April 2008


Some of my work people went out for sushi and live music last night; I brought The Sister, who originally planned to be my driver and shop between drop-off and pick-up, but she instead came inside for a few drinks. Turned out to be a good move. While talking to one of my bosses, she expressed concern about our budget situation and the security of my position.

He answered, “Last week I fired ten people. Of the remaining 600, honey, your sister is one of the last ones I would want to let go.”

So I guess I am safe for now. Thank the Lord.

I saw my first Burlesque show at a seedy bar in Northeast Minneapolis, less than half a mile from the house I may purchase. It made me like the house that much more.

Discovered something worse than his hand-holding: a sneak attack from behind, with his hands on my shoulders while he leaned down to whisper in my ear, “Need another drink?” Seemed indistinctly too coupley and much more difficult to avoid.

Bought new mints flavored as Iced Tea with Lemon. The cashier was so intrigued that I offered her one (as well as the woman behind me in line). Our mutual conclusion: could be worse.

It snowed this weekend. I need to move.

New favorite thing to hate: baby showers. I love babies but an afternoon of collective awwing while eating sugary cake made me puke a little.

Also, still dress-less for my Greece wedding as well as my friend’s sister’s wedding the weekend that I return. Any suggestions?

My company’s budget is going through somewhat of a financial crisis and will potentially need to cut millions of dollars in salary. And even though my position is in jeopardy for a few reasons and my stomach is twisted into knots, all that my head can process is that now I know how reality-television contestants feel when they have their pre-elimination interview and say, “I very well could be going home tonight.”

During my crazy phase, I called The Kid only at night. I would valiantly think and think while lying in bed, trying desperately to come up with an excuse to call. If he answered, which was a rarity, I knew he was sleeping alone, and I would have my answer. Self-inflicted torture. But I was crazy and lonely and scared and, fuck, hurting so damn much.

He’s the one that calls at night now. I don’t answer. Sometimes, I am legitimately busy; other times, I deliberately screen. When I return the call during daylight hours, it is unavoidably awkward. Pre-approved topics of conversation include: work, family, some of his school, some of our friends, and the weather. That’s it. Anything potentially circling the radius of unsafe topics must be evaded at all costs. For instance. He will not ask about weekend activities for fear I will say “I spent the weekend having sex with my boyfriend.” Instead, he will say “Did you have a good weekend?” And I will answer, “Yes.” End topic. Next. And then we run out of things to say since there are all of five subjects. His logic is that I should filter my agenda and tell him harmless topics on my own. Which I don’t do. Partially because I am stubborn and partially because the conversation gets old without any active listening or follow-up questions. Polite small talk with a stranger … except for those few times where the conversation has been really good and it makes me miss him. And that’s almost worse. On the whole, it’s frustrating and I honestly don’t know why he wants to continue the farce of talking,

I also don’t understand the point of this excessive filtering. He had a girlfriend, he didn’t want to be with me, and my dating situation should be the last thing that bothers him. Our situation … I am really over it. It happened. It’s done. I’ve reached acceptance. Yes, he didn’t want to be with me, and yes, it hurt. Hurt a lot. He wanted to be with her and great; sorry it didn’t work out, but it happened. She was his choice and a big part of his life; it sucked that I wasn’t his choice, and it sucked that he played me, but that’s life and I’ve moved on. And yes, sometimes, I still take my immature jabs at him, but not because I am trying to hurt him, mostly because I am trying to get a reaction. Mostly because …the oddest thing … he pretends that she doesn’t exist.

It’s … peculiar.

He’s done it since the beginning; he’ll hang up on me if I imply her existence. The more he does this, the more I want to make him acknowledge her. Yes, it’s awkward but shouldn’t it be better to embrace the awkwardness? I am still not healthy enough to hear details about their lives together but she still happened.

Yesterday, he mentioned her. Her as literally that’s what we both call her. Her car was stolen and stripped for parts, and he thought it would amuse me. And it did, but what was more amusing is that he mentioned her to me. He even answered a few questions about her. He said that no, they are not on speaking terms, he learned the information from his roommate and yes, when she does start dating someone new it’s going to be very difficult for him.

And then he exploded into his “I don’t know why you keep bringing her up” rant.

It’s more than slightly fucked up. With his tense reaction, it’s obvious there’s still a lot of emotion there. He’s still hurting. A lot. Possibly because she dumped him. Or maybe she’s too painful a topic to discuss (not that I want to discuss her, but it’s weird that any implication is too much). Or maybe he keeps her quiet out of habit. He hid me from her and her from me. During their relationship, I was a secret because if she knew we were talking –much less sending marriage proposals and apologies for fucking things up– she would be done. And maybe I am jealous that he is still so obviously hurting from her when he barely mourned me. But then shouldn’t he ok with talking about my life? He’s over me, has been for a while, why are things so awkward? Why does he call at night? I just don’t get it.

Either way, it’s odd. But then, given our fucked-up history and drama-filled break-up, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by odd. He surprises me but only because I used to know him so well and right now, I really have no idea what is going on in that head of his. Like if Dali made puzzles. I would have no idea as to the motivation behind which pieces belonged where. The clocks are supposed to melt? And the church belongs on the elephant’s back? What the hell is going on? I AM SO CONFUSED.

There’s … this guy. When I see him, I convince myself that I am not interested. And I really believe it. He’s not my type. There’s something missing. My friends tell me that he’s attractive and I’m all, “Really? I don’t see it.” And I really don’t. I’m only attracted to his personality (and maybe his muscles). He can flirt. Flirt well. So well that it makes me forget that I am not interested.

“What do you mean what do I mean? I’ll watch a movie while you fall asleep and drool on me. We’ll hang.”

“I know you’ll find this surprising, but I am not interested to find out just how you hang.”

“Ah, Molly E, of course you’re interested.”

Unfortunately, I have to remember, that when drunk, my wit can’t keep up with his and I end up looking like an idiot.

“Uhh.”

If Wisconsin and Minnesota were related, Wisconsin would be the crazy aunt. The one who drinks dark beer with her oatmeal and wears a vintage lampshade as a hat. Welcoming and endearing but nonetheless eccentric. I guess it’s kind of difficult to explain.

This past weekend I drove to Wisconsin for a Beer and Cheese Fest. A whole festival of beer and cheese! Could there be a better combination? No. That pretty much sums up happiness right there, especially for these ‘sconnie folk. The Fest –fests are something Wisconsin does, I think due to a large German population, and most towns have a fest dedicated to a unique something. My friend’s town celebrates Broiler Fest which is an entire day of broiled chicken and kickball –took place in La Crosse, a college town two and a half hours southeast of The Cities, which is what they call the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area (aka where I live.)

But beer! And cheese! Of all the different fest possibilities, beer and cheese is arguably ingenious. Under outdoor tents, the festers carried their 4-oz glass to different vendors, tasting the different beer concoctions: raspberry porters, honey-almond lagers, blonde pale ales, while snacking on Wisconsin’s finest dairy products. All varieties of deliciousness. Supposedly a contest occurs, but the past two years I have gotten too drunk to remember voting.

I went to Beer and Cheese to visit friends from college, particularly my freshman-year roommate who now lives in Chicago. I miss her so much. She is one whose love of life is contagious. Wearing bright yellow knee-high rain boots that she somehow pulled off as fun and stylish, she would say things like, “Mol, when you get married, I hope you’re not planning anything classy because I will crash it. And be slop.” Or, “Don’t eat too many hot dogs –I’m only on my third –because we’re getting Erbs and Gerbs in four hours. Soup AND sandwiches so be prepared.” If you knew her, you would love her, unquestionably, she is that fantastic.

I lasted until bar-time; years after college graduation and I can still master the art of all-day drinking.

And, just as additional examples of Wisconsin eccentricities: someone brought their puppy, a four-month golden lab to the bar; also, our BBQ grill consisted of hot dogs, brats, and a giant summer sausage? And another good one: a friend told me that, in his drunken stupor, he pissed himself last night but after all that IS why he bought his plastic sheets. True. Can’t really argue with that logic. Additionally, this weekend marked the first time I used the line, “Um, you know I can’t sleep with you because you’re my cousin, right?” He went home with … another cousin. Um, ok.

I fucking love Wisconsin.

The drive was nonsexual foreplay.

An achingly familiar and absolutely wonderful build-up before ultimately reaching the final destination.

Giant road-side signs advertising CHEESE. An Amish family wearing black in their wagon. Red barns in mid-collapse. Highway exits and their convenience-store selections. Towns villages with names such as Whitehall and Pigeon Falls, named, presumably, for the town hall painted white and the birds found at the town’s water source. Or my favorite, the infamous village of Eleva, whose name was incepted when a farmer was unable to finish labeling the grain elevator before winter and newcomers assumed the half-finished job declared the town’s name.

Was these that had me sighing in surprise and happiness.

And then, a few hours later, when I finally arrived, I remembered that getting there is totally better than any foreplay.

 

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