Monday, November 29, 2010

Great Expectations

I have a problem with daydreams.

As soon as I get a whiff of something that could be potentially enjoyable, I whip up a spectacular scenario and just marinate in it for a few days.

So what, right? But it's bad. My fake expectation is grounded in so little reality that I am usually always so disappointed I lapse into brief social comas. Here's a metaphor for how wide the gap is:

Let's say I turned on the divine seductress within for 1o minutes and secured myself the best kind of date: casual drinks at some spunky local watering hole. So far, so good. Then, when I'm at the office revamping the lede for the piece on January's "Foodie Finds," my currently reality will slip away in a mist, and just like the movies, I launch myself into a first date of epic proportions.

I'll probably be wearing a navy sleeveless well fitted dress with a deep v-neck. My hair will look exceptional, yet casual, and my height will be a good 5 inches higher thanks to fall's new platform mary-jane. I smell better than Elizabeth Taylor will ever smell, and look 5 pounds thinner.

My date is handsome, busy, has great, hulkish shoulders and sits by politely while I discuss my favorite authors. We get a bit drunk on expertly mixed wells, eat very little, and have conversation rhythm that all the blazer and dress clad couples envy; they shoot looks of jealousy over the platters of exotic french fries and fancy mayo. We're the Norman Rockwell of dates. We sparkle.

I am so exuberant about my fantasy date (which by now I have reconciled will be an outline for the actual event) I hum happily to myself while trying to find the perfect adjective for a cilantro chutney. I come up with "smooth." My vocabulary is affected.

Then, reality hits. The waterhole is spunky, yet booze soaked. There is beer on my shirt and hulky shoulders is late. The french fries are domestic, and the conversation is about about as interesting as my analysis of Jersey Shore after a second shot of Jameson. "Pauly D is hilarious! OH YEAH!"

The worst is watching a fallen hero. In my daydream he was charismatic and humble, brutish but shockingly funny, and nice as a button. In real life he is just drunk. And drooling. And doing a Van Zant impression that looks more like a seizure. We don't sparkle, We reek. Of whiskey, bad decisions, and my souring disillusion.

This is what I do, again and again: set myself up for a rather spectacular fail. Could anything ever be as good as the Norman Rockwell date? No! I don't think my own birth was as cool as that. Why do I insist on great expectations?

Though, every once and again, these expectations allow me to be blown away by the unexpected. A walk in a park, a view that makes you cry, champagne in pajamas, takeout and football, catching the last 15 minutes of happy hour with an old friend...these are the moments that even my daydreams can't touch because they are so honest and simple, free of outlines or guidelines or 15 dollar well drinks.

This is a new sort of contentment, one that cannot be replicated in fantasy or used as a premonition. It is the redemption to what had fallen, the soft light of sun after a piss storm.

So while I am busy banging my head against a wall watching my sloshed date writhe on the floor during the climax of his air guitar solo, the universe is getting ready to suprise me with a real life daydream, free of expectations, but full of everything great.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Little Things

It's truly shameful how packed I still am from college.

I just liberated my front and back car seat from odds and ends: tampons, a white dress, Calvin Klein strappy sandals. My job hunt and internship load is picking up and in an attempt to ward off any panic attacks I dug out my 2010 Audrey Hepburn calender.

Two months left in the little Audrey montage. I flipped to December to see the picture (a strange styling of Audrey with a fishing net) and there on December 25 was a large, fat, heart-punching reminder.

Scrawled around the day Christ was born in the rather inelegant handwriting of my ex-boyfriend, was the epithet "On this day...nothing happened."

My ex is a stout atheist, I have watched him drunkenly debate Jesus's existence with a surprising about of hammered eloquence. So much so that my the end of the discussion and five cigarettes his opponent is saying things to the extent of "I love God, but you're a cool cat."

I don't know what possessed him to mark my calender. I once caught him leafing through the pages to see if I had written down important dates like his winter break or when he'd leave for trips.

I sat for a bit in my room, laughing at this completely characteristic yet still surprising little note my ex boyfriend left me. It made me happy, but also slightly sad.

Innately I understand the process of break ups. The world--my world, his world--doesn't stop because our relationship does.

I guess I am just bittersweetly aware that within the proverbial Audrey calenders, on the date of our anniversary, it may one day read: "On this day...nothing happened."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Punch

I once had a friend punch another in the face.

I remember what he looked like, before he struck. I have seen his face do so many things; smile, laugh, set up jokes, yell things across the street, but I'd rarely seen his face like this. His mouth looked strange, flattened and snarled, preparing. I tried to look at his eyes, but they moved too quickly to lock onto. They flashed up on my face for brief moments, but I may as well have another passerby.

And in a flash, there was blood.

He was gone.

And we all stood on the curb in mediated silence amidst the threats and the swearing, losing his back into the swell of the night.

I know far more violent things happen everyday. But witnessing this intimate glimpse of a hate's manifestation sticks with me like a bug I just can't shake.

I still have strange dreams about this ferocity, but it mutates itself into different scenes. Sometimes more carnage, sometimes no blood. But in those dreams I see the thing I never did during my waking memory.

I see his eyes. And it is a disappointment. I used to see a thousand lifetimes when I caught his gaze. But in my dreams, within the blue irises, there is only emptiness.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Beating a Dead Horse

A bit ago, I posted a story about a jilted lover whose rage took on the task of destroying some valuable property.

A friend of mine messaged me, relating a similar situation, in which his buddy got a lovely and pricey bike sawed in half by a similarly jilted lover.

My friend, who is the best guy you could ever know, asked me "Is this a common thing you girls do?"

It is sad, when I think if it, that pretty bikes and fancy guitars get demolished when a love turns ugly. I can imagine it is like the sadness that happens when you watch old Civil War movies and the horses are being gunned down, their spindly legs grasping at the air as they fall into a puddle or something. During my seventh grade history class we watched one of these, and I whispered to my classmate Ben how sad I was for the dying horses.

Ben looked at me in slight disgust, "What about the men?"

Yes, Ben! What about the men!

Perhaps things like guitars and bicycles sometimes fall as casualties in love and war. It doesn't stop there, people get nasty divorces and then houses, money and children are suddenly spoils as neatly suited lawyers engage in paper battles.

With my experience in all things jilting, it does not surprise me when I hear of a slashed tire, broken bicycle, or splintered guitar. In fact, the naughty little drag queen inside of me claps her hands and says "You go girl."

I don't know what it is, why I feel vindicated instead of sad for the proverbial dead horse. 70 cents to the dollar? Menstrual Cycles? Childbirth?

I remember once I was absolutely enraged, heart broken, sobbing, and very drunk. I gazed on the sleeping, passed out drunk form of my perpetrator, angry at how hurt I was, angrier that he was not awake to witness my clearly devastating hurt. I couldn't sleep, and began noticing objects in his apartment. Stupid chair, stupid pillow, stupid cheese grater. Then the objects began to vibrate with potential.

Ha! I thought! I will take them! That will show him who he thinks he is.

I really didn't have much of a strategy when gathering items; candles, the book I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max, a tiny, electric fan, sunglasses. I grasped the loot in my arms, feeling devious and successful. Wait till he wakes up without his tea lights!

Then I realized I was hammered, it was 4 a.m., and I was twenty minutes by car from home.

I replaced all the items, defeated. Then I decided on a new form of revenge. I threw his lighter across the room, and planning to leave as soon as I sobered up, hid his "water pipe" in what at thought at the time was the last place he'd ever look.

Morning came, and with it two gut wrenching hangovers.

"Why is my [water pipe] on top of the refrigerator?"

... Perhaps not the cleverest hiding place.

I think that when a fiery, fiesty, woman feels the pain of heartbreak, she radiates it in her body like a new form of energy. That night I felt like I could shoot my pain from my fingertips, like a crazy Spiderwoman. It is so affecting, it is so resonating, it is red like fire and beautiful like the sun. It is the reason my friend's father said, "My whole life has been about keeping the woman happy," it is why a spider can eat her mate. A woman's pain consumes her being, and she lets it, as she has accepted it as a natural heritage.

So to answer your question friend, it is perhaps more common that we girls mess up some men stuff in the wake of our splintered hearts. We'd just like you, or your guitar, to understand what it feels like to have something of yours broken.

"Nobody will ever win the Battle of the Sexes. There's just too much fraternizing with the enemy." ~Henry Kissinger

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Look on His Face

It is indicative by the contents of this blog that I love a good melodrama. Moments steeped in such ridiculous feeling that reality is briefly suspended. Those are the situations I cherish dearly and store them in my memory to revive during an Oasis song. But one melodrama sheds its mascara tears better than the rest: the goodbye.

I say goodbye everyday, Bye Mom, Bye Boss at work, Bye to my poodles as I am locking you in the guest room until you stop jumping all over the couches like mountain goats on LSD. Those goodbye are easy to brush off, like raindrops or Shirley Temples with too much grenadine. But there are other farewells that cling to you defiantly; a symbiotic relationship of comfy nostalgia and slight masochism where your only recourse is breaking out the vices.

I can remember only certain details about those kind of goodbyes. I remember watching the gray morning light make its way through the cracks in the blinds. I remember how the asphalt was still warm when I stood on it barefoot. I remember the clerk at the gas station commenting on my legs.

When my father left, he took parts of the house with him. Pans, silverware, linens. But what I can recall very clearly is coming home from school and seeing the tan leather recliner missing from its corner. My parents bought that chair when we first moved to Folsom, and friends of theirs would always remark on its quality or how comfortable it was. It had an ottoman as well, I remember my father reclining in it royally when we watched movies.

I have no memory of my father leaving, but I do remember the missing chair. It was, in many ways, like my father. Removed, handsome, wanted, and cozy like home. It was significant in its own way.

I think that is the melodrama of goodbyes: when inanimate and seemingly meaningless things suddenly become the only handholds to important memories. And I know I speak very diva-like about emotions and moments and melodrama, but the truth is it's all very simple. When you can't bear to say goodbye to the actual entity, you instead say goodbye to something disposable.

Perhaps this is why, seven years later, I can only remember the look of the light on the water, rather than the look of goodbye on his face.