February 2008


Starting tomorrow, the family is going on vacation. Yes, another one. But with parents and siblings this time instead of cousins. Work this week has seen somewhat pointless, as having just gotten back from a long weekend, a sun preamble, I was all, hello, why are you making me be here pretending to be productive when I have a vacation to attend.

Now I do love my family, and it’s vacation so I really shouldn’t complain AT ALL, but fuck, it’s going to be a lot of family time. A lot of closeness and bonding and … activities. And, oh God, I don’t even want to think about all the questions. I’m bringing my laptop and eight books. I hope that’s enough. We have not gone on a family vacation for YEARS. A whole lot of years. Like, twelve or something ridiculous. And I think that one involved twenty hours in the Volvo station wagon, museums and constant requests that The Brother stop giving his sisters bunny-ears in all the pictures.

This one should be remarkably different. I’m overall pretty excited.

NOTE: Our vacation destination is two hours away from The Kid. Ha! Irony! What a sick, sick world! When I was explaining this to my little Mexican sous-chef at The Wine Bar, he worriedly asked if I was planning on “getting too drunk and maybe calling and saying hello I am drunk and only a little bit away” and I said, “no, he doesn’t know, well, ok, maybe he knows, but I maybe hinted that I was going with a friend” –not necessarily my family (because I am evil?). My little Mexican then comically shoved an imaginary knife into his chest and fell to the floor. When the restaurant closes, I am going to miss him so much.

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When they broke up, we starting talking. Not often and not verbally but the communication channel was wider than it had been in quite a while. As he was the one to always initiate the contact, I even convinced myself that it was ok. I knew it wasn’t healthy, I knew it was wrong. I knew there was nothing that would remedy our relationship but it wasn’t about that. It was talking. What’s safer than an entire COUNTRY between us? I was weak. And maybe I liked the opportunity to talk about my life being on the right path because look how balanced and stable and happy I am! Fiddle dee dee! I am so totally over you and well-adjusted!

I had severe misgivings about their break-up. She broke up with him, meaning that he would still be with her if the choice were up to him. It hurt. The one stipulation regarding our talking was that I wanted him to tell me when they got back together. Breaks are rarely clean and if they were still having their 2am booty calls or back-and-fourth reunions, I wanted to know to keep my distance. A protective measure for my heart. I would always rather know the truth. Even when it hurts. He promised to let me know even though he didn’t see it happening; besides, without her, he was “happier than [he has] been in a long time.”

I liked the control, the power, liked always being the first to leave a conversation or to screen midnight texts. When we talked, I felt validated because I could talk to him and recognize his flaws. I felt reassured that it was a good thing –nay, a fucking WONDERFUL thing –that we weren’t together. He never met my needs. He was lacking. He needed a lot of work. LA DEE DAH I am OVER him.

At least that’s what I told myself.

Plus, he wasn’t with her; no harm, no foul.

I found out today that they got back together five days after their original break-up. She dumped him again just this past Sunday. It was all a lie.  He had been texting me comments, sometimes sweet sometimes suggestive, all throughout February. And had gone back to calling me Love. He called me on Sunday night, and when I didn’t answer, he called again on Monday night. He called on the same fucking day that she dumped him … and under false pretenses; really, he was just upset over their relationship.

I feel betrayed and I don’t have the right to. His love life is none of my business.  I guess, once again, I trusted his word because I thought he was the person I knew, not the person he has become. I hate how much it still hurts. I don’t remember the last time I cried over him, and I did today. (At work. Sweet.) The pain is supposed to be gone; I tell myself that I am healed, goddammit. How is there still pain in the reservoir? It should have been bled dry months and months ago for fuck’s sake.

Why do I still care? Why am I still surprised? Why, when I hear this, do I break out in a cold sweat and regain the perpetual nausea that cursed me for five months? He is not even that fucking great. How can he still do this to me? I wasn’t telling myself that it was something that it wasn’t, but I liked knowing that maybe his life, and getting over me, was a struggle, too.

I worry that it digs into my self-worth. That I interpret this situation to mean I am easily replaceable. I can’t find someone better than him but he so easily found someone better than me … and I don’t think I’m not strong enough to continue down this questionable line of thought, so … moving on …

Please, no comments on him being a bastard –that will only twist the knife, a reflection of my choices and stupidity. What was the phrase my great-aunt used to say? Fooled me once: shame on you; fooled me twice: shame on me. I get it, he sucks. But it still hurts.

Yesterday, I was asked if I like my life.

Whoa. The blunt question caught me just off-guard enough that I actually thought about my answer –and thought about it for just a little too long.

Not really.

My life has potential. The pieces show promise for the future. Definitely moving in a responsible and productive and successful direction. But on the whole, at this moment, do I like it? Not really. It’s fine. It definitely could be worse. MUCH worse. Seriously, no complaints here. But then, I don’t really have too many pieces that I would brag about either.

Like chicken for dinner. It’s fine, wise decision, very healthy. But that doesn’t cover up that it’s blah and tasteless. Needs a little something … like salt. Or, a side of steak. Besides, chicken for dinner has always been a little too conforming for my taste; I would rather have cereal or an entire bag of baby carrots.

I go through the motions, each day happens, and then I go to sleep with plans to go through the same motions tomorrow. But I don’t really like it. And that needs to change.

So I was telling my lovely mother about the old people in Arizona and how they would do the oddest things like sit with their complimentary oatmeal and decaf coffee from 7am to 10am and didn’t they know they didn’t need to stay for the entire hotel breakfast? and they would hang out by the pool, in the shade with their white socks pulled high on their skinny varicose-vein-ridden legs, and one old man stripped right in front of us, pool-side, to change from his golf shorts to his swim trunks even though his room was probably courtyard-adjacent and was completely nakes in plain view and CHILDREN were present not to mention ME [and seriously, gross, I barely like to look at it now when it’s not, you know, ready to go, unless the guy is ok with me poking it like a science project and they tend to frown upon that even though I am pretty sure they have the same fascination with boobs which do not look nearly as goofy and yes, I am still seventeen at times] but nevertheless I don’t really want to see it all wrinkly and weathered and saggy and I better have some serious dementia or senility going on by the time I have to see it looking like that again. And in response to my frightful experience, my mom said, “Oh, Mol, you’re going to have to get over it because it gets that way much sooner than you would think.”  And not only hearing that information but hearing it from my mom, given her frame of reference, is wrong on so many levels and I just wish I could get this story out of my head.

A few weeks ago, The Sister and I had decided to switch types. She is now supposed to go for the goofy dorks and I am supposedly totally into dumb jocks. We’re not good at it. Her temporary dude, an engineer (a plus!) also deals (oo, negative), and I can’t sit through In Good Company without commenting on my love for Topher Grace. Not too promising. But hell, vacation tends to evoke a change in behavioral patterns, so we left Minnesota optimistic. Four older cousins, all female, were also accompanying us to Phoenix in visitation of our male cousin. Only one of the female cousins is not married and all the others promised to keep their eyes open for vacation fling material, motivated by a not-having-to-share-a-bed incentive.

If we were looking for dudes over the retirement age, we would have been in great luck, as everyone everywhere was a senior citizen. Everyone. Everywhere. At breakfast, dinner, the pool, and the shops: a pestiferous swarm of silver-haired old people. Which is why we were surprised when cutting across the hotel courtyard for pre-dinner cocktails, we were whoo!ed. Whoo!ed by guys playing beer pong. (Side note: first assumption was Spring Breakers, but they were professionals in town on business).

After two rounds of cocktails while watching the rowdy boys drink enough to swim in the fountain and dance to their booming music selection (which I am almost positive would be labeled “Frat Party 2004 Mix”), the cousins were just buzzed enough to comment that they looked like they were having a good time and how unfortunate that beer pong was not their particular forte. I needed no further egging to propose an alternative to the boys.

“Would any of you be interested in a game of Flip Cup?”

Although I consciously made eye contact with each of the guys, I lingered over the cute one. Obviously. And he smiled when he looked back. His eyes were light brown. Over the cacophony of responses arguing logistics and players and rules, he spoke with quiet confidence, an assurance that his question would stand out and be the one to receive a response.

“Yeah, but are you any good?” (Fucking cute.)

“We’re from the Midwest, of course we’re good.” Much better than wherever it was that he was from and where was that again?

“Boston.”

A response that evoked an Elmer Fudd-like nervous death-rattle, gurgling from the back of my throat.

“Um, originally?”

“No, originally from Maine.”

THANK GOD. Still a candidate for Vacation Mission: Cute But-Not-My-Type Boy. In my list of traits to ignore and go for the opposite type, Massholes are … probably listed in the top three. He organized the table and the players while I returned to recruit the cousins.

We cheated at Flip Cup, or Tippy Cup as two of my teammates called it. After the first round, we were delayed not in our flipping skills but our chugging speed. I started laughing uncontrollably when chugging; the cute boy, who stood next to me at the round table, kept teasing me (“Isn’t it funny? God, it’s so funny!”), and I eventually poured my remaining beer on the sidewalk. He, who justifiably could have cried party foul, instead starting laughing, nodding acceptance when I flipped my cup upright on my first try. We lost two rounds before gradually replacing the half-cups with less and less liquid, until the final round, when we barely had a full gulp. So yes, we might have been cheating but the important thing is that we won. And the boys, most importantly the cute one, could have cared less.

Our cab to take us to dinner arrived shortly thereafter and The Sister called out our evening’s agenda in parting.

They came to the bar. And had replaced their beer-pong sweats with preppy button-ups. They looked good. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to meander over to their corner before we were kicked out. Well, specifically, The Sister was kicked out and we followed suit.

For a good half-hour when we had lost The Sister, she had, apparently, met some dude who bought her a few rounds of shots. Shots of Rumple Minze. Never good. But she was on vacation and was drinking to with a mission of her own: Drunkenness. She fell over when I lost my hold on her waist and the bouncer subsequently kicked us out. Her mission: accomplished.

After dropping off The Sister and three of the cousins, the remaining two of us went to meet The Boy Cousin with three of his friends, who were Big Deals back in their college basketball days. As they were all married or involved, not to mentioned friends with my protective cousin, the most that happened was drinking beer in a hot tub until 4:30am. But it was lovely. Much better than the flip-cuppers. And, as I spent my evening drinking with jocks, two of whom kissed the top of my head in good-bye (note to boys: adorable move), I think my mission was also (somewhat) successfully completed.

I took Friday off from work for a weekend vacation to Arizona.  Why is it that today I still have all my Friday work in additional to my normal workload?  Why did my “time-off” really just mean “work extra hard when you get back”? 

At least I have a hot tan going for me.  Cancer be damned, I look good.

“Dude, I get like, a million sister points for picking you up at 2am.  My bed was very cozy.”

“I called you to be nice! Since I already had a driver.  In case you needed a ride.”

“You had a cab. A cab which would have cost you over $60.”

“… uh, duh, and who do you think was driving the cab? My driver. Besides, I let you share my, oh so tasty appetizer sampler platter. You’re welcome.”

“Is that what that was? I thought it was just different fried shapes.”

“The brown triangles were better than the brown circles, huh? And guess what I stole.”

“More barware, you klepto?”

“No, a brownie! The cashier was taking too long to run my credit card so I took a brownie to compensate. That whore. Oh! And I also have a purse full of gum!”

“Gum? From Perkins?”

“No, from the bar. The bathroom attendant guy was offering gum so I said, yes that looks delicious and then I dumped the bowl in my purse and walked out.”

“Um, did you at least tip him?”

“Yeah, a dollar. Which is more than you are going to get. You’re going to get a piece of gum and a punch in the face.”

“I can’t accept all that; seriously, you’re too nice.”

“Dude, I fucking know. Which is why I just decided that you’re not getting the piece of gum.”

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