Wednesday, January 27, 2016

100% Pure Grown...

               I am not your typical movie viewer.  I tend to favor documentaries and independent and foreign films over most wide releases, unless it’s related to Star Wars or Harry Potter.  Don’t get me wrong, I have watched all sorts of movies, but usually only after significant coercion and with the promise of a discounted ticket.  Just like exercising or watching college football, I can sometimes be bullied and/or shamed into participation.

                This past weekend was the limited release of Maggie Smith’s newest movie, The Lady in the Van.  It is based on an Alan Bennett novella and is geared toward an audience just a wee bit different than those watching Ride Along 2.  One of the perks of preferring movies like this is the crowd tends to skew older and concerns about waiting in line and the possibility of sold-out status are usually non-existent.  When I arrived at the theatre and discovered a line snaking down the sidewalk and around the corner of the building I was confused.

                As I worked my way across the parking lot, I started to notice the audience was mostly female and mostly elderly.  I’m talking elderly like they may have driven an ambulance during WWII, just like Queen Elizabeth and Miss Smith’s character in the movie.  The accessory de la foule was an oxygen tank discretely encased in a Vera Bradley purse.  As I stood in line, I wondered would my time be spent surrounded by a more mature crowd or would it be like the time I found myself unwittingly at the mall with Payton during a Victoria’s Secret sale?  I pondered if there would be quiet older women, smiling pleasantly or would there be older versions of mean girls and nerd girls and party girls and snitches?  I focused on the female as, counting myself, there were five men out of approximately 100 movie fans.

                There were friends grouped together some complaining about having to wait, others raving about Maggie Smith and reminiscing about her breakthrough role in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and the first of her two Oscars.  There were those who mistook her for other people, like Geraldine Page, who is deceased and Olympia Dukakis, who is not.  There were mean girls gossiping about people both absent and, based on the judicious use of sotto voce, in attendance.  There were of course, tattletales who were talking about the ones who arrived later than their friends and seemingly cut in line and also about those who blatantly cut in line.  One group of tattlers even pointed out a “cutter” to the management of the theatre in an attempt to have her barred.  And there was the small group wondering aloud of the alcohol selections (as this theatre serves wine and beer) and snickering about contraband flasks.  There were a few plotting seat provisions with their companions. Of course, there were also normal women waiting quietly, scrolling on their phones or lost in their own thoughts. 

             I am definitely more mature than I was in college, but I also have days where I feel as if I’m faking my adulthood and no one is questioning it because I am, in the vernacular of my family, “pure grown.”

             Do we grow up or do we simply age?  I think the answer is both.  What do you think?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Rabbit, Resolve

              As a new year is upon us, most people resolve to do things they know they are not going to do, such as lose weight, go to the gym, be better people, etc.  I have long been an advocate of making good changes throughout the year, whenever the evidence suggests a change is needed.  I don’t know if this is because I have a pragmatic personality or if there were something in my past which haunted my subconscious?  All I know is I recently found this when I was going through the Scrapbook my mother made for me many years ago.




This was written when I was in second grade, at the tender age of seven.  I feel sure I truly meant to feed those rabbits and I remember owning them for a very, very short time.  It appears the upkeep and well being of those rabbits was a sore point with my mother as I was uncharacteristically succinct in my resolution.  I didn't even illustrate it, y'all.

I feel the conversation went thusly.

Dusty (dutifully completing his homework):  “Mommy, what does resolve mean?”

Mommy: “It’s when you promise to do something.”

D:  “Oh, ok.  I have to resolve to do something this year.  My teacher said.”

M:  “You need to resolve to feed those rabbits we bought you and your sister.”

D:  “That doesn’t sound fun.  I want to resolve to do something fun.”

M:  “Write it down, son.  I want to see it in writing.  In 1978 I resolve to feed my rabbits.  That is all you will have time to do.  That and making your bed.  Now go find your sister (dutifully avoiding her homework, I feel sure).  She's going to write it, too.”

D:  “Yes, ma’am.”

I remember the rabbits disappeared quite suddenly one day and I’ve never known if it was due to my lack of feeding them and their subsequent death or if we were disinterested and they died from neglect or if my mother tired of us “forgetting” we had them and sold or gave them away.  I truly do not remember interacting with these rabbits other than the day they arrived.   And this is from a kid who played with Legos too far into high school to admit; if I liked something I was invested, y’all. 

Only the souls of those poor rabbits  know their fate.   If my sister knows, she’s not telling. 

You see why I don’t resolve to do anything, people.  It could lead to death or worse…chores.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Legos, Career Options and Lying Children

               I would like to think I was not a bald-faced liar at the tender age of 11, but I recently came across something which bears discussion.  While looking through my scrapbook, I found an essay I wrote for a sixth grade assignment stating I wanted to be a welder when I finished school; just like my Dad.

                Maybe I was pandering in my bid to be #1 son, but I’d like to believe I was not so conniving.  The Dad has accused me of renouncing my heritage but there are things I like which are “his” things.  I really do enjoy listening to country music, from the 60s through the 80s only.  I requested to dress as Buck Owens on Halloween in third grade.  I already had the Hee-Haw overalls was it such a giant leap to imitating Mr. Owens?  I would never have been Roy Clark; he had weird hair and The Dad was a vociferous critic of everything Roy except his musicianship.

                It could very well have been I was unfamiliar with other occupations.  I was aware there were career options based on my extended family:  carpenter, farmer, and welder.  Lawyers, Doctors and the somewhat vague “Businessman” (like the fathers on TV), were careers I didn’t feel were available to me as they were “not us” and something you did if you lived “in town”.  I assumed my future was for me to continue the family tradition.  What that tradition was I was uncertain and most assuredly not inclined to inquire.

As an aficionado of Legos I was adept at designing the most intricate of homes, to include porte cocheres and dormers, and for several years had imagined being an architect, once I found out those were the people who designed houses.  I don’t remember if I believed I could be one, however.  Playing in your room and making a living doing something were concepts I hadn’t yet reconciled.

When I was specifically asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my most emphatic answer was always, “Indoors.”  I was tired of sweating the in Louisiana heat (later Oklahoma heat, then Texas heat and finally Mississippi heat.  Is it any wonder why my first job outside the south was in Alaska?). I just wanted to work inside with the “bought air” which is how The Dad describes air conditioning.  How I would get indoors and what I would do to stay there, I was uncertain.  I simply knew if I were committed enough to chance a belt-whipping to hide in the front hall of my Aunt Penny’s house enjoying even a limited amount of AC, I’d definitely attend whatever school was necessary for whatever length of time was required to remain bereft of excess body moisture.  No one can pull off cute while perspiring, much less someone who was having enough trouble pulling off cute in Husky-sized Tuffskins. 

I have no way to explain my career path other than God wanted me to work in healthcare.  He has allowed me to excel in my chosen field and now I am a healthcare executive, which is something I still don’t necessarily believe even though I’ve been in this position almost a year.  I find so much fulfillment helping Veterans every day and I thoroughly love what I do.

I have to assume if I did harbor inclinations of actually becoming a welder, they were sweated out of my system by the time I started high school.  And the blue collar options winnowed themselves naturally after my lack of interest/aptitude with animal husbandry at home and Woodshop at school.  I went to college as it’s what I believed smart young men did to escape the boonies.  I was unaware of the field of federal healthcare as a possible profession.  I originally applied for my student position as a source of income while finishing my Master’s degree.  In Education Administration, mind you.

I sometimes wonder if I would have had a different journey or career if I had only prayed about college before I went.  If I had prayed about my major, the school I was choosing, or my career path?  I know God has plans and I know He knows the mistakes we’re going to make and I think He allows us to take our sometimes convoluted routes to the eventual place we’re supposed to be. I don’t know if I was destined to work in healthcare or whether God placed me where I could have the most impact, when I finally stopped running in ridiculous circles and actually listened. 

If God can make a success out of a stubborn, sweaty, lying 11 year-old, He can make a success out of you.  All I know is when I listen to Him, I’m good to go.  Since he invented ideas, I know he has plenty and I can assure you they are better than all of ours, combined.  Just ask Him to tell you His plans and see what He says.  You may be surprised.  You'll definitely be scared.  You will ultimately be happy.

Since I am apparently having church all up and through here, I guess it’s time I closed and let y’all get to the buffet.  Can I get an Amen?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Legitimate Over-reaction?

                Several weeks ago I suffered through a particularly virulent stomach flu.  It wasn’t much fun but I came out the other side nine pounds lighter so I was feeling like one of those under-fed girls from Devil Wear Prada, but in the good way.  They should figure out how to bottle stomach flu and sell it as a weight loss program.  Am I right?

                I don’t often complain about being single, but when you are sick, it’s a bummer.  I know Jesus is all I need, but He is not going to run out to the Rite Aid and pick up my chicken soup, whether it’s for my soul or not.  So, I am standing in line to buy my medicine and other illness accoutrement when I remembered I needed new air freshener for my car.  Even while unwell, I am multi-task oriented, y'all.

                I selected “Clean Linen” by Febreze, as it has a crisp light scent.  I chose the little clips you affix to your air conditioning vents.  When I got in the car, I immediately unwrapped the package, activated the container, plugged it in and turned on the air conditioner as it is Southern California and we don’t actually have weather like the rest of you poor folks in other parts of 'merica.

                You know how air fresheners are REALLY STRONG when they are activated?  It smelled as if someone had shoved a Tide Pocket in each of my nostrils, and not in the good way.  Trying to keep all fluids inside my body, I had to immediately roll down all the windows and drive with my head hanging out in the air like your pet dog, drooling ever so slightly if I'm being honest.  And I already looked a mess, having pulled onto my person the closest clothes to me when I realized I had to leave my home even though I was deathly ill. 

                Imagine the sight of me wearing jeans, a 3/4-zip pullover sweater and a baseball cap from the United States Senate.  I realize this outfit is de rigueur for tech CEOs but in my world I should have been moving furniture or hauling hay. 

                In order to not have an accident in my car or on the roadside, I was forced to hang my head out of the window, driving at a high rate of speed, half-woozy from my illness, attempting to escape a suffocating cloud of clean.  Thankfully I made it home in time to relieve myself. Now, however, every time I smell “Clean Linen” or its cousin “Fresh Laundry” I immediately have to use the bathroom. 

                My sister has the same reaction when she hears rap music.