Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Guns, Wal-Mart, and the Brunette Conspiracy

For Halloween, my two closest friends and I were Charlie's Angels. We had fabulously horrible 70's outfits, hair, makeup. When we struck the famous Angels pose, however, we were using flashlights.

Why not just go to Wal-Mart?
Why, you might ask, would people who went to the effort of buying hideous double-knit polyester outfits, donning wigs, and applying 8 pounds of blue eyeshadow, not go to the effort of getting toy guns? Let me tell you. I spent two hours in horrible traffic on Route 7 last Saturday trying to find a Toys R Us. And then I did and it turns out they don't sell toy guns, or anything that looks like an actual gun. Toy stores just don't anymore. In principle, I agree with this. But for our evening, very inconvenient.

Someone suggested that we could've just gone down the street to Wal-Mart. After some brief background check we could've walked out with real guns. I was, after all, in Virginia, home of the NRA. We opted for flashlights. They worked for the Charlie's Angels pose, and we figured if we got mugged on the way home, well, all the better to not have anyone think you have a gun. Since a couple of our friends have gotten mugged in our neighborhood this year, we do think in these terms. But this is off topic. Unlike, of course, what I'm about to write next.

The Brunette Conspiracy
So I spent the evening in this hot, itchy, feathered blonde wig. Surprisingly, I got a variety of compliments. I'm not sure what that was about. I felt like a tacky bimbo. I was talking to a couple women who are also blonde, although of course by our age it means blonde via a multitude of chemicals. One had no costume, and her normal blonde hair was on display. I, of course, was in the Farrah wig, and the third was JonBenet Ramsey, with her multitude of blonde curls. But blonde underneath, as well. One of them had just read an article stating that apparently blondes get X amount more attention on dating websites, and this mirrors the extra attention in real life.

I told them that one of my very dear guy friends said that he categorically does not date blondes. The reason? "Wellll, you know. Blondes don't have to work as hard. They don't have to be as sharp."

"Shut up. You know I'm blonde, right? And we're good friends, and you think I'm bright, interesting, funny, etc. Right?"

"Yes, but you're not really blonde. I think of you as a brunette."

"I'm blonde. Um, and your sister's blonde, as I recall."

"Ah, her hair's been many different colors. She's not naturally blonde."

We went around and around and finally dropped the conversation but it really made me mad. It's one thing to not be attracted to blondes - they're just not your type. This I understand. I'm almost never attracted to blond men. But he's just too smart to perpetuate this bullshit stereotype.

Anyway, JonBenet said that she thinks there's a "brunette conspiracy." Yes, she believes that the brunettes of the world, who far outnumber the blondes, propagate these negative blonde stereotypes. This makes men respect us less, and be more inclined to choose brunettes for real relationships. I can't remember if she extended it into the work arena, or if it was particular to relationships. I'll have to ask.

I don't know if being blonde gets you more attention, since I've never not been. There is definitely a negative aspect to it, though, particularly in DC. Brunette conspiracy, while hilarious, I cannot buy. She sure was a pretty little blonde thing, though.

Monday, October 30, 2006

On the Bright Side, I Don't Smell Like Urine

Yesterday was crazy day on 14th Street. Erin and I went walking down on the Mall, and walked up 14th to get home. Now, 14th always has a number of homeless people. I run the stairs at the church on Thomas Circle, and early evening people start staking out their space for the night. Sometimes I leave, and sometimes I ask people if it will bother them if I run up and down. I know it'd bug me to have some sweaty stranger popping up to run around a column next to my bed every other minute.

Anyway, back to the crazies. We'd been walking, discussing our lives, which lately always includes relationship speculation and some degree of me being upset. And so we walked along, and I was trying not to snivel. I was very in my head and feeling sorry for myself when this overpowering stench arrived. We were stopped for a light, and a man ambled by. The smell of urine preceded him by two feet, knocked both of us to the ground, and lingered till the light finally, finally changed. Astounding.

Further north on 14th, there were several seemingly homeless people per block. Some were yellers. "You're not that powerful! You look strong, but you're not powerful! You're not that powerful!" We couldn't tell if Powerful Man was yelling at us, or through us. He wasn't threatening, just agitated. Erin said "Wow, 14th St. is crazy central today."

We cut over to 16th, where a couple walked by discussing parking. "Parking in this neighborhood is just Hell on earth." the man said. Erin looked at me and said "Well, at least none of us smell like urine."

Which was so funny, and so not. My issues of the walk: The guy I want to be with doesn't want to be with me. My back hurts. I have a job but not a career. I might die alone because, as I have mentioned before, I am not a Will Ferreller.

My issues are not where I am going to sleep or I am certifiably crazy but social services isn't taking care of me or I have been wearing, and urinating in, the same outfit for weeks.

And so when, as I am wont to do, I awoke at 5:30 am to work myself into a frenzy about the state of my life, I said, "Stop it stop it stop it. You have a comfy bed in a warm, comfy place. You have family. You have a job. And you don't smell like urine." You don't smell like urine. This has been my refrain of the day. And I just got an email from Erin, updating me on her Monday, and ending with, "At least I don't smell like urine."

I accidentally said this to one of my coworkers who was complaining about something. It's not an easy thing to explain.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

So Not Hot

Yesterday I was hanging out with friends over chaipucchinos (a word I cannot say with a straight face) and beer at Tryst, discussing a Halloween party we were going to that evening.

One friend goes every year, and he was talking about the typically fabulous array of conceptual costumes. He'd previously provided us with a link to an interesting post contrasting Halloween costumes at this particular party last year and a party in LA the previous year. In LA, it's all about trendy and hot. DC is about cleverness and political savvy.

There were some very clever costumes last night. I didn't know what most of them were, so unfortunately can't remember them. I do, however, remember them being clever.

An easy one to guess was a Mark Foley with pages stuck to him. One friend of ours wore all white, with a flap on her shirt with with magnets, and money sticking out above. She asked us to guess what she was. We didn't know. She was William Jefferson's freezer. I'd had no idea, and I was distracted by her breasts - not that they were on display, but rather that they somehow detracted from the freezer doornishness of her costume.

Verisimilitude is not the issue. The truth is I am just not the right person for these costumes.

So prior to this party we were discussing our costumes, and our party veteran asked what kind of cleverness we had planned. We said no cleverness, just fun. The three of us were going as the 70's Charlie's Angels. He said, "Ah, you're taking the hot route."

Erin snorted, "Hot? Hardly. We're just out to look 70's and have a good time."

"Wait - you don't think your friends are hot?"

"We're all too goofy to be hot. Please."

"You don't think Lisa's hot?" He wiggles his eyebrows and gestures towards me like a game show host featuring a potential prize.

"Lisa?" She laughs out loud. "Do you know how goofy she is? And anyway, after her food poisoning in Argentina, impossible. Once you have seen your friend simultaneously having violent diarrhea and puking her brains out, you can never, ever think of her as hot."

He takes a moment to process this image. A stunned and horrified silence descends.

"Okaaay, then. Charlie's Angels! Excellent!"

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Public or Private?

I told my parents about this site today. My mom immediately wanted to start reading. First, she loved that I had a picture of my glasses held together with a safety pin. Turns out she'd had to do the same thing last month. And the toilet paper runs? Oh, she remembers those as vividly as anyone.

My dad was pretty skeptical. "So, you're putting your personal details on the internet. For everyone. This can come back to haunt you."

I got defensive. "Daaad (Yes, I really said it like an exasperated teenager.), I'm never going to run for public office. I could never be president - I wasn't born here. I'm never going to try to be the CEO of anything. I tell people all this stuff anyway. Who in the world can hold this over me?"

"Well, you're just writing about yourself, right? Just you?"

"I"m writing about my life. Which has other people in it. If I wrote a book, it'd be all about this life I've been living."

"But you'd write it as fiction, right? Make up a name for yourself?"

"Well, even so, I'd tell everyone it was me. That is, everyone I haven't told already."

I came back into the city and met up with a couple friends, one of whom blogs, but not about personal stuff. The other would rather spoon her eyes out with a rusty trowel than put anything personal into a public arena. Relaying the conversation with my dad to them didn't help me make any kind of decision.

So I came home wondering if this is a bad idea. And opened my email to find a message from my dad, saying that he'd read my stories and the site wasn't at all what he was expecting. He thought it was funny. He loved it.

This made my day. Absolutely made my day.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

If I were the kind of person who watches Talladega Nights, maybe I'd be married and living in Arlington

I understand that Will Ferrell may be a comic genius. I have nothing against him personally. I just don't think he's funny and I hate his movies.

My best friend and I agreed that we'd rather be tied to a chair and burned with cigarettes than have to sit through three Will Ferrell movies in a row. I don't imagine I will ever have to choose.

Here's the thing. I was set up on a date last night. He is bright, funny, athletic. We have a couple things in common, which is more than some of the guys I've fallen madly in love with. He is a perfectly nice human being and a seemingly normal person.

I didn't ask him if he likes Will Ferrell movies, but he might. Which is and is not the point.

The point is, maybe if I were a more normal person, I might like those movies, and I might really like this guy, or one of the plethora of others I've gone out with. The Will Ferrellers are out there, meeting each other, getting married, settling down with children and two car garages in the suburbs.

I can't be one of them; I think I'd rather spoon my eyes out than live that life. But I wish that weren't the case. I wish I could.

Last night, as Erin and I did the post-date debrief, I said to her that he was a lovely person, but it is not, as one of our (guy) friends says, TLF (or True Love Forever, if you don't remember this term from grade school). The truth is, I can't even remember what TLF feels like. I can remember what I looked like when I was in it, I can remember what I was wearing and what I was doing when I knew, but I can't remember how it felt.

I remember thinking after two weeks with B that I knew, that it actually was true what people say - when you meet The One you just know. Which I thought was ridiculous until I knew, or thought I knew. I said to her, clearly I didn't know, because look where we are now, but Erin said, maybe I knew, and it was, but love is not enough. It was TL but not TLF.

Of course I'd like a boyfriend, but not any boyfriend - one that I can be wild about. I think it wouldn't be so hard if I were a checklist person. If you have a checklist, no matter how particular - red hair, 6'5", Harvard law, Buddhist, speaks 3 languages, cooks like a gourmet chef, wants to have 4 male children and name them all Steve. . .even if you have a combination that seems unlikely - you can find it.

If you have a list of concrete things that you can check off one by one, you can find that person.

What I want, however, is a particular sparkle, and that visceral reaction, and that intense connection. I have tried to talk myself into people that I don't have that with, and I never manage to do so. I have sat myself down and said: he's attractive, he's stable, he's well-traveled, he's accomplished. . .and I just don't care.

I'm not in a rush to get married, and I don't categorically like children. Actually, I don't categorically like people. Or rather, most people I don't find all that compelling. But the ones I do, the ones who are important to me, them I love like crazy.

I have gone around and around on this with Christine. Why am I so upset? Because I don't want to be alone. Am I actually alone? Well, no - rarely. Most weeks I have every night filled, with activities and people I like. Or dates, who most of the time fall under the category of people I'm ambivalent about.

Now is fine. But eventually, eventually everyone else will get married and I will be alone. In 30 years I will be the little old lady who doesn't have cats, all alone. She questions the logic of this. I've never gone very long without dating someone. There are plenty of men around. If I really want to be with someone, I can be.

And this is what gets me back to being upset. There are men around. And I try to like them, I really do. But it's so easy not to. If I don't like someone's voice, I can't get past it. It turns out I'm picky about teeth.

I had no idea, but it's true. How unhelpful is this?

I met a guy at a party, a very funny, bright, interesting guy. He asked me out, and I accepted, and I had fun. Christine thought this new guy was good news. She encouraged me to go out with him again, but I just didn't want to. Why not?

"The thing is, I just don't like his teeth."

“What,” she inquired, “is wrong with his teeth? Are they crooked? Yellow? Missing?”

“No, they're fine; it's just something about the shape. I just don't like the shape of his teeth.”

“His teeth? So,” she said, “are you repulsed by him?”

“Of course not! He's smart, attractive, funny - a great guy!”

“I think unless you're repulsed, you should give him a chance.”

I thought this was setting the bar pretty low. She clearly thought I was being ridiculous.

The next week I came in and said "So, Teeth..." She raised her eyebrows. "I'm just never going to kiss him. No point in going out again."

These men are not the reason I am alone. I am the reason. I just have to figure out how not to be.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Want vs. Need

Thank you Dr. Lee! Thank you big pharma! I can't yet touch my toes, but I feel so much better.

The most painful aspect of my day? Practical footwear.

The shoes I want to wear:

The shoes I am wearing:

Toad Licking

I got a group email from a friend entitled Toad Licking, with a link to an NPR story. I was loathe to open it for fear that it would be one more article on how terrible the internet dating scene is.

But no! It's a story about a dog addicted to hallucinogenic toads! They made her "really perky and happy and generally excited to see you..." Another friend suggested finding these toads to lick before internet dates.


A group of friends were at Local 16 tonight, and since I live right around the corner, I stopped in. I introduced myself to a guy who said he'd met me before. At B's house a couple years ago.

"B? My B? My B? I mean, my ex-B? B?" Seriously, he could've kicked me in the shin and I'd have been more graceful.

"Yes, he's who I still associate you with."

"Yah, well, me, too."

Pause. Awkward silence. Mutual peering around the room.

"Soo, who all do you know here?"

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Because I Slept All Evening

Because I slept all evening and ate half of the pound of M&Ms that Erin brought me for my convalescence, I'm wide awake when I need to be asleep. I have got to go to work tomorrow.

Not because my job is so important but because I will go out of my freaking mind if I have to lie in bed for one more day. I was so far into my head, and it was very dark in there today. Even with drugs that take the edge off, I will lose it if I am home tomorrow.

A friend suggested I was faking to get a Vicodin prescription. Please. I'm not remotely interested in pharmaceuticals.

I self-medicate the old fashioned way - alcohol, shoe shopping, men. Not for this particular ailment, however.

I've never been interested in drugs, and I feel like my reality is often enough different from other people's that mind-altering substances sound like a little piece of hell.

So really, I turn to medication for pain and for sleeping on planes. I was a big fan of Tylenol PM till I learned about Ambien from a fellow passenger on an overnight flight to Paris.

We'd chatted as we settled into our seats. We took off and I was flipping through the movie listings. He asked if there was anything good playing, and I said, "I certainly hope so. I forgot my sleeping pill, so I'll be watching all of them."

To this he responded that he'd just gotten a new prescription for Ambien, and whipped out the bottle and offered me one.

The offer of sleep! So lovely!

I took it without thinking twice. Or once, apparently.

I took it before dinner, and by the time it kicked in, we were halfway through Sideways. I faded in and out for the rest of the movie, then slept till breakfast.

I wouldn't have thought about it again, except that my friend Kristin said Sideways had just come to Paris and had I seen it?

I said I had, but didn't remember most of it, because this guy on a plane gave me an Ambien and...

"Gave you an Ambien? Gave you an Ambien? You took drugs from a stranger?"


"You don't remember the movie? Well, do you remember the blow job you probably gave him?"

No, no, no. He was totally above board. I saw the label on the bottle, and he took one as well. And anyway, what can happen at 30,000 feet, packed into cattle class with a ton of uncomfortable, fidgety people?

I've since been told a lot of things.


I could've been allergic, it could've reacted with other medication...there are many reasons not to take random meds from strangers. It was stupid, and I'm lucky.

Holy cow. I got all the way from being stuck in bed to drugs from a stranger. This is making me crazy.

I absolutely have to go to work tomorrow.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Persistence of Memory

I am stuck on my back. The doctor said it's a pulled muscle, nothing more. Thankfully. And he gave me a bunch of meds. It turns out Vicodin is a nice little product.

Unfortunately, though, it hasn't knocked me out, and so I have a lot of time to THINK. Which is exactly what I don't want. I think about B, and how things could have been different. I have regrets. I wonder how he is doing. I wonder if this and if that and why why why. I'm so very tired of thinking about all of it, and every time I think I'm done crying about him, it turns out I'm not. I try not to talk to about it anymore, it's such an old, tedious topic. My friends have been infinitely patient, but if I were them at this point, every time B came up I'd want to rip out my fingernails with a pliers, I'd be so annoyed. I'm actually about that sick of hearing myself talk about it as well.

It might be an English Patient afternoon. It's my favorite movie, and when I am sad, I watch it for catharsis. I've seen it so many times that when I am not in the mood to watch the whole three hours, I skip directly to my trigger points.

I love Ralph Feinnes in that movie. If you could combine him with Indiana Jones and dress him in a nice suit and give him a corporate job that he would miraculously love, this would be the man I would worship endlessly. I told a friend that I realized that of course it'd be unrealistic to think that he would be happy being a suit, and she rolled her eyes and said, "Right. That's the unrealistic part."

If I could have an eternal sunshine of the spotless mind erase, I would.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I hurt my back this afternoon by sitting down at my sewing machine.

My afternoon plans included a run and the lifting of a couple weights, and I wish I'd not been a slug and done both this morning, before becoming practically incapacitated. I can't stand up, sit down, roll over, bend over, or do much of anything else without excruciating pain.

I knew my back was connected to the rest of my body, but who knew it was so involved in putting on your socks? I feel like I'm 85.

I believe this is karma biting me in the, um, back.

Last week, for example, I made fun of my boss for hurting his bad back, telling him he was old (he's two years older than me). And when I was a reader for a blind woman at the Department of Labor, sometimes the worst things would just fall out of my mouth, like when she told me that she'd had a seeing eye dog who went blind and I blurted out "The blind leading the blind!" Boy, was I mortified.

Ever since I started giving thought to karma, I've tried to put positive energy out, consciously tried not to hate anyone. It's not like I was ever a big hater anyway.

Aside from a few elected officials, there's only one person I know who I actually used to say I hated. She was the president of an organization I used to work for, and one of the most malignant humans I've ever encountered. I'll call her D. A couple years ago I moved from hating D to wishing ill upon her. A friend pointed out I was still putting negativity out into the world.

I've since graduated from actively wishing her ill to the following: If someone else were about to push her down the stairs, I wouldn't encourage them, but I wouldn't stop them. Or if, for example, she contracted that flesh eating bacteria, which I don't wish on her, but if she did get it, I wouldn't mind if it started on her face.

I also have occasional moments of meanness. The thing about me being mean is that when I am, the things I say are accurate, and really don't need to be voiced, which makes them even meaner.

A small example, which involves the ex-boyfriend, took place recently, when he and I were talking about a woman he dated last summer. I referred to her as "frizzy orange haired girl who likes to dress in pastel print outfits" to which he replied, "Don't be mean. She was nice."

Actually, she seemed very nice, which I then admitted to him. He said, "She was too nice. I got bored."

I later told my friend Erin that B had said he got bored of frizzy orange haired girl because she was too nice. To which she said, "Well, at least that's one problem you know you'll never have."

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Bargain

It's casual Friday at work. I'm wearing my new jeans, which my mom bought me at Costco for $16. They're Levi's, stretchy, bootcut (because skinny jeans can only look good on Kate Moss and heroine addicts), supercomf. I love them. I love Costco.

I wish we'd had Costco when I was a kid. My dad is a massive bargain shopper. Now they go to Costco and buy 500 roles of toilet paper at a go. For the four years of my childhood that we lived in the US, when I was ages 10-14 and easily mortified, my dad would make us go on toilet paper runs.

The drugstore insert in the Sunday paper would advertise toilet paper on sale. Limit 4 per customer. So my dad would round us up, my mom, my brother and me, and take us all to the drugstore. He'd pile 16 four-packs of toilet paper into carts, and we'd all have to go up to the front together to check out.

There are not many things more embarrassing to a 13 year old than being seen purchasing 64 rolls of toilet paper. I can still hear him say, "Kids, get in the car! Toilet paper run!"

Medical Authorization

My dad just sent me an email. I need to write up a document and have it notarized. A document authorizing my parents, or someone else I choose, to make medical decisions for me if I can't. And I need a will.

I was just thinking on my way to work this morning how horrified my parents would be by the state of my apartment. I am an untidy little person. I keep my dishes washed and I do laundry like it's going out of style. But I'm not so great at putting anything away. My place is messy.

So I was thinking, what if I got hit by a bus? My parents would be so upset at how messy my place is. I always wear clean underwear, and I've gotten rid of the really ratty ones, like the thong with one side held together with a safety pin.

Underwear, fine. Place, shocking.

And then coworker and I went to Trader Joe's. While I was paying and he commented on how disorganized my wallet is. I told him he doesn't know the half of it.

I told him my messy-place-hit-by-a-bus-horrified-parents fear. The cashier said, "Don't you think your parents would be more upset by the fact that you're dead than the state of your place?"

Good point. Maybe. This kind of mess makes them crazy.

Right after college I lived in Mt. Pleasant with my friend Maude, who is even more untidy than me. We had a small apartment, the floor of which was always covered with books, clothing, art supplies, stuff. We just never picked up.

In case you weren't in DC, Mt. Pleasant was pretty sketch in the early 90's, but we were young and oh-so-oblivious.

And in the spring of '93, which was also the spring of the drive-by shooter, a serial rapist broke in to our apartment and attacked Maude.

I mention the drive-by shooter because he was the reason that there were police on the street all over our neighborhood. And the rapist - who in the end turned out to live a few blocks away - knew that.

So Maude, who had fallen asleep in a chair waiting for her boyfriend, awoke to find a man with no pants on about to put a sweater - one of my sweaters from the floor - over her face.

She fought - hard, and she screamed, and because she was in the chair, he couldn't get a grip in her. And as I said, he knew there were police everywhere. So eventually, he ran.

He left his boxers in the bathroom. Turned out to be what he did in all the cases. But the police at the time? Not remotely interested.

Of course this was horribly traumatic, and I am summarizing, and it took her a very long time to get over it.

As you can imagine.

When Maude tells the story now - and it is much more horrifying, since she actually lived it - she ends by describing with glee how, when the police arrived, they looked around our apartment in amazement and said "Did he do this?"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Trouble With the Clips

I reached up into a cupboard in the kitchen, which made my shirt scooch up a little, and a coworker said "Hey - what is that?"

Um, my tummy?

"The green thing. Do you have a binder clip on your pants?"

Oops. Outed.

Yes, I have a green binder clip holding my pants closed. They still zip up, but one hook fell off and then the other, so they don't really stay up otherwise. This happened months ago. I have both hooks, I just haven't sewn them back on. It's laziness, nothing else.

I love binder clips. They're up there with duct tape and chap stick as most useful products ever.

My problem with them, though, besides the fact that they enable me to be lazy with clothing repair, is that when I have a clip, a clamp, really anything blunt that can be fastened, well, I want to fasten it to something. Like a part of my body. It's not that I like pain - I hate it, in fact - it's just repeated and stupid curiosity.

A binder clip, for example. Like I haven't seen 50 million binder clips, but faced with one, invariably pick it up, examine it, and then wonder, will it hurt if I clip it to my finger?

Ow! Fuck! Yes!

A hair clip - hmm, let me clip it to my eyebrow...Ow! Fuck! Ow! So places that it hurts to clip a clip to: your finger, your toe, your eyebrow (very very painful), your cheek (sheer hell), your nose (excruciating).

I have a similar compulsion with those laser pointers. It's always, hmm, I wonder what it'd be like to shine this directly in my eye? Aaagh! Every damn time.

It's so lucky that I don't do a lot of presentations.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Grey Grey Cranky Day

It's grey and rainy. It's cold. I am cranky. I'm tired, slow, grumpy. I think it's the weather. A friend asked if it was the pregnancy/brain tumor (which I'd forgotten about) getting me down. Could be.

My best friend suggested that perhaps I shouldn't be so selfish. We're all too self-indulgent, she said. Think of the baby. Even with treatment for the tumor, I might not live, and anyway, I've been around for a while. Why not give the baby a shot? And this could change B's life. Leaving him with a baby would make him realize that work isn't all there is to life. Of course, he'd then have to marry, to have someone to help him take care of the kid. And so another woman would be raising my child. But it's not like I've ever wanted to spend that much time around children anyway.

She says I should tell him soon, though, because I might not have all that much time left. And he's a planner. He's got a 50-bloody-year life plan. He's got a spreadsheet charting out every month for the rest of his life, practically. It's one of those complex Excel documents, so that every conceivable option is included. A random baby is definitely not on there. This will rock his world. We clutch each other laughing at how fast he would pass out.

We had this conversation on a streetcorner, waiting for the light to change. A much younger woman was standing next to us, trying to be subtle about her eavesdropping. She was riveted, and clearly alarmed by how cavalier we were about this baby, about my impending demise. I wanted to tell her it's not real, I'm not really pregnant or dying. Really, I just have Existential Crisis Disorder, and we are very, very twisted people. But the light changed and she scurried.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Off to Dr. Patel

I'm having lunch in my cube. Lunch today is half a bag of Trader Joe's soy chips. Mostly this is because I'll get weighed at the doctor's office this afternoon, something I never do because it makes me obsessive. Or more accurately, I am obsessive, and so I never weigh myself. Last spring I went to the GYN for an annual visit, and I was seven pounds heavier than the prior year. I'm only 5'3 and 1/4" tall! Seven pounds! It ruined my week, my month. I told everyone I knew, everyone I met. "Hi, I'm Lisa. I weigh seven pounds more than I did a year ago." Very smooth way to introduce yourself.

The problem with knowing my weight is twofold. If I'm heavy, it will bum me out and I will seek solace in chocolate. But if I'm skinny, I'll feel like I have the leeway to eat more. Yes, this is fucked up. I know.

After lunch I'm going to see Dr. Patel, who I thought might be a hot Indian doctor. He turns out to be a very nice, nerdy little man with a big adam's apple. The first time I saw him, he asked me how old I was. I told him and then asked him how old he is. He flinched, but answered. It kind of made me hope he was going to ask about my sexual history, but he didn't.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dealing With Existential Crisis Disorder

I spent most of the weekend at my parents’ house. They live in Virginia, so an easy commute. My mom is one of my favorite humans on the planet, and while my dad isn't easy, I love him, and he’s a very interesting character. Usually I have a really good time with them, although sometimes I go out there to hibernate and cry.

If I am crying hysterically, as I did for several months this spring and summer, then it’s best if my dad is not the first person I see. He gets mad. He wants to fix it. He lectures. He gives tips on how to turn it around. He has seriously talked at me until I got so hysterical I was hyperventilating, at which point he said he should probably get my mother. Betty is the person you want to see when you’re upset. She hugs you, she makes soothing noises, she sympathizes.

This weekend was a mix of up and down. Nice to see my parents, nice to hide out at home. Saturday night I watched (and I am not proud of this) eight episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. The thing that made me stop was not that I’d wasted nearly 8 hours of my life in a fictional place, nor that I’d cried most of the time (the old lady with liver cancer whose husband loves her so much, the nice train wreck people with the pole through them, the sweet Cystic Fibrosis guy), but rather the way McDreamy is treating is ex-wife. I don’t even like her. I root for Meredith. But the way he treats her, at least in the middle of Season Two, reminds me of how my old boyfriend, my Mr. Big treated me after I tried to get back together with him. He was cold and reserved, but he said he was trying. He wouldn’t let go of me, but he wouldn’t offer much. At some point you have to say enough is enough. That point was 2 am, when I went to bed.

This afternoon I tried to compose an email response to last week’s message from my Big, who I will just call B. It made me cry, so I went for a run. It’s impossible for me to run and cry, which is part of why I get skinny when I’m unhappy. I lose my appetite and I exercise like mad, trying to avoid crying. Actually, being fairly weight obsessed, I always see it as a side benefit of being devastated. I drop so much weight, I can fit in my skinniest jeans. If you focus on my ass instead of my teary swollen eyes and snotty red nose, I'm probably at my hottest when I’m down.

This spring I spent a lot of weekends at my parents’ house, particularly with the onslaught of my huge bout of Existential Crisis Disorder (or ECD). This is my friend's clinical term, and I love it. Sometimes I just refer to it as “losing my shit,” which really amuses my therapist. I started seeing her right after I lost it this spring, so the first time I saw her I said, “The reason I’m here is that I’ve just lost my shit completely.” Every once in a while, she will refer to it. When she says, “So when you (pause, small smile)…” I know she’s about to do the air quotes and then say “When you ‘lost your shit’…” I know this expression amuses her. She keeps a pretty good poker face, but actually, I think a lot of what I say amuses her. Not the really grim depressing stuff, of course. But things like wondering if I'm actually crazy and just don't know it because I surround myself with crazy people and so we all think we're more normal than we are...

Everyone Has a Mr. Big

Yesterday was my Mr. Big's birthday. October 13. My mom is the one who labeled him my Big. She started watching Sex and the City last year and now there are lots of references to it. So when I was crying about him, she said, "He's your Big, isn't he?" Yes, I guess he's my Big. Except that Carrie ending up with him was bullshit, and not what happens in real life.

Betty's interest in Sex and the City is hilarious. My mom got married in the 50's, when she was 21 and a total virgin. Sex and the City surprises her, but doesn't seem to offend or really even shock her. I occasionally get calls that start with "I have a question..." She wonders things like, have I waxed off all my pubic hair? (no, but only because pain terrifies me) Do I know anyone who wants to be peed on? (not as far as I know) Do I think she knows anyone who does? (hmm, let's think about our family friends...) Sometimes, in her very sweet, sincere Betty way, she'll recount episodes. "Well, last night the main character - what's her name - she's just so cute. Anyway, that week she'd slept with a different man every night! And so..." There's no judgment. Just part of the facts.

She's started getting them from Netflix so there are always episodes to watch. I've watched a couple of them with her, but I've gotta say, even though we're very liberal, I just can't watch Samantha using a vibrator, or videotaping herself having sex, while sitting next to my mother. Betty and I both try to pretend we are not twitching, that we are cool. Neither of us are that cool.

Friday, October 13, 2006

My Pregnancy/Brain Tumor, or Too Much Grey’s Anatomy

I’m home sick today. I left work early yesterday because I was nauseous, and today just generally feel like crap. Headache, fever, upset stomach. Not bad enough to sleep, not good enough to get off the couch. It might be due to my combo pregnancy/brain tumor.

A week ago I bought the first season of Grey’s Anatomy. I managed to limit myself to three a night. They went so fast! Just as I was getting twitchy Season Two arrived. There are lots more episodes – 27, I think, which means one can be less judicious. Or more compulsive.

I thought maybe I had the flu, but then stopped to analyze my symptoms. I have this headache; I had one last week. It’s probably a brain tumor. You can get one at any moment, even without symptoms. People arrive at Seattle Grace with a sprained ankle or a gunshot wound, and it turns out they have a brain tumor or some kind of bleeding in their skull that requires an emergency operation. You never know.

And starting yesterday, out of the blue, nausea. I must be pregnant. I count back to my last period. I can’t be pregnant. I might be. I probably am. Christina thought she had the flu. It’s more likely pregnancy than the stomach virus that’s been going around the office, felling colleagues as fast as old forest trees under the Bush administration. I mean, everyone else at Seattle Grace had the flu.

So here I am, on the couch, obsessing. Would I have the baby? I’d have the baby, at this point. Can you take Advil if you’re pregnant? Probably not. Can I have coffee? I need some. I have both.

I’m going to have to choose, I realize – treatment for cancer, or keeping the baby. I think at some point I want to have a child, and I’m in my 30s. I should think of the baby. However, I can’t imagine having a dog by myself, much less a kid. And the thought of staying home with a screaming kid while friends are out having fun makes my uterus cringe. I have a potentially long and interesting life ahead of me. I’m going to have to go with the cancer treatment. Absolutely.

Then, I wonder, do all surgeons think about and have that much sex? Can I trust these people to operate on me? Maybe more importantly, should I stop dating lawyers and try dating surgeons? That’s what I’ll do. I’ll choose the hottest single male surgeon for the operation. If I survive, this could be a good for my social life. Definitely.

The Story of Lemon Gloria

Just over a year ago I got into Internet dating, which changed my life in the way that a new pair of boots can temporarily change your life, or anyway, you think they can.

Faced with choosing a user name, I couldn't think of where to begin.

I searched other profiles. How about BlueEyesDC or ChaiLatteLover or FunGrrl? Grim, grim, grim. Panic. Indecision.

Desperation to get my profile up on Match.com because my old boyfriend is dating a 25-year old. A fucking decade younger than me and not pretty. Well, attractive from a distance, if you can ignore her taste in clothing.

Anyway, I cry thinking about him, consult my friends, rack my brain, cry, fret, rack my brain. I have an epiphany: construct a porn name!

I hesitate, however, because you’re supposed to use the first street you lived on and your first pet. Our first dog was originally named Rambunctious (I am not kidding), and I grew up in India. So no possibility of anything like Lady Maple or Honey Swann. No.

For me it would be Rambunctious Mahatma Gandhi. Although this amuses me, I can’t even imagine who this might attract. Clearly untenable. So I picked a later street, and our last dog, Gloria, a mutt from the pound in Peru.

Some of the Match guys who contacted me thought they remembered a Lemon Gloria being a cookie their grandmother used to make. I like this idea as well. I was just thinking about Gloria the other day. She died a year and a half ago, and while I can still cry thinking about her, I don’t think about her every day anymore.

It’s weird how this happens. You’re certain something will never stop hurting, but eventually even the most painful things do.

I chose Gloria, and I named her. It’s a name I love. My mom, Betty, turned out to have a lot of friends named Gloria, none of whom were terribly pleased at the coincidence. We got her in 1995 from the pound in Lima, Peru, where my parents were living at the time. She was so bright and already fully Spanish-English bilingual by the time she moved to the US with my parents.

She was incredibly charming, smiley, tail waggy. People would stop my mom all the time and ask what kind of dog she was. One day a man in the park suggested she might be a Jack Russell Terrier.

My mom took this as truth, but translated into Betty, this was remembered as a Jack Daniel Fox. Anyone who asked was told this utterly sincerely. I have no idea if people thought this was a new breed or thought she was lying.

Gloria was smarter, funnier, and more interesting than most people I meet. I loved her like crazy. My old boyfriend used to get annoyed that I would call them the same pet names, but I was never quite sure if it was that he didn’t want to be called things like Scootyboots or Sweetiepea, or if he wanted to make sure I had separate buckets of affection for each of them.

I do remember him objecting to being called Buttface in a moment of anger, but that of course was something I never called her.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

About Me

I’m the person on the bus that the crazy person 6 rows away desperately wants to make eye contact with and then bellow at. But then I also get very interesting personal stories from strangers on trains, and I love that kind of thing. I love to listen to other people's stories, and I enjoy blogs as a window into people's lives. Clearly, I also love to tell my own.

I write about the same things as a lot of 30-something women - the minutiae of the day-to-day, dating and relationships with men, relationships with friends and family, personal insecurities and triumphs, and the bizarre little things that happen here and there.

That's all I've got at the moment. It's all quite self-indulgent, isn't it?