Sunday, August 03, 2008

"I don't like you, but I love you"

Much has been written about how atmospherically correct AMC's Mad Men is, how true to the era the sets and the clothing are. The mores, too. I appreciate the attention to detail and it does make the show more fun to watch.

But for me, Don Draper is the biggest draw. He's fascinating. Not just because of his self-made man, Gatsby personal history. Not only because I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how he really feels about his wife … or his boss … or anyone, for that matter. That tantalizing remoteness that both attracts and repels me in real life does the trick on TV, too. But it's not his backstory that makes Mad Men appointment viewing for me.

The thing that draws me most to Don Draper is that when he's shown with clients or his creative department, I sense he could be dropped into an agency today and be an effective leader. He has those vaunted "big ideas," but they're rooted in good business sense, and he has just enough integrity to inspire loyalty.

For better or worse, Don Draper is true to life.

DAY 3 -- August 08 Happiness Challenge

There was the most completely adorable couple on the bus today. They were each easily 80 and very fit. He had snow white hair and wore a dark polo shirt and khakis. She was a symphony in light green -- slacks, scarf, and sweater set (even though it's August and over 80º). When they reached their stop, he rose first and held out his hand to help her from her seat. I watched them walk up the block, arm in arm, and noticed they were in step with one another. They were also chatting animatedly. They were a real matched set.

They cared about how they looked -- I assume, to remain attractive to each other. They still had a lot to say, even after what I guess is decades together. And he was so gentlemanly toward her.

Think about all the holidays they have spent together, or perhaps apart, if he served overseas. All the sleepless nights they shared, worrying first about sick little ones and then over teenagers who were out with the family car after dark. All the conversations and arguments about money. The college educations and the weddings they may have provided for. The grandchildren they have seen christened. All the election returns they watched together, perhaps having cancelled one another's votes. The parents and now friends and neighbors they have mourned.

Yet, as they walk arm in arm up the street, their eyes still meet and they still have much to say.

I don't know these two, but whoever they are, observing them brought me real joy today.

"The check is in the mail"

So my new freelance client tells me. It better be, because today I spent the money.

I took a writing assignment for the friend of a former coworker. It was fun, a nice respite from the financial services I write at my straight job. Plus it made me happy and proud that I was able to make my former coworker look so good.

Oh, and there's the incremental $412.50. That's nice, too.

Today I spent just over half of it. I bought a Roomba 415 (newer than my current, two year old, much loved, but no longer working well Roomba) and got a pedi at the local salon that is good enough to be open on Sundays. (Puerto Vallerta Violeta again. Maria the manicurist complimented me on how soft my heels are! I feel like I got a gold star on my homework.)

I'm having lunch on Tuesday with the former coworker who set this up. I've already done a couple of quick assignments for her this year, too. I wonder if Tuesday will be business or social. With the agency world as it is right now, I should snap like a turtle at any incremental income that's offered to pay for luxuries like vacuum cleaning robots and Sunday pedis.