Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

Month: December 2013

2013 in review

I can’t lie. This year was hard for me personally and professionally.

The perfect metaphor for my year could be the story of my cellphones

First, I proved to the world that I could not be trusted to talk on the phone and pump my gas at the same time. I ended up leaving my phone on the trunk and drove off. The phone didn’t fall off the car until I was on the road and managed to get run over by many cars in the process. It turned out that I was eligible for an upgrade anyway so I got a replacement phone.

PHONE TWO: I got mugged within two weeks of having the replacement phone. I got insurance to send a replacement for that phone.

PHONE THREE: The phone store didn’t have an otter box for it at the time. My cat decided that he needed to be snugged RIGHT NOW and jumped on my shoulder as I was talking on the phone. I dropped the phone. It managed to shatter in a way that I couldn’t even turn it off. Somehow the second number on my account (and the phone my mother uses since she never actually talks that much or uses “smart phone” technology”) was eligible for an upgrade.

PHONE FOUR: That is the phone I have now. I got the biggest most bodacious Otter Box on this thing altogether.

So yeah I got knocked around a lot but ultimately nothing permanent.

I managed to go to a dinner party that turned into an urban legend– complete with its own entry in snopes.com.

I completed the Little Rock half marathon again.

I managed to start up the Arkansas Governor’s School Alumni association. I got people to be on the board. I got Doug Shipman to come speak to the current AGS class.

But yeah I am ready for a new year. Come on 2014. I am waiting to see what’s in store.

A Christmas Eve Miracle

2013 has not been a good year for me and the experience had left me quite morose and misanthropic. This Christmas snuck up on me like a viper. I ended up buying all my gifts on December 23rd. I still haven’t sent out Christmas cards and my apartment was a complete mess when I finally cleaned up enough not to create a biohazard in my absence on the 24th. I left the house around 3 p.m. and this was after a phone call from my mother around noon asking where I was.

It is a tradition at my Grandma’s house to eat ham sandwiches. The ham is homemade cooked ham and not deli meat. It is usually served with white bread and pimento and cheese. I am not a fan of pimento and cheese but it is always there. We also open presents on the 24th. This is a leftover tradition from the days when Santa still loved us: we would open our gifts from the family on Christmas eve in order to make room under the tree for Santa to do this jolly good thing.

Now with all this tradition, my leaving at three meant that I was not meant to arrive at my Grandma’s house until 6 or so. I called the cell and told my Dad I was leaving. He was grumpy but he told me not to speed because the police were out.

About an hour into my trip, I heard this thud and them this “whomp whomp whomp” with my car slowing down at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, I had heard this sound before and knew what it meant: a blow out.I wasn’t near an exit with a service station and I wasn’t quite near an actual town. By this point, my parents were over 100 miles away from my car.

I managed to pull over on the shoulder and it is sunset so there is still light but it is fading fast. I call my parents to let them know that I will be even later due to the car that misogyny bought. My Dad gets on the phone and reminds me why we have the terse relationship that we do and I hung up the phone in tears. I knew my Dad was calling the State Police for them to do something. I contemplated not even going to my grandmother’s house.

I have an autoclub membership but it is pretty slow and I was dreading how slow it was going to be on Christmas Eve when I heard a tap on my passenger side window. There was a 30something woman on the other side,”Are you alright? Do you have someone helping you?” I tell her my story and by this point, a man had stepped up beside her. He asked if I had a spare and yes, yes I did. Unfortunately, the car that misogyny bought did not have the jack. Oh the I told you so’s on this one. Fortunately the man had a jack in his car and he managed to unload what must have been Santa’s stash to get to it. There was a bunch of stuff on the ground. That is all I am going to say. And before I could say, “well now that I have a jack….” He was carrying that tire to the front of the car and unscrewing those leg nuts. [Do you unscrew lug nuts?]

I talked with the lady. She was a middle school teacher. She taught sixth grade and they were going to be having a quiet dinner with a Christmas celebration later.

And then it was done. My car was fixed by these strangers who just saw a car on the side of the road near Christmas time. They didn’t know me. They did, however, know the State Trooper who finally pulled over about the time the tire was completely changed. It turned out he and I shared the exact same birth date. I thanked them profusely and was on my way.

After having time to inspect the tire itself, I am surprised that I didn’t lose control of the car. I am also surprised that no one hit me. There were a lot of people making a mad last minute dash for Christmas. I am also surprised that I wasn’t on the side of the road for 10 minutes before someone pulled over. I know from past experience that the autoclub would have least taken an hour even on a good day. For the first time in an awfully long time, I smiled and believed in people. It was a Christmas miracle indeed.

Sadness

“Anne, I don’t want to live. . . . Now listen, life is lovely, but I Can’t Live It. I can’t even explain. I know how silly it sounds . . . but if you knew how it Felt. To be alive, yes, alive, but not be able to live it. Ay that’s the rub. I am like a stone that lives . . . locked outside of all that’s real. . . . Anne, do you know of such things, can you hear???? I wish, or think I wish, that I were dying of something for then I could be brave, but to be not dying, and yet . . . and yet to [be] behind a wall, watching everyone fit in where I can’t, to talk behind a gray foggy wall, to live but to not reach or to reach wrong . . . to do it all wrong . . . believe me, (can you?) . . . what’s wrong. I want to belong. I’m like a jew who ends up in the wrong country. I’m not a part. I’m not a member. I’m frozen.”

? Anne Sexton, Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters

Roy Lichtenstein - Hopeless, Pop Woman Crying - Online Art Gallery -...

As hard as I try, I can’t seem to shake the malaise. It is stuck to me like tar, burning my skin. I scream and no one hears. I know I won’t be the same after this. It seems so all encompassing. I am forgotten. Somewhere there is a me who knows how to handle everything– Who feels young and smart. Maybe she’s a figment of my imagination. Maybe I am too broken to be repaired. I don’t want to burden anyone with my incessant whining over insignificant things. People want fun and positivity and I am not that person anymore. I may not have been that person ever.

Social Media Pow Wow

My friend Stephanie is a connector. She is the person who knows everybody. She also wants all her friends to become better people by learning from each other. She has turned her house into a salon by having these casual parties where we learn something. I went to a book club discussion of Lean In. Last week, I went to learn about social media.

The talk was titled “How to market your business, self, cause in the digital age.” Emily Reeves works at Stone Ward, an advertising agency in Little Rock, gave a presentation. She helps companies implement social media for a living. I took notes like I was in school. I learned that the shelf life of a tweet is 3 minutes. I learned about websites and messaging. It was an honor to have someone take time out of their day and provide their expertise for free. I was also inspired to start posting here more often and get other projects off the ground.

I was also inspired by the other women who attended. It was a community of dreamers and doers. I met a woman who is helping Arkansans get more energy efficient homes. I met a woman who is going to change the law involving heir property. I met a woman who is part of a start up making 3-D printers. It was a place full of intelligence and passion. The people wanted to learn but they also wanted to support each other in their endeavors. I was honored to be a part of it.

oh Emily was wearing a fabulous outfit.

Thanksgiving Gratitude

The turkeys are thankful to not be dinner

The turkeys are thankful to not be dinner

Tomorrow is the day of the Turkey. The day to give Thanks for all your blessings and a time to spend with friends or family. For the most part, I have spent Thanksgiving with my family. When my Dad’s parents were alive, I would spend Thanksgiving on their farm with many of my Dad’s five brothers and sisters and their kids. It was a large event with at least twenty people in attendance. The food cooking duties were shared among the various family members and we would come together to eat and play. In many ways, this was the only time of the year we would all be together.

Time marched on. My Mamaw died and my Papaw got Altzheimer’s. For a couple of years, we would go to the farm but it wasn’t the same. Mamaw was the glue that held us together and without her big heart, we scattered across the State. One of my Aunts had five kids of her own and when her kids got to having their own kids, she started having her own Thanksgiving at her house.

Now we have Thanksgiving at my Mom’s Mom’s house and the best dog in the world. It’s a tiny intimate affair and my Grandma cooks way too much food. I could probably eke out leftovers until Christmas if I really wanted to do so. She is my last living grandparents and she is getting older. She is noticing her aging and it frustrates her. She goes to many medical appointments but she, at 82, is still able to live alone and tell me a good tale. I am grateful that she is still with me, body and spirit. She is pure love.

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