Posts tagged inspiration
Posts tagged inspiration
Happy after-Easter everyone. In celebration of Jesus’s resurrection, and the return of whatever vice you may have given up, I thought you might enjoy a recap of a recent reconnection with an old, very old interest.
Now that life affords me the luxury of going on mini dates with myself, I woke up last week in search of a little culture that I suppose I always knew existed, but given obvious time dedication to a very illustrious and steadfast career from 9-5p*, I hadn’t yet indulged in museum visiting. I wasn’t really sure where to start, so I googled “LA museums”. Is that an oxymoron? Anyway, I settled on the Los Angeles County Museum of Art [LACMA]. *No one in advertising works 9-5p only. This was just a test to see if you were paying attention.
Before I forget, do not ever, ever unless you’re held at gunpoint, and maybe not even then, park at the museum parking garage at Wilshire and S. Curson. It’s 3$ for every 15 minutes, or 18$ maximum. I had a few things against me, preventing the very clear understanding that this was a dastardly and unacceptable amount to pay for parking:
#1: I am practically an adult baby when it comes to parking somewhere I’ve never been. I have to turn the radio down all the way to concentrate, and even then it’s like I have a sheet over my head.
#2: A feverish and reckless state of excitement to get to the museum.
I guess only 2 things, but formidable nonetheless. So, I sailed swiftly and unwittingly hours later into said maximum 18$ territory by the time I retrieved my car. For 18$ I would have expected my parking spot to contain a hidden car lift, and an entire Formula 1-esq pit crew to outfit my car with brand new everything- maybe even a signed head shot of Jenson Button left lovingly in the front seat; I don’t think that happened, I for sure didn’t see a photo.
Moving on from my obvious disdain for this parking structure, in thinking that if I said to someone,
“hey, I hung out at the George C. Page La Brea Tar Pit Museum today”
it would sound way, way less awesome than,
“hey what up you guys. I hung out at the LACMA on Thursday, what’dyoudo?”,
I started earnestly toward the cool, seductive light show display at the entrance of the LACMA. Now, the problem is, I have parked on the side of the museum that first you have to walk by the La Brea Tar Pits. Which literally is a smelly, bubbling pit of tar with some weird mechanically-charged fake elephants pretending like they’re stuck. Seriously who wants to look at that sad mockery of something that happened tens of thousands of years ago?
Well, I did. What happened next was a beautiful blur of dinosaur bones spurred by a forgotten kindergarten lust for information about anything related to old dino bones. Suddenly, I could not see the LACMA, or even know that it existed. Almost instantly my mind was held hostage by an old 5th grade dream of becoming an archaeologist/ dino bone excavator, and questions flooded my brain. Why was there a random tar pit there all that time ago? Why didn’t some cro-magnon man save those poor elephants and more importantly the cute baby ones? How many old dino bones could there possibly be in this pit, and when can I find them and put them back together?
Overwhelmed by questions and excitement, I threw visions of looking cool and saying “LACMA” down the toilet, and made a beeline for the entrance to, you guessed it, the George C. Page Tar Pit Museum. Now, let’s put this into perspective quickly.
Here was the goal:
And here is where I chose to spend my day:
Staring up at the entrance alone was enough to make me think, hmm, maybe Mr. Brady and the Aztec Indians collaborated to build the George C. Page Museum, La Brea Disoveries building. I didn’t care. My serotonin levels were off the charts thinking of what awaited me inside this curious building from the future. Or from the 1970s. Either one.
I will spare you with the hilarious details of standing in line next to a 6th grade field trip, and get to the good parts. I walk in, mystified at all the treasures behind glass, years of excavations and trips to uncover bones, and display them in tiny cases hung on the wall with detailed description for young minds [and mine] to relish in. Oh the mysteries!
I stumbled down the hallway and into this little dark room with lots of families and field trip classes, and sat down to see a giant screen:
Oh, right on time. It’s a sign for sure. I wish that baby would stop crying. Maybe that’s a sign…
And so it begins. Millions of years of history summed up in 10 minutes of one cinematic masterpiece, using a new form of documentary I hadn’t yet experienced. A mixed media treasure of still photography, cartoon, and black and white film:
Duh, I knew that! How exciting. I am entranced.
An invitation. “No thanks” I decided, but very much appreciated there is an actual handle/ pulley-like system that simulates tar entrapment at this very museum.
Oh no! A cartoon reenactment of a tar trapped horse. I am all for education, but I began to wonder if the little children sitting next to me were afraid. I mean, we have just viewed what usually typifies a happy cartoon forest scene, literally get demolished and eaten by a steaming pit of tar right before their very eyes. No one seems generally panicked, so it keeps going.
The movie ended eventually, and I wandered around some more and I felt alive with the connectedness to something I used to enjoy. In a few short hours I had reinvigorated a part of something that once interested me. Purposefully hidden of course. I can’t really go around telling people I used to want to go on dino bone digging trips in Europe with my babysitting money. Although in some circles I suppose this childhood dream may be respected, cultivated or even cool [okay not cool], but in my experience it’s better left dormant. Like really all the way dormant.
The point I will try to make here is this: during times of wondering what you’re doing, or wanting a little more information about who you’ve become in order to be greater, go waaay into the dormant places. Go back to when you didn’t have so much responsibility, and take yourself on a date. Oh, a quick word of advice and this is important- go by yourself. It will enliven you. It will inspire you. You will be surprised. The reason this works, is that it will come from you. No one else. That’s the best part :)
Hi everybody. Quickly if I may, as there isn’t presently a greeting card (until I invent one) that reads, “thanks for the congrats on quitting my job!” or, “thanks for believing that, by quitting my job, it doesn’t mean I’m pregnant by a sugar daddy”, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of my lovely deadbeat supporters for their kind well-wishes. It’s not easy leading a life of nothingness in order to achieve everythingness, as is the point of all of this dribble. So, I appreciate it everyone, truly I do.
And another thing that occurred to me, to be clear I don’t have any kind of sugar daddy, as is the connotation with “deadbeat”. I mean yes that would be nice, but seeing as I’m ridiculously stubborn and independent I’m not sure I would allow that sort of nascent and eventually deleterious behavior, for fear of becoming an insane monster. So, no.
As day 12 of business-free life approaches, I’d like to recap a litany of recent adventures that led to:
advantage: Esa life discoveries, yeah!
disadvantage: anxiety and missing life’s point, boo
Last week was my official city of Angeles love affair week. The cataracts of stressful working life lifted to reveal lovely events.
Here’s a quick list:
Sunday: Jen and I drank champagne and made cookies in a bribery attempt to win neighbor friends. UPDATE: cookies have yielded 1 thank you note. As mentioned yesterday, I will apprise you on any fantastic yacht party invitations I was expecting and am sure to receive.
Monday: Drove to Silverlake to the tune of Lindsay Buckingham’s “Holiday Road”, then discovered a cool coffee place. Also it smells like laundry detergent and eucalyptus in Silverlake.* [*only in certain parts; be forewarned that some areas downwind you may experience an olfactory sensation akin to shoving your face into an armpit that has been drinking cheap whiskey]. Went to Wacko, weird indie quirky bookstore. It’s amazing and teaches you about cool LA stuff.
Tuesday: Joined an orchid forum, then within hours watched the last of my orchid flowers fall off in contempt, as if to say, “hey dummy, you should know how to do this.” Oh well. Thought about going to yoga, walked to yoga, went to yoga, walked home from yoga. Big day. Made dinner. No one died. Victory!
Day: Manhattan Beach Public Library card ownership!! Internal debate on whether to become a tutor for those looking to learn English as a second language, OR join a Scrabble team that meets Thursdays, OR attend Success with Succulents, by the MB Botanical Society. Learned it was National Public Library Week, commemorated by the small Chinese man behind the counter giving everyone a Hershey’s kiss. How fing cute is that!? It melted in my computer bag later. That’s ok. :/
1) tried new gastropub City Tavern. Good but kinda snobby for no reason. Cheesy poofs on the menu on a giant cliché chalkboard in the back. Found that endearing at first, then kinda stupid. The poofs, not the chalkboard.
2) went to old guy guitar jam session that apparently happens each Wednesday at a dive in Playa del Rey. I hesitate to tell you where because I selfishly would like to keep this little gem to myself. Awesome leather studded giant booths and chandeliers that probably used to live in old mid-western Pizza Huts. I am in love. We were by far the youngest patrons, which I exalted over, likely exposed by my perma-shit eating grin.
Thursday: Downtown LA artwalk. Met up with some friends in a neighborhood loosely categorized as “trying-really-hard-(with-mini-victories)-to-go-through-yuppie-renaissance” downtown Los Angeles. These friends are fantastic and so is their new loft. And they are trailblazers. They fit this description due to their love for the arts, and card-carrying members of a new society I’m calling “Adventurers in Real Estate, America’s Brave”.
If I told my grandmother I was moving to Bunker Hill, she would fly out from her golf course in Lakeway, Texas and light me on fire, at the very notion of an abode with such proximity to Skid Row. Death by fire from her hand is far better. You understand. Well, maybe you don’t but I do.
Friday: Struggling to remember Friday. What did we do? [memory loss is a side effect of joblessness]. Oh, yes. In preparation for impending surf lesson we took it easy and went to a rooftop restaurant and enjoyed the sunset. Although all was not lost in entertainment, we sat right in the middle of a cougar den. I don’t really want to leave you hanging there but I think you’d prefer it.
Saturday: Surf lesson. Yes, surf lesson. Definitely knocked on death’s 59 degree, wet ocean door. This just in: surf boards can double as a fun, buoyant wave-navigating tool/ floatation device, or a murder weapon. A.m. surfing was followed by beach afternoon and scary movie night.
So, my little students of deadbeatedness, this brings us to the core of today’s lesson. When you don’t have a job, or when you are truly open to life’s path, you don’t really have anything to focus on except for what’s directly in front of your face. Hence, the beginning of a life love affair and agreeing to experience waaaay more stuff. [As in yoga when they say, ‘one day the goal is to touch your forehead to the tops of your feet’, a more realistic goal of mine one day is to have a nice balance of life focus and career focus].
You’re able to strangely wander around admiring people and things and what they offer; you’re able to “enjoy the moment”. Usually when people say that I have a strong urge to tell them to suck it, followed by an open-faced slap. But, when you really have let go, you become an open source. Just this last week I talked to strangers, made them cookies, tried to be a surfer and wound up at a new Tequila bar (well new to me) where they make everything by hand and the menu is cardboard w/ marker. Amazing.
I hadn’t all the way felt this realization, until I took Mark to work Friday morning because we carpooled to the skid row loft. In spite of little sleep, not being in shape and wanting to pass out from remnants of the night before, I am fascinated by life. And low and behold, everything is saying hi to me. For example, this building:
“why, hello!” I exclaimed. [No, not out loud. I’m not that much of a cartoon character. Ok 50% chance it was outloud].
Then I kept going, because the Hello banner building, in my .05 second assessment peering through the windows, very closely resembled an advertising agency, which ignited a jet propulsion-style gait right past it. Mostly based on my sheer need to ingest many, many milligrams of caffeine, I landed a few doors down to Teaforest, a cute cute coffee and tea place. I ordered an EPI pen of espresso and then looked over to notice this guy [no, not the slow-looking question mark one, the “hi” one]:
And then, I found myself levitating by the notion that- really we can do whatever we want as long as we are seeing hello or hi. And wondering what amazing thing will happen next. And, the realization that sometimes in our lives we might not afford ourselves the luxury of time to get to know ourselves. In an effort to control or continue or maintain, our luxuries might consist of- “yes! I will take the sports package tires, AND SO I am keeping my job everyone!” [I’m not knocking sports package tires, these are important and very nice], a bigger tv, that shampoo- not the shitty kind, a dog that has a stronger gene pool than your own and cost one month’s rent just to get his papers; he has papers!?…ok I could go on but I think you get it.
Now please know, I’m most definitely not knocking the reputable economy of supply and demand. I totally get it. This is just my experience when your supply has literally dried up, and what to do to get it back.
To close this all up, a few things. I have no idea what makes people happy, but I do know it irritates the shit out of me when people are and I am not, or I can’t cognitively collect a reason why they are, unless I’ve seen them imbibe 83 hand made tequila drinks from Las Perlas after having danced on the 12th floor of an awesome loft building. When I do feel this elusive happy feeling with only minimal amounts of outside stimulation, it appears to be the outcome of lots of listening and openness. I will try to capture this feeling, like catching an endangered white tiger that is nice and wants to snuggle with you and not claw your face off. But then I will let it go, so it can come back.
So do it. Do lots of listening. Take a lesson, find a loft to hang out in (get your own, I’m not sharing), agree to go to a stupid dive bar. Make a cookie. You just never know.
Yours in self-introspection and tiger catching,
Hi friends. This is a long one, but bear with me it’s worth it. I could go even more on and on about it but I’ll save it for the novel. Note dear readers, none of this has been fabricated. I couldn’t have made this up if I tried.
Graciously I will admit that prior to deadbeat status one might experience a lag in my general response time to very simple forms of communication- anywhere from 1 day to 2 years. Mind you, I am still in the growth phase so don’t get too excited, however within the last 7 business-free days I have joyfully witnessed an upward climb of epic proportion in my ability to give a shit enough to write back to people, and maybe even reconnect with them. I should rephrase; I always give a shit. I just sometimes run out of time.
Anyway, you kind of just start to refocus a little bit, whereas before, your minutes may have been confounded by a perpetual and unending tornado of ppt decks, meeting notes, wondering who came up with “idea management” in lieu of “account management”, the printer doesn’t work and your Stress Tire is looming…nope, not any longer. In the absence of the tornado, new, better stuff begins to fill your time. And you are able to respond, literally speaking.
The example I’d like to submit is the following email correspondence between myself and my grandmother.
Name, age: “Ma” Freeman, 79 yrs. Last known lag time prior to reply: 8 days [pretty good considering]. Relation to deadbeat: grandmother. Submission media: e-mail.
here’s the house:
My reply to this email is following. Notice how thoughtful and nice I am, and notice how quickly I’ve responded. [Hours, not years]. Also note in a turn of sheer emotion and wine-induced excitement, I offer to actually purchase this house so as to keep it in our family and make her really happy. Let’s also take a moment to remind ourselves I have no job, and if I were to really purchase this house I would have to call Fidelity and tell them I have gone insane and would like to buy a house in Graham, Texas and to please send me my check, the fruit of years of advertising slavery].
Ma’s reply below. Prepare yourself. This is Texas story-telling in the written word. I also have never met Norman and Tinka but am planning a trip ASAP to make sure they’re capable of keeping up my house. Notice this one is just to me, and my adoring yet clearly amateur little sisters don’t get to read it. Ha! Instantly my chest goes forward and my shoulders are straight, drunk with power of knowing Ma and I have now started a very exclusive secret club.
At this stage I am overwhelmed with glee and happy feelings. I love my grandmother and have always been very close to her, but this is a whole new level of personal connection. Her grandmother’s phone number was 29? She went to camp in horse and carriage? Someone’s name is “Tinka” in real life? PS. It took me a minute but “L of L” means “Lady of Leisure”, which she has been one for quite some time now. I think that sounds better than deadbeat. I’ll think about it.
Anyhow, to get to the point I replied some really nice stuff about how much I think of her, how great I think she is, and she responded with:
How SWEET. Seriously. Although enticing, the likelihood of my becoming an Agatha, Willa or Edna is slim, but the point is- these few emails and the sentiment behind them will stick around for a very long time. That along with the prideful feeling that a seemingly insignificant reply can go a long way, and a lot can be learned. Let’s quickly review:
1. My grandmother’s grandmother had 29 for a phone number
2. There is a new, undiscovered Mt. Everest located in West Texas
3. Lady of Leisure can be abbreviated “L of L”
4. I am the favorite as eldest granddaughter
5. Probably I am poised to become the next Edna Ferber, who after looking it up wrote a book adapted for the movie “The Giant”, which I love
So, try it out. Try responding, or better yet- initiating. You never know where it can lead. Let me know how it goes.
Have you ever noticed how when you’re in a good mood, the city and the colors look like this:
And when you don’t feel good, maybe you’re legitimately sick, or you’ve realized you work for someone who makes 11x more than you but not as smart, or really for no reason in particular the city and colors look like this:
I am pleased to submit the 5th day of freedom is still producing the former, a side effect I am convinced is due to the simple yet sometimes difficult act of listening to oneself. In the older days of 3 weeks ago, I might be contrived, anxious and tormented by the theme music for 60 Minutes on a Sunday night, due to a Pavlovian-style response sure to deliver the following message: “yes, you are the proud owner of waking up early tomorrow to devote energy to something you’re not in any condition to give.” This coming from a person who’s DNA can only be described as a beautiful mess strewn together from partial likenesses of all characters from the famed Texas society TV show Dallas, with tiny bits of SoCal mixed in. (Details on this DNA makeup and other stories of Texas family intrigue are an entirely different series requiring the space of its own Internet; we can get to that later.) The point is, it is deep in my genetic code to want to happily drink Mint Juleps, live off of oil money checks and sell ladies golf equipment from a boutique in Escondido. And so far I’ve declined.
The aforementioned deep affection for, and potentially purposeful renunciation of certain parts of my southern roots aside, I am not lazy. Which is why this entire no job thing is such a contrast, albeit a much-needed break. I suppose that needs no explanation given my very eager and playful acceptance of a pseudonym that begins with “deadbeat”.
So, as part of this hostile take over of body, mind and spirit, the first to go I think as a young, early thirty-somethingish professional, is the body. To my own fault and no one else’s [except maybe for Craft Services and literally thousands of fancy LA cupcakes], the last 8 years I have treated my body like a literal safe haven for red wine (white if it’s daytime of course), bourbon with one rock or none, and the occasional handful of trail mix from the 4th floor vending machines. This behavior, my friends, may promote intermittent spikes of witty banter, sugar coma and brief spurts of fake flirtation with either sex, but it does not promote muscle growth. Rather, the slow and steady proliferation of what I am calling Advertising Atrophy takes hold, as demonstrated by the graph below:
This somewhat generalized state of deterioration that takes years to build, should not be confused with a very serious condition entitled the Stress Tire, which is the late afternoon onset of a midsection tire, that has matured throughout the day with virtually no food or water. Only stress. There are flaws in the AA theory however which will require further analysis, namely that the only cure for Stress Tire is bourbon.
Anyway, when you’re in advertising, or really any busy, stressful environment for long periods of time with no real recognition of your body, it becomes just a physical delivery system to get your brain to and from work. In this state of body unawareness, someone could literally have told me I had developed a mermaid tail instead of legs and I would have believed them and booked it to the nearest large body of water. Because really, who can tell the difference what physical presence you uphold when all you can think about is where the next coffee fix is coming from, or how many people you have to fight with to get one of seven outcomes you had planned at the end of a successful meeting.
So, to wrap this up, I suppose the point is- listen to your body. It is probably screaming at you to do something nice to it. This doesn’t mean the abandonment of an occasional boozy lunch, or boozy anything really, because Jesus what in the hell would we all do with ourselves. Just balance it out a little. Take a walk, drag yourself to Yoga, do something that you listened to once and it worked. It will make all the wine, and cupcakes taste better. Promise.