Monday, November 29, 2004

Intro: The Long Drive Home

Dateline: November 19th, 2004

My Dad and I thought we'd try flying me home via a different route: LaGuardia to Indianapolis, as opposed to Chicago or St. Louis. It's about the same drive from all three cities to my hometown of Springfield, IL, and Dad and I like to road-trip together, and the airfare was cheap...

Let's just say we won't be doing that again.

I had come straight from work. No makeup, no jewelry, no hairdo, just scraggly red strands flying around my shoulders. I really don't give a damn what I look like at the office. Over my badly fitting work clothes I wore my most recent birthday gift from my Mom: a long black leather trenchcoat. I find it oddly comforting, as though I can hide behind it and a pair of dark glasses, like a secret agent, and vanish into the crowd. Only in New York.

I stepped off the escalator from the terminal and charged into the baggage claim area at the Indianapolis airport. My Dad was waiting there, and his big bear hug revitalized like a shot of espresso. I smiled in spite of myself.

"You look so glamorous!" he exclaimed.

"Only in Indiana," I snorted. Never underestimate the power of a leather trench.

After indulging in double cheeseburgers at Steak 'n Shake, we set out for the 3.5 hour drive to Springfield, Illinois. I was eager to hear Dad's opinion of the production of Death of a Salesman that Mom has been performing in. Apparently she had gotten high praise in the newspaper reviews, from a particular reviewer who never has anything nice to say.

"You know Ouiser, this play has been so good for your Mom," Daddy said. "I imagine it has," I replied. Dad told me about a letter to the editor which had been published in the paper, praising the play and especially pumping up the actors. I thought about my Mom, who always thinks she looks fat, who complained nervously to me that she was still not remembering all the lines, who had been only marginally appreciated by her little hometown theatre community all her life. I remembered how it felt when I got my first good review. I remembered how good it felt to do a great role in a great play, knowing I was kickin' ass, knowing the production was kickin' ass, feeling the pride. "Mom needs this," I said.

I thought about the rest of the cast, which included several old acquaintances, who I was vaguely dreading having to socialize with, which is generally how I view the entire population of Springfield. Yes, it's unfair, but I was miserable there.

However. It just so happens that one of the guys in Mom's show is a curly-headed motorcycle rider, who, at 13, I just thought was the bee's knees. The summer I met him, I bought a blue stamper with his name on it and stamped it on everything - every page of my 8th grade notebook and then some. I cut hearts out of red construction paper, stamped his name all over them, and carried them around in my pockets. I wrote love notes between him and myself, and carried on an entire Junior High affair in my own fantasy world. (Ah, he wrote such simple, sweet notes…)

Of course by ninth grade I had an actual boyfriend, and Curly faded into obscurity, but you never forget people like that. Especially when they resurface 3 years later to date your best friend. For two years.

But really, I was fine with it.

Coming home in 2004, I will see him for the first time in almost 20 years. I know he is married, and I hear he has kids, and I'm certainly very happy in my current relationship. But... I may be a far cry from the shy dork I was at 13, but my heart still fluttered a bit at the thought of seeing him. I knew I'd be meeting him, in essence, for the first time. I'd heard from so many people what a nice guy he grew up to be. I was very much looking forward to finding out.

The other wild card in this scenario was an ex-boyfriend and ex-buddy of mine. He’s a real down-home Springfield type of guy. I believe that he and I should never have tried to be anything more than friends, but we were both so starved for love… it just seemed natural to fall together. The whole time I was obsessed with someone else, but Buddy’s loyalty to me was astounding, so when he started talking marriage, I felt I owed it to him to at least consider it. And consider it I did. It didn’t take me long to realize that it would never work, but I had to move to New York to find the courage to let him go.

I always felt bad. I knew he hated me - people told me. I didn’t blame him. Id probably have hated me too. I was very young, and very emotionally battered. I really had no business letting anyone think they might be able to marry me at that point in my life... but I didn't know how to break my best friend’s heart.

Ten years later, he is married to someone I know from college. I never knew her very well, but she was a nice, homey gal. Pretty much just the type we always thought he'd wind up with. I also heard that he and his wife are adopting a teenaged African-American girl, that he is still working the same job he was ten years ago, and that his wife looked pretty much the same as she did when we were in college. Simple folk. Who, I mused to myself as we rolled through Vermillion County, think I'm demonspawn.

Ah, whatever. I'm here for my Mom. And to get my hair done.

I knew I had an appointment with my old hair stylist at 11AM the next morning. By the time we rolled into Springfield, it was 1:30AM. Mom was, of course, still up, as was her best friend Donna, who was visiting from out of town. I had a grand old time chatting with them, and sure it was another hour and a half before I hit the sack. I fell asleep dreaming about my hairstylist and wondering what I'd look like later that evening, when I faced all these old memories.

I slept like a rock.

Monday, November 22, 2004


I can't blog at work, and I'll be away all weekend with no time to myself and no guarantee of internet time. However, my experiences this past weekend in Springfield were beautiful, and I have so much to think about. I'm thinking the knowledge that this teaser is up might help me write in a more disciplined fashion.

Essays in progress based on this past weekend:

Intro: The Long Drive Home
Chromatology and The Self
My Mother the Star
Another Ancestry
Postlude: The Short Flight Home

I am a little choked up just thinking about all of this. Since it's going to take some work, I might post these once a week.

I love you.

You know who you are.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Fun for the Whole Family!

Crash's crowd of hunky sportsters are having this cool-sounding event TODAY from 1 to 5 in the afternoon at Splash.

Hunky guys in a wet underwear contest. Zowee.

If I didn't have plans with my CHURCH crowd... Mmm.

Have fun guys!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Me to a T (updated)

ex 12

You're a mermaid. The stereotypical mermaid had a long, fish-like tail that blended with the human torso at the hips and almost white skin with red hair or some off color like green or blue. They were the most fantastic singers and the siren type of mermaids would lure sailors with their lovely lullaby into dangerous rocks. They were mostly harmless and peacefull (Don't you love how she spells this word?) and they were content to simply sit on the beach combing their hair or in the water playing with friends. They never wore clothes (Just shells on their tits) and were always women.

Actually, from my research, they were not always women. Here's a cool link about them. Some of my favorite stories about the Mermen and Mermaids identified them as the inhabitants of Atlantis, a thriving civilization which by the grace of some God or another did not perish by sinking into the ocean, but thrives on, the people being transformed into sea creatures. There are also stories that Merfolk were the children of Poseidon, half human, half immortal.

They were sweet and a little deciteful at times. (Well, who isn't?)

What Mystical Creature Are You? (Pictures)

brought to you by Quizilla

I ave always LOVED Mermaids.

Also, my Village Voice horoscope says I should refer to myself as the "Earth-Shaking, Record-Breaking, Love-Erecting, Truth-Correcting, Mind-Expanding, Justice-Demanding Bolt of Liquid Lightning."

One Day at a Time

I went to work at the new job Monday morning. It's a HUGE financial services company.

I hate math.

The people there are nice, fun, and so, well, not at all what I thought bank people would be like. My commute is 30 to 45 minutes. I'm working in my third favorite neighborhood, and living in my most favorite neighborhood.

(Hm. If I could get my boyfriend to move to Astoria...)

I like to feel useful, and this department NEEDS me. So far, the project is just barely getting started, and already fascinating. They don't quite know what to do with me yet, but I'm reading lots of documentation, and sitting in on a meeting tomorrow AM. I'll probably wind up telling them how best to use me. I'm looking forward to the work.

Monday, I had lunch at my favorite diner, and calculated exactly how my finances will work with this salary. A little tighter than at the Siberian work camp... but not much. I scribbled on a napkin while I munched my tuna salad on whole wheat, with lettuce and tomato as fresh as spring. Big snappy pickle.

I am a voluptuary after all. Lunch is very important to me. Today, I had a sushi lunch box made up for me at a Japanese joint right underneath the Court Square train station. That place wasn't there three years ago.

The free coffee at the office is the worst I have ever had... thick, much too strong... a sensuous experience, with an illicit feel to it. As I held it velvety and bitter in my mouth, I imagined having sex in the supply closet. For a split-second, I missed the old job, where my boyfriend was slaving away at that moment.

One hour at a time, this week seems to be rolling along, and the grief over my country's fate and the world at large is finally draining out of me, squeezed out by the fresh clean flush of a new job, new colleagues, and the comfort of a familiar neighborhood and an easy, short commute. The tiny green park in the midst of a dirty, mean world. My life, one day of the week at a time.

Other news:

My boyfriend's birthday was this weekend. We spent Saturday partying with friends, and Sunday snuggled on the couch, talking. Really talking. Politics, religion, family, and relationships. I finished my crying. We held each other, we both talked and we both listened. So much sharing, so much gratitude.

We have decided to continue exploring this relationship, and its potential. We are planning activities together to explore each other's faith, and I will be spending Thanksgiving with his family.

"So, I guess we're not gonna break up then," I said. "NO," he said.

Regardless of what we may or may not think we are ready for, we seem to be very deeply in love. As of Monday, we have been dating exactly one year. It is the longest I have dated anyone without breaking up, cheating on them, or getting engaged. There are a lot of new shades and vibrations to this relationship, for both of us. I'm walking. He's walking with me. It's different, it's scary, it's deep... and it's working.

Earlier today, my roommate sent me an email congratulating me on the new job. She's still not actually talking to me, but a nice email is a start.

Tonight, I am happy.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Keening in Heartbreak

I Love Reading This Guy's Blog.

I was up until 1:30AM on Halloween night, talking with a loved one one who was determined to vote for Bush. No screaming, not crying, just talking. I realize now that I was actually trying to change his mind. Talking about how he claims to care about tolerance and civil rights and the fact that I have so many wonderful gay friends who deserve to be married more than I ever did, and factories closing all over the midwest, and the Christian hate-mongering Agenda of Bigotry, and the fact that someone he loves might be dead today if abortions weren't legal and how can you POSSIBLY vote this administration back in if you care about life and freedom in THIS country?

THIS country. MY country. OUR country. I know about those other countries across the ocean who desperately need our help, but I'm not willing to sacrifice MY country in the process! Does that make me selfish? The UNITED STATES with it's population of people who I love, who he loves. THIS COUNTRY. Where Women, ethnic minorities, and GBLT are supposed to be as entitled to their pursuit of happiness as Sam Walton was. Where generations of people have fought and died right here within our own borders working to guarantee and preserve those rights. Rights that we call other countries "uncivilized" for not supporting. Rights that many Bush supporters want to REVOKE. THIS country, where I wanted to raise kids. I am having a very hard time being comfortable with that idea right now.

Yes, I'm over-reacting. Or am I?

Next Thursday, under the New Moon, I want to sit and pray with Barack Obama, the Reverend Barry Lynn, Starhawk, and my Mom. (Yes, Anelle, I PRAY.) All y'all can come.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It Takes a Goddess...

...because I can't.

A Pep Talk!

Mantra in my head:
Just hang on.
Just hang on.
Just hang on.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

A Day of Hope, A Season of Change

This morning, Scott and Todd in the Morning began yukking it up from my clock radio at 8AM. I let them banter for a good half hour, while listening to my roommate shower, tromp around the apartment, and finally leave at around 8:30. I was showered and dressed and headed to the subway in my smart black yuppie suit by 9:40. I had a copy of my resume, a sweater, my sunglasses, and enough cash for a quick breakfast. Upon realizing I had left my phone behind, I decided to leave it in the apartment for the morning.

I can’t ever remember feeling so cavalier about being separated from my phone.

I was on my way to a long-term temp job interview at the Enormous Tower in Long Island City. I was excited. I lived in Long Island City for 5 years. I know that neighborhood intimately, and still have a friend or two there. The train was as easy as I knew it would be: two stops to Port Authority, a staircase down to the 7, and get comfy for the short trip to 45th Road/Courthouse Square. I had a good book and a better attitude.

This Company is about as far as I can get from what I want to do with my life. I’ve said many times to many people, “I’ll take just about any job, as long as I don’t land in a financial services company.”

Well, I’m desperate. If I don’t get a job fast, I won’t be able to keep my apartment. My lease renewal agreement is due in a few weeks. I don’t have any money in savings and therefore cannot afford to move. I have to keep this apartment for now - which means I need a job PDQ. That’s why I re-registered with my old temp agency, who sent me here this morning, and why I’m open to a position like this one.

I arrived in Long Island City this morning a half an hour before my interview. I popped into the Court Square Diner for a cup of coffee and a bagel. I ate at the counter and mused on the job. Department Assistant in Project Management. The IT Department.

IT has always been a road not taken for me. I love computers, systems, networks, software, and all that techie stuff. Back in 1982, If my Dad had bought me an Apple IIc instead of a Commodore Amiga, I would be an IT professional today. I took an HTML class a couple of years ago, and I taught myself to create simple websites. I’ve hung out with the IT guys at every job I’ve worked. Hell, I married one once.

The interview went well.

So these guys at the HFSC have this large-scale internal project. They need someone assisting in various capacities through the rollout and implementation of this new system. Nothing I haven’t done before, and nothing I know I don’t do well. I’m pretty much exactly what they need, personality-wise as well as skill/tool set-wise. And, upon meeting the two big shots in charge of this project, I liked them. I could definitely do this job. And enjoy lunching in my old neighborhood as well.

The interview over, I strolled out of the building into the gorgeous day. I couldn’t resist walking the two blocks south to the brownstone where my husband and I last lived together. “FOR RENT” and an email address were prominently posted in the window. I was astonished. Nobody’s rented the place? It’s been almost two years. It’s stunningly beautiful. For a few months, Ex-Hubby and I had been blissfully happy there. I allowed myself to peer into the window of the living room. Bare. Empty. For a flash of a second, my mind’s eye saw our household has it had been, books on the built-in shelves, candlesticks and photos on the mantle, sofa with an afghan strewn across it… and then the vision was gone.

I backed away, took one last look at the place, and walked on, toward the small park, with the dog run, where we used to walk the dog we sheltered for a brief time, getting to know the neighbors, watching the dogs race and play together like children. The run was empty today. I looked at the yellow and red trees, the pink and purple morning glories on the fence. Again, a vision: Our little dog Bonnie running and playing with Chloe, the neighbor’s poodle. I blinked and it was gone. Just wind and trees.

I walked two blocks east toward the apartment building where David and I had lived, when we were engaged and for a time after the wedding. I was slowly going backward in time, retracing the physical steps of my marriage, from breakup to meeting. I looked up at the windows. We had been good friends with the Superintendent and his wife, and I have kept in touch with them all this time. Just for kicks, I rang the super’s bell. He was home. “Don’t you hate it when people just drop in?” I said gaily. “You bet! I guess now you’ll have to come up for tea,” he replied.

A buzz and some stairs, and I was sitting on an old friend’s couch with a cup of chai and a black lab snoozing on my feet. Super-man and I talked for a good hour or two. We have both been through a great deal of life changes recently, including deaths in the family, which have caused us to ask ourselves some hard questions. If we really were to “lose it all,” then what?

A good long talk with a friend. Super’s a great guy, very creative, very spiritual, very compassionate. I like myself better sometimes when I’m around him.

The one thing we agreed upon was that if “the worst” were to happen - loss of job, house, money, etc… we both have families that would take us in. We could get by. Shelter, food, loved ones, pets. We realized that we are luckier than 80% of the people on this planet… and a good percentage of the ones in this city alone. We talked about life fulfillment, work, family, illness, yoga, friends.

Eventually I turned to go, hug and kiss and thanks for the tea. “Stop by anytime,” he said. “I just might,” I smiled back.

The sun was high in the early afternoon sky as I boarded the 7 train to home.

At home, I changed clothes, and went out to vote.

As I was heading to the poll booth, my cell phone rang. It was my temp agency. The job is mine.

I voted.

I called my Mom. “I just voted. And I got a job.”

I called my wild gal friend who has been working on the Kerry campaign all this time. “I just voted. And I got a job.”

I called my boyfriend. “I just voted. And I got a job.”

I left a voicemail for another friend. “I got a job. Call me.”

I went into a sushi bar where I knew no one, and had lunch. I read my book. I didn't think about the job, the election, my apartment, or my roommate. I enjoyed my sushi and Miso and crisp, clear water.

I start Monday. I have the rest of this week off. I plan to spend it walking, eating healthy, writing, and relaxing in this apartment which I love and have lived in for two years, the longest lease I have ever had, and thanks to this job, will be living in for another year.

The future is a long, wide open space stretched out before me.

I will remember this gorgeous, glorious, perfect day for the rest of my life.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Any Questions?

I wasn't sure of the exact location of my polling booth, so this site showed me who to email: New York City Voter Assistance Commission

I just like to be sure. I want everyone else to be sure as well. Of your rights, of your polling locations, of the fact that you don't need ID in some states but might in others, of exactly how early or how late you can get there to punch that chad.

This website has a lot of great info for New Yorkers. There are other sites for other states, other cities. Try Googling "Voting assistance," "Where to Vote" and your state, "Polling Locations," etc.

Vote your heart. Vote in hope.

Update: This Non-Blogger (who really ought to be one!) says:

"You don't need an ID in any state. If I'm not mistaking, this practice was outlawed during the civil rights movement, as demanding ID was a way to keep people from the polls."

Important! I know in NYC you will be led away from the machine and given an affadavit ballot, which is counted differently, which gives me the creeps in and of itself, because I'm not the most trusting person... but you CAN VOTE.