Every fall, work gets insanely busy. And while I always manage it, I don’t manage it very gracefully. My only goal is to make it to January without falling apart. Sure, I tapped my toes at an Annie Lennox concert on Saturday and come hell or high water I will be laughing my ass off at Lewis Black later tonight but beyond these quick escapes I’m pretty much swimming in a sea of spreadsheets. I’m not complaining. In fact, I’ve been openly ecstatic this year because while my load is no lighter, it seems to be more manageable. Nonetheless, my brain is fried. So instead of struggling to pen something brilliantly witty or fantastically inspiring, you’re getting a three part snapshot of my current chaos set to cult film favorites of the ’80s.
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
Cousin Eddie: I don’t know why they call this stuff hamburger helper. It does just fine by itself, huh? I like it better than tuna helper myself, don’t you, Clark?
Clark: You’re the gourmet around here, Eddie.
Sunday night I decided to cook something for dinner. It had been a while since I turned on my oven and I was eager to dust off my apron. In my knife wielding glory, I cubed zucchini, diced onions, chunked peppers and chopped mushrooms. I sautéed the vegetables and browned some meat before putting it all together in some Paul Newman’s sauce to simmer. Then I got on the treadmill. When I finally finished my workout, I shuffled into my kitchen to finish the rest of my meal. I still had water to boil, pasta to cook and Parmesan to grate. Two minutes into the second half of preparation, before the salted water even had a hint of heat, I surrendered. I turned off the pilot, ladled some sauce into a bowl, sprinkled some Parmesan over top, grabbed a spoon and dropped onto my sofa. Yup, my dinner was a heaping bowl of spaghetti sauce. And oddly enough, it was one of the best meals I had had in weeks.
Sixteen Candles (1984)
Randy: Last night at the dance, my little brother paid a buck to see your underwear.
Monday I sauntered into the gourmet pizza shop up the street from work to fetch a late lunch. I ordered two slices, paid for my purchase and while I waited for the box to be handed over, I filled my cup with Diet Coke. A few seconds later, with lunch in hand, I headed for the door.
“Do you ever leave here?” I joked to one of the employees constructing boxes at a table.
“Nope. And I hope I’m not being rude but your tag is sticking out of your skirt,” he shyly noted as he tilted his head in the direction of my ass.
I reached around back and sure enough I felt a slim slice of fabric dangling over the waist.
“It’s going to be one of those weeks,” I said as I pushed the tag back in place and leaned against the door to exit.
The thing is, the tag wouldn’t stay in. No matter how I crinkled it or jammed it against my flesh, the sucker popped out. So when I got in my car which has slightly tinted windows but is in no way private, I pulled up my skirt and confirmed what I feared – my underwear was on inside out. Hence why the tag wouldn’t cooperate. When I got back to work, I collapsed in my desk chair, ate my pizza, sipped my soda and crunched some numbers. With oregano in my teeth and crumbs on my plate, I wiped my greasy hands on a napkin and then proceeded to right-side-in my panties. Standing at my desk. Which is the receptionist area in an open office. Oh and in my haste, I failed to notice that I had caught a heel on the leg opening of my underwear. Which resulted in me crashing stork-like into my desk, knocking over folders and praying I got my panties up and my skirt down before any coworkers appeared.
Working Girl (1988)
Cyn: Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn’t make me Madonna. Never will.
On Tuesday, I stayed late at work to finish up preparations for a Wednesday pitch. I slipped into Wholefoods ten minutes before closing and fetched the most random combination for dinner – a cup of carrot ginger soup, shrimp Thai spring rolls and one serving of reduced-fat vegan chocolate mousse. When I got home I alternated bites of food with iTunes and a half hour later, empty plastic containers dotting my coffee table and songs installed, I disappeared in a blissful state of Carly Simon. I kicked off my three inch black pumps, untucked my French blue dress shirt and started dancing and singing right there in the middle of my living room. I closed my eyes and drifted to the notes, all the while pretending I was Carly prancing across a wood plank stage fronting the Martha’s Vineyard coast. I could smell the salt air as I bitterly belted You’re So Vain. I could hear the waves lapping against the dock as I swooned a velvety Nobody Does It Better. And in that brief moment, right before I burped up some carrot ginger soup and stubbed my toe on my treadmill, everything was absolutely perfect.