Friday, December 02, 2005

my rejection collection

B’s computer is having problems—whenever you ask it to do anything, it makes this anguished whirring noise. It does the thing, but very, very slowly.

That’s pretty much me right now. I did some writing last night, but it was like I was typing with gloves on. Everything felt fuzzy and clumsy. I want to do some reading, and lord knows I need to do some reading, but so far the most complicated thing I’ve been able to handle is Quick Shots of False Hope: A Rejection Collection by Laura Kightlinger, which I found on B’s bookshelf. It’s funny and honest and articulates some pains of adolescent girlhood that I haven’t seen elsewhere (and that’s saying a lot, since adolescent girlhood is hardly uncharted territory), although there are a few unnecessary sentences that her editor should have crossed out.

But mostly I’ve been watching episode after episode of My Super Sweet 16, thanks to Cathy’s sisterly nurturing and her roommate’s TiVo. My life may suck right now, but at least I’m not a 16-year-old driving up to my $180,000 birthday party in my new BMW, I congratulate myself. Because my little Puritan work ethic has convinced me that that’s something to be happy about.

Heather and I saw Shopgirl last night. It was funny and weird and sweet. I loved it for showing what love does and does not accomplish, for being a movie without a villain, just three lonely and good people. But while it dared to make main character Mirabelle (Claire Danes) a whole woman who had struggles that did not center solely around the men in her life, it didn’t go far enough toward convincing me the movie was really from her point of view and not some dude’s. (And maybe I’m just saying this because I know Steve Martin wrote the book and screenplay.)

I got mad at how buttery and angsty-cute and cellulite-free the camera kept making Claire Danes. I know Laura Mulvey said all these things way back in the day, and I know other people have come along and done feminist rebuttals, but yesterday I was feelin’ Laura Mulvey’s point. Damn the Steve Martins for making people think that girls like Claire Danes are out there, when in real life the girls who are like Claire Danes are poorly lit and wear clothes that don’t quite match and read People Magazine when their brains are whirring. And because people have seen too many movies, they don’t recognize a real-life Claire Danes when they see one.

So, for today or for this month, screw the Puritan work ethic. Where has it gotten me? Well, a lot of places, actually, but not everywhere. Not where I want to be. I’ll let other people drown their sorrows in red wine and curl up on perfectly made beds in silk pajamas. My sorrows demand People and reality TV, changing my mind, making phone calls I shouldn’t make, getting through the day with nervous laughter and annoying cheerfulness.

Or, as Sara emailed me yesterday when encouraging me to come to her holiday cocktail party despite my mood: Cheese is Jesus.

4 comments:

Gary Freedman said...

Screw the Puritan work ethic. Where has it gotten me? In May 1991 my supervisor described me as being "as close to the perfect employee as it is possible to get."
Six months later I was suddenly terminated for no good reason. Yes, screw the Puritan work ethic.

Cheryl said...

Perfection, schmerfection.

jenny said...

Haven't seen the movie, but I like your line about not recognizing a real life Claire Danes when you see one. I'm sure a lot of them pass us all by.

And on another note, is that a hamster with an orange on its head. What the-?

Cheryl said...

Close. It's a bunny with a roll on its head. I wanted some bread iconography, and a Google images search yielded this Japanese website with lots of pictures of the same bunny and different types of bread. Because all the text on the site was in Japanese, I don't know why this person decided to decorate his/her bunny with grain products. But there were pictures of the bunny being cuddled as well, so I could tell that it was a well-loved and cared for bunny, and that no animals were harmed in the photo shoot.