Thursday, March 27, 2008

Swimming in the pool.

This is the second part of a story started here a couple of days ago. This is long and a lot of personal stuff (not tv news). Feel free to skip it.

I often think about the decisions I've made in life...going right when I could have gone left, you know what I mean. Big decisions. Life changing decisions. I've had a few.

I had always had an affinity for being on a stage -- singing, acting, etc -- but I was primarily a studious kid. I was labeled 'gifted' very early in life, and that for good or ill, dictated a lot of how I looked at myself. I was supposed to be better than people, and when I'm not, I'm letting everyone else down. After all, I'm "gifted" -- one of the chosen few from some IQ-test lottery deemed to have the potential to accomplish great things. This kept me from fully embracing my love of the arts, and grounded me to doing well at science, math, and English...all the things you'd need to succeed in college.

The first of my life changing decisions came in high school. As I said, I was pretty bookish as a kid. The only extra-curricular activity I had pursued as freshman was the Scholastic Bowl (or Quiz Bowl) team. But as each year past, and each school musical was performed, I found myself drawn closer and closer to my true loves. I had given up choir as a freshman for German class. I had given up studying novels for the college prep English. I compromised on some things, just so I could have others -- like being in the musical or the school play. As a junior I was pretty well cemented with the drama kids. I had joined the Speech Team and was performing dramatic interpretations of scenes by myself and with partners.

That led me to Speech Camp.

It sounds silly, I know. But that one week at a camp at Eastern Illinois University forever changed my life. I experienced great satisfaction in being a performer there. I wasn't the nerd girl who was trying to also be in the play, as I was often perceived at my school. At camp I was 'one of them'. No labels, no 'gifted'...just me.

When I got home from camp, my mom even noticed something different about me, and I remember her telling me as she left my room, "I like you this way." It was then I knew that this was a path worth following.

I give you all this background because I think it important to understanding how I make decisions. Every decision I make comes with a compromise of some sort. I participate in drama or music, but only if I maintain my workload for classes and college. I move to Los Angeles, but only after I was able to secure a transfer from Florida. I continue to work at my job, earning a good income until I'm able to support myself as a writer full time.

So, when I tell you that my trip to Sonoma was a decision which did not involve any compromise, perhaps you'll understand how monumental it was for me to make it.

Sure, I've made decisions to travel, some even short notice, but every trip involved me planning carefully for the time I would be gone from work. This driving trip I took was completely spur of the moment. Minimal planning.

If I had found someone to go with, I'm not sure it would have had as much impact on me as it did. Being alone out on the road for even seven hours provides good time to meditate (and sing really loudly in the car). I thought about the things that make me happy. The drive was easy. I had natural adrenaline, just from the high of being adventurous in a way I haven't been in quite some time.

So, I got to Santa Rosa and found a hotel right off the interstate. Checked in. Called Scoble to find out what was happening, as it was 4 PM and the party wasn't slated to start until 7:30. The gang was still out at a winery tasting wines, which gave me time to shower and change.

I arrived at the winery early. So peaceful...a chill was developing, but it was pleasant to stand outside and watch the sunset behind the vineyard. After about twenty minutes, a man exited the wine house and greeted me. He told me the "gang" would be back soon, as they had grabbed some dinner, something at that moment I hadn't thought to do.

He poured me my first glass of wine from the vineyard, a Chardonnay. I noticed all of the cases of wine -- 24 of them. A lot of wine. How many people would show up to a party announced primarily on Twitter and Qik? This would be interesting.

I heard a noise from outside. A limo had just pulled up. The gang's all here.

To be continued...


Julie O'Hora said...

AAAAArgh! Don't leave me hanging!

Kid Sis said...

Eliza, tell us mooooooore!!!!

Shawn said...

It's now Monday and we're still waiting for Part Three...

**Taps foot**