September 23, 2011 § Leave a comment
September 22, 2011 § 2 Comments
Like any normal female I have a chocolate reserve. That place in the back of the cupboard, top shelf, behind the canned beets you thought you’d someday eat, that place I hope to forget about but think about it after every meal. That’s where the stash is. It’s pretty minimal, usually a Hershey Bar, or a thing of Dove bites. It’s saved for that stupid day at work when your eyes well up, you tell yourself it’s stress or exhaustion when it’s really PMS. Or the day your car dies, or your computer dies, or your cat dies. It’s for the lonely night when all you want is to curl up with a romantic comedy just to say how much it sucks even though you secretly have been waiting to watch it. It’s right there when you need that fix, that stick-it-in-my-veins chocolate. Or at least it was, until I noticed I had a Chocolate Monster on my hands.
Mister Red and I have gotten quite comfortable with each other (translation, we’re practically living together, mom). In the beginning of our relationship I wouldn’t ever let him stay the night. Sleeping next to a partner can be habit forming. I just wasn’t ready. So we’d make-out at the door for 20 more minutes, half undressing each other, before I pushed him out. Going against every urge in my body just to stay true to the principal. Oh we were “sleeping together” we just weren’t sleeping next to each other. I guess it’s like that Pretty Woman kissing hooker thing… I was protecting my feelings.
Don’t worry, that didn’t last. We were having too much fun for me to force him east four blocks just so we could sleep in separate beds. Living within walking distance, and neither of us having roommates to worry about wasn’t the best arena to foster restraint. With nothing stopping us, the routine began. That’s what happens when you’re 27 and have healthy hormones.
A Chocolate Monster can sniff out your stash pretty quickly. At first he’d ask if I had anything for dessert, and he wasn’t talking about sex. I had a feeling about his sweet tooth so I’d try to have something on hand. It wasn’t long before we gained a certain level of comfort in each other’s homes. I didn’t have to ask for a glass of water, I could just get one for myself. He could open my fridge and freely grab a snack. Soon enough the sweet tooth discovered the chocolate.
Then I noticed the behavior of the monster showed all the signs of a midnight snacker. That’s right, the clock strikes twelve and the shirt comes off and the subject starts searching for sweets. Shirtless midnight Chocolate Monster, you could set your watch by it. He’ll settle for a substitute but he’s always asking for one thing.
I get it, I’m a smaller person, I don’t require as much fuel to sustain, so by midnight I can still go to bed and not feel hungry. He won’t ever announce it, but rather wait until I get up to go to the bathroom or get up to do something. Then the shirt comes off and he starts rummaging through my cupboards searching for his prized nectar.
Sometimes he’ll start doing the dishes to mask his true intentions with productivity, but I see his angle. I digress, if there’s anyone I want banging around half naked in my kitchen in the middle of the night it’s Mister Red.
September 20, 2011 § 1 Comment
My New York trip was pretty rough. For the last week and a half I was working toward TV gold in alternative programming. I returned pretty beat up with a wounded spirit and an anger that couldn’t be pacified. Exhausted and dehydrated I showed up to work Monday just hours after I landed in LA hoping for at the very least a pat on the back. All I needed was an acknowledgment that they had thrown my team to the wolves. But no, no one was about to admit that. We got bagels instead. Which was more of like a slap in the face because no bagel made in Los Angeles could ever measure up to the bakery beauties we were consuming in Brooklyn. They didn’t even make a toaster available to us. What a joke. I think I just got New Yorked.
While I was in the city I was able to carve out a couple of nights to visit two old friends who have managed to wrangle their lives in the concrete jungle. These ladies are exceptional modern women trudging it out in one of the toughest cities in the world. A high school friend, modern scholar turned entrepreneur was my first visit in the now trendy, hipster part of Brooklyn, Williamsburg.
Most women our age from our hometown are either engaged or married, and some of them on their 2nd and 3rd children. There is nothing wrong with this, but if Sex and The City has taught us anything it’s that a woman can rot in a metropolis if she becomes accustomed to a life of drive. We discussed the limits you have to put on yourself in order to achieve happiness in that very special trifecta of job, home, and man. Putting yourself with the right man to support the dream job to yield the dream home in the middle of a city harboring old money, new money, cheap money, undeserved money, inherited money, in a world that is still run by men, this shit ain’t easy. At the end of the night we were just a couple of girls without husbands, no kids, eatin’ pickles.
Across town the following night I met a college friend in the east Village. We ate at a Ukrainian diner and mulled over a similar sentiment of the previous evening. Facebook tends to taint our vision of what we “should” be doing and at which milestone we should be at on the path of our lives. You have to put blinders on to everyone else and concentrate on upholding your integrity as a modern independent woman on a personal quest to achieve your goals on your time line. Me with a husband and a bun in the oven? Forget about it. I just recently learned how to accept flowers from Mister Red, lets not rush things. So there I was again: two girls without husbands, no kids, eatin’ meatballs.
I think the best thing to remember when any city beats you down, when the credit you deserve is buried somewhere beneath sub-par bagels, when you’re not in the place you had hoped you’d be, you could always call an old friend and eat some pickles. And if that friend is tied up, call the one you eat meatballs with.
September 12, 2011 § 1 Comment
Somethings don’t warrant a celebration. I won’t give your dog a birthday present, I won’t bring a dish to pass at the unveiling of your newest tattoo, and I certainly won’t have a all night party for any sort of a hairy potter.
As of late, I’ve experienced some big changes in the major areas of my life. Fortunately most of these shifts are coming with a wink and a smile. But as far as I can see, these blessings came about by dumb luck. Or maybe good karma, I try to pay it forward.
I moved into a new apartment that I love. However, I didn’t have much control over the place I found. Navigating craigslist isn’t like getting your doctorate, so why all the congratulations on the 2 bed, 2 bath on the wrong side of the street in a decent neighborhood? I didn’t build it, I’m not fixing the plumbing. I’m basically just loaning it for a price, and I was hardly responsible enough to change my address on my bank account. My netflix is still going to the old place. Clearly, I’m failing at this. I should not get a pat on the back for winning the LA lottery and finding a vacant place off the route of the Mexican Fruit Truck. Not sure if escaping the early morning la cucaracha call is really on par with a job promotion. I rather the promotion. At least then I could have hired a real estate agent and congratulated her on the find.
And then there’s Mr. Red. Yeah he’s a catch, but I didn’t hunt him down like a twelve point buck. He’s not a prize pig. It’s not smashing achievement to have someone love you. I’m pretty sure it’s dumb luck. You wouldn’t shake someone’s hand after they win five dollars on a scratch off ticket they got in their Christmas stocking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty shocked myself that I have this great guy who can stand me, but I certainly am not in line to receive a plaque for giving my number out. If anything that makes me a little bold and kind of easy.
This is the example that I really don’t understand. I stood up in a couple weddings this summer and I was told by random guests that I did a good job. A good job? Wearing a dress and standing for a half hour? It wasn’t just one person, I had a few people say that. I must have worn the shit out of that dress then. Almost as deserving as getting a crown and a scholarship for wearing a bathing suit with a wish for world peace.
The unwarranted congratulating always makes me think of that middle school joke laced with sarcasm used to downplay other’s achievements, “do you want a cookie?” I don’t feel ungrateful for the well wishes, but I feel like when I reach something of true achievement I don’t want the congratulations to feel cheapened. I’m a person to always choose my words wisely. The words, “I’m happy for you” feel more true and heartfelt than any congratulations. Save the congrats for goals reached through hard work before we all start getting big heads about ourselves.
September 11, 2011 § 1 Comment
Today I sit in New York City. A collective remembrance throughout the country. I flew in on Thursday, for business sans pleasure. Greeted with heightened security, a bag check, and a pat down while the RELIABLE and SPECIFIC, yet UNCONFIRMED threat loomed. 3 guys in a truck. Really? Landscapers everywhere panic. But you can’t blame them, New York is still fighting the war on bedbugs, extra caution is expected. Most locals are sick of hearing it, year to year, eager to move on. Most of us are happy to move on. Below is a post I wrote right after “we got him!” I think its appropriate on this day that we remember, but not get carried away. Safe travels everyone.
During my Monday morning commute, courtesy of my car-radio the sounds of Jimmy Hendrix in his dazzling version of the National Anthem swam a triumphant lap through my speakers. The news broke on Sunday evening, but I learned though a text message. Upon returning to my home I promptly googled the president’s address and watched it streaming in full. This modern technology less captivating than the memories transporting me back through the past ten years. The internet is no match for the time machine of my mind.
We all remember that day, that exact moment we learned of the worm in our big apple that would surely destroy it. Second period English class, a senior in high school, fresh off my very first visit to the big city. I was just there. I was just standing in those streets weeks before, falling madly in love with the idea of metropolis. New York was greater than the greatest mountain I had ever seen, more remarkable than the Grand Canyon, a working machine more impressive than the human body, the Twin Towers vital organs. And now, system failure. Then the whole world stopped to watch it fall.
Over the next couple years, the war began. First semester of college my roommate and I dormed up in our 12×12 foot sanctuary of youth watched the coverage relentlessly. The night vision green glow of bombs exploding onto a land half a world away in the name of freedom and retaliation. What if that was happening in my world? What if that was happening to the people I knew? Is it worth the risk? My collegiate bleeding heart would eventually have enough and I would force myself to change the channel. Just one button turned off the horror, just one button in a growing world of buttons.
It wasn’t soon before the revulsion jumped directly into my backyard. A childhood friend, not even of legal drinking age in this country was being sent out to defend it. He visited us on in our save-haven of university, not wanting to discuss, but enjoy his last blissful ignorance before uncloaking the war in that far off desert before his own eyes. We partied and laughed as I chased around hockey players and made jokes about my shortcomings. What else could I say? We toasted to our young adulthood, or latent adolescents depending how you looked at it.
Thankfully, he returned to us, unable to speak about such things. Corralled in a winter’s blanket of supporting peers, we didn’t pry, we celebrated. Although, the celebration was short lived, this war was still being fought. No sooner was he safe, would he be shoved back into harms way again, and I relocated briefly to the scene of the crime.
I arrived in New York City to spend the summer discovering myself, dancing about to acquire the confidence to break out of my mid-western mitten of warmth and security. The nightmare of September 11th was still on everyone’s lips. Hearing the stories of first hand accounts, eyewitnesses, the fear and the sadness. All I could do was listen, sympathize and try to understand the tattoo of that day this city, our country, will wear forever.
The comedic propaganda began ushering in at an all time high. Before the 2004 presidential election, Team America blasted into theaters as the ultimate fight song for a new generation. A generation getting their world news from opinion blogs and satirical news shows, forming their governmental views out of jokes. It had gone on for so long now it was starting to feel like a joke. A sick joke, not one to yield laughter. From the seven minutes spent reading a children’s book to the recount in Florida on a flawed system, to the removal of shoes and foreboding of all liquids, knitting needles, and tweezers to change air travel, trading in freedoms for security. And what of the rumors about oil and misguided intentions for the war on terror, the national deficit, and Homeland security. All of it bedding pulled over the monumental reconstruction of the New York Skyline. What was going on here? Someone tell me the punch line because still, I just don’t get it.
My friend came back safely from his second tour in Iraq. And last winter, years later, in a drunken spell we finally discussed the emotional impact, the lasting impression, his luck, and his bravery. While I was growing into a modern woman, he was fighting for my right to become one. He was fighting for me, along side so many others, so many others who did not return. How can this be fair? How can this be worth it?
In the recent years, at moments, I’d forget what exactly was going on in the part of the planet that was awake while I slept. I’d be shaken by calls from friends waiting for their significant other’s deportation disturbed to the core of a detrimental outcome. I’d be shaken at the thought of the billions of dollars spent on this war while watching the economic crisis crush the country and filing my own unemployment claim. Every time, brought back to the moments of the first blast, then the second, then the panic. The moments that began to redefine my generation beyond dot coms and chat rooms.
Years after the Band-Aid has been removed, the wound will still hurt. And I can’t help but think about how much went into killing one man. Or how the death of that one man could increase the size of the target on our backs. Ten years, just months shy of that decade anniversary we are delivered with retribution. However, I beg, the sweetness of this revenge cannot repair our foreign affairs, strengthen our economy, reform our health care, decrease unemployment, or rebuild the world trade center. I suppose the question on my lips now, was this moment worth the toil of these ten years gone by? Or is it just a precursor to the next decade we must endure?