Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Trip


When I walked off the plane at 4AM, I had officially been traveling for 22 hours. I was exhausted, smelly, and had to figure out how to get a cab to my hotel. Standing in a too bright airport with a language I couldn't read demanding me to go in a million directions, I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to google Bangkok.

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Hunched over in my cubicle, pouring over multiple spreadsheets on my double monitors, with headphones blasting electronica in my ears, I almost missed the phone call. It was my bosses boss. Terrified that I was about to be fired over the phone, I pulled the buds from my ears and tried to answer the phone calmly.

"Jis is Thean. THIS IS JEAN." I stumbled and then awkwardly shouted.

"Hey Jean, would you mind stopping by my office when you have a chance?" 

Of course I would. Only first I'll save all my pictures of cats to a flash drive, and erase my recent google history. You can never be too careful.

Just minutes later, In her pristine office, with the rare and beautiful north side view of the Chicago skyline, Michele cut to the chase.

"How would you like to go to Bangkok?"

This question on its own sounds a little bit like a Brokedown-Palace-under-the-table-your-mom-would-tell-you-to-say-no type offer.

"Sure!" I said. Because I'm a team player.

"Can you leave in a week?" She asked, surely incredulous that I had accepted her dubious offer without even pondering the repercussions of my agreement. 

---

The week did not pass without road blocks. The call out for an unemployed person with no personal life to cat-sit in my poorly venalated city apartment for almost two weeks at short notice for no more payment than a bottle of cheap champagne and a pack of cigarettes only appealed to one desperate person: my best friend of 15 years, Nicole. (Full Disclosure: The promises i made could only be redeemed upon my successful return. Double Full Disclosure: Unbeknownst to Nicole, this was more of a permanent arrangement, as i saw my odds of surviving the trip without contracting a deadly disease or being locked up in Thai prison to be rather low.)

Stay tuned to see what happens...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Waking With Words

I constantly woke up on the floor of my best friends dorm room.

Well, not exactly the floor - usually a bean bag chair that provided some comfort. Some times when I woke on the floor of their dorm room it was early morning after 4 hours of sleep. More often it was in late mornings or early afternoons when we all were recovering from late nights at house parties with TV and junk food. 

I'd wake up in my up lofted bed some time in early morning; face to face with both Bob Dylan and Ani Difranco. I'd fuss shortly and then feel lonely or bored or a combination of the two. I'd grab my writing book from its nest of covers, crawl down the bolted wooded ladder and shuffle next door to the room of my 18 year old comrades. 

It didn't matter if they were sleeping or not; we rarely locked our doors. 

I'd enter their room and we'd all offer greetings in our half awakeness. I'd lower myself onto the beanbag chair, open my tattered writing book to the most recent scribbles and review what I had documented in my inebriation.

Usually, what I wrote didn't fit the definition of "documented" although occasionally I did write down who said what, if it was funny enough. Most often what was scratched into those unlined pages was barely coherent, cryptic verse. I didn't write verse because I loved poetry, or even because I was good at it. I wrote verse because I was secretive and wanted to be sure to keep my real observations and emotions to myself. I wrote verse because I refused to journal. Journaling is for little girls who love horses.

I'd review my notes, and maybe I'd find a nugget of good writing, or an exceptionally funny quote from a drunk buddy. Then I'd work a little more. In those days I could just place my pen to the paper and there would be words. I'd write about everything and nothing; trying to harness and destroy all the fears and confusion that plagues young people. 

Usually, I was exhausted from the previous night's binge drinking or my constant nighttime insomnia and eventually I'd fall asleep, clutching my book protectively to my chest. I'd sleep until roused by my friends when they got hungry enough to pull their shoes on and make the journey to the cafeteria.

I still wake up with my book under my pillow. Sometimes its my iPad. Usually its at 6 am, and I'm getting up for the gym, not bemoaning a hangover, but the story is still the same. I just wish the words came as easily. Maybe I should invest in a beanbag chair.

Let's try this again.

I am sure that you are thrilled to see this post.

I bet for a the past year you've woken nightly with sweats - terrifying images of blank screens and a the black hole created by a lack of witty commentary shuffling through your mind - asking yourself aloud in the dim quiet of your suburban bedroom: "Will MeanJean ever  blog again?"

I know its true. Because I know you. I know where you live. Because you are my mom. 

So, here I go. I'm relaunching my blog for the 197539853825th time.