Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Risky business

An article in the NYT takes a look at how the brain reacts to new relationships. It also explain why breakups suck so much:

"Researchers have found that, among other processes, new love involves psychologically internalizing a lover, absorbing elements of the other person's opinions, hobbies, expressions, character, as well as sharing one's own. "The expansion of the self happens very rapidly, it's one of the most exhilarating experiences there is, and short of threatening our survival it is one thing that most motivates us," said Dr. Aron, of SUNY, a co-author of the study.

To lose all that, all at once, while still in love, plays havoc with the emotional, cognitive and deeper reward-driven areas of the brain. But the heightened activity in these areas inevitably settles down. And the circuits in the brain related to passion remain intact, the researchers say - intact and capable in time of flaring to life with someone new."

Shock and awe

The long weekend was roommate-tastic and not in the way I’d hoped. Let’s see. There was the enormous pile of dishes in the kitchen, so big that it flowed out of and over the confines of the sink and onto the counter surrounding the sink. This made it hard for me to wash my own dishes and I certainly wasn’t doing hers just to make room for my own. Then there was the bathroom sink. It backed up—I don’t know why. All I know is I came home on Friday morning to find the sink full of nasty, dirty water and bits of….something, as if someone had thrown up insulation into the sink. When I asked A about it, she said, “Oh, it stopped draining so I used the toilet plunger to try and unclog it, but it pulled up all this nasty stuff, so I just left it there to drain.” Did she try to scrub the sink after using the TOILET PLUNGER to clear the pipes? No. Did she leave the nastiness there until the water eventually drained, leaving gray clumps of pipe litter in the sink? Yes. The concept of Drano apparently didn’t enter the equation.

On Saturday night, she and a friend came home to the apartment at 3:30am. I know this because they were less than subtle about their entrance and preparation for bed. Now, I am a self-professed sleep dork and I wear earplugs to bed, a habit I picked up in college when T came down with a barking cough and refused to go to the health center. The point is that it takes a lot to wake me up at night, but somehow A and her friend managed it just fine. Crashing, banging, loud laughing, stumbling into walls, a complete lack of consideration---it was just like being back in college again. In the morning, she asked, “Did we wake you up last night when we came home?” Yes, you did. “Oh, I’m sorry. We were at a cocktail party all night.”

On Sunday, her new boyfriend made an appearance. Or rather, his smell preceded him into the room and heralded his arrival. If you mix the odor of stale cigarettes, incense, bad BO, unwashed hair, unbrushed teeth and general rankness, you’d get an idea of what this guy smelled like. And what A’s room smelled like for the rest of the weekend. She’s talked about this guy like he was the second coming of God, but when he finally vacated the bathroom, I found out that he’s actually the second coming of Gollum. Short, skinny, with a hooked nose and frizzy black hair down to his waist, he looked like an Orc--specifically, the Orc that tries to eat Merry and Pippin before they escape into Fangorn. Except the Orc probably smelled better. Lunchboy came over yesterday to help me with some furniture and I asked him to stick his head in A’s room just to make sure I wasn’t being an oversensitive drama queen. “No,” he said. “That’s AWFUL.” I lit a candle outside A’s room and I have no idea how to discuss this with her.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Hold your glass up

Lo and behold, the roommate and I worked out our towel differences with a minimum of awkwardness and have proceeded to begin living together as smoothly as two people who are rarely home at the same time can, I ignore her dishes in the sink and she ignores the growing pile of laundry in my room. Her cat hasn't arrived yet, so Scully doesn't know that she will soon have a playmate. Here's hoping she and Clyde have a more harmonic start to their relationship.

The sun came out today for the first time in weeks and it was glorious. Crab though I might about the weather, the rainy season has yielded up three rainbows this month alone. It's hard to find something wrong with a rainbow.

A whirly-headed moment of weirdness today--I realized that at this time last year, Glenn and I were embarking on our little world of pain. He had already cheated and we spent all Memorial Day weekend "working on things," which meant he kept telling me how I needed to fight for him and I had no idea why he had gone off the deep end or needed to be fought for, but I gave what I had left. This occurred to me when I was sitting on lunchboy's couch after a great day together. Last year I NEVER would have thought that I'd meet someone cool, or get my life together again. But it's happened and I cannot articulate how glad I am to be in this moment.

Last night lunchboy and I geeked out to the extreme at the Buffy singalong. It was my first glimpse at the depths to which the Buffyverse's geekdom goes. The line to get into the theater stretched down a couple of blocks--the thing sold out fast. Picture a large theaterful of people singing along to a TV show for an hour and a half, and you'll start to get an idea of what it was like. I was semi-embarassed for myself but I have no trouble admitting that we had a complete blast!

It's fun to know that after 24 hours with lunchboy, I neither want to kill him nor push him away. I don't feel suffocated but I also don't feel like it's moving too fast. We have fun together. We joke and laugh and watch silly shows on Tivo. We do basic, boring domestic stuff like go food shopping and unpack his new condo and play with his cats and it's FUN. We don't jump to conclusions or make assumptions about what it is or where it's going (at least I'm not). For where I am in my life, it's just right.

Friday, May 27, 2005

The sun is gone for good

Brian McGrory, you're a man of my heart.

Shower skirmish

The new roommate and I are engaged in a silent battle. Every morning she takes the first shower (because she’s up at the buttcrack of dawn to get to school by 7-something) and she leaves the shower curtain open with her towel hanging over the curtain rod. When I get to the bathroom two hours later, I have to choose between hanging her towel elsewhere while I shower, or simply leaving it over the curtain rod to get soaked. Being a moderately considerate person, I move her towel to one of the MANY hooks in the bathroom and proceed to shower. After I’m done, I hang my towel on one of said hooks and leave the bathroom.

Somehow, between showers, my towel migrates to a hook that is far away from where I originally hung it up and her towel ends up over the curtain rod again.

It’s pissing me off. Why do I have to deal with her towel every freaking morning? Why can’t she just hang it on a hook so that I can take a shower without having to move it?

Also, she has no products. I’m all open minded about her earth-friendly lifestyle, but it’s still amazing to me that, as a woman over the age of 21, she has no body products. Almost every woman I know has managed to accumulate at least 5 bottles of face cleaner/shampoo/body scrub/body wash etc. Go into the bathroom in any woman’s apartment and you’ll find the shower crammed with stuff. But not her. The new roommate has a travel soap container (after yesterday’s post, I have to express gratitude for the fact that she owns and uses soap), and a single bottle of Suave Kids Orange Splash 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner. No razor, no anything. She uses like no space in the medicine cabinet over the sink. She uses less than half of one shelf in the linen closet. This girl travels LIGHT. I’m far from super-girly, but it makes me feel like a superficial pack rat. And forget ever asking to borrow nail polish remover or cleaning alcohol from her—she doesn’t own it.

But the towels. Aiee, the towels. We may have to sit down and discuss this before the claws come out.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Pants of the crank

My new roommate moved in over the weekend. She is a nice girl. Her furniture, however, is not. I needed someone who had a couch, mostly because I didn’t have the cash to buy one myself. She has a couch and so I can hardly complain, but the couch is:

1. ugly
2. large
3. dirty
4. smelly

Even Scully won’t go near the couch. My apartment used to smell really nice, and now when I come home I get hit in the face with that unwashed sheets/hair smell that I usually associate with guy’s apartments. The weather continues to be awful, which is probably why I’m all kinds of cranky, but it also means it’s too cold and gross to open the windows and air the place out.

She’s a teacher and she told me last night that her kids are responding to the awful weather in one of two ways. Either they’re totally hyper or they’re completely depressed. She herself is totally hyper and I am completely depressed. It’s not a pretty picture.

I should have gotten a studio.

Suddenly I feel too old to be dealing with roommate adjustments. She’s young (24), overly cheerful in a way that doesn’t really mask her underlying flakiness, and completely disrespectful of shared spaces. Do I want her ugly black plastic CD tower in the living room, especially when she keeps her stereo in the bedroom? No. Did she ask? No. Will I say something? Absolutely, though right now I’m being passive-agressively annoyed by the whole thing. She used to live with her boyfriend and it just doesn’t occur to her that she can’t put her stuff anywhere she chooses without at least discussing it with me. I feel like an old, anal, disapproving bitch.

I should have gotten a studio. And we just signed a year-long lease. This could be a really long year.

Whimpster

Somehow I doubt this is what Christine Lavin had in mind.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

13 going on a total lie

A friend asked me today whether I had ever done the dance from Thriller, being 30 and in the same age bracket as Jennifer Garner in 13 Going On 30. And I realized that the answer is a resounding NO. I personally was too scared of the zombies in the Thriller video to ever do the dance. Nor did I know anyone (or go to school with anyone) who did the dance. There was certainly no spontaneous Thriller-izing at school dances. Everyone was way too concerned with staying as far away from the opposite sex as possible while still managing to spend the entire evening waiting to see if anyone would ask them to dance.

We did, however, do the dance from REM's Stand.

Shifting gears

I don’t remember how to date.

It’s a sad fact, and it’s totally throwing me for a loop. When I sat down to think about it, I realized that it’s been almost SIX YEARS since I had a normal, non-long distance dating relationship. You know, the kind of gig where two people get together after work, make dinner, watch TV and then someone goes home to their own house. Where you spend the weekends doing your own stuff and then meeting up for dinner, a movie and then one of you sleeps over.

I get that part of things—maybe it’s like riding a bike and you never forget, but I feel like I keep having to take a huge mental step back and remember what I, as a female in a new, “Let’s take it slow and see what happens” kind of dating relationship, am supposed to do. What’s kosher? Is there a dating book I need to read again? It’s like taking the GRE and desperately trying to wrest the memory of how to apply the Pythagorean theorem from that dark corner of my brain where all things math-related were banished immediately after I absorbed them.

Mostly, I just need to relearn how to get to know someone. Are they solitary? Do they like to share the cooking responsibilities, or are they territorial in the kitchen? What side of the bed do they sleep on? Can they be disturbed when “24” is on TV? This is the fun stuff, the nitty-gritty part of seeing if two people can successfully be in each other’s lives. It’s a process, and that’s where my brain is struggling to shift gears. Last time I was with someone, we lived together and that’s just a totally different way of navigating the process. For the longest time, I was focused on the end result. We had made the decision to get married and that was exactly where I wanted to be in my life.

Cut to the present. I'm back at square one and for the most part I am okay with that. There's kind of no point in feeling impatient or frustrated with starting over because the only thing I can do about that is be patient and remember that getting to know someone has its own rewards, regardless of the eventual outcome. It feels great to have my own life separate from the relationship. I like staying at his place, but I also like coming home to my own place and doing my own thing. I like that his job means he’s out of town 3-4 days a week because it means that the balance between my time and us time is geographically enforced.

The other day, after things had been resolved and the tension had started to dissipate, I had a moment of deep calm. I realized that while I WANT this, I don’t NEED it. I had a full, rich life before meeting lunchboy. I don’t think that was always the case in past relationships, and so there is a definite feeling of freedom now that I didn’t enjoy before. The guy always became the center of my world and then when we broke up, that world fell down around my shoulders. This time that’s not the case, so if things with lunchboy don't work out, I'll be fine. For the first time I think I may actually be starting something healthy, and that feels good.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Go away

Enough with the rain already.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

A luscious mix of words and tricks

I don't know what it is about rainy Saturdays, but yoga has been rocking as of late. We did 8 wheels today and I could have done 10 more--I felt strong and loose and centered. When we got to sivasana, I wished the class were longer because I didn't feel finished or ready to rest. And it's really a mystery where all this energy came from considering the amount of wine I drank last night. J is in town and we had a lovely dinner at Argana in Kendall Sq. Then we hit the B-side, the Middlesex Lounge and the bar at the Hotel MIT. It was a great night, marred only by my drunken urge to text message lunch boy, which I regretted immediately afterward.

T came to yoga with me today and we got into a heated discussion about the disgustingly small number of strong men we have in our collective lives. When I sat down to think about it, I realized that I only know 3 or 4 men whom I would describe as strong--who are decisive, centered and have their priorities straight. Maybe there's something to be said against the whole women's lib movement if the end result is that women are so driven, strong and self-reliant that a whole generation or two of men have grown up believing that they don't need to take responsiblity for their actions, emotions or decisions because we don't need them to fill that role anymore. We do. I know so many women who have held their heads high through experiences that destroyed them emotionally, but I know very few men for whom I can say the same.

Tonight is A's business school graduation party and I cannot wait to go.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Can you handle my truth?

I’ve learned an important lesson these past few weeks, which is: Never share your blog with a person you may or may not become romantically involved with. At least, don’t share it with them until the relationship is on extremely solid ground, like if you’re getting married or something. Otherwise it’s just a big mistake. You end up giving away state secrets rather than just sharing something that is deeply personal as an indication that you’re starting to trust them. At first it was a fun way to send little messages or drop subtle hints, but now it’s a pain in the ass because I have to edit rather than be completely honest.

The truth of the matter is that lunch boy did not break up with his girlfriend. He started the process and the breakup is ongoing, but I don’t know if he’s actually uttered the words, “It’s over.”

He went from “I don’t want to break up until after my mother visits and after I’m sure the gfriend has a place to live,” to “I need to wait until the gfriend is settled in her new place and that she’s okay.” He is a good person. But he cannot stand to be the bad guy and it’s making everyone involved miserable. Because we’re friends (and also because I’m sort of the catalyst behind the breakup), he talked about it a lot and I listened. I empathize with how difficult it is to end a relationship. Really, I do. But there’s only so many times you can hear how he’s frantically worried about her wellbeing, especially when you’re emotionally involved and you’re invested in the outcome of the situation.

“Your independence and self-reliance are some of my favorite things about you,” he told me.

That’s a great compliment, but historically it has translated into, “You’re strong and that’s nice because then I won’t have to worry about your feelings very much.”

Of all the things to take on a leap of faith. I am doing my best to be patient, but it gets harder when he doesn’t give the answers I’m looking for.

“Can I trust you?”
“I don’t know. You can trust me to try and not hurt you.”
“When do you think it will be figured out?”
“I’m not sure. And I don’t want to give you a timeline if it’s going to turn out to be a lie.”

I asked him to give me space until he gets the gfriend situation squared away. I want to trust him and believe that it will work out, but it’s hard to see through the haze of fear and the desire to just barricade my emotions behind titanium doors. Last week I gave him the key to my building but not my apartment. He got in the front door, and now I have to fight not to slam it behind him.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Shout out

I realized last night that my poor friends are probably about to strangle me. They put up with months of bitching about wedding planning, and then more months of sobbing and emotional neediness after the breakup. And now they’re being subjected to every nuance, detail or bit of information I can think of regarding lunch boy that I can possibly dredge up from my memory. Why? Because I’m terrified of making another mistake. My friends are smart and intuitive and militantly loyal. They are also unstinting with their advice and so far no one has shrunk away from my new edict: brutal honesty. Last summer, I heard a lot of, “Well, I didn’t want to say anything at the time because you loved him, but I really thought he was selfish and immature.” Which was true. But it’s why I feel the urge to overshare when it comes to my love life now. If I tell them everything that could be relevant to how this thing folds or unfolds, then they will give me the necessary massive wakeup call/slap upside the head if for some reason I start to fall back into old patterns, and we can all avoid more tearful emoting.

Drama. I am tired of drama. Not Johnny Drama—for him I am waiting with bated breath (although E is my favorite)—but the kind that makes you tired of talking about your life by the end of the day. So instead I will celebrate the fact that one good friend is graduating from law school, another is graduating from business school and moving to Germany, and a couple of others are blasting their way through PhD programs in rock star fashion. You guys are amazing and I love you!!!!!

You've got mail

Electronic communication is a blessing and a mindfuck, particularly when it comes to relationships. I know I’m way behind the times on this one. My past relationships never relied on things like IM, email and text messaging to move forward. It was always phone, phone and in person. Well, when Glenn and I were dating cross-country, there was a lot of email and IM between weekend visits, but we were also on the phone constantly. As in, $300 phone bill constantly.

So this whole lunch boy thing is a new experience for me. We do almost all our communicating via computer and cell phone, and it’s got me to thinking about whether technology is aiding or abetting our ability to get to know each other. For one thing, it’s much easier to say things over email or IM than it would be to say them in person. That’s good, right? I’m all for the good communication. But it does mean that you don’t have to look at the person’s face when you say something, or hear the inflection in their voice when they talk to you. And that means it’s really easy to lay things on the line, put your heart on your sleeve or say things without really thinking about them first.

What does it say about two people when they’d rather talk electronically than on the phone or in person? To me, it says that email and IM make it easier for me to maintain some emotional distance while still staying in touch with him and having him be a daily part of my life. Periodically I go through moments where I want to cut off all communication and hang him out to dry because it feels like I’m being taken for granted or he’s not making a decision as fast as I want him to. For this I have to thank my mother—again. She of the drama queen tactics and martyrdom guilt trips, whose outbursts were carefully calculated to get us to do whatever she wanted. I take full responsibility for the times when I actually give into this urge—that’s my fault, not hers—but I also have to acknowledge the source.

Anyhoo.

1. Email is good because you get these little electronic surprise presents in your inbox, and it makes the day go by so much faster. But it also sucks because when he doesn’t email, I sit there staring at the screen and wondering what the deal is, and feeling like a loser for noticing that the horrible little Outlook preview box hasn’t appeared in the lower righthand side of my screen for hours and hours. Then the day drags and I wonder how I got to be 30 years old and I’m still waiting for the boy to “call”. Wasn’t I supposed to get past that like 10 years ago?

2. IM is deadly (and not just in the inappropriate sense). It eats up hours and hours. And it’s such a game. Do I want to sign on? And when I do, if he’s already online it becomes a staring contest—who will ping who first? Who will have hand? Then there’s the fact that it’s easy to talk about everything and nothing. Suddenly I find us talking about stuff that I would never consider discussing with anyone else so early in a relationship. And the next second we’re talking about how I flunked algebra in high school and how his room service sucks. It’s easier than the phone and harder at the same time. Plus, you can save the conversations for posterity (and possible future blog material). So evil, I know. C—I can feel you cringing from here.

3. Text messaging is similar but more dangerous. Literally. You try typing a message on the phone while driving, knowing that you’re being stupid but also knowing that you have to respond tout suite. It’s bad when I send a message and he doesn’t reply, but it’s good when I get off the plane and have three messages from him waiting for me, welcoming me home and asking how the flight was.

All this is probably ridiculously passe, but it was on my mind. Still,I wonder what happens when we actually have to talk face to face, when we can’t hide behind a computer screen and take as long as we want to think about a response. Will it still fly? Or is the relationship blooming only in an electronic sense?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Things that make you go "Ewwwwwwww"

I can report firsthand that the bathroom at the Porter Sq. CVS is not a lovely place to spend time. How do I know this? Because I came down with a UTI in the middle of my book group last night. We went from discussing literature to discussing some of the less delicate physical situations we'd all been through, as I desperately dialed my doctor's emergency line and begged for antibiotics immediately if not sooner. Thank god for peridium. Without it, I would have been curled up by the pharmacy window in a shrieking, whining, sobbing ball of pain and discomfort. With it, I found myself leaning over the front counter and politely (but with a not so subtle air of desperation) asking an older staff person named Shirley if I could possibly use the bathroom while I waited for my prescription to be filled. Being the kindly soul that she was, she agreed and took me into the bowels of the CVS basement, where I gratefully availed myself of the facilities.

With peridium, I can pee in technicolor. There's a silver lining to every situation. Being a woman is so much fun sometimes.

I have friends going through a lot worse right now so I will refrain from bitching too much, but UTIs are quite possibly the worst hell on earth. Coupled with a cold and a stomach ache from said antibiotics, they are just misery incarnate. I used to be so good at preventing them, with my army of cranberry pills and my bottles of water. Alas. My mind was elsewhere.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Planetary disarray

Lately it seems like everyone I know is going through some major life adjustment. Perhaps adjustment isn’t the right word—how about insane, crappy, horrible difficulty that’s a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10. I’m talking everything from coworkers, friends and family dying, to friendships, relationships and marriages ending (or suffering deep internal injuries), to making gut-wrenching decisions that no one should have to make. People are moving and shaking as they go. May has certainly rolled in like a lion. It feels like life in general is mushing around, reforming in mysterious ways and making room for the new.

Months like this make me wonder whether there really is some planetary influence that holds sway over us, like some vast universal magnet that can pull the wrong way if it’s inadvertently tilted. Is Mercury in retrograde? Should we all be burning sage and cleansing our personal space? I wish so much that I could make my friend’s lives easier, to take away a little of their pain. I wish I could see the reasons behind the carnage, but not if it means parroting clich├ęs that make me want to punch other people when they say them to me. Everything does happen for a reason, but the really crappy part is that you can’t see the reason until you’ve been through the shit, so what’s the use of pointing it out until later?

In my life, the transitions are less dramatic. My roommate moved out today, so I have the place to myself for a week before my new roommate moves in. Then there’s lunch boy. That’s been a transition in the making from day one. He’s going through like four transitions of his own, so things are still guarded but they are *things*. Or they will be. We laugh and talk and sneak kisses in the stairwell, and my stomach gets all fluttery just knowing that he’s sitting down the hall. Once we both get our lives in order, who knows? I think we could have ridiculous amounts of fun if we both stop being so afraid of it.

This weekend is all about cleaning. Cleaning the apartment within an inch of its life, turning over my closet, rearranging what little furniture is left, sweeping up drifts of cat hair tumbleweeds, opening up the windows to let the air in. Cleaning out the old and making space for the new. I’m cleaning house in every way possible, with my hair pulled up and the stereo cranking Duran Duran.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Men are from ???

Finally, someone articulates why I can't deal with Philip Roth and his contemporaries.

And the bike holds sway over all

Screw national security and the possibility (however thin) that a plane might take out some buildings in the capitol---Bush had to finish his damned ride. At least we know what would happen if Glenn were president.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Bon Vacances

“Heaven looks a lot like San Francisco.”—Tony Kushner, Angels in America

Weekend milestones:
--Binding in Mari A, B and C in yoga class on Saturday. Renate tells me it was a half primary class. While it definitely kicked my butt, I somehow made it through without embarrassing her. My standing balances were crap, though.
--Getting food poisoning from food in Berkeley for the second straight time. Those eggs were damn good, however.
--Gay brunch with my lovely gay friends in the Castro. I’ve never seen so much chicken sausage in my life. Plus, there was a resident cat. Perfetto.
--Three hours of urban hiking around Glen Park and Twin Peaks, and finding a steep new set of stairs to climb.
--A spectacular 12-mile hike through Muir Woods, Mt. Tam State Park and down to Stinson Beach on Sunday. We took the Dipsea trail and it was such an incredibly clear day that we could see all the way from Oakland to Pt. Reyes, including the Farallons.
--Deleting B from my cell phone directory.
--Not freaking out when I heard that Glenn was dating up a storm.
--Keeping a sense of perspective when lunch boy broke up with his girlfriend.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Julia Roberts, move over

The inimitable Mike Daisey comments on Jennifer Wilbanks and the whole runaway bride phenomenon.

Mike, how come I didn't make the cut!?

Elevensies

11 months today. It feels like it’s been a lot longer, though. I rarely think about Glenn anymore, and when I do it’s in a peripheral, past-tense kind of way that doesn’t have any bearing on my current existence. I don’t dream about him anymore and I don’t cry over him anymore. Sometime last month, I removed the platinum and diamond band I’d been wearing on my right hand and since then I’ve no longer felt connected to the end of that relationship. It sucks that the breakup happened, but it happened for a reason and I’m glad to be where I am now, rather than in a bad marriage to someone who wasn’t right for me.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Dream for an insomniac

Call me cheesy but last night, as I was grappling with my now-permanent state of sleep deprivation, I somehow found my way back to a movie that I doubt many people would call memorable but which has stuck with me for years. See, if you take away the carefully constructed emotional barriers I put up during waking hours, you'll find that I am an incurable romantic--a dangerous tendency to cultivate, especially when you know that romance guarantees nothing in life.

Here, then, is a dry toast to the two most romantic moments of my life thus far:

#1--My best friend R was my boyfriend for two months our freshman year of college. That winter, I somehow managed to come down with a bad case of mono right around Valentine's Day and, being the overenthusiastic college newbie that I was, I was crushed that I couldn't make it to the Valentine's Day semiformal. R, who avoided anything that required clothing more dressy than jeans or a flannel, showed up in my room at the health center wearing slacks and a button-down shirt, and bearing a boom box loaded with a carefully compiled mix tape.

"What are you doing here?" I asked. He hadn't said anything about stopping by and, since we had a thing about kissing, I didn't want to infect him with my disease.

"I heard there was a dance in the health center," he said.

*melt*

We swayed to Tori Amos, Alison Moyet, Kate Bush and Dave Matthews for about a half hour, until I passed out from mono-induced exhaustion. R's ability to sweep me off my feet is still the reason why I insist that Lloyd Dobler is the patron saint of sensitive new age guys. R and I have been best friends for going on 12 years now and I still hug him for that moment every so often.

#2--A few days before Glenn was scheduled to move from LA to Boston, he went AWOL. I called, I emailed, I panicked when I couldn't reach him. Had he changed his mind about moving? Did he get hit by some insane driver on Barrington while he was out buying more boxes? Distracted, I met a bunch of my friends for a night at the Comedy Connection in Faneuil Hall. The show was hysterical, but I was checking my cell phone every 5 minutes and my friends were clearly concerned, not just about my sanity, but about the distinct possibility that something had gone wrong.

After the show was over, I drove back to my apartment in a sketchy part of Waltham, only to find that I had locked myself out of the house. As I came around the corner, I saw someone sitting on my front porch and I freaked out--I thought it was some stranger there to assault me and I couldn't even get in my front door. But it was Glenn. He'd changed his flight and arrived two days early to surprise me and there he was, waiting by my door with arms open to hug me.

(#3 is the engagement day, but that's wiped off the books)

So in the spirit of sleep deprived hope, I am posting two quotes from Dream for an Insomniac that appeal to the starry-eyed girl within me, the one who hopes to stop being so jaded and cynical one day:

"Anything other than mad, passionate love is just a waste of time."

"There are too many mediocre things in this world to deal with, love shouldn't have to be one of them."

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

California here I come


Excitement!! This weekend I am off to San Francisco to party with my gay husbands, dork out on yoga with the fabulous Renate, and otherwise throw down with my west coast posse. What a concept—a weekend in a place where the temperature climbs above 60 degrees in May. J and I are hiking Point Reyes on Monday if the weather holds up. If it doesn’t, we’ll hit Mt. Diablo.

It’s a perfect time to go. Lunch boy’s girlfriend is back in town and he has some thinking to do. I don't particularly want to be present for that, mostly because I know the odds of it coming out in my favor are low. Still, I do not think I will see B over the weekend. Hooking up with him would be like eating at McDonald’s after going on a gastronomic tour of Italy. And no one needs junk food jigginess.

Blast from the past

When I go to work this morning, I opened my email and found a note from T, one of Glenn's very best friends in LA. He wrote to say hi and see how I was doing, and to give me an update on how things were going in LA. It meant a lot to hear from him--he and I were good friends back in the day, and I missed him a lot after everything went down. I'm touched--he's the only one of Glenn's friends or family to reach out. We hung out with T all the time. If he wasn't at our place, we were at his house up in Mandeville or meeting him for Mexican food at Poquito. He was supposed to be a groomsman. His office was across the street from my yoga studio and I used to stop by after class and say hi. It's really good to know he's doing well.

Monday, May 02, 2005

I caught you a delicious bass

I’ve been thinking a lot about commitment lately, mostly because I’m realizing how averse I am to the concept as a whole right now, and partly because of lunch boy.

Commitment is nice and good and in a lot of ways it's what makes the planet turn. In an ideal world, the ability to commit goes hand in hand with responsibility, maturity, faithfulness and duty. In relationships, commitment is key. It’s sort of what makes a relationship a relationship. Commitment is a choice, a risk, a creation of vulnerability, a decision that must be adhered to or the whole concept goes out the window. Depending on the moment, commitment can be freeing and wonderful, or boring and claustrophobic. Either way, it’s part of being an adult.

The importance of commitment was pounded into my head at an early age by my mother who, when she wasn’t busy chasing me around the house with makeup or nylons in her hand, made sure I knew that I had to do what I said I’d do, follow through on my promises (even when it meant I ended up mowing the neighbor’s lawn when I really wanted to be reading on the back porch), and to feed the cat when he needed food rather than waiting for someone else to do it.

Sometimes commitment can bite you in the ass. People leave. Things end. And still you have to live your life.

When I was in sixth grade, a girl in my class was killed in a car crash. I was supposed to babysit the night I learned about her death—-a commitment I had made several weeks before. My mother refused to let me cancel, even though the last thing in the world I wanted to do was chase a bratty, spoiled kid around his parent’s McMansion for $6 an hour. Dazed and out of it, I went off to babysit, and the kid was just as bratty and unmanageable as I anticipated. Before they’d left for the theater, I had (very responsibly) told the parents about my friend’s death and I let them know that I was not in a super playful frame of mind. They took their son aside and told him to behave. Which of course he did not. At one point, desperate to get my goat, he said, “I bet your friend was ugly and nasty and deserved to die.” Shocked and appalled, I turned around and said (without thinking), “Billy, if you don’t shut up I’m going to smack you.” Yes, he was little and he probably just wanted a reaction, and yes, I should have known better, but I wasn’t thinking clearly. He didn’t shut up and when his parents came home, he ran to them and told them I’d threatened to hit him. I got a call from his mother the next day saying how disappointed she was in me, and how they would no longer be needing my services. My mother apologized to me and said she should have let me stay home.

Thanks to my mom, I used to be queen of commitment. But yesterday I realized that I am now terrified of it. I am afraid to commit to buying furniture for my apartment because having a lot of big possessions makes it harder to fly by the seat of your pants. I’m averse to signing a new lease because it means I can’t just bug out of town if the next winter makes me shriek with misery. I don’t want to look at condos, not just because the amount of money in my savings account would make a broker laugh til they cried, but because I’m afraid of committing to this city, and owning real estate would make it that much more complex if I decided to leave.

I’m always looking for an escape route now.

I think this is why I’ve been so okay with the lunch boy situation. We may click like crazy, we may have a great time together and we may make more sense than most of what comes out of George Bush’s mouth, but even though the risks are obvious, it’s super safe in one really basic way. If he’s involved with someone else, than the entire issue of commitment is off the table. No commitment = no vulnerability = Moxie does not get hurt. Again.

That’s the theory at least. When you’ve progressed to the point where you’re watching Family Guy in your underpants on someone’s couch, vulnerability is definitely part of in the picture.

That’s not to say that I couldn’t commit to him in a girlfriend-free situation. It just means that I’m afraid of it, and I’m acknowledging that fear. My shrink would be so proud.