October 9, 2000
Bag Lady

[my horoscope today: " ... You may be overly tired and need to find a way to change your pace."]

Damn you, Ashley Judd.

Damn you and your stoopid "Plucky Victim" film persona, and your stoopid movies that always seem to feature people I love, like Tommy Lee Jones or Morgan Freeman ... movies which are usually based on books I've actually READ, so I can do that snooty "The book was better than the movie/The movie is better than the book" commentary stuff ...

... movies which are always, ALWAYS broadcast on SUNDAY NIGHTS, so they run insanely past my bedtime and I wind up getting like four and a half hours of sleep, total, and I start my work week in a fog of exhaustion and caffeine and Visine, with pouches under my eyes the size of goddamn trick-or-treat bags.

I liked you a lot better when I hated you. Start dating Michael Bolton again, wouldya?

I need to get some sleep.

All of a sudden my face seems to be collapsing in on itself, like a Hallowe'en jack-o-lantern left sitting on the front porch.

In November.

In the rain.

I noticed it the other day, when I was sitting in the living room putting on my makeup. Actually, I think THAT'S half the problem, right there: I was putting on my makeup in full daylight, for a change. Usually I'm hunched on the end of the bed in pre-dawn darkness, peering into a smudgy little hand-held mirror and dabbing Maybelline onto my face. At that hour -- and in that "light" -- everything looks reassuringly muted and indistinct, like an Elizabeth Taylor perfume commercial.

In the harsh and unforgiving light of midday, however ... I'm a mess.

I am especially appalled by these saggy, bruise-colored little pockets of flesh that have appeared, out of nowhere, directly below my eyes. I swear to god they weren't there a month ago.

(But then again, a month ago I didn't know I was going to be a grandmother.)

I understand that a certain amount of weathering, at my age, is unavoidable.

I understand, also, that all of these bad nasty evil California UV rays assaulting my pristine Pacific Northwest complexion for the past two years probably haven't helped. As a dedicated mushroom -- one who has spent most of her life scrupulously avoiding direct sunlight -- it was a shock to move to the Bay Area and find myself squinting all the time, even when I was indoors. (I might even have to break down and purchase some of that newfangled "sunscreen" stuff I've heard so much about, the past forty years or so.)

I further understand that things like stress, and Franz, and Unfortunate Temporary Poverty, and Franz, and long-distance motherhood, and Franz, and too much caffeine, and Franz, and Sudden Impending Grandmotherhood, and Franz, and not getting enough sleep ...

... and Franz ...

... are all going to give me bags under my eyes.

What I want to know, though, is this: if you remove the cause(s) ... does the process reverse itself?

Jen sidles up next to me in the lunchroom. "One more day, huh?" she says, under her breath. And she wraps a comforting arm around my shoulders. Her conspiratorial and sympathetic tone is one I have heard echoing throughout the Totem Pole Company, all morning long.

I nod blearily. One more day, and Franz becomes AUSTRALIA'S problem for three weeks.

(Throw a Barbie on The Shrimp when he gets there ... wouldya, mateys?)

The day before Franz leaves on a business trip or a vacation is always, always a little slice of Totem Pole hell. He is one of those people who thrives on last-minute crisis. It really doesn't matter how thoroughly you prepare him for something -- a conference call, a dental appointment, a staff meeting, a trip to Australia planned six fudking months in advance -- he will still manage to find a way to make sure that everything blows up at the very very last minute.

Do we have any 220-240V 50 cycle voltage transformers laying around? I'm gonna need a couple of them for my trip to Australia tomorrow. We DON'T? Why DON'T we? Couldn't someone have *anticipated* that I would need 220-240V 50 cycle voltage transformers for my trip to Australia? How the fudk am I supposed to plug in my Norelco 6885XL without 220-240V 50 cycle voltage transformers?? Why wasn't a memo issued about 220-240V 50 cycle voltage transformers? Why wasn't a PEOPLE-ACTION COMMITTEE formed to discuss 220-240V 50 cycle voltage transformers? Why wasn't there an item in the last newsletter about 220-240V 50 cycle voltage transformers, and how I would need them in Australia, and what our emergency fallback position would be, should we tragically run out of 220-240V 50 cycle voltage transformers?!? Yes I know it's 5:45 p.m. but I want to call an all-company super-critical emergency staff meeting in ten minutes, to discuss the 220-240V 50 cycle voltage transformers *situation.* EVERYBODY. Mandatory attendance. No exceptions. (The Yawn Kipper people can participate by phone.) I can't leave for Australia without 220-240V 50 cycle voltage transformers!! What the fudk kind of screw-up brain-dead rinky-tink admin operation IS this, anyway?!?

He feeds on the energy created by his unique brand of chaos.

I know this. I know to expect this. And I know that the only way to prepare myself for this is to come into the office fully armed in the morning: with an extra half-cap of St. John's Wort in my bloodstream ... with all of my *humor molecules* intact ...

... and with no less than seven hours and forty minutes of sleep the night before.

This last one is especially critical. Without the extra layer of emotional/physical/psychic insulation that only a good night's sleep can provide, I am defenseless. And I know that.

So I have absolutely nobody but myself to blame, today, if I stayed up until midnight watching a stoopid movie on TV last night ... and if I feel like I'm walking around with two bowling bags under my eyes this afternoon, as a result.

No one to blame, maybe, except for Ashley Judd.

throw a rock