Thursday, August 07, 2003

Tonight, the History Channel had a segment on the Ku Klux Klan. These shows always amaze me about how completely closed-minded and ignorant those people are. I just don't get it. The sad part is they started in a small town in Tennessee, probably very similar to where my mom's family grew up.

And that got me thinking about a story my mom told me about how the KKK targeted her own family -- a white family, in case you didn't know. My mom's dad wasn't a great man. He was an alcoholic who drank away their money. He abused my grandma quite often. He even went after his own sons, and tried to kill my oldest uncle in a fit of rage one night. Everyone in the town knew about it, but in those days, people didn't interfere.

But the KKK did. One night, my mom and her family woke up to a cross burning in their yard. It was the KKK's statement to my grandpa that they didn't approve of what he did. Amazingly, it didn't make a difference. Finally, my grandma gained the strength to leave him in the middle of the night with four kids, no money, no car, no job. And while she had to live with her mother until after her kids were grown, she was finally free of him.

I never met my grandp. He died when I was a year old. I'd like to think he became a better man after my grandma left, but I just don't know. All I know is that I admire my grandma so much for making a better life for her and her kids, especially at a time when people didn't leave their husbands. She never blamed anyone for the hard life she'd lived, and even though she was small and feeble before she died a few years ago, she'll always be one of the strongest people I know.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Tomorrow I start a freelance job as a copywriter for a local advertising agency. Don't get too excited. It's not a full-time job, just a few day's work. But I must admit that I'm pretty excited to be doing something that I want to do. And this agency seems like a pretty cool place to start.

I got the job because I finally signed up with a staffing company that specializes in placing creative types: copywriters, graphic designers, productions artists, etc. I had an interview with them this past Monday, and the funny thing is the person who interviewed me is the wife of one of my husband's good friends. She and I don't know each other well, but we've met a few times. I had no idea she worked there and she had no idea I was a creative type.

She seemed impressed by my portfolio, and by the fact that I had taken the time to fill out all of the required paperwork ahead of time. I didn't think that was a big deal, but she said that a lot of people don't do that ... some don't even bring a resume with them when they come in. So I think all of that, plus the fact that she knows me, helped me get a job so quickly. I guess it really is all about who you know.

So tomorrow, I'll be getting up with all the other employed people and head off to my new gig. Maybe I'll wow 'em with my writing capabilities, my attention to detail, and my sparking personality. Maybe this could lead to bigger and better things. We'll see!

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Today my husband and I actually had a date. An afternoon without little Boogie where we could feel like the days when we were young and carefree, able to take in an afternoon movie without worrying about someone else.

We went to see Seabiscuit, a movie I've been dying to see since I read the book a few months ago. It was a great movie, and yes, I cried! I do have to admit that the book was even better (I guess most books are). I know they couldn't have made the movie as wonderfully intense as the book without it being a week-long mini-series, but it was a great effort nonetheless. Who knew I'd be so interested in a book/movie about a racehorse? Certainly not me if you'd asked six months ago.

The main thing is that we finally took advantage of having my mother-in-law so close and spent the afternoon, just the two of us. But an interesting thing happened as we embarked on our date. I guess our new-found freedom got to us, because we reverted to childlike behavior reserved for drunken frat-boys and trailer park trash on Cops.

I was driving to the movie theater and was coming up on an intersection where I had the green light. As I drew near, this person on the side street turned right, directly in front of me. I came right up on him, honked my horn and moved into the left lane. He then cut me off again, moving into the left lane and coming within inches of my bumper. My husband was yelling and flipped him off. Then we see three hands from the guys in the car flipping us off as well.

I moved back into the right lane because I was going to have to make a right turn soon, and passed them. As we did so, they started flipping us off and yelling, so my husband yelled, "Bring it!" As we reached the next light, which was red, they pulled in behind us. The guy in the passenger seat yelled out the window, "What did you say?" My husband said, "I said bring it!" The passenger then kept yelling, "What? I can't hear you? What? I can't hear you?"

I just started getting mad and yelled out my window to the driver that he shouldn't cut people off, especially when I had the green light. He yelled back that I shouldn't drive so fast. (I just shake my head now at the idiocy of our banter: if we weren't yelling, it could have passed for a relatively civil conversation about driving habits. All the while the passenger kept yelling "What? I can't hear you?" over and over.)

So the light turns green and I move into the far right lane to turn, and they move back to the left lane. The passenger could still be heard chanting his mantra, the driver had lost interest, and the poor guy in the back seat just kept looking straight ahead. I could just picture him thinking, "All I wanted to do was go to Taco Bell ... please get me out of the car." I just looked over at the passenger and said, "What? I can't hear you!" and turned right.

Then my husband and I looked at each other and asked, "What are we doing?" Of course we would never have fought them. I've never been in a fight in my life. My husband is certainly not the type to provoke others. Was it just all of our pent-up frustration at being home so much? Maybe. Did we just want to sample a little of life outside of our safe home environment? Nah. Are we just tired of all of the bad drivers out there who put others' lives at risk? Probably so.

So that was our excitement for the day ... a little scrapping with the guys in the maroon Hyundai, a great movie full of action and tears, and hand-holding ride home to see our little Boogie.

Monday, August 04, 2003

I think I must be the biggest crybaby in the world.

I just finished watching the reality show "Who Wants to Marry My Dad." (I know, I know, why do I get sucked into these things?) Anyway, they had to eliminate this woman, who while she wasn't my favorite, she was definitely a very nice person. She made and impact on the kids, but the father just wasn't attracted to her. It was an emotional good-bye for all, and I sat on the couch crying along with them.

What the hell? It's "Who Wants to Marry My Dad" for God's sake! What is wrong with me?

I've always been this way. I've seen every episode of Friends a million times, and I still cry on the episodes where Ross cheats on Rachel (they were on a break!) and they break up, when Chandler and Monica get engaged, when Phoebe had to give up her triplets, and when Rachel had her baby. The same can be said for Seinfeld during the last episode when they do the video montage to the tune of Green Day's "Time of Your Life."

Not convinced that I'm the biggest crybaby? Hallmark commercials make me cry. I cried reading The Bridges of Madison County, as well as a book I read when I was about 12 called Incident at Hawk's Hill. I cry every time I'm at a wedding, and I see the bride getting ready to walk down the aisle, or when the best man or father of the bride is giving such a heart-felt toast that he can't get the words out. I've cried singing certain country songs in the car. I sometimes get tears when I watch my little girl sleep.

Of course I cry in movies. Some of the more memorable ones were "My Life" with Michael Keaton, where I left the theater with a drenched shirt from the tears that dripped down my face. During "Green Mile," I was crying so hard that I unknowingly held my breath. I didn't realize that I was holding my breath until I took a huge, very loud, gasp for breath and everyone turned to look at me. I pretty much cried all the way through movies like "The Champ" and "Forrest Gump." There are too many movies to name where I've found myself wiping tears from my eyes. Pretty much if someone's crying in the movie, or there's just a touch of poignancy, I'm crying. I even cried in Scarface. I cried when Al Pacino's sister got shot, and at the end, when he faced the fire of the automatic weapons. I think that should convince anyone of my psychotic crying nature.

I cry when I'm happy, I cry when I'm angry (which is the worst kind because I get mad that I'm crying, and that only makes me cry more), and I cry when I'm sad. You'd think I'd be a bawling mess all the time, but amazingly, most people think I'm a pretty stable person. I just wanted to confess my secret here.

Luckily my husband finds my crying endearing (as long as it's not directed toward him in anger). If we're watching a TV show or movie, he'll look over at some pivotal moment and smile as he watches me wipe my eyes (At times, I'll even catch him doing the same).

So I've learned to buy smear-proof mascara and to hope that maybe all this crying will help me not to retain too much water!