Midnights in Paris: Part Two

My continuing series on that time I dropped everything and moved to Paris. Part 1 can be found here. So sit down with a pain du chocolat and a noisette and get cozy.

I arrived in Paris to warm sunshine. It was the beginning of September so the weather had cooled off slightly, but left the city still aglow from summer. The first setback I encountered was the ride from Charles de Gaulle airport to the city itself, like an idiot I thought it was close to Paris, but no. So a chunk of my money had gone to the taxi ride before I even arrived at the hotel.

Welcome to the big city, girl.

The hotel was small, but inviting, and I wanted nothing more than to set my stuff down and go exploring. It was still early afternoon and I was a ball of energy waiting to be unleashed on the poor, unsuspecting, French citizenry. I practiced saying, “Ou est La Closerie des Lilas?” a few times out loud. Yes, some of the greatest artists and writers had drank within its walls, but the café where Robert and Mireille would meet for a kir featured prominently in many segments of our French in Action tape. That would be one of my first stops. On a high school trip to Paris a friend and I successfully asked for directions there, so I wanted to recreate our shining moment from that trip where we actually understood a bit of French and got our friends to the café. As excited as I was to see the café, my very first stop would be the Eiffel Tower. Then I’d be off to La Closerie des Lilas for a drink and people watching.

I dragged my luggage up the stairs to my room that looked out over a small, but lovely, courtyard filled with flowers and small trees. It was magical and I was already in love with everything. I called my mom to let her know I was alive and set about finding the metro and Paris maps my friend had bought me as a going away present. Years later as I was checking the Hopstop app on my phone in New York City I remembered those early days in Paris when I carried a map around like a weirdo. I unfolded the maps and proceeded to plan out my route to the tower.

I walked out of my hotel and attempted to find the nearest metro stop. Now, I’m not going to brag, but in the car, I have a great sense of direction. I know where I need to go and how to get there. Walking, however, is a whole other ballgame. After a few wrong turns, eventually the metro sign appeared ahead and I was officially ready to start my new Parisian adventure…

by trying to figure out how to buy a metro card.

It seemed easy enough, you put money in the machine, and it gives you a little white ticket. Everyone was putting in money, getting a ticket, and going along their merry way. Alright, I’m from DC, I got this! I did not got this. It took a few tries, a few swear words, and a few looks over my shoulder like “Modern machinery, right?!” to the poor people who just wanted to get home. Luckily I finally pressed the right amount of buttons and was gifted with a metro ticket before the people waiting in line made me walk to the tower. My first Parisian triumph!

I made my way down to the train platform and waited. The train arrived, and as luck would have it, the doors stopped right in front of me. Triumph number two! Take that, Paris! I JUST MIGHT MAKE IT AFTER ALLL….I was thinking in my head as a tall French man elbowed past me to open the train door and step inside. While my head was alight with my triumph, I failed to realize that the metro doors do not open automatically like in the states. You have to pull a lever to open them So while I was busy throwing my hat in the air in my mind, everyone was impatiently waiting for me to just open the damn door.

I found a seat and noted that the car didn’t smell like an armpit. I think the French got the memo on that one. The city whizzed by as I checked my route on the metro map. It was a trek from my hotel, but I could manage. As my stop approached I waited patiently by the doors until the car came to a stop. Lost in thought about all the awesome pictures I was going to take, I noticed that the train had started to move again, and I was still on it.

PULL UP THE LEVER, ANGELLE!

Omigod, I did it AGAIN. Once, fine, we can all let that slide, but twice? Get. It. Together. I got off at the next station and retraced my steps back to my connecting stop. I was getting to that tower today come hell or high water, because I’m an AMERICAN and WE DON’T GIVE UP!

Oh damn, I missed my stop again.

Pull.
UP.
The.
Lever.
You idiot.

After a few mishaps, one lever that refused to budge, and countless looks that said either, “Damn tourists”, or “Is she insane? She might be insane. Stay away from her or she might talk to us about Jesus”, finally I managed to get the hang of opening the doors. It was like trying to jump into a game of double dutch and waiting for just the right moment when the ropes were open. Now I was a total pro.

The Eiffel Tower awaited…

I looked at the map after leaving the metro stop and tried to figure out where I was in relation to the tower. The map made it look petty close. I started walking in what I assumed was the right direction and quickly realized that all of the streets look the same. They all looked THE SAME. No differentiation at all. So I kept walking…

and walking
and walking.
Until I found a Starbucks.

I ordered a latte and kept walking

and walking
and walking.

Until I found another Starbucks

and kept walking.

It went on like this for another hour and a half. I was exhausted, it was getting late, and I knew it was time to get over my fear and just ask someone where the damn tower was. I stopped a older French woman who could not have been nicer and spoke English. She directed me to take the metro to the Trocadero stop where you could take the best pictures. She was also nice enough to give me directions to the nearest metro stop.

Twenty minutes later, I walked up to the busy plaza full of people and street performers and stood in awe. There she was keeping watch over the city. Too overwhelmed and exhausted to take pictures, I sat down as a tear or two slid down my cheek. I was here. I was FINALLY here…

It's crooked. I was exhausted.

It’s crooked. I was exhausted.

but my adventures were just beginning.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Midnights in Paris

This kicks off my newest series about the time I decided to drop everything and move to Paris. There are laughs, there are tears, there’s an organ removal.
Enjoy :)

Have you ever heard of a “Saturn Return”?

New ager types like to use the phrase to describe all of the emotions we go through before turning 30 when Saturn returns to the same place it was when you were born. People do all kinds of life changing things; get married, have a kid, break up, drop everything and move to a foreign country…

I obviously fell into the last category.

I spent my 27th and 28th years of life graduating from college and trapped in various go nowhere restaurant jobs. After an ill-fated romance with an executive chef at one of those places, I decided it was time to get a real job. I applied to be an administrative assistant at Catholic University’s music school. A place that held many memories and would put me in the same place as my voice teacher again. I spent my time sorting mail, scheduling music lessons and classes, selling tickets to our shows, and my friend Tracy was generous enough to give me voice lessons again for a short time.

Day after day, I sorted the mail, dealt with an egomaniac teacher, made sure classes didn’t overlap, prepared for the next semester, and managed various other duties as needed. I wasn’t particularly good at it, I wasn’t terrible either, but I wasn’t good. You could say I did my best, but scheduling Sight Singing II in room 206 wasn’t traveling and seeing the world. I was restless. I would meet up with friends in DC and run into people I didn’t want to be running into. Prior to my hiring, the chef I had been seeing basically said he didn’t want to date someone who was just “a waitress”. Two weeks later he met his now wife and never spoke to me again. I’m not going to pretend I give a shit about any of that at this point. I dodged a bullet the size of Texas on that one.

However, at the time it made me think about what I wanted. Was I stuck in these low paying jobs and not realizing my potential? Would I ever go back to Europe and revisit all the places I loved as a child? I would sit at my desk and daydream about walking along the Seine like I was Grace Kelly with some impossibly hot French man who speaks very little English, but knows the important stuff. I looked up study abroad programs and came across language classes at the Sorbonne in Paris. If any of you took French in high school you may have had a book called French in Action which had a video counterpart following the love affair of “Mireille”, a beautiful French girl who studies at the Sorbonne, and “Robert”, and American student from NYU studying in Paris. They meet-cute, they go to cafes, they ride on trains, they talk about school, they fall in love, all while teaching fundamental grammar and vocabulary lessons to us high schoolers. Even though all we really wanted to know is if Mireille was wearing a bra, which we suspected she wasn’t, and if the rumors were true that she did French porn.

All girl high schools are interesting places.

Taking a cue from French in Action, I decided to choose the language course at the Sorbonne. It seemed romantic and like something Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility would do. So I broke my Starbucks habit for a bit, stopped going out as much, and funneled as much money as I could into my savings account for my trip. As time went on, it was becoming less a trip and more a move. I was going to try to make it there and maybe get my MA in Art or Archaeology. Everything was coming together.

My going away party fell on my 29th birthday in August. I was leaving two days later and my friends all showed up to wish me farewell, give me travel journals, shed a few tears, and wonder when we would see each other again. My voice teacher stayed the longest. We chatted for hours and reminisced at my dining room table as we looked through crazy magazines my mom never throws away. I walked her out and as we hugged said, “I’ll be alright.”

“Did I say you wouldn’t be?”
“I think I was saying it more for myself…”

That was the last time I saw her looking healthy before the cancer took it’s toll two years later. However, at the time I thought she would live forever as we do when we’re young and look up to someone.

Two days later I was saying goodbye to my family at Dulles airport…ready to take a huge leap…

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

I’m Fine & Other Lies We Tell Ourselves (aka How to Break Up with Your Therapist)

I’ve been seeing my therapist for almost three years now. That’s probably my longest committed relationship next to the Cracker Barrel in Emporia, VA that I have been stopping at for 8 years on my way down to visit friends in North Carolina.

It’s the biscuits, I just can’t quit them.

My therapist was instrumental in helping me overcome some very significant events in my life that could have honestly made me give up on humanity and move to a cabin in the woods. We developed and practiced coping strategies that I could repeat to myself when I knew my anxiety was about to come roaring in like one of those real housewives at a dinner confessional.

images1UNR60XC

Yes, I envision my anxiety as the drunk lady at the party who just needs to say that Gwen’s new boob job is awful and she’s probably an escort. Everyone just wants her to leave or sleep it off upstairs. So, knowing that she can be a formidable bitch, my therapist and I worked together to tame her with breathing techniques. Alone I took up running to tire her out so I could finally sleep.

We have worked on many things over the past few years and I have never been more comfortable with who I am. We meet once a week to discuss my week, my life, my issues, and pretty much whatever I want. Sometimes I couldn’t be there in person due to my work travel so we would have a call in session where I found myself talking to her in many grocery store parking lots and hotels. I often say that I never want to burden my friends with my crazy so it was lovely to have someone I paid to listen to my bullshit who also went to school and had a fancy degree to do just that: Listen to people’s bullshit.

Early on sessions fell into the following categories:

-Talking it Out: I would talk about the problem for an hour while she listened and gave occasional nods or said very little. I would leave feeling like I was capable of handling some problems as long as I had someone there to nod and validate my feelings.

-Crying, just SO MUCH CRYING: These sessions never went well.

images (19)

They also never helped.

-Crying/Talking it Out: These were the only times I felt like my money was well spent. Maybe I teared up a bit during the hour, but it was never a full on crying spell. I’d pull it together and be able to hash out my feelings enough that I was able to see a different perspective on the problem. Those days I left feeling like I had beaten back whatever was bothering me.

Every session gave me more insight into how to deal with my depression, self doubt, and the wicked witch of anxiety. If this was a movie, it would be the equivalent to the montage sequence where the lead gets in shape to fight in the big championship game. Except with more ugly crying. In order to graduate college I had to take a comprehensive exam that focused on the last four years I had spent studying Ancient Mediterranean history, art, culture, and literature. We were given five books to review and prepare for the test. If you didn’t pass, you didn’t graduate. Good luck. Understandably, I was a wreck studying for that thing, but I KILLED IT. LIKE DEAD. My analysis of the imagery on Achilles’ shield in The Iliad might be the stuff of legend in the CUA Greek and Latin Department (or just my head, but whatever).

At least in school you have a syllabus that shows when that final exam will be so you can cram the weekend before. There’s nothing like staying up until 3am trying memorize every note you took while you were trying not to fall asleep in class. Unfortunately, life doesn’t have a syllabus and your final exam can be right around the corner at any time.

Mine hit pretty hard.

My therapist quickly went into damage control mode and insisted we meet twice a week. The sessions at the beginning were a blur of trying to figure out what had just happened and how to deal with it without living in a pile of mud for the rest of my life. As time went on I noticed that I was bouncing back faster than usual. My anxiety was a dull murmur in the background as opposed to the full on table tossing wench I was used to. I was still getting up, showering, and trying to look good, despite my heart being a ragged mess. It’s one thing to be sad, but quite another to be sad AND have a mustache. All those years of dragging myself to downtown DC were paying off finally and *drumroll*….

I passed!
Maybe not with flying colors, but with a solid B-.

So my therapist and I, after a long discussion, have decided to part ways. This by no means is an “I’m cured!” moment. There are still days I tell people I’m fine a little too enthusiastically and I wonder if they think, “She’s not ok, but definitely insane.” There are still nights I cry myself to sleep. There is no shame in getting help when you need it in life, but you should also know when it’s time to deal with life’s problems on your own. Am I fine? Not always. Am I ready to tackle my problems head on and put all of that hard work into practice? Definitely.

So here goes…

untitled (44)

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Tales from the Snowtel: The Snowening, Part Deux, also Shmampton Inn Shenanigans

When last we left DIAHMOND member, Angelle Bonnecarrere, she was hoping that winter was finally going to be over so she could go outside without wanting to die.

Little did she know….another snowstorm was on its way.

Dad: “So do you have a plan for the snowstorm?”
Me: “Um not really.”
Dad: “Well you’d better think about it, because it’s supposed to be a big one.”
Me: “They always say that, two snowflakes fall, and everyone gets into an accident on the beltway.”
Dad: “I’m just saying have a plan.”

and everyone wonders where my anxiety comes from.

I woke up on Wednesday and put on a new dress that was clearly meant for a warm, spring DC day walking amongst the cherry blossoms. It was going to be 49 degrees which is practically a heatwave these days. I checked the weather and saw that the weather team was gearing up for another snowstorm. I decided that positive thinking would counteract Mother Nature and she would decide to spare our little hamlet this time and dump snow on someone else. Like, I don’t know, Los Angeles for once.

Those fuckers can’t have the sun ALL THE TIME.

I started to realize as the day wore on that my positivity was not working, so I called my Hilton Honors people and prepared for another snowtel stay.

“Oh, I’m sorry that Hilton is full.”
“Uh what? Full??”
“Yes m’am I’m sorry, but the only thing we have is a Hampton Inn about 2.5 miles from that one. So still close.”
“Is it…nice?”

Good god, listen to me…

“Oh it’s very nice and reasonably priced. It won’t take up a lot of your points.”
“Ok, let’s do it I guess.”

So began my stay at what I now refer to as the “Shmampton Inn”.

I arrived in the pouring rain after working all day and feeling beyond exhausted. I notice it’s by an auto park. Ok, that’s fine. I didn’t ask for a view. It’s Northern Virginia, not Paris. I walk in drenched and the guy at the desk is talking so fast that I’m pretty sure he just auctioned me off to the creepy maintenance guy in the corner.

“mmklytyuiop?”
“I’m sorry I didn’t catch that.”
“Mytmolopmpoty!”
“It’s been a long day…one more time.”
“You. Are. A. Diamond. Member. So. You. Get. A. Free. Snack. Or. 500. Bonus. Points.”
“Oh, well the points.”
“Greatmtyluipopstill”
“Ok, you have…a good night…too?”

I then proceed to completely walk by the elevators and he yells, “Elevatorsarerightheremiss.”
Right, of course they are. Bed. Now.

My room is cozy and I see that they have no room service or executive lounge. I then decide I’m an asshole for even expecting any of this so I let it go. I crawl into my king size bed and go to sleep.

The morning dawns gloomy and cold and the excited news team informs me that everything is closed and we should all just hunker down for the day. It will be a long one. Of course, it’s 6:30 am and I’m awake like a crazy person, so I go down to the lobby for breakfast. There is quite a spread of goodies. Knowing that there is no dinner service, I proceed to fill my pockets with fruit, yogurt, and anything else my stomach may demand as sacrifice during the day. Then, weighed down with 2 bananas, an apple, scrambled eggs, coffee, and three yogurts, I went back to my room to eat and stash my snacks.

After breakfast, I realize it’s only 7:30 so I peruse Facebook. Yes friends, I looked at ALL of the videos you have put up, ALL OF THEM. All of those videos of your children doing things have not gone unnoticed. After a few hours of stalking all of your Facebook timelines, rewteeting some funny shit on Twitter, and trying to post some pretty snow pictures on Instagram (auto parks are not a good backdrop), I opened up the curtains to watch the snow fall. It’s always lovely when the first few flakes start and you feel like you’re in a snowglobe.

It’s so quiet and peaceful.

“Oh yeah, baby.”

Um, excuse me?

“Unh, yeah.”

Um

“Yeah. Unh.”

I…um…is my reverie…interrupting something?

“unh unh unh”

Ok, well I guess when you are a couple stuck in a hotel room on a snow day, you pass the time in any way you can.

3 HOURS LATER….

“UNH UNH UNH UNH”

I have eaten almost an entire bag of veggie chips and attempted to read my book to no avail. These people are machines, MACHINES I TELL YOU. Maybe I should go in there and offer them snacks like a St. Bernard bringing whiskey to tired mountain climbers.

“I’m here to rescue you from dehydration! I have water and strawberry Light & Fit yogurts!”

An hour later Sex-a-Thon finally ends and I get a nap.

I wake up, run for an hour, and remember how lonely hotel life can be.
It’s World Book Day, so I continue my reread of The Death Gate Cycle series.
I dig my car out.
I buy the last Diet Dr. Pepper.
I try, and fail, to not think about the last few months.

Then I go to bed.

I woke up today trying not to be down. I really tried. Music was played, my favorite sweater was worn, but it didn’t help. Today just kind of blew. I booked three nights to be safe allowing for the freezing temperatures to subside and thinking that driving back home on Saturday morning was better than fighting traffic Friday afternoon. So I’m here reading. Sex couple has either sexed themselves out or moved on.

It’s quiet.
Spring needs to get here soon.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Tales from the Snowtel

My last job had me staying in Hiltons all over this great nation of ours and I have racked up a ton of points to become a *drum roll*

DIAMOND MEMBER

That’s pronounced “DIAHAMOND” member.

DIAHAMONDS! DIAHAMONDS!

DIAHAMONDS! DIAHAMONDS!

Which I guess puts me at “High Roller” status for the Hilton crowd. To me it means I spent some days working 16-18 hours in a city far from home and others trying to get my HDMI cord to work with the big screen TV in my hotel room so I could watch Battlestar Galactica on Netflix. No one aspires to be a member of a hotel loyalty club. You just kind of fall into it. So those points were put to work for a cozy one night “Snowtel” room five minutes from work.

One night.
One.

I wake up to a frozen wonderland and the news that everything is closed. Thinking, well I can’t check out and drive back in this, I figured I’d book another night.

Thus began Tales from the Snowtel:

5:30am: I wake up in a panic from a dream where I was making out with David Guintoli from Grimm, but sadly had to leave for more pressing matters.

Sorry, David.

I guess those pressing matters were worrying if I had work or not. I didn’t.

Back to sleep.

7am: Up. Showered. Dressed. This is what happens when you spend months waking up at 4am for work. You are an insane person who wakes up ungodly early for everything. My DIAHAMOND member status gives me exclusive access to the Executive Lounge which I imagine to be full of old white guys in suits.

It was.

So I go in and see an entire spread of eggs, fresh fruit, coffee, fancy tea, and pastries. I help myself to eggs and some fruit, careful not to get greedy. With my light breakfast haul I ask the hotel lady how much it costs. A businessman chuckled behind me while he fixed his coffee.

“It’s free. You should get more.”

Free? Like free FREE? Um, no. This is not free. I must pay someone for this fancy breakfast. The hotel lady nodded and said, “Yes, it’s free.” Still feeling like someone was going to tackle me and demand payment, I went back to my room and ate my free food. I’m sure that businessman had a good story to tell at his meeting today,

“They are just letting any old poor into the Executive Lounge these days…”

9am: News reporters are sticking rulers in the snow all over the DC / MD / VA area and ecstatic that we got more than a dusting. Or just ecstatic they got a forecast right for a change. I can’t stand to hear the same thing over and over so I switch to HBO. Hilton has about 10 ESPN channels for the dudes. Bravo, E!, Lifetime, TLC, and whatever other channels play The Real Housewives of Wherethefuckever for the ladies. Then Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network for the wee ones.

The Hilton: Perpetuating gender stereotypes one TV channel at a time.

So I switch to their only movie channel and find a Rosie O’Donnell stand up special. A current one. I still find that broad funny after all these years. It’s also better than watching those daytime talk shows where women scream for toasters and the latest book by Dr. Phil signed and under their seats. If you want to get information out of me for anything, play an episode of The View and I will tell you ANYTHING. I’ll confess to shit I haven’t even done for you to turn it off.

12pm: I’m hungry again. Like super hungry. However, did I mention I was totally broke? Yes, Sallie Mae cleaned me out so I had about $10 with which to live for the next 24 hours until I get paid on Wednesday. I fished the “emergency low blood sugar” granola bar out of my purse and ate it like a cavewoman while watching Belle. I briefly contemplate escaping this “Snowtel” torture and hiring a tauntaun to get home.

I prefer the personal service of a tauntaun versus the commuter bus feel of an At-At.

I prefer the personal service of a tauntaun versus the commuter bus feel of an At-At.

2pm: I decide to head down to the gym to run for the first time in two months. On the elevator I met a nice German woman and her son. We chat about Germany, she lived in Heidelberg (SO DID I!), and I got to practice the four words I remembered from German classes in elementary school. She was lovely and I headed to the gym after making a new fruend.

The gym was just as fancy as my free breakfast and completely deserted.
Score.

I picked a treadmill and proceeded to start it up knowing that I’d probably last about 10 minutes before I gave up and wanted someone to strangle me with a gym towel. The running gods must have had a snow day too as I hit my stride 20 minutes in. Yeah, bitches. I looked around at the other treadmills and noticed that a disturbing number of them were tuned to Fox News. Had all of those businessman been working out in here before their free breakfast like some sort of dystopian novel come to life? I imagine them all running in unison as Pharrell’s “Happy” is piped over a loudspeaker on repeat.

4pm: I have an hour before the lounge opens for hors d’oeuvres. There will be cheese. I know this because hors d’oeuvres means cheese platters in French.

It does not, but shut up and go with it.

Some Liam Neeson movie is on. He’s on a plane and saving people. I wonder if it’s the movie of what happened when he was on his way to find his kidnapped daughter in that other movie I like to call, “Don’t Go to Europe with a Slutty Friend”. My mind wanders to the kind of cheese they will put out. Will it be cubed? If there are toothpicks cubed is hard to grab off the plate. You’re forced to figure out how many cubes fit on one toothpick and next thing you know you have about 5 cheese cube kabobs on your plate and people are staring. They’ll definitely have cheddar…but will there be brie? God, I hope there’s brie.

5pm: There is cheese. It is sliced. I fill an entire plate, go back to my room, and devour it all in .5 seconds. Of course I needed more, but how long do you wait? I was JUST in there. Do I change my shirt? Will those businessman, worker drones recognize me and report me to our Cylon overlords for eating an excessive amount of free cheese?

Then I decided I didn’t give a shit and went back for more.

7pm: Rosie is on again. My belly is full of free cheese and carrots. I settle in with my tea and a cookie for the night.

“And I heard the work drones exclaim as they marched out of sight, “Happy Snow Day to all, and to all a good night…at exactly 7:30 or you will be forced to work in the fields.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Coyote Ugly

There I was in the final group of girls in the running for a chance to dance and bartend at DC’s new Coyote Ugly bar.

We had finished our dance and now it was time to “stand out”. There was a bucket of water that we were encouraged to use like we were in Cancun. Not a hotel ballroom in the middle of DC. It was 2004 so all of us were dressed in matching Britney Spears style low rise jeans and belly baring shirts. Some sported the trucker hats I could never make work on me. How was I going to stand out in a sea of sparkly, pink belly button rings and bedazzled jeans?

Dump the whole bucket of water on me and dance around like my own version of Flashdance of course.

You know the movie…the bar where they don’t serve water, but a healthy dose of tits and ass. Fully clothed of course.

image

Piper Perabo is an innocent Jersey girl who moves to New York to pursue a music career. What performer can’t identify with that? She ends up bartending at Coyote Ugly, a raucous bar filled with drunk frat boys where the bartenders are hot, buxom, and total badass chicks.

When the film was a moderate success, I’m sure a bunch of dudes in Ed Hardy t-shirts got together and thought,

“Boobs, dancing, alcohol…fully clothed of course. Let’s open more. It’ll be like a strip club, but not.”

The movie was already based on a real bar so why not open more? Then some more. Until Washington D.C. was gifted one of its own. A local radio station staged a contest to hire bartenders. So I bought a push up bra and figured I might as well use what I have to get a job that could make me some real money finally.

Yay, feminism?

The first round of auditions was essentially to walk in, show us you can move, and you’re in. I came in and shook it to some Beyoncé. No one can resist the urge to shake it when B is on. Even if you’re not that into her, you shake it. My clothing choices were deemed worthy enough to be called back for the next round a week later in front of a panel of judges. We would be judged on dance, flare style bartending tricks, and I guess boob size. Who really knows?

image

Me, circa then.

So there I was in the final round, drenched, wanting to be noticed. My flare skills left much to be desired as I dropped the cups everywhere in the round before. This was my only chance to gain some ground.

Did it work?

No, it didn’t.

My name was not called in the end. Although, an Angela was and I ran up to the judge to make sure they weren’t mispronouncing my name. Alas, there was an actual Angela present who wore her cut off t-shirt and trucker hat like she just fell off the cover of Maxim.

After the bar opened I was called in a few times to dance on the bar as “filler”, meaning not a core dancer/bartender, just a girl to keep the customers busy while they poured drinks. A few weeks in I realized this was not going to lead to a steady gig. Plus my classmates were all studying in exotic locales like Greece and Peru while I was shaking my ass at a bar in downtown DC for nothing.

What the hell was I doing?

A year later I was walking the halls of The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. My professor was head of the Greek and Roman Antiquities department there and got me an internship working for Regine Schulz, curator of Ancient Egyptian Art. She immediately put me to work gathering research for a mini exhibit on Ancient Egyptian magical amulets. I immediately put myself to work doing impressions of her thick German accent.

She vas a lovely voman.

Ten years later, I look back at vain, rebellious 25 year old me who didn’t care if she got ogled if it made her a few more bucks an hour, and wonder if I would change that moment. I definitely cringe when I think of the contest, but it was a blessing in disguise to not be deemed “experienced” enough to work at Coyote Ugly.

It left me room to be noticed not for my cleavage, but for my mind.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Love Letters

Out of all the letters this week, this was the hardest to write. I thought of posting it tomorrow to coincide with the holiday, but thought with all the rotten luck that has gone into this impossible situation, isn’t today more appropriate? Tomorrow I’ll have the day to reflect, buy myself something, and eat lots of pizza.

You know, a normal Saturday.

Thank you to everyone for reading these and letting me work through some things via my writing.

So without further ado, the conclusion of Love Letters…

Dear Guy Who Changed Everything,

Sometimes I wonder if I will always refer to my life as “Before you” and “After you”. Will I constantly compare other men to you? Will there be a future man who reads these and doesn’t ask about the other guys, but wonders who you were and what you meant to me? What would I say to him?

I think it might sound something like this:

“I spent a long time floating around by myself meeting people and never feeling any real connection with anyone. Or that I’d met “that” person. Then, through a series of unrelated events, boom, there he was. It was entirely unexpected. You know how space is this crazy place where asteroids are constantly crashing into each other and blasting chunks of themselves into other planets? Stars are imploding; black holes are swallowing everything in their path. The chaos is unrelenting, and up close, it’s a mess. Yet, if you pull back and look at the universe from a distance, it’s quite beautiful.

I think it’s a great metaphor for life.

Sometimes a person crashes into you and they change you.

Up close, it’s messy and beyond complicated. Parts of you are flying away, some you are glad to get rid of: the cynicism, the hopelessness, the loneliness. Others you wish would stay: the rational part and the walls around your heart.

Then it ends.

Not with harsh words or arguments, but due to extenuating circumstances beyond your control.

Those walls that were blasted away are quickly rebuilt and you try to move on as best you can. Time passes, you get some distance, learn the lessons, and are able to look back and appreciate how lovely it all was.”

Having to say goodbye is never easy, especially to someone you care deeply for. No one is ever ready to do that. It’s even harder when you are left to do it on your own and you never thought it would happen in the first place. I think that’s why we always just said “tbc” at the end of our talks. They were never really over…just suspended until a later time.

I hope you found that piece of yourself you lost and I wish you every happiness.

In the meantime, this is still a spectacular view from one of my favorite places.

Angelle

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments