Lesson 2 of the Week: I’m Not Really A Bitch

I know I can be difficult. I spent my entire childhood (through age 18) hearing on a regular that I was stubborn, argumentative, bull-headed, etc.

This mostly came from my Irish father. I have no idea from whence I inherited these traits…

Anyway, I got it, okay, Dad? Yes. I can be a pistol. And therefore, I tend to overcompensate as an adult by being as easy-going as possible. That includes trying to be fair a lot. “Fair” is a big word in my head, and not the way adolescents use it when protesting basically anything they disagree with.

I want people to like me. I want certain people to really like me.

So I found myself in a bit of a pickle mid-week when I got a voicemail from Rick at work.

As you know if you’ve been playing the home version of our game, Rick was the first guy (oh, also last guy) I dated after the Jack Debacle, and therefore I got to practice some of my new rules.

Rule #1: Stop Being Too Fair/Nice

At work Tuesday afternoon, I’d sent Rick an email with the link to an article in the local paper that he needed to see. It held legislative ramifications for work, and that’s his area. He replied to my email saying he had read the article and thanking me for sending it.

Swell.

Wednesday afternoon I returned to my officle from a meeting to find a voicemail from Rick.

“Hey, it’s Rick giving you a call. Give me a buzz back when you get a minute…” and then he tried to say something and stumbled over his words and then finished, “Ugh, gah, sorry – I’m so out of it from being in the hospital. Um… (deliberate pause for effect)… yeah, so give me a ring when you get back. Thanks.”

I wish you could see the face I made, but it was something like this:

Whatever.

Whatever.

So I called him back. He said he had called to thank me again for sending him the link to the article. Come on, dude. You already thanked me via email like 22 hours ago. And you could have just thanked me in the voicemail. I didn’t save your job or help you escape from entrapment in a crevice. It was just a link to a story. No, what he had really called to do was tell me about how he’d been in the hospital for two days. The “thank you” lasted exactly as long as it took you to read it. The story about his hospitalization took like 15 minutes.

And it’s not that I don’t care. I do. I’m truly sorry that he was feeling so awful and that it turns out he’s either got IBS or Crohn’s Disease. I empathized as much as I could while thinking he was being an attention-seeker. I know some other people who have those conditions and it’s pretty miserable when it’s flaring up, and I don’t want that for him. And yes, it also sucks that he has kidney stones and may not be so fortunate as to have them broken up by ultrasound, thereby necessitating the other, far less pleasant procedure. I displayed, I think, an appropriate amount of conversational concern.

But listen, bub. You might be hot. And I might still like you. And if we were actually friends, I would have been very concerned and probably would have come to visit you. But I am holding fast to my policy of not caring about your life beyond our building, precisely because I still like you, and therefore could do without caring too much and getting all wrapped up in yet another game of “Fall For The Emotionally Unavailable One! Yes! Do It!” For the first three weeks after I found out about Jack’s engagement, I found myself looking for excuses to come see you in your office or call you about something, but you know what? I didn’t actually do it. Because even though it would have made me feel better about myself, it would have been manipulative and self-defeating. And I don’t play that.

Anymore.

Also? I don’t tell you anything about my personal life anymore. I don’t seek you out for storytime so I can feel like you still care. So stop it. Your girlfriend was with you, right? I thought so.

See? Difficult. Possibly unfair. Old Me tried not to be that way.

The next day I turned to find him standing near my desk. “Hey!” he said. “Just uh, bringing you two invitations to the grand opening of the new building on Monday…” (he held up and then handed to me two invitations that my division designed, thanks – and why two? This isn’t a gala. It’s a workday event. It’s the least grand opening of anything ever.)

I looked down at my desk calendar and pointed squarely at the blue ink in the Monday box. “Yep. Right there on my calendar,” I said.

“Oh, great! And…uh… also I wanted to tell you that I’m going to send you the link to a live camera we have now of the construction going on over on that side of the grounds,” he said, pointing in the direction of the area. “So if you guys want to write up a story on it or anything…”

I was approximately this expressive:

Then I realized it and remembered to move my eyebrows or something, so I did as I replied, “Oh, uh-huh. Okay, cool.” Why are you here, exactly?

“Great,” he said, rubbing his hands together. “Okay! Thanks!”

“Yep! Thank you!” I replied, consciously trying to insert the exclamation points.

And then he never sent me the email. Which is fine because I’m not writing a story about the camera. And I have a feeling he knows that.

And I felt kind of bad, you know? Like I was unnecessarily dismissive. I mean I really couldn’t figure out why he was standing in my officle that day, but had I been rude?

But then the most amazing thing happened. I told Brad the story, and I told Angie and Joey the story, and I told Sister 2 the story, and I told Mama-Friend the story… and they all said basically the same thing.

“Oh please. Eff him. How pathetic.”

You mean… you mean I’m not a bitch?

I’m not?

OMG I’m not! I’m not a bitch! I’m not difficult! I’m too nice! I worry too much about other people’s feelings and not enough about my own! This is amazing!

Wooooooo!

Wooooooo!

I totally win at Rule #1.

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Lesson 1 of the Week: Sociability

It’s possible that I had the good fortune of a really cool week.

Last Sunday was a designated Funday. Sunday Funday Part I: brunch with my girls. My former co-worker girls, that is – who I hadn’t seen in three months. We usually do lunch once a month, but we were negligent in our schedulings since April when I left my old job.

Anyway.

We caught up on all the gossip from the place I fled like my panties were on fire (after sitting there burning in them for 4.5 years) while drinking mimosas and bloody marys like they were going out of style. (Are they going out of style? I’m bad at keeping up with those things.) We found out all about Alicia’s trip to North Carolina to vacation with her whole family and Amanda’s ridiculously amazing cruise to Alaska.

I decided I want to go, but not on a 15-day trip with Disney Cruise Lines like a quadruply long version of my trip two years ago, because 10 full days at sea on a ship full of children is liable to involve somebody going overboard because whoa.

After about two and a half hours of stuffing our faces and swilling alcohol deemed acceptable before 2pm, we parted ways. About 15 minutes later I hung a hairpin turn, misjudged the curb and parted ways with my front passenger tire.

Since I was so near to my former place of professional toil, I called them up and asked them for the number for the guys who handled the work vehicles. An hour later, said guys found me. But since it was such a nice day (once you adjusted to the literally  eleventy-two degree temperature and suffocating humidity), I was perfectly content to sit in my crippled car amusing myself with my internet-connected phone until they arrived.

The only reason I hadn’t changed my own tire to the spare from the trunk was that I was physically incapable of doing so. My back was still angry after its latest rebellion and I was wearing a dress. And everyone knows you can’t change a tire whilst wearing a dress. But when the towing company guys arrived, I felt guilty about my decision.

The guy who wound up doing all the work while his early-20s protege stood there picking his nose was probably in his mid-50s and had spent a good portion of those years in hard living situations. He was big-bellied, sweating like Pat Robertson’s pregnant teenaged daughter and short one belt for his pants. There was a lot of grunting and blowing of sweat from his upper lip while directing NosePicker to get this wrench and that jack and the other thing from the truck.

With the spare on, I limped the 50+ miles home on back roads to avoid highway speed. This means I got to take the scenic route through the west side of town. By “scenic route” I mean “route that makes you want to never come to this city ever again and is that a gun by the way?”

It took an hour and 20  minutes. I left brunch at 2:30 and got home at 6.

So I downed a glass of water, mixed a clear cocktail in my 24oz reusable water bottle and took myself on down to the free concert playing nearby. There were dogs and people in ironic summer clothing and sundresses and the temperature cooled off and it turned out to be a really lovely night.

Monday night: last-minute dinner out at the yuppie neighborhood hangout (not to be confused with the hole-in-the-wall neighborhood hangout) with a couple of neighbors. An embarrassment of cheeses – I really must find their vendor – and good wine, and some accidentally amazing peoplewatching. What would you do if you saw a guy walking down the street with six bags of cotton candy? And then he went and loaded himself up with like 20 more bags of it from the trunk of a Nissan Maxima? You would take a picture and post it on Facebook, that’s what you’d do.

Tuesday night: While I was preparing my calorie-conscious salmon filet for baking (the sociability of my neighborhood directly correlates to the recent expansion of my waist and ass), I got an electronic invitation from Blaine and Erica across the street. “Hey, Jay and Eliza are over. There’s pizza. Come.”

Salmon went in the fridge. Where it proceeded to stink up the joint until I threw it out three days later. Three days later, I say, because Wednesday Ali texted: “Dinner my place!” We’d been trying to get together for two weeks. “Bring Moose Tracks ice cream for Gavin.” So I went to dinner at Ali’s and 11-year-old Gavin got his ice cream.

Thursday: I was going to stay in, but then Eliza messaged me that she and Jay were sans kids and up half a bottle of wine they weren’t going to drink, and they would love to see me. Well… how do you argue with that? So we shared stories about singing, drank wine and homemade limoncello (highly flammable), and maybe broke up an attempted rape. Hard to say. Either that or the girl who was screaming while three guys carried her and two others helped really was their cousin, as the boys claimed. And then I forgot to tell time and wound up walking home at 1:30am. Sober, but late.

Friday I stayed in. Shockingly.

And then there was today. Today, Alicia and I spent six hours on a free winery tour. Yes, I said free. A bit of a road trip led us to three wineries, 21 wines, some really cool people and the absolute lack of either of us losing our shit or yelling anything inappropriate. Unlike last time she went to wineries. Which was last weekend. And which ended in her yelling the same infamous quote from a local politician repeatedly.

I came home with three bottles because I’m running low in general and I’m totally out of white and it turns out my sociable neighbors prefer white in the summer months, like I do.

Tomorrow: singing at Mass, lunch with Mama-Friend (the woman I would choose to be my mother would that be possible), a trip to Target and then possibly a street festival with food on sticks.

Because nobody doesn’t like food on sticks. Including my expanding waist and ass.

Yogurt For Everyone!

You guys. Apparently there’s been a biomedical breakthrough that’s going to save us all from our stress, anxiety and depression without having to take another pill ever.

I say this in sweeping generalization because I’m pretty sure all writers are angsty.

Okay, so I found this on the internet – much like I found blogs – and that means it must be true. According to Yahoo! Health in association with something called Healthline and some quotes from the lead researcher at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine…

…I’ll get back to that in a second…

…yogurt is going to keep us all sane.

No, really.

It’s the probiotics! All those scrumptious live active cultures and happy bacteria supposedly create a neurochemical reaction that changes the way our brains respond to the environment we’re in. Another researcher, this one in New Zealand,  is running a study following 80 patients diagnosed with depression while they receive probiotic supplements for four months. That researcher said she hoped the study would find that probiotic treatment “changes levels of certain substances in the blood and brain, essentially making people happier.”

Nobody in this particular story mentioned exactly what those chemicals or happiness ingredients are, so I’m kind of assuming it’s the live active cultures and happy bacteria.

““When we consider the implications of this work, the old sayings ‘you are what you eat’ and ‘gut feelings’ take on new meaning,” said the UCLA researcher.

Yeah. She said that.

And she works at the medical school funded, evidently, by a huge donation from one of the most prolific and successful music producers ever.

Not a doctor. Music producer. Slash film producer slash theatrical producer slash philanthropist, so good for him, but maybe don’t let them put your name on the school, because huh?

Anyway, this is super-exciting news, for obvious reasons. I mean, I just ate some Chobani 0% plain yogurt mixed with some strawberries and blueberries and kiwi and a drizzle of honey. There’s a whole tub of that Chobani stuff in the fridge. And a leftover Yoplait I mistakenly bought because it was on sale and I didn’t realize it was full sugar and not really that good. So since I have all this yogurt in my fridge, clearly I can toss out my Lexapro prescription.

Right?

Now this wonder-food that helps regulate my digestive system, keep my stomach functioning properly, contribute to bone health and allegedly (with the proper sugar content) help me keep my waist trim will also keep me from having those pesky anxiety attacks!

This is huge!

I’m going to save so much money on alcohol!

What? The prescription is $30 for three months. That’s how much I spend on one magnum bottle of vodka.

Don’t get me wrong. Despite my satire, I totally believe that we’ve strayed so far from the evolution-established path of whole foods for whole health that we no longer understand that it’s not an “important discovery” when we reach back to cave time and remember it was better for us to eat real food than the processed crap that comes in boxes and cans at the store. But having said that, and adjusting for the environmental elements that make us crave more love, attention, self-actualization, etc than we needed in the paleolithic era, I’m still pretty sure that there were some cavepersons whose seratonin levels slipped below par. Hence all the clubbing.

I bet they wish they’d had some Dannon Fruit-on-the-Bottom.

(I just had the most awesome image of cavepeople dancing to a thudding bass beat under glow lights. Maybe the grunting was really just a vocalization of the rhythm? Uhn-tz uhn-tz uhn-tz uhn-uhn-uhn-tz uhn-tz uhn-tz… OMG I JUST CRACKED CAVESPEAK!)

Now, when you’ve had a bad day at work and someone cut you off in traffic and your significant other is acting strange and your mother is in the hospital, you can walk in the door, scarf down some yogurt and avoid that crushing chest pain, sensation of breathlessness and sleep trouble. You can sit in front of the TV stuffing your face with creamy cool white dairy goodness and forget bouncing your knee or sighing loudly. You can unclench your jaw without even thinking about it as you down spoonfuls of wholesome low-fat superfood.

Yeah… um… I’m gonna stick with my martini and Lexapro. You know. Until further research is completed.

The Hunchback and the Caller

There’s been a rash of burglaries in the neighborhood directly south of mine – a neighborhood everyone damned well knows has a higher median income than this one (sometimes it’s nice when relative poverty spares you from crime instead of making you a victim of it). Police have told folks in the area that the burglars occasionally break in when people are home, but their MO seems to be knocking on doors during the day to see if anyone is there, then targeting those which seem unoccupied for break-ins before 6pm. So we’ve been advised, if we hear a knock, to not open the door. Rather, we’re told to yell at the knocker that we’re not interested and they should leave or we’ll call 911. At which point, apparently, the cops will take their sweet time getting there, but before which they will patrol simply by driving by and never actually getting out of their cruisers.

Cops. Hmph.

I’m home today, for the second day, because my back is on strike again. Last night as I lay in bed, I thought about how much it would suck to deal with a break-in while also dealing with back spasm and nerve pain. Clearly the sound of the crime’s initiation would startle me, which would send shockwaves of electric agony through my body and render me virtually unable to fight. And also I’d have a busted front door and substantially less spending power, since these folks seem to be snatching checkbooks and purses rather than high-end stuff.

About an hour ago, someone knocked on my door. I shuffled my bent self over, with my ribcage rotated and shifted about 15 degrees to starboard and my hips rotated about 15 degrees aft, and peered through a space between the door’s built-in blinds. A man in a tie with a messenger bag crossing his torso and a brochure in his hand stood on my front step.

“I’m not interested,” I intoned.

He didn’t move.

“I’m not interested!” I yelled louder. “Please leave!”

He looked up and down the street, then stepped up and knocked again. He has to hear me, I thought. I hear everything on the sidewalk… how can he not hear me?

This time I put my face an inch from the glass and yelled as loud as my back would allow, “I’M NOT INTERESTED! LEAVE!”

He wished me a nice day and abandoned my steps.

Probably harmless.

It struck me as I shuffled back toward the kitchen: I had stutter-stepped all slumped and twisted, hair uncombed because I’d just gotten out of the shower, wearing a mismatched casual knit skirt and a t-shirt from my sister’s church, toward a knocking caller at my door, and hollered at him to go away in the middle of the day.

I am an old woman today.

“With a cat!” my dear friend Joey reminded me via text when I relayed the story to him.

“Oh hell. I forgot about the cat,” I replied.

Honestly, though? As I made my way at turtle speed toward the door to shoo off the visitor, my greater concern was not of premature infirmity or criminal activity. It was that I would actually know the person at the door and therefore feel the need to open it looking like I did.

Yep. That would have been worse. As Robert Louis Stevenson once said: “Vanity dies hard; in some cases, it outlives the man.”

Which reminds me, I was lying in bed this morning trying to think of what I’d like to be buried in and how I’d want them to do my hair.

I know. I’m a pretty sick ticket.

Anyway, if my house does get burglarized, despite the alarm and the conscientious neighbors, don’t worry. Since these punks seem to just want quick access to cash, I’ll probably just lie here and watch them, occasionally grunting in pain, and I’ll still have my laptop to tell you all about it.

Now on my bookshelf: A Visit From the Goon Squad

 

The Question

Over the long holiday weekend (the university closed on Friday, too – is this real life?) an old friend from grade school – grade school, I say – was in town with his wife and three daughters on a whirlwind road trip, so we got together for brunch. 

He looks exactly the same as he did in eighth grade. No, really. Exactly. Even his wife agreed that he hasn’t changed since she met him in high school. She and I are Facebook friends, which is how this whole thing went down (we went through three years of HS together before I moved). And honestly, you would think there would be awkwardness when you meet for brunch with the guy you had a crush on when you were eight through 14 and who you haven’t seen in 19 years, but no! No awkwardness at all! We chatted endlessly for like two hours! Including that usually awkward time when you’re standing around waiting for your table because the joint is crowded.

The only thing I really didn’t understand was that Jenna and the girls all ordered lunch food. I never understand ordering latter-hour food when breakfast is an option. I’m a breakfast- all-day- long kinda girl. David backed me up, though – ordered almost the exact same thing I did.

His midwestern gentility and kindness haven’t changed, either. Then again, that’s probably because they still live in Indiana. About four miles from where they grew up, actually. He teaches at the Catholic grade school around the corner from where my family and I lived (which was not, to be clear, the one we went to – that was 15 minutes away). Whatever else one can say about the midwest (and I’ve said some stuff), its residents are just good people. I’m pretty sure, in the 15 years I was in Indy and Ohio, the only asshole I ever knew was me.

Oh, wait. I forgot John Kasich.

john kasich

Seriously. I met him on election night 2000. He’d been voted out of  Congress in 1998 and wasn’t yet employed with anything else and he was still incredibly rude. What a dick. Now he’s governor of Ohio. For some reason.

David caught me up on all the folks we have shared history with – some we went to grade school with and some from high school. He and Jenna have dinner once a month with a few folks. Seems everyone’s married with kids, doin’ the midwestern living thing, suburban tract houses in the same zip code as their parents, all things I just can’t relate to. And then he, very pleasantly, asked The Question.

“So! Did you ever get married?”

Wait, you know what? Let me back up. That’s not The Question. The Question is actually one of two:  “Why aren’t you married?” or “are you seeing anyone special?” It struck me that this Question was actually past tense. As in, “Now that we’re on the downward slope of our mid-30s, are you divorced or what?”

None of our friends from Indy are divorced except for one that I can think of. She just bought a house on the street where I lived, which is down the street from her oldest sister, who has lived with her husband in that house for about 25 years. I used to babysit their kids.

Anyway.

I smiled around the inquiry because he was smiling and he was totally meeting my eyes, which told me it was an honest to goodness curiosity and not a judgment. “Nope,” I replied with the return smile. “Never married!”

“Just livin’ the single girl life, huh?” he grinned, nodding.

“Yep! Just…” I was looking out the window at the view of the city from the table, trying not to use those exact words in my response, thinking about how much I actually like being single here, and how much better it is than being single in Indy.

“Well I would guess with your old job, the schedule would have made it hard,” David offered as an explanation for my marital status.

“Well, yeah,” I cooperated, “because the hours can be crazy and you work holidays and stuff. Actually, you wind up dating people you work with, or at least people in the same field, because they understand, you know.”

David’s head was set on Affirmative Bob.

Do this right, I was thinking. Talk just enough, but not too much. Too much sounds kind of pathetic. Don’t let your indignation at perceived judgment make you go into how you’d like to get married someday but you’re nowhere near it right now and you’ve had kind of a rough end to a complicated relationship not too long ago but apparently he’s getting married which what the hell is THAT about and you’re not really interested in having kids even though they would be nice to have around when you’re old if you don’t do such a bad job at parenting that they’d rather smother you with a pillow which you’re pretty sure is why you haven’t had any and hey why are your daughters suddenly crying?

Every time someone asks me one of these Questions, it feels odd to answer. I guess that’s because I always infer judgment from it, when that’s only the case some of the time, and fairly often it’s probably wonder at what life is like when you don’t get married and pop out offspring by 25. It’s a totally different life and people like a glimpse of the other side. Those who are married with kids rarely get that glimpse because all their friends are also married with kids.

It’s like the Rare Species exhibit at the zoo. “Wow, look at that! Do you see it? It’s single and childless. It seems just like the other ones, but there’s something so different about it!”

We moved on smoothly from that and it really was lovely to see them all and catch up. That evening I spent several hours with other members of my own species (I’m so glad I moved into this neighborhood). Saturday Sister and BIL 1 and Twin Nephs came to visit for the first time since I bought my house. A few of my neighbors – none of whom had been at the previous night’s gathering – stopped by late for drinks as Twin Nephs slept soundly. Three of them belong to the other species, but they’re cool with my genus. When all is said and done, I like both varieties just fine almost all the time. But it’s nice to have other members of mine around… even if we never get around to propagating the species.

 

The Course of Human Events

Social media tends to give those of us who participate in it an interesting glimpse at how people think about Independence Day. Other holidays too, but particularly the patriotic ones. Aside from the lack of creativity (everyone changes their profile photo to a waving-in-the-noble-breeze American flag and says “Happy 4th everyone!”), there’s a lot of thanking the military for upholding and protecting freedom.

I’m down with that.

But there is a forgotten faction of that militia, and I hate for us to misremember the way our independence was declared. It was early in the struggle, just less than two years after the first Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia, that 56 men met and argued for hours and days over exactly what independence would mean for these colonies they had created – colonies which did not always agree and, indeed, often fought openly about the ramifications of their freedom from King George III’s tyranny.

It was this fighting, this conflict, in a hot and airless chamber of a building still standing, that first truly won the nation’s freedom, a freedom signed in ink before blood on July 4, 1776. From this, a purpose for guns and bombs was gelled. The fighting had begun long before, on principle and on blood-stained ground, but it was a loosely-held union that faced the redcoats of the King’s army.

It was the unequaled might of the pen that sealed the bonds against Britain.

We don’t celebrate that much. We manipulate their document and the Constitution that followed to score points against those with whom we disagree, but we don’t often offer proper reverence to the 56 men who were willing to put their lives on the line not in front of rifles and cannons but in front of each other, who left their weary wives and children in Boston, in Wilmington, in Charleston and Atlanta, to travel on horseback for weeks and face the threat of sacrificing their sons for the sake of the shaky ground on which they dared to stand firm.

These were noble men, great men, brave and strong and carrying the weight of a new way of life on their limited shoulders.

Soldiers are hailed as heroes and often – but not always – deserve to be. Founders are relegated to history as men in funny hats who blew hard, only regarded as Founding Fathers when it’s convenient to rhetoric.

Who really is responsible for America’s freedom? Who really is ennobled by the distinction of setting forth the cause for which all American fighting – some of it misguided – has come since?

John Adams.
Samuel Adams.
Josiah Bartlett.
Carter Braxton.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Samuel Chase.
Abraham Clark.
George Clymer.
William Ellery.
William Floyd.
Benjamin Franklin.
Elbridge Gerry.
Button Gwinnett.
Lyman Hall.
John Hancock.
Benjamin Harrison.
John Hart.
Joseph Hewes.
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
William Hooper.
Stephen Hopkins.
Francis Hopkinson.
Samuel Huntington.
Thomas Jefferson.
Francis Lightfoot Lee.
Richard Henry Lee.
Francis Lewis.
Philip Livingston.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Thomas McKean.
Arthur Middleton.
Lewis Morris.
Robert Morris.
John Morton.
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
William Paca.
Robert Treat Paine.
John Penn.
George Read.
Caesar Rodney.
George Ross.
Dr. Benjamin Rush.
Edward Rutledge.
Roger Sherman.
James Smith.
Richard Stockton.
Thomas Stone.
George Taylor.
Matthew Thornton.
George Walton.
William Whipple.
William Williams.
James Wilson.
John Witherspoon.
Oliver Wolcott.
George Wythe.

Freedom forever to be defended under the flag and the sword – because of these men.

Let us never forget.

Rubik and My Brain

So, my internet went wonky for a while and I couldn’t post anything – or read anything from any of you fine people. Please don’t take it personally. I know you’ve missed me so badly that you felt betrayed by my absence. Shhh. It’s okay. It’s gonna be okay.

Internet’s fixed. Glory, hallelujah – I can now search for videos of how to solve my infuriating miniature Rubik’s Cube. I keep getting one side done and then flying into a rage about the other five.

So, while I was away, I was losing my mind. In case you wondered. Did you know that I have some serious issues with being attracted to unavailable men? What is that? I’m not attracted to the married ones. Not even a little bit, though three such men have professed their “love” to me (to zero interest on my behalf). No, I’m just attracted to the ones who can’t make up their minds. Seriously, I have a history. Jack. This other ten-year thing before him with a guy named Ryan. And now… now it’s Javier.

Well, not really.

Lil bit.

Javier is very nice and fairly attractive. He lives in the neighborhood. He’s smart and he has an accent on account of he’s from Colombia. He loves his mother and sleeps on his own couch when she comes to visit for a month because his brother has lived with him for four years without paying any rent and Javi doesn’t have the heart to kick him out, so when his mom comes from Colombia, Javier gives her his own bedroom. He’s a gentleman and took the blame when I broke a glass at our friend’s house Saturday night. He loves wine and it’s his fault that I had a raging headache for most of Sunday. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I kept swallowing the wine and champagne he was pouring into my glasses at two people’s houses between the hours of 8pm and (oh, dear) 4am.

Fortunately, one of those houses was mine.

Javi, however, has a girlfriend. A girlfriend he never brings to anything. She shows up occasionally, but not often. I think I’ve met her twice. He also has a very close female friend, Adhira, who has a serious boyfriend for whom she’s moving to South America in 3.5 years. Allegedly.

South America’s a big place. I don’t know exactly where down there she’s going.

Not the point. Point is: Javi is unavailable and is rather Jack-like and Ryan-like in his way of having a girlfriend he never talks about and close female friends he may or may not have a more-than-friendly connection with and I kind of have a crush on him. Also he got me drunk.

Totally his fault except for the part about me drinking what he poured so many times.

To his credit (and this is what I tend to do, by the way: give guys gold stars for behaving the way they should behave, as though they’ve done something epic and amazing), at 4am when most of the people who had come to my house after the first part of the evening were leaving, and I had scurried about putting sheets on extra beds for those who couldn’t manage to walk the block or two to their own homes (oh yeah – I throw a good after-party), and, when I (think I) told him he could either sleep in the basement or go home, he chose to go home.

I say I think I told him he could sleep in the basement because in my head, that’s where he was going to sleep if he stayed. I had just put the sheets on that bed. But at the door when we were sort of awkwardly exchanging “what do you think you want to do?” phrases after cleaning up, there seemed to be some uncertainty. But I’m pretty sure I pointed at the basement and the door to indicate that those were his options.

Anyway, he went home. Which is totally good, because I wanted him to kiss me, but that was all. Mouth to mouth with hands held firmly away from flesh. Truly. I lay in my bed afterward, having somehow absented my contact lenses from my eyes and wondering if the people in the other bedroom were having any kind of really silent sex in there, thinking about how much I did not want anyone else in my bed because that would be a really bad idea right now in my world. Especially if he were emotionally unavailable. I’ve had enough of that particular variety.

Sure, sure, one can avoid that brand of attachment if one doesn’t have anyone in one’s bed other than one’s partner in marriage. Alas, that horse has left the proverbial barn. I’m 36 years old. Sorry, Mom and Jesus. Couldn’t wait.

Jesus was dead by 33, anyway.

Aaaaaand I’m going to hell. For that last comment if not for the sex.

Wow, do I lack focus in this post.

Alright, so the problem that’s gelling in my head (one day away from my reunion with my shrinakpist, Ali Velshi, who I thought I was going to see last Tuesday, but alas, I had gotten the appointment date wrong, which I only realized after I had walked into his office, signed in and presented my new insurance information to the receptionist) is that I have a pattern, and that pattern is that I fall for unavailable men. Why? I’ve scoured my brain for Daddy Issues and, on a relative scale, find none. I developed this tendency when I was 15. No kidding. Twenty-one years later I’m still stuck in it. Anybody who’s been the slightest bit available has failed to stick to the relationship longer than a year.

Pretty sure I’m broken, you guys.

Unlike my internet and my Rubik’s Cube.