Thursday, February 18, 2010

Close Encounters

Today I was covering a political event, interviewing candidates and milling about in a room full of people. At one point, I was standing alone off to the side, recording the sound of the busy room. A man walked up, stood directly in front of me and announced "I'm your cousin."

I laughed and said "oh really..."
I thought he was about to make some joke about having the last name Johnson or something like that. I was prepared to be unimpressed. Instead, he looked me in the eye and said "Yes. I'm your cousin. I'm Shane."

I literally gasped and threw my arms around him. It WAS my cousin Shane, who I haven't seen, talked to or heard from since I was 12 years old! I have no idea how he recognized me. We chatted for just a few minutes -- there wasn't time for a lengthy conversation. I just kept staring at him, amazed by the seemingly random encounter and the rush of emotions I was experiencing.

You see for a number of reasons, my father cut off ties with his family members when I was a young girl. As a result of that family break, I never saw my cousins again. It wasn't my fault and it wasn't my cousins' fault that we parted ways -- but we suffered the consequences of the separation. It wasn't until today that I realized I've missed my connection to my cousins. Growing up, we weren't close. We lived in different cities and only saw one another a few times a year. But there is something special about having family and relatives who are connected to you in a way your friends can never be.

I didn't realize how deeply that affected me -- it hit me today that it was a loss I had never really grieved. It's not so much that I missed Shane, specifically (although seeing him again was wonderful). It's that I miss having those bonds with people who are irreversibly connected to me, my history and my blood.

Maybe I miss the idea of what was lost -- images of picnics under the pecan tree in my grandmother's back yard -- sharing the excitement of Christmas with other kids my age -- enjoying my role as princess among a passel of boy cousins -- those are the mental images flying through my mind today. It's the loss of what was and also what could have been --lost possibilities that are probably idealized, mostly unrealized and certainly a defining part of who I am.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oh what a day is today!
Nothing can stand in my way.
Now that you've shipped out from under my skin,
I think I'm ready to win.

Oh what a night is tonight!
I think I'm ready to fight.
Now that my broken bones all have been healed,
I think I'm starting to feel...

Something good...
Something good...
Now that you're gone, I can roll on to something good.

Oh what a way that we died!
Plenty of tears were supplied.
My eyes are wrung out and dry as a bone,
and I taste much better alone.

Now that you're gone, I can roll on to something good.

~Ingrid Michaelson

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Lady Doth Protest!

Back in December, I won the grand prize at my office Christmas party. It included a fancy dinner for two, transportation to a show at the Wortham Center and a suite at a luxury hotel. I decided to invite a guy friend of mine to join me for the dinner and show portion of the evening. We'll call him Tom, since that's his name.

So Tom and I enjoyed a really nice dinner, a chauffeured towncar to the Wortham and a fun live performance. After the show, while waiting for our car to pick us up (that sounds so important, doesn't it?), we were chatting with some work acquaintances. The subject of my grand prize came up and they wanted to know what all was included in the package.

"Well," I said, "it included dinner at a very nice restaurant, transportation down here and I get a one-night stay in a suite at the hotel."

"A one-night-stand?!" one of the guys exclaimed. Then he winked knowingly at Tom, shook his hand and proclaimed "Congratulations, man! You go! All right...a one-night stand!"

Cue Laurie turning about ten shades of red and stammering out a protest, while Tom is laughing and shaking the guy's hand.

How do I get myself into these messes? Sigh.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Another Day in the Life...

I finally have blog material again. Shall we commence? Ok.

Last Thursday I was working in the studio, minding my own business, doing my air shift. I finished a break and turned off my mic. Just then, two of my bosses walked into the studio and stared at me. I nervously asked if everything was ok. One boss said "I have something to tell you and it's going to give you a heart attack." The other boss snickered and said "I can't wait to see the look on her face when she hears this..."

Needless to say my heart started pounding a little faster.

Boss #1 then tells me that one of the cast members of an extremely popular radio program has been delayed because of the snowstorm in DC and his flight will not land in time for him to appear on stage at a live event here in Houston. His absence leaves a gaping hole in the event. The show must go on, but what to do without him? Then she says "we want you to go on in his place."


"Yes, we'd like for you to head over to the Wortham Center right now and start rehearsing with the rest of the cast. You will have a script to work from and you won't have to worry about memorizing anything, but you should head there now to get familiar with the material and the rest of the team."

So in a daze, I turned off my computer, handed over my air shift to someone else, went to the Wortham Center and calmly announced that I was Carl Kasell's understudy for the live taping of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me.

I spent the next two hours backstage, reading scripts, prepping for the show, joining the cast for dinner and preparing in my own dressing room.

About 15 minutes before show time, Carl Kasell walked in, hurriedly changed his tie and was briefed just in time to make it on the show. I never went on.

BUT, although it would have been a blast to do the show with a live audience, I was so relieved. I kept imagining walking out there to a sold-out audience with the knowledge that every person in the room was wishing I was an old white guy.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Ooops! I did it again!

Sometimes technology works against us.

A couple of days ago I had plans to meet up with some girlfriends for dinner after work. The other girls went a bit early to catch happy hour and I planned to meet them a bit later. About half an hour before I got off work I sent a text message to one of the girls, asking her to order a Texas martini for me before happy hour ended. I never heard back from her and just assumed that she didn't hear her phone in the noisy restaurant.

The next morning I got a text from a friend of mine who is a missionary attending seminary.
He wanted to know why I had asked him to order a martini for me.

*Slaps hand to forehead AGAIN*

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Sometimes technology works against us.

The other day I was searching through my call history on my phone, looking for a specific number. A few moments later I carried my phone (along with all my groceries) into the house. As I was putting my groceries away, my phone rang and I looked and saw the person calling me was a guy I used to be in a relationship with.

I answered the phone with that tone in my voice reserved for these know the one that says "hello, I may or may not be happy to hear from you but WHY are you calling me?!"

"Hey, is everything ok?" he asked.
"Yes, everything is fine. What's going on?" I replied.
"You just called me," he said.
"I didn't call you. You're calling me," I responded.
"No. You just called me and left a long message with nothing but silence. I was worried that something was wrong or that you might be in trouble. Are you ok?" the Ex said with confusion.

(This is where I slapped my hand to my forehead and realized what must have happened.)

"I'm sorry. I didn't intend to call you. I think I must have bumped something on my phone and called you without realizing it," I said, sheepishly.

"Oh. Ok. Well good because I was worried. Next time you call if you're in trouble, leave a message."

Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of Tele-Miscommunication...