Friday, October 09, 2009

I was born in a small town, probably die in that same small town...

Ok, neither of those things is true. But it's difficult to find song lyrics that represent 'I was born in an economically challenged neighbourhood in one of America's largest cities, but later moved to a succession of small towns and communities...'

Anyway, Baltimore has a number of nicknames. Charm City is only one of them. The other is Smalltimore. So named because, apparently, you can't throw a rock in that town without hitting someone you went to high school with. Everywhere you go, you run into somebody you know or somebody who knows somebody you know or vice versa. Forget six degrees of separation, in Baltimore there are only two.

I'm learning every day that the same is true of Wellington, which I've now nicknamed Smallington. Yesterday, I was finishing up my first week in my fancy new job in the Beehive and heading to some fancy meeting with fancy press people. So I walk into a Very Important Person's office and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a ghost from a life long past and better left forgotten. There before me sat the pseudo-stepmother of the boy who abandoned me with a note. Oh, yes, internet - one of the cast of characters from everybody's favourite Greek tragedy did show up into my life again.

I have to say, both parties were taken aback, although she probably moreso than me. I've never actually seen her flustered. And it became clear to me that this woman had been given a biased version of events that likely involved me being batshit nuts. Which is both unfair and untrue, but also completely unavoidable.

Since the meeting involved three other people not privy to past events, we both sat there awkwardly deciding whether to acknowledge the fact that we knew each other. Ultimately, I broke the ice, making a few pointed comments to let her know that, yes, I recognised her and no, I was not going to flee or hide or feel anything resembling shame. I think she was most surprised by this - the completely normal response of a completely normal person.

And I know it shouldn't, but man that pisses me off. The one and only remaining thing that bothers me about the Douchebag Incident of Aught Eight is that these people continue to labour under the misapprehension that I am weak and/or crazy. Of course, there's nothing to be done about it. I've learned two things through this whole experience that have almost made the whole thing worth it.

One, you cannot be responsible for anyone else's bad behaviour.

Two, no one can make you feel inferior without your permission.

In the end, I tucked my crazy hair behind one ear, walked back to my fancy new office, and decided that neither she nor he nor any other member of that damaged brood has my permission. Not anymore.

Friday, October 02, 2009

She's got Greta Garbo's stand-up sighs....

I think I should rename this blog, 'Observations of a Woman in her 30s'. Or 'Cane Shaking'. Because what I really want to talk about is what the young kids are wearing these days. If I could give one bit of advice, surprisingly it would not be to avoid crazy 'out there' clothes. Cause Lord knows I loves me some 'out there' clothing. No, it would be this: Know Your Body.

Today, I came across these three young women out shopping who were all wearing identical black, cuffed, ballooned short shorts (no lie - the 80s live and breathe down here in Godzone). I wanted to pull one of them aside and give her a life lesson:

Ok, look. When you're deciding to go out with your mates in matching short shorts, remember this: Just by the numbers, one of you has better legs than the other two. And it is altogether likely that that person is probably the one who suggested these matching outfits, because it makes her look good for you to look bad and, lets face it, girls are mean. You should ask yourself, was this outfit my idea? If not, you may have fallen prey to the oldest trick in the Mean Girls Toolkit - the Better by Comparison bait and switch. So next time you think about putting on those short shorts, take a moment to reflect on God's cruel gift of early onset, genetic cellulite and Know Your Body. And for pity's sake, put on a sweater. You'll catch your death with your bosoms hanging out like that.

*shakes cane*

Thursday, October 01, 2009

When I get older losing my hair, many years from now....

My employer has just issued me a Blackberry, which I will need in my new assignment. It feels a little bit like a Brand New Service Revolver. I'm also slightly worried I have come full circle back to the life I left behind in the States, tied to an electronic tether. Still, it is shiny....

Of course, I can't talk at all on the internet about what I will be doing, as per usual. Suffice it to say it has the potential to be completely and totally awesome. Or to suck royally. By extension, it gives me the opportunity to excel monumentally or fail spectacularly. But hey, I've never been one to shy away from a challenge.

I will say that I intend to make better suiting choices this time around. Brand New Service Revolver or not, I refuse to wear a uniform. I think having crazy, asymmetrical, rock star hair gives me a little freedom with clothing. For instance, I recently bought the World's Most Ridiculous Jacket. And I'm not kidding, it is seriously ridiculous. It's military style, but will copious amounts of ribbon detail. As though Schwarzkoff got drunk and passed out, only to wake up in a craft store with some massive alterations to his lapel. I'm pretty sure Michael Jackson wore it in the mid-nineties.

If I still had my conservatively red, conservatively layered shoulder-length bob, this would of course be unacceptable. But with a haircut that is a cross between Victoria Beckham and Kate Gosselin, well, anything can be pulled off. I will be working with one of the top five politicians in New Zealand's conservative party, so we shall see if they agree.

If they complain, I'll just remind them that I'm there to be a human rights conscience, a role that I feel is only supported by crazy hair. 'You want my crazy hair on that wall, you NEED my crazy hair on that wall...' It's true. Imagine that Joanne Thirty-Four with her grandmother's pearls is telling you something violates human rights. You might listen, but not necessarily be swayed. Now, if Hey Look At My Hair, No Seriously LOOK At It tells you something violates human rights, you're going to be all, 'dude, I get it. Point taken.'

Speaking of my crazy hair, it has also led to a recent resurgence of being carded to buy alcohol. This is mildly laughable. I mean, I'm flattered, but the drinking age here is 18. And I've spent almost as much time on this side of 18 as I did on the other. Which is slightly terrifying when you think about it.

I wonder if I will still have crazy hair when I forty. Or sixty. Frankly, I wonder why I never had crazy hair before now. Today, I saw a lady in her 60s (if she was a day). She was wearing Anna Wintour's bob, but also sporting skin tight, stretch, houndstooth pants with zippered back pockets. My first thought was, 'oh honey. That's a bit young, isn't it?' Then my crazy hair slapped me in the face and said, 'you shut your MOUTH. I hope we're like her when we grow up.'