But at least I've got a good foreshadowing thing going with that last post's title -- "Pressure, pushing down on me ..." I'm good.
(I had no idea that would be my last post for months, of course. But what a telling, telling title.)
So anyway, I'm back. Today's topic is "Today," that popular morning news program featuring stories on everything from the crap state of our economy to videos of Jon and Kate "before they were stars" of "Jon & Kate Plus 8."
I restart my blog with this topic because I ended my workday with this topic. And then kept thinking about this topic for my entire 30-minute drive home, mulling it over and over in my mind.
The issue is this: I'm a journalist. I went to school for journalism and I work in journalism. But I don't work for the "Today" show. Today, though, I was on the phone with the "Today" show for work. More specifically, I was on the phone with a publicist for the show.
I was interviewing her to get some basic details for a story I posted on my paper's site, www.wickedlocalnorthandover.com, on a North Andover couple who have been chosen to compete to have the "Today" show throw them a wedding. If they win, "America," as this publicist put it, will be choosing everything about this couple's wedding, from the bride's dress to the couple's cake to their honeymoon destination, and many things in between.
So, naturally, I had to cover this story. It's fun. It's exciting. It's just the kind of thing my "wicked local," weekly paper's Web site needs to drive traffic. At least I hope it will drive traffic. And the reason I figure it will drive traffic is that everyone loves the glitz and glamour and magic of television and/or movies to touch, or even just faintly graze, their hometowns. Or at least that's how I feel.
So back to "Today." As I was speaking to this very nice publicist and asking her all the hard-hitting questions about "Today Throws a Wedding" that I know my readers want to know, I was also somehow having a separate dialogue with myself in my head. It went something like this:
"This is kind of cool to be talking to someone in New York from the 'Today' show."
"I could do this woman's fancy NBC job with my eyes closed."
"Her job is so less stressful than mine, and I bet she makes twice as much money as I do ... Plus she's in New York City with all the important 'Today' show people."
"I wonder if she gets to talk to Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira."
This is the conversation I was having with myself while interviewing this publicist, then while writing the story, then as I packed my stuff up to go for the day, and especially as I walked to my car.
I was thinking, "I'm here in the suburbs of Massachusetts, nowhere near where all the glossy magazines and important news networks and big publishing houses are. What am I doing?"
But then I caught myself flashing back to the time right after my college graduation when I had to decide what I was doing. Was I going to try to make it in NYC, somehow finding a job and then finding a place to live? I went to NYC with a friend that summer, and checked out the "really nice place" another friend of ours was being put up in by his company while he worked in the city for a month.
It was horrifying. Let me rephrase that. If you like to open your windows and get fresh air, and have a bedroom with a separate wall and door from your living room, and be able to store a hairdryer and maybe some towels in your bathroom, it was horrifying.
It was just so small. And so expensive for being so small. This -- and not hearing back from anyone regarding my many, many job applications addressed to New York, NY -- led me to reassess my wants and needs. I assessed that I wanted to be able to drive around without having anxiety about where I would park, and I wanted to be able to afford to eat and also pay rent. So, I opted to stay closer to home.
As I was walking to my car around 7:30 p.m. EST on this very nice June day, I began appreciating (Yea! I love when I do that!) the fact that yes, my job is not glamorous like the "Today" show publicist's, and I make what I'm sure is way less money. But I can see trees all around me the minute I step out of my office, I can have a dog who can roam around in our yard anywhere she wants, I can grow herbs and flowers and sit outside in the sun where I live, and I can have as many friends and family members over for an impromptu cookout anytime I want and we will definitely have the space.
The good news is, all of these things I am appreciating thanks to my encounter with the "Today" show publicist are not just things I'm telling myself to make myself feel better. I really do love these things.
And as for my unglamorous job, at least sometimes I get to talk to someone who might get to talk to someone famous. And in the meantime, when I take time to think about it, I actually do take comfort in knowing every time I print or post an elementary school student's photo, or a profile an ordinary person doing extraordinary things, I make that person feel a little more famous.
Making others feel good by doing my job? Today, that works for me.