September 23, 2004

Meet Ramona

There’s this thing I do when I visit Warner, or do anything related to being in public in a REPRESENTING MY ADORED BOOK way. The most honest name for it is probably “pretending to be comfortable.” After I get through the building security and before I get on the elevator, I slip into an alternate persona. I love her. I love WEARING her, dipping myself into her until she covers me. She’s slick and faintly sticky like fresh varnish or a coat of frozen honey. Her name is Ramona.

I do this because – no I AM SERIOUS HERE – do NOT laugh. I am SECRETLY paralyzingly shy. No one ever believes me when I say this, but trust me. I am shy on the INSIDE. Where it counts. Thus, in order to do the things I wanted to do – audition for plays, initially, and not DIE of the endless and repetitive MILLION rejections you get for every yes, and then later do readings and talk to folks about my writing and get an agent and garner even MORE rejections and not die and, gee, I don’t know, have ACTUAL CONVERSATIONS and even MAKE FRIENDS with strange human beings who were not personally related to me by blood and thus MORALLY OBLIGATED to like me – I had to create Ramona.

Ramona doesn’t bite her nails, spill drinks down her front, or trip when she walks across the room in what can only be described as OH! THOU CRUEL AND BEAUTIFUL SHOES! These are three things I personally specialize in, BUT NOT RAMONA. And if she did? If she did trip and fall right off her shoes and land smack on her butt? She’d pull it off and be very funny about it. Ramona is a good sport.

Ramona doesn’t hunch or crunch herself into chairs or fold up into a corner with her arms crossed defensively. She has open body language that says I AM TOTALLY AT EASE IN THE WORLD, when God KNOWS I have never been at ease ONCE in my ENTIRE life in ANY SETTING. Ramona remembers people’s names. Ramona is a good listener. Ramona looks people dead straight in the eye. Ramona genuinely LIKES PEOPLE, meeting them, talking to them, because she thinks they will probably like her back. SHE likes her, so why shouldn’t they?

See how that works? No? Me neither.

But something weird happened this time. I was very busy hanging around the building like a derelict, “pretending to be comfortable,” and all of a sudden I realized, HEY, WAIT A SEC… I am not pretending! I had slipped into a chat with my editor (LOVE! HER!) and lost track of my limbs, and while I wasn’t paying attention they had NOT gathered themselves around me into a protective shell and my shoulders had not folded inwards as if they were trying to touch each other and my spine had not curled itself into a fetal hump. I was standing there, laughing and chatting, ACTUALLY at ease.

Or as at ease I get. I do, after all, have the rich inner life of a squirrel on crack. So.

Each of the three times I have made the pilgrimage to NYC, that Mecca of the writing set, my Best Friend in the Universe called me before I left, and said, “GOOD LUCK! HAVE FUN! RAMONA THE HELL OUT OF THEM.” (She has a Ramona too. Hers is named Jane. So see, she knows.) But with this trip, there was a paradigm shift, and I am beginning to suspect something. I am beginning to suspect that Ramona may actually be ME. Well, okay. A me with 30% less mental illness and a better wardrobe. But still.

Posted by joshilyn at September 23, 2004 9:23 AM

Hiya Ramona
Please to meet you. My name's Ian.

Posted by: Klint at September 23, 2004 11:53 AM

You are INSANELY funny! ;)

Posted by: Hope Wilbanks at September 23, 2004 12:53 PM

Oh, mine was Melissa! (who is actually my BF from the the beginning of time, so she was easy to copy). I say "was" because I incorporated my inner Melissa years ago.

Posted by: Bonnie at September 23, 2004 1:06 PM

Sounds like Ramona has a leak! Which is good! Except for the part where it sounds gross! ;)

Posted by: Mir at September 23, 2004 1:59 PM

Mine's Portia.
But she irritates me. Is that nuts, do you think?
Don't answer, she's reading over my shoulder.

Posted by: Kira at September 23, 2004 6:24 PM

I'll tell you about Tiffany sometime!!

Posted by: Jane at September 23, 2004 7:46 PM

I completely understand. You should have seen the shock when I told people I was going into public speaking ;)

Posted by: AGK at September 24, 2004 7:09 AM

An alter ego? As if. I could never have one of those. Just sign this...
Linda, er, Lidna, um, Lydia....

Just definitely not Missy!

Posted by: Linda Sherwood at September 24, 2004 7:54 AM

I believe i've told you about Miranda. But I'm afraid to let her out to talk to you. She's mean and I'm scared of her!

Posted by: Amy at September 24, 2004 9:42 AM