I finally went and did it. I bought a pair of skinny jeans and now I feel a little thick in the thighs. Go figure. Bryan warned me. "That look flatters no one!" Did I heed his word? Of course not. I have to stick my ass in the fire to learn the burn. But hey hunny, this dose of self-loathing only cost me fifty dollars, reduced from one-sixty-eight!
Oh I don't know, parenthood just feels like a life sentence today and there's no special reason other than my shitty mindset. I'm having that escape fantasy, where instead of Jeremy Irons at the end of Damage, walking through the Morrocan marketplace in his rumpled white linen suit, it's me. I have a mom friend who simply pines to be a waitress. That must mean she really needs to escape. What are your escape fantasies? And does Angelina Jolie have an escape fantasy? Angelina Jolie is an escape fantasy. I'm probably also feeling like a turd because I bought that stupid issue of Vogue with her on the cover. Bryan said, "What's the article called, 'Why you'll never be as fabulous as Angelina and should just pack it in now, you pathetic excuse for a woman'?" Close, hunny. But I think the quote that put me over the edge into despair was the one where Ang said that she she and Brad fly their airplanes into the desert to meet their motorcycles. For one thing, who puts the motorcycles there? But moreover I wonder, was Angelina born to mock us?
I saw AJ once in person. I was a temp near Rockefeller Center when I was pregnant with Hamish, and I ate lunch periodically with this secretary, this twenty-something freckly-faced shopaholic who thought I was wrong to use the word, "Jew," as in,
"Thanks for the name idea, but Jews don't usually name their kids Chris."
And she said, "Ohmygod, don't say that word!"
And I said, "What word?"
"The J word."
"Don't say it!"
"It's so bad!"
"No, I think the word you're thinking of is 'kike'."
"What? You're puttin' me on." She shoved me playfully. I reminded her that I was pregnant.
Christine* was always stealing office supplies and ducking perceived threats that didn't exist, from bosses, other secretaries, me probably. A real victimy trouble-maker. You know the type. Kind of like I was at that age. Why did I ever go to lunch with her? Idiocy. Plus I tend to have a curiosity about people that sometimes borders on the self-defeating.
So it was summer. Christine and I are standing on the corner of Central Park South and 7th Avenue and who should come clip-clopping to the red light in a dilapidated horse-drawn carriage but Angie, Maddox and an anonymous middle-aged woman. (Personal assistant? Nanny? Bodyguard? Yoga instructor? Tutor? Nutritionist? Life coach? Who knows?) Angie's beaming, her arm draping Mad's lucky shoulder, and her smile tells me that she's fearless of her adoring, jealous public (an admirable trait), and that carriage rides through Central Park are the best most fun idea in the whole wide world! The light turns green, the carriage rolls into the park from where we'd just come and I elbow Christine in the ribs.
"Oh my God. That was Angelina Jolie! Did you see her?"
"In the horse carriage! Maddox too!"
"They went into the park. Come on. It's time to get back."
"Hold my bag!"
"And my heels!"
Before I know it. I'm a human shoe rack. And Christine is running after the carriage. "We have to get back!" I call after her, but it's too late. She's on a mission. I'm mortified.
Twenty minutes later, or so it feels, she returns, red-faced and heaving, her blow-dry sticking to her face.
"Well?" I ask, clenching my jaw, ready to pummel her fake Chanel skirted butt, yet there's a weensy part of me that's delighted. Delighted because I am not nearly as celebrity-obsessed as she is. I might be pathetic, but nothing like this. This chick was pure spectacle. I dropped her heels and fake designer bag onto the grass.
"I saw her!" the secretary panted. She jimmied her feet into the shoes.
"She turned around, and smiled at me," she said, victorious, delusional. Was heatstroke upon her?
Charity! I wanted to say. She felt sorry for you! I didn't feel sorry for Christine. I felt sorry for myself, sorry that I was spending my lunch hour with this mental patient, sorry that no one would be chasing me down for a chance to gaze upon my splendor.
We trudged back to work. "That's not very cool," I told her, but I could tell by the stars in her eyes that she didn't care. I would make up an excuse the next time she asked me to lunch. Any excuse at all.