Her Green Figs

The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.

20 March 2006


On Saturday morning I drove up to XYZ to attend a shape note sing. I haven't done this since I left central Virginia, quite a few years ago. There were only a handful of people younger than 50 there and we met in a conference room. It was a very different experience from when VC and I used to go to those little mountain churches. I also ended up sitting next to a completely tone deaf old lady who demanded that I share my books. Nevertheless, I'm glad I went and I hope I'll have company next time.

On the way back, I went to the ZYX lunch and it was awful. I really like that place, but this was just bad. The "a-plenty" was undercooked and I got the wrong burger. I didn't know about either of these problems until I'd gotten back into my car and pulled onto the interstate to drive home. Oh, and the tea was much too watery and bitter.

I took a nap.

I woke up in time to give myself some fabulous super-model hair, all full of curls and waves and sexy tendrils and stuff and then went to the only middle eastern restaurant in town for the surprise party given by a friend of mine for a man I'd never met. It would have been a pretty good party, except that 1. I am anti-social, 2. I was all worried about what was going to happen later that night, and 3. I got trapped in monologue by a twerpy descendant of a very old Hugenot family. No kidding? She talked non-stop for 42 minutes about well-drilling regulations and acid reflux. I was rescued by my new best friend who escorted me swiftly across the room and then out of the restaurant in a cloud of amusing conversation. I should buy that man a beer.

In my ongoing mission to claim my long-term crush, HeartThrob, I went down to my favorite bar to hear his band, playing as part of the big St. Patrick's Day festival. They were really great and I was impressed-as-all-get-out with myself for being brave enough to get it up and go to a bar by myself. I finally spotted HeartThrob's UnsuitableGirlfriend sitting at a table with a fellow singer who I CAN'T STAND (it's mutual). UnsuitableGirlfriend is even pudgier than I remembered from the first time I met her, which gives me even greater hope of taking her place. I couldn't stand to sit there by myself, high-fiving drunk college boys as they walked by until the third set, and HeartThrob disappeared after the second set, so I decided to go home. I was VERY disappointed and on my way to becoming hysterical about it when I walked out of the bar and right into my last fling.

He saw that I was upset, kissed me, then took my hand and took me four doors down to his bar. He kicked someone off a stool in the corner then planted me on it and brought cocktails continuously for hours until I was about to fall off the barstool altogether. He drove me home, unlocked my door, and set my alarm clock then went back to work (until dawn). He set the alarm because we work together Sunday mornings, singing for a church. When I finally stopped snooze-buttoning I had a mouth full of fur, an elephant stomping inside my skull, very rumpled clothing, and a nearly visible aura of cigarette smoke, stale beer, and sweat; I also had no time or energy to clean myself up very much. For the first time EVER, I went to church in cowboy boots, jeans, and black satin. That's the beauty of choir robes--all I had to do was brush out my hair and fix up my eye makeup and I would look passable.

The entire choir was painfully hungover. We were standing outside before the service, lining up for the procession when someone told a funny story and I laughed, which made me gag and then puke in the shrubs. I am nothing if not graceful and elegant. We made a train wreck out of the psalm and probably got our assistant director in a heap of trouble for it. I should buy him a beer too.

02 March 2006

Working 9-5

Yesterday afternoon, I met my colleagues for drinks, partly in celebration of our office manager's last day, and partly as a planning session for this morning's supervisor evaluation. Our current and incoming executive board chairs wanted us, the staff, to provide information for our executive director's annual evaluation. The beer was excellent, the company was good, and the conversation was depressing.

This morning's meeting went fine. We said a lot of things that have been said before, but not in so official a way or to these people. One of us cried, and, for once, it wasn't me. I'm not sure what will come of it, but I think the argument for "gross incompetence" could be made if someone wanted to. It really is a matter of whether anyone wants to go to the trouble.

By the time I had to leave happy hour for rehearsal last night, driving, even four blocks, didn't seem like a very good idea. I should have a better handle on my limits, but I don't. So, I walked the four blocks, which was not a big deal, of course, but which left me with blisters and far far too warm to be socially advisable. I was already flushed from the beer and it was 80 degrees. I sang out WAY more than I usually do, inhibitions inhibited, which was fun and which clearly impressed some people around me (yay). I did something quite foolish during our break, however, grabbing my last fling by the arm, squashing my nose into his bicep, and declaring him to smell "delicious." He'd just smoked a cigarette. It was very dorky and weird and all due to beer. Shame, shame, shame.

I'm terribly tired. I'm starting to get that sleepy headache you get right at the top of your forehead (in my case, directly behind and to the right of my widow's peak). I'm also bored and would like to be doing SO MANY OTHER THINGS, principally, anything except sitting here in my library office.

Oh, PS, we all went to lunch after the evaluation (to decompress) and now I reek of grilled onions. I can almost see this wavering, shimmering, greasy cloud extending a foot or so all around me. I'm told that it can't be smelled, but I absolutely can smell it.

I have this brilliant idea for my new house, but it requires purchasing a large, open warehousy type of space that I've been looking for (for 15 months) but cannot seem to find. What I want to do is, in this huge warehouse, leave most of it lofty and open, but somehow still have a degree of privacy for my bedroom (and a guest room). My super-clever plan is to build the walls of these rooms of twinwall polycarbonate (the material I've planned to use for a conservatory) but wire them with side-glow fiber optic lighting, inside the panel channels. Turning on the light would make the entire structure glow with ambient light. Of course fiber optics lend themselves perfectly to dimming, shimmering, and coloring gels, so you could "redecorate" the room with every switch on/off if you wanted, or you could rotate through the spectrum (although, ewww). When the panels were lit, I think they would provide an adequate visual barrier for privacy. The best part, though, would be that you could choose the absolute most flattering light for yourself there in the place where you spend the most naked time. The light would be soft and non-shadowing, first of all, but you could also choose the right color (golden with a little rose) and brightness level. Thus, if nowhere else, you would always look as good as possible there in your bedroom. PLUS, when houseguests stayed too long, you could slap a green gel on their light and insist that they "just look so tired and ill!" to encourage them to go home. I also think it would look really neat from the outside too, sort of like looking at Christmas trees in windows when you drive by in the late, cold, winter night. Cozy.

My brother, who has been wanting to try some stuff with fiber optics, thinks my idea is SUPER, and I heartily agree with him.

I was having such a super great wonderful happy day yesterday, but nothing much came of it. I was so hoping that, and almost expecting, something remarkable and good to happen, that it was a real let down when it didn't. All things seemed possible, and I was so disappointed when 1. the New Yorker did NOT ring to say that my story was sensational and they wanted to rush it into the next issue, and by the way this agent friend of theirs had read my story too and could they give her my number because she wanted to get me a deal with St. Martin's, or 2. my real estate agent did not ring to say that there was an old cotton gin with attached brick warehouse on 13 acres in Calhoun County that was going to be listed for $30,000 but which I could buy tonight before it went on the market if I had the cash, or 3. HeartThrob did not ring me up, out of the blue, to say that he'd begged my number from KM and really wanted to get together because I sounded so interesting and he already knew I was gorgeous, and, by the way, he'd dumped his girlfriend because he was never so sure of anything so quickly, but he knew the moment he saw me that we were meant to be. See, that is disappointing, isn't it?! To believe that any of those things really was possible on so magical a day and then for none of them to happen. Gosh, it makes me even more depressed to think about it now.