What I am not over

I’ve been feeling pretty moody and clammed up lately, like I’m following that old lesson of keeping my mouth shut for want of something nice to say. My life is getting split into two halves: What I am so, like, totally for sure over, and what I would like to coat in cornflakes, batter-fry and eat by the plateful.

Wait, what?

Tuesdays have become the best days of my week. Every Tuesday night after class, a small group of us go down the street for drinks, massage talk, and dirty jokes. The bar kicks us out early (if you call 12:30 or 1 in the morning “early”) so their only bartender can get up with her kids in the morning. I get home, creep into the bedroom to bump around in the dark getting ready for bed, slip under the covers and glance at the clock, knowing I’m going to hate waking up in -sigh- four hours.

Wednesdays are my worst days. Wednesday mornings I’m guaranteed sloth-like movement, a traffic jam, not enough caffeine, a boss that seems just a bit more demanding than usual, mood swings, fluorescent lights that need a dimmer switch, a grumbly stomach and a bad hair day. And most of the time I’ve made an appointment or a phone date or both for Wednesday evening (despite knowing better by now), and by the time I collapse into bed that night I want to cry from the sweet, sweet relief that finally, this Wednesday, this Satan-spawned Wednesday, it is over and good god I am too old for this shit.

(I bring it on myself. I do recognize this. And I’m not really complaining. Too much.)

Wednesdays are the days I feel, at every step, that I am over this reality, this life, this tedium (this one, right here). Tuesdays are hectic and long and exciting (and the office even seems tolerable), learning a ton at night and laughing until you think you might throw up. And Wednesdays are a body slam back to reality.

I don’t have much of a point, except that today? The big W? So over it. There are not enough Tuesdays in my life, and far too many Wednesdays.

And the hair needs serious help, people. I'm scaring small children in the elevators.



I've just set the "snooze" feature on an email reminder to go off again, 1080 minutes from now.


Q: So I’m thinking of getting back into rock climbing. I’ve scheduled a private climbing lesson for next week, and this weekend I take the preliminary safety course.

Biff: Because you don’t have enough going on as it is?

Q: Why can't you just support me?


Boomba the black lab has been such a scrounge lately. She’s started taking things off the kitchen table while we’re at work that she thinks might be tasty. The other day it was a container of my (somewhat expensive) massage cream. The dog ate my lotion. You think that excuse might get me out of the technique lesson next week?


I love my new car so much that I now feel an extreme sense of disappointment when I arrive at my destination. Many times now I’ve actually voiced this dismay to the empty passenger seat (“oh my damn, here we are already.”). Now, the office, I understand that. But a dinner out with friends? Or class? Or the bar? What the hell people, what the hell.


I’m having an identity crisis. Only it feels like I’m finally waking up after a 5-year coma. Or just breaking the surface after being stuck underwater. Or (because we cannot have enough analogies here!) like everything that looked just fine (or so I thought) in color on an old 27” t.v. is now rocking (my eyeballs) out (with its cock out) (sorry, couldn’t resist) in HD on a 52” flat screen. I think I should be worried about the implications of this, but I’m not. And that, in itself, is worrying. And yes, I would like a side of cryptic with this blog post, thank you.


My boss presented me with a box of chocolates she purchased during her European vacation. The gift was given with great glee, and received with grand grace (if I do say so myself). Inside, however, I was yelling “Chocolate don’t pay the bills, yo!”


Whenever I see "scattered storms" in the forecast I imagine these anthropomorphized storm clouds wandering around in a frenzy, patting their fluffy gray pockets repeatedly and saying things like "where did I put that lightning?" and "I know I had a rain shower a moment ago. Sigh... Honey? Have you seen my rain?" And then the storm spouse is all "Why must I always help you find these weather systems? HOW in the HEAVENS do you cope when I'm not around?! Jesus!"


Please explain. Please.

Last night Monk and I met up with Skyhawk at our favorite restaurant. We split a bottle of wine, caught up with each other, and were laughed at by the busboy. Okay, I. I was laughed at by the busboy. Couldn’t tell whether he was laughing at the fact that I made up a word in English then translated it to Spanish, or just at the fact that the gringa tried to communicate with him at all. Whatever dude, just give me my cappuccino and walk away, before you get beaned by a cod fritter.

Skyhawk started educating us on cars and engines and… other... stuff having to do with automobiles and their insides. Can’t really remember the specifics because at a certain point in the lesson all I heard was “…dual exhaust and now you would like to have your dirty way with me.” Man, is there anything sexier than a guy who knows what he’s talking about and can relay it intelligently, but doesn’t display any arrogance or condescension while doing it? (Okay, I should definitely clarify: this rule applies to certain topics only. You start explaining the breakdown between the Star Trek crew and their job qualifications and I’ll probably just want to kick you in the shins and steal your backpack.) For a while there, I wasn’t sure which boy I’d be taking home, if you know what I mean.

(Of course you have no idea what I mean. Because that was so subtle.)

Give me a glass (or three) of red wine, fantastic food, then start telling me about my engine and I’m putty in your hands, apparently. After dinner we walked out to the new car to get Skyhawk’s seal of approval. Good to know we picked a decent vehicle (not that I care too much, since I’m still all about the “Look how shiny!” and “Yay! Sunroof!”). Monk popped the hood (oh baby) and Skyhawk helpfully showed us the different components, so we might eventually be able to shake this Car Moron image we’ve each perfected over the years. At about the same moment that Skyhawk pointed out the brake fluid container thing, I had to physically take a step back to stop myself from humping his leg a little bit.

So thanks, Skyhawk, that was very helpful (and hot) last night. And dinner was great as always. But you know, I’m not sure I remember everything you showed us, so perhaps you and I can meet up sometime and, you know, go over it again. Maybe next time we can take the engine cover off and really get in there.

God I need help.


So sexy it hurts

As mentioned previously, Monk and I have been car shopping. Used, new, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Kia, Hyundai… If anyone reading this sells cars for a living, first of all? I’m so sorry. What a terrible job. You must be hitting the bong on a daily basis. Second of all: Here are a few key phrases to avoid (for future reference), when dealing with potential customers:

“They don’t pay me to guess your budget. They pay me to sell you a car.”

And, paired with that:
“They pay me to tell you what you need.” (Can I pay you to take a punch to the throat?)

“I’m an honest guy, I mean, I’m a Christian.” (I may have actually snorted in response to that one.)

“What is the most you’d want your monthly payment to be?” (Because we’re obviously dumb enough to show our cards right off the bat.)

“Your legs are really long. Are you a model?” (Yep, good logic, buddy. By that rationale, I am also a basketball player, a hella good runner, and a giraffe.)

Folks, Monk actually laughed pretty hard at that last one. Because the very! idea! of me! as a MODEL! It is to laugh! Great hairy chortling at the ridiculousness! Oh my goodness, like I could be a MODEL. Oh that is rich!

(Hang on, trying to compose myself.)

Whew! That was hysterical. Anyway, Saturday evening found us paying a repeat visit to the Hyundai dealership, mostly due to the fact that the car salesman working with us was about as intimidating and smooth-talking as a baby panda. Opie was awfully glad to see us again, helped us with another test drive, and happily bonded with us as we spent the next 3 hours signing up for some brand-new debt. Hey, anything to help a rookie make his first sale, you know? It’s only money, after all. And I can always earn more from my next fabulous modeling shoot.

(Ha HA! You thought that joke was over? Never! It is far too kick-you-in-the-head, pee-in-your-boxer-briefs uproarious!)

We sort of knew on Friday that we’d be going back to the dealership Saturday evening, but didn’t want to seem too eager. I’m pretty sure our number was up as soon as I started humping the tire. But the new car! It is joy! And purity! And has a sun roof! And a weird-looking (“so, this is what the insides look like on this side of the year 2000”) extremely clean engine! And, since the CD player reads MP3 files, it is now the most expensive stereo I’ve ever enjoyed!

Exclamation points!

However, I do have a little problem now: I’m so in love with this new car that I don’t really want to go to work or class or… basically do anything that doesn’t involve opening/closing the sunroof, rearranging my miscellaneous possessions to take full advantage of the excellent cargo space, buff smudges off the door handle with my sleeve, and tool around Dallas with a goofy grin on my face, while the speaker system beats my sense of hearing into oblivion. Or simply standing next to it, drooling in awe. Really, if I weren’t a model, I’d be intimidated by how pretty this car is.

(Oh, the mirth! The earth-shaking humor of it all! When will it stop?!)

Of course, this honeymoon phase will end somewhere around April, when we send off that first payment. Until then, you can find me blissfully skipping through the daisies, hand-in-hand with my shiny new car.

(P.S. Holy. Shit. We bought a NEW CAR!)


Nothing says SEXY like duct tape on an antenna

Our mechanic screwed us over a month ago when the P.O.S. started hemorrhaging oil and he charged us several hundred dollars to… look under the hood quizzically? Keep the car parked in his lot for a few days? Use the vehicle as an example of People Who Are Too Cheap to Know When It is Time to Buy a New Car? Whatever he charged us for, it certainly wasn’t to FIX THE LEAK as the oil? Still gushing two weeks later.

We brought the car back to the (damn) mechanic and, under Monk’s orders, I did not go in and start raving like a mad woman and foaming at the mouth and putting a hex on the mechanic, his family, and any future children he might spawn. I did not, in fact, say much at all, except to make it clear that the car? STILL leaking. Not leaking again. Still. And lo, because we are who we are, we did not catch a break. People! He was going to charge us! More! To fix it again! A re-fix! And therefore a re-charge! Instead of bending over (again), we took the car back home, applied a bandaid method to slow the leak for a few weeks, and decided it was time to go car shopping.

This is where I laugh hysterically because: Time, which we do not have. And Car shopping, which, ack and gag, and what-is-this-thing-called-a-car-payment?

(And please don’t get me started on how Monk really needs to work on his Assertiveness With People Who Are Trying to Screw Us. Please. Don’t get me started.)

(But seriously, next time I will not be clenching my teeth and biting my tongue. No, next time I will be screaming give me the goddamn phone and I will deal with that piece of crap bastard crook mechanic! Or something like that.)

It should be mentioned that technically? The P.O.S. is more Monk’s car than mine. My car is an old Isuzu Rodeo which, while not much sexier, has plenty of cargo room and sports a manual transmission, a 12-disc changer and a great sound system. I bought the car when we lived in Chicago and it has been through a lot with us. When we moved out here and I landed a job on the other side of the world that involved commuting during peak rush hours, it made more sense for me to drive the P.O.S. with its better gas mileage and (as we later found out) superb ability to survive a few rear end collisions. So I graciously (and metaphorically because hello, we had two sets) handed the Rodeo keys over to Monk and wished him well. I didn’t mean it (“don’t break my car! Have some respect! What is that empty Gatorade bottle doing in here?!”), but I was trying to Be an Adult.

But my god, I hated driving the P.O.S. For two and a half years I’d dive into the lowland of its burgundy interior and curse the contortions being forced on my spine. I’d floor the gas in an effort to merge with the other Dallas Road Crazies, only to have it lag mid-acceleration and cause me to think so this is how I’m going to die. I’d try to turn the volume up for a particularly interesting story on NPR (no CD player in the P.O.S. of course) and hate hate HATE the static and ineffectiveness of the completely shot “sound system.” And yadda yadda, on and on, and it’s white and rusty on the outside and embarrassing and just, ick.

After the mechanic nightmare, I took the Rodeo (MY car, remember?) back from Monk who has been commuting with it (and going to band practice with it, and cutting people off on the highway with it, and hauling Skyhawk’s bike around in it…) for the last two and a half years. I replaced a few of his CDs with mine, programmed the radio and started to fill up a brand new trash bag. And the last two weeks of driving have been pretty great. It’s amazing how much better (and shorter) a commute can seem, when you have a choice of music and can see ahead in traffic to find out why, for the love of Pete, is everyone hitting the brakes?!

But I have to admit, our time in Dallas seems to have been a bit rough on the Rodeo. There’s a hole worn clear through to the floor right about where Monk’s heel must have been resting for the last two and a half years. Some of the interior plastic has popped off and not been re-attached. The back window in the hatch won’t stay open on its own. I removed a skate sticker from the back the other day, and the rear seat is always folded down, and let’s not even talk about the big dent in the front of the car that is too expensive to repair (okay, that happened in New Mexico but I was not the one who drove into a little old lady who was apparently confused by the color yellow).

It’s nice, but it just doesn’t feel like My Car anymore. And as sad as that makes me, I have to admit I was a little excited when Monk and I managed to squeeze in Round 1 of car shopping last night and I was faced with back hatches that worked, shiny new cargo spaces, and better gas mileage. Round 2 takes place tomorrow, after my 8-hour chair massage gig. If all goes well, by Round 3 (because we’re attempting to be semi-responsible and take our time) (although last night I may have almost hugged a Jeep Wrangler and begged Monk to let me take it home, despite it being out of our price range with no room for my massage equipment) we may be able to bid farewell to the P.O.S., secure a car payment that doesn’t break the bank, and then I can wish Monk and the Rodeo a very happy life together. And mean it this time. Mostly.


Comfort Zone

I’ve been meaning to talk about being a massage therapist in a group of massage therapists, and how that translates to an experience of quick and natural intimacy with each other, quite frequently: It’s not unusual to be in the middle of a conversation while someone rubs your lower back or kneads your thigh. The mere mention of a long day at the office, and a classmate is holding my hand, working the kinks out of my palm, thumb and wrist.

It’s great to be in an environment where touch is offered easily and accepted whole-heartedly, without any sort of innuendo or ulterior motive attached ("Here, honey, I'll give you a massage." "Oh, thank you, that feels great." I am soooo gonna get laid).

But perhaps you’ve become a little too comfortable with your classmates when it takes you a couple of minutes to realize that the guy nonchalantly resting his hand on your ass during the lecture should maybe… remove it. And then later when the exact same scenario happens again. With the other guy in the group.

After a few hours of beating and shaking and jostling the hell out of our classmates' bodies (Sports Massage rocks), we had all become practice blobs to each other, tissue and muscle without body shape or self-consciousness, and a fine place to rest a hand or two (apparently). I’m just glad they don’t serve refreshments in class- probably wouldn’t have appreciated someone setting their drink on my ass. At least, not without a coaster.


Because I can

I dreamt I caught a bus in a rainstorm in a college town, after showering quickly and throwing on a long shirt with a jacket, and somehow getting lost in someone's backyard.

On the bus I met an ex who'd been looking for me all day. I knew he had something of import to show me, but still I walked on past his seat, pretending not to notice him. He reached out a finger and lightly traced my kneecap to get my attention.

I peered around the plastic at him, noticing the stack of papers in his hands a second before he put them in mine. A fifty-page marriage proposal to his current girlfriend. I resented the need for my approval (not of the girl, clearly, but of the words and the rationale) yet was flattered to matter again. Didn't want to blurt out "why" and break the spell.

We ended up at his apartment- he on a broken futon with an overflowing ashtray at his feet, while I curled up under the covers in his bed, my wet hair slowly dampening his pillow. As I sorted through his notes, I shifted around in the bed, put the pages in order. Tried to get my thoughts in order.

Fifty pages of a marriage proposal. An analysis of him, of her, the set up, the proclamation and the question. I wanted to ask him if he was sure, explain how big this decision really is, but it was pretty obvious how sure he was. I wanted to cry, but it wasn't obvious I wouldn't be crying for a missed opportunity.

The pouring rain turned into static against his window as I marveled at how comfortably we were existing in the same space, in this situation- it had been years since our last serious conversation. I swatted at the
BNL lyrics tumbling over and over in my brain (am I the only one that gets to make you laugh until you cry... am I the only one who asks you to go on without me... and who do you think I'll be without you...). I rolled my eyes and hid my wounded pride as I read how much he loved this girl. Then raised my eyebrows when I read how much he hated her best friend, flagged it to later point out the folly of mentioning this is in a marriage proposal.

Sometimes I feel the only way we confirm our existence is when there are others in the world who remember the same event, or relationship, or place, in the same light. Breadcrumbs and validation showing us we (have) matter(ed). Life does not have nearly enough dimension to be able to explore every path not taken, find out the alternative to every quick decision made in the moment. I plod on, hoping I've meant something to someone, that I'm remembered with the same weight I give to my own memories. That whether or not a decision can be proven "right," it will still lead to (eventual) happiness.

In the dream I struggled to climb out from under the blankets, papers cascading over the edge of the bed. Whether my ex needed my approval, my opinion, or needed to see me flinch at his feelings for another woman spelled out and underlined (in 50 pages!), I didn't ask. I pulled on my jacket, hugged him and wished him well, and left the manufactured melancholy of the bedroom to the natural melodrama of the storm. As the rain re-soaked my head, I thought of him going to sleep that evening on a pillow still damp from my hair, maybe causing a memory or two of me to play (however briefly) on his consciousness, before drifting off to sleep and waking again in his current reality. It would be enough.

And now, I’d kill for a cup of coffee and a way to get this damn song out of my head.