Thursday, March 19, 2009

Smiling With My Eyes

my computer’s been acting moody lately so i’ve been rummaging through old files in search of things to delete when i stumbled upon my absolute favorite picture of myself. i know how vain that might sound, but look at the picture. it’s not exactly the softly lit Sears glamour shot where my hair is teased and i’m wearing hooker makeup. (i have one of those, too, but you’ll never see it up here!)

the photo was taken almost six years ago when i first began writing this thing, and was featured in an entry published on June 11, 2003. i was in europe on a work-abroad school program at that time, acting incredibly jet set, while completing a summer internship at Voice of America. those were the glorious, pre-leaky fridge days, the grad student at USC days when i wrote class papers that were published in the LA Times.

those were the days of taut skin and lofty ideals when i drank wine from a box and spent countless afternoons at Souplantation, eating and studying for hours. i know i romanticize those days as being some tender age of innocence with limitless possibilities when the fact is i was just as cranky then as i am today. still, a girl is entitled to her delusions, especially when she’s parading around europe in a ridiculous wig.

if i recall the story behind the photo correctly, i was in Brussels that weekend on a class trip, visiting NATO and EU headquarters like a serious journalist. in the evening, my classmates and i went out to have a few drinks and discuss nuclear disarmament with the locals when we happened upon a bachelor party in full swing at the bar. the guys were british (of course!), also in town for just the weekend and dressed inexplicably like austin powers, hence the wig, glasses and teeth.

i remember putting all three on and then refusing to part with them for the rest of the night, despite the guys’ repeated requests to “give them back already, will you, crazy lady?” fuck them, i was having fun and charming everyone around me with my austin powers impersonation. YEAH, BABY!

the girl behind me in the photo is now the world-famous journalist Melissa Gonzalo, anchor/reporter for an NBC news affiliate in Phoenix, though back then she was just my classmate Gonzo. we had fun that summer, back in those salad days when having fun was the thing that mattered most.

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