Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Decision from the HGTV Application

“Remember that HGTV application I submitted for The House?” I said scanning my email inbox.
“Hmm,” Mr. Wonderful said sipping his coffee.
“They haven’t written back yet to say we’ve been chosen.”
“Hmm.”
“They haven’t called.”
“Hmm.”
“Which means they’ll be knocking on our door soon.”


After filling out an application for having total strangers—but professional ones!—from the HGTV cable channel redo part of our house, I hoped they’d let us know that we had been chosen soon. I really wanted to be chosen especially since our space needed so much help, our lives needed some weekends free of DIY-ing and I needed to drink some Rosé by the pool and watch others work on The House. Selecting our room to be redone on national television was a slam dunk in my mind.

Unfortunately my mind was not making the decision. So hours turned into days, days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into a long time to wait without word from HGTV.

“Why didn’t they choose us?” I said flopping on the sofa.
“Maybe because you described our style as ‘Mid-century modern, Mediterranean, contemporary, traditional’,” Mr. Wonderful said sitting in an armchair.
“I used all those terms because we’re eclectic.”
“Instead it sounds like we’re schizophrenic.”

Maybe Mr. Wonderful was right and it was my complicated description that made our project untenable for HGTV and knocked us out of the running. Although, if they were professionals wouldn’t they know how to combine those styles for us?
“Let it go,” Mr. Wonderful said because he is wise.  I couldn’t because I’m... not wise.

“They could at least do us the courtesy of letting us know that we weren’t selected,” I said sighing on the sofa.
“And get an angry response from you? Why would they?” Mr. Wonderful said moving toward the kitchen.
“I’m not angry. I’m disappointed.”
“They don’t want to hear from disappointed homeowners,” Mr. Wonderful said making another espresso.
But this disappointed homeowner wanted to hear from them.

Growing up in the Midwest when I was selected or not selected for things, I was informed with a letter: “Congratulations you’ve been selected to attend ____ University.” Or a phone call: “Congrats you made the cut and are on the Spring Soccer Team!” Or the radio: “Due to the heavy snowfall, classes at ____ School have been cancelled.” Hooray!

But not anymore and not in Los Angeles. Now if you aren’t chosen, aren’t selected or don’t win you only know by not hearing anything from emails, phone calls or iChats. Instead it’s the big silence. It’s like inviting people to an event on Facebook. If they don’t RSVP, then you know they aren’t coming. I miss the days of knowing what happened concerning selection or non-selection.

Outside sweeping the front walk clean of the neighbor’s leaves which the wind had blown in, I saw my 86 year-old neighbor shuffling up the street.
“Hi Harold,” I said tossing him a smile.
“A palm frond from your palm tree blew into my yard,” he said matter of factly.
“Sorry. I’ll clean it up,” I said spotting the offending brown frond, and avoiding its jagged teeth, stuffed it into the green bin.

Harold walked to the stop sign and circled back. “There are two of your palm fronds in Jerry’s yard,” he said.
“Thanks, Harold,” I said dropping my broom and rushing over to clear away the fronds from Jerry’s yard and stuff them into the green bin, snagging my fingers on the jagged teeth.

Harold stopped in my driveway. “And there are three of them in the boys’ yard.” I looked over at Charles and Stephen’s yard and noticed three dried palm fronds. They could have come from my trees or they could have been from Charles and Stephen’s own palm trees.
“Ok, Harold,” I said grabbing the three plan fronds and stuffing them into the green bin snagging my hand on the rough teeth. At this point I hadn’t swept a bit of my front walk, I’d ripped my hands to shreds and I was disappointed that the dead palm fronds had made me a bad neighbor.

“And another thing—”
“Stop with the bad news, Harold! I can’t stand hearing bad news!”
He looked at me from behind his eyeglasses, his pale blue eyes the size of dinner plates. He had never seen me like this.
“I was just going to say," he continued. "Thanks for always cleaning your fronds up. You’re a good neighbor.”

The anger faded. The disappointment dissipated. I smiled. I didn’t need to hear bad news about me because it didn’t make me—or others—happy. Give me the big silence on the bad news but shower me with the good news! Bring on the good news! Hey, good news, I'm listening!