Sunday, December 10, 2006

Me, God and Opus

So the Amy’s Blog Rule where everyone (except for a select precious few) goes by a pseudonym, coupled with the Common Sense Rule that says don’t namecheck your job where you’re temping at in case they find out and fire you for it because you namechecked it forces me to give everyone a special pseudonym for today’s entry. And because I’ve always been a huge Bloom County fan, everyone today is going by character names from that comic strip. So there.

It’s all fine now. My Mother The Phone Harpy Who I Love Very Very Much prefers me to start all my stories that way, as if the fact I’m not still on the phone talking to her would be evidence enough that I survived whatever horrific adventure I’m about to describe to her.

So yes, it’s all fine now. But for the past week and a half, it certainly was NOT. I always knew I didn’t want a job in Corporate PR, simply because I’ve seen Roomie Jekyll go through it, and I know what’s involved, how crazy the people are over the stupidest details, like what kind of car is picking up what kind of celebrity, and how so and so celebrity hasn’t RSVPed, which totally THROWS THE WORLD OFF ITS AXIS, PEOPLE! IT DOES AND YOU DON’T KNOW IT!

But the temp agency funneled me to this gig at the Unnamed Movie Studio, and I couldn’t really turn it down using “I think other things are more important than sending an invitation to a celeb’s PR flack rather than his agent, because when the day is done, said celeb isn’t going to this party anyway” as a viable excuse. I tried to bolster my holsters by reminding myself that I am an extremely organized person, and as long as every thing is in its place, there’s no possible way I would morph into a crazed drooling Stress Monster.

And had I not left for a week to spend Thanksgiving with the family, I would’ve been right. But the temp agency sent another temp to fill my position while I was gone, and while I think it would be unChristian to call her “worthless” since I didn’t meet the lass, the fact that she royally screwed up my meticulous Excel address databases, meaning the invitations to the Big Deal Party went to the wrong people, and made the Unnamed Movie Studio look very very stupid doesn’t make her seem very very smart.

So I came back to one unholy mess, which did indeed turn me into a crazed drooling Stress Monster, to the point where I didn’t even want to work the Big Deal Party up in the Hollywood Hills. I was convinced every guest was going to make a beeline for me and give me a good whatfor for screwing up everything from sending the invite to the wrong place (not my fault) to telling them the most inconvenient way to get to the Big Deal Party (Seriously, I was lectured for two minutes on the phone by the wife of a press columnist about how “I don’t LIKE” the directions I was giving her.)

A lot of people in Los Angeles think celebrities are a big deal. I don’t. I never have. Whether my department sensed that about me and deliberately put me at the gate with the guest list and a pen to check people in, or whether this was supposed to be a gift for straightening shit out, I haven’t a clue. But when people like Milo Bloom and Steve Dallas are walking through, I don’t care. I know who they are, I know they’re on my list, yes, please come through and watch your step. But I seriously don’t care.

My stomach is not doing flip flops because Opus , YES OPUS, PEOPLE, OPUS! ONE OF THE BIGGEST CELEBRITIES OF THIS MOMENT has pulled up in an SUV the size of a five bedroom house with his agent directly into the driveway, because he’s OPUS, and he doesn’t have to go through the gate like the rest of the peons. My stomach is tying itself into pretzel shapes because it looks like the valet people are going to have a wreck with the cars, because it’s very dangerous to do a three point turn in a cul de sac when there’s five cars in the way. My stomach is internally dropping three stories because every person coming up for me to check them in is complaining about how they were kept waiting for fifteen minutes because the valets aren’t hustling fast enough. There’s nothing I can do about it. But people EXPECT me to do something about it. And all I can do is smile and say yes, please come through and watch your step.

It is the longest three hours I’ve ever spent in one place and time. Honestly, King Kong went faster when I saw it in the theaters last year, and I fell asleep twice during that movie, woke up, and thought I was in hell because the movie WOULD. NOT. END.

And I keep muttering under my breath “God be with me, God be with me, God be with me” as I stamp my feet to keep warm. I don’t know why. God be with me WHY? God be with me and protect me from these angry people? Shouldn’t God be with Bill The Cat to make sure he doesn’t trip on the stairs, because I’m sure that’ll happen and it’ll be my fault? Shouldn’t God be with the valet people to make sure there aren’t any three point turn accidents, because check it, that big shot agent’s Supremely Bitchy girlfriend just bolted out of their car because she was tired of waiting and nearly got taken out by a Lexus? Shouldn’t God be with the Supremely Bitchy girlfriend? Shouldn't God be with Opus, because if ever anybody needed a slap upside the head with religion, it's Opus.

And the one answer that keeps coming back as I wrap and rewrap my coat around me is God’s not here. Why would God be here with you? This is not a place that God would be in. Why would he? This party doesn’t have a thing to do with God, so He’s not showing up. You’re on your own, because you had a choice to not work this party. You could’ve claimed a million different things, not outright lies, but even a simple, “I don’t feel comfortable working this party because I’m afraid somebody’s going to throttle me and I wanna go Christmas shopping for my family instead” would suffice. You had a choice, and you chose to work the party, and now you’re stressed about it, and hey, Amy, don’t forget that NONE OF THIS HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH GOD. So is it any wonder that He’s not here in this particular moment with you?

Yes, I know that above internal monologue is wrong. I know that God doesn’t work like that, doesn’t think like that, doesn’t put conditions on His presence in order to show up like that. And the work of His hands was evident, because there were no wrecks, no Supremely Bitchy Girlfriends got run over, nobody fell down the stairs (three people tripped, but nobody fell), the time eventually moved, sluggishly, but it did move. And I managed to sneak away to find a sympathetic bartender who made me a margarita with a humongous dose of Patron tequila

I don’t know what I was expecting. Maybe a warm fuzzy feeling enveloping me, so that I could gaze upon the daredevil valets and the cranky guests, and flash a beatific infectious smile that would’ve reassured everyone in a hundred mile radius that yes, yes, cranky big moneypants one, everything is going to be just fine, because God is with us all.

But no warm fuzzy feeling. No beatific infectious smiles. As always, I still couldn’t feel Him. Theoretically, an atheist who does this kind of thing for a living would’ve been internally calmer than me. And that doesn’t seem right.

But then again, if the choice for God showing up was between something superficial like this party and something where I would REALLY need him, like me squashed in a car wreck (something I’ve long sensed will happen to me someday), I’d take the squashy car wreck. God must know that and maybe that’s why He didn’t show. No, no, He’s everywhere you are. Wherever you go, God is there. That’s what the church says, right? Right? So I’m doing something wrong, right? Oh, sure, I am. I’m doing something wrong.

I just don’t know what it is.


Midlife Virgin said...

Sometimes, we don't see God even though he's there. His presence could have been that there were no fist-fights between Opus and the big shot agent's bitchy girlfriedn. His presence could have been simply that, although you didn't feel it, your presence maybe gave some others the feeling that everything was being handled just dandy because you didn't freak out on them and kept things going. You don't always feel God presence, even though He is always around. Maybe he was just hovering, because you really didn't need Him to interfere because you had everything under control. God sometimes does trust you to do things right and well, which is probably what you were doing. Congrats on surviving the gauntlet!

Anonymous said...

Like the Midlife Virgin, I congratulate you on surviving the ordeal. I too don't care much for celebs.

And since Midlife Virgin summed up my other thoughts so well, I'll leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

Look at you with all your name-dropping with "Opus this" and "Milo Bloom that" - I see right through you.

Lonnie said...

I've been around you and see how you serve people. You make things better and easier for people...most often without them even knowing it. That's right. They don't even know how much worse things would have been if you hadn't been there. That is one of the most Christ-like characteristics you carry with you...the humility to make other people's lives better without them knowing it.

Would you expect anything less from God?

What would it be like if we all had an "It's a Wonderful Life" experience every Sunday where we got to look at how our week would have been without GOD?

Okay, so, would be nice to have that experience even once a year so we could see how much God is there even though we don't feel it.

I guess I just wanted to let you know that I have been right there wondering where God was through a couple of things lately. I could logically deduce what things would have been like without Him and how He probably kept me from UTTER RUIN...but that doesn't change the fact that the experiences were generally very crappy. In fact, just crappy enough to help me grow a little and wake me up to how crappy they COULD HAVE BEEN.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I'm right there with you and that if the people running the party knew how much better it went because you helped, they would throw a special party just for you. Of that, I'm sure.