January 31, 2011

How NOT to Compose a First Message

I know I've already written something about how not to flirt online.  I wanted to follow that up with a This is a Bad Idea lesson for your first message.

What brought this on was my getting this in my inbox this evening.

I'm going to throw this out there. I'm thinking you need the most amazing back massage you've ever had and I need the most amazing blow job I've ever had! lol.. You should come over and we can get started! 

 Bwahahahahah!  Um.  No.

January 30, 2011

Pied Piper to the Jobless

For the last 2 years, when I've explained my living situation to people most times they shake their head and call me crazy.  Not that this is a unique reaction to just my housing predicament, but it's one I'm used to in that regard.  In roughly December of 2009, my marriage was emotionally over.  For financial reasons, we decided the paperwork needed to hold off until we could get a few things handled.  We would live like single people under the same roof.  Weird to you, practical for me.

Sometime in April, I believe, my ex-husband had been with his new girlfriend several months when she lost her job, her apartment, and he car all in a 6 week period.  She had nowhere to go.  None of her friends would take her in.  Even her parents told her that she wasn't welcome in their home as anything but an occasional guest.  She ended up in the storage room of her best friend's mom's house.  It was cold, cramped, and hardly fit to be a bedroom. 

After a few weeks of fighting over who had to watch the animals because we were both spending so much time away from the house, I asked Fuzzy if it would make his life easier if she moved into the house.  That way, they could be together, the dogs would have someone to watch them, and I could continue to cavort.  See?  Practical.  Besides, I didn't dislike her at the time.  We were actually, surprisingly pretty good friends.

In the end the requirement we'd struck with regard to her living in the house without a job wasn't met.  I have many thoughts on the matter, but the least inflammatory thing I can say is that she ended up being a co-dependent freeloader with a martyr complex.  Once the financial loose ends were tied up and the paperwork signed by a judge, they moved out.  The last item on the place it dispensing with the house.  And those gears are churning as we speak.

Now, those who know me might stop and ask "Um, sweetie, isn't your current roommate unemployed?"  Well, yes.  No.  Wait.  Back up.  He WAS when he moved in.  The deal was, I wasn't paying the mortgage, so charging rent was a little absurd.  Between now and whenever I am forced to move, he's got time to find something.  For now, help around the house, someone to keep the dogs company and attended to, and someone to share a meal with now and again is what I'm asking.  Those needs are being met so I'm happy.  It's the barter system.  That, and he starts new employee orientation for his part time job on Tuesday.

I suppose some might ask why I put up with people living off of me.  Well, I don't see it that way.  Nor do I see it as charity in an effort to feel better about myself.  I see it as I have something I can offer that does me no harm to share.  It is a risk/reward situation I'm comfortable with.  If you really want to pick at it, I suppose you could tell me that it's a form of usury on my part.  Ok, I can see that.  And I can be ok with that being the perception.  However, symbiotes exist in nature as they do under my roof.

January 29, 2011

Living as a Rational

When I worked at a former employer, they administered a Myers Briggs personality test to each of the people in my department.  I came up as an ENTJ.  Back in 2005 when I got my results, I read the short blurb about that kind of person, nodded, and promptly forgot about it.

I've always been drawn to pulling something apart and seeing how it works.  This includes understanding how people tick.

January 28, 2011

Roommates Are Better Than Husbands

In all of my 6 years of legal marriage, never did I have a partner.  I had a hairy roommate I could put on my health insurance plan.  Fast forward to post-divorce, current day.  I'm living in my house until it does what it's going to do; sells, or the bank and I have a discussion about where to leave the keys as I let the door hit me on the ass. 

I have a friend of mine who was in a living situation that was literally making him sick.  The stress of it was so much so that his stomach was constantly upset.  It was crowded, hostile, and unhealthy.  This is where I step in and offer a place to stay until it's time for me to move.  I have the space, we're complimentary personalities, and I can always use a little help keeping the place up.

So begins my living with a man that I'm not sleeping with for the first time in my life.  Tuthfully, if you want to know, this is only the third roomate I've ever had.  I'm used to having my own space.  There are fewer chances to step on toes that way.

So, here's what I find interesting.  We've been sharing the house for something like 3 weeks now.  We're not romantically involved.  There's no attraction there.  But, he's already been a better partner than my ex-husband ever was.  I know where he is if he's not home.  He cooks, does a fair share of the chores, and helps out with my dogs.  He's a friend when I need it just as I am to him.  Just this morning, I got a post-it note under my car keys wishing me happy Friday and telling me there was a Bing energy drink in the fridge for me.  He's right, he will make someone a fabulous wife one of these days.

What this teaches me is this.  Apparently, if this is friendship, my ex-husband wasn't ever even that much to me.  If we break it down to the elements, he was a paycheck, a strong back, and a pair of hands.  Interesting.

Being ever introspective, this makes me wonder about my other interpersonal relationships.  Are they lacking in depth?  Does this self-sufficiency make me blind to being used as it doesn't bog me down?  Do I give enough back to enough people?  Not that it's got me in a funk, but it does plant a few interesting thoughts in my head.  However, taking a page from the afterschool specials of my youth, the lesson learned is that I really didn't have a marriage.  I had a roommate with a legal contract.  My decision that it was time to cut bait was, indeed, the correct one.

January 27, 2011

Echos of a Teenage Romance

When I was a sophomore in college, I was 18 years old and attending a very small, very private school  in Pennsylvania.  I was rooming with a wonderful lady who would grow up to be a fascinating, kindhearted woman.  Someone who I still hold in high esteem.  Someone who, according to her, I sexiled for an entire weekend in October of 1996.  (As an interesting aside, I remember the date because that was the same weekend the X-Files Episode "Home" aired.  15 years later and I still remember that.  Odd...)  As a birthday present to myself, I flew my then-boyfriend from home out to see me.  I rented a car from a place called Rent a Wreck and spent the weekend exploring central Pennsylvania, and each other's bodies.  I remember there being longing, a few tears, and sneaking into the showers early in the morning.  Beyond that, my memories of that relationship are hazy.

Fast forward half a lifetime and you find me back in my hometown, living life in different circles than my one time lover.  I had recently gotten to talking with one of the maintenance men from my building at work.  It came up that he knew this former lover of mine.  Perhaps I could have worked on my tact a bit and said something a little more...  genteel than "Oh my god!  We SO used to fuck in college!"  Not my smoothest moment...  However, it did get a laugh, so there's that.

It wasn't long after that when I was initiated into the Scurvy Circle.  Monday nights are bar night at one of the local watering holes.  I had been a few times when I'm introduced to a woman who ended up being the wife of this former flame.  I remember thinking, "now this could go one of several ways.  It could be a bonding moment over our own notes (Does he still do that weird foot thing as he's falling asleep?), it could be a *meh* moment, or it could be catfight central."  (I want half of the box office and 10% of concession sales.  Just sayin'.)  I said not a word.  I was the new kid and didn't want to rock the boat with something that was a momentary teenage thing that, by all rights wasn't worthy of recognition beyond an momentary "Huh.  Weird.  ...  So, anyway."

Apparently, I was wrong.  Between the Facebook connection and the word of mouth about my being there got back to his ears.  And this is the part where I just chuckle.  I think the general impression I got from the description was panic(!).  Apparently, my existence, even several people removed from his social circle, is enough to cause some disquiet in his life.  Now this I find funny, and more fuel for my earning the title of Hurricane.  Me?  My mere presence is disruptive?  Oh sir, stop feeding my ego.  Really now, I have to fit it in my tiny, tiny car.

January 26, 2011

9th Hour Showing

Well, it certainly took long enough.  Second in a series of posts about the saga of the roof over my head.  This first is here

Maybe 3 weeks ago, a friend of mine who needed a place to live that was less stressful than his current place asked if he could move in.  Well, sure!  I can use the extra pair of hands, and it's not like I'm paying rent.  So...  Why not.  Now, he has visitation of his 8 year old daughter twice a week.  Wednesdays and Sundays.  That's important.

At 2:30ish today a Wedensday, I get a call from my real estate agent.  In the 90 days my house is on the market, I've heard from her exactly 4 times.  I figured, since my contract was up here in the next few days, she'd be calling about wanting to renew.  Whoo boy, was I surprised when she asked if tonight would work for a showing. I heard myself saying "Of course it will work.  Let me just let my roommate know."  Panic!

I had more or less given up on showing the place and had been planning to just take the sign down and let the place go.  So, the house was NOT clean.  Not that it's in the kind of condition that will wind up landing me on "Hoarders" but there were dishes in the sink, my bed wasn't made, and the carpet needed to have a meet and greet with the Dyson.  Oh man.  I'm suddenly regretting that 5 hour energy I had 30 minutes prior.  It's like someone put a quarter in me and I'm fired up to go work on the house.

I immediately call the housemate to ask if he can make arrangements for his little girl somewhere other than the house so I can show it.  He makes it happen, and on top of that, I come home and he's got the vacuum out giving the living room carpet what for.  Here it is, an hour later, and you could probably eat off most of the surfaces in the place without fear of botulism.  I can't say that you won't find a stray hair or two, but there are 4 mammals living here.  What do you expect?

Now all I have to do is settle my panicked stomach, pack up the dogs and the electronics I'm worried about maybe finding their way into a car that's not mine, and head out for an hour.  I can't look at the place anymore or else I'm going to find more dust and clutter that needs to be taken care of.  Before I know it, they'll be knocking on the door, and I'll be caught with my dogs still unleashed, a streak of dust on my forehead, and a swiffer in my hand.

Patience and optimism sweets.  You'll get through this.  They'll like the house or they won't.  It's out of your hands now.  </pep talk>

January 21, 2011

Car Salesmen Have Souls Too!

Have I ever told you about Russ, my MINI sales guy?  He's pretty damn cool.  Every time I go in for service or an oil change, he makes it a point to either say hello then or call me the next day.  Just touching base, saying hello and making sure I was taken care of with kid gloves.  Heck, he even calls my car by his name, which I think is just the epitome of awesome.  I just figured all the niceties was him just being really good at his job.  I mean, to succeed in sales, you have to be good at the schmooze.

I called up there today to ask what the payoff on my lease is.  I have till November, and I'm trying to come to the right decision about if I want to buy it, or try to buy a new one when it's up.  I know my credit is going to be crap.  Hell, that's probably giving crap a bad name to compare the two.  I gave him the short version of the story since he knew my ex from when they worked together.  He said he was really sorry to hear about everything.  I told him not to be.  It was a friendly divorce, we're still on good terms, and that despite all the tribulations of the past 2 years, I am the happiest I've been in a very long time.  Bankruptcy laws were enacted for a reason, I'm trying to play by the rules with the Deed in Lieu, and it will all work out,  even it it's uncomfortable in the present.

That's when he told me that he's adding me to his prayer list.  I'm not a believer in prayer, but I know how much that matters to some people.  So, to be offered that kind of spot in their personal faith was humbling.  I'm pretty sure that's not just good customer service.  That's a decent human being, to care about the welfare of others whom they barely know.  So, to Russ!  Thank you.

January 20, 2011

How NOT to Flirt Online

I ain't too proud to admit it. I'm lookin' for love on the internet. I'm also a frugal sumbitch, so I'm looking in free places. Free places like OKCupid. (Which, I adore by the way. Their blog feeds my head and my snarkometer.) In my experiences both as a user and a moderator I've run across a few items of interest. I thought I would pass them on to you, dear readers, some valuable information on the dos and don'ts.

First, since I'm not always a negative. Let's ask the scientists what DOES work when it comes to putting your best face forward. There's some interesting information in there. It doesn't work 100% of the time, but it's good knowledge to have.

Now, here's the personal experience talking. Some of this is going to be right outta my inbox. The rest is going to be a mix of stories from people I know personally, or something that was reported to the OKC moderators.

Lesson number one.

Pay up, Sucka!

"Ms. Ephemily, you haven't paid the mortgage recently, and we kinda take issue with this. I mean, we'd been such good friends until recently. What gives?" the letter said. Well, it's paraphrase, but that's the gist. Well, no. You see, here's the thing. I got divorced last year. He and his girlfriend moved out and left me to take care of the house. We could barely afford it when we lived together. There's no way I can afford it alone. Divorce drama aside, I've come to the conclusion that just unclenching and letting the house go is the best course of action. I can't sell it. I can't afford it. Time to call the bank and part as friends.

Now, before you go feeling sorry for me consider this. I did this by choice. I thought out all the options in front of me, and this is the one that works best. I hate my house. It's too new for me. It's too large for one person. I never wanted to live in the part of town where I do, and I don't want to keep it or rent it out. I have tried to sell it like a good little mortgage holder and didn't even get a single showing. So, a strategic foreclosure is the best course of action for me. I'm writing about it so others who are going through it, or are thinking about it know what to expect.

I came to this decision after nearly cracking under the stress in about October of last year. Everything seemed to be coming to a head, and I felt like I had no out. However, pride cometh before a fall, so I let go of my pride. Yes, I used to have pristine credit. However, in order to afford to get divorced, we had to file chapter 13 bankruptcy. So, that trashed it right there. I figure I might as well pull the big lever and let the house go too. They'll both fall off my credit rating at about the same time, and I'll have the opportunity to live where I want to in the mean time.

So, back in October I called my bank and told them what's up. I said to them that I can't afford the house, and I can't keep the house up as well as it deserves. I'm recently divorced, and I really just need a smaller place. I'd like to talk about a deed in lieu of foreclosure. Well, they wouldn't even talk to me about it for two reasons. First, the house has to be for sale and listed for at least 90 days. Second, because it was still protected in my chapter 13 bankruptcy, they couldn't start proceedings on it until it was released. The CSR told me that I had to initiate that. Well, the lawyer told me that THEY had to file the paperwork. Ok, fine. Let the finger pointing begin. I'm not making any more payments. You guys go ahead and figure this out. You both know where to find me when you get that squared away.

Fast forward to yesterday. I get the letter I've been waiting for in the mail. "Um, as your lawyer, I need to tell you that your mortgage company isn't happy with you, but you can stay friends if you pay up now. If you don't, they're going to spread ugly rumors about you in the locker room. Don't say we didn't warn you." Well, it seems they've noticed and I have their attention. Alright! That's good. Time to get this started in earnest. *cracks knuckles*

So, I called the lawyer's office to let them know what to expect from me, and it wasn't a check. I told them I have no intention of coming current with the mortgage. I am interested in doing a deed in lieu of foreclosure, or even Cash for Keys if I qualify. I have no plans to trash my house. I want to leave it in the condition it is right now. It's entirely livable, and I'm not upside down on the loan. I'm right at about break even actually. I have had the house on the market for the required 90 days, and I've continued to take care of the place as best I can. I also know that they should have a record of my telling them this back in October since I called them to inquire about it before I stopped paying.

What this means is this. Sometime in the near future, I'm going to be looking for a new place to call home. It could be as soon as 30 days from now. It could also be as far out as who knows. It's all up to the bank now and when they want to file the legal paperwork. Once they petition to have my house released from the bankruptcy, I'll have 6-8 weeks to move out. I'm glad to know this is moving, but it's going to drive me nuts with all the waiting. In some things I have the patience of a saint. In other ways, I'm an angry Tasmanian devil in a cage full of bees. I want this done now now now now now! However, I have no control over the next step. It's your move bank. Make it a good one.

January 16, 2011

Plus Sized as Identity

Tornadoes have the Enhanced Fujita scale.  The larger the number, the more serious they're taken.  Ever notice that's not the case with clothing sizes?  Or, is it?

Think about it.  Could you imagine Queen Latifa as a size 8?  What about Patti LaBelle as a size 6?  Where would J Lo be without that ass, or Shakira without those hips?  These women challenge the identity we've all been prescribed, and are winning!

I, however, do not have such a fantastic shape.  It would take a whole lot of boning, lacing, and cursing to get me into a corset tight enough to squeeze into the pin-up wiggle dresses I want to wear.  I'm average height, squat, and carry all my weight between my tits and ass.What saves me in the looks department is the fact that I have amazing legs, and a pretty face.  Well, saves is perhaps too strong a word.  It makes it sound like I am not happy being plus-sized.  In reality, I think I'd rather be a little heavy than a little thin.

I do like having a little meat on my bones.  I have thought about this, and I really don't think I could be thin.  Not that I couldn't lose the weight.  I can, and have.  But I really don't think I have the personality to be anything less than a size 10. Perhaps it's a construct of my own vivid imagination (and trust me, I've thrown myself into the dating pool recently and it has been more than enough to exercise my imagination muscle.) but it seems to me that small women are easier to overlook.  When was the last time you saw a tiny woman making a fuss and didn't picture a small purse dog yapping for attention in your head?  I'd better be careful or else Fifi might really do a number on my shin.

No, I don't enjoy the muffintop. But, I think if I were slender, I wouldn't be taken as seriously.

January 15, 2011

Stockholm Syndrome, a Thank You

For the longest time, I didn't want to admit that I'd been emotionally abused as a 20-something. Mostly it was because I didn't want pity, and seeing that softening around someone's eyes that meant they were thinking "you poor dear" gives me hives. Nah. I'm not interested in playing the victim. If anything, it gives me perspective. Perhaps I haven't traveled as much as some, or been as poor as others, but I think that my emotional experiences in this life give me a pretty decent pool to drink from.

For years, I ran from the idea that I was damaged. I hid my pain. I hid myself. Yes, it was truly detrimental to me, even long after he and I finally parted ways. Even the suspicion I'd seen him in traffic gave me ice water for blood. To say I had a few issues to work through would be a bit of an understatement.

I finally told him that it was time for us to part ways forever in a letter. Yes, I know. A dear John. But, all things considered, it took monumental effort to do even that. I kept that letter and revisit it now and then when I'm feeling powerless, or that the world is having its way with me. I read it and am thankful for what I have been through, because it gave me strength and fortitude for later in life.

So, I suppose, in a way I'm thankful to have been through that mess. I wouldn't be the woman I am today if I hadn't needed to find those inner reserves. For the longest time, I deeply regretted that part of my life. However, it was exactly what I thought I wanted at that time in my life, and it's not something I can change. I can only acknowledge that it happened, and be thankful that it didn't poison me like it easily could have. I'm also not advocating abuse as ok. I'm not. What I'm saying is that I was able to turn my experience into a positive. It's made me strong, and it gives me perspective when it comes to others. I learned. I grew as a person. I gained depth. I can use this experience to help others in similar situations, and have actually. I'm not afraid of the emotional fireman's carry when it comes to helping people who are hurting and can't manage to walk away on their own.

So yes. In a way, I am thanking my abuser. He doesn't know it, but his treatment of me was the catalyst for the woman I became later in life. A woman I happen to like quite a bit.

January 14, 2011

Reactions to Men as a Ball & Chain

First of all, didn't we talk about this already?!

I'm all for being self-sufficient, not needing but wanting a mate, and throwing your typical gender roles out the window. But, I'm not sure what I feel about the idea of men seemingly being left by the wayside. After seeing the short version of the below TEDTalk on CNN, I went looking for the full version. Here is it below. Go head. Take a look. I'll wait.

Password Sharing - I'll Never Understand

I have never, nor will I ever, share a password. To be clear, I mean a password for anything. It could be my PIN for my Coke Rewards points account, or it could be my primary email address.  The likelihood that I'll just give that out is exactly the same; zero. It's a trust thing. Not that I'm doing anything sketchier than the next guy with my E-Identity. But, I know the temptations exist, and there are some pretty damn creatively destructive people out there. 4chan alone is a perfect example.

It never ceases to amaze me when I get calls from users asking me to reset someone else's passwords. Add on top of that the fact that these people tend to get indignant when I tell them I won't reset it for anyone but the affected user, or supervisors that call and tell me that the EU will just have to give them their new password anyway, and you have a delicious parfait of stupid. So many levels! So many flavors! As a garnish, let's add the user who calls up and before you can even finish your greeting, blurts out "Hi, this is soandso, and my password is XXXXXX." Whoa! Slow down Hoss! Didn't you get the memo that you shouldn't ever respond to a request for your password, much less volunteer it?!

But, this is something that absolutely shocked me. This morning, we had a user send a scatter-shot email to several different people saying she'd forgotten her password. Now, this particular application is supported by a third party vendor, who was included on the email. Ok, that's fine. When in doubt, try and find the right person to help. I'm ok with that.

Here's the thing that gets me. The vendor then replies back to the user (care of the reply all feature) with her user name and new password. While yes, that's an egregious breach of security alone, add on top of this that the affected user has rights to access sealed court records, and juvenile court records, and you have a recipe for a potential breach with catastrophic consequences.

It's days like today when I really start to wish I'd have taken that black-hat road and become a social engineer. I mean, it's got to be so EASY! Trust me, I understand how big a pain in the ass it is to have to have a different, complex password for every single system you have an account for. I have the same, if not more since I need to be able to log in to test/reset passwords on them too. It sucks! But, it really is important.

Part of me is convinced most people just don't understand WHY it's so important to keep your online identity safe. Heck, too many people don't take their real identity seriously, so I can understand. But, they really should, and here's why.

Let's start with a plausible situation. My bank has a perk for its members where you can use their online banking to transfer money between account holders, even if they're with a completely different bank. Kinda handy. However, let's say that User A hands out their password to a coworker, User B, to make it easier to do some menial task on that machine in the event they're unavailable to do it themselves. While logged in as User A, user B visits the online banking site and is able to get in either with a guessed password, finding it under a keyboard, or having it auto fill from the browser. Using User A's credentials, User B transfers money from one account to their own. Because this was all done under User A's digital name, there's no easy way to prove it was done without their consent.

Think about leaving your password with someone and what they can do with your email. Perhaps you have a coworker who's a prankster and decides that you're suddenly going to be very opinionated about a local issue and you just have to share your thoughts with the local paper. They open up your email program and fire off a feisty letter to the editor. It could be detrimental to you, it could be harmless. Either way, it's your name attached to something that wasn't your creation.

My point is, keep your name safe. Much like trying to get toothpaste back into the tube, reclaiming your digital identity is a chore. A chore I don't think anyone wakes up in the morning looking forward to.

January 9, 2011

When Scorpios Date (Each Other)

The prospect of dating a fellow Scorpio, on the surface, was exhilarating. I know what boils below the surface for me, and could only imagine the adventure of adding more of the same.

And at first, it is electrifying. Imagine a puppy catching its reflection in a mirror for the first time, and the frenzy it induces. The smirk, lip curled till the dimples show themselves as the devilish insights they are. The charisma you could ladle like gravy, that sense of mischief bubbling just under that finely polished exterior. It. is. Intoxicating.

As are paint fumes, it would seem. At Fate would have it, the aforementioned puppy's self-realization kicked in and that reflection in the mirror ceased to be so interesting.

Being a creature of feeling and a woman of intuition, it wasn't too hard to feel it die. That soft, almost inaudible gasp is easy to miss if your antennae aren't precisely adjusted. And mine seem to be more so than those around me.

Something to know about Scorpios is they tend to make amazing allies or terrifying enemies. We tend to be all about control. It's just how we use that desire that's different between us. Much like scorpions who will sting themselves and commit suicide rather than lose a fight, some of us would rather cut off a limb or gouge out our hearts than lose face. However, if a Scorpio wants to take revenge, you probably won't see it coming. I mean, why would we get our own hands dirty when we can just use that epic charisma to let someone else volunteer for the job and truly believe it was their idea in the first place?

That is also the mark of a depraved November-born. Should you meet one, run. Regardless of their intensity or magnetism.

Perhaps it was a happy accident that neither of us were seemingly the vengeful type. Perhaps it was because neither of us had finished with our circling the other and allowed any amount of emotional attachment to form. Without the risk of pain, there is no desire for payback. In the end, it was naming that 800 lb gorilla, a feeling of mutual dismissal, and a promise to remain friends.

Thing is, I'm not looking for friends. I mean, I am. And I'm not. To say you have too many is... Well, it doesn't sit well with me. Sounds arrogant. But, at some point, you can have so many that you are less of a friend to each as a result. Simple supply and demand, really.

Not that this has me in a mood. Lack of emotional attachment to them and all. But, I do find myself feeling like somehow I'm missing the forest for the trees. Like the answer to why I'm perpetually pounding the dating pavement is right in front of me, plain as day. As I've always said, it's not the fact of the matter that will eat at me, it's the not knowing.

I'm not saying "Why me?". I know it's not personal, and to be honest, I really do like me. Well, the vast majority of the time I do anyway. Rather, I'm looking for the source of the short in my love life. Like that bad bulb in the strand of Christmas lights. Replace it and everything works as designed. Problem is, I've apparently got a laughably long string of lights, and it's going to take some doing to look at each one individually. Patience, young padawan. While you're learning that, here's a bit to chew.

January 4, 2011

Infidelity Blues or, What I Learned From Cheating On My Car.

Donovan and I have been together for about 2 years now.  He’s young, spry, responds well to my touch, and even likes it rough.  His cheery exterior belies the heart of a lion.  His diminutive size is perhaps his greatest asset.   He is, by almost every measure, the perfect car. However, ours is not a perfect relationship.  And we recently parted company for a few days.  This is a summary of the events that followed.

January 3, 2011

Let apologies collect interest, they're worth more

Gentlemen, let me first state that I love you.  I do.  Now, before any suggestions for group hugs (or worse) get thrown around, let me clarify.  I love men, the smell of their cologne, the timbre of their voices, and those little noises of contentment they make as they're on the horizon of sleep.  I want to aggressively tango with the strong ones and dress the psychic wounds of the weak ones.  Men just DO it for me.

And because I care, I wanted to tell you about a disturbing trend I've been noticing.  You all apologize far too much.  I know!  That goes against the grain of every comedian to grasp a mic in their sweaty hands on amateur night.  But, I've never been one to shy away from the truth, and am not afraid to talk about the 800 lb gorilla in the room.  (By the way, I hope you weren't too attached to the bananas in the bowl of wax fruit.  They got partially eaten and thrown through the front window.  Oops?)  So, I'm going to give it to you straight.  Stop that.  Right now.

Now, before every girlfriend, wife, or hairy-pitted feminist jumps on me and rides me like a $2 whore, let me define what I mean here.  I'm not saying to never apologize.  I'm saying that you should scale it back to only include things that are A) in your control, and B) you truly feel apologetic about.  Words have power.  The more they're bandied about, the less they mean.

Let me give you two examples:

Scenario A: A man and a woman are having a disagreement about what movie to see.  She wants ChickFlickA, he wanted TestosteroneFestB.  He says some things about how he doesn't care for her choice in movies in the heat of the moment and she takes offense to it.  Leaving out how they handle that part of the argument, let's assume later he goes to her and tell her that he's sorry that his remarks hurt her and that he will work to try and better consider the words that leave his mouth in the future.

Scenario B: A man and a woman who met online just recently are chatting.  The hour is getting late and he has to be away from the computer in the immediate future, whether it's to go to work, go to sleep, or fulfill some other social obligation.  In his goodbye, he tells her he's sorry that he has to go.

Scenario A is a sincere apology. It's meaningful, respectful, and powerful.  Scenario B is not.  It is no more effective than saying you're sorry for being blond.  There is nothing that can be changed in Scenario B.  Those are the facts of the situation, it's time to go, regardless of what you'd like to have happen.  Yes, it's polite to let the person know that you don't want to wrap things up, but there are other ways to do this.  "I hate to cut this short because I've enjoyed this, but I really need to go." for example.  If it's a truthful departure (it is, isn't it?  *eyebrow raise*) even throw in something like "will you be around later, say after XX:XX?"  See?  Same result, more empowerment.

Words are finite.  Well, I should say it's more the trust in them.  I'm all about admitting your mistakes, coming clean about your feelings, and striving to grow as a person.  What I'm not all about is seeing other people knuckled under by convention. This is most certainly one I'd like to shine a very bright light on and shoo back under the rug from whence it was summoned.

TLDR, tell a girl you're sorry when your heart hurts a little, not because your mouth formed the words.  It will mean more.

January 1, 2011

Go Gentley Into This Good Year

First off, let it be said that New Year's Resolutions , while noble, just stick in my craw.  Why wait till a certain time in your life to affect change?  Live in the now, it's all you've got.

However, I have decided that I would like to make some strong suggestions to myself in the following year.  Promises and resolutions are too strong.  Life has a way of having its way with you.  Times and places change, promises are broken unintentionally.

First, I will continue to chase and be chased.  I am going to be content with whatever my current relationship status might be.  I will know when it was me, and when it was them.  I will learn from my mistakes, mourn appropriately, and soldier on.  I will cherish what I DO have, but I will not assign more emotion or energy to it (whatever “it” may be) than is returned.  You see, it's because I love me and don’t want to see me hurt by usury.  However, I will give any suitor a fair shake.  I will not dismiss someone on a whim, on the lips of rumor, or because I can.

I will continue to open up to people, to ask for help BEFORE I’m in over my head, and I will tell people when they’re building me up as well as when they’re tearing me down.  I will hug more.  I will use terms of endearment without sarcasm as well as with.  I will give more compliments, but not stoop to false words or white lies.

I will continue to live life with people on my coattails, and I will never forget that you’re there because you LIKE me.  Perhaps my life is interesting to you in some way, but never forget that I might be just as envious of yours.  Live what you can, when you can.

I will remember humility, and that emotions are fickle.  Today I could be the center of attention, the life of the party, the one who can be choosey about on who’s arm she will be the candy tonight.  Tomorrow, I could be on a curb, alone, and friendless, without a coat, and only a quarter for the payphone.  Payphones cost $0.35 last I checked.  Value what you have now, because that is REAL.

I will do my absolute best to remember the power of counting to 10, to picture bamboo in my mind when the words boil in my mouth, and the sagely advice that you can’t unring a bell.  I will try to choke back the feelings of “I’m too good for this”.  No.  I’m not.  I am a mortal woman, with all the strengths and limitations granted therein.  I will work to facilitate change rather than complain about being stuck in the mud.

I will be a better friend.  I will try my damnedest to be more consistent.  I will lend my strength, my hand, my words, and my ear to anyone who needs it and has the fortitude to ask for help.  I have more than enough, and it would be selfish not to share.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for this ride.  I will fully admit to your being here having created this hurricane that I am.  On any other day, I wouldn’t admit this, but in a way, I DO look to you for a kind of validation.  Yes, I would be this person regardless, but the fact that you encourage me makes me shine all the brighter.  May you have a year for the history books, for they are only written by the winners.