April 14, 1998

Views From Metropolis


Wendy M. Pfeiffer

Part 5 in a Series

"Like the faint, melodic stirrings
Of a half-forgotten dream
Visions of another life
Flow hauntingly to me
Help me, won't you please?
Tell me who I used to be"
--Ruth Anne Boothe

Can I exist only in this moment? Am I a single nodal point of matter and
chemistry defined by here, and now? Must I always view my life as a

Once, I waited in awe and joy for my nephew to be born. He was so
beautiful, so precious and amazing. I held him and cried over him, bought
him gifts, sent him cards, and sang to him on the telephone. I carried his
picture in my wallet, and became his godmother. I prayed for him every

Once, I was stayed up all night and watched "Satan's School for Girls" and
ate chocolate pudding with my best friend. I had pigtails and glasses, and
I believed I could climb trees better than anyone. I promised to move to
Texas to join her as soon as I was 18.

Once, I worked at NASA. I co-piloted flight simulators while logging
reaction times and eye movements of commercial airline pilots. I was one
year from entering the Air Force Academy to pursue a successful career in
behavioral research.

Once, I sang for audiences of hundreds, and played the clarinet in the
symphony. I was in musicals and ensembles, recorded Christian and
classical music, played Laurie in "Oklahoma" and was voted "Most Talented."

Once, I was a witness in a government treason proceeding. My testimony
helped to deport a man and his family.

Once, I played kicker on an all-Indian soccer league in Durango. I played
in the snow, with a broken toe and no gloves. I scored points and cracked
a man's shin with my head. I didn't notice that I was injured until the
next day.

Once, I got married on Independence Day. I gained a British passport and
45 pounds.

Once, I was Molly Ringwald. 10-15 people would stop me, every day of the
week, for months, and tell me I was! Twice, I signed autographs, and often
enjoyed drinks purchased for her.

Once, I was a Silicon Valley Success Story. I had options and promotions
and agents and offices. I had a staff, a team, a housekeeper and a
headhunter. I sold software, marketed networks, and created the first
commercial market for GPS receivers. On one fine afternoon, I even
understood AI for a moment.

Once, I was Daddy's little girl.

Once, I was "the problem." I was recalcitrant and defensive, stubborn, and
unwilling to listen to reason. I was always making excuses, and never
doing anything constructive. I was argumentative and impatient, and my
anger went deeper than the situation warranted.

Perhaps this is the secret of L.A. for me: This city accepts my desire to
live life in the moment. I do not need forgiveness, or perspective, or
even integration. I just need to live.

"I find, sometimes its easy to be myself.
Sometimes, I find its better to be somebody else."
--Dave Matthews

Anyway, that's the view from here.