Tuesday, October 14, 2008

guess who won't be in the showcase showdown?

this is where i work. a fairly normal-looking office building in the heart of san francisco's financial district, housing a variety of offices and businesses.
with our twenty-something floors and several elevator banks, our floors divided into separate-entry suites and key codes or entry pads, you can imagine that interaction between those of us who share this building is, at best, limited. most remain silent during brief elevator rides, and eye contact in the lobby is a rarity as everyone brushes by everyone else.

this is drew carey. yesterday, for the first time in my brief new career, he brought us all together.

since the link may not be so clear, i'll explain, shortly after which i'm sure you will be nodding your head in agreement and sympathy.

a gentleman was understandably disappointed that he did not make it on to 'the price is right.' sources have not confirmed whether he was hoping to appear under bob barker's tenure or with the inimitable mr. carey - either way, however, this guy was upset. so upset, in fact, that he took to the streets to express his anger.

and by the streets, i mean a law firm at a building across from mine.

and by his anger, i mean a bomb.

we got back from lunch to find yellow police tape clumsily strewn around the building and across the block. since i work on the side of the building facing the law firm being threatened, i was discouraged from returning to my office my the police. discouraged, but not prohibited. and on the wrong side, like 30 feet would make all the difference in my safety in the event of a bomb explosion. perhaps that is the case - but not so much a chance i'm willing to take.

so for thirty minutes, people from all across the building - i literally have no idea what any of them do, except that there is one company called pb&j, or something like that - came together to take cover in the glassed-in lobby, speculate about the identity of this disgruntled would-be game show participant, and spread rumors like we were in tenth grade.

once we got the all-clear, we dispersed to our respective places of work and returned to our nominally civil and professional interactions. i don't know what happened to the sleighted bomber, but i do know that, bizarre as the circumstances were, it was actually nice to talk with the people i otherwise walk past every day. i don't wish for any further activity of this kind in the near future, but it did strike me how a display of somewhat deranged frustration could bind together a group of people who share so much without ever acknowledging it, myself included.

plus, holy shit! i mean, seriously? the price is right?! seriously?!?!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

don't fence me in

setting: your local video store
actors: myself, maybe a friend or boyfriend or family member
plot: trying to decide on a movie to rent for a low-key night in

i'm going to skip the story. no one wants (or needs) to be subjected to five paragraphs of perusing the action/adventure section at blockbuster, or hear how i like to set time limits before entering the video store because going into one without a specific target is the biggest time-suck since 24 or spider solitaire, or listen to me ramble aimlessly about how no video store in the history of time has been properly arranged so as to maximize efficiency and ensure that all titles are in their rightful category.

no, i'm going to gloss over all that. i'm going to go right to the moral of the story, which is this: do not ever rent a movie to me.

sometimes, in our political philosophy classes at westmont, we would talk about the 'consent of the governed.' many dead white men held very strong opinions on whether citizens gave tacit consent to our government to make decisions and hold power by virtue of our paying taxes, accepting certain benefits from them, or simply living on the land under that government's jursidiction. jean-jacques rousseau, kind of a strange guy, wrote a book about all of this from which much of this conversation is derived: the social contract.

when i rent a video from you, dear blockbuster clerk, i assume that i have (if not explicitly) received your approval to return the film whenever the sam hill i feel like it. you tell me that it is due back wednesday by 8 pm. i heard you, yes, let's make that clear. understanding is not the issue here. when you slide that dvd across the faux-wood counter after i have walked through the metal towers that prevent me from putting 'john tucker must die' in my purse - when you give me that video, you are giving me along with it your consent. i might drive by your poster-laden door five, seven, even ten times before i actually return the dvd through the slot you have conveniently provided. i will ignore your phone calls, your occasional letters to my home, your urgent warning that if not returned in 3 days i can consider myself the proud new owner of 'anacondas' or sex and the city season 3 episodes 9-12 or 'vertigo.'

you know what? maybe i WILL own that video. i will own it and i will like it! and even though i will lose it shortly after it transitioned into my permanent ownership, i will have expanded my dvd collection and furthered my foray into the arts, and isn't that really for my own betterment? so, red door studio in palo alto, you may never see your copy of 'the sting' again. blockbuster on alameda, i won't be slipping 'the orphange' through your doors anytime soon. and i, out of shame, will probably never darken your doors again. i will create memberships video store by video store throughout the greater bay area, and on that fateful day when all of my options have run out, i will close myself in and watch free reruns of bad tv shows. or i will move away. or i will possibly just die. i will have lost my raison d'etre.

until then . . .

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

oh, life

so i have this new job, and i am literally surrounded, cloistered, and barricaded in. by books. this is like my dream version of the candy house that hansel and gretel encountered on their walk in the forest, minus (so far) the witch who tried to eat them. everywhere i go - books, books, and more books. and they range from the theological to the sadly practical to the judeo-sexual. i am not kidding about that last category.

in one of my interviews, a very intelligent person told me that publicity is the business of marketing ideas. and while sometimes the notion of 'marketing' carries slimey or disingenuous connotations, i have nothing but deep respect for the way this group goes about marketing its ideas.
and really, what better to market than ideas? as dallas reminds us in spirit of the disciplines, we are set apart from other animals because of the nature of our conscious minds. God is in those ideas - he inhabits them, in totally surprising and funny ways.

as my friend sarah (aka 'srah') might say: oh, life.

Friday, October 3, 2008

new things

sometimes, i think about this song that we used to sing at church in chicago a lot, and one of the lines in it goes 'all you ever do, is change the old to new.' i used to think that this was pretty insulting to God, like saying that he just sits around in heaven and keeps an eye out for things that need changing and then changes them. like the world was just full of diapers, and everything had a shelf life, and God's was a job of making sure that nothing smelled too bad or was too far past due.

but now i see that i have totally underestimated change.

long story short, i am in a brand new job. second day. working in the city. my nerves are firing rapidly (and that's about the extent of my physiological knowledge). it's new and kind of scary and exciting at the same time. i'm a homebody - what is a girl to do when she has a two-hour commute each day and the desire to be in sweats never leaves her? how do i reconcile that person with the one who loves the carrie bradshaw walk down battery to get my morning cup of peet's? how does one body house so many different people?

things change. seasons change; the leaves are turning orangey and falling off the trees, and the kids are lining up outside the classroom door with their gently worn backpacks and brand new fall coats. and i'm in the middle of a change, too. a new thing. and i can't help but wonder, who would i be without new things? what would God do if he didn't change the old to new? that is redemption. this day is redeemed.