It has literally been months and months and months since I shared anything with you in this space, but I felt compelled to acknowledge my 3 year anniversary. After reading what I wrote last year, I decided to republish the post, mainly because I don't know that I could have said it any better this time around. 

On June 27th, 2009, the alarm woke me up early.  I was tired and cranky because the night before some houseguests had rudely accidentally woken me up at 2am, and a combination of their continued noise and my raging apoplexy had made falling back asleep difficult. But instead of hitting snooze, I got out of bed. There was work to be done.

I shuffled across the yard from the house that had been my home for the last 3 years, to the house that would become my home for the near future; to the house that I needed to move into in order to start the legal clock ticking.

Nothing went right that day. Cracks in the plaster wall still needed to be patched before we could paint. When we finally did start painting, the new paint wasn't sticking to the old paint and in fact, was bubbling up in places (no one told us the old paint was oil based and therefore we needed to prime).  Everywhere I looked I saw dirt and grime and duct tape holding things together.  I was staring years of neglect in the face - all on 4 hours sleep and without any air conditioning.

The thing is, it never even occured to me to go back. Never. Not once did I think about returning to the cool comfort of cental a/c. Not once did I think about returning to the newly laid wood floors or the recently installed (and finally stained) French doors.  As much time and energy as I had put into every single gorgeous custom window treatment, I left them behind without a second thought and traded them for some old Venetian blinds that were cracked and bent and barely stayed in their brackets when lowered and raised.

The day was long and hot and I was sleep deprived.  I had no less than 3 major melt-downs and I distinctly remember calling my parents each and every time saying: "I can't do this." Actually, I didn't say it. I wailed it. "I CAN'T DO THIS," I wailed. Over and over and over again.

Somehow we eventually got done what needed to get done and the day's efforts came to a close.  I dragged myself back across the yard to a house that was still home, but not for long. It was - mercifully - empty.  I showered off the paint and the sweat and the grime, blew-dry my hair, and put on festive sun dress.

Miss Mary picked me up and we went out for a delightful dinner. Despite the raging heat (it was close to 100 degrees), I had a grilled Caesar salad and a ribeye and washed it all down with a glass of hearty red wine. There was Oreo cheesecake and espresso for dessert. Dinners like that had once been ordinary, thrice a week occurences; but it had been a while and I had almost forgot what it was like to indulge.

Miss Mary dropped me off. The house was still, surprisingly, empty.

The Artist and her husband, Mr. Monster Truck, were out of town that week, and I was looking after their cats while they were away.  The Artist had also told me that if I needed to get away for awhile or if I simply wanted to take a soak in her oversized tub, I could. Her house was my house, she told me. So I packed a small bag. Some PJs. Some toiletries. Some ratty shorts and a tee shirt for Round 2. Not much. Just enough to get me through til the next day.

I kissed my kitties goodbye, took a deep breath, and walked out the front door and into the first chapter of a brand new life. 

It wasn't the last time I set foot in that house. For weeks after there was much coming and going as I sorted through, divided up, packed and moved the life I had spent the last 12 years assembling.  But as of June 27th, 2009, that house stopped being my home, and the clock on everything else started ticking.

Three years ago today, my life began again.

(And to the frightened, sleep-deprived girl who stood in the middle of the yard sobbing into her cell phone over and over and over that she couldn't do it, all I can say is that you did do it Baby Girl. You did do it. And I am so, so proud of you.)

This week beat me down, chewed me up, and unceremoniously spit me out.  There's not one specific thing I can point to as far as why this week sucked so hard; it was just a lot of little things - the Chinese water torture of bullshit if you will - that when all added up left me feeling cranky, stabby and generally irritable all week. 

So being home alone on Friday night, flopped on the couch, drinking an exquisite 2006 Gun Bun merlot and watching mindless TV with Psycho Kitty was the perfect end to an otherwise craptastic week. Until Valentine's Day

It's not like I haven't seen the movie 50 times before. It's not like I don't know how the various storylines unfold and play out.  Trust me. There is nothing about Valentine's Day that can surprise me at this point.  But what did surprise me was my reaction to it.

I have made no secret about my feelings on Rom Coms: they are bullshit. Pure and utter bullshit.  It's possible that I am just a wee bit cynical, but it's pretty apparent that none of what happens in Roms Coms happens in real life. Ever.  But what if it did? What if for someone else, somewhere else, it could?

And that's when it hit me:

I want to be loved like life is a movie.

I want someone to jump the security line at the airport, creating havoc and stranding thousands of passengers until the security breach is rectified, just to chase me down and tell me: "Don't get on that plane. Don't leave."

I want someone to race across town in a mad frenzy, get caught in bumper-to-bumper gridlock, leave their car in the middle of the road, and finish the race on foot just to tell me that I'm "The One."

I want that big, crazy, show-stopping, heart-pounding, insane, spectacular moment when we finally kiss for the first time. (Fireworks optional of course. I have not lost all grip on reality.)

I freely admit to liking Gotta Be Somebody by Nickelback and I think it's for this lyric as much as anything else:

So I'll be waiting for the real thing,
I'll know it by the feeling
The moment when we're meeting,
Will play out like a scene
Straight off the silver screen

I've railed against the unreality of Rom Coms for a long time but the truth is, deep down, that ridiculous, love-soaked happy ending is exactly what I want. 

Then again, it's been 7 or 8 months since I went out on a date.  Maybe I should start with dinner first. You know, baby steps.

I couldn't wait to turn 30.  I told anyone who would listen that I had never been in a better place spiritually, physically and emotionally and I meant it.  I had finally achieved a level of success at work and saw myself on an actual career path instead of just at some job.  I had shed about 30+ pounds over the course of several years and a combination of twice-weekly workouts with a trainer and a low-carb diet had helped keep the weight off.  I was happy. I felt good.  And I wanted to shout it from the rooftops:

I AM THIRTY AND FABULOUS.

SRP 30.jpg

There was no hesitation to dive right into my 30s and take on the world. 

And each year since has been much of the same - I have embraced my birthday and I have embraced getting older because life just continues to improve and more importantly, I continue to improve.

Until this year.  Turning 36 proved to be a slight hiccup.  I don't know if it's because 36 is just such a meh year.  I don't know if it's because 36 puts me that much farther away from 30 and that much closer to 40.  I don't know.  But I had a hard time getting excited about the fact that I would be 36.  It just seemed so....old.

A few days before the big day I had one of my patented Rougie epiphanies: I wasn't turning another year older, I was turning another year better.  Doesn't that have such a lovely ring to it? Another year better. 

Still, despite reframing the aging process so that I could wrap my head around it, my birthday came and went and something was still missing.   It was like: Ok.  I'm 36, and to quote Suzanne Sugarbaker, Big woo. Unlike 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35, there was no desire to shout it from the rooftops, and that bothered me.

Until Thursday.   Something clicked on Thursday.

I had a really good week work-wise.  Really good.  Better than really good - it was fucking fantabulous.  And as I was driving home on Thursday, marinating in the warm glow of career success, I could feel it.  Not overwhelming.  Not overpowering. But enough for me to know that there it was. Self-confidence. That most elusive of all emotions. The thing I strive for most and never seem to grasp.

My confidence typically comes from those around me. Pay attention to me, compliment me, and I'm on top of the world.  Criticize me, or worse yet - ignore me, and I'll spend all day wondering what I did wrong.  It's as if I have a hard time believing something unless someone else says it. I'm not smart unless you tell me I am smart. I'm not pretty unless you tell me I am pretty. My sense of self-worth is directly correlated to what everyone else thinks and says about me.

But Thursday? Thursday was about me.  And it was the best fucking feeling in the world. I began to think about my life at 36 versus my life at 26 and the conclusion was that 36 was kicking 26's ass every day of the week and three times on Thursdays.  I am more successful.  I make more money. I am in the best physical shape of my life. I mean, I won't be on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition any time soon but at 36 I can still rock a size 4 denim mini.  I am happier. I am more balanced.  I am more focused. I can still chug a car bomb.  And of course, I am more confident.

Don't get me wrong. My life is far from perfect. And there are still some areas that I haven't figured out yet.  But I've made a lot of progress over the last 36 years and for the most part, I'm doing ok. Hell - I'm doing better than ok:

36th Bday.jpg    

My point was confirmed last night when I was out at a bar and struck up conversation with a young kid.  Turned out he was celebrating his 21st birthday so I bought him a festive birthday shot and told him that I had just celebrated my 36th birthday the week before.  He looked at me and said with all kinds of sincerity: "If you don't mind my saying, you look really good for 36."  

I won't lie - the compliment totally made my night.  Hell - it may have made my month (as a Leo born on the Day of Validation I thrive - THRIVE -  on the kind words of others).  But for the first time in a long time, I didn't need someone else to tell me what I already know.

Now...where's the nearest rooftop? I've got some shouting to do.

Nothing like a little fire under your ass...

Fire-Resized.jpg

 

...or a little mud in your eye...

Exit Resize.jpg

 

...or an amazing friend running along side you...

Girls-Resize.jpg

 

...to bring an unmatched smile to your face.

SRP-WarriorDash2-061811.jpg

 

2011 Midwest Warrior Dash now complete. 

2011 Carolinas Warrior Dash? You're on notice.

On June 27th, 2009, the alarm woke me up early.  I was tired and cranky because the night before some houseguests had rudely accidentally woken me up at 2am, and a combination of their continued noise and my raging apoplexy had made falling back asleep difficult. But instead of hitting snooze, I got out of bed. There was work to be done.

I shuffled across the yard from the house that had been my home for the last 3 years, to the house that would become my home for the near future; to the house that I needed to move into in order to start the legal clock ticking.

Nothing went right that day. Cracks in the plaster wall still needed to be patched before we could paint. When we finally did start painting, the new paint wasn't sticking to the old paint and in fact, was bubbling up in places (no one told us the old paint was oil based and therefore we needed to prime).  Everywhere I looked I saw dirt and grime and duct tape holding things together.  I was staring years of neglect in the face - all on 4 hours sleep and without any air conditioning.

The thing is, it never even occured to me to go back. Never. Not once did I think about returning to the cool comfort of cental a/c. Not once did I think about returning to the newly laid wood floors or the recently installed (and finally stained) French doors.  As much time and energy as I had put into every single gorgeous custom window treatment, I left them behind without a second thought and traded them for some old Venetian blinds that were cracked and bent and barely stayed in their brackets when lowered and raised.

The day was long and hot and I was sleep deprived.  I had no less than 3 major melt-downs and I distinctly remember calling my parents each and every time saying: "I can't do this." Actually, I didn't say it. I wailed it. "I CAN'T DO THIS," I wailed. Over and over and over again.

Somehow we eventually got done what needed to get done and the day's efforts came to a close.  I dragged myself back across the yard to a house that was still home, but not for long. It was - mercifully - empty.  I showered off the paint and the sweat and the grime, blew-dry my hair, and put on festive sun dress.

Miss Mary picked me up and we went out for a delightful dinner. Despite the raging heat (it was close to 100 degrees), I had a grilled Caesar salad and a ribeye and washed it all down with a glass of hearty red wine. There was Oreo cheesecake and espresso for dessert. Dinners like that had once been ordinary, thrice a week occurences; but it had been a while and I had almost forgot what it was like to indulge.

Miss Mary dropped me off. The house was still, surprisingly, empty.

The Artist and her husband, Mr. Monster Truck, were out of town that week, and I was looking after their cats while they were away.  The Artist had also told me that if I needed to get away for awhile or if I simply wanted to take a soak in her oversized tub, I could. Her house was my house, she told me. So I packed a small bag. Some PJs. Some toiletries. Some ratty shorts and a tee shirt for Round 2. Not much. Just enough to get me through til the next day.

I kissed my kitties goodbye, took a deep breath, and walked out the front door and into the first chapter of a brand new life. 

It wasn't the last time I set foot in that house. For weeks after there was much coming and going as I sorted through, divided up, packed and moved the life I had spent the last 12 years assembling.  But as of June 27th, 2009, that house stopped being my home, and the clock on everything else started ticking.

Two years ago today, my life began again.

(And to the frightened, sleep-deprived girl who stood in the middle of the yard sobbing into her cell phone over and over and over that she couldn't do it, all I can say is that you did do it Baby Girl. You did do it. And I am so, so proud of you.)

Earlier last week, Miss Mary sent me a last-minute invitation to an impromptu Belmont Stakes party. Now Miss Mary is known for her horse racing fetes (Seriously, her Derby parties are LEGENDARY) and for the last few years that we have been friends, I have been either out of town or otherwise engaged during all of the Triple Crown races (what are the odds?) and so I have missed all of her gatherings. All of them. And I have been devastated because like I said, her Derby parties make Martha Stewart look like an amateur.  Actually - everything Miss Mary does makes Martha look like an amateur. 

Anyways, long story long, not only was I in town this past weekend but I had no plans and so I was able to attend the Belmont Stakes party. Now Belmont is not nearly on par with The Derby in terms of pomp and circumstance (or signature cocktails). Nor does it quite measure up to The Preakness.  But a horse race is a horse race is a horse race (and an excuse to wear fancy headwear). And a party at Miss Mary's is on par with nothing short of awesome so I was excited.

It was my responsibility to bring a pick-up - which I had to clarify since it was a term I was unfamiliar with, and actually at first, I was thinking set-up, which is the liquor you bring in a brown paper bag to places that don't serve liquor, but which do serve things you can mix with liquor (like Coke or Sun-Drop).  Unless I am confused in which case a set-up is the Sun-Drop, Coke, and maraschino cherries you bring to mix with moonshine. I can't remember.

Thankfully, a pick-up is neither. It's fancy-speak for an appetizer. And while my original intention was to make corn, mushroom & bacon empanadas (so appropriate for a NY horse race, right?) our local grocery store didn't have frozen empanda wrappers (despite the large Mexican population in this town and the extensive selection of other Mexican foodstuffs) and I was lazy as all hell didn't feel like making empanada dough from scratch so I wound up grabbing a tube of Pillsbury pizza dough and making a free form Mexican corn, mushroom & salami pizza instead. (And anyone who busts my balls over the fact that salami isn't Mexican can just bite me. I had a bunch of salami in the house and no bacon and the first rule of clever cooking is use what you have. Also? The salami was pre-sliced so any salami jokes are officially null and void.)  Meanwhile (she sings sweetly), the pizza was super easy to make and extraordinarily delicious. I highly recommend you give it a whirl. Here's how:

Add some olive oil to a large saute pan and heat it up. Add 1 large tablespoon of chopped garlic and 3 large scallions, white and green parts chopped up.  Saute for about 30 seconds until things start to sizzle and pop. 

Add to the pan 10 slices of hard salami (or bacon or any other processed pork product you may have in your fridge) sliced and diced.  Also add 1 11-oz can of corn and about a cup and a half of diced mushrooms. I used baby bellas but any kind of mushroom (except the druggy kind) is fine.  Cook the whole mess for a few minutes until it's no longer raw. I know - helpful instruction right? I wanted to say "cook it until it's cooked through" but I didn't think that would be useful either. The whole point is you don't need to cook it to death because it's going in the oven where it's going to be cooked even more. You just don't want it 100% raw and you want to give the ingredients a chance to meet and mingle and get to know each other a little. 

While you're cooking everything down to a semi crisp-tender stage (no more than 5 - 6 minutes on medium high heat), you want to season it. I used a pre-mixed Southwest seasoning from Penzey's, some salt, and some Texas Pete hot sauce.  At the very least I recommend salt & pepper. Hot sauce of any kind if you want it spicy. And if you have some taco seasoning or chili seasoning, sprinkle it in. It can't hurt.

As for the dough, I grabbed a tube of Pillsbury pizza dough. I don't remember what size. It wasn't the super, duper extra large size. And it wasn't the mini size. So I am going to go with the Goldilocks version where it was "just right."  Now I had problems rolling it out because I originally attempted to make mini pizzas and when that didn't work I had to cobble together my efforts which resulted in a free form crust. Nonetheless, you should be able to sprinkle some flour on your counter or table and roll out the dough a little less spastically than I did.

Once you roll it out, slide it onto a cookie sheet or baking tray that's been greased with Pam.  And then spread your delicious corn-mushroom-meaty topping all over, leaving just a wee bit on the edges for a crust, To top off the whole shebang, you'll need queso fresco which is that crumbly, mild Mexican white cheese. I purchased a 10-oz wheel and used about 3/4 of it. I just broke off pieces and crumbled it on top.  Then plunk the whole thing in the oven.

As far a time and temperatures, follow the instructions on the pizza dough tube (unless your oven is as possessed as mine in which case godspeed and godbless or 10 minutes at 3 clicks from the far right).  Anyways...this is what you should wind up with:

Mexican Pizza.jpg

Actually yours should probably be a little less oblong, but no less tasty. And if it is oblong, who gives a fuck? Still tasty!!!

Anyways I highly recommend this for all of your pick-ups or NY horse races or both or neither. I just highly recommend it in general. Too bad the Internet isn't scratch & sniff.

 

Apologies.  I had every intention of writing an original post (about self pity no less) over the weekened but then Dad gave me an advance copy of his new book with James Patterson, Kill Me If You Can, due out on August 29 and sorry - productive blogging lost out to reading what I will here and now claim to be THE BEACH READ OF THE SUMMER.  Exclamation point. Exclamation point. Exclamation point.

However, I am still plowing my way througk Katie Couric's The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives and it continues to impact me, prompting me to share other people's words until I can find my voice again to share my own.  When I read the following essay on failure by Tavis Smiley, PBS Host, Author & Philanthropist, it practically jumped off the page and shook me by the heart.   

Fail Better

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

 

The words of the great writer and poet Samuel Beckett.  Words that I have learned to live by.

 

Anyone who has ever succeeded in any human endeavor will tell you that he learned more from his failures than he ever learned from his successes.  If he's being honest. 

 

But a funny thing happens when "success" becomes an individual's dominant definer. Very few people want to then actually acknowledge the mistakes they've made along the way.  That's unfortunate, because it promulgates an artificial concept of "success."  By articificial, I mean the notion that people become successful without what I call "success scars."  Let's be clear. There is no success without failure. Period. And usually a lot of it.

 

I used to love Michael Jordan's "Failure" commercial for Nike. You might recall it:

 

I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.

I've lost almost 300 games.

Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot...and missed.

I've failed over and over and over again in my life.

And that is why I succeed.

 

Powerful stuff.

 

When you think about it, Beckett was right. Life is ultimately about failing better. Every day that you wake up, you get another chance to get it right. To fail better. We have to learn to think of failure in a different way. To think of failure as a friend, really.  A friend who, if embraced, can usher us into new experiences, exposures and excellencies.

 

Just look around-- there are examples everywhere of people who have failed up.  Others have done it, and you can, too.

I am the first one to tell people that I don't do something if I think I might fail. As an OCD, overly-neurotic perfectionist, failure is simply not an option.  But thanks to Tavis Smiley, I am going to stop thinking of failure as an enemy, and start thinking of failure as a necessary part of the path to a more successful life.

PS If you're like me, you don't remember the Michael Jordan "Failure" commercial for Nike. Thank God for ex PayPal employees with something to prove for YouTube:

 

I hate weekends. I really do. Unless I am traveling (an expensive but effective method for making weekends palatable), I find that no matter what plans I make, no matter how much I have to do, no matter how many friends I see, loneliness ultimately rears its ugly head and I eventually find myself swimming in a pool of self pity. It's not pretty.  

Three day weekends are even harder and despite the fact that this weekend involved a lot of friends, a lot of fun, and a lot of (much needed) housework, there was still ample alone time.  Today has been particularly hard since the only 3 people I spoke to were my parents (via phone) and the cashier at Target.  You can imagine my mood by 5:30pm.

Anyways, I am currently reading The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives by Katie Couric and since I had nothing better to do tonight when Dirty Dancing ended at 7pm, I decided to crawl into bed and pray for the weekend to end read. It was like the Universe knew what I needed when I turned to the essay on courage by Anna Quindlen. Seriously?  It was like someone had jabbed a syringe full of adrenaline to my soul.  

I was so moved that I felt compelled to share with you all, my dear and lovely readers. I hope it impacts you half as much as it's impacted me (although with less tears because Jesus - no one else needs to be a puffy-eyed snot rag tomorrow).

 

Courage is the Ultimate Career Move 

Here is my favorite biblical direction: Be not afraid.  It's truly the secret of life.  Fear is what stunts our growth, narrows our ambitions, kills our dreams.

So fear not.

Oh, I have enough of a memory of my own youth to know that that sounds preposterous. You are surely afraid: of leaving what you know, of seeking what you want, of taking the wrong path, of failing the right one. But you can't allow any of that to warp your life. You must have the strength to say no to the wrong things and to embrace the right ones, even if you are the only one who seems to know the difference, even if you find the difference to hard to calculate.

Too often we lived with the pinched expectations of a culture of conformity, which sees daring as dangerous.  Go along to get along: that's its mantra.  Only a principled refusal to be terrorized by these stingy standards will save you from a Frankenstein life made up of other people's expectations grafted together into a poor imitation of existence.  You can't afford to do that.  It is what has poisoned our culture our community, our national character.  No one  does the right thing from fear, and so many of the wrong things are done in its long shadow.  Homophobia, racism, religious bigotry: they are all bricks in a wall that divides us, bricks cast of the clay of fear, fear of that which is different or unknown.

Too often our public discourse fears real engagement or discussion; it pitches itself at the lowest possible level, always preaching to the choir, so that no one will be challenged.  Which usually means that no one will be interested.  What is the point of free speech if we are always afraid to speak freely?  If we fear competing viewpoints, if we fail to state the unpopular because of some sense of plain-vanilla civility, it is not civility at all.  It is the denigration of human capacity for thought.  Open your mouth. Speak your piece. Fear not.

Remember Pinocchio? There is a Jiminy Cricket on your shoulder, giving you the very best advice. It is you, your authentic self, the one you were in first grade before you learned to massage  your personality into a form that would suit others.  Sometimes it's hard to hear its message because all the external voices are so loud, so shrill, so adamant.  Voices that loud are always meant to bully.

Do not be bullied.

Acts of bravery don't always take place on the battlefields.  They can take place in your heart, when you have the courage to to honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations, and, yes, your soul by listening to its clean, clear voice of direction instead of following  the muddied messages of a timid world.  So carry your courage in an easily acceptable place, the way you do your cellphone or your wallet.  You may still falter or fail, but you will always know that you pushed hard and aimed high.  Take a leap of faith.  Fear not. Courage is the ultimate career move.  

My deepest gratitude to Ms. Quindlen for so aptly saying what I know in my heart but am sometimes, ironically, afraid to live.

This past Thursday marked the 5-year anniversary of when I rolled into Smalltown USA.  I spent the 10 hour drive from Hoboken wrapped in a king-sized down comforter, on the floor of a U-Haul, wedged between the passenger seat and the driver's seat because we wound up leaving Hoboken with an extra passenger that we hadn't originally planned on. 

I had no idea what to expect - only that there would be no Starbucks and therefore getting iced coffee would probably prove a challenge.       

When I arrived 5 years ago I didn't plan on staying.  When I arrived 5 years ago I had BIG LIFE PLANS and they did not involve living in some podunk town.  When I arrived 5 years ago I was somebody's wife and he was the main reason I was being uprooted in the first place.

A lot can change in 5 years. A lot has changed in 5 years. I could write a lot about what's changed for me in the last 5 years, but I find that looking in the rearview mirror isn't very helpful.  Everything that's happened has brought me to where I am now, and for that, I am grateful. 

But what's done is done.  What I am more interested in is: what lies ahead?

I've been sitting on the fence for a while now: stay in Smalltown USA or relocate to the Big City where 1) I work and 2) there's a better likelihood that I'll meet an attractive eligible single man with a college degree and all of his teeth. (When I tell you my standards are low, they are low. That's about it. Oh - and he can't live with his parents.)

Staying in Smalltown USA is crazy.  Staying in Smalltown USA as a single girl is even crazier.  Staying in Smalltown USA as a single girl who drives 90 miles round trip at least 4 days a week and when gas costs $3.85/gallon is even crazier still. 

So I guess I need to adjust my lithium drip because it looks like I am staying. For now. 

For a long time I felt compelled to defend my decision. Or at the very least, somehow justify it. Explain it. Especially to friends and family in New York who didn't understand how their NYC born and bred Rougie could be happy living in town where canned peaches are considered a vegetable and this is what you see on the road:

Coon Hunter.jpg

 

My decision wasn't arbitrary.  A lot of thought went into it and a lot of things were considered. 

I don't know what my ultimate future holds, but I know that right now, today, my life? My life is in this wee little town.  And I am totally ok with that.    

My taxi-hailing skills are legendary in some circles.  I mean, I have been known to run the length of 2 NYC blocks in 4-inch heels in the rain at night darting in and out of moving traffic in order to grab a cab and not just "grab a cab" - but grab it SUCCESSFULLY.

Therefore running the length of less than 1 NYC block in 3-inch heels in the rain at night on the sidewalk shouldn't have been a problem. Key words there: shouldn't have been.

So I was in NYC last weekend and I had the world's most lovely day with Dr. Diva on Saturday. There was shopping and a dress bought (me) and a fabulous lunch and more shopping and more dresses bought (her) and the procurement of Spanx (a first for me) and cocktails and then it was home to get glammed up for a Saturday night on the town and then back out for pre-theater cocktails and snacks followed by Priscilla Queen of the Desert on Broadway and in case you were wondering if there was room for any more fabulous in our day, the answer is YES. 

The culmination to all of this fabulosity was an 11pm reservation at Scarpetta to eat Scott Conant's spaghetti. And if you're wondering who the hell makes an 11pm dinner reservation to eat spaghetti, the answer is me because it was the only possible time to go. Also? We're not just talking spaghetti. We're talking spaghetti that's been laced with pixie dust and unicorn kisses. And about a pound of butter. Seriously - Scarpetta's spaghetti is supposed to be nothing short of life-changingly phenomenal and since11pm on Saturday night was the only time I could try it, that meant that Dr. Diva and I had 30 minutes from the time the show ended to get out of the theater and make it downtown. Thirty minutes.

As divinely fabulous as Priscilla was (and believe me, it was all kinds of awesome) as soon as the last drag queen took her final bow, Dr. Diva and I upped and bolted.  We stepped out onto West 47th Street - smack dab in the heart of the theater district - at 10:30pm on a Saturday night, in the middle of a torrential downpour, very much needing a cab to whisk us to West 14th Street.

The odds of spotting a vacant cab in the theater district at 6:30am on a sunny Tuesday morning are 100:1. The odds of spotting one in the middle of a monsoon on a Saturday night are a gajillion to one. And yet...there was a cab. About half a block away. Lights turned on indicating that it was available.  AND NO ONE IN SIGHT.

So despite my attire of fitted Black Halo dress and industrial strength Spanx; despite the fact that I was in 3-inch heels; despite the fact that it was pitch black and pouring down rain - despite all of that, I opened my umbrella and took off. 

Sometimes traffic patterns work in your favor. Lights turn red and that bus you were desperate to catch has to stop and so you can actually make it. Or lights turn green and that vacant cab with your name on it starts making its way towards you, cutting down the distance that you have to run. In heels. In the rain.

Then again, sometimes traffic patterns suck turkey scrotum. For whatever reason, that cab, MY CAB, was stuck at a standstill and no matter how much I ran, it didn't seem to get any closer. And then, HE appeared. My evil nemesis: Mr. Asshole.  Mr. Asshole emerged from some bar/theater/hotel/strip club/sinkhole-leading-to-Satan's-playground and stuck his hand out to hail the taxi. MY TAXI. The one I had already sprinted half a block in a monsoon, waving my arm frantically, to get so that I could get downtown in time for my 11pm dinner reservation. Mr. Asshole thought he was going to steal MY TAXI.

So I did what any taxi-hailing legend would do. I threw remaining caution to the wind.  I ran a little harder. I ran a little faster. I stuck my hand out a little higher. I yelled TAAAAAAAAAAAAXXXXXXXIIIII into the wet, black night to stake my claim. And then I stepped off of the sidewalk, into the street, intent on THROWING myself in front of that cab if necessary in order to make it clear: that taxi was MINE. Mr. Asshole was going to learn that you don't steal a cab from Rougie. Especially when a gourmet dinner is on the line.

Only...there was no street where I stepped off the curb. There was a pothole. More like a crater really. And with the non-stop deluge it was actually more like a small lake. You all took physics in high school - right? You understand how the laws of gravity work - right?

FACE-FUCKING-PLANT.

I went flying.  Dr. Diva told me after that one minute she saw me, the next minute she didn't.  I went down and I went down hard. And not only did I go down hard, but I went down hard into a giant pool of rainwater. As a slight aside, would you like to know what's more uncomfortable then industrial-strength Spanx cutting off all circulation to your lower extremities? Soaking wet industrial-strength Spanx. There are no fucking words.

So right. There I am lying face down in a dirty puddle on West 47th Street.  Totally humiliated.  Now...if my life were a Rom Com starring one of the Jennifers (Aniston, Lopez - take your pick), Mr. Asshole would have seen me fall just as he was getting into MY TAXI.  He would have instructed the taxi to drive the mere feet to where I lay. He would have gotten out and inquired to my well-being. He would have offered to share the cab. He also would have been Matthew McConaughey and a doctor and he would have tended to my wounds and we would have fallen madly in love...THE END. Only Rom Coms are total bullshit and that's not how life works. I have no idea WHO Mr. Asshole is or what he does for a living. All I know is that he's an asshole and he stole my fucking cab and took off into the night.

Meanwhile, I picked myself up and limped back to Dr. Diva, knees, palms, elbows and pride all stinging with pain. Seriously - the worst thing about falling (and I speak from significant experience in this arena) is what it does to your psyche. I learned to walk when I was a toddler. It's a task I've mastered fairly well in my life so when the ability to walk fails me, it hurts.

There was no blood at first.  Just raw skin and wounded pride. The blood came later when we were eventually in a $30 gypsy cab heading towards Scarpetta. As I clutched a tissue to my knee (and assured the driver I wouldn't bleed all over his upholstery), I called the restaurant to tell them we were en route for our 11pm and to please not turn off the stove before our arrival as I was desperate for spaghetti and that I had sustained a serious injury in my efforts to try it. The humorless hostess told me to let them know if we planned on being late. Period.

We stepped out of the cab at 10:49pm. $30 poorer, bleeding (one of us anyways) and with 11 minutes to spare. Dr. Diva took one look at me and told me that I looked deflated.  She was right. The hair I had spent so much time curling, hung flat and limp.  The Black Halo - making only its second appearance in my life - was wet and clinging to me and my Spanx in all of the wrong places.  Whatever eye makeup I had expertly applied had long worn off. Lipgloss? Forget it.  I looked - AND FELT - deflated. 

Still we charged onwards. Into the restaurant. Towards the humorless hostess who didn't seem to notice that my left knee cap was hemorraghing.  She seemed more interested in disposing of our dripping wet coats and umbrellas than offering me First Aid.  I eventually limped to the bathroom to attend to my wounds while Dr. Diva followed my earlier instructions and sat down at our table and ordered a bottle of red wine. 

The evening was salvaged. First with the wine. Then with a 500mg Naproxen tablet.  Eventually, a busboy, making up for the hostess's lack of human compassion, offered me a first aid kit. I declined, having fashioned a makeshift tourniquet out of a napkin and Dr. Diva's ID badge lanyard.  I had my spaghetti and it was everything I had hoped it would be and then some. 

It was a memorable night and a memorable end to a memorable day and I am sure that Dr. Diva and I will be telling this story for years to come.  Also? The bitch got a blog post out of it. A long one. This ought to shut her up until after her honeymoon.

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