The Fish Bowl

I read Us Weekly. I used to subscribe to Entertainment Weekly. During my first stint in Peace Corps, I used to catch up on life in the US by reading copies of People magazine that my friends’ relatives had sent them to cope with life abroad. I am one of those people that believes that it’s perfectly normal and in fact rational to read up on celebrities and their crazy, normal, or sometimes frustrating lives. I don’t apologize for it. This is what I do. Jessica Simpson decided to become a pop star? I can say that she’s a no-talent actress with a semi-acceptable voice. I can hate to love the shoes with her name on them and say that the perfume she inevitably has on the market smells like grandmother. (I don’t know if this is true and if it is, that could be a compliment or an insult, depending on your opinion of grandmother scents.) I accept the fact that when David Sedaris discovers my quick wit on this blog, he will talk to his publisher and get me an agent and a book tour and that I’ll have to deal with the crazy fans and critics that comes with it. That’s just life.

But today, I felt a little different about this life of notoriety. My feelings of anxiety started with this little picture.

It looks innocent enough, doesn’t it? I’m looking at a guy as he puts caps on the tops of wine bottles. But this picture is on the public page of Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, the place I’ve served as a temp for the past two weeks. My name isn’t mentioned, I mean, I was a temp hired from a temp agency. (I love being part of the 99 percent!) I was just the crazy girl in the purple shirt apparently staring at this cute guy with curly hair. So embarrassing. I don’t feel so bad about calling that guy cute as, um, well, he is. And I’m pretty sure that this guy from Colorado and Portland is probably busy exploring the outdoors and shopping at REI to stumble upon this blog. Phew. I’m safe. The guy I worked with today was cute, don’t dispute it; it just is.

But unfortunately, I’m pretty sure he probably didn’t think the same about me. Let’s just be frank here: I was me. I’m not really a person who thrives on silence and solitude. When I realized yesterday that I could cap wine bottles AND talk, my other capping buddy and I chatted up a storm. I wasn’t about to let that go to waste today. I got this guy talking and I didn’t let up until break time.

After the fact, I realize, um, he probably thought it was weird that I asked the superhero question (If you were a superhero, who would you be?) and admitted that I’d been listening to Weezer’s Christmas album even though it’s the middle of September. The thing about me is that I’m not into games. I’m a creative purple-freak with a knack for making great conversations from scratch and I’m not going to change that. I’ve had job interviews where I’ve felt that I have, “shared too much,” but after I got the rejection email or call I realized, you know, that wouldn’t have been the spot for me anyway. I listen to Christmas music starting in August. You don’t like that? Don’t ever become my roommate! (I just want to give a shout out to Doni Moore who was the absolute best roommate in the world and who dealt with me being a psycho during freshman year of college.)

I like being me. It’s fun. It’s not a lot of work. It comes naturally. But I don’t like the picture above. I don’t like that I have no idea what the guy’s name is who took the picture. I know the guy’s name in the picture. I asked his name halfway through the entire conversation and I kept wanting to ask him, “Were your parents fans of Michael Jordan?” but decided against it. I’m sure Jordan was just the most popular name for boys the year he was born. I think it’s funny to be a nameless person. I feel like I’m finally one of those students on the college ad, smiling and having a great time with my school friends, only that’s not at all what was happening here. I was probably staring at Jordan to see if he was going to smile for the iPhone or not and then the guy was gone before I could work through my plan.

I suppose when you’re a celebrity temp worker like me, you just have to get used to life in the spotlight. Your life, your world is just a fish bowl. There’s no way out. You will forever be admired for your amazing ability to cap bottles of wine with zest and fervor. Your tenacity and amazing ability to find joy in such repetitive work makes you a stronger, more admirable and talented individual. I’ll take it. And while I’m at it, I’ll give myself a pat-on-the-back for my inherited sense-of-humor. Why not? I live in a fish bowl. My dorky picture is on the web for every wine-loving Frank to see.


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