Sunday, December 3, 2006

I'm alone if I'm with or without you but just bein' around you offers me another form of relief

Still no snow, though at least it finally got cold. This city simply doesn't know how to do Winter. Then again, as a friend of mine from back in Rural Nowhere said this morning, it seems that Chicago has simply stolen Winter from the East coast. Don't get me wrong, I love this city, my home and my heart are here (or so I tend to believe), but I think that living in DC is what's turned me into such a Grinch. An absolute Scrooge for the 21st Century. It's not that Rural Nowhere had anything special: Chinese take-out on Christmas Eve, tortorous visits with extended family, muddy driveways that needed shoveling... But this city thinks it can dress itself up in holiday fanfare and that's all you need. However, there is much, much more than the fancy bows and pretty, fake, evergreens.

Oh but bah, this is not a place for griping about the weather nor constant comparison to my old home. This is a place to enjoy my city. I'm looking forward to ice skating on the National Mall, it's just the greatest to be able to say you went ice skating with a view of the Washington Monument.

There are also afternoons like this one, with relaxing music and writing to be done, and I'm content. Sitting in a coffee shop, praying silently for snow sometime soon, and talking with Unavailable. We're doing much better at the 'friends' thing, which is nice considering my new years resolution. No more men drama. I've decided, it's simply not worth the frustration of it all. And so, for 2007 I will look to my music, and my writing, and I will have a productive year, which at this point is more than enough to strive for.

And now, speaking of which, off to "real" writing. Keep your fingers crossed a snowstorm!

Friday, December 1, 2006

the weatherman seems to have abandoned me

This is one of the funniest posts I've seen on PR in a long while (on learning to practice what you preach, basically). Leave it to Amanda over at Strumpette to have exclamation points ringing in my ears minutes after I finish reading the piece. (Though I am curious as to who the "newspaperman" they got to edit it was, or what paper he works for).

Today has been long, muggy, boring, and hungover... it feels a bit like summertime in the District (or Paris) - except that it's not. It is December. I want cold weather. I want it to be absolutely necessary that you get "all bundled up" to go outside. I want wet and slushy snow, the sort of snow that hits the street and people don't want to drive for another week. I want the white of it all and I want to wake up and look out my window to see a blanket; all the buildings the same color. I want breath to fog up with you exhale, I want to ice skate on the National Mall. I want that sort of weather that when you were in junior high, you would hold your crush's hand to keep warm even though you were terrified because - omigod! - you were holding your crush's hand. There is something that only winter has that gives me an almost dizzy-euphoria everyday. It's easier to breath, things seem lighter, life seems airy. I want that feeling back. The heavyset and humid air of summer in Washington needs to vacate, especially seeing as it has been summer for five months now. The damned humidity is far too much like some of the politicians around here - won't take "leave us the hell alone" for an answer.

I want to sip hot cocoa and wear my scarf. I want it to be beautifully gray every afternoon.

I shocked a couple of us this morning

It startled me how simply saying hi made my heart leap a little bit.

Apparently I surprised him too.

I thought I was better at all of this. Bah, too much thought involved in that for me today.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

the choices and homes we make

While I was home for the holiday weekend, I got news that a man I once dated was getting ready to propose to his girlfriend. Everyone reassured me that she was very nice and he was happy, and so I was happy for him. He’s an incredibly decent person. He’s a man who so unexpectedly came into my life after we hadn’t known each other for a decade. He couldn’t believe the woman he thought I had grown into. He had supreme confidence that I would fulfill all of my dreams and I would do it all with a smile. He asked me if he could be along for the ride, even saying that he would put up with city living if my life determined that I needed to be here. I fled. I came back to DC. We stayed tentative friends through phone calls and the occasional e-mail and last Christmas he joined my family for the day, walking me home to wish me a safe trip back here and tell me that he still thought of me, still cared for me. In February he came to visit and got a very different picture of the woman I had become. Suddenly he saw me drinking and obsessed with work and very integrated into what has become my life since leaving our small town five years ago. He saw the ruthless politician in me, he saw my heart broken by someone who was supposed to be my friend and he saw me reacting very badly to such a situation. He flew home and e-mailed, asking why I put up with all, why I welcomed such an existence. I wasn’t sure what to say; nobody had ever questioned my path before. I wrote back simply enough: This is my life now. I chose it. I am just as terrible as everyone else here and I am just as good at it. He realized that the woman who had walked the beaches with him a year before was not the woman whom he had visited. He realized that who I am surrounded by family and warmth and old stories and good drinks is not who I am everyday. I know his fiancé, she and I were friends in high school, and everyone’s right. She is very nice and I am so happy for both of them. He proposed on Thanksgiving in front of his entire family and she cried and they are both ecstatic. Their wedding will be in August and I don’t know if I’ll be invited, I probably won’t be, but I sent him a quick message today saying congratulations and I hope he knows how truly I mean it.

This past week has had me thinking so much about what the meaning of home really is, and how I’ve spent so many years flouting the concept. My ex-fiancé now says that travel is his girlfriend; Delta gets jealous easily and that’s all he wants. He’s happy like that, and for a long time I had been the same sort of person. But seeing him at drinks last night put into sharp contrast the sort of person I strive to be compared to the life that I have lead in DC.

I remember one night in particular. I was seeing a man back home, sort of a summer fling that unfortunately became much more than that. I used to call him Peter Pan. So cocky and so infuriatingly good at everything he tried. When he was 14 he met me and said “I’m going to marry you someday.” And then here we were four years later and I was so wrapped up in him. But the world called, and I kissed my Peter-Pan-With-A-Mohawk goodbye at the airport and I flew to Europe. We decided before I left that he should enjoy college fully here in the states and that I needed to not worry about home while I studied art and literature in ancient capitols. That lasted for roughly three weeks, when I called him drunkenly from Naples, Italy and told him how much I missed him. We decided to give the distance a try, though with an open mind so that neither of us would be hurt if things didn’t work out. Oceans can do that to the best of us. I came back for the holidays and spent every waking moment with him and his family, even Christmas shopping with his mother.

One night we offered to baby-sit for my brother’s two kids, and when my brother and his girl got back they suggested we chill out and watch a movie. Peter Pan even offered to drive my bucket of a car home so that I could have a drink with my brother (who makes the best amaretto sours in the world). There we were, all curled up on each couch, my brother and his girl on one, Pan and I on another. The blankets were so warm and we were watching a ridiculous movie (“Bang Bang, You’re Dead”) and he and my brother (who’s older and so opposite from me but still protective and one of my best friends and closest allies) are going back and forth joking and getting along. The two little boys (my nephews) wanted to stay up and keep talking to Pan, he put them to bed and did it perfectly. Here I was watching exactly how wonderful someone can be. I was comfortable and myself and with people who had always known both versions of me (city and home) and so in love with the world for one evening. It seemed like I could have the cake and eat it too. The city life but the love of my family and my boyfriend and that it really could work out. I hadn’t been happier since I don’t even know when.

Two weeks later I called him from DC and told him I was seeing someone else. Someone with a good name and a lot of connections and someone who fit this city version of me much better than someone from home could ever attempt to. That man later became my ex-fiancé and it has taken Pan and I since then to be on civil terms again. Two years. When I go home, like this weekend, I still always stop in to say hi to his mom, who still hugs me tight and says she misses me. She says he misses me too, even if he won’t admit it. And my family asks how he’s doing. I’m not sure if I was simply delusional, or being a little girl afraid to take the plunge, but the decision was made either way and now when I look back I think of that night at my brother’s house and I seem myself home. Really home.

“These days everything’s all business; never in one place for too long. There’s no lack of arms around me, but I still wonder if somewhere I went wrong. Maybe I was much too selfish but baby you’re still on my mind. And now I’m grown and all alone and wishing I was with you tonight, ‘cause I can guarantee things are sweeter in Tennessee.” [of course, the wreckers may be from tennesse, but while i love his plays, i'm not. i don't know that things are 'sweeter' back home, but i like the idea of it, the simplicity of it. too bad things aren't so simple, eh?]

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

oh great, really, beautiful. golden!

So, the same ex-fiance who called my father on Thanksgiving Day because they miss each other so much? Well, he and I are both back in DC again, and going to drinks tonight. Nothing too much, just Mackey's for a beer after work, but still. Slightly terrifying after months of no contact and I feel a little bit of pressure thanks to my parents' opinion of this guy. Philanderer or not, they still can't understand why I broke it off. My answer is always the same: Hello, philanderer.

Then again, I suppose I can't be taken very seriously when I say that. I have been guilty of worse. And hey, I'm Catholic, so I'm big on the guilt thing. It keeps me at my office late, it forces me to come in early, it has me holding on to weird senses of loyalty and creating connections to people and places out of thin air.

Good example: this boy... We will call him Unavailable. Well, Unavailable and I became friends recently, literally, we met just before November began, and I have seen him often since then, with the obvious exception of my trip to Rural Nowhere. Now, Unavailable is, well, unavailable in a very real sense of the word and yet I have somehow managed to convince myself that I am attached to him in some way. That it's OK when he gets protective of me, and upset when he misses me. It's not OK. Nothing has happened, neither of us would ever go there, but I still don't know how I could care for him, especially after only three weeks.

The stress of everything lately is giving me a cold sore, and I don't even know what I have to stressed about. I keep repeating this great mantra to myself "I am a single woman. I do not need to deal with men's bullshit" but it doesn't seem to be working. Single or not I am still dealing with the drama. Tomorrow I have a mental health day, I'm going to sleep in. I think I deserve it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

the hick in me

I suppose it won't be much of a surprise that I grew up in a home that one might call "redneck" or "hick"... it comes with the territory. But I have to admit, I miss that in the city. I miss listening to really loud country music, and knowing that even 16 year olds are probably all ready seasoned drinkers and could easily put me under the table with their tobacco habits. In a lot of places, it seems odd. But to us, people use phrases like "hot shit" and "what a fucker" -- where swearing doesn't matter, where dirty jokes are on the dinner menu, and where at the end of the day your dad will be on the phone with your ex-fiance just because they miss going drinking together.

And so I leave tomorrow, back to my city and my home and my life, but even will all the oddities I've witnessed these last few days I'm glad I came to visit.

Friday, November 24, 2006

It's late, and so I write

Figures. I ruined my own evening. I said in the last post that I would probably write some sort of introduction in the next few days. Maybe my mind was so preoccupied with the promise of writing more, that I couldn't sleep. Maybe I shouldn't have had so much sugar today (by way of my mom's wine coolers). Or maybe I smoked too many menthols (it always keeps me awake when I do). And so, in the mean time, no matter the reason - here I am. Writing into a cosmos that even on its best days doesn't really pay attention. Trying to get the worst things out of me and make the good parts seem as shiny as they once were.

And so, by way of introduction. Hello. I know fairies don't normally speak. I don't know for sure if they can type. Though, I've never been one to keep much store by the rules anyway.

Ah, relief. My mom just awoke long enough to change the channel. No more moonriver playing lonely through the house. The trailer. It's dark here tonight, normally there's at least one light on or always a lot of people bustling around. I suppose things change in five years though. My brother has his own family, his own home to make now. My parents are getting ready to migrate south. Not for the winter, but for good. Rural Nowhere in the north will no longer be our home base. My hometown will be wiped from facebook and myspace and the like with a simple phone call letting me know that they have safely arrived with all of their moving trucks in a new town, new state, new home to make of their own. I think I've done an all right job of doing the same. I have friends and a sort of odd urban family of my own in Washington. We have a Christmas tree, and every so often have people over for dinner.

I'm not making much sense, and still haven't really said much in any sort of introduction. I am a confused person. Pocket-sized. Head strong (to a fault most of the time). I tend to ramble, and foist my own problems onto characters that I write. They all tend to ramble, too. I love books. I spend too much money on books. Especially old books. I used to travel a lot, and just don't anymore; I'm not sure why that is. Some people call living a "normal" life settling down, or growing up. I think of it as giving up, when we just get too tired to fight against the grain anymore. I feel as if I am nearing that point myself, and that terrifies me more than anything else. I'm obsessed with Rainer Maria Rilke. And most probably falling in love with a man whom I should not think of at all.

And so I'll leave you here, hopefully to finally find sleep, and find myself somewhere I truly want to be more than anywhere else right now.

Falling Stars -- Rainer Marie Rilke

Do you remember still the falling stars
that like swift horses through the heavens raced
and suddenly leaped across the hurdles
of our wishes — do you recall? And we
did make so many! For there were countless numbers
of stars: each time we looked above we were
astounded by the swiftness of their daring play,
while in our hearts we felt safe and secure
watching these brilliant bodies disintegrate,
knowing somehow we had survived their fall.