seems fine in comparison.

10. I don't bother to lock my car anymore. I take my computer with me if I have it, I grab my purse, and I leave the car unlocked. If someone wants to steal my hot-ass vehicle, fine with me. Just kidding.

All in all, I think it's time to get the AC fixed, but it's also nice to know that I'm resilient. If anyone has the name of a good, cheap mechanic, I'm all ears. And if you want to drive us around, I'm down for that, too.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Natural Resources.

Today, I got a call from my ex-boss at the Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company, where I worked for over three years. He asked me if I could help out this week, since he's between employees and swamped with projects. I happily obliged, not only because I can use all the extra pocket change I can get (like any writer), but also because he's a friend. I was glad to be his resource.

And (this is a little more random, for sure) I also discovered a great place for a July/August cover shoot this morning - none other than the little creekside dock in the neighborhood where I used to live SIX years ago. It totally sprang into my head on a whim, while I was drinking iced coffee this morning at Troubadours. I asked Brian if he'd go look at the scene with me and offer his opinion. We checked it out, and it was just as I remembered it. I think it's going to work out great.

I've always had a good memory (thanks to my mother, who's pretty much like an elephant) and as I get older I'm noticing how valuable it is. I mean, who would have thought that when I moved into that neighborhood almost seven years ago, as a 26-year-old graduate student (gosh, those were the days), that I would later recall it as the perfect backdrop for a shoot at my magazine gig?

Here's the test shot that Brian took with his phone. Lowcountry perfection, no?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

On Having it All.

So, it seems a bit premature to post something on this topic, since I'm not a mother, nor pregnant, nor dating someone that I would consider starting a family with, nor even dating someone. 

All of that aside, I had a brief text-conversation with one of my best gal pals this morning and it got me thinking about writing and being a mother. Actually, I think about this topic a lot when I spend time with her. She's both a writer and a mother, after all. She has two beautiful sons and a spectacular idea for a novel. How lucky is that?

I should probably also point out that when people ask me if I "want children some day,"sometimes I'll answer that I'm a writer, and that a lot of writers don't have families. It's kind of a dumb thing to say. I guess it's my way of defending myself when I feel put on the spot.

The truth is, plenty of amazing writers have families, and plenty of amazing mothers have the desire to write. My friend said in a text message this morning that she was considering asking her neighbor to watch the boys while she makes time to work on her book. I said that was a great idea; I'm always urging her to make time for writing when she needs it.

And if I ever have kids one day, I hope my best friends do the same. I know I'll still be writing, even if I have to scrawl notes on napkins at kid-friendly restaurants and type them much, much later. Even if I have to ask my neighbor, or other friends who understand as well as this friend does, to come over and help me.

I've read countless articles and blogs in the last few years that proclaim it is tough, if not impossible, for women to "have it all." You've all seen these articles; they claim that a woman can't be an amazing mother and successfully hold down a worthwhile career at one time.

But why does the 9 to 5 grind even matter so much? If we can pull off being amazing mothers and successfully foster our passions (even if we don't make a paycheck doing it), then I think we can say that we have it all.

My friend has it all, in my opinion, because she's passionate about raising her kids and making time for her own calling. So, to the rest of you ladies who are doing the same thing, keep it up. Keep showing the world that we can have it all.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Without a Net.

Friends, today is the first day I've had Internet at my house in an entire WEEK.

....actually it may have been longer, but I was in Litchfield for Memorial Day.

To top it off, I had a horrible time getting Comcast to visit my house and address the problem. I spoke with probably ten Comcast employees, explained the issues with the connection probably ten times or more, and spent WAY too much time on hold, listening to elevator music. When the technician guy finally showed up today around 11 a.m., I have a feeling I was happier to see him than the other way around.

But a week without Internet turned out to be a pretty good thing. Here is how I spent my time:

1. I worked on my memoir. In fact, I churned out some of my best writing yet in the last few days. Here is an excerpt:

What is holy water? I asked my grandmother as a child, wondering why we wet our fingers at the beginning of Mass and blessed ourselves with it, leaving a raindrop-sized circle of water on our foreheads.

When she told me, I mused to myself why we didn't ask the priest to bless the water we drank, cooked with and bathed in - why not have all the water be holy? Why just the dab before Mass?

2. I wrote poems and studied poems. After all, I have a feature in November to prepare for. 

3. I cleaned off my bookcase and took books to Goodwill (the ones that aren't special enough to keep, that is). 

4. I met Mark Sanford. Now, some of you might suspect that this was a waste of my time, but I found it to be quite amusing. 

5. I scouted out different price quotes for fixing the air conditioner in my car. It'll be expensive, any way I slice it. 

6. I led a Piccolo Spoleto poetry walk. 

7. I discovered how to ignore outside noise at McDonald's while I borrowed their wi-fi. 

8. I spent more quality time with Buttercup. 

9. I trained interns. 

10. Most importantly, I learned that I can survive without constant access to all the sites I hold so dear. 

Of course, I missed Eating Gardenias the most. I couldn't wait to get back on and tell everyone about my experience without Internet. Ironic, huh? Such is life in the 21st century. 

Just remember to take time to stop and smell the gardenias.