Road Tripping Days 8 & 9

Washington D.C.

Such a strange character.

It’s a state but not really. It’s a city, kinda. It’s the nation’s capitol. We, tay-paying citizens, give taxes for it’s existence and there are ample museums and monuments around to learn from for many days to come.

History is everywhere in D.C. and yet, it isn’t.

It’s like modernity meets the past and both sides are trying to cling on for dear life….

I see the change in administration affects the local government workers in the area more than anyone. It’s interesting to see partisan politics at work. As an idealist, I wished it was based on fact rather than what party was in power but Washington locals soon put me in my place, essentially telling me that’s the perfection that will never exist.

But I still toured D.C. as though I was an idealist in my twenties. I went to the Capital Building and visited Thomas Massie’s office (Kentucky Rep, and closest to Ron Paul in ideology as we can get.) I saw the White House, Capitol Hill, most of the Smithsonian museums, Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, not to mention their modern art garden and Veteran’s Memorial.

I loved every moment and soaked up as much history, along with reality, as possible.

That said, I couldn’t help but remember my days of being a reader for major Hollywood production companies.

Most of the books I read had a lot to do with espionage and the CIA/FBI and were murder thrillers. Seriously, I probably read upwards of 300+ in the ten years of doing that job. Needless to say, my dreams were epic at that time…. and scary as shit, but I digress.

As a reader, I got to learn a lot about terrorism and intelligence operations within the government branches. My knowledge on law enforcement of our Nation grew quite a bit during this time and it’s always stuck with me.

And what better time for it to surface than when visiting the Nation’s capitol for the first time?

So…..

When my husband and I first arrived in D.C. in the later hours of the morning, we decided to stop in a Starbuck’s to get caffeinated before heading on into the National Mall. (Look it up. Not a shopping mall like comes to mind….haha)

Once inside, I realized I had to go to pee for the tenth time that morning (road trips kill my bladder!) and after learning the code, I made my way into the one-person bathroom.

I squatted down, far from the seat as it’s a public bathroom, and proceeded to go while I glanced around.

My eyes stopped on the baby changing station. The main bed part had been pulled down rather than secured in its wall mount. As my first instinct was to fix it, I glanced at it first and noticed a nondescript suitcase under the bed part.

All the stories I’ve read over the past ten years flashed in my head and I stopped. Though I wanted to tell the attendant about it, I couldn’t help but notice that it seemed as though someone wanted to hide it.

So I kept my mouth shut. Those are the disposable characters in the books. The one who can identify the suitcase but have little meaning otherwise….

Yeah… No thank you. Not gonna be that person.

Till tomorrow….

#roadtripping

Two Strangers

I was waiting in line at a store today when I heard a lady behind me talk loudly to the gentleman she was with. She smiled at a child who walked by with a giant painted decorative Easter egg and exclaimed, “That’s a big egg!”

She caused a few stares. And her clothes made one wonder if she lived on the street. The gentleman she was with answered her questions calmly as she looked in awe at the candy selection near checkout. Her face looked like a face of a forty-year old but her behavior was like that of a ten-year old.

“Oh! Can we go to Best Buy after this?” she asked the person she was with.

He looked into their cart and said maybe they should’t today with all this already. He said they wouldn’t have much room. She agreed and moved on to checking out the chewing gum.

“Your purse is open.”

I turned and realized she was talking to me.

“Oh, thank you! I didn’t realize,” I replied, zipping up my purse pocket.

“You know, you’ve got to be careful. People can get near you and take something and you don’t even know it!” she said, warning me.

“Yes, you’re right. Thanks again. I appreciate it,” I said, smiling at both her and the man she was with. He just stared at me before she continued.

“The other day, someone had some money on a table and another person tried to take it. I saw it and I told him not to do it.”

“Really?” I asked, as the line moved up.

“Oh yeah. He tried to grab it when she wasn’t looking. And you know what?”

“What?” I said, getting into her story.

“He called me stupid.”

“What? Why on Earth…”

“I know. He said I was stupid for stopping him.”

I looked straight into her dark black eyes and said, “You know what? You are not stupid for stopping someone from stealing. In fact, you are very smart. What you did was great. He’s the one who is stupid.”

She looked at me and gave me the biggest smile, feeling very proud.

“Yeah. He’s stupid. Not me.”

My husband, who was shopping in a store next door, came in and asked for the credit card because he forgot his wallet. I quickly handed it to him so he could get back to the register.

When he left, my new friend asked me, “Is that your brother?”

I laughed. “No. That was my husband.”

She looked at me in awe and exclaimed, “No way, you’re too young to be married.”

I’m not going to lie. As I near forty, comments like this one put a smile on my face.

It was my turn for the next register. As I left the line, I told my new friend to have a great day.

“You too!” she said.

Just two strangers, making each other feel good.

 

La vita non è giusta (Life is not fair)

My father told me a story many years ago about his father and I channel it every time I feel dejected.

Only my father can tell this story appropriately, but I will try to do it justice in honor of my grandfather, may he rest in peace.

One afternoon, my eighteen-year old father found himself spilling out all the ways the world had wronged him to his own father, a Sicilian hard-working immigrant. He told his tales of woe as my grandfather smoked his cigarette and listened. After my father was done expressing his suffering, my grandfather looked at him, inhaled a long drag from his cigarette and said to his son,

“La vita non è giusta.”

Life is not fair.

Those seemingly simple words have stayed with me from the moment my father told me this story.

Life is not fair.

My latest film has been rejected from fourteen film festivals so far. I’m 0-14. It’s out to dozens of others but no filmmaker likes to read the oh-so-generic “rejection” letters. They start to get me down. I start to question things – Do I think this film should be screened? Did I do the best job I could? Is it as honest as possible? Should people see it? Does it have something to say that is worth hearing? ………

But then, amid that noise, I hear my grandfather’s voice…

La vita non è giusta.

He’s right. It isn’t.

But so be it. What am I gonna do – cry about it or try to fight for what I want?

Today, as I was thinking about how hard it is to get screening time at festivals, I saw a little slice of nature that reminded me growth was possible despite the odds.

And so, to my friend in the picture above, my father and my grandfather, I thank you. You keep me going…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Communication

There are times I like to be silent. Not talk. Not listen to others talking. Just be with me and my thoughts.

Sometimes though, these moments don’t exactly match with what my boyfriend has in mind. I love him, but he does like to talk and I love getting excited when he gets excited and I love reveling in his good news or comforting him with bad and I really love hearing how passionate he is about music and his business.

But…

There are times I like to be silent. Not talk. Not listen to others talking. Just be with me and my thoughts.

At first, my conscience spoke to me and sternly said, “Christina. You love him and you should listen to him even when you don’t feel like it.” So, I did. Two things started happening, though. I either zoned out and let my mind drift or I forced myself to listen and felt phony about it as I made impatient faces to myself (and perhaps the car occupants nearby…)

Not particularly enjoying either of those, I decided my next option was to change the subject and then slyly get off the phone/walk out of the room. This didn’t work either. All that ended up occurring was me interrupting him. And that’s just rude.

And then came tonight.

As I drove home after working a double, I called my boyfriend to say hi but my mind was exhausted and I was realllllly wanting some alone time. After several minutes of talking and a story started that didn’t appear to be too short, I decided I was just going to be honest with him. I simply said, “Baby, my mind is tired and I can’t really listen right now and I don’t want to zone out but I can’t talk right now. I’ll call you later, okay?”

There was a brief pause but then he said, “Sure, baby. No problem. I understand. Call me later.”

We hung up and I began to think about this…

Then, I decompressed. Got home, took a hot shower, did a facial scrub, wrote a blog post. And now, I feel a whole lot better.

Off to call my boyfriend!

“First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.”
Epictetus