Monday, December 30, 2013

Loving Situations

Part 2 of 2

Did you follow? That's okay, you don't have to. Point is: I now live in a group house with three dudes: 22, 23, 25. And living with people is hard sometimes: I could talk about how four of us share one bathroom and the issues that can cause, like toilet paper purchase stand-offs. Or debating peeing out of your window because someone has been in the shower for what feels like 6 bladder-filled hours. Or thermostat wars and cranking it down to 65.  Or the one who has piles of dishes laying out on his desk, attracting mice. Or the dog hair - oh, the dog hair. (Actually, I love living with a dog without the responsibility of one, so I'll let that one go.) Or having a house clean to my standards because living with three other people makes that impossible. But thanks to living situations of my past, I have learned to pick my battles and solve the wars: Buy communal toilet paper and split the bill; hold my bladder and time my showers; provide plastic utensils; get space heaters; accept that only my room is as clean as I want it. But recently there's a strange new element of difficulty I was unprepared for.

Of the three guys, two have girlfriends. The other week it was one that had a girlfriend; a few weeks before that two had girlfriends...because P is playing relationship yo-yo with a girl after two years of dating. P is the Tinder-mate: The non-single/newly-single/non-single. And now that they're back together, she's back in the house. And my issue is: How do I act like I totally don't think it's a horrible idea for this person to be back in a house when all I can think is: YOU ARE MAKING A HUGE MISTAKE! AND IT'S GOING TO HURT! REMEMBER 3 WEEKS AGO HOW MUCH YOU TOLD ME THAT HURT?! THAT.

Obviously this is all opinion, but I'm older (and wiser?). I've done the keep the relationship going because it hurts less in the moment to stay together than to mourn that loss of what you had. Past tense. And I see people doing this all the time lately. In fact, just a few weeks ago the crotch-shotter messaged me to see if I had any single friends for him. This exchanged followed:
CS: its been somewhere around 4 weeks since we split. and please don't ask why.
ME: ah. sorry to hear that. wasn't planning on it.
CS: I wasn't happy and able to be myself.
ME: ah. been there.
CS: i'm adventurous and enjoy learning new things. she was content.
ME: so she wanted to get married and you didn't?
CS: i did too. but just not to her.
ME: ouch.
CS: its unfortunate. spent 2 years. oh well.  [...]
ME: i find a lot of pride in being able to say "you know what; this isn't for me. i'd be better off alone." cause alone is kind of scary when you've been with someone. i was in a relationship for 5 years and had no idea how to get out of it or if i could - i envied girls who found a way to say "i have to end this for me" for a long time. for some reason people treat relationships ending like a failure instead of an achievement in seeing that you want more and voicing it. it takes balls.
congrats on your balls! : ) haha
CS: bahahaha. thanks. i think that was the most constructive, encouraging, and intelligent advice i've heard yet. I really appreciate you telling me that. my balls are thankful as well.
My favorite part was where he told me not to ask why an immediately went into the way of it anyway. And then, after two weeks of asking me out and trying to "increase our chances of crossing paths", photos popped up on Facebook of him and his formerly ex-girlfriend. They were are back together. Is this the thing people are doing now: Break up, get back together, then post on Facebook just how totally in love you are? It's annoying. Almost as annoying as a Facebook feed filled about little Johnnies pooping on the potty all by himself. (AND HE WIPED!) I'm going to get a dog so that I can announce when it takes a shit outside. (AND HE KICKED DIRT OVER IT!) But I digress.

The Facebook feed PDA seems so contrived. And now it's live and in my living room. Watching it is almost as frustrating as waking up on time to get to work, only to have roommate K spend an hour in the bathroom; or having your bladder awake you only to have roommate M in the shower forever, while you contemplate peeing in your garbage can or out of the window. But I guess we all need our turn in the bathroom, so to speak. We all need our moments of weakness; to follow our hearts where our brains don't want us to go because, what if, just WHAT. IF.

Like the Ex and I convincing ourselves our love for one another would be enough to sustain us falling out of love; we never stopped loving one another but it took us a while to realize the sneaky differentiation between love with comfort and being in love. It took me a while to realize that trying to force being in love will wreck your soul - no matter how much you convince your Facebook feed. Because you can fall in and out and back in love as much as you can climb a waterfall. And now I live with it again. It's frustrating, my alcoholic bore. It's not even the good kind of fight where I can grab a glass of wine to wash down my popcorn as I watch the show. They're private; secretive: Only ever having shown the what's-best-and-I-love-you-babe on the outside, when all anyone can think now is: You boned some other dude; the jig is up.

Relationships don't break because someone cheated; people cheat because relationships are broken. That mug is still cracked. Admitting a relationship is over isn't failure. Staying in something broken, that's the greatest self-defeat. But sometimes, you just have to be sure.

Ultimately, what I think (and want, from a wine and popcorn standpoint) doesn't matter. So I'll suck it up and get over this latest roommate challenge. However, I will forever preach: if you're not happy, change your life and don't go back back to what made you cry. Change is hard, sometimes you just have to move on; it's not easy, but rarely the things in life worth doing ever are.

Except for dishes. Those are easy. Do your dishes, man.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Embers of a Scar Reignited

I have so much to do, but I’m distracted because I need to get something out. I can’t complete anything with a sound, quiet mind lately. Even in my post-op return to yoga yesterday, I found myself turning my head and losing my balance, almost busting my lip like the kid I got to do yoga in an Atlantic City elevator lobby two weeks ago. (I’ll share that story next time.) But strangely, I don’t know exactly what it is I need to get out.

Could it be that the year is winding down, this year I have been told since 2011 that I would meet “the one”? I’m beginning to call poppycock on all these psychics people - my hope now in question. The year is winding down with 13 days left, some of which are truly provincial days: cooped up in a house with 11 other people, including a three week old, a six month old, two year old twins, a four year old, and, from that, a very unsettled 64 year old man who becomes anxious when his structure is rattled. I’m so excited to see my family and meet my new niece, but I am apprehensive about the energy all of this might bring into quite a modest little home. Last year, with just 9 others, it turned into a catastrophic train wreck - from which I learned to not stay more than five days – so I’ll be there for a short four day holiday tour and then back down to DC, to lead again my very single life. Wherein, I can go home, shut the door and only process my own needs. No parents. No husband. No kids. No responsibility. Which on the one hand is fantastic and on the other, a mildly annoying reminder that it's just me: No significant other: That’s right, psychics, you twits, I’m still just me. 


My past came back this past weekend…again. He proposed: “brunch this weekend?” at 3:16a on Friday night via email. (I still can't decide if I should be flattered or offended that these men think of me late at night, two sheets to the wind. Presumably, the latter.) After being mostly quiet for the past three months, I actually thought he meant brunch. Go figure. That is, until 1:24a on Saturday when he asked where we were going for brunch “tonight/tomorrow” and I was drunk and all well hell, why not clear up this dry spell and finish what we started three and a half months ago. So he came over after meeting me at my metro stop at 2am (and watching me give my number to a guy who was trying to follow me home. (But this is another story for next time.)). We spent Sunday in bed together and then, 17 hours later, I dropped him off at home after a 5pm “brunch”.

Again, this situation confuses me. While I realized yesterday that (for me) any situation that falls into a category of casual banging is likely doomed to be locked into that box (puns?), something about this bothersome. Like the Pink Elephant, I don’t think you can take that kind of plaything affair and turn it into something more because if you start – or restart – there, then where is there to go? (There is no courting. Yes, courting. And I want to be courted.) So logically, I'm pretty sure that the bother isn't that I want more from him. Although, arguably, neither case has been purely plaything, as I was drawn to both of these people beyond reasons that I can articulate, but a significant person should want you for you, not just it.

You know, it, sixth grade we-can't-say-"sex" it

Historically, it seems, these situations often arise because a man wishes he could love a girl; as in he does want her for her and not just it, but doesn’t have the balls to tell her or the emotional capacity/readiness to acknowledge it (until it’s too late) and, thus, comes across as a dick. Alternatively, the guy might just be a dick: He falls into power trips of silence, instead of being open and saying, "I just want it", he might go quiet for months to prove a point: You don’t matter. While I hate the latter, I’ve dealt with both before and they're not a particularly big deal: We all play the game in exchange for satiating our needs. However, in this situation I'm finding it difficult to balance the complicated rumblings of a lady in waiting with the simple need of having someone to warm my winter bed, and this time, by someone who once mattered.

HG is a memory of something that I once was so sure of. I’d never thought so much of anyone so quickly or been so blindsided by the fact that I knew I needed to let him go. I had never fled to the other side of the Earth to escape my own heartache. And now it’s lying beside me on a Sunday, making me laugh and keeping me warm. He remains something I never quite had; a reminder of what I wish for now; a reminder of  how, thus far, the psychics have been wrong - the hope their prophecies provided, nearly expired. 

(I know, self, read this. But...)

These things in front of me, these are the things I want. I’m drawn to him in that way that I just can’t articulate, but, while he reminds me of the things I want, he doesn't provide them. He is at once both a temporary fix and an infuriating reminder. I want him there and I want him gone, for the void he fills, he also digs. In the moments together it’s good – great, even – but in the days that follow, there’s a sense of turmoil that lingers like a burn; the embers of a scar reignited.

Even after all these words, I'm not really sure what it means. Our time together is wonderful, but the hangover, wretched. In the stark silence of fresh absence, I lose a little sense of self-composure; feel a little too insignificant; get a little lost and honestly, I'm not certain as to why, what feelings these are, and thus, how to process them. After moving past September, I thought that was it: I had detached completely and all the confusions were gone for good, but they're back again. Perhaps it is a memory that hurts a bit too much to relive or it's the unjust sting of an ailing hope - nay, patience. It isn't necessarily bad, nor good, or even inextricably linked to him, it's mostly just strange, new, and confusing. I guess that's what I needed to get out. Now what do I do with it? 'Cause if it doesn't stop, I'm probably going to make him date me or punch him in the head. (j/k.)

(Barely relevant, but I like it:)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Living Situations

Back in the early 2000's, Heather Hamilton was fired from her job because she wrote about her boss on her blog. Now, for someone to get "dooced", means to get fired because of their blog. is now her job. Lucky her. Her writing, however, much better than mine - this isn't a comparison, but rather a prediction, or assumption of some sort of self-sabotaging predication. But, alas, despite whatever hot water I might put myself in, I just can't help myself - I gotta get some things out sometimes. Writing is a comfort; a really cheap therapist; my best friend who just keeps the wine glass at her face, allowing me to go on talking unabridged forever, never bothering to put down the glass and interject with her own stories.

I love you, Writing, you alcoholic bore.

But anyway, Heather assumed, incorrectly, that no one at work would ever see her blog. She assumed no more than a few dozen people would read it. And then that backfired. I'm going to go into a short narrative about my current disposition regarding living in a house with three dudes. I assume that none of them read this, but watch me get fired from my own home. Is that a thing? I guess we'll see.

But first, a short foray into my living arrangements.

As a child I shared a room with my middle sister for a while, until at 8, we moved. I got my own digs: A 12 by 9 room that was all mine. In that room was a ladder to a loft I was never allowed up in, until I was about 12, my step-father who forbid me up there wasn't in charge any more, I promised my mother that I wouldn't fall out of it and while up there I would totally be reading. Pre-pubescent kids are such liars...but at least I always had a book to keep up the rouse.

We moved and I got a slightly larger room; no loft. Then off to college after another four years at home. I was paired with a girl who had no qualms about nudity and tanned more than anyone I ever knew. Meanwhile, I was becoming ever fat, chubby and unattractive. This prompted me to move out of Ohio and back to Pennsylvania.

Now, when you transfer schools, you have no say where you will live or who you will live with. I ended up in a nursing home turned dorm with a slightly crazy, cute blonde and a completely out of her mind, tiny, red-head, majoring in Japanese (because Anime wasn't a degree option). We once had a post-it fight when she stayed in the dorm over Thanksgiving break and subsequently took that time to spray hair glitter all over the bathroom. Since she wasn't home, I wrote a note to please clean up the glitter when I stopped by mid-break and found the communal toilet shimmering like a group of fairies suffered a bout of dysentery all over our loo.

Well, she didn't like that, especially considering a few weeks earlier I had walked in on her giving some uber-nerd a BJ on my futon. (Seriously, her bed was the bottom bunk and it was literally 3 feet away. Go there!) Walking into this disaster they both looked at me, un-phased and un-moving. I had shit to do, and while I was irritated and grossed out, I generously said, "I'll give you 10 minutes".

With a penis still five inches from her mouth; ass still in the air, the tiny ginger replied, "Make it 30".

Appalled that she had just turned this into a penis-out debate, I responded, quite sternly, "I'LL BE BACK IN TEN MINUTES" and shut the door.

Upon retrospect, it would have been far more amusing had I taken that moment to walk into the room, sit down at the end of the futon, click on the television and just request that they 'keep it down'. So when it came time for the post-it note clean up request, she was still quite salty (puns!) from our last unsavory exchange. Besides, I really quite disliked this girl - she fucking drove me nuts: Imagine the most annoying archetype character, then times it by ten and make it talk in a broken Japanese and put Anime shit everywhere. There, you're getting closer.

So I wrote this note; short and sweet: Please clean up the glitter in the bathroom. If anything from my college years, I wish I had kept, it would  have been the written exchange that ensued, because when I returned, a second post it was left that read: Why should I? No one cleans up the toothpaste in the sink, etc. etc.? And so, like any normal 20 old, I grabbed the girl from the other side of the loo (five in total shared the toilet, three in my room, two from the adjoining) and we penned a list of 15 reasons why she should clean up the glitter. We laughed the entire time we wrote it. (Man, I wish I had kept this gem.) When I got back from class the following day, there were retorts to most of the items on my list and all of crazy ginger's stuff was gone.

After this incident, the blonde I lived with got it in her head that "she was next" stemming from a joke the girl on the other side of the toilet had made after the little cray moved out. Months later, she was gone too. When all was said and done, at the end of the year, only two people shared that loo.

The following year, I moved out of the dorms and into and apartment with two girls I hardly knew. They were friends of a friend. The first year we got along swimmingly. The second year started to go downhill fast. It ended when I got in a very vocal confrontation with the smaller of the two and asked if she wanted to take it outside and, presumably, I would have mentioned something about kicking her ass. But when someone takes to getting their own fridge to hide the cheese and getting a lock on her bedroom door so that she can lock all of the communal dishes in there - while you are still asking about you mother's Pyrex baking dish she insists she doesn't have - shit is going to hit the fan.

HOW CAN I COOK MY RAMEN NOODLES WHEN YOU HIDE ALL THE DISHES UNDER YOUR BED AND LOCK THE DOOR?! Not cool, man. Hungry chicks are mean (and will threaten bodily harm).

Apparently, she didn't appreciate how lackadaisical the other roommate and I were about doing the dishes, not that she ever told us. And, I guess, thought we were going to eat her lunch meat and poison her cheese. After offering her an ass-kicking, she began to move out the following day. A few weeks later, my mother's Pyrex dish showed up again - go figure. The other girl and I got along just fine - and began to do our dishes - for the remainder of our lease.

After that, I moved to DC with The Ex. He was pretty lazy about cleaning, which caused enough of a riff. But aside from that, as time went on, the relationship sort of self-destructed. So after 2.5 years of living with him while together and six months of living together in the hell that is living with someone you just broke up with because both refuse to move, I ended up living with a guy I found by posting a Craig's List ad for a roommate who "won't judge me when I come home drunk". (You know, I've met two really great people from these ads I post. I'm going to post "Need New Friends" when I move with a similarly worded ad.) Aside from the fact that we lived in Maryland, just outside of DC, this was probably my favorite living situation/person to live with. He was really fun; lots of friend; newly single and in the same 26-and-wee! mindset at me. Plus, I was broke and he had some cash, so in exchange for the bigger/better room and my playing maid to the community elements of the apartment, he paid more rent. I was still used to cleaning a two-story row house, so cleaning an apartment wasn't a big deal and it was always as clean as I wanted it without the aggravation of my roommate not contributing to the upkeep. It was perfect...except that he ate all my Cheez-its when he got drunk.

After him I moved to where I am now: A duplex on the edge of DC, on block from the metro. But here's the thing: I have three roommates. When I first got there it was the guy in the basement, who was my age, an Indian girl (who quickly sublet it to an Indian guy) and (what turned out to be) an alcoholic chick around the age of 24. We didn't know she was an alcoholic, but about eight months in it became pretty obvious, especially after she drank two bottles of my vodka - replaced them...and then drank those too. She also stole my baby spoon I had schlepped around for 27 years to eat my ice cream with, which is probably why I didn't feel as bad for her as I should have when I learned they found 36 handles of Bacardi in her room when they cleaned it out after her parents saved her and took her to rehab. Who replaced her, is the guy that lives there now. We'll call him P.

Who replaced the Indian was a nanny from Texas, 10 years my senior. We'll call her D. Now, if you looked at D and I, you would never put us together as friends. In fact, we're both well aware that if we hadn't lived together we'd probably never even have spoken. But she moved out over a year ago and we still telephone and visit when she's in town. I'm glad we're friends. But when she moved out, K replaced her, and then the original guy in the basement, J, moved out earlier this year, so K moved to the basement and another guy moved into his old room. We'll call him M. He's 22. K is 23. P is 25. Which makes me, by their standards, effectively old. And by any standards, the only chick.

To be continued...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Embarrassing Things

And now for an installment of: Embarrassing things you do while you're young and the ways you might repeat them. Oh, goodness. I just realized that could be a really long entry with a circle of mistakes we make. And then remake. Like dating someone and realizing it's not quite working so agreeing to stay together and work on the issues only to have one of the people cheat on the other and then everyone is heartbroken and you talk about how much it hurts with friends and family and ignore the advice and decide you want to try it again anyway. (Whew, run-on.) Okay, well, our mistakes are our own to make. That's not a story about me, by the way, but my previously newly single Tindering roommate, now non-resingled. I've always had to rule that if it broke once, it will break again. I don't really believe in breaking up and getting back together. Gluing together pieces of broken ceramic still leaves you with broken ceramic, with holes and weak spots: That mug will never been the same as before you dropped it; never as good as before the handle popped off. But, to each their own - my coworker's been using the same glue-back-together Stanford mug for years.

This installment isn't about any of that; instead it is simply about a list. A list I made in 2003 after breaking up with my boyfriend of 2.5 years. Well, actually, he broke up with me - not well, might I add, and then became this guy...and then a total jerkface, so we don't speak anymore. But enough with the babbling, allow me to present to you my 2003 version of "My Guy Qualifications":

non tobacco user, brown hair, (blue eyes a plus), no drugs, social alcohol drinker (not over done), nice to his mother, in or graduated from college, older than me, has priorities straight, moderate to no video game playage, NICE car a plus, dislikes country music, likes good music, nice hands, clean nails, (nice smile a plus), taller than me, good hygine, smells nice (mmm), not anal retentive, makes me laugh [ammended in January, 2005 to include:] doesn't make me feel less with him, but on the contrary, better than i feel about myself alone.  makes sense

It's funny what having journals and blogs for two decades will provide you with. Amusement, mostly. But also the ability to realize you weren't always as happy as your memory serves. Or as sad. And also comparison: How much did I grow; what had I forgotten about; how much have a changed; how little have I changed; much better are my conjugations?!

Curious about change, in August this year (before I could be jaded by the introduction of someone - riiiiight), I jotted down a new list on my phone while at the gym. I recalled the first list while researching my book and wanted to update it for 29 year old me, you know, before he shows up and the list isn't just imagination. To see how reality balances out what in our heads, because he's on is way, I swear it! And he'll be something like (in no particular order):

1. Tall.
2. Brown hair.
3. Blue eyes.
4. College or passion.
5. Nice to his mother.
6. Older than me.
7. Prioritizes.
8. Active.
9. Drinks (some).
10. No drugs.
11. Funny.
12. Secure.
13. Wants kids.
14. Self-sufficient.
15. An equal.
16. Happy.
17. Beautiful spirit.
18. Non-smoker/chew. 
Bonus points for:
19. Smells nice.
20. Good smile.
21. Great laugh.
22. No chicken legs.
23. Deep voice.*
24. Non-nose whistler.*
(*An addendum, having recently realized I have a subconscious thing for men with really deep voices. And also the dreaded nose whistler. You know, like when people breath out of their nose and it whistles? I hate that. And snoring...and cracking knuckles, so bonus points for those guys too.)

But, we'll see. All very interesting stuff, I know. Stop the presses!  But curiosities are curious things and we all find strange and random things to do in waiting rooms. I can't tell you how many Highlight magazines I've perused at the dentist's office...Or how much longer I might wait. The last psychic I saw (in October) said 2013 too; two men in December. Sure, December. The chick I saw in February said August and we see how well that turned out - riiiiight.

Now excuse me, I need to choose my outfit for tomorrow night's Air Force gala. Men in dress blues? Don't mind if I do. Tall. Brown hair. Blue eyes., he can wait a bit longer. I've got officers to dance with!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Savannah, Surgery, Tinder and Turkey

Oh my goodness! She's been so quiet. Is she dead? 

Don't poke me with a stick. I'm not dead. I've just been busy.

November was a clustered little month: Complete with my 8th and final half marathon of the year in Savannah, surgery, Tinder and some turkey. I also wrote a book! Just kidding, I wrote 1,400 plus in-flight words and ran out of the time and non-vicodin'ed brain power to produce any more. I don't consider this a failure, however. I have started my book for what I call the final time - the structural importance of this (third) time around being unclear to me until I lost it last week when my computer caught a virus that changed my Windows log-in credentials and I couldn't log-in to my computer. That is, until three hours later - after I had roped a friend into OMG PLEASE HELP ME! I CAN'T AFFORD A NEW COMPUTER - on the 96th time of trying to enter my password while troubleshooting, I realized one of my keys was sticking.

Point 1,789 for blonde.

So that was embarrassing, but at least my computer still works because Australia and Savannah really burned my finances. Although Savannah was great - albeit with the start of an amusing taxi/hotel/car rental shit show - and I had a chance to talk through that whole mess with the girls involved, the money ran away from me a bit. However, I have no regrets and instead a goal to spend very little over the next six months. So we'll see how that goes. Maybe I can take that time to write a book. Finally. 

The surgery I had was just a revision on the septorhinoplasty I had some years ago. This time, however, was not nearly as bad as the last time. While it's never pleasant to be operated on, this had been on my mind for a while and was made even easier by my mom coming down to take care of me. Unfortunately, the week before my surgery there was this postsecret post:

So when I woke up puffy the morning of surgery, I immediately became convinced I was going to fart under anesthesia. I talked about it with my mom before we left the house at 6:30 in the morning. "I hope I don't fart while I'm under. Do you think I'm going to fart while I"m under?!" And then again as they began to work on my IVs, by which point she was becoming irritated with my very important concern. She clearly wasn't taking the topic as seriously as me. When I woke up in the recovery room, apparently I mentioned how my face hurt and followed that up with asking if I had farted during surgery. I guess we all have our priorities.

The surgery was on Friday, my mom took excellent care of me over the weekend (duh) and was gone by Monday night. The rest of the week I worked from home. But for someone that's always out and about and active and running or yoga or socializing, sitting at home with just my laptop and Maury Povich began to drive me bananas by Wednesday.

So after the 12th episode of Maury and 68 "you're not the father!"'s, when my newly single housemate came home talking about Tinder, I was intrigued. Tinder is a dating app that lets your rate people based purely on looks based on proximity of your phones' GPS locations. (You can set your age range and radius up to 100 miles.) How it works: A face pops up,  you click "like" or "nope" based on what the person looks like in 6 or fewer photos and 0 to 340 characters. If you "like" someone and they "like" you too, then you are matched and sent into a list where you are then eligible to chat. While I had only heard it was a hook-up app - which didn't interest me - that didn't seem to be his experience (and it hasn't been mine either).

"It sounds like hot or not dot com!" I replied. And then he went into a short sell about how I should download it too. So stir-crazy me downloaded Tinder with no intention of chatting with anyone; pure voyeurism. The next day my roommate came home and we switched phones to Tinder for one another - clearly we're taking it seriously. Mid-swipes, he became agitated with the number of matches he was getting for me while I couldn't get any matched for him. Although some of his picks were questionable, not that my criteria of: would I make out with them in a bar was much better.

 "I THINK MY TINDER IS BROKEN!", he exclaimed as I fell apart laughing, hurting my swollen face that still couldn't produce a proper smile.

It was oddly addicting. I spent hour clicking through guys, realizing that all of the attractive, tall men in the DC are on Tinder. GUYS - ERR GIRLS! GIRLS, I FOUND THEM! The ones we meet in person are usually 5'5", ugly, and dicks so any time we see tall, sexy ones on the sidewalk or in passing, we text one another like: THEY EXIST. I JUST SAW ONE. You know, just to keep the hope alive. Aside from providing a bit of hope, the odd addiction is likely, in part, due to the fact it's such an ego stroke. There's really no rejection because you only see who "liked" you, which I suppose is why so many Tinder guys have expressed interest/asked me out already. The results have been much more impressive than that time I did OkCupid experimentally. Giving credence to the theory I've been told for years: men don't ask me out because they're intimated; afraid of rejection; I'm "too attractive" ( I allowed to repeat that? Eh, whatever. They were probably  just being nice.). Because in the past two weeks I've been matched over 100 times, chatted over 20 and asked out at least five. Interesting.

So with my most of my entertainment relying on working from home, Maury and Tinder, by the time that recovery Friday rolled around, I was really going stir crazy. I hadn't been out of the house in a week, save for 30 minutes on Thursday to get my stitches out. My friend called and said to meet up for sushi: I was still swollen and scabbed but I agreed if we could go somewhere dark where I wouldn't be seen much. So I met up with them in Old Town Alexandria. Over dinner I was showing my friend's girlfriend the app and came across this one guy I was all "oh he's cute and a beard!". And the table began to talk about the app.

My issue with it being that when guys get matched with you and chat, most just say hi or how are you and that's not rally much of a way to start a conversation. Another person at the table asked, "Well what are they suppose to say?"

"I have six photos on there, all of which offer of a conversation starter. And a little bit of bio they could say something about," I responded.

"I guess," he conceded. And just then I got a new message from that guy I had just "liked" while showing the girlfriend the app. And his message mentioned something from three separate photos and my little bio.

So I held it up and said, "SEE! This guy did it right!" And then I told the guy he just helped me out and looked his bio a bit more, noting that he was 100 miles away (and I have my radius set to 30 miles. "How did that even happen?!", I exclaimed.) Figures, I thought: Another out-of-towner. And he wouldn't even have shown up if I hadn't been to Old Town because then I'd be 118 miles away (his radius set as 100). And then he just kept talking and we started texting. And then I was all OMG this is embarrassing I have a Tinder crush!

So Savannah, running, surgery, recovery, Maury, finances, tinder crush, turkey: This was my November. Please forgive the delay. I'm back now.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Strange Symphony

In case you were wondering, the Universe is still in charge. Do you have plans? Did you have a thing you definitely weren't doing that night? Where you going to run tomorrow? We you planning on not talking to people for a while? 

"Yea. That's cute," Universe scoffs. "Good luck with that," it says as it tickles your feet until you fall to the floor and knee yourself in the face. Allow me to tell a story of the strangest series of events to illustrate my point:

It starts out with a preface: I was re-reading the first FB message to draft my last retort to the talking mouth of those people, when I realized the enormity of what he said. It hurt all over again and I started to really think it might be best to step back from everyone, ending my (very long) correspondence with:

However, I don't want to feel like I have to defend myself; or my character as a person. I don’t believe that friends are there to tear you down. And there’s nothing I want less than to be misunderstood (...probably because I often am). That people have been talking about me behind my back and for so long - to each other, to you - I felt like I'd been wearing my underwear on the outside of my clothes for a year and on one told me; like trusting someone who then steals from you. It's hard to explain, but I couldn't even bring myself to read/respond this message until now. 
But, in a sense, I'm glad you said something so I'm not completely in the dark about yours and others' perceptions of me and then ending up places I'm not wanted. But I wish it wasn’t like this; parental; a non-discussion telling me all the ways I live my life wrong and bringing unnamed people into it, making me lose faith in my friendships. I felt like the kid in the back of class everyone makes fun of. She thinks they’re all friends, but everyone actually talks about her. She is blissfully unaware until she sees it scribbled on the bathroom stall. And then her world falls apart. 
Please advise whoever “[your] friends” are to stop scribbling on the bathroom stall, so to speak.  If there is an issue, we’re adults, people can pop their heads out of their rooms and quit whispering behind my back in someone else’s ear and talk *with* me. My only registering reaction isn't anger; that the last emotion I resort to, in fact. (Which, hopefully, says something.)  
So I'll leave that up to you (and them) if you (or they) want to have a conversation and move forward. If not, I'm not really sure where to go from here, as I certainly don't feel welcome in your house or comfortable in that group now. I’m sorry you somehow became the messenger – I know it’s not a fun place to be.

So there I was in the Universe. And there it was: draft sent. I had nothing more to say to him.

Fast forward to Saturday. ER texts me mid-day to hang out. But I'm out with PI on a long overdue disc golf course day, which turned out to be super therapeutic. We talked about life. Jobs. Futures. And he talked through the whole Messenger debacle with me and echoed that I should leave it go for now; I wasn't wrong in my feeling hurt; my sentiments justified.  Barely a silent moment in 27 holes. It was just what I needed.

In departing from PI, I text ER and he says to join him and some other friend in Virginia. I go home; eat two hot dogs and shower. A miscommunication makes me late and by then the friend is too drunk/tired to go out, so ER says go to his house.

I arrive and he's drunk from day drinking. Like misery, drunkery loves company, so he implores me to drink. I decline citing that 1. I drove and 2. I have to run Sunday (I have a half-marathon this coming weekend), and 3. if we go out I run the risk of running into those people and awkwarrrrd. He keeps trying and eventually I cave, and if I'm not sleeping in my own bed then I'm drinking and here, hide my keys from me.

After a game of drinking poker (I won), we head to bars near his house. He is sufficiently drunk enough to think that margaritas are a good idea. And not just any margaritas...


29 oz walrus?

We finish those and head to another bar where we run into a mutual friend. That mutual friend wants us to grab him a 22 ounce beer while we're getting our first drinks. TWENTY TWO OUNCES?! GREAT IDEA!, said no one ever two 29oz.-margaritas-deep people. We grab our 22 ounce drafts and (shockingly!) this is where things get fuzzy.

Some point later in the evening, I head to the bathroom (I think) and run into the messenger friend; the one I said I wasn't going to talk to until there was conversation or resolve. Then enter time/event travel: Shortcut to: I lose ER. He drunkenly wandered off. I call him. Again. And again. In total, I called him 21 times. No dice. And because he still has all of my keys, I'm locked out of my house and stuck in Virgina. So, at 3am on Saturday, I end up in the Messenger's living room - the guy who I didn't plan to talk to...and we talk.

You might think: Well, that's not so random. Maybe not, if it wasn't for everything in the morning returning to status quo. Because around 10am I get a text from ER:

'YBJ' is said with a bit of cheek. <3 comment-3--="">

...or 20 more (awkward) minutes.

ER comes over and knocks on the door. I get up from the Messenger's couch and ask him for a hug. He gives me one, says, "good conversation" and we leave.

"So you guys talked it out," asked ER on the way to coffee.

"I have no idea. I can't remember," I said. Adding that I recalled crying the night before, but only after I noticed my eyes were puffy and I that had washed my face. I figured I'd wait it out and hope for some more bits of the night to come back.

After a Starbucks stop, we chase his phone on mine and we find it not in cab, where he's convinced it's at, but in the middle of the Georgetown flea market, where I'm convinced it's at. I know, I didn't know Georgetown had a flea market either! He gets his phone back, I get my keys back and then I head home. And everything returns to normal - except I still can't remember what I said during my 3am conversation. So maybe just mostly normal - I should probably ask about that...

Regardless, this is all too perfect a random series of events to be ignored. No coincidence is ever this strangely orchestrated, right?! Maybe nothing is ever simply coincidence. Minxy little Universe.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"Tell your stories."

I signed up for National Novel Writing Month. Technically, yes, my book isn't a novel, per say. But I'm going to try anyway. Try to write 50,000 words this month. And so far, on the 5th day, I have nothing. Which means I'd have to go at a rate of 2,000 per day. I shall try. I shall hope for encouragement. This must be what editors are for. And NaNoWriMo. And friends. And fellow writers - I have to be honest, I still can't find it within me to claim to be a writer (when does that distinction allow itself?). And blog readers?

And these kinds of things.

And this:

Yes. That. I needed that. And the confidence from an odd source calling me a "fair" writer - thank you, ex-lover. No one is free from slipping under the bus if you laid yourself in front of it. Beep Beep everyone! : )

(If I can grow my hair, I can write a book! Totally relevant.)

I'll keep you updated. Buts lets be real: If you say something out loud, it is sort of the only way to hold yourself accountable. (Hello hair update and my current desire to cut it all off!) If you write it down, the story can't change. This is me holding myself accountable. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Away We Grow: Update 1

Remember last summer when I decided what to do with my hair I'd been growing out? And donation seemed like a super swell idea? When we last left off, my hair was here:

July 2012
I knew in creating this goal that I was gonna be getting into a bit of uncharted territory, but I didn't expect growing out my hair to donate would be quite such a labor of love. It was good to a point and now I count down the inches until I can cut it off. I curse the time it takes to wash it, dry it, the lack of being able to do much of anything with it anymore - which I realize seems totally counter-intuitive, although I got some bangs cut last year for a little bit of change, but now even those are boring. I'm not a long hair girl: There's a reason it's been above the shoulder since the 6th grade. But I'm doing this. It's for a good cause and I'm thankful I'm healthy and I can. So, just so you know I'm still here, still growing out my damn hair. And despite being convinced I'm not making any progress (especially after each time I head to the salon for a trim - and I have another next week), it appears I am; slow and steady. I'M GOING TO DO THIS!

Nov 2012 - bangs!
Sept 2012 - cameo by my niece :)

March 2013
Sept 2013 - sydney

Oct 27, 2013
Don't mind the wire-y look there; it doesn't usually look like that. This was the morning after Halloween did this with it:
Sandra Dee - get it?!
Figured I might as well use the hair. :)

Just a little more ways to go now...right?! RIGHT?! Good Lord, I hope so. I'M GOING TO DO THIS. While some people might not think this is a big deal: Grow your hair, quit your bitchin', it's like putting a girl who's never worn heels in 5 inch stilettos and saying: Okay now go run walk a marathon. I've slowly just rounded the corner into mile 20.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

101 Walls

The earth stills for a minute. I gather my thoughts in the silence. I lose myself to music. I look around me, my ears their own personal club, my phone a perpetual disc jockey. And I notice that my friends have scattered, they’re around but I notice myself as a solo entity, gathering numbers and information, trying to see where it will take me. And I understand now that maybe you can learn and run from the things you see unfit or unhealthy for you, but they will find you again. And you can build 100 walls to keep the hurt out, but you will cry again.

This is the human condition. This is life after twenty nine. It doesn’t magically get easier, in fact, it may have just gotten a little more punch to the gut than I ever could have expected.

I know I write a lot about how good things are; looking at the positives – even though at times I’m dragging my feet and love through the mud.We have two choices when faced with adversity: Let it beat you and take you down, or fight it and learn from the tears. And sometimes, most times, we have to fight that fight more than once. And each time a little harder than the last because your mind screams at your heart: You should know better by now!

And I should. But we have hope in the things that we want; and faith in the things that we have. It’s a tangled web of order and chaos. This week presents to a bit of rejecting and unfavorable chaos. 

I thought I’d left the bad people behind when I walked away from the Pink Elephant and everything associated with him; anyone that played into his story and left me there to wallow in self-pity. Then, I turned 30; with the assumption that I would be leaving all the shit I’d gone through to learn lessons, to head into my 30s well-armed with said lessons and nothing was gonna stop me now. 

And then a Facebook message on Monday stopped everything.

I was told by someone who I thought was a friend – one that I had carefully chosen to keep within my circle – that I was mean, ungrateful, lacking self-control, entitled and angry because I thought the world owed me something and it hasn’t delivered, and, due to these things, was no longer welcome to his house (party). And that my response would determine what happened to our friendship from there: If it was anger, he wasn't interested. As if anger is my only emotion (which sort of tied my hands considering he also thought I fancied myself entitled).

Sucker. Punch. I make a point to be exactly none of these things. And from the last person I expected to be harboring such sentiments.

It seems like it's hard for people to understand that someone that seems really tough on the outside can be really soft; sensitive. Contrary to what this entry might suggest, I rarely cry. (Sure I get upset more often than rarely, but I always explain myself to friends that if I'm crying, something is terribly wrong.) This is sort of an issue because people of a tendency to treat a person as they see them on the outside, and not for what gooey center they might have. I curse a lot; sometimes I get loud; I will protect the people I love with an unflinching, loyal ferocity, but I am also a little M&M someone left in a car on a hot summer day. Crack the shell and the rest will smoosh onto your mom's hatchback's dashboard. 

Anger wasn't my emotion. Instead my heart raced and then tears silently fell from my face. (One of those silent pretty cries -> that then turned into a melting snowman.) And all of this stemming from my birthday.

Remember how I mentioned that a couple of friends made some drunken mistakes? And I tried to make light of those by showing me that into my thirties, when I fail, I won’t be the only one. But the night it happened I was so far from making light of anything; I cried for hours – they left without even saying goodbye. I was upset and crushed because I knew that people that had driven so far to see me had gotten the wrong impression of my life, my friends here, and worse yet, left feeling shocked and hurt from the improper actions of a few.

A birthday celebration that started out with me wanting to tweet: I don’t care what else happens; this is the best birthday ever - but didn’t because I didn’t want to jinx it – left me disparaged on a floor at 4am, 18 hours from 30.  I needed to be allowed to be upset, instead it was trying to be fixed and I, quite vocally (I was later informed, but not until after the FB message), communicated that I was upset.

YOU CANNOT FIX UPSET. You can’t tape back together a bit of crushed spirit or broken heart. It needs time to heal and find the light; the light to seal the cracks.

I chose not to hold what had happened against anyone and move on. But apparently, I was alone. While the (FB) messenger wasn't there - this all went down at his house and there was an additional roommate there that we were unaware was home, until she complained to him days later. And that’s where this all started again: Her complaint to a person who wasn't even present or aware of the situation. 

And so, my 30th birthday celebration, three weeks past, came back to slap me in my face with a cold, dry hand. A hand that never even bothered to say, “I heard some things, what happened”. I felt bullied. I cried for three hours. I talked with a friend involved with all of it and all she could muster out was, “It’s not fair”. It wasn’t. The next morning my mom called because, yes, I tweeted that I was crying. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I wanted someone to say: Are you okay? 

It was then that I realized that being incredibly sad is like being drunk: You do and say nearly anything with almost no inhibitions. This explains why people go a little slutty after a break-up. It also explains why, when the Time Warp messaged me later that night, I asked if he thought I was any of those things I'd been called. To which he said, "None of those words come to mine, no. I'd say you are rather selfless. [...] It's pretty black and white, you're a good person," And then I asked him to come over and spoon. He said he had to work. And then I bribed him with candy. Which he also declined.

Seriously. I did that. I’m just going to go put on my shame hat now and sit with my nose in a corner.

Although a friend brought up a good point in that there’s no shame in wanting to be comforted when you are sad. So I’ll just put my shame hat down for next time and chalk it up to hurt feelings. And appreciate the people that came around to check in and cheer me up in the light of pathetisad tweet. (Thanks, guys.)

Anyway, while talking to my mom she likened it – as I had – to the bullying in middle school. I'm not sure that the messenger meant to be so mean, but calling me all those things and clearly talking to others behind my back and coming to a conclusion without even speaking to me, came off as terribly hurtful ambush. I had no idea he thought so little of me - and so much of it based on hearsay and the bad decisions of others (that I chose to keep quiet) from my birthday, that he wasn't even at: FUCKING OUCH. (He responded to my retort alerting him of my hurt feelings, but I haven't had the heart to open up this wound again quite yet to read it.)

My mom was shocked by the seeming 30-something middle-school-esque bullying, but in response to bullies this time she didn't say “kids are mean” or “they’re just jealous”, it was “fuck them”. “You don’t have to be friends with everyone and you don’t have to fix everyone’s problems. If you have a toxic friend, leave them behind,” she said, adding it took her 20 years to learn that lesson.

Yes, it’s true, I tend to get in the middle of other people’s problems. I mediate – not intentionally; I’m usually just the lended ear of choice. She’s always suggesting I stop, but I can’t. It’s part of who I am. I will always stand up for the little guy; for the people that whisper in my ear about the mean girl but are too afraid to stand up to her themselves. I will always try to find a fair resolution and create peace; love. I am a Libra, afterall, but it seems to get me in some trouble. People tend to see the fights I can’t stop; the moments that build up to too much – not the disagreements I dissolve before they escalate or the moments I tuck away and hope get better in time. I always assumed people might notice; they don’t. Or love me for who I am and not the moments that are less than perfect; they don’t.

Everything isn't always fantastic. Sometimes people disappoint. Not everyone looks for the light in all things. Not everyone takes a moment to get every side to a story before seeking a resolution. Understanding that all people don't work the same way I do or thinks of fairness in the same manner as me, is something I continue to try to remember and accept. But sometimes, I suppose, we still get caught off-guard by those who we have figured we could trust with our heart, and instead break it a little. And then, no matter what the circumstance or relationship, you learn that maybe you needed 101 walls. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Thought transcribed to back of a CVS receipt, Tuesday, Oct. 22, ~9pm, post-yoga:

"I’m really excited to download Katy Perry’s [new] album. Like really. Might I be disappointed – maybe. But let me be excited first. – And then I realized this is exactly (what falling in) love is.”

Monday, October 21, 2013

So this is what we’re doing now?!

At a house party on Saturday, Ginger and I were approached by a good looking British kid. He was one of seven tenants – another being a friend of mine. He thanked us profusely for attending, as the rest was a “total sausage fest”. I wasn’t going to admit that’s what brought me there in the first place.

Admittedly, I tend to peruse guest lists of facebook events to see how many men are going versus women, and then based on those men, pseudo-stalk any seemingly attractive ones to see which are actually available. I then base my likelihood of attendance on this factor. Facebook suggested the prospects were in my favor; a rarity considering DC has twice as many women as men, so we decided to go.

Prior to leaving for the house party, Ginger and I were discussing hook-up likelihoods and she mentioned how she’s my good luck charm. It’s true. Every time we go out together I get hit on or something like it - and by someone half decent.  

We arrive fashionably eight hours late (to a party that started at 1pm). People had trickled in and out all day. So there were a handful of people there by the time we got there, which served its purpose for our pre-bar activity. We’re there for a bit before a tall, handsome British accent – err, I mean – guy comes outside. He thanks us for coming and is particularly grateful that “two, attractive women are [there] to break up the sausage fest”. He sits beside me. We begin to argue semantics. He starts to talk about his outfit and his bright red corduroy pants, which I rather liked. I told him I liked them, but also that I dress for fun/strangely, so I can’t say much. He request I take off my jacket to assess the outfit. He likes it. He takes a photo:


We sit back down and he asks if he can say something forward. “Okay,” I respond.

“You’ve got exceptional breasts,” he says, sober.

“I know right?! I’ll tell my mom you think so,” I reply.

He begins talking closer to me; touching my leg or arm whenever it never makes sense and then a bit later asks, “Might I be forward again?”

“Uhh…okay,” I said with a slightly uncomfortable hesitation. He leans in to kiss me. I duck my head and he laughs. 1. We’re in front of a group of people and 2. I just met this kid about 30 minutes ago and 3. I’m sober. In response to his dejected blush, I say, “We’re in front of a bunch of people.” (See, I'm nice...)

“Oh, alright,” he says in a charming British accent.

A bit later he calls me back into the yard. He asks if he can kiss me there. I declined again, citing that I might look easy, but I'm not and that my bright red lipstick would make a mess, which wasn’t at all a cop out: That shit gets everywhere and then I just look silly and he’s wearing a bright red badge of face-sucking honor. 

Pass. I’m too sober for this. 

He asks for my number, which I give him – only to have Ginger, who is sitting by my purse, announce that my phone was ringing – as if all of this wasn’t obvious enough what we were doing 20 feet away from everyone. I go back to the patio and take my seat. A bit later, the end of the house party nears and Ginger and I are talking about which bar we want to head out to. The Brit is still going on about how I should stay. The same mantra he’s been playing with for two hours. He pulls me aside again to asks me to stay the night. I decline.

He then asks if he can talk to Ginger and I excuse myself to the bathroom. When I come back out, Ginger pulls me aside – and I begin to feel like we’re at some kind of awkward middle-school dance with a keg and some drunken adults privy to audience this whole charade. Ginger tells me that he told her that he isn’t looking for a relationship but really wanted to have sex with me. “I know, but I’m not going to do that. I’m too sober and I would have to walk of shame tomorrow morning.”

“BUT HE’S SO HOT AND I WANT TO BANG HIM BUT I CAN’T BECAUSE HE WANTS YOU, NOT ME,” my beautiful little man-luck charm pleads.

“I can’t. I really can’t. I’m sober and I would have to metro home tomorrow morning,” I said, realizing that is why people get drunk on weekends. It’s difficult to have sex with a stranger sober. I mean, it’s hard enough trying not to giggle at the ridiculousness of mating rituals and the act itself - the oddness that is intercourse -while in the act with no inhibitions, let alone completely stone-cold sober and unable to gloss past all the oddities of some new person. 

Nope, sober one night stands don’t work here. Sex is funny. And walk of shames really don’t work here. Metro is not funny.

So after the Brit made one more plea, he snuck in a kiss and said "I'm glad you gave me that - don't be surprised if text you around 1:30a". Then off Ging and I went to the bar for drinks and dancing. On the way I opined to Ginger: This what we’re doing now?! No pretense; no frills; just Here's a dick, you want? 

Are we not even going to pretend there’s pretense anymore?! BUT I LIKE THE PRETENSE!

First, Mr. Cuddles and his cuddle/fuck pseudonym. Then, the Diving Instructor in Australia texting: “Honestly, I just want to get you naked and see what happens from there”. And then, weeks later and over a month since our last encounter, HG/Time Warp called me at 3:08am…and 3:11am last Saturday. (I slept through both.) And then Goomba sent me a barrage of text messages, after sitting quiet for months, this past Friday at 2:00am...and 2:23am (which I also slept through).

Why is 2 and 3 in the morning the time for guys to think of me?! And where the fuck has the effort gone? Even if it's just a fling detour on the road to something better/real, it's worth the moment of thought. Is this thoughtless, effortless romp really what we’re doing now?!

I refuse to accept that. I'm not interested. I have turned the corner into wanting more; deserving more. I'm cute, damnit. Act like a gentleman; endeavor a bit. It's what separates a living, breathing, human lady from your average Fleshlight. Otherwise, this is bullshit and men need to get their acts together. I’m a realist when it comes to these things - I have needs too, but I hope this isn't indicative what (single) men are left.

And if there are any 30ish, single, attractive men out there looking to put in a little bit of pretensing effort, it would do me well to just have someone to warm my bed for a minute; say something nice; spoon me; eat cold pizza in a horizontal half-hazed hangover: Now accepting applications. 

(But I’ll be damned if Ginger doesn’t continue to be my little fuck luck charm.)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

There One Where My Friend Pooped in a Bag

I've had an inquiry or two regarding a part of my last entry, wherein I was made to feel more normal about wearing my thong backwards all day long (which is, by no means the strangest thing I've done) because of something a friend had done. And was then given permission to share the story anonymously. So here goes:

There are many awesome things about being single and 30ish. There are also some crappy things about being single and 30ish. Pun intended - because my friend pooped in a bag.

She what?!

She pooped in a bag. In her bedroom. And then sat with it for 20 minutes until her roommates left. And then put it in the neighbor's trash.

But why?!

Because when you're single and mostly broke, you have to deal with roommates. Roommates, man. And that means you usually share a bathroom. I realize this isn't information people typically share and some people might gasp in disgust, but the really interesting ones will go: "I have story like that..."

Those are the people that I want to be my friend.

In a group text with beloved girlfriends - who are clearly soul mates, especially considering our love is mostly long distance and we have the weirdest how-we-met - I was called to attention.

"Present," I announced, and on she went:

And then we peed our pants laughing at her.
Just kidding - we exercise our kegals.

I know, whiskey tango foxtrot, right?! Clearly not her finest hour, but this was all relatively normal conversation for this group. Relatively. Although this happened last week and we're still laughing about her "shame spiral". Because life is gross; life is funny - and these two things are not mutually exclusive. These things really happen.

Our text logs read like the stuff of "legend"? But it's true; full of gut-wrenching, holy-shit-people-admit-this-stuff-shame-is-made-of. But it isn't shame once you own it; once you own it, it's just a good drunk story to tell. I wish more people admitted more things nobody wants to admit. (I wonder if modest people are lonely.) Kind of like admitting we're failing: Once you admit it, you learn everyone else around you has failed too - and you're not alone anymore. There's comfort in the admission of the uncomfortable. And I love that I have friends with whom to share in this kind of ridiculousness.

So you pooped in a bag? Laugh it off! And more importantly, share it with your friends so they can laugh at with you.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sydney, Thirty, and Wearing My Underwear Backwards

Yesterday, at work, at 3:00pm, was a first. I discovered that my underwear had been on backwards all day. I was wearing a thong.

 I’m not sure how this happened – and so long unnoticed, aside from it seeming breezy at first – but I’m going to assume it had something to do with my jet lag, which was also a first. My return from Australia last week marked my first account of true jet lag: It seems that first day is pivotal and I napped right on through it. This was unfortunate considering all of my Nashville friends drove up for the weekend to surprise me for my birthday and I missed half of the day because my body decided that 8am was finally time to fall asleep, but the birthday surprise(s) was nice none-the-less. (Few ever manage to surprise me – and I love them so.)

Which brings me to yet another first that happened this week: The first time there’s a '3' at the start of my (double-digit) age. Yes, that’s right, I’ve officially entered my thirties. Which wasn't traumatic, even after my roommate howled at me after he asked my new age; even if I am still single and childless and people go, "Aww, poor you". The transition, I believe, was eased by my two prior weeks in Sydney.

Because you were in an amazing new place and explored all the sites and things and pet wallabies and kangaroos and a dingo and a koala?! 

Why I did do those things!, but no. Sydney was great. It was far, far different from my time in Cairns, because comparing the two is like comparing New York City to some random beach front in Delaware with really fucking awesome shit to do. Plus in Cairns I was alone and in Sydney I was staying with my sister and her husband, and they have two kids: 4 years and 4 months. No, my transition was eased because I spent quite a bit of time with my mouth agape wondering how in the hell they did it: How did they care for two children and themselves? In the two weeks it became so terrifically obvious how incredibly selfish I am – and how entirely lucky I am to be able to be so whimsically untethered.

The kids got sick? That’s okay, I’ll just go explore alone. AND THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

Being an aunt is awesome: I get to love these kids – to fall in love with their personalities, kiss their faces and help them find their "mind and butts" when I've declared we've lost them. And then if they become too frustrating, I can open the door, walk out of it and say “Sister, I’ll be back in an hour”. Then, upon return, I'm told over dinner that my mind and butt have been found and Here they are!, while invisible body parts are thrown my way. It’s like all the really good parts of a relationship with none of the shitty ones; it’s like eating all the Ho-Hos you want and Hostess never goes under and you never get fat; it’s like having the roommates for cheap rent, but no one cares if you walk around pantless. It’s just lovely. You get the kids without the confines of pants - err -  I mean responsibilities.

Down with the pants!  ...And socks. Seriously, fuck socks.

I don’t know the number of times I said aloud and in my head, 'I don’t know how you guys do this', but enough that I would run out of fingers and have to count on toes. I came to truly appreciate my life as a person who can decide that for her 30th birthday she wanted to treat herself to a trip across the world. And that when I put my underwear on backwards I have friends to reply to my text: I did that last week. or This morning I pooped in a bag. And other friends that drive 20 hours in three days just to hug me and say: “I love you. Happy birthday.” And a few more, despite what drunken foibles they may make, to show me we’re all still a little lost when we enter our thirties – still trying to find our place... and how. So if and when I fail, that’s okay. And if and when I have a family, that’s okay too. I have my friends that are my family and my family that are my friends (and kids) - with the freedom in between. I’m ready, Thirty.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cairns, Australia

I’m sitting in the Cairns airport in Queensland, Australia. It’s 1:25p, Friday, Sept. 20 – sometime at night on Thursday in the States. I’m waiting to board my flight that leaves for Sydney at 2:20p, where I’ll be visiting my sister and the city itself, for twice as long as I was here.

I landed on Monday. I filled each day with something different. Monday and Friday were half day’s – so we’ll just count the full days:

Day 1: Booked: Snorkel trip. Expectation: Snorkeling the beautiful Great Barrier Reef.

Outcome: I learned to scuba dive. Well, that was unexpected.

Upon checking in at 7am – each day was an early fucking start and after 35 hours of travel the day before and then learning that a global unlocked phone is a lie (fuck you, Telestial) left me losing 3 hours to confirm this and then getting an Aussie phone, but my body seemed to forego almost all jet lag and just be tired after early mornings and full day activities – a older, attractive gentleman popped up looking for pens and told me to hold on a moment and he’s show me the way to the boat. He was likely made more attractive by his accent. And good teeth. Plus, he showered me with compliments all the way down the pier, so fuck, compliment me, I’m not gonna complain non-creepy-non-old-man.

Old men at Safeway hitting on me; not cool. Well-traveled accented gentleman with good teeth; bring it on.

Well anyway, back to the story. We get on the boat 
after a blonde girl from the UK found me and the Diving Instructor on the pier and followed with us. She sat with me; filled out her form for diving. I didn’t think that was an option, I expressed to her, if we had never dove before. Apparently there was an intro dive we could do. It was $70. I was interested, mainly because she was my new friend who could take my photo underwater. But that became nnecessary soon because two guys sat down next to me at the table; one was wearing a Steelers hat. Instantly, we were friends.

Small fucking world.

Those boys could serve as my underwater photographer instead of UK, but my interest was already piqued with the diving because – as, with all things I do – it would make a better story. The diving instructor was giving his speech on diving and asked me, by name, at this point, why I wasn’t joining. When I expressed that I didn’t sign up to dive, he said I could sign up now – and besides I’d get to spend time with him. So, I went diving.

And then I panicked. They were so insistent that you DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH that when I held my breath - because I was concentrating on blowing air bubbles out of my mask, as told by Instructor – still just learning and only a foot under water, I panicked and went back up. I was done. But the Diving Instructor gave me the good ol’ calm down and back under I went. The intro was over, did I want to spend the $70 to dive. Yes, I did, if only to conquer my fear. Did I mention I’m terrified of sharks? I wasn’t even thinking about that; I was focusing so much on not holding my breath.

When we got back I decided that was it; I was a horrible diver and it wasn’t for me. I went snorkeling and after that I ate about 90 pounds of pasta and couscous for lunch on the yacht. After lunch, the diving instructor convinced me to go again at the second location. I declined; that one panic was enough.

He said he’d hold my hand. In in my life of indecision is a decision, I put on my wetsuit and went diving again. This time I didn’t panic, but I’m still a really horrible diver. Even though, over dinner (I'll get to that in a moment), the Instructor told me I did just fine.

While heading back to Cairns the Instructor spent ample time with me. This was after he sent the other two girls we were diving with back up out of water and kept me down there to give me a hug. So if nothing else, I got a free wet suit rental, a scuba hug and a free cider out of the deal.

Side story: The free drink came when it appears I went on a date with the Instructor. He was trying to get in my pants. I was trying to get a story. Exiting the boat he asked me to meet him for drinks, I needed a shower and instead gave him my number. After a few texts back and forth, where he said I should come to his house and I said I didn't want to be murdered, he texted back something like: I want you to come here and get you naked and see what happens next. I replied that I was heading out for food and drinks and he could join if he wanted. After dinner, he texted that he really enjoyed my company and we should “catch up” again before I left – he followed up again, two days later, on Thursday (more on that in a moment).

Day 2: Booked: white water rafting.  Expectation: Rafting down a river; kangaroo bbq for lunch.
Outcome: I switched over to the “Extreme” white water rafting. I was asked when I boarded the bus at 6:45am (Seriously. I got up at 6am. Voluntarily.) they asked if I wanted to switch over to the extreme versus the regular rafting trip because it would even out the boats; as I was just a single. I declined and said I was a pansy. Then I began to look around and noticed that the people with the extreme wristbands were all of the non-asians.

“I know this is going to sound incredibly insensitive,” I said at the pub during bus transfer for the normal to the extreme trips to the guide who asked me to switch over two hours earlier when we got on the bus, “But am I the only non-asian on the not extreme trip? Because I hate Asian languages.” (Asians, not Asian Americans. Don’t judge me, I also don’t care for southern or Brooklyn accents. So it’s not racists, it just honest.) He laughed at me and said 90% of the trip was that; I switched to extreme.

When I got on the tiny extreme bus I found myself sitting by a group of white kids. We all began to chat. Each of us from a different country: Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Canada and me. When they told us to split outselves into groups of five for rafting, Cananda said we should all just be a group. And so it was: Group nationally white kids. Our guide? Roy – a former member of the Australian rafting team. Six countries.

The day was brilliant. Filled with more adventure on a raft than I could have imagined. Thank god I don’t care for the sound of Asian languages! I got to cliff jump and flip over on a raft and go down a “drowning simulator” part of the river and “surf” for like 5 minutes. And then we had grilled dingo for lunch! Just kidding. We had hamburgers.

And on the bus ride back, Canada – and adorable little 21 year old gay – and I chatted while I drank my likely contraband Strongbow in the back of the bus. Later, we went to dinner and shared a local-grown Australia vegetable plate.  I now see how vegetarians get full. We left; made plans to meet up in Sydney when he heads back down next week.

I also made (tentative) plans to meet up with my row mate on my flight from DC to LAX. He’s from DC and lives in Sydney. We got drunk in our row – with a nicely placed empty seat between us (that never happens for me) and it seemed to me to be a good omen of things to come. He said he’s a good tour guide with cute, single friends. That sounds good to me.

Day 3: Booked: Fitzroy Island sea kayaking. Expectation: Sea kayaking; snorkeling; lunch on the beach – blanket and all.

Outcome: My latest wake-up call: 7am. Woo. We get on the ferry for a ride I didn’t even think about as being so beautiful. While waiting to move after boarding; I feel like a roasting chicken so – after eating my healthy breakfast of a hazelnut Snickers (that’s a thing!) that I got while buying a bag of rice to stick the half-dead “waterproof” camera in and a $3.50 Coke - I load on the sunscreen.  

45 minutes later, we arrive at Fitzroy Island. The small group of kayakers is told to head to Beach Hire at 10:30.  I kill 30 minutes by trying to figure out why a section of the surf is read and why no one else is convinced Jaws killed a swimmer that morning and no one noticed they were missing yet. The beach is made of old, broken coral; it feels like glass beneath your feet and I would later be bemused by the other patrons of the island walking on hot coals of broken glass and while enjoying a Strowbow at the bar at day’s end with the most amazing Happy Hour location of my life. Content is an understatement.

We leave around 10:45 and I’m with the girl who is training; it’s her first day and she’ just moved to Cairns hoping to be offered a full time job with the kayaking company.  I’m a bit jealous; the jobs of these people: Amazing. Fuck offices, I say.

I take a small pack with me because that stupid underwater camera is only half working. And I want photos. Thank god. The photos I got were amazing. Because, as part of the continuing unexpected surprises these adventures kept seeming to offer: Once to the small island adjacent to Fitzroy, aptly named “Little Fitz”, we pulled up our kayaks on the beach, and scaled the rocks of the island to get the view from the top.

Awesome. JUST FUCKING AWESOME. We head back down, grab our snorkel gear out of our kayaks and pop into the water to look at some fish and some reefs and pretend we became convinced over the last few days that sharks don’t exist.

An Asian falls down. She’s alright. We paddle back to Big Fitz (they don’t really call it that). We’re told we can keep our snorkel gear for an hour. I head over to the beach  - hobbling my way through the broken coral and discovering if you step on the larger pieces it doesn’t hurt so much. I look like I’m playing a really fucked up drunk game of hopscotch.

I put on my flippers and back into the water. It’s a bit merky – I’d gotten used to crystal clear, damn spoiled, I tell you – and my goggles are fogging. I spend about 15 minutes in the water until I can’t convince myself that I can see a shark if it’s coming anymore. I head back out and up to a path called
the “Secret Garden”. I walk through rainforest; I’m the only one there. I can hear every skink and lizard andbird in the forest. It’s both eerie and amazing. I get back tot eh bottom and head over to the bar; the appreciate of the proximity of which is not lost on me. I have a cider here – UTTERLY FUCKING CONTENT...

and then go back to boat. And the boat heads back to Cairns.

 Prior to leaving for Fitz that morning, the diving instructor had texted earlier in the day that he’d like to see me again before I leave. I told him I’d be back around five; he said he’d see me later. Around seven I started to feel some sort of guilt and texted “was I suppose to text you”. He suggested we meet up and I – trying to avoid all the awkward sexual tension – said I was going to head out in town a bit, grab dinner and drinks and if he headed into town, to come and find me. I gave him a (what I thought was) clever (but probably wasn't) out, but I think it was mostly miscommunication. He declined and said it was great to meet me; I later realized maybe he took “find” literally and not in the sense of “text me” that I meant. Just as well. I got what I wanted anyway: A night alone in Cairns, wherein I saw a fire show, walked through the lagoon, had awesome mahi-mahi and a glass of white, did a little late night shopping, perused the club scene and decided I wasn’t missing much, then headed back to the hostel and passed out; exhausted, yet again.

Day 4/4.5 /5: The next morning I had to check out. My body, at this point used to getting up really early, woke me up at 6:30. I declined to acquiesce.  I went back to sleep until 8:30 and then headed up to the front desk to book my airport shuttle and grab some free pancakes. The hostel offered them every morning from 8am till 9:30a and that was the first morning I wasn’t gone before the free pancakes. Weird.

Ninety minutes later I was showered and checked out of my room, re-organizing my hastily re-packed bags in the hostel’s pool/social area. A bit later I head to the airport on my shuttle. And a bit after that I’m off to Sydney – having enjoyed one of the best and most perfect week’s of my life.

Before losing WiFi again, I post: i've had 3 full days (and 2 half days) here. i snorkeled in 3 locations, learned to dive and dove in 2. i had a date... (random). i had lunch on a boat, on an island, and the banks of a river. i was flipped over in the raft, went down a "drowning simulator" on the tully, cliff jumped, white water rafted, made friends, sea kayaked, rock climbed (like a 5.2. ha.) laid on the beach, climbed a gumboot, hiked through a rainforest, had a strongbow in the most extraordinary HH place, drank delicious aussie wine, explored the city and had dinners alone and with people i made along he way. and each day the weather and elements have been perfect - including today, which makes it hard to leave. but damn, that was fun. i look forward to what sydney holds... — feeling free in Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

What a way to check something off of the single person’s bucket list: Solo International Travel: Check! 

Next up: Sydney...