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What are you up to? Imagination vs. reality

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Lynne D. Schwabe Lynne D. Schwabe
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Lynne D. Schwabe was owner of Schwabe-May of Charleston, ran her own marketing consulting firm and is a nationally recognized motivational speaker. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Women's Wear Daily and has appeared on CNBC's Power Lunch. She currently is director of development for the National Youth Science Foundation. She can be reached at schwabestatejournal.gmail.com.

A friend of mine told me recently that when asked what I was up to, she replied, "She's living in Rome with an Argentinian polo player." I hope that in my next lifetime, something like this will be a reality.

My current reality was something far less intriguing: I was at my desk at work, opening mail. But for a short while, my brain spun, coming up with all kinds of answers to the "What are you up to?" question. 

Answers that would make people gasp, stop in their tracks or just stare at me, slack-jawed with envy. 

For example:

 

  1. "Sitting in the front row of a Paris fashion show with Tina Fey."
  2. "My house is being featured on HGTV."
  3. "Flying to Houston for a harp master class."
  4. "Letting a 12-foot python curl around me as part of a jungle survival school final."
  5. "Going to dinner at Ina Garten's house."
  6. "I am surrounded by firemen. There is no fire."
  7. "Being seduced by Sean Connery."
  8. "Calling my parents from the ultrasuede-uphostered cabin of a Gulfstream."
  9. "Ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange."
  10. "Throwing out the ball at a Red Sox game."
  11. "Wintering on a yacht off the Riviera with a Greek billionaire."
  12. "Singing backup for Bill Withers."
  13. "Having dinner with Warren Buffet."
  14. "Being an honorary Dallas Cowboys cheerleader."
  15. "Flying in an F-102."
  16. "Winning Project Runway."
  17. "Eloping with George Clooney."
  18. "Just collecting my Olympic gold medal."
  19. "Being photographed for a high fashion magazine."

 

I thought these answers were far more appealing than what I was actually doing. 

I mean, who would want to hear:

 

  • "Buying peas at Kroger."
  • "Cleaning toilets."
  • "Getting the car inspected."
  • "Raking the yard."
  • "Trying to find a new pair of jeans."
  • "Re-arranging the garage."
  • "Vacuuming up cat hair."
  • "Having a skirt hemmed."

 

They say that one can make anything seem like fun, the old Huckleberry Finn paint-the-fence routine. Believe me, I've tried. 

"I'm cleaning out the freezer, and I just found two desiccated packages of unidentifiable stuff. Stool samples for the vet? Wedding cake?" 

Somehow that just doesn't have the same ring as a sentence with the words "billionaire" or "trying on diamond rings" in it.

I could really get into my more glamorous, imaginary life. You know, the one in which I am tall, blonde, shapely and a member of MENSA? The one in which my sheets and towels are changed every day, and I am not the one doing the laundry? The one in which any important person that I can think of will take my calls? The one in which heads turn when I walk into a room? The one in which I never have to worry about money? 

Yes, I admit it. I want to be one of those women who rinses her baby arugula leaves in the sink of a gourmet kitchen with slate green walls, stainless steel appliances and marble countertops while wearing high heels with pointy toes. The kind who furnishes her house with a casual mix of priceless antiques and little gems she picked up while shopping at a French flea market. The type who has exquisite paintings hanging on her walls, given to her by her artist boyfriends.

Until that happens, I'll have to settle for the uneventful life I have, and my friend will have to continue making up exotic scenarios when asked what I am up to. 

But lest you feel sorry for me, try to guess which of the "What are you up to" questions are not imaginary, but scenarios that actually have happened to me. A hint: there are four.

Answers: 4, 7, 8, 15