Thursday, August 28, 2008

Markers of Privilege

Yesterday, I ran across some blog that had posted my Paul Hastings email. Most of the people commenting were contract attorneys who expressed annoyance that someone like me would complain about getting fired from a big law firm job. The gist of the comments was, what a self entitled princess to think that she should be guaranteed her job when the rest of the world never makes a portion of the kind of money she used to make. I got the sense that some of them would have been gleeful to bitch slap me.

While I can see why, it feels foreign to think that some perceive me as one of those privileged people. It is true that I had been paid a very generous salary for the past ten years while working at a law firm. I too am baffled that there were people willing to pay me that kind of money for the work I did.

During my last year at Paul Hastings, I was billed out at approximately $600 an hour. I've never done anything that commands $600 per hour. I frankly don't know anyone who has. What kind of work can you do that is worth $10 per minute? Maybe putting out a fire on a house filled with infants, paraplegics, and caged animals. Maybe standing up while Colin Powell is giving his UN presentation on Iraq's purchase of uranium yellowcake and crying out "Liar!" Maybe digging for land mines in Cambodia.

But writing nastygrams to opposing counsel because he inserted too many objections to your interrogatories? I always just assumed that I was overpaid. And that my days of easy money were numbered, and that I should shut up and do the work while the money was there. How could I turn away a job that paid multiples of what my parents used to make?

When I was at Cardozo High School in Bayside, New York, there was a kid named John. Like us, he was from a family of Korean immigrants. His parents ran a fruit stand in the Bronx, and his mom, unbeknownst to her husband, used to take $20 out of the cash register every so often to try (unsuccessfully) to fulfill her tithe to the church. You could see John's jeans tautly stretched at the seams exposing the less faded fabric because he hadn't bought a new pair of jeans in years, even though he was bulking up like most guys do in their late teens. That's my world, where everything was stretched beyond their means and the only justifiable indulgence - to be taken sparingly - was for the salvation of one's soul.

I tried to escape this world by moving to San Francisco in the late 90's. But until three years ago, when my parents finally retired from their dry cleaning business, I was never far from the hand wringing that came with the question of whether to charge an extra quarter for the sequin studded blouse, the nights of grief and arguing after a silk tie was ruined and the customer reimbursed. In my mind, I am still that girl working at the counter on Saturdays who quietly seethed when a customer asked to have her dry cleaning brought to her car because she had just had her nails manicured, who watched her parents tally up every penny after the end of a fourteen hour work day.

There were hundreds of me in my school. Many of us escaped Queens by going to Cornell, Yale, Harvard. We're scattered all over this country, blending in as attorneys, doctors, investment bankers. Some of us have checked some things off of the list of the things we'd like to do for our parents, like getting them health insurance, paying off the mortgage, or sending them on a vacation. For some of us, just getting by wasn't really an option (which isn't to say there weren't others with more creativity and smarts to figure out something better). And saying thanks, but no thanks, to those who offer a six figure salary doesn't feel so wise when every quarter seemed to matter way back when.

And if we over did it and became self-entitled princes and princesses in the process, is that so terrible? What I would really like, though, is a fairy princess wand to turn some of those Paul Hastings partners into toads. Oh, right, they already are.

In the meantime, maybe I've earned enough credits to turn to this soul saving business.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


This is probably the last month we'll try to make our baby without third party intervention. You'd think a man and a woman doing what they figured out how to do before puberty would be qualified to get it done, but there are times you need to call in the professionals.

It has only been four months since my miscarriage. But I am 37 year old, six months, and 21 days old, and already my 38th birthday is looming over me. The idea of getting old doesn't bother me. It's just this damn pregnancy business.

I have to admit that there is a side of me that wants to put myself in nature's hands. Completely give in to that sweet faith as I would at a revival or a Madonna concert. Trust my body to perform for me as it has for all these years when it memorized the multiplication table, lost those ten pounds, passed the bar. To believe that I won't be left behind while everyone else is saved and allowed to move on to their family scenes. Surely not me, I won't be singled out, right?

But then, a quick perusal of the daily paper reminds me that this same nature is unable to fend for itself against the extinction of the dodo, global warming, and basic human idiocy. If cosmic forces can't align to save a whole species of the Bali tiger, what would it do to ensure that my one egg meets Jeff's sperm? I don't want to go the way of Liu Xiang for one of the most important events of my life. So once we are through with the current box of ovulation sticks, I am going to put in a call to my ob-gyn and put my hands in hers.

Jeff and I are not good at wait and see. If we had been, we may still be single, waiting for that cute guy or gal at the bar to notice us or sitting in front of the tv clipping our toenails while feeling sorry for ourselves. Now we can do the clipping together. We had enough wit to plunk down our hard earned money for six month subscriptions to Yahoo! personals. Yeah, we could have signed up and still not met each other, but that's not the point. The point is that we did. Wouldn't we be fools not to make that kind of a bet again?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I suffer from an overdose of guilt. It probably has to do with my upbringing, like everything else we can't explain away in one sentence. Maybe partly because I asked my mom if I was adopted and didn't believe her answer until she dug out my birth certificate years later on a two week trip back to Korea after rummaging through moth ball scented clothes and mildewed photo albums that had been left behind in the attic of our old house in Seoul. Maybe because I screamed as if someone were pulling my toenails out with a plier every time my brother exceeded the speed limit when he was trying to learn how to drive. Maybe because I hadn't washed my hands each time I said I did. Who knows what dramas are constantly being replayed in our complicated little brains and which scenes make us shudder and close our eyes?

All I know is that guilt chases me throughout the day. When Sherlock sits by my feet, rests his head on my keyboard, and peers up at me with his lollipop eyes, I can see the bubble rise out of his head with a plea on why I should take him to the beach that very minute, even though I took him for an extended romp yesterday. It is just a matter of minutes before I start to contemplate the grey line between neglect and abuse, wonder whether I am fit to be a mother, of a dog or a child, and debate whether I should pick up where the old dog walker left off and take him to the beach for three hours a day now that I'm working from home. I then feel his mortality looming and wonder if he is getting out of life what he should and if I am failing to do my part in that endeavor.

I probably read too much Ayn Rand when I was in high school. I believed her too earnestly when she told me that every minute of life is precious. A part of me wants to live by the creed to live every day as if it's your last - while helping Sherlock with his - but it does seem to conflict at times (with itself and others'). It also gets exhausting after a while to imagine the obituary that you'd appoint your most loyal and creative friend to write, especially when you aren't living up to your mental image of how you should be living.

And if you are living your life like it's your last, how about everyone else? Are they doing the same? Who would then make the funeral arrangements? I'm the kind of person who never asks for a ride to the airport because I would rather lug my suitcase on a bus, then a subway, and then another bus, and walk through three different terminals before arriving where I need to be three hours later than ask someone to take an hour out of their day. That, or pay $60 for a cab. When I went off to college in Chicago from NY, I arrived at the dorm with two suitcases while other kids showed up with their loaded u-haul trucks with their nuclear and extended families in tow, including the grandma in her wheelchair. It's easier to be self-contained and not impose on others when you can't return the favor.

Even now, when Jeff returns at 9pm after an hour's commute from work and sweetly insists on doing the dishes after our quick dinner, I hover over him to make myself useful in any small way. I worry about how I'm only working four hour days doing my contract work after spending $14.50 at lunch with a friend and $21.32 for black mission figs at Whole Foods while Jeff works at least eight more hours, dining on his company's gourmet cafeteria food.

In my mind, it always boils down to the sum of human effort. And it often feels like a zero sum game.

In a perfect world, we would have absolute equality all of the time. Jeff and I would work the same hours at the same level of effort, squeezing the same level of enjoyment from our life's work. Or I would do a tad extra so that I would have a small reserve for the day I want to slack off.

Or we can squat on some remote beach and teach Sherlock how to fish.

I haven't thought through the part when (if?) one of us gets pregnant.

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Beginnings

A friend celebrated her new beginning this weekend, as one celebrates a new birth, the coming of age. She invited her friends to witness, as one witnesses a union between a couple. There we were, almost a hundred of us, dressed in our fineries, small patches from different parts of her life brought together to form a protective quilt of warmth and comfort around her. We toasted her, holding our glasses of wine and champagne, warmed to the brim with our best of intentions and hopes for her new beginning.

She had emerged from a dark place. A year before, she found herself in the midst of a sudden separation and then a divorce that had seemed unfathomable months before. It had seemed so alien, that they should be severed, like facing the sudden loss of a limb after a tragic accident. After years of being part of a twosome, she found herself alone, facing the unknown future, questioning the past.

Even as we stood by her with our hearts and hands extended, the aloneness was hers to bear. She lived with the quiet, the unused pillow, the empty seat in the car after we went home. The weighty questions about what happened could only be raised - and answered, even if only incompletely and imperfectly - by her. We wanted so much for her to find a way out of the fear and doubt that could have easily consumed her. But with nothing more than a band-aid to offer after a tragic event, we stood by, waiting for her to emerge from this dark tunnel, not without changes, but unscathed and intact.

And it is this that we celebrated, a new beginning where she embraces life, not despair. A determination that says she will be okay. The sense of security that gives her room to be vulnerable. As we watched her beam, dance, and flirt throughout the evening, we knew she found her way out.

Then I realized that these are the moments we should celebrate, not the mere passage of time or the good fortune of having met someone, but the act of becoming unstuck from what could have suffocated us, of finding our way to the life we want to live. Not curling back into fetal position, but finding something to hold on to that helps us forge our way to a better place.

As we left at the end of the evening, I hugged her tightly and clung to her a tad longer because I wanted to borrow from her strength. I think she has a surplus now and would be happy to share.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I boxed up ambition today. I laid it on top of the grey tissue paper in an old Aldo shoebox and flapped the ends of the tissue paper over it. I replaced the lid on top and stuck a rubber band around the box. I carried it downstairs to the corner of the garage and stashed it in the far left corner along with my worn out running shoes.

I didn't want it lurking around anymore, reminding me of what I should be doing, where I should be in life. I don't even know where it gets its notions. I mean, how should it know where I should be when I am clueless myself? I am tired of it nagging me to go out and network, to advance my career, to be on top of my game. And then the hypocrisy of clicking on its watch to remind me of my ticking biological time bomb while holding up images of how I should look, how I should dress, how I should carry myself. I am done with fending off failure, living against death.

I'm going to try just existing for a change, existing for the sake of existing. I'll wake up and lounge with my hair unkempt. I will stop accounting for the things I have done throughout the day to tally up my time. I'll embrace my job that is just a job that carries no prospect of advancement, a simple exchange of time and labor for money. I'll stop answering to that voice that keeps goading, what do you have to show for yourself?

A few months ago, I heard from a college friend who summed up her past few years with belly dancing, hat making, art history, and archeology. One thing led to the other, she said. I want to try this type of living, where there is no neat sum, but a collage of different experiences that answer to the divergent needs and wants of the body.

Monday, August 18, 2008


It's the kind of cold that hurts your teeth. I try to keep my mouth closed, but the wind pierces through as I breathe. My cheeks are numb to my touch, and my ears are seized by the roar of the wind. My hands curl into themselves, forming fists to ward against the invasion of the icy wind cutting through my two layers of gloves.

My feet tread on the swath of white that had looked so majestic from the inside. The snow seeps through my soles, the inner sanctum where my feet had been encased in dry wool socks. I trudge on even though I have nowhere to go. I carefully land my feet at 90 degree angles to leave as much of the snow undisturbed, to preserve the pristine whiteness. I look back, and I can see each imprint I had made on the white canvas, one step after the next in a clean sequence that looks so deliberate, decisive.

I can no longer feel the warmth of my own breath when I blow into the hood of my coat. The shrill, howling wind overpowers my internal generator, and I know I am but a speck. The lake is undulating, as if beckoning me closer, and I edge closer. There, I find blocks and chunks of ice, as large as pianos, once frozen together, but now free to dance their own dance. And in this dance, they slam and crash against each other, as if to defy the containment, as if screaming for more space. There I stand in the pristine snow, feeling the rumble inside of me grow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


We are riding down the LIE at a steady 50 mph on a 65 mph limit freeway lined with drivers going 85. My father sits with the steering wheel at his chest, white knuckles, back propped up by a cushion from our polyester couch from the 80's that was added after the electronic seat adjuster broke, eyes staring out above the dashboard. Other drivers dart out from behind, stare us down as they rush past, and plant themselves firmly in front and reclaim the lane with an angry screech.

I'm staring at the back of the passenger seat that cradles my mother's five feet two inch frame. Her head barely reaches the tip of the head rest. Puffs of her short hair bounce in the air, and her head bobs up and down as she talks with animation. The car is filled with the cadence of her words. As she talks, her fingers gesticulate in the air, as if conducting an orchestra, and she breaks out into pearls of laughter as she tells and listens to her own story.

She's telling a story about some Korean couple in San Jose who suddenly lost their convenience store and started collecting ginkos from a tree planted outside of some hotel.

- But what do you mean? Why would they do that? I ask.

- They had no money. How could they keep paying rent and buy food for the kids? They collected the ginkos and sold them to the grocery stores, just for a while until they could figure out what to do next. Anyway, they went out early every morning to collect the ginkos. The husband would climb the tree and shake down the branches, and his wife ran around collecting the fallen fruit. One day, they looked up and noticed a whole row of cars lined up on the road and they realized that they were blocking traffic. The whole time, no one honked. Isn't that amazing? People are so different in California. So patient. And the police came and asked them to stop picking the ginkos because they were causing traffic problems, and they were just grateful that they weren't arrested by the American policeman.

A second later, she turns around, pops her apple cheeks above the seat, and cajoles, Translate for him, won't you? You don't want him to get bored, do you? Did I mention that this couple lives in San Jose, where Jeff used to live?

So I turn to Jeff, sitting to my left, who looks back with a what's going on? I start with, so she wants me to translate for you..., and I wonder how to translate this story. Collecting ginkos for a living? How does that make sense? Could I compare it to the diminutive South East Asian ladies with rice field straw hats that we see in San Francisco, the ones who carry trash bags hanging from the ends of their poles, as if they stepped out of the pages of the National Geographics into our streets of Noe Valley, to rummage through our collection of empty wine bottles, tomato sauce jars, and Schwepps cans?

I skip the editorializing and dutifully translate. Jeff, with all of his sweetness, responds with a smile.

As soon as I finish, she launches into yet another story about another Korean. This time, it is the story of a poor, old man whose grown children neglected their filial duties and stopped visiting. A wily guy, he constructed a huge shed in his back yard and secured it with the biggest lock he could find. When one of his sons finally visited, he told him to open the shed only after he had died and to divide the contents equally among his siblings. From then on, the children started visiting regularly, and the father lived a happy man until his dying day. When the father passed away, the children broke away the lock with a heavy plier only to find the shed piled with mounds of rubbish.

These are just two of the stories she collected over the months while we lived our lives on the other end of this country. She wants us to meet them, these other Koreans who live in America, who also brought their Korean ways to this foreign land. They keep her company and fill her mind with amusement, diminishing the suffocating loneliness that has like cobweb become another part of her everyday.

So I listen, with my head bent, nodding along, with an occasional uh hum and laughter when appropriate, with my reserve of English words for Jeff, to let her know that we converge here as we ride through time, as time slows down just for us.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Reading List

I've added a reading list to the blog. My goal is to read (or re-read) anything well written. I've heard so many people say that reading well written material can help one write well. So my list will help me to focus my reading and to be more attuned to good writing. And I hope people will write in with suggestions for books (either fiction or non-fiction) that they found to be well written. I'm putting an asterisk by the books that I would recommend (there are only two listed so far, and I found both quite beautiful), italics for books on the craft of writing, and ~ by miscarriage related material. I also have a list of my favorite books on my profile page.

Happy reading, everyone!

Here's my ongoing list:

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (8/11)*
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, by Jean-Dominique Bauby (8/11)**
House of Splendid Isolation, by Edna O'Brien (8/13)
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold (8/15)
Breath, Eyes, Memory, by Edwidge Dandicat (8/21)
Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson (8/22)
Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, by Janet Burroway (8/25)*
Being Dead, by Jim Crace (9/12)
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing (9/15)*
Escape, by Carolyn Jessop (10/4)
Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane (10/14)
The Custom of the Country, by Edith Wharton (10/15)
In Full Bloom, by Caroline Hwang (10/24)
Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama (11/1)*
To Full Term, by Darci Klein (11/7)~
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ismael Beth (11/10)*
The Road of Lost Innocence, by Somaly Mam (11/11)
Safekeeping, by Abigail Thomas (11/13)**
Waiting for Daisy
, by Peggy Orenstein (11/23)~
Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth About Miscarriage, by Jon Cohen (11/29)*~
Supreme Courtship, by Christopher Buckley (12/6) - Not as funny as Thank you for Smoking.
On Writing Well, by William Zinsser (1/9)** - Basics of good non-fiction writing.
Den of Lions
, by Terry Anderson (4/25)** - Heartbreaking memoir by an AP journalist who was held hostage by the Islamic Jihad for 7 years. Reminds me to appreciate my every days.
The Tears of My Soul, by Kim Hyun Hee (5/31) - Disturbing story of a woman who was trained to be a spy by North Korea and bombed a Korean Air Lines flight 858 in 1987, killing 115 passengers.


My contract project ended four days ago. For the first two days, I kept myself busy by getting ready for a BBQ we had with some of my old colleagues at our place on Saturday. Then we had the weekend. And this morning, I woke up, finished the last 100 pages of Cormac McCarthy's The Road, read the papers, had breakfast, emailed the contract people I worked for to see if they needed any more help, drove to the gym and ran for about half an hour because I didn't want to overstrain myself in case I am pregnant, and went to Safeway to pick up some groceries. Now I am back, and it isn't even noon yet.

I've already picked out the books I want to tackle next. The yard is pretty much done, but there is one little corner where we had talked about putting some mondo grass on the mounds. I will save that project for tomorrow. I can take the dog to the beach, and I have a few long term projects on my list like putting together our wedding album and organizing my contacts list. I have yoga and pilates DVDs, and lunches planned for the rest of the week.

Now what? The truth is that I am afraid of too much free time. I can handle spurts here and there, such as a planned vacation. But undefined and unlimited free time with no clear end in sight makes me feel lost... and useless. I flitter around like a fruitfly around a lightbulb, overwhelmed by the very thing it's attracted to.

It isn't really fear of time itself. It is fear that I am not spending my time as well as I could be. And in the process of fearing, I squander the very thing I am trying to optimize. There are so many choices about how to spend each minute, and that choice can be overwhelming, especially when you don't know the outcome. Somehow this didn't seem to be as much of a problem when I had a law firm job and my time was already paid for.

I need structure, as a house needs rooms, a garden a layout, a book its chapters. And I need boundaries, like a pool, like a petulant child.

I'm debating whether to seek a full time job. The contract work, while it lasted, was perfect. I had just the right amount of work and adequate pay. And while I worked, the idea of a break in between projects sounded like just the thing. I could work on my writing and try to chart out some ideas for a possible novel. Sounds great, doesn't it? But now that the time is here, I am picking at my nails, sifting through a mound of books that I can't seem to get into, wondering if I should be out enjoying the sun when I'm behind the computer and then wondering if I should be working on my blog when sitting at an outdoor cafe.

A part of me is hesitant to seek a full time job. I am trying to get pregnant, and I don't want to start the job, get pregnant, then take a three or six months leave less than a year later when I am still trying to get integrated into the job, and then deal with the possibility that I may decide that I really don't want to have the baby raised by a nanny or someone at day care. Sticking a new boss with a maternity leave pay and the possibility that I may not stick around doesn't seem right. But what if it takes me over a year to get pregnant? Then what?

And the other part of the hesitation is that this could be a great opportunity to try this writing thing. Isn't it time I need more than anything if I am really going to do this?

Someone said that this would be a perfect time to live the life of Eat, Pray, Love. Somehow moving to Italy and taking on an Italian lover does not seem to be the right direction for me. Jeff may tend to agree.

So maybe this is one of these personal skills I need to work on. Thinking about how I want to live my life, instead of just burying my head in work and pretending that is fully justified because I get paid a high salary. Time is ticking away no matter what, and I have to figure out what I think makes my life worthwhile. It is the accumulation of these everyday minutes that makes up my one life, and I don't want to look back and regret vats of empty time that give a semblance of structure around their hollowness.

Just clinging to what I know, like clinging to the side of the pool afraid to let go, won't get me anywhere. I want to let go, to be at ease with uncertainty, to know that I won't be floundering for floundering sake but because I am learning how to find my own rhythm amongst the waves. God knows I've put it off long enough.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


It's the voice of a mother. Quivering. Please help, please... He's in there. Hurry, hurry, hurry... The voice tapers off, hope fighting hopelessness, a splintering shield against the onset of naked desperation.

A mound of broken concrete and metal, piled several stories high. Metal pikes bent, broken, and misshapen in all directions. Men in hard hats walking above the rubble, lifting pieces of the building that once was.

I left him, she says, even though he begged to come along. A two year old child, how could I take him? I always leave him with the neighbors. Why didn't I take him with me, she cries. Why didn't I?

She rebukes herself for not having done otherwise, for having made a decision that made sense on so many other days but not today. It's a mother's lament, for not seeing what she could not have seen, for failing to shield her child against the unknown.

They found his body along with the neighbors'. Twenty-eight pounds of flesh. She had felt it grow from nothing into a mass with a heartbeat. And finally, after months of waiting, of tending to her body that housed something more precious, she had held this living being that smelled of sweet flesh and warmed her heart. He had moved his arms and legs, blinked, suckled. She helped him grow, day after day, night after night, with her ears, eyes, and nose careened in his direction for his every need and want.

What happened to all the sounds that used to come out of his soft mouth, the spurts of hot breath that she felt out of his nose, the beating of his little heart? Where did they go?

All she has now is this broken body. No arms that bend around her neck, no mouth that forms into a laugh, no legs that race to greet her. It is once again just a mass of flesh that will be reduced back to nothingness.

We are spectators to this mother's devastation. She is thousands of miles away, and we do not speak the same official language. But it is she who teaches me the meaning of loss, of what is precious, of the ever present risk.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


It's a windy day, the kind of day when the air throws mini-darts of dust into your already dried out contact lenses and old, urine stained newspapers whirl out of trash bins and threaten to land on your face. The creaky metal signs dangling precariously off of store awnings are on the verge of flying off, and people walk down the streets folding into themselves, bracing against the unexpected scourge of mother earth.

The wind must have rattled something inside. I felt it invading my lungs and swishing around in my veins. I feel shaken, discombobulated. Nothing feels right and I am itchy, as if my skin is too tight and I want to peel it off. My head feels like it's packed with too much, and I squeeze my palms against it to contain my thoughts.

Everything feels up in the air. My career, my pregnancy... I feel unhinged.

I've spent the past decade or so on one track - with blinders on. And suddenly I'm off track, and it is up to me to decide where to go.

Right now, I feel like letting the wind carry me wherever it will.

I've been working a temporary contract job that is bound to end any day. I am doing work I used to do as a paralegal, but it pays well for what it is. I don't mind it. Sometimes I work at home, other days I sit in cafes with wi-fi access, hanging out with the workday, mid-afternoon, latte sipping crowd. There is no pressure and no partner whose anxieties need to be constantly appeased. I don't have to worry about how to find more billable hours, whether I should stay that one extra hour in the office, whether I should get involved with this or that committee, whether I should go out of my way to chat more with this or that partner, whether I should make myself available for the drinks, dinner, boat ride, and the non-stop smiling and cheerleading that comes with the summer program, what more I should be doing to secure myself. I just do my work, and I get paid. And there is no one to impress.

Maybe I'll stay here awhile. But then what? How long can I stay here? Is it simply that I'm no longer in motion that's causing the unease? Or is it the longing to have arrived somewhere?

The other day, while shopping, I saw The Oprah Magazine, with Oprah in a fire red dress, silver buckle, arms outstretched, like a sun goddess, with this proclamation in big bold letters: "YOU are an Excellent Woman. How to finally let that message seep into your bones." I clutched it to my chest, because I want to let that message seep in. Me, a woman, apart from my career, apart from a child. Me alone. Me here and now.

So I won't play that game with myself right now, that game we played in seventh grade, where you try to decide whom to save in the nuclear shelter when there is room for only seven for twelve of you. And I won't wonder what they would do with someone like me. Oprah will save me.