Friday, March 26, 2010

One minute, everything's fine--the next, everything's changed

I know how unpredictable life is, but if you're like me, sometimes you forget.

One minute, you're griping about some little problem. Maybe the guy in front of you drives too slow. You fume. You swear. You may even give him the finger and hope he's not carrying a gun. You think people are idiots, everything's wrong, and it sucks to be you.

Then, something serious happens. You find out a loved one has cancer. Or the life of one of your best friend's is interrupted by tragedy. Suddenly, getting stuck in traffic behind a slow driver doesn't seem like such a big deal.

I guess if we were always conscious of time's pendulum tick-tocking our happiness, our very lives away, we wouldn't be able to function. Awareness like that would be paralyzing. But every so often, something shakes us awake and reminds us there are worse things than having a waiter get our order wrong or waiting in line behind someone who's counting out exact change or constantly fighting those stubborn five (OK, maybe ten, if you're me) extra pounds.

If I've learned anything from the past three days, it's how valuable friends are, how hopeless you feel when someone you love is hurting, how mysterious healing is, how powerful prayer can be and how important it is to be reminded that life can, and does, change in a heartbeat.

When I reread what I've written, the idea sounds so basic, so pedestrian, like reiterating something everyone knows.

But being shaken awake isn't like that at all. It's humbling. It's frightening. It's a shocking reminder not to take anything, any moment or anyone for granted.

So take care of your kind, caring, funny, smart, thoughtful, entertaining, delightful-to-be with souls, Everybody. The world needs every last one of you.

Written in memory of Bill Hunt, who passed away yesterday, March 26, 2010. With sympathy and caring to the Hunt family and to Bill's many friends.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

So Jens from Google invites us to a party . . . .

Last Friday, March 12, on the day after my 50th b'day, something completely predictable happened. My friend Melissa W. and I arrived at the Interactive Conference at "South by"
in Austin. As I mentioned earlier, she is an exotic beauty. Me? I have always "relied on the kindness of strangers" who pity my bumbling ways. I don't do it on purpose--bumbling is a natural born talent. Like beauty only not nearly as aesthetically pleasing or valuable.

Anyway, we'd walked through the convention hall less than 30 seconds before a tall, bespectacled man stopped Melissa (big surprise) to ask for directions to Exhibit Hall 3. As she was pointing the way to go, Jens (pronounced "Yens," of course) tells us there's a big Google party Sunday night, and if we would be so kind to give him a business card, he'd e-mail us
the location.

I was excited, not because of the party, but because I'd purchased a very cool business card case
just a week ago in case this very opportunity should occur. I produced my card in less than ten seconds.

Jens could not have cared less.

He was completely oblivious as I proudly waved my card around like a tiny personal flag of independence. And it goes without saying, he didn't see the lovely Asian silk and metal carrying case I was so proud of. (Only $14.99 at World's Window. Suh-weet!) Jens was yearning for something else. His eyes were transfixed on the lovely Melissa who finally found her business card somewhere in her cavernous, but stylish, black bag.

"Thank you, Melissa," Jens said, taking her card. And as an obvious afterthought, he took mine from me. "Oh, and thank you . . . um . . ." he stared at my name tag although I'd introduced myself less than thirty seconds earlier.

"Renée. My name's Renée."

Oh, Insult and Injury, you will always be of my least favorite duos.

In the end, because neither Melissa nor I could access our e-mail during the trip (don't get me started), we missed out on the Google soirée. Poor Jens. He knows not what he missed.

More about "South by" tomorrow. Oh, it just gets better and better. As does being 50, so I hear.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I was completely wrong about me!

One of the things I learned on my trip to Austin is that, in spite of my claiming to be unimpressed by celebs, that is not true. I'm quite impressed by celeb-spotting. You have no idea how it pains me to admit that.

Here's how it all went down. Melissa W. and I were eating at a Guero's, a great Mexican taco bar in Austin, and who should be less than five feet away from us? Chloe Sevigny. She was seated at a sort of secluded counter with her back to us. Anyway, somewhere in between the arrival of our chips and our much-later served guacamole, I noticed a waiter had walked up to this woman and was addressing her by fanning his chest and rolling his eyes as he exclaimed to "love her work." As any good eavesdropper would, I glanced up to see who he was talking to. Then I looked at Melissa and gasped "OH MY GOD--IT'S CHLOE SEVIGNY," only I hope I said it in lower case letters. After that, I tried really hard to act like I had no idea that Ms. Sevigny (Boy's Don't Cry, Big Love, etc.) was sitting close by. I also tried not to notice that she had ordered several plates of food. I'm NOT kidding. And fyi, for a petite, cellulite-free woman (so, sue me, I checked out the back of her thighs when she stood up), she had, let's just say, several plates around her. And I do believe they were picked clean when the table was cleared. Not that I was staring.

Anyway, I saw later on the local news that she had two films premiering that week at SXSW which, as I learned earlier in the day, is referred to as merely "South by" by all the cool kids.

More on "South by" tomorrow. That is, if you haven't given up on me yet. I know I sucked at posting while I was gone. I'll explain tomorrow. Suffice it to say, me + technology does not equal love forever.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I'm a terrible blogger. I didn't even lead you up to the big bday, record the big bday, nothing. I have a good reason though--I was in Austin attending the SXSW 2010 conference with my colleague Melissa W.

If you ever want to feel old and invisible, I advise walking next to Melissa W. She is an exotic beauty
which I normally hate in a woman, but here's the thing--for someone who is extremely observant,
she is oblivious to her own beauty. Thank God.

Anyhoo, I have all kinds of stuff to update you on. The Interactive part of the conference was like being surrounded by thousands of guys from the "The Big Bang Theory," some of whom could have used a good scrubbing, if you ask me. I don't know when bathing became optional with this particular group.

More later.

Oh, and I guess I have to rename my blog. My friend Russ E. suggests "Used Rainbows" which I actually like. Any other ideas?