Thursday, December 25, 2008

Winter Wonders

It started snowing today just in time for me to drive home from my parent's. I'm sitting in my apartment, listening to The Beatles, putting stuff away and generally enjoying the peace. It was a lovely Christmas. I'm keeping this brief; I leave you with this holiday message:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh Hai!!1!!

Christmas is coming way too fast.

I have no free time at all.

It's worse than when school was in. I thought I was busy with classes and stuff, but no, that wasn't busy. Now is busy.

I've discovered that being busy and stressed (because I'm so busy) makes me extra anal about having things clean. Is it so bad to want to come home to a tidy apartment? I don't think so. Funny how these things manifest themselves.

For the first time in I don't know how many years, I'm not already completely burned out on x-mas carols. I don't listen to the radio (except NPR) and I haven't spent much time in stores so I haven't been hearing the Christmas music that has been playing since October. The last couple days I've actually been tuning in to the "all carols all the time" station when I'm in my car. I can only stand it for a song or two, because then they play something terrible or go to a ten minute long comercial break. Still, I'm actually enjoying Christmas songs this year. Weird.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Burning Ring of Fire

I've had a crazy weekend, but I haven't had a chance to write about it until now. Friday night! I have a story! I even have visual aids. This is it:

First, a map. It's easier if you have some idea of the geography of my neighborhood.

Friday night I went to a "rubiks-cube" party (located at X). That should have been the most exciting thing to happen that night, but it wasn't. I left the party around 12:30 - didn't stay too late because I had work Saturday morning. Because the party was just up the street and around the corner from where I live, I had left my car at home. I set out walking home (along the path of the little grayish-bluish dots... which you may not be able to see very well). When I turned on to the pink street (point !), I noticed a few flashing lights. I was surprised, but not very concerned.

We continued walking. Yes, we. By the way, I was with my roommate and two of our friends. The closer we got to the Point ? the more lights we noticed. The entire pink street was blocked off at that point and we could see at least four fire trucks, plus a couple of cop cars and an ambulance. Naturally by the time we got to ? we were all turning to each other and saying "What the fuck is going on?"

There were 5 fire trucks total parked on the pink street. People were mulling about. Firemen and all the other emergency response people were all over the place. All this is a very strange sight for one o'clock in the morning. I walked up to one of the fire dudes (standing quite near to point !!!) and asked him what was going on. He pointed in the general direction of my apartment (Z) and said "Oh, some apartment building caught fire."

For a second, I panicked. Was it my apartment? Oh shit. I turned down the dark blue street, which leads to my back door, and noticed a crowd of people about where my apartment is. As I got closer, I realised that they were all looking away from my place (at Y). I'm sure I don't have to tell you that I was releived. Eventually I joined the crowd and saw this:

erm... sort of. I didn't actually take a picture Friday night, so this is a recreation, using photoshop, badly. There were some guys with hoses that I didn't bother putting in because I'm lazy. There was also no snow or tarps. But you get the general idea.

It was kind of crazy. I'm really glad it wasn't my place. I watched for a little while from my kitchen, then I went to bed because I still had to go to work Saturday morning. Here's what it looks like now:

The one on the right is literally the view from my kitchen window. According to the newspaper there were active flames for about 2 hours and over 100 firefighters were there fighting it. The fire was caused by a cigarette butt and started on one of the 6th floor balconies. About 80 people now have to find new places to live. It's going to take about a year to get the apartments in that building repaired to the point that people can live in them again.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

People are Strange

Sorry I've been absent for a while. I've been busy getting sick, getting built up and then getting shot down.

Remember my stranger? Of course you do, it's the last thing I wrote about. We're going to call him Joe. After my last blog I resolved to keep more of an open mind about my budding relationship with Joe. I made an effort to stop doubting that he was as fabulous as he seemed. We went out again, twice, and it was fantastic.

I'm not saying that I really got to know everything about him right away. I guess he is essentially still a stranger. But what I have found out is great. And hanging out with him... It's going to sound really stupid and corny... he made me laugh. Hard. The way I laugh with pretty much only with my favorite friends. I'm not sure anyone I've dated before has done that.

I'm not saying it would have work out perfectly or anything. I'm enough of a realist to not expect too much right away. But I did see a lot of potential and things were looking like they were going to keep going really well.

Then Saturday night he blindsided me with the "I just want to be friends speech." Except it wasn't the normal cliche speech. He was right to do it. He's dealing with some shit that would make it really unfair of him to go into a relationship. He just isn't at a place in his life that he could give as much as he took. I know that sounds a lot like the typical lame excuse, but it's just my summation of what he said. He was completely right and kind and... impossible to argue with. What was I going to say? No, I want to date you so I deny you a chance to fix your life first. I want to be in a relationship that is doomed from the beginning because you're not ready for one.

I'm not heartbroken or anything. We weren't seeing each other long enough for any real serious attachment to form. I'm extremely disappointed, and sad to loose something that had such great potential. More than anything I'm feeling a little wiped out by the whole romance thing. I feel like I've just run through one failure after another. Whenever I meet someone I'm interested in, it never goes anywhere. We might have a fun flirtation or a short lived series of dates that lead nowhere. I'm beginning to doubt that I am even capable of connecting with someone on a deeper level.

With Joe I was impressed by something that made me think for a second that I might have found someone with whom I could connect. I guess I still can, but it will have to be as just a friend. Fuck. Whatever potential might be there, any possible romantic relationship has been given the kiss of death. We're off to friend land, a mythical place from which few ever return.

So the morning after Joe and I downgraded our relationship from "dating" to "just friends" I woke up with a fever and a very swollen, very sore throat. The doctor confirmed strep. I spent most of the day sleeping or watching TV at my parent's house.

This is the last week of class, which means finals, lots of homework, tying things up. High stress. No fun.

Life kind of sucks for me right now.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

What Is This Thing Called Love?

Seems to me it’s been a while since I made my dear readers read something really long. Lucky for you, I’m feeling particularly pensive (and, apparently, alliterative) this morning. I also woke up much earlier than I intended and can’t seem to recapture sleep. So instead I will blog (and hopefully I’ll manage to fit a nap in sometime this afternoon, ‘cause I’m still kind of tired, just can’t fall back to sleep).

Love is an immense and complicated subject. Partially because the word “love” itself is so vague and subjective. As a writer, I try to steer clear of the term; the ultimate goal being to write a poem that captures the feeling of love without ever saying “love.” The big problem with “love” is it expresses a whole range of emotions from familial love to friendly love to romantic love and even the crazy, irrational, fairytale love of chick-flicks and, well, fairytales. This last version is something I usually roll my eyes at, call infatuation, and avoid falling for (all the while secretly hoping that Mr. Perfect will come breezing by and completely sweep me off my feet). I have it in my head that Love is something deeper and longer lasting than that fluttering, Hollywood, romance that implies a happily ever after, which we all know doesn’t really happen.

I have been in love, to the point that I could say “I love you” to another person, exactly twice in my life. Funny enough, both men I have loved are now married to women who are not me.

I don’t really believe in falling in love quickly. I tend to be of the philosophy that true and lasting love has to have a strong foundation and really can’t be rushed into. It baffles me that some friends of mine will date a person for just a few weeks and suddenly be “in love.” I think they fall out of love just as quickly. That kind of love, to me, isn’t really love. It’s much too fickle and cheap to really be truly meaningful.

Once upon a time, at Found Magazine, I read a “to not do” list. I don’t remember what was on it except one item: Don’t fall in love with strangers. That really resonated with me and has stuck to the edge of my consciousness. It has seemed particularly pertinent recently after a slew of failed attempts at dating and some empty liaisons (read: regular sloppy meaningless make-outs).

I, being slow to fall in love anyway, am in no danger of actually falling instantly in love with a stranger, but I take that imperative in my own way. To me it rings the truth that it is dangerous to expect too much from someone you don’t know. Though it may not be love exactly, letting my guard down early on in the dating game and giving in to twitterpation is an easy way to get hurt.

This philosophy has not always been bad, I guess. It has saved me from being devastated over some failed little romances. And thank God I was guarded enough to not fall in love with El Douche (though I will admit that I came very close). Still, with the slew of short lived, dead end, attempts at dating that has been my love life lately, I’m wondering if maybe it is, in fact, better to not hold back. Maybe a new approach is better. Could falling in love with a stranger actually work?

Right now is exactly the time for me to decide if I want to take this new approach. I happen to have a stranger who would be very easy to fall in love with. I don’t mean real Love, the kind that really lasts. I don’t think I’m wired to get that way about someone I don’t know really well. If I let myself “fall in love” with said stranger, it will be … well, I guess it would have to be the fairytale kind. Falling in love with strangers for me would mean giving in to the potential for real Love with them. It would mean putting my faith in the expectation of plenty. It would mean letting myself go into a relationship unguarded and very vulnerable to a world of hurt. The very idea is terrifying and exciting. It goes so much against the way I’m used to approaching things that it just might be worth trying. Maybe it’s my own inhibitions that are keeping me from getting into a healthy, lasting, sort of relationship.

I guess I should tell you about my stranger now. I met him dancing on a Friday, we went on a date the next Monday. So things started out rather quickly, but since then they’ve really slowed to a snail’s pace. Our date was about three weeks ago. I’ve talked to him on the phone, sporadically, since then. For a few days following our date I talked to him daily, then he vanished for a week. Finally, he called me, from a pay phone, and told me he had lost his cell phone. We talked on the phone a few times since then; just about every other day. I haven’t talked to him at all since Wednesday though because he is in Virginia for a week, visiting family for the holiday.

So here I am. I will say that our date went really well and I see a world of potential in him. Despite that, and our handful of conversations, I don’t feel like I really know him at all. Thus he still qualifies as a stranger. Still, I’m instinctively hesitant. Maybe I shouldn’t be. I wonder if it’s even possible for me to trust that this could actually go really well and let my guard down. It would almost certainly be good for me to take that approach. After all, if I expect it to fail, the chances go way up that it will… self fulfilling prophecy and all.

I haven’t decided how I want to handle things. This whole ridiculously long post was pretty much me thinking out in type. It just barely occurred to me late last night that “falling in love with a stranger” might not be that bad. It’s a bizarre concept for me and I’m still kind of wrapping my head around it. My stranger doesn’t get back in town until tomorrow, and I’m going to be pretty busy the rest of this week, so I have some time to figure it out. Wish me luck, and feel free to put your two cents in the comments.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Monday Again

What a waste of a weekend. Despite my lack of bloggage I was actually not running around having fun in the great outdoors. I was, instead, sleeping mostly. I was wretched all weekend and had no fun at all. I feel better now, but not 100%. It's all been very yuck.