Next week Nicole is going to take a vacation (a real one; I don’t want her answering emails on the plane) and you are all going to have a guest editor, and so am I, I suppose. Her name is Samantha Powell and she has the laugh of an angel and we ate burgers together in Hollywood earlier this year before seeing Bell, Book and Candle, which was quite a lot better than I thought it would be. Canny readers of the site will recall this is not Samantha’s first visit here. She has, in fact, written for us twice before, and I highly recommend reading up on her work before getting a full dose of her next week.
I chose the place where I felt that I would be happiest, where I didn’t feel as much like a trophy in the independent schools’ fucked-up games with each other to pull “the best and the brightest” of the underprivileged out of their situations to prove how progressive they all were. That wasn’t what I would have articulated to you at almost ten, but even if I couldn’t put words to my feelings, it was the source of the warmth that I had for the place. It wasn’t going to be all cookies and tetherball, after all.
I sat with my hands on my knees staring at the glass of water I had requested but would barely touch.
“So you were roughed up by the recession?”
A hollow laugh escaped. I wanted to reach out and catch it. Push it back down, but it was too late. “A little bit.”
She gave me a look. “A little bit?”
Okay, maybe a lot.
The whole tale is long and gross and its details are of little importance except that they landed me in front of a career strategist. She wrote notes on the back of my resume. I looked from her to my water glass to my knees to the lilac manicure on my fingers and back again, trying to find some grounding as I told the story. Trying to see if this time, what felt like the hundredth time of its retelling, would emerge some lesson that would make my path seem clear, or at least less full of bullshit.
“But you would be completely bored doing that.”
It was her response to one of the ideas I had thrown around as a possibility. I had heard it before, and although I understand why people keep saying it to me, I don’t understand its importance at this point. Eventually you don’t care about being bored.
Samantha writes about fashion and unemployment and is very thoughtful and happily ensconced in books (rather like Nicole, come to think of it, which will soothe my loneliness) and is rather a good egg. Here is an edited version of our gchat conversation last night.
Samantha! I demand that you tell us about yourself at once. What news shall I tell the people of you?
Hmm, well, most definitely that I moved to LA a month ago.
Okay. [literally ten minutes pass]
I’m here still and thinking.
I come from a family of all women. Sometimes I think we would make great protaganists in a Toni Morrison novel.
Man, if I were good at Photoshop, I’d do the “Meet Samantha” cover from the old American Girl Dolls book, but with your head photoshopped onto her fancy dress.
I owned that doll because she had my name. And Addy because she had my skin. And I made my mother buy Molly’s glasses for them because I had glasses.
That is a great strategy to get your mom to buy you a lot of dolls.
I mostly liked that they were dolls that came with books. I lost my original book that came with Samantha and am still broken up about it two decades later, because they changed the illustrations in later editions.
[Googles and finds it to be true] WHAT
THAT IS SOME REAL GARBAGE
P.S. Today is Samantha’s birthday. Wish her a happy one as you welcome her with open arms.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.