Friday, July 16, 2010

My Last Victorious Day

Today is my last day of work in the most depressing, taxing, burnout provoking environment I've ever encountered. That feeling that my sister told me about- the one she said that I would have whenever I graduated from college- I HAVE IT RIGHT NOW. Degrees and promotions and accolades could never give me this feeling.

I am free.

I have a sense of relief and peace and victory like I've never felt before- like I've just slayed a dragon with a butter knife. All odds were against me and I've still come out alive. Barely. I feel like I can finally start a healing process and begin to investigate job options that could potentially bring me joy instead of despair. Imagine that!

This morning, my boss asked me to write my own letter of recommendation. How typical. It seems like all of my bosses have me write their personal thank you notes or letters of reference or love notes to their spouses on Valentine's Day. I'd be crushed if I knew that I received a sympathy card that was written by some office peon. I hate insincerity. One time she had me write a sympathy note to a colleague of hers whose wife had recently died. She wanted to sign it with, "I hope you aren't too lonely without Barbara." I told her this was unbelievably calloused and tacky and I refused to be a part of it. She began to laugh hysterically and quizzically, wondering why I would not write this for her.


Thank God I have decent writing skills. I wrote my letter of rec this morning, and I tried to capitalize on the things she's told me over and over again, throwing jellybean rewards my way with no monetary compensation. I sent the letter to my sister, who often writes recs for her interns, and these were her (hilarious) replies:

You should have said,

"it has been my privilege to act as a reference on behalf of Rachel. working here is tougher than any war-zone environment. Rachel came to combat daily for 2 years with a pauper's salary. don't do what i did, or she will quit your company too."

"Rachel was a part of the historic process of man-handling Attila the Hun. She showed great diplomacy in dealing with reeking breath and fits of rage"

"Rachel's maturity level was exceptional as she rose above the leadership of her work environment on every occasion of temper tantrums""

Hahahahha. There's nothing better than laughing with someone who knows your pain. That might be the greatest gift of life aside from Jesus.

Here's a facebook message I received from a friend who reads my Blog:

"Have a blast on your final working day in the whorehouse of western civilization. Space may be the final frontier, but it's made in a Hollywood basement"
And another Facebook message from the guy I replaced at my job:

"I hear tell today is your last a fellow escapee I can certainly imagine how you're feeling today."

I feel strangely relieved, like I've just found out I don't have a terminal illness.

I talked to our IT guy about a week ago, who stops in sporadically to fix stupid problems that I could fix on my own (even a MONKEY could figure out how to make a signature on Outlook), and he was very down in the dumps about me leaving my job. He and I are pretty good buddies. I think I crave that testosterone to balance out everyone's mutual menstrual cycle in this office, and because I don't bring all of my emotions with me to work, he enjoys shooting the bull with me. He's like my Jewish, middle-age, earring-bearing dad from the Valley. He was very encouraging and told me he worked at a telephone company for just under 10 years, and at the 10 year mark he was supposed to get a huge raise and stock options and all these perks, but he quit just shy of those 10 years because HE COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE. He said he couldn't see his awful boss ONE MORE DAY and it was totally worth it to cut his ties and never look back.

I get it.

I have no job lined up and funemployment starts today at 6:00 p.m., and it's 100000% worth it to me to not have to deal with the abuse anymore. I think I could be restored within a month.

My dad told me he had a horrible job one time too, and he didn't have a job lined up, and he was married and had a wife to provide for, and the job was so awful that he had to quit. He just had to before he lost his ever loving mind.


I even had a former client send me a copy of "Joe vs. the Volcano" specifically to help me laugh off the fact that Joe's life is EXACTLY LIKE MINE regarding work and his office looks EXACTLY LIKE MINE. Another person who saw the humor in the pain. God sent me that woman!

I am about to fully embrace whatever it is that lies ahead. It could be writing or sales or clinical work or research or education. I don't give a shit what it is. As long as it isn't working in divorce in Los Angeles, California, I can handle it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't Talk to Your Exes

I'd like to write a little blurb about relationships, since I have obsessively been beating this dead horse regarding my upcoming move for so long. Hopefully, I'm finished talking about that. I know that I'm not, though. I won't really be over it until it happens.

The moose (whom I will now refer to as Bullwinkle) and I had a bonding moment in our roach-infested kitchenette this morning. Side note: I am renaming the moose because she is a winking moose. I think she's got that winking Tourette's tic thing going on. She's always winking with one or both of her eyes. The moose + Tourettes' winking = BullWINKle.

This morning, Bullwinkle looked sort of downcast, and asked me my opinion on current boyfriends talking to ex girlfriends. I feel like of all people, I should either be the ultimate authority or no judge at all regarding relationships. I've dated about five billion people since high school, and most of my relationships have been totally dysfunctional. Despite all of the long term ramifications of these experiences, through these relationships, I've learned an immense amount about myself, others, and relationships.

I started thinking back on a time where I was in a pretty intense relationship with a douche bag idiot who was 10 years older than me who kept calling me "Marissa." I learned after a while that this was his ex girlfriend's name. I was only about 21 at the time, so I had not yet learned that the first time he called me this cheap hooker name I should have ended it. I also happened to find ole Marissa's diamond hoop earrings on his night stand a few months into it. All the clear signs that he was still hooking up with her were right in front of me, but during that period of my life, I actually still trusted people, so when he said things like, "Oh, I was cleaning out my closet and found her earnings from five years ago and put them there to remind me to mail them to her," I sort of believed him. Eventually, I dumped him when I was cracked out on wisdom teeth meds, which was a great way to do it, because I had completely flat affect, and that really twisted the old knife. Anyway, the point of all of this is that I think the only reason to keep up with an ex is if you have intentions of still engaging in some sort of unhealthy relationship with them. If you really want to have an invested and committed relationship with your current significant other, talking to your ex all the time is like driving a car but letting all the air out of the tires. Sure, the car can still drive, but after a while, all the air is out, and then you hit the ground. I think it's sort of impossible to have a healthy relationship if you're talking to your ex all the time.

I told Bullwinkle that I probably wouldn't be OK with it. She said every time she's with her boyfriend, he gets a call from his ex. That made me feel sort of bad for her. Even though she annoys the crap out of me and I want to punch her more days than not, I know the feeling of being in a failing relationship, or at least one where you feel insecure and trust is disintegrating, and it really sucks.

It's weird for me to be in a relationship where I am not constantly worrying about the other person all the time. Though I was in a series of dysfunctional relationships prior to moving to L.A., I've never had terrible encounters like I've had out here.

I was flipping through this Elvis biography book the other night, and I was looking at pictures of him when he was young and living in Memphis. He looked so wholesome and full of life and heroic. Then as time progresses, there are all of these pictures of him in L.A. and Vegas and he looks bloated and tired and that look of life and vibrance is gone, like he's running on empty. I can't help but wonder if maybe I would have had that look after I'd lived here long enough. I already feel like my personality and outlook on life is completely different now. Maybe I would've turned into "Fat Elvis" after a few more years of this intensity. I bet that taping aluminum foil to my windows would have been inevitable.

My boyfriend sent me a beutiful bouquet of pedaly flowers yesterday for no reason. I've never had that happen. I've never received flowers for no reason. I've typically received flowers to memorialize a fight. It was wonderful. I felt valued.

I've noticed that when he and I Skype, I'm constantly jumping out of my chair to go get water or dental floss and I'm always rubbing my hands all over my face and through my hair. He sits there still as a painting the whole time, completely invested. It's funny how this is a metaphor for our personalities. He's so stable and calm and anchored and I'm always running around like a headless chicken. I remember one time someone told me, "I feel like a dragonfly that's just landed on a boat." I know what that means now. I know what it means to feel anchored and calm around someone who is that way. Normally I feel completely insane.

I have to do a big subject shift because I am uncomfortable talking too much about my personal life on my Blog. I keep that stuff for my old school, hand written journal.

I just walked to the back of our office, where Bullwinkle has essentially taken over my personal space like Napoleon conquering Europe, and she started complaining about how cold she is. Why is it that fat people are always freezing to death?

Scientifically, it makes no sense. All of that insulation is supposed to keep you warm. I mean, bears get all fat and then sleep in freezing caves ALL WINTER and they don't wake up. Their BLUBBER keeps them WARM.

I don't get it.

I should probably diverge into a long-requested topic because it segues nicely.

My sister has this roommate that reminds me of this nutjob girl that I roomed with for a short time at LSU who we (me and my posse) refered to as, "The Mighty Goliath." She was a humungous landmonster who practiced poor hygiene, washing her hair only once per week, and her legs were covered in vericose veins. We had these intense air condition wars. She alway cranked up the heat to about 90 degrees in the 100% Louisiana humidity and I'd sneak down the hall and put it on 72. Up and down the tempertaure went for hours upon hours. I hated that girl. She smelled like crap. And oily hair.

Anyway, my sister has this INSANE roommate who wrote her this 40 page Communist Manifesto letter in a very small, typewritten font. Page after page after page of word vomit was explosive with anger, documenting her insanity for anyone to see. Little does Roomie know that my sister copied this letter and sent it out, like the Magna Carta, to all Haley family members via postal mail. I have never read anything like this in my life. This crazy person documented EVERY SINGLE THING that my sister did to irritate her, all the way down to saying that my sister owes her 33 cents here for the gas bill or 67 cents here for toilet paper. It was absurd. Roomie clearly has significant mental health problems. Roomie went on to write a lot of bizarre, intended guilt trip-ridden phrases like, "if you were a REAL friend, you would do (whatever whatever)". It's like "Mean Girls" manifested itself into roommate-from-hell form. I'd put in direct quotes, but I don't have the letter in front of me.

This leads me back to the whole ex thing, sort of. I don't talk to my exes, but I do have guy friends. It's so much easier to have guy friends, usually. Girls are crazy. I love being a woman and fully embrace my feminity, HOWEVER, it takes a hell of a lot of work to be friends with a girl, especially in L.A. Out here it's always a contest of who is prettier or who is more popular or who goes on the most dates. It's completely absurd. Clearly, (see paragraph above), crazy women exist everywhere, but they are especially insane in Los Angeles.

I'm looking forward to moving back and recruiting some nice, non-crazy friends. I have a couple of old ones with whom I have kept in touch, but for the most part, I'm going to have to start from square one.

I guess I better get back to my menial monkey tasks for the day. Only three more days to VICTORY.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

I stole some cardboard boxes from the trash room at my friend's apartment complex. I was scared about how I would feel with them sitting in my apartment. They are currently sitting in my kitchen, and so far, no panic attacks.

I'm starting to fully embrace the last few fleeting moments of my L.A. experience instead of dreading the move back and crying all the time.

On Saturday, two of my girl friends and I rode our beach cruisers around Venice and Santa Monica and had a day that really felt like summer. It hasn't felt like summer at all so far. June Gloom has unfurled its black tentacles into May and July, and it's been difficult to feel upbeat when every day looks like Seattle in February. Today is the first day since May that it has been sunny, and I am feeling positive again.

Saturday was spent sitting on the back porch of my friend's Venice beach bungalo, eating hamburgers, petting a Jack Russel-ish, all American-looking dog, and sitting around in the sun.


Persian women hate white girls, I think. This cook out event was predominantly Persian. The dudes were nice, but the girls never said "Hi" or "Nice to meet you" or "Go Eff yourself" to me and my white girl friends. Whatever.

Friday was great. I went to see an 80's cover band with my friend and we ska-danced to "Come on Ilene" types of songs all night long. Something about wearing plaid pants and Chuck Taylors and kicking my feet around on a dance floor makes me feel retro and American.

Speaking of retro Americana. I'm going to give you a lot of back story and then tell you about my retro American feeling on Sunday.

I was feeling pretty down in the dumps on Sunday. I went to church and the power was out at Beverly Hills High School (where our church meets), so we all sat outside on little folding chairs, and something about being under that gray blanket of death-clouds made me feel a little bit like going home and watching movies that make me cry my ass off and popping about 40 melatonin and sleeping my life away. Of course, I didn't do that. I just kind of felt like it.

Driving around in the pitch-black parking garage at BHHS reminded me of Africa. I've never seen night so black. When I was 8, I went to Africa, and it was so black at night that I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. It was like that in the parking garage on Sunday. Between the gray sky and the black garage and feeling weird, I just couldn't take it anymore. I felt really burned out on all of the negativity.

This is where I would like to insert a paragraph about good friends.

I'm one of those people who has about 309823 aquaintances but very few good friends. Maybe most people are like this. I'm not sure. I just know that I only trust about 3 people in the universe. The people that I consider closest are the ones I can really act like myself around- myself meaning that I don't have to laugh or joke or even smile around because being together is enough. Being quiet and together and not having to entertain is enough for good friends.

So my friend texted me on Sunday afternoon and suggested that we go hiking. Hiking sounded like the worst idea ever to me at that time. I wanted to eat a grilled cheese and sleep all day. But I figured that maybe the endorphins would pull me out of my rock-bottom mood, so hiking away we went.

We started driving down the PCH with the windows down listening to Jan and Dean and the Beachboys and a bunch of other awesome surfer rock. I felt like I was on "Beach Blanket Bingo" or some other 1960's cheesy beach movie. It reminded me why L.A. is my favorite city in the world.

We cruised along the ocean with the windows down singing "Barbara Ann" at the top of our lungs and stopped at Ruby's in Malibu and had some milkshakes. Ruby's is sort of like Jonny Rockets. The whole day felt incredibly vintage, if that makes any sense.

We cruised along some more and stopped off at Paradise Cove, where we took our shoes off and "hiked" through windy sandy hillside. We walked down about a thousand stairs to the ocean. The waves were braking all over these smooth gray stones. I could picture some '60's muscle car speeding over the cliffs and "Dead Man's Curve" playing in the background and the car smashing into a zillion pieces on the rocks.

We walked along the beach and the clouds broke up and the sky was blue and huge and stretched out for a million miles for the first time in months. The waves were huge and they kept rushing their way up the shore all over my feet and the bottom of my pants and I didn't even care. The water was freezing and my feet were really cold and my pants were all wet and covered in sand, and I took my pony tail down and closed my eyes and welcomed the sun and sand and freezing water with a smile on my face. Feeling it all over my feet and legs made me feel really alive.

I kept seeing these little oysters all over the beach that were split open. They were black on the outside and pearly on the inside, and I kept picking them up and washing them off in the ocean and putting them in my purse. It's like I wanted to take every piece of the beach around me to store in my heart and mind for the rest of my life.

When I was a kid, I had a film canister (I bet my future hypothetical kids won't even know what a film canister is) and I put some sand from Hawaii in it. I kept that sand for years. I always do that. I will pick up a rock or a shell or some sand somewhere, hoping that one day when I look at it in my suburban house full of busyness and routine and boredom, that I will somehow be able to close my eyes and remember the feeling that came with seeing that seashell or rock or sand for the first time. That never happens, though. It's like going to your grandma's house and looking at some seashells covered in an inch of dust and they're sitting in a chipped glass dish on the bathroom sink around water stains and random strands of hair. It's depressing. These poor seashells were probably beautifully gleaming in the sun in Florida in the 1970's. And now they're covered in dust and Comet cleaner and dog hair. I kept hoping that maybe I could keep these little oyster shells in a dish on my bathroom sink in Memphis and remember this day forever, even though in the back of my mind I knew they'd wind up all dusty and domesticated one day.

We left the shoreline and walked back to our car and drove up to Point Dume and went hiking again- this time through the mountains. We had to wear shoes. I saw deer and rabbits and little birds everywhere. We hiked through brush and dirt and rocks and we could see the ocean in the far off distance.

This is part of the reason why I love California so much. You can hike without wearing shoes and walk on the ocean in one hour and the next hour you're hiking up a mountain wearing full foot gear and hanging out with deer and the smell of camp fires all around you.

When we got sick of hiking, we had a race, and we ran down a hill, down a rocky trail, as fast as we could. We were breathless and laughing at the bottom, like we had both just got sucked into a time machine back to childhood.

Every once in a while, in life, you come across a friend you wouldn't give up for anything. You have a friend that you can just be with and feel comfortable with and there isn't any threat of betrayal or back stabbing or awkward romanticism. It's just easy and fun.

I've had my share of fair-weather friends out here. I recently was at a friend's house and noticed that all of our pictures were removed from her fridge. Only a month ago, there were pictures of the two of us stuck all over the front of it, like some sort of kitchenette collage. We got into an argument a couple of weeks ago, and next thing you know, all of our pictures are gone. Like the history of our friendship was completely erased.

The great refridergator picture removal incident of 2010 made me think of that part from "Catcher in the Rye," one of the best books ever written.

"That's the whole trouble. You can't ever find a place that's nice and peaceful, because there isn't any. You may think there is, but once you get there, when you're not looking, somebody'll sneak up and write "F*ck you" right under your nose. I think, even, if I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all, it'll say "Holden Caulfield" on it, and then what year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that it'll say "F*ck you." I'm positive."

That's how it's been a lot in L.A. People hugging you and asking you to be a bridesmaid or a wife or the mother of his children one second, and the next second they are erasing you and writing eff you all over the place. The thing is, though, there are a few people in life that bring out the best in you. There are a few people who will make you go hiking when you feel like crap, or they'll take you out for a milkshake, or they'll let you cry and not judge your raccoon mascara tracks. They'll laugh with you or congratulate you or send you a card in the mail for no reason. And these are the people that make you a better person. These are the people that have made my life rich with memories.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I was Born on the 4th of July

I took an impromptu trip to Memphis for the 4th of July. I was invited to several 4th of July events in L.A., but all of them sort of overwhelmed me for one reason or another. Maybe I just need to be sedated to function properly.

Being back in old Memphis was both comforting and weird. Flying back over L.A. when I came back here made me feel blank. I looked over all of the lights of the city from the air, watching them blanket the ground for thousands of miles, remembering a time when all of those lights represented opportunity to me. They represented a chance to do something with my life. This time, though, I looked over them thinking, "This is the last time I'll see these lights while I am living here. This is the last time I'll see these lights while I'm going 'home' to L.A." But I didn't really feel anything at all. I just felt blank. Maybe it's because I was sitting next to this rat bastard kid who kept kicking me while I was trying to sleep, and she devoured an entire family-sized bag of tortilla chips, and little chip fragments were ALL OVER Row 5, and I kept dreaming (while I was attempting to sleep) that rats would smell the chips and bite my feet while I was asleep with my mouth wide open.

Going back to Memphis, every single time, is totally weird. I go back to my parents' house and unload the dishwasher and have no idea where to put the Tupperware. I used to know where the Tupperware went. This makes me feel like I don't belong there.

Every time I feel like I start to figure out what I'm trying to get out of life, I all of a sudden realize that I pretty much feel exactly the same way I did in the 7th grade, except now I'm more educated and more irritated. I guess a lot of people feel like this, though. Even U2. One of my most hated bands.

And I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

Or The Stones, one of my most loved bands.

I can't get no satisfaction.

I had this epiphany in Rome that I've probably written about before, as I tend to have the worst memory in the universe and often repeat myself regarding ideas or experiences that I find particularly insightful. I was standing in front of the Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica on Christmas Day, recognizing that I'd finally done pretty much everything in life that I'd wanted to do by age 25, which gave me quite a sense of accomplishment. I felt proud of myself for the first time in my life. Moved to California, got a graduate degree, visited Rome. And I stood there wondering what really mattered in life after I'd already done everything I wanted to do. It's like I thought, "Now what?"

In the middle of this "Now what?" moment, I imagined this voice saying, "The only thing in life that matters is your relationship with God and your relationship with other people." I thought about this for a good long while, and realized that I'd never have a relationship with other people in L.A. I can experience God anywhere, any time, but meaningful relationships are hard to find. Most people in L.A. don't give a crap about you. Not all of them, but most of them.

It's weird how the ideals of Memphis are completely opposite of the ideals of L.A., and I don't really agree with either one of them, but I take little fragments of each and apply them to my life, and wonder what the crap it all means or if it means anything at all.

I remember going out about two months ago to James Beach, and being with a crowd of acquaintances that I really have no relationship with, and in their drunken philosophical states, several of them tried to convince me that staying in L.A. made sense because I could make it as a stand-up comedienne, and I was abandoning my chance for fame far too early in the L.A. game.

That depressed the hell out of me.

That's just how it is, though. Everyone grappling for a few seconds of fame and fighting for a few extra bucks or a mic on a stage or a chance to be discovered. Even with my few seconds of stand up, which I really liked, I didn't feel like it was something I'd ever want to sell my soul to do. I like it because I enjoy laughing with people, but not because telling jokes to drunks in bars gets my jollies.

Anyway, back to opposite cultural experiences. Memphis vs. L.A.

I saw Khloe and Kris Kardashian about a month ago with their film crew. Khloe was driving her white Range Rover down Washington Blvd. and Kris was running behind her on the street, all coy and laughing because the cameras were all up in her face. Even though I got excited, because I love that trashy show, and I started waving to Khloe frantically like she'd know who I was, I thought it was sort of retarded. If my mom tried to whore me out, I'd be pretty disappointed. Part of the reason why I love my parents so much is because they really act like parents. They send me cards in the mail when I'm down and out and they take me out to eat when they pick me up from the airport. They're not running down Washington Boulevard with a camera crew, being phony fame whores and trying to prostitute me out on E! Thank God.

Anyway, let's get back to Memphis.

I sort of felt like I had amnesia or something the whole time I was in town. It's like I forgot that I live in L.A. now and I forgot that my good friend's daughter goes to school with Arnold Schwarzenegger's kids and I forgot how tough life is when I'm not living it simply. It's like nothing really feels familiar. For instance, I woke up on Sunday morning to a note on the stairs from my dad that said to please tell my boyfriend not to wear a tie to church, because it is "No Tie July." I thought that was so funny. People DO still wear ties to church. And jackets. And full-fledged suits. I used to be so appalled that people out here wore white shoes after Labor Day, and now I watch these hoe-girls walk into church wearing booty shorts and spike heels, and I hardly notice. A couple of weeks ago, there was a girl sitting in front of me at church who had a huge purple hickey on her neck, and it didn't even phase me.

It will be nice to live somewhere where beer is a buck 50 and gas is less than $3 a gallon.

I turned in my notice yesterday that says I'm moving out in August. A month from right now, I'll be living with my parents in Memphis again. I have no idea how to feel about that.

Sometimes I feel really nostalgic about it. My boyfriend comes from a real estate family and when I was in town, he walked me through a couple of houses that are being built right now. Walking through those open rafters and raw buildings and tall green grass in the heat sort of felt like "The Notebook," like everything was calm and simple and easy. I wasn't all worked up like always.

I don't know what my problem is. I get scared that I'll move home and get sucked into some sort of stepford wives role and have to wear pearls and vacuum all day. And that just isn't the case. I have no idea why I think this. Then that Sylvia Plath quote spins into my mind, "So I began to think maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterward you went about as numb as a slave in some private, totalitarian state." Maybe this is because I look at my peers' facebook pages and see them with their babies and their "girls nights out" and I'm so scared that Memphis will be so slow, that I'll just get sucked into a baby-making machine role and my life will be over. WHY DO I THINK THIS?!

Memphis is way too slow and LA is way too fast. Could they have a baby, and could I live in that well-balanced Walden Pond?

I always try to figure my life out, like what I really want out of it, or what I really want to do, and all I can come back to is that I've never gotten sick of writing. I get sick of EVERYTHING except that. Then I think about the really great writers. Let's put aside the fact that they were all raging alcoholics. But I think about the best ones, and realize that they lived pretty simply. They didn't have to live in an energetic city like L.A. to be great at what they did. Maybe i could be like Faulkner or Hemingway and live in a log cabin to clear my mind and write better.

Or maybe I could turn my life into some sort of screenplay. Then I could merge the writing with "the industry" with my story with my background with my current life.

Because I'm always quoting Plath, I might as well end this with some Plath. I'm sure I've quoted this before, too, because like I said, my memory is total crap, especially when I'm stressed. I can sum it all up with old Sylvia.

"I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet." ~The Bell Jar