Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bravo, Tim Gunn

Dear Tim Gunn,
I really want to be your friend. Is that too forward? I watch your show on Bravo and can't help but think, I want to be his friend. I NEED to be Tim's friend.

Each week, you take a fashion lost soul under your wing and transform them into style divas. You connect them to life coaches, runway coaches and make-up artists. Last night at dinner, I practiced my runway walk through the restaurant just like you instructed in episode two. I swear, heads turned. You see, I'm listening! Isn't that an important quality in a friend?

I vowed to no longer take part in the "slobification of America," as you call it. No more going to the grocery store in gym clothes for me. No, sir! And, now that it's fall, I'm going through my closet and sorting things into four piles: keep, donate, mend and discard.

I'm working hard to get you to notice me, Tim.

Call me. Please.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

On My Mind

There are a few things I need to get off my chest.

First, if another celeb lectures me about limiting my carbon footprint, I'll scream. Since when did one week's training at "Inside the Actor's Studio" make you a scientist? Save the lecture. We all need to do our part. Let's start with Leo getting rid of his Hummer.

Second, an area shock jock about sent me over the edge the other day. During his drive-time program he announced any woman who didn't vote for Hillary Clinton in the "upcoming" election should be ashamed of herself. I hope you'll forgive me for voting based on the issues rather than the plumbing below the belt.

Third, corn. Does anyone else worry about eating this vegetable that can also be used to fuel our cars? So, I can put it in my car to make it go AND I can put it in my stomach? Hmm. No thanks.

Finally, file this under things I need to let go of. I think band class is sexist. Or, at least ten years ago (alright, 15 years), when I took it it was. I was excited to play the trumpet, the sax or the drums. What did I get stuck with? The flute. Who played the aforementioned? The boys. Well, you know how this story goes. Since I was given no good reason for not being able to play what I wanted, I rejected it. The result? An "F" in the class. How's that for maturity? (Now that I'm starting my own company, I prefer to think of it as entrepreneurial spirit.)

Thanks for listening.

I Lost My Appetite

I live downtown. And, every urban dweller faces one uncomfortable truth: At some point, you will be asked by a homeless person for money. On the spot, you're forced to decide if you help someone get their next meal.

I recently faced a situation like this that left me steaming. While driving on a city street to dinner, I saw a man standing on a corner with a sign that read, "Hungry, please help." As a person who literally can't go two hours without eating, signs like these haunt me. I can't imagine going days without food.

But, it's what I saw next that made me lose my appetite.

The light turned green and the small pick-up truck in front of me pulled to the side of where the man was standing. The "hungry man" took his sign, threw it in the back of the truck and they sped away.

Here's an idea: If you're hungry, sell the truck. It's not even a buck to ride the bus.

But, he's not starving. Begging for money is his day job. And, while most Americans go to work to pay their bills, this man takes advantage of human decency.

There are millions of people in our country of abundance who work long hours (at legitimate jobs) and still struggle to put food on the table. And, this man was making a game of it. He's giving those who truly are in need a bad rap.

Confession time: When I see a person asking for money, I immediately start assessing. In our parking lot, a man once asked me for bus fare. Since he was wearing a gold necklace, I told him no.

This week, a woman standing on the corner not far from my house had a sign asking for money for food. Two reasons made me tell her no. First, from that corner, you can literally see the neighborhood soup kitchen. If you're really hungry, you don't need my money. You can walk up the hill and eat for free. Second, she had an eye patch. On a snap judgement I decided it was fake. While her clothes were disheveled, she wasn't filthy. And, the patch, it was stark white and new.

It embarrasses me to admit I make these snap decisions. But I also balance those thoughts with, what if that was your dad? Or, as a person of faith, what if that was Jesus? Well heck, then I'd give him my wallet and the keys to my car.

So, what's the solution? How do I help the working poor and not feel like I'm being scammed? I've considered offering granola bars. I've heard the idea of giving McDonald's gift certificates so they have to be used for food. After the pick-up truck incident, I decided to take a bag of groceries to the local food pantry once a month. I can have confidence I'm helping the working poor and not those just working the system. After all, the working poor don't have time to stand on the corner begging for money. Because, well, they're working.