Friday, April 13, 2012

The Kindness of Strangers

As I was driving to work on Easter Sunday, a warning light came on my dashboard. 
It looked like (!) and it scared the shit out of me. 
I had all of those crazy spinning thoughts that I get; I considered not going into work; I was convinced my engine was going to blow up. I white-knuckled it all the way to work. In the parking lot I flipped through the  previously- untouched owner's manual in my glove box, but I couldn't find an explanation. I ended up Googling it. 
Tire pressure. I felt like a complete asshole for freaking out.

And then I realized that I had no earthly idea how to put air into my tires. And then I felt like an asshole again. 
This was the kind of thing my father would have once done for me. Or, after that, my brother. The nearby tire store was closed for the holiday. None of my guy friends who would've helped with this were at work. 

I ended up telling the story of freaking out about the light that morning to my co-workers and sheepishly admitted that I had no idea what to do. They laughed at me and said "You grew up fighting and you can't even put air in your tires?". Brawling with my brother doesn't equal life-skills. A mean right hook doesn't make a girl into a tomboy.  
After work one of my female co-workers followed me to the gas station and very patiently taught me to put air in my tires. She was so sweet about it, teasing and helpful, but it made me feel so useless.  

My former boss used to say "They don't even know how much they don't know" or something to that effect.

I hate feeling like that. 

I hate that I don't have life-skills. I hate that I have no idea where to start in acquiring them. I hate that every time I feel like I'm starting to get it together something slaps me down again. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Staring at the Clock on the Wall

What began as an impromptu overnight trip south quickly went awry. He was irritated about work and criticized me for smelling faintly of cigarette smoke.. I was flushed and wild-eyed from an afternoon of wine tasting and too many Americanos. Traffic was awful. The restaurant had accidentally cancelled our reservation. The hotel clerk called me "Mrs" when we checked into our room.

All of a sudden it was late; we were two hours from home; I was in way over my head. 

I believe that you learn a lot about people from the way they handle unexpected annoyances. He doesn't handle them well. 

We managed to have a good time despite all of the hiccups. I'm always amazed when this happens. I'm not very good at hiding my displeasure. 

That night I lay awake long after he'd fallen asleep. I wanted to turn on the light. I wanted to write. I longed for my laptop, which I'd left behind in my living room. Instead, I lay there and I thought it all out, I wrote in my head. I tapped out fragmented thoughts and half-decisions on my phone. Only one thing seemed concrete.

This isn't how it was supposed to be.

The next day we were supposed to stay and explore, shop, eat, go wine tasting.  I asked him to take me home. We left early and made good time. Traffic was headed the other direction, mostly.

I spent the day with friends. I semi-crashed BestFriend's backyard brunch with her crazy family. Then I drove downtown for a late lunch and shopping with TheTransplant. 

He came over tonight, after all Easter festivities are long finished. Even though I work at 4 o'clock. He said he was determined to "make it up to me", even though I'm not upset. There is nothing to make up.

But, yet again, he sleeps while I write.

That's a line from a Jewel song, you know. Like right now, he sleeps while I write. I sort of detest Jewel's whole whiny-90's thing, but that line has always stuck in my head for some reason.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Of Ham and Hatred

 When I was growing up my parents always selected holidays as the time to do something incredibly fucked up to each other other. My 21st birthday was no exception.
As a result, I've always been very bah-humbug about all holiday celebrations.
You'd think I'd be super excited about having no plans for Easter this year.

By now we all know that I'm a contrary bitch.

Easter has always been the only exception to my holiday hatred. I love Easter. Absolutely love it. I have no idea why.
My parents separated for the first time on Easter Sunday when I was twelve. It was one of the most traumatic events I'd experienced to date. I remember crying bitterly into my plate of Easter ham in Crazytown that evening. I haven't been able to eat ham since.
Regardless, I love Easter. Every single part of it. Even the gross commercialized parts... except Peeps. No one likes Peeps.

This year I'll be spending Easter alone, and I'm sort of beside myself about it. I'll go to an early mass, and I have to work in the morning, which is fine, but then nothing. I don't have plans for Easter dinner.  My mother has chosen to spend the holiday out of town with her boyfriend. TheFish is, of course, still away at school.
Its weird, and very fitting in a sad-girl kind of way, that I will be alone with my dog on the one holiday that I actually enjoy.

Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe it is past time for me to figure out how to be outside of my family and my obligations.

Besides, if I'm alone no one can judge me for drinking too much wine.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I have been feeling like I'm running in place lately. As though all of the things I have been actively striving for (sanity, happiness, stability, independence, success) aren't getting any closer to fruition.

Small slights sting more than they ever have before. Every unreturned phone call and harsh word cuts deep- even though I knowingly surround myself with blunt and brutal people. I know with one hundred percent conviction that I am being ridiculous, but that doesn't stop the wounded feelings.

Lovegood once told me that I'm a pushover. The part that she doesn't understand is that I can't always tell if I'm overreacting or if my hurt and anger is justified. I'm afraid of letting my crazy out, so I pick my battles very carefully. Maybe too carefully.
This is, perhaps, where I get myself into trouble. I have a hard time trusting people, so when I do let someone into my life I expect that they will appreciate how difficult it was for me to do so. I expect that they will respect and understand that I can't always vocalize my needs. I expect that they will understand that when I say something isn't a big deal it almost always is, and that when I'm dramatic about something it is almost always trivial. I know that it is ridiculous to expect people to know this. I know that I hold people to higher standards than they are capable of meeting. I know it is crazy to do this- to set my relationships up for failure. I know that I can't expect people to follow the strict life rules that I set for myself. I am incapable of explaining this without sounding like a self-righteous asshole. This is why I cycle through friends with such regularity, it is why my relationships don't have staying-power. I am easy to disappoint.

I wonder why I do this. Maybe it is easier, safer to just be disappointed. If someone disappoints me, I don't have to try anymore, right? Maybe. I'm not sure anymore. Its something to think about it.

Lately, I have been actively making an effort to get better, to be better.. I have been making an effort to verbalize my feelings (with the exception of last week). I have said no. I have done things for myself because it was what I wanted or needed. I have spent time alone, rather than spending time lonely. I am actively trying to be independent and healthy and let go. I am making an effort to forgive and understand and be reasonable.

This is where the running in place comes in- all of this effort seems wasted. I don't feel any more healthy or stable or independent. Everything still feels messy, like I'm barely hanging on... like I've been barely hanging on for awhile.