Laura’s just going to jump right in and start branting — if she stopped to think about how long it’s been since the last time she posted anything — she thinks it was sometime back in April (that would make it, uhm, over 3 months and close to 4 months) — she would be overwhelmed by the lapse and probably not be able to write anything. Because the lapse would make her wonder what happened to her will to brant; what happened to her desire to share her life with the few friends who read her brant and with the thousands upon thousands of por-n-ographic spammers who troll her site; what happened to her the sense of fun in complaining and ranting about the absurd moments of every day life.
Laura can’t believe one of the last posts she wrote was about her Dansko clogs — the ones that made her fall on her face — and it all seems so long ago. Where did the months go? And why why why did she stop branting? What follows is her impromptu attempt to deconstruct her reasons for being so silent for so long.
1. Laura’s brant developed incurable inoperable technical difficulties.
One main reason Laura can point to that made her lose her will to brant is the fact that something happened to the Wordpress blogging system (which hosts her brant [whatever that means]) that made it impossible for her to post photos. For some reason, being able to illustrate her brant with pictures — be they photographs or other kinds of visual aids — was very important to Laura — and when it was clear that neither she nor her genius web guy could figure out why this was happening and, more importantly, how to fix it, a little teeny part of her died. It’s actually really hard right now knowing that this brant is going to be all text and no visuals, but she’s forcing herself to not think about that and to just push forward and finish her post.
2. Laura had to go on a bunch of trips.
Though it seems and feels like forever ago, back at the end of May Laura and Ben and Laura’s parents flew out to LA together for Laura’s niece’s bat mitzvah. The few people who read Dating Big Bird — you know, the people Laura paid to do so (ha ha) — would understand that “The Pickle” — the character in the book who was loosely based (okay, like, entirely based) on her little niece exactly ten years ago — is the same niece who is now 13. Laura could write an entire screed on the cliche that time flies and how old she feels but instead she’s probably going to eventually post a description of what it was like for her to fly with her parents and her 8-year-old son — balancing the needs of the old (pre-boarding, luggage lifting and carrying, a constant awareness of sodium grams and sugar counts and cholesterol postings on all possible snacks) with the needs of the young (PSP, DVD, snacks, snacks, snacks). There’s a mathematical equation buried in there — something about the needs of the old + the needs of the young divided by HER NEEDS = Wait! She Doesn’t Get To Have Any Needs! but that would sound worse than it actually was and Laura wouldn’t want to sacrifice the good feeling of the trip for a cheap joke on her brant. Look forward to a posting — hopefully, assuming Laura doesn’t forget to brant until sometime in December — about the trip back from LA, which, in typical Laura travel-fashion, included a 45-minute security check (she was carrying her parents bag of shoes, all the bottoms of which seemed to test positive for some kind of plastic explosive-type of substance!!); the plane getting pulled back after taxiing out to the runway due to mechanical difficulties – Laura’s favorite extreme anxiety-producing problem!! – her missing Xanax (oops! she packed it! and not in her carry on!!); Ben’s misery at having to leave his cousins and his aunt, Laura’s sister (who Laura suspects Ben likes more than her!!); and the violent thunderstorms that had to be avoided all the way across the country during their more than 8 hour delay (why did the pilot have to mention their extreme altitude of 44,000 feet and the fact that they were going to have to fly all the way up to northern Wyoming and Minnesota to avoid those storms??).
Besides LA, Laura had to go to New York after that — for a meeting with Ballantine for the Patti Novak book she’s writing. It was a day trip — up and back with no overnight — and she took the Amtrak Acela for the first time. And probably the last. Since it’s so ridiculously expensive (Laura usually drives or takes the Limoliner Bus). The only good thing was that on the way back she met this amazing woman who lives in Boston and who, strangely and oddly enough, was just about to have surgery for a type of breast cancer similar to Laura’s.
And then after that, she went to Buffalo to see Patti and work some more on the book which is always fun since she — Laura — gets to watch this hilarious unassuming genius — Patti — go about her day and do her usual thing — interviewing potential single-clients in order to match them with her other clients — while she — Laura — takes notes, lots and lots and lots of notes. Of course, yet again in typical Laura travel-fashion, her drive from Boston to Buffalo was on the direct path of a severe thunderstorm and tornado watch — all the way from Western Massachusetts to Patti’s house. In fact, Laura had to stop several times when she saw the sky darken and the clouds rolling in overhead — pulling into various rest stops along the highway, as if sitting in a McDonalds on the New York State Thruway during a tornado was the safest place to be during a tornado — and all her stops made her about 3 hours late to Buffalo.
3. Laura got a Blackberry.
Laura’s pretty sure most of the people who know her know that she hates the phone. Maybe it’s because of all the years of being a publicist when the phone was a constant source of stress and misery which caused a Pavlovian response in her to develop over time where when she hears a phone ring she instantly shuts down and is emotionally incapacitated to the point where she is physically and spiritual unable to answer it. Whatever the cause — and she’s pretty sure that’s it — Laura knew she had to do something to get herself to use the phone more.
Her cell phone, especially, was a big problem, since she never knew where it was — except for knowing that it was never where it was supposed to be — in her bag or on her person when she left the house — and it was never charged and no matter when Brendan tried to reach her on it she never ever answered it. Laura knew that the only way she would ever overcome her phone issue in general, and her cellphone issue in particular, was to trick herself into having new and positive associations with her phone. Which meant she was going to have to buy something shiny and cool and gadget-like to appeal to her sense of novelty.
At first, she thought of getting an iPhone because, well, Laura’s a Mac person and assumed she would naturally be more comfortable — emotionally and spiritually and psychologically and physically and telecommunically due to her “I”-if-ication indoctrination [by Apple — everything with the maniacally egomaniacal “i” in front of it]) — with their supercool phone. But besides the fact that at the time it was $399 and not on her Verizon plan, she realized that it was, quite simply and as embarrassing and un-Mac-like as it was to admit, it was just too much phone for her. It was too much phone for Laura — and she knew that she would never in a million years be able to learn how to use it AND get anything done — anything besides playing with her iPhone, that is. It was bad enough already with her iMac (or iBook, or whatever her sleek black Apple laptop is now called, they keep changing it) — trying to actually get work done in the face of all the fun stuff she can waste time doing with her computer.
So Laura decided on the Blackberry Curve — brand new to Verizon, and if this weren’t so incredibly boring she would add in how she sleuthed the fact that it was coming out and ordered it online before it sold out. (Or maybe that was just a big stupid marketing ploy that she fell hook line and sinker for). She was so excited to get it and new instantly that it was going to change her relationship — in a positive way — with phones.
The set-up and self-education took hours: she had to take it out of the box, figure out the charger, the buttons, the track ball, the keypad, the functions, the texting, the emailing, the phone log, her contacts list, the little memo pad, the to-do-list list maker, and about twenty other things which didn’t include actually understanding how to use it as an actual phone. She realized that omission the first time her Blackberry rang and she had no idea how to answer the fucking thing. But what really took up her time was this idiotic game called Brickbreaker which for some stupid reason she started playing and hasn’t ever quite stopped playing. In fact, Laura’s actually jonesing to play Brickbreaker right now but she doesn’t want to stop branting to play some completely addictive stupid PDA game like an airport businessman killing time between flights. The good news is: Laura can now get her email anywhere and can’t believe how cool it is to be able to check her email in the parking lot of Whole Foods or in her car in front of her shrink’s office or at the mall (she doesn’t really go to the mall but if she did she would definitely check it there) and she loves the fact that she finally knows the philosophical and experiential and existential differences between emailing and voice-mail and texting: that is, when you want to do one as opposed to another at any given moment in time.
4. The school year ended.
Yes, this really shouldn’t be such a big deal since Laura only has one kid, but for some reason it was kind of overwhelming, what with the parties and lunches and playdates and end of year events that always come, you know, at the end of the year. Laura knows that she would never ever in a million years be able to handle more than one kid, because she’s just to uncoordinated and disorganized even with the one, but she still feels this is a valid excuse to partially explain her lack of branting.
5. Her sister and her brother-in-law and her niece (the aforementioned Pickle) and her nephew (”the monkey”) came in from LA for Laura’s father’s 80th birthday.
Yes, it was a great 10 days. There was a party at her parents’ condo’s social room, a trip to Fenway to see a Red Sox game (Laura’s first time ever at Fenway), and lots of fun shopping trips and dinners out despite really shitty rainy weather — the kind with big scary thunderstorms and giant hail that make people who live on the left coast glad they live there and not here. No one was sadder than Laura to see them go — not even Ben, who was very sad they left — and at the time there was a chance that Laura and Brendan and Ben would head out to LA at the end of August for a visit but at this point that’s probably not going to happen.
6. Ben went to camp.
And actually had a great time. This after complaining and complaining that he didn’t want to go to camp and just wanted to stay home and “relax.”
7. The book Laura’s writing is due on September 1.
Get Over Yourself — the full manuscript — has had to be written in a rather short period of time. Which made branting seem like a luxury. In fact, Laura should probably quit now with the ridiculous epic 10,000 word make-up brant already so she can get back to writing…
Laura thinks she has it pretty much under control now, but every few days she spends an inordinate amount of time on Facebook. She’s less a participant these days than voyeur — meaning that she rarely updates her status or pokes anyone and prefers to just read people’s status updates and see who’s poking whom — but it still wastes an awful lot of time that she really needs to put to better use. Like into branting.