Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words Or Less (#1)

So here's the thing. I get distracted. Easily.

Case in point: I was just organizing my home office closet in order to procrastinate on writing the in-depth follow-up email I promised I'd send a new client after a conference call this morning. (See? Already distracted!) As I'm stacking box after box of old photos--the ones that never made it into the 15+ albums I have--I think, Do I really need to keep all these old photos? Do I even remember who the people pictured within these boxes are?
And then an idea hits me. I've missed writing these past couple of months as my latest manuscript is complete and out for review with prospective agents, and I've been focused on my consulting work. (Those bills don't pay themselves, am I right?) But I miss writing on a regular basis. 

So I figure, why not randomly pull a photo from of one of those boxes and write about it? And why not do this at least twice a week? No overthinking it. And no cheating if I don't remember the people or places in the photo. Just pull...and write.

So here are The Official Rules, you know, in case you want to join me in my photographic shenanigans. 

#1 - One photo, randomly selected without looking at the labels on the box exteriors.

#2 - Limit the post to 1000 words or less. Because no one ever said "a picture is worth 2480 words."

#3 - No more than an hour, start to finish, to write my Thousand Words Or Less post. This isn't about perfection or publication or praise. It's about a freaking writing practice. And my addled memory. And the fact that I've met so many awesome people throughout my life and I suck at keeping in touch. Especially ever since my mother stopped keeping my personal directory up to date for me. (Sheesh, Mom!) And we stopped sending out Larsen Original Christmas Cards because we could never top the one we did back in 2008. (But damn, that was a good one, wasn't it?)

#4 (and perhaps the most important rule of my Thousand Words Or Less challenge) - No calling for a mulligan just because I snagged a photo of me with a former boyfriend I'd rather forget...or a photo of me in my early drunken days looking, well, drunk...or because it's a picture revealing my post-baby-and-every-day-since-then Muffin Top. Though let's be honest--I've probably already torn those photos to bits.  

Sitting amidst the mess I've created in my office for the purpose of procrastinating I tell myself, No time like the present! So I pull one of the photo boxes down from the closet shelf at random--the yellow one--and reach inside without regard to any of the labeled interior separators. (What can I say? I'm a Capricorn; we're fairly anal retentive when it comes to organizing.) 

The photo I select is one of an old roommate, Kelli de Sante, and me, circa 1993, in the tiny Newport Beach apartment I'd rented solo before Kelli, whom I'd met at Toastmasters, needed a place to live and she moved into the open loft upstairs, which heretofore had served as my home office. It was the same apartment in which I had recently snuck my contraband puppy, Spike. (See those two potted plants? See that beige carpeting? Shortly after I'd drenched those plants with water one day, Spike decided to do some finger-painting, spreading plant bits and dirt and mud all over the damn apartment. Try explaining that one to the management office.)

Thousand Words Or Less Photo #1

Kelli was (and likely still is) an elegant Southern woman, the kind that wouldn't even think to go outside to pick the paper up off the driveway without first applying lipstick. Contrast that with me, the woman who willingly drives around town wearing pajamas and has gone grocery shopping in slippers because Why the hell not? Slippers are comfy!

Kelli had a new boyfriend who came to visit her from Canada. I don't remember his name but I do remember that he wasn't what you'd call a Dog Person. In the least bit. I noticed him eyeing Spike as if she were a poopy diaper to be avoided at all costs. The thing is, Spike wasn't the type of dog that was okay being avoided. Or regarded as a poopy diaper. And if Spike didn't like something, Spike let you know. In her own special Spike way. 

Despite the openness of the loft that served as Kelli's bedroom, I tried to give the two lovers their privacy (no easy task in in a 700-square-foot dwelling). One morning, as Kelli was downstairs in the bathroom showering and I was tucked away in my bedroom, I suddenly heard the boyfriend in the loft saying, rather loudly, things like, "No, doggie. No no. Oh. Oh no." 

His voice took on a sense of urgency which then shifted to disgust. I sprinted upstairs to find the boyfriend sitting upright in Kelli's bed with nothing more than her floral bedspread covering the lower half of his naked body. And right next to him on said floral bedspread was a giant steaming Spike turd, fresh from the oven. Like I said, Spike wasn't the type of dog who appreciated being avoided. Or regarded as a poopy diaper. And so she fought back. By turning Kelli's bed--sans Kelli because Spike adored her--into, well, a poopy diaper. 

Mortified, I grabbed a tissue and scooped up the offending turd, made my apologies and turned to go, Spike's collar in one hand, Spike's turd in the other. Embarrassed as I was, I suspected I'd be laughing my ass off about this incident, with Kelli, in less than a month. It actually took less than two days. And suffice it to say, the boyfriend never came to visit again. 

* * * 

Well, it's been about an hour since I pulled that random photo out of the yellow box. My home office is still a mess and now I don't feel like finishing my closet project. Or starting my follow-up client email. 

There's always tomorrow, right?

Good ole Spike. Don't EVEN think of crossing her.