A Moment of Jen
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Wednesday, November 13, 2002
posted by Jen at 11/13/2002 02:13:00 PM

Greetings from sunny Florida!

It's been a busy five days. On Saturday I was in Scranton, speaking at a women's conference that Adam was nice enough to attend with me, even though he was pretty much the only guy in the room. He was handling it fine until the Mary Kay ladies, who were one of the sponsoring exhibitors, got a hold of him. "Try our Satin Smooth skin cream!" they urged.

"Go ahead, try it!" I said.

He shook his head.

"My husband just loves it!" said one of the Mary Kay ladies reassuringly.

Adam was not reassured. "No thanks," he said. So all through the luncheon, I complained about his dry and scaly hands, and how the Mary Kay ladies only wanted to help him. And possibly give him a little mascara.

We hightailed it out of there, drove two hours home, and saw 8 Mile, of which I have to say this: again with the hair! In White Oleander, Michelle Pfeiffer's in jail, and she's still evidently got access to, and money for, regular touch-ups. In 8 Mile, Kim Basinger's living in a trailer, from which she's about to be evicted, and her hair is still this amazing silky sleek blonde mane. Meanwhile, Brittany Murphy, who plays the Obligatory Trashy Girlfriend, has a mop of overprocessed fried-looking bleached blonde with two inches of dark roots. Which is more like it. But if the filmmakers knew to give her bad hair, why didn't they give Kim Basinger bad hair, too? Do you think there's something in her contract that says "Talent may not appear with anything other than Frederic Fekkai-level locks?" Hmm. (And also, aren't you impressed that I know who Frederic Fekkai even is? Just one of the many services I provide here on SnarkSpot).

On Sunday, I was back in Philadelphia, speaking at Temple Beth Am in Abington, to one of the largest, warmest crowds I've had on the whole book tour. It was a really terrific night. Somebody asked me the bathroom question (Her "Why do so many pivotal scenes in your books take place in ladies' rooms?" Me: "I don't know. It's probably some Freudian thing. I may need help.") A bunch of people asked if I've ever done stand-up. (A: "No. I'm actually very shy. I just hide it well.") Several people claimed that their kids had gone to high school with me, or wanted to know which part of Philadelphia I'd grown up in. Which was cool, because I didn't grow up in Philadelphia -- I grew up in Connecticut. Cannie grew up in a Philadelphia suburb. But if people think I actually did, it means I got the details right.

It was just a really fun night. Except that I missed what everyone's assuring me was the one Sopranos episode I shouldn't have missed. Rats.

Then on Monday I flew to Miami, which I am hereby declaring Worst Airport Ever. Maybe I just caught it on a bad day, but it was crowded, and hot, and noisy, and confusing, and with long lines everywhere and people lying on the floor. But my hotel is beyond lovely, and I had a wonderful reading at Temple Judea in Coral Gables Monday night, followed by delicious Cuban food and reminiscing with a fellow survivor of my first newspaper job ever at the Centre Daily Times in State College, PA.

I started working there in 1991, and was paid $16,000 a year. My friend Scott started a year later, and got $500 more -- because it's a man's world, I guess. Scott's friends were appalled.

"We were poor but proud," I said.

Scott looked at me skeptically.

"Okay, we were just poor."

"Did they feed you?" asked one of his friends.

I thought about it. "We got pizza on election night," I said. And I got to tell one of my favorite early newspaper stories -- the story of how the city editor pulled me aside one day, after a two-week period where I was averaging two mistakes per story, per day, and asked me if I really wanted to be a reporter, and how I looked him right in the eye and said, "Some days I'm not even sure I really want to be a woman." Which completely freaked him out.

So that's what's up. I hope to see all of you Floridians at the Fort Lauderdale Barnes & Noble (2051 N. Federal Highway) at 7:30 on Thursday night, or in Vero Beach at the Vero Beach Book Center on Friday at 7. Also, a new reading on the schedule -- I'll be at the Borders in Las Vegas (2190 Rainbow Blvd) on Saturday, December 7 at 2 p.m.. Tear yourselves away from the tables and come listen!
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