Archive for the 'My Life' Category
“This is a really long date.”
New study says pretty women feel more entitled to act like total bitches.
The barrage of promotion for the new season of Mad Men has started, with the viral avatars that are taking over the Facebook, and the AMC app on the iPhone (APPS! Gotta get your APPS!), and I have to admit I am looking forward to it. But mostly it reminds me of last season, and last summer, and Julie.
It was our ritual. I say â€œourâ€ even though it was really just â€œmy,â€ as I know she had better things to do, but she was kind enough to spend the time with me. Sunday evenings we would visit, and sometimes weâ€™d go out to eat, or run an errand, or sometimes weâ€™d just hang out, walk the dogs and then weâ€™d watch Mad Men. Usually weâ€™d be knee deep in some conversation and lose track of time or forget when it started, or start talking about some tangent in the middle of it, and then have to sit there and watch it again when AMC would repeat it (often times, as I was TiVoing it at home, Iâ€™d watch it a third time just to make sure I didnâ€™t miss anything).
We talked about a lot of stuff on Sundays. It was fascinating to me, because she always seemed genuinely interested in my opinion, even if it was clear we didnâ€™t quite see eye to eye on something. It was as if she respected me, which was something I was not used to and found quite novel. The fact is she had great respect for everyone she ever came into contact with, probably to a fault, but it was certainly refreshing.
We talked about the universe and God and Radiohead and meat. She had been a vegetarian for years, but had started eating meat recently. I think Fox Bros. banana pudding made me one of her favorite people. We talked about a lot of things that I still think about every day. Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ll get around to talking about it on here eventually.
As the summer went on, she started having trouble getting around, and I started walking the dogs by myself, and we didnâ€™t go out to eat as much. Turns out you can get a wheelchair in the backseat of a Dodge, though. By the end of the season, Julie couldnâ€™t do much but lay in bed, so weâ€™d watch TV in her room and munch on organic crackers and giggle at the crazy bitches on Snapped and wait for Don Draper.
After the Mad Men season was over, I still came over on Sundays, but we didnâ€™t have an agenda. It was just time to talk. It was pretty clear by then what was going on, and our conversations became more reflective, and even more esoteric than I had had thought I was capable of. While we had had very, very different lives, it was pretty shocking that we had actually started out in the same place (turns out we had lived in the same suburban subdivision as children in northern Virginia). And we had both come to the conclusion that it hadnâ€™t turned out the way we wanted. Julie spent that summer getting ok with that, and I spent that summer trying, but secretly convinced I couldnâ€™t.
The fall wasnâ€™t as easy, and we had to pack up Julieâ€™s house so she could move back in with her parents. I tried to talk to her on the phone most days, and she is today one of the four numbers I have on speed dial (along with my parents and my office), and the texts I donâ€™t dare erase make me smile, but it wasnâ€™t the same as getting in the car and heading down Memorial Drive on a Sunday evening.
Itâ€™s been almost eight months now since she died, and Mad Men is starting back up this weekend. Iâ€™ve gotten back to being used to being alone on Sundays. Iâ€™ll be watching the season premiere, and Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ll have some lively conversations, even if she doesnâ€™t answer.
With dirty shrimp rice stuffing. Pow.
It was turned into Devpigturducken, if you know what I mean.
p.s. I’m back, biotches. My little laptop took a trip to Texas, and seems to have come back with some new parts, albeit a little buggy, but with all my data intact. The hate-filled diatribes can continue, until the sweet release comes.
I am computerless, as my laptop fried itself after almost two years of faithful service. Not really in the mood to rant on an iPhone, so I’ll be going dark for awhile. And if any naked pictures of exes show up on the Internet, blame the Apple store.
Starting to regain full control of my rage-y-ness 20% less nasal drip.
Just found out about another student from my prep school killing themselves. For a place that only churns out 20 kids a year, it seems to chew them up unusually quickly.
Normals aren’t all that interested in how those things they TiVo through get made. Go figure.
Someone reminded the other day that it had been a year since I quit smoking. Actually, it’s been exactly 400 days, today. It was incredibly easy, and anybody who says otherwise is a weak-ass bitch or a liar.
No, I’m kidding. Don’t slap the Pall Mall out of Dad’s mouth on my account. I know how awesome smoking is. Frankly, I’m convinced that that’s what people are really addicted to. The awesomeness. It feels great, it tastes great, it looks great. There’s really nothing that’s not great about it. The absolute best thing in the world is a hard packed cigarette lit with a fat tipped sulphur match after a long, huge, fatty meal that’s sitting in your gut like cannon ball. The only reason I gave it up is because I loved it so much. It really was the only thing I got any pleasure out of. I’ve pretty much given up eating anything that tastes good, and now I pay someone to hit me in the face so I can feel something. The only thing a cigarette would do is give me a reason to get out of bed that doesn’t make me scream CareerBuilder style.
Needs to build an app that tells me exactly where the next Cracker Barrel is. That is all.
Last week I had another adventure in penal justice. Iâ€™d like to say it was surprising, but I havenâ€™t been surprised by much of anything in years. Going to court to watch your burglars getting sentenced is a real joy. Sort of.
So I got burgled last summer. And in an unusual turn of events, they actually caught the guys who did it. I didnâ€™t get any of my stuff back, of course; it had all long been converted into rocks and guns and toothless blowjobs, so all the home movies and pictures of my grandparents that I had on my computer are still gone, along with the first ten years worth of work-related garbage thatâ€™s probably best forgotten anyway.
In something straight out of The Wire, the two douchebags had confessed to robbing a bunch of houses in exchange for testimony on some other douchebag, and for leniency on the crime they had been caught doing. Itâ€™s a marvelous system.
I sat there listening to the erudite grunts and clicks from the two defendants, as they described casing various blocks, and the ways they would typically gain entrance by simply battering at a door until it gave way. The prosecutor would ask a question like, â€œDid you beat up your mother when you were 13?â€ or â€œWhen youâ€™re looking for a house to rob, are you typically high on crack?â€ and theyâ€™d say, â€œyes,â€ and the public defender would say, â€œI object.â€ Eventually, she asked about the knives. The reply was, â€œJust in case.â€
The night I got robbed, I came home late after a typically draining evening of trying not to say anything that might set off my girlfriend. I was actually on the phone with her when I unlocked my front door and saw it. As cluttered as my house usually is, I was pretty sure I hadnâ€™t left my large carving knife on the coffee table. Eventually, Iâ€™d find my chefâ€™s knife next to the shelf where my camcorder used to be, and another under my futon where my old Playstation games used to be, and someone elseâ€™s pry bar next to the hole where my back door used to be.
When I was 11, my step-grandmother lived in a tidy row house in a blue-collar area of Philadelphia. Sheâ€™d lived alone for 20 years, as my stepfatherâ€™s dad had succumbed to a heart attack in his 40â€™s and she was of the generation that tended not to remarry after something like that. She liked to cook, and tend to the neighbors and her various children and grandchildren. Her Polish roots had introduced my Italian palate to pierogies, which blew my mind for having the insight to stuff a carb inside another carb, and then fry it.
One night, after coming home from visiting a sick friend, no doubt having delivered some covered dish, she discovered a man in her house. He had broken in and was hoping to steal some things to sell for drugs. He was also hopped up on a healthy cocktail of cocaine, meth, marijuana, and probably a few gallons of Mad Dog. After a struggle, the intruder used her own kitchen knives to stab her 17 times. Her reward for a life of hard work and sacrifice was bleeding to death on her own floor while a crackhead pocketed her good silver. Not really what we want for the sweet old ladies in our lives. It is, however, a pretty good way to throw a decent sized spectre of violent death over a household, and give me a pretty healthy irrational fear of getting gutted.
When I walked in and saw that big blade out of place, it was unnerving to say the least. I told my girlfriend I had to get off the phone, and she was happy to oblige. I slowly poked my head around the few corners in my house to discover the tossing they had given it as I dialed the popo. Good times.
They caught the guy who killed my stepfatherâ€™s mom. He went to jail, and got less than what he deserved, but karma took care of him. The boys who broke into my house got all the law would allow, despite admitting they would do whatever it took to get my DVD player. What the law allows for â€œfirst time offendersâ€ is a mandatory sentence of 5 years. Of which theyâ€™ll serve 2. During which the system figures theyâ€™ll no doubt learn the error of their ways.
In actuality, what will happen is they will be repeatedly raped in prison, or they will die, or they will survive by learning to hurt others more than they can themselves be hurt. If they get out, they will return to a life of crime, hardened and more determined to â€œdo whatever it takesâ€ to not get caught again. They will almost definitely be killed by another criminal, or by the police, or by a lucky citizen defending himself. And those will be more good times.
Somebody asked me the other day why I quit smoking. I could have said something about spite, or because my mother asked me to, or any number of equally semi-accurate reasons, but I the truth was it was the only thing I still got any pleasure out of, so I figured it would be best to figure out how to not have that anymore.
Itâ€™s been 213 days since I had a cigarette, but whoâ€™s counting? It doesnâ€™t really bother me much. Honestly, it was pretty easy. I still have half a box in my desk drawer at work, and thereâ€™s an open pack on top of my television at home. I still get the urge every once in a while, but it passes pretty quickly. Last night someone lit up next to me, and it didnâ€™t bother me at all. The fact that it was a cute girl probably didnâ€™t hurt. My main concern is that I donâ€™t turn into one of those anti-smoking douchebags. If anything, I find myself encouraging people to smoke. Someone has to keep the fine habit alive. Maybe Iâ€™ll start handing them out downstairs at the Boys & Girls Club.
About five years ago, my mother still had hope sheâ€™d become a grandmother one day, and was adamant that I wasnâ€™t putting enough effort into finding my future ex-wife. While I was home for the holidays, in an attempt to calm her down, we signed up for one of those online matchmaking services. I picked out the picture of myself that made me the least suicidal, and tapped out a fairly charming little ad that was really more to get Mom feeling better about her spinster son than finding me a mate. Ironically, I had actually just started seeing someone, but for reasons I didnâ€™t want to go into, I wasnâ€™t really comfortable telling my mother about it.
So as time went by, Iâ€™d get the email updates from the site, but as I was dating someone, I never paid much attention to them. And in the five years the profile was up, I had one girl email me to say she was interested. One. In five years. And, I hate to say it, she was, like me, not a pretty person. Though I canâ€™t really be sure, what with all the metal studs in her face and the tattoos on her cheek. Iâ€™m sure she was super cool.
Now, I know I am not an attractive person. I understand this. Iâ€™m even ok with it most of the time. That girl I had started seeing behind my motherâ€™s back? She explained early on in our relationship that she was â€œonly going to date ugly men, because all good looking men are assholes.â€ At the time, I actually rationalized that it was a nice thing to say, because it meant she respected me enough to be honest with me about my looks. I can be pretty retarded when I need to be.
So last month, more as a social experiment than anything, I took my picture off the profile. In less than five weeks, Iâ€™ve gotten eight women to express some interest in letting me buy them things. And interestingly, seven of them demanded that I post a picture of myself, lest I never hear from them again. I suspect the eighth one was going to wait to see what kind of car I drive. I considered actually complying and putting the picture back on, just to see what sort of creative excuses theyâ€™d come up with, but it seemed like a lot of effort just to prove something I already know.
Lest you think I have written off all children… behold… I am raising money for Junior Achievement. If you are of a mind to, feel free to pitch in. They do good work. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
After Fridayâ€™s mega-event of arena rock from Bruuuce, it was time to turn in my UAW card for a pocket protector. Last night was Joe Jackson at the Variety Playhouse. Equally awesome in its own way. In 24 hours I saw Springsteen go down Thunder Road, and Joe Jackson ask if She was really going out with him. Pretty damn sweet.
Iâ€™ve always loved Joe Jackson. He usually gets overlooked for Elvis Costello, but I preferred Joe. Donâ€™t get me wrong, Elvis is great. Anybody who loves Bacharach and Diana Krall is ok in my book. But when Elvis was all piss and vinegar at the system and old people and shaking his fist for a change in that system, Joe was already lamenting a lost cause. Joe Jackson knew there wasnâ€™t any hope. He knew love was pointless, and never lasted. He knew relationships were doomed, and he knew we all die alone, regardless of the plans we make or the dreams we have, and then nobody gives a shit. He knew we were all fools in love, whether we looked sharp or not. He understood it was different for girls, and the best we can ever hope for is to be somebodyâ€™s #2 (he really is a genius with the lyrics).
His new record is quite good, and very much a throwback to the old Look Sharp days. Iâ€™m particularly fond of Wasted Time, which he peformed last night and sounded (and looked) pretty much just like this:
A few weeks ago I saw Shelby Lynne at the same awesome venue, and Joeâ€™s melancholy reminded me a lot of Shelby. With her new album of Dusty Springfield covers and her own catalog of love gone wrong songs, they make for a powerful double billing.
So hereâ€™s to the those who are pissed off about something that really matters â€“ not the lies about the government, or censorship, or art â€“ the lies about love.
PS â€“ Joe Jackson is also a strong opponent of the militant anti-smoking nazis that are Oprah-ing up the world. So I love him even more.
I went dancing last night.
There was teaching of dancing, and I was instructed, and I then danced.
I was horrible, and I was uncomfortable, and I was quite happy when it was over. But my friend had a great time, and life has been pretty shitty to her, so, for a few seconds here and there, when I wasn’t about to step on her and I kind of sort of got it, seeing her smile and laugh was a lot of fun.
And the beer at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Buford Highway is way cheap. And the music of Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble kicks ass. And as long as no one pressures me into dancing more than I want, I just may join the Atlanta Cajun Zydeco Association.
Incidentally, I actually saw up close and personal how being a good dancer makes you more attractive to women. It’s common knowledge, I know, but seeing the phenomenon in action was pretty fascinating.
Been out of it.
Went to Arlington for a full on miltary funeral for Grandad. Quite impressive.
Went to court to watch a retarded kid get sentenced for stealing my X-Box. Quite depressing. And satisfying.
Went to therapy to discover I have unresolved anger issues. Luckily, insurance paid for that breakthrough.
I’ll get back to it this weekend. Been a pretty harried springtime.
In the meantime, here’s the trailer for Hellboy 2.
This past Christmas was a good one. Not in a â€œtraditional, snow-filled, joyous, funâ€ way I imagine most peopleâ€™s â€œgood Christmasesâ€ are, but more of a â€œI guess this is the last time weâ€™re going to see each otherâ€ sort of way.
While my mother is doing better, and is getting good marks from her doctors, the last few months have obviously been hard on her. It was in this spirit that my grandparents, along with my great-grandmother, and my aunt and her new husband (my new uncle, if Iâ€™m going to be accurate, I suppose) and I all came together.
My great-grandmotherâ€™s name is Theresa Longobardi. Sheâ€™s 102 years old. And sheâ€™s way more mentally alert and conscious of whatâ€™s going on in the world than you are. Sheâ€™ll kick your ass at large-size crossword puzzles, and can tell you the offensive line of the â€™83 Redskins. My great-grandfather died when I was 7. He was not a very nice man.
They had both come to America through Ellis Island as children, 95 years ago. He never did learn English, or at least he never spoke it. I remember being a little scared of him as a child, and it turned out I had good reason. Despite my great-grandmotherâ€™s accomplishments of growing up to own her own business and provide at least half the income for her family, she was still beaten on a regular basis by her husband. Quite savagely, and quite regularly, for many, many years. But she loved him very much. Thatâ€™s what you did back then.
They had two children â€“ my grandmother, Nancy, and her little brother, Vincent. Vincent never married, I think mostly because he didnâ€™t want to leave his mother alone with his father. My grandmother ran off with my dashing grandfather when she was seventeen, and almost immediately had my mom â€“ it was the baby boom after all, and itâ€™s hard to resist a man in uniform.
When I was an older child, and as a young teenager, Vincent and I became quite close, as he never had any children of his own. He was a kind, gentle man, with a huge heart, who loved his mother and his family very much. But there was also a sadness about him. When I was in college, his poor health collided in a perfect storm of diabetes, pancreatic cancer and heart disease. I held his hand as he cried, and begged God to take him, and as his nurse administered the last bit of morphine that would finally take all his pain away. Thatâ€™s what we do these days. Theresa never really got over burying her son.
My great-grandmother and my grandparents lived together after my great-grandfather died. I donâ€™t think they thought it would last very long. It lasted 30 years. 30 years of living with your mother-in-law. 30 years of living in your daughterâ€™s house. 30 years of having your mom looking over your shoulder. And all the drama that goes with those three relationships. Combined with getting as old as hell. Itâ€™s quite something.
My grandfather served in the Pacific in WWII. Raymond was the kind of hero Tom Brokaw was writing about, except Ray did it in 103-degree heat, and was fighting an enemy that conventional wisdom said was literally part-demon. Those pussies in Europe were just fighting Nazis.
When he came home, he married a pretty little Italian girl and started a family. Through the years, he did a lot of interesting things â€“ he owned a restaurant, he managed the kitchen at the National Press Club, he ran a yacht club in Caracas, he sold tile â€“ and he taught me a lot, more than I can even begin to remember now. But he was always the strongest man I knew, and he always loved the hell out of me.
The day after this picture was taken, two days after Christmas, he got up in the middle of the night to take a leak. As he was in an unfamiliar guest room, he stubbed his toe and fell over, no doubt cursing like the sailor he was, and broke his hip.
At 87, his heart just isnâ€™t what it once was. There was some concern about surgery at his age, and the complications from the blood thinners he was on, but they did the surgery anyway. It tuned out to be a success, and the doctors were quite impressed with his bones, whatever that means. He got a big fat pin in his hip, and the bionic grandpa was born. But two days later, lying there in the hospital bed, he had what doctors call a micro stroke, and he just never really recovered. He couldnâ€™t eat, and he couldnâ€™t really move. And his heart just wasnâ€™t in it anymore.
So last Thursday, after 10 weeks in the hospital, as Nancy held his hand, and after a conversation about his rose bushes and the wiener dog theyâ€™d had to put down right before the holidays, Ray closed his eyes and died. As he would say, â€œComes the revolution.â€ Theyâ€™d had 65 years together. And theyâ€™d have loved to have had 65 more.
So it wasnâ€™t the Christmas we expected. It turned out to be a last Christmas, but it was a good one, and one that Iâ€™ll remember for the rest of my life. Theresa has outlived another son, Nancy has lost the love of her life, and my mother has lost her daddy. But we were together for a little while, and we all knew we were loved.
I generally don’t dream. That isn’t some introspective, pragmatic insight. I mean, literally, when I go to sleep, I don’t have dreams. I know, I know, I just don’t remember them, but whatever. Maybe once a month I’ll remember some weird, wacky, but hazy tableau of abstract sepia shapes, sometimes interspersed with topless shots of the cute check out girl at Home Depot. Or falling. I get that one sometimes. And the crumbling teeth. I get that one too. But mostly I just sleep.
This morning, I was halfway to work, still very, very concerned about the argument I’d gotten in the night before. With the person I knew I hadn’t seen in 10 years. Sitting next to Jimmy Carter. In the 50,000 seat theatre. In my basement. Filled with half-alligator half dwarves.
Then I thought, “God, why haven’t I ever told Kurt about the half-alligator half dwarves. In my basement…. wait a second….”
It took me a while to realize that there’s no such thing as half-alligator half-dwarves. I was somewhere on North Avenue.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have started nicotine patches and anti-depressants on the same day.
So itâ€™s been a great year. What did we learn?
The Atlanta police occasionally get the job done. They apparently caught up with the scumbags who cleaned out my house. They didnâ€™t get my stuff back of course, and most of the little fuckers will be out of juvie in a year or two and start murdering people, but hey, itâ€™s a start.
Sexual harassment is never funny. Except when itâ€™s hilarious.
Cancer sucks ass. Not really anything new there.
Speaking of mom, we learned that when she tells you your girlfriend is too pretty for you and is going to break your heart, you should probably listen.
Alcohol does different things to different people. For some, like me, it makes you sleepy, and in excess, a little louder before getting sleepy. For others, it becomes a crutch to prop up a life you donâ€™t like until you go batshit crazy and get committed. For others still, it apparently makes you â€œdate ugly guys, because all good looking guys are assholes.â€ The lesson here? While you may think that your significant otherâ€™s drinking may be a cause of problems in your relationship, it may in fact be the cause of your relationship. So even though she may occasionally get blitzed and tell you how sorry her girlfriends feel for her because of your sexual inadequacies, that may actually be better than her sobering up.
We learned that when you spend $1500 on a romantic weekend getaway, sometimes all you really accomplish is handing one of the few people you genuinely dislike a $3000 tax break.
We learned that no matter how many times you’ve heard it before, “you’re not the kind of person I want to spend my life with” never gets old.
Spiderman 3 sucked ass.
Finally, we also learned that some people have the ability to â€œloveâ€ someone, and simultaneously not â€œgive a shitâ€ about them. While this isnâ€™t a skill set I personally have, and frankly, donâ€™t really see any practical real world applications, itâ€™s quite fascinating. Maybe in my next life Iâ€™ll have that ability, if it werenâ€™t for the fact that I also donâ€™t possess the brain damage required to believe in reincarnation.
Hereâ€™s to 2008, and making payments on my therapistâ€™s new car.
So weâ€™re hip deep in my most conflicting season of the year. I love all the promise and possibilities, yet I also dread the inevitable realities.
It begins with Thanksgiving and culminates in my birthday at the end of February. Lately I donâ€™t even count my birthday, both literally and figuratively, but for the narrativeâ€™s sake weâ€™ll throw it in.
Thanksgiving is always an adventure. I come from a typically fractured family with quite a few odd branches. I donâ€™t have any siblings, but Iâ€™m usually surrounded by step-cousins or distant aunts and a variety of hangers on. When I was younger, my peer age relatives always had boyfriends or girlfriends, and theyâ€™d be there, canoodling or sharing secret smiles. Meanwhile, I enjoyed the stuffing. My grandmother died convinced I was gay, but she also died convinced black people had an extra bone in their ankle which, while diminishing their buoyancy, aided in eluding the police. So itâ€™s kind of a draw. These days, I think the only person who knows for a fact that Iâ€™m not gay is my gay uncle. We always get paired up, as weâ€™re the only singles, but itâ€™s great because I get to have someone to talk to about Judi Dench. Now, those cousins and such have children of their own, and some of them now have mates that they bring along. The circle of life continues, and thereâ€™s a whole new generation to wonder if Iâ€™m gay.
Christmas is the next good time. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve ever spent Christmas anywhere but with my mother, which Iâ€™d never complain about. She wants Christmas to be perfect every year, and she does the best she can, and she comes about as close as is humanly possible. She turns the house into something out of a Martha Stewart fever dream, and cooks amazing food and dotes on me like only a mother of an only child can. When you are literally the only thing your mother cares about, itâ€™s quite a responsibility. And it doesnâ€™t exactly make your stepfather happy. Inevitably, she starts fighting with him about something completely retarded, and the cheery house becomes a chilly museum of passive aggression. The food still tastes pretty great, and I get to hear about how great my supermodel stepsister is doing. This year, the cancer will probably slow the cooking down, but the angst should be in full force.
New Yearâ€™s is my motherâ€™s anniversary, so I usually like to skedaddle before that celebration starts, what with all the joy thatâ€™s built up over the week. Plus I always have hope that maybe Iâ€™ll have that New Yearâ€™s Eve that everyone dreams of. Usually I get to watch ABCâ€™s Rockinâ€™ New Yearâ€™s Eve. Iâ€™ve seen Dick Clark age over the years, and now Ryan Seacrest has taken over. Heâ€™s good, but heâ€™s no Dick. Last year, my girlfriend decided sheâ€™d rather hang with her cousin than see me on New Yearâ€™s. Which was nice. It was actually a pretty good metaphor for the last nine months of that doomed relationship. Every relationship Iâ€™ve ever had, now that I think about it.
Valentineâ€™s Day. Now that is a seriously good time for someone like me. When no one really wants to be your Valentine, itâ€™s basically an annual reminder that you donâ€™t have whatever it is that makes people love you. If I happen to actually have a girlfriend at Valentineâ€™s Day, thereâ€™s still that sense that sheâ€™d much rather be someone elseâ€™s girlfriend, but the greeting card cartel does a good job of forcing her to act like sheâ€™d better make do with what sheâ€™s got. Some would say that having someone pretend they like you is better than nothing, but as someone with experience with both, I can honestly say Iâ€™m not sure if itâ€™s better or not. I can say that having nothing is cheaper, so I think Iâ€™ll stick with that.
Then comes the birthday. I donâ€™t pay much attention to it, so I donâ€™t blame anyone else for doing the same. Birthdays in general donâ€™t make much sense to me. If itâ€™s a life worth celebrating, then itâ€™s fine. For a person whoâ€™s been an abject failure both personally and professionally at everything like me, thereâ€™s not much to celebrate. A birthday is just a ceremony to celebrate the fact that another year has passed and youâ€™ve still got nothing to show for it but disappointment. I guess that what the cakeâ€™s for.
Now that Iâ€™ve got my toes dipped firmly in middle age, I feel like Iâ€™ll be forced to accept some truths. I know Iâ€™ll be sitting at the kidâ€™s table forever at Thanksgiving. I know Iâ€™ll never wake up next to someone on Christmas morning, and Iâ€™ll certainly never have a child come bounding in to beg us to get up so they can open presents weâ€™ve wrapped in the middle of the night. I know Iâ€™ll never share a kiss at midnight with someone who wants nothing than to share another year with me. I know no one will ever spend a giddy week looking forward to a romantic day as my Valentine. And I know Iâ€™ll never look back on a year of my life and say, â€œWow. That was great.â€ As I learn these things, Iâ€™d like to try to learn something else. Something that might make me at least say, â€œIâ€™m glad I learned that.â€ Because so far, the lessons have been pretty tough.
But like I said in the beginning, there are things about the season I do love. Though I know all those things, all those facts and inevitabilities, there is still that faint sense of hope. I suppose that itâ€™s a bit like faith. Faith in a God thereâ€™s no evidence for; in fact, quite a lot of evidence that there is no God. I hope those things arenâ€™t true, though I know they are. My heart wishes they werenâ€™t, so I hope. And thatâ€™s where the confliction comes from.
Christmas music. I love Christmas music.
Some people have asked about my mom, and she had her first surgery today. Still waiting for the biopsies and such, but the doctors supposedly were optimistic about what they saw. We’ll see what happens. I’d appreciate any good vibes. Not for me, but for her. She deserves them.
So I canâ€™t seem to get rid of these Police tickets. I tried eBay, I tried Craigslist. Thereâ€™s glut of them online. I saw one guy on CL selling 2nd row for below face value. Truly a buyerâ€™s market. So then I just started calling people. Everybody I knew either didnâ€™t want them, or already had them. I even called two, count emâ€™, two, ex girlfriends. You can see where this is going.
The first one was great. Had a delightful conversation, despite the fact that she is going through some personal and family shit that is so horrific it pretty much makes anything the rest of us deal with look like free ice cream. The otherâ€¦ well, I knew it was a bad idea, and I did it anyway, and I honestly donâ€™t know why. Other than I hate myself, and Iâ€™m really desperate to not eat $500 worth of tickets. It did not go well.
Surprise, Iâ€™m not going to go into it. Much. Obviously I canâ€™t be objective about the whole situation, and she made it clear she doesnâ€™t like me talking about her. She was actually convinced I was calling her to instigate an argument just so I could rake her over the coals here. But sheâ€™d admit anything Iâ€™ve said on here is completely true and far less than what I could. I have been simultaneously apoplectically pissed off and paralizingly devastated for months, and Iâ€™m pretty impressed with my restraint. I also donâ€™t have anyone to talk to, so thereâ€™s that. I will say, despite my anger, and despite what she thinks, I donâ€™t hate her, and I really do want her to be happy. I canâ€™t turn that off. Iâ€™m saying that for me, because she was quite adamant that she doesnâ€™t care what I think, and genuinely confused as to why I cared what she thought. But I do hate what she did, and I especially hate how she did it, and Iâ€™ll leave it at that.
To her credit (I think), she has tried to explain it to me several times, and I really do think she believes her explanations should make me feel better, or at least make me understand, but every subsequent explanation simply unleashes another revelation that kicks me in the balls. Iâ€™ve written dozens of pages of stuff over the last few months to try to work through this thing, but Iâ€™m not going to subject anyone to that. It seems there is no figuring it, so Iâ€™m not going to talk about it again.
But to answer your questions, Dotsy, yes, I did have fun. I had quite a bit of fun. But when youâ€™re told the only reason someoneâ€™s with you is because they feel sorry for you, it tends to retroactively spoil most of that fun.
As for your other question, I donâ€™t know that I did learn anything about myself. I think that may have been what I was looking for when I called. To at least learn why Iâ€™m never enough. How someone can say Iâ€™m not worth the effort. How someone could say they wish theyâ€™d never been with me. How someone could still accuse me of things that I didnâ€™t do, and question my motives after years of devotion. Those would probably be valuable things to learn. But like she said, itâ€™s not about me, and as it turns out, never was.
Anyway, the Police tickets are still available. 16th row. Make me an offer. Clearly, I’m desperate.
It was quite some time after it was over that I realized I had had a rather unusual education experience. I went to a very small prep school. Sort of comically small. I think my graduating class had twenty one people in it. I went to that same school for eleven years. Some students came and went, and some of us were there the whole time, but for the most part it was basically like spending a decade of your most formative years locked in a room with the same twenty people every day.
From what Iâ€™ve gleaned from pop culture, the experience itself was fairly similar, if somewhat skewed out of necessity. Cliques might consist of a single person. An embarrassing incident with one fellow student might be literally impossible to escape, as youâ€™re sitting next to them for eight hours a day. For years.
We had the jocks, and the nerds, and the cool kids, and the rich kids, and as we got older we had the stoners and the sexually active. But the compression of an entire subculture into one kid can make for some pretty warped socialization skills. Or lack thereof.
Every year, maybe one or two kids would leave, and one or two new kids would show up. Or some years, our class of twenty or so remained 100% intact. What that means is, in eleven years, I maybe met fifty kids.
As for myself, Iâ€™d say I was even more of clichÃ© than the slutty girl whoâ€™d take almost anyone in the closet (note I said â€œalmostâ€). Obviously, I wasnâ€™t cute or cool enough to be one of the cool kids, yet I wasnâ€™t nearly smart enough to be one of the nerds. I was by no means a natural athlete, and the only sports I had any skill at all were singular endeavors like skiing or tennis. And it turned out I wasnâ€™t even very good at those. I didnâ€™t have a particularly rough time; the cool kids picked on the nerds, the nerds steamed at the cool kids, the jocks got their cranks jerked by the sluts, and everybody pretty much left me alone. In other words, surprise, surprise, I was a bit of an outcast. Like I said, pretty clichÃ©. I was smart enough to know I was too ugly to be anything but the funny guy, so thatâ€™s what I worked at. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didnâ€™t. But it kept me from being pantsed a few times.
Iâ€™ve surmised over the years that this insular, static childhood is what accounts for my inability to properly socialize as an adult. I donâ€™t really embrace change very well. I donâ€™t really like crowds of strangers. Frankly, just meeting someone new for the first time generally shuts me down into a fetal position. I also donâ€™t like to dance.
But I didnâ€™t start writing this to talk about me.
One of the girls that came and went was a cute, gangly blonde named Sarah. She was a kind of a goofball, but in hindsight, clearly she was one of those girls that would be quite a looker when she got older. She wasnâ€™t poised and pretentiously beautiful like the popular girls, and she wasnâ€™t a brainiac, and she wasnâ€™t a stoner or a nerd. Like me, she didnâ€™t quite fit in. She had a smile that was almost too big for her face. She would bellow this huge, cackling laugh whenever something struck her funny, a laugh completely devoid of self-consciousness – a hearty, shameless laugh requiring confidence that would be unusual to find in a woman of any age, let alone a teenage girl. And as memory serves, something would strike her funny all the time. She loved to laugh. And not the cruel laughter usually found in girls. Her laughs were pure. I donâ€™t remember her ever saying a mean thing about anybody. Iâ€™m trying right now to picture Sarah without that big Julia Roberts smile, and the picture just wonâ€™t come.
Obviously, I liked Sarah. She was still a teenage girl, with teenage girl sensibilities, so she didnâ€™t think much of me. She always had crushes on one of the cute boys, though I donâ€™t think she ever got one. Which is a shame, because Iâ€™d bet sheâ€™d have been a lot more fun than one of the popular girls. She was the kind of girl I would have liked to have spent more time with if I had been the kind of boy that could do that sort of thing.
I havenâ€™t seen Sarah since I was probably 14 or 15, and until the other day, probably havenâ€™t thought about her since I was 16. As enormous as the cast of girls in a teenage boyâ€™s mind is, the competition is fierce, and turnover is just a fact of life.
The other day, I heard she killed herself. I donâ€™t know how, or more importantly, I donâ€™t know why. It would be easy to say â€œIâ€™m shockedâ€ or â€œShe didnâ€™t seem the type,â€ but the fact is she may have had a darn good reason. Or she may have just been tired. I have no idea what happened to Sarah in the last twenty years. Life can be a real bitch on wheels. Whatever it was, it was probably pretty bad, and Iâ€™d venture to guess she didnâ€™t deserve to be in the kind of pain it takes to check out. That kind of pain Iâ€™d like to reserve for the popular girls. Or the slutty girls.
I went down the street yesterday to check out the annual Chomp and Stomp chili cook-off and bluegrass festival thing. The chili was pretty good. I still like mine better. Funny thing â€“ I really like festivals, but I hate crowds. This particular one is an unusual mix of east-side hipsters and in-town semi-hipster couples with kids. Needless to say, I donâ€™t really fit in with either one. It was a super nice day, the weather was great, the music was nice, and the tiny cups of chili were a nice supplement. Nice is the operative word.
I considered staying longer, but I happened to catch sight of one of my exâ€™s drinking buddies â€“ the one she told I was such a lousy boyfriend I made her want to be a lesbian. Of course, this was back when she would get upset with me for not spending enough time with her and liked to get blackout drunk and say hateful things to me that she would conveniently forget about the next day, before she decided she â€œdidnâ€™t give a shitâ€ and thought it would be easier to just say I was now spending too much time with her and smothering and pressuring her. Which was of course total bullshit. Good times.
Anyway, I suddenly didnâ€™t feel much like festivaling any more, and the chili was starting to run its course. And I had ridden my bike. Beer + chili + bicycle = tenuous ride home.
Probably need to get out of this town.
Oh, and Agave had the best chili.
Sorry. 2007 has been one giant crap ball, and I just didnâ€™t have the energy to poke around the web and tell amusing anecdotes to the 3 people that occasionally look at this. My mother got cancer, a good friend had what can only be described as a total mental break, and I realized Iâ€™d been played for a fool for several years by someone I definitely should have known better than to have any faith in. And that was just one exceptionally crappy week.
I found out the other day I now have 21 vacation days that I will inevitably not be able to take from the job I took for reasons that are now moot. My disaster of a house, that I canâ€™t afford to sell and canâ€™t afford to fix and bought for all the wrong reasons, is falling down around my ears. I donâ€™t even feel like eating. I basically loathe my life.
Funny stuff tomorrow. Wheee!!!
To be honest, I don’t really think I’ve ever known why I bother. I certainly always expect to come out on the shit end of the stick, and I haven’t been wrong yet. Fool me, um… like, many, many times… shame on me.
It’s always nice to have your crap world view and suspicious, never-trust-anyone attitude confirmed. Being living proof that nice guys finish last? Priceless.