Friday, June 19, 2009

Looking for Louise

If you don't know this yet, I am a big fan of Sex and the City. I have all the DVDs from the series, and sometimes, when I am in need of comfort, I like to sit down and watch a few. Or maybe all of them, night after night, until I have gone through half the series. Someday I might tire of this, but these last few years it's like occasionally checking in with a group of girlfriends I haven't seen in a while.

I mention this because recently I realized I had only seen the SATC movie once, so I rented it a few nights ago and watched it again. Maybe you've seen it; maybe you haven't. There is a place in that movie when Carrie, the main character, is lost and overwhelmed and so very sad about the unexpected turn her life has taken. She looks around her chaotic apartment and decides to hire an assistant. And the woman she gets is Louise -- Jennifer Hudson -- "Saint Louise from St. Louis." Louise is warm and beautiful and large-bosomed, and takes no bull, and gets things done. She gets right to work in her positive-attitude, take-charge way to set Carrie's life back in order. In days, she creates momentum. In weeks, there is real progress. Carrie is there; she is not uninvolved; but for a little while she steps into the background of her own life. Someone else takes care of the details, while she rests, recharges, and slowly gets back her mojo.

I want Louise.

It's not that my life is so logistically out-of-control right now. I have neglected a lot of daily life kind of stuff in the past few months, but the pit is not so deep I cannot, with the right attitude, dose of caffeine and childcare, dig myself out. I've been lucky to have a few versions of Louise in my house this past week - my mother-in-law, mother and father have each stayed here and done wonders. Friends and family have stopped by, bearing flowers and baked goods. But tomorrow, my mother is leaving.

And I want Louise.

Someone to help me crawl out of bed and into the shower when it is time, and crawl back under the covers when it is that time. Someone to take over the logistics when I cannot summon the energy or desire to handle them myself. Someone to guide me around the emotional minefields when I don't want to face them, and give me space when I do. I have these people - I do. It's just they have to go off to work, or take care of other people, or they live far away, and sometimes they can't answer their phone. People have their own work to do in the world, while, for that short crucial time, Carrie's life was Louise's work.

My sister told me about her friend, a musician, who created an alter-ego agent for herself, to help her further a career that felt heavy resting only on her own shoulders. So unless I spot the perfect ad on Craig's List and come into some unexpected money, it looks like I will be developing a Louise inside myself. She might not show up for work every day, but this morning, with the help of some coffee and a shower and some strategic list-making, she came by for her first hour of work. And I was grateful to see her.

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