Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Recovering Mormon, a Beautiful Gay, & My Great Rally

Back in April I went on my second Tinder date. I wasn’t particularly attracted to his photo but maybe it was one of those times I was feeling charitable – or just no guys were pinging me. And then he asked me out and I fell back on my incredible inability to say no (without good reason). So there I was on a Friday night meeting up with this guy who I thought maybe just didn’t know how to pick out a good photo.

I saw him, gave him a hug after sneaking in a clandestine once-over and immediately decided 1. Not interested and 2. He’d be perfect for GFN. But I stayed on the elevator…even though he was a 'recovering Mormon' from Utah. (See, I don’t discriminate.)

Tinder is just one really big elevator, I figure. I can walk into an elevator and carry on a conversation with anyone. If they ask me out on an elevator I’d probably say yes then too. (Okay, twice I was asked out on an elevator and both times I declined, but that’s not the point.) So here I was on a Friday night, sitting across from this guy I’d met on a virtual elevator. We had drinks and conversation then moved to dinner at a hole in the wall. At which point he was impressed that I was totally okay with a hole in the wall.

Free food is free food, dude.

Since this was right around the Cherry Blossom Festival, they were serving a drink called a Cherry Blossom which consisted of some IPA and cherry vodka. It was disturbingly good; I think we drank about a million of them. (Mormons can drink.) Then, after dinner, I proceeded to kick his ass at darts. (If I'm winning a bar game, I'm drunk.) Once he gave up on darts, we sat back down at the bar and a older black gentleman kept coming up and talking to us. His name was Sammy. 

Sammy told us he was drunk. Sammy told us he had “seen some shit”. And then Sammy told us he was going to go snort coke in the bathroom. We decided it was time to leave.

It was nearly 2am, so we headed to another bar near the Metro. There, we ran into beautiful 22 year old gay. At last call, he asked if we wanted a shot of whiskey. (Pro Tip: If someone asks if you want a shot at last call, you say 'NO'.) After downing what I’m fairly certain was half the bottle in a rocks glass, it was time to go and I was a full sheet to the wind. The beautiful gay and I discovered we lived off the same stop, so after I hugged my date goodbye, I rode off with my new gay friend. (Precisely how he wanted the date to end, I'm sure.) Whiskey can’t quite remember how but we ended up sipping vodka and talking on my porch until (when housemate P told us to shut up at) 5 in the morning.

The next day was The Sounds concert and I was going with my female housemate, E. Doors opened at 5pm. At 4:24p, I woke up. And if half dead feels like something, I think it felt like that. She was on her way home from work, so I texted her my current state and said I was going to try to shower it away. When I got out of the shower, I shuffled into my room and laid back in bed. She came home a few moments later, took one look at me and said “We’re not going to this concert, are we?”

“OH YES WE ARE!” I declared, somehow willfully defiant through my tequila, vodka, IPA, whiskey, vodka haze. After a short discussion, we realized I had to do it; I had to ‘pull the trigger’, as it were. So there I was, 30 years old, sitting on the floor of the bathroom while my 24 year old housemate literally cheered me on from the other side of the wall. After about 20 minutes of hesitation (I hate booting), I emerged.

“Did you do it,” she asked.

“Yes. But I feel worse,” I responded slightly despondent, but still determined to make this happen. We decided to walk to the local grocer, get our drinks (per our previous plan), grab a sandwich and head back before going to the concert. We got our sandwiches first and I sipped on an iced tea the entire walk. After a little over a mile, we were back to the house to eat our sandwiches on the front lawn. I put a bag in front of me – half joking, half precautionary – “in case things didn’t go down well”.

“If you’re gonna puke, you go behind the porch. YOU GO BEHIND THE PORCH OR I’LL PUKE!” I gathered she wanted me to go next to the porch if I was going to hurl. With that in mind, I took the world’s teeniest nibble of a fry and immediately ran to the side of the porch and lost all of the iced tea I’d worked so hard to put in there. I immediately felt better.

Just then P came outside. E announced I’d just booted by the porch. “I heard,” he laughed, “that makes me kinda happy after last night”.

“Oh yea” I said now returned to my chair, eating entire French fries with pride, “sorry about that”. (Apparently we weren't that loud, just unfortunately placed below his bed.)

From there, E and I got ready, popped in a cab that took way too long to get there and arrived at the concert. We were late and missed the opener I wanted to see, but The Sounds were awesome. After the show, we met up with my favorite gay couple (who I just happened to see crossing the street while we were standing in line for will call) and danced the night away.

And that, kids, is how I pulled off my greatest rally of all time.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Friends are like wardrobes.

When I was packing to move a couple of months ago the first place I started was with my closet. As a woman with over 200 pairs of shoes, it was the logical first step. I donated over 50 pairs of shoes - soon after collecting a few more anyway, but seriously, those! ->

I riffled through my drawers and closets and shelves and whatnots and donated and threw out bags and bags of old and new rarely worn clothing, sometimes asking myself "What was I thinking?" or introspectively reminiceing about the good times I had wearing those garments. Some that were awesome, but didn't fit, I found good homes for; like a too-big suit I gave to my mom and it snagged her her new job! (Yay momma!) Some were just not who I was anymore. And some, like my 13 year old sweater, riddled with holes, still made the cut. When I was finished, my wardrobe was thinned out, I felt accomplished; lighter, and like I still had plenty of things to wear, none of which made me feel bad about my waistline. 

During this process, I also came to the realization that friends are like wardrobes. My new mantra I told my mother, as she looked at me quizzically. With all the bullshit transpiring in the past year - and even for a girl who really loves analogies - this one seems legit. I went on to explain: They come and go like clothes in a closet and sometimes, when they don’t fit anymore or make you feel bad about your belly, you need them throw them out. You have other clothes in your closet; stores full of hundreds of things that fit better; match with your evolved style. And yet sometimes you have the piece you got at 17 that you knew when you wrapped your body: 'it doesn’t matter how many holes this gets, or how much it falls apart, I’m going to have this forever' - and I still do. A few pieces you just can’t bear to let go of, so you tuck them back in your closet, in a box preserving time and wait for the opportunities, event, and weight-loss/gain to wear them again. And friends, much the same, are a rotation – evolving to fit who you have become; who you are at present; and who you want to be.

I think too often we hold on to people who don’t ‘fit’ anymore, simply because they were once an important staple in our wardrobe of life. People change and grow and move on and it’s harmful, I think, when we refuse to admit that people who we chose at family for a time, are no longer a big part of who we are - or at least not in this moment. For whatever reason we’ve grown apart, circumstances of changed, events have occurred or one person hurt another. It’s okay to let things go or pack them away until you're ready again. It’s healthy to make room for the future.

Recently I realized if I tell someone that they hurt me, they don’t apologize, and I just let it go, then all I’m doing is giving them permission to hurt me again. Sometimes it’s okay to let things – and people – go. In fact, it’s probably a really good exercise: Reminding ourselves what is worth keeping; de-cluttering with reason and purpose; or perhaps just waiting trends and evolution to catch up. And right then, at the toss of the jeans, your life (and heart) feel a whole lot lighter.



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Free Spirit

Free spirit. Free spirit. I hear it all the time now. But I don’t even know what it means. Okay, fine,  I just Googled it, but I still don't know what it means to be called a free spirit.
free spirit
n.
One who is not restrained, as by convention or obligation; a nonconformist.

It started a little while back; maybe 18 months ago or so. These words kept coming up as a way to describe me. The oddest happened earlier this week when I got a Tinder message (yes, I'm still on Tinder; I'll explain why later) from a new match: “Free spirited and all natural, huh?” And while my profile does point out that my hair and ‘figure’ are natural, it says nothing to imply “free spirit” – I mean, how would it? I don’t even know what that means.

So I showed my Seattle Senorita my bio (below) and asked: "What about this says 'free spirit'?!” Adding, “And should I be taking it as an insult at this point?”


 “Free spirit means you don’t conform to society bullshit,” she told me, adding, "It's my M.O."

“What about my profile says ‘free spirit’?” I asked. “I just don’t follow.”

“I think you just exude it. It’s a good thing,” she concluded before moving on.

And according to these steps on how to be a free spirit – which seems extremely ironic – it sounds like it’s a good thing. So alright, I’ll take it -whatever it means to you guys. But seriously, I don't get it; it has become one of the stranger things I've been called on repeat. Dumb? Sometimes. Goofy? A lot. Free spirited? Eh?! Even Goomba got in on the action earlier this year and I asked him what he meant by free spirit. "You're moving across the country and leaving everything you know behind just because. It goes against what society says," he continued to my remaining skepticism, "And that takes balls". 

So in conclusion, my Tinder profile gives me balls... wait, that doesn't sound right. Whatever it is that people see and I can't see in myself - it sounds good enough to own. I'll accept the title. Does it come with a tiara?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Grandpap Thinks I'm Beautiful

A few Christmases ago, my grandpap began to ask me when I was going to have a baby when he witnessed me falling in love with my three nieces. It's the sort of octogenarian charm of getting to say whatever the hell you want; a privilege of age and wisdom. It became a bit of a running theme at Christmas and birthdays. "When are you going to have a baby," he'd ask.

"Well, I don't even have a boyfriend at the moment - let alone a husband, so that might be an issue."

"You don't need a husband to have a baby," he'd reason. A surprising response from a 80 year old man, married to the same woman for over 60 years, who still expects his wife to make him a sandwich on command. (She only does sometimes now. But under her breath she'll mumble "Make your own damn sandwich," which in a family full of very opinionated women, is oft laughed about unbeknownst to him.)

"I'm not doing all that alone," I'd say, freshly 28 and confident (at the time) that I had oodles of years until I needed to be concerned for my eggs.

"I'm not going to live forever," he'd reply, eager to meet my children and see me as a mother instead of just an aunt.

"I'll see what I can do."

***

The following year from the start of his request of my procreation I saw him at Thanksgiving. He gave me some advice: "You need to stop going to bars;  you're going to get into a fight in those bars," he said in the middle of dinner, unprovoked.

"I won't."

"I've spent plenty in times in bars in my younger years. I've been in bar fights. I know what happens there."

"Well, I've spent plenty of time in bars. I've never gotten in a fight and I don't intend to."

He switched gears slightly, as my aunt and grandmother came to my defense to say that bars in DC now are nothing like the bars of his day. "Don't meet your husband in a bar; you're not going to find anyone good hanging out in bars," he went on as if they'd said nothing.

My aunt chimed in, "I met my husband in a bar," nodding at her current husband sitting beside her.

"Yea," he said, mid-chew, "If I wasn't drunk, I never would have had the courage to talk to her." (Apparently men seem to think the very opinionated women of our clan can be intimidating. That seems fair.)

My grandfather ignored this comment from those he accidentally just insulted and went on to tell me that I needed to go out and find a Jahovah's Witness and be saved. I put down my fork-full of mashed potatoes, turned to my grandma and quietly asked, "Is he being serious?"

Before she could reply, he roared "YEA I'M SERIOUS!"

"Ignore him," said my grandma to me. "He's drunk."

"I'M NOT DRUNK..." he went on, as I heeded my grandmother's advice and turned my focus to turkey and corn pudding.

*** 

When we were little and my grandparents were watching my sisters and me, my middle sister and I would use pink foam curlers to "curl" our grandfather's hair; a mostly balding man with an impressive grey comb over. My grandmother, who isn't much of one for reminiscing, always likes to bring this up. I wish we had photos, but it falls into the fond - albeit strange - memory-only category. Then again, this is the same sister that convinced me to climb onto our grandparents roof through their bedroom window, only to be found out when our grandfather saw two aging toddlers peering through the bathroom window, mid-pee. The same sister that managed to bestow upon me my cheek dimple in a pillow fight when I was five and she was six.

She hit what was probably a little 35 pound body with a pillow hard enough to send me flying off the sofa bed and into the corner of an end table. My cheek broke the fall; it bruised and hardened. When it finally healed, I had a dimple. And I hated it. "The boys will love you when you get older," my grandmother said in consolation.

"I DON'T WANT TO BOYS TO LOVE ME!" I protested.

This reply seemed a far cry from the moments - in between curling my grandpap's twenty hairs - when we would play the card game, Old Maid. In another of her few reminiscent gems, my grandmother likes to relive the moments when we played: "For some reason," she still recalls with a smirk, "you always ended up the old maid; I don't know how. But you would get really upset and cry: 'BUT I DON'T WANT TO BE AN OLD MAID!"

My sisters probably had something to do with it; they were always picking on me - giving me the bottom backwash of our shared can of Coke; telling me I was adopted. But it was true: I didn't want to be the old maid. I probably still don't. I was very young, but I remember playing; getting upset that I never wanted to be one - whatever that meant, although I recall taking to heart as far more than just the loser of a card game.

***

A few more Christmases and holiday get-togethers passed, with more questions about when I'll get married. Do I have a boyfriend. When will I have kids. Mostly questions from grandpap; sometimes not. In my family, it's weird to reach 30 and not be married: my grandparents were too young to marry in Pennsylvania when they fell in love, so they drove to West Virginia to make it legal. Another aunt - still happily married after 20-some years - couldn't legally drink at her own reception. But perhaps the others don't ask because they know I don't want to be the old maid: "We give you your space," my mother (who told me to wait until 28) said of she and my step-dad, "so we don't ask".

And then this Easter, there seemed to have been a shift. My sisters, by now, had five kids under four in tow: A bit different than the two year old and the six month old twin nieces I had when the questioning and baby requests began. My mother made a comment that she was glad I waited; spaced out her grandchildren - obviously my intent from the start. When I walked into my grandparents' house, my eldest sister, her husband, her four year old daughter and 11 month old son were already there. I said hello to my grandparents and took a seat on the couch adjacent to my grandfather in his Lay-Z-Boy. He looked at me poignantly. I smiled and waited for the inevitable questions.

"You get more beautiful every time I see you," he said as if it suddenly dawned on him, with a sort of conviction and what seemed to be proud admiration. Our beloved octogenarian, he really meant it.

"Thank you," I said shocked and absolutely touched. "That's a wonderful thing to hear. I was just starting to wonder if I was getting old."

"You're not old!" he said, "You're smart." I looked at him a bit bewildered; he continued, "I was just telling your sister that the more you multiply, the more you need to multiply solutions. Kids cause problems. You don't need any solutions; it's simple. You can have problems later. You're smart."

"Thanks," I said, as my sister turned to the both of us and pointed out that he'd never said anything beatific like that to her. He got up to check on the Easter ham. I basked in the glow of perhaps my favorite thing my grandfather has ever said to me. And I felt beautiful.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Get Ready.

The incredible urge to write: Where have you been my wilting flower?! It seems back now. Like an addict ready for relapse and there as so many things I've missed and want to retrace. So many feathers yet to ruffle. And so many moments of missed catharsis of this weird new life I have since turning 30 to work through. But I'm coming back now and I have some time now and I'm going to share now.

Topics will include:

A Potato At Christmas
The One Where I Went on a Date with a Recovering Mormon and Took Home a Beautiful Gay
The Baby Raccoon
There One Where My Mom Watched Me Get Run Over
Update: The One Where I Got Ditched at the Airport
Friends are Like Wardrobes
The Disintegration of Love
Georgetown
Crying
Away We Grow: An Update on Hair
My Grandpap Thinks I'm Beautiful



Get ready. I write. You read. And go!


Friday, May 30, 2014

Turds

One day. Actually, not even one day. About 12 hours until my parents are here to help me move. Update:  I'm suppose to be moving into my cousin's group house tomorrow, but I got a text earlier today saying that the girl whose room I'm taking over is giving them issues again. Get out, you crusty turd! And yet, I still don't have everything packed.

Speaking of turds and my cousin - that started off weird - she and I went to dinner on Monday. On our way back to our neighborhood, we heard someone yelling off to right while we sat at a red light. I looked over and made eye contact with this very irate man who was yelling, "DO YOU WANT TO MOVE". I had, oh, I don't know, four feet between me and the car in front of me to aid in this very annoyed middle-aged, Ravens gear wearing, peeved white guy's parking attempt - which I only noticed once he was screaming at me. So I put down my back window to talk to him.

"Do you want to ask nicely?" I replied calmly.

"NO, YOU BITCH. YOU NEED TO MOVE."

"Well, then I'm not moving," I said confidently like talking to a tantruming toddler, as I popped on my hazard lights.

Hazard lights: Automobiles' gift to let you do any damn thing you please.

The light turned green. As he tried to park again, within inches of my car, he began to shout any and all expletives at me: cunt, dickhead, douchebag and then called me stupid. He delightfully added, "IS THAT HAIR COLOR REAL OR DO YOU DYE IT," trying to poke fun at my wrongfully-assumed dye job and intelligence (because everyone knows blond jokes are true - like duh.).

This attempt, of course, was quickly thwarted when, in unison, my cousin and I snapped back: "It's natural, actually!" And giggled a little. I then called him a turd.

Of all things during this ridiculous, heated, District of Columbia main road, Memorial Day evening, road blocking debate, I called him a turd. ...I've really got to work on my insults.

At this point he had said he was going to follow me home somewhere between calling me a cunt and insinuating that I'm stupid and dye my hair blond. Because I want to live, I said, "Well then I'm definitely not moving now," getting a bit concerned for our safety. The pleasant drivers behind me adhered to my do-whatever-the-fuck-you-want blinking lights I had clicked on when this whole thing began and went around, nary a yell or a beep - this time as I was actually doing something obnoxious. He called me stupid again and I said I have a masters degree (it's all I could think of) and what does he do. He said he was a lawyer. "Oh. That makes sense," I snarkly remarked. He said he was going to sue my ass. "For what?!" my cousin and I replied again in unison.

"FOR BLOCKING TRAFFIC." Apparently you can sue someone for blocking traffic. I'm sure he was a real lawyer. Better call Saul. After we pointed out that wasn't sue-worthy, he threatened to call the police.

"Go ahead," I said, "I'd like to tell them you said you were going to follow me home, so that they can escort us."

"I NEVER SAID I WAS GOING TO FOLLOW YOU," he screamed back.

"Yes you did!," we again said in tandem. "And she has a witness," attested my cousin.

"OH YOU AND YOUR BEST FRIEND?!" he spit back, as we looked at each other dumb-founded at the entire situation and his latest insult. He pulled out his phone and called the cops.

"The's a woman on Wisconsin and she's blocking traffic," he said into his phone, calm as a mellow hippie. After a moments more discussion, he hung up, looked over at me pleased with himself and then went on parking. I didn't believe for a minute that he actually called the police - nor did I care because it would have been preferable - and as he began backing into the space (please note I hadn't moved my car so it seems possible he could have done this from the start), I felt comfortable enough that he wasn't going to follow me home and kill - or "lawyer" - me and away we drove.

"That was a weird one," I said to my cousin as we rounded the corner.

"Yea," she responded. "Does that kind of stuff happen to you a lot - like, is that normal?"

"I don't even know anymore," I replied. And back home we went so I could continue my packing for both a transitional summer and cross country move, while keeping an eye out of my windows to make sure my car wasn't vandalized or someone tried to crawl through and kill me for stopping at a red light. I regaled my roommates of six more days with the tale; one had driven by us while this all went on. I'm glad there were witnesses because I don't think people believe this shit anymore.

Anyway, I'd better get back to packing because a few months back a few friends offered to help me. They even defended me against a girl who was very anti-help-me-move; all we got your back, gurl. And suddenly, they're nowhere to been seen. Turds. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Twenty-Eight Days, Denial or Blind Faith

There she went again with her writing lull, sigh my faithful readers. It’s true. I have sucked at keeping up lately, but remember, I’m homeless soon!

I’m so busy and moving and stuff-doing that I forgot to RSVP to a wedding. WHAT A JERK! I even forgot to pay my credit card on time; for the first time in a decade. And even though my record is fairly spotless aside from these last few months of: 1. an auto-pay malfunctioning and causing a late payment and 2. Life making me a day late for another payment, they don’t care. Credit Bureau are like car insurance companies: your past forever can be spotless, but the moment you get a ticket, BAM! You’re down 50 credit score points and up $50 a month on your insurance premium.

So I guess I’m driving cross country in my same ol’ car. Which is fine by me (I love her), but for the first time ever, her oil change is late. (I'm sorry, BBT!) And even later when I had to push around this week to take care of a baby raccoon we found in the basement. (More on that later.) But there just never seems to be enough time to do stuff. And also relax. (I have no idea how people have kids. The raccoon was nearly needy enough.) In the midst of all of this, I still took five hours out of last Saturday to sit outside in the newly beautiful weather and read. (Dude! Everybody was banging everybody in the 60's!) And then go on a four hour hike Sunday. Relaxation is just as much on my checklist as anything else. I still have lots to do, but ‘nothing’ is also on that list.

All this in addition to my gift for procrastination. Even still, this moment feels different. In the past when I had to move, I would begin to panic months in advance. I'd need an answer and I'd need it yesterday. But I'm homeless in 28 days and choosing to hike three miles instead.

I did decide on a new plan: stay in DC until the end of summer to save up money so I can travel across country and look for a job with a little financial safety net instead of, oh, $6 dollars and an 80 points lower credit score. However, the room I hope to sublet – at my cousin’s house down the street – has a girl in it who – just from the looks of the room – is a total fucking disaster and unlikely to be reasonable or actually follow through on anything she says, like, oh say: “I’m moving out and not paying any more rent”. (Did I mention she teaches 4th graders?) And, oddly, unlike myself in previous lease-end times in my 20s, I’m not panicked - yet - even though the moves I'm making now are much larger.

I know have heard that as you get older, you’re supposed to have your shit together more. I shouldn't be considering that if I fold down my back seat of my compact sedan, if sleeping in the trunk would be comfortable and plausible. I shouldn’t have the desire to get rid of everything and hope all of my stuff can fit in three Tupperware bins and a suitcase. I should be wiser than to think that everything is just going to work out; move forward with the little knowledge I have (pack; get ready to leave) and have faith in the total unknown (where will I live; what will I do). These should be the musings of a 20 year old, not a 30 year old.

But, here I am; totally busy and barely fazed by the complete unknown in front of me. Maybe I just don’t have to time panic. Or perhaps it’s denial. I’m shooting for more of a blind faith and the calm of maturity. All stress is good for is wrinkles, acne and heart attacks anyway. Twenty-eight days...