Saturday, May 26, 2007

Viva Mexico!

Holy shit, I am headed out of the country on Monday to go watch K&J get married on the beach. Sofa king excited. I am the maid of honor, emphasis on honor. I do have a housekeeper, so I think I fit the bill.

They truly met at my house (K&J). Two of my very good friends. When does that ever happen? Not often enough. Although a case of mine is blowing the fuck up and I will be working most of the vacation, I can't wait to get there. It can't be a vacation, but I can still chill and unwind. I need these five days to just shut up and think. Fuck me.

We've all done the airbrushed tans and are looking good. We are so overdue for some fun in the sun. All of us. We all work hard and have dramas and issues and it will be nice to get away to another county and deal with it from a distance. Also? Guacamole. Enough said. I intend to eat my weight in it and have nothing else. Huevos and guac for breakfast. Salad with grilled chicken and guac for lunch. Guac and {fill in the protein} for dinner. I can't wait. So excited.

My friends, K&J, they love each other in a way that defies explanation. I dig that. I get it. Quite franky, I know about that. I am long past the point of judging other relationships, but I do get a magical feeling where they are concerned. I am batting a thousand when it comes to being a bridesmaid in a successful relationship and am supremely confident my average will stand with these two.

I am fond of saying that love is a necessary but not sufficient state of mind. These two get it, I think. They are very much in love, have really open lines of communication, and look at each other the way partners -- true partners -- should look at each other. Maid of Honor? Honor, indeed.

On an aside, I saw my brother (elusive #3) tonight and his bride to be. She asked me to be an attendant for her and I couldn't have been more honored. I haven't been the best sister-in-law and I didn't deserve the honor, but take it, I will. She truly is the perfect woman for my perfect (okay, not so much) brother and she loves him deeply. She gets him, knows him, loves him and tolerates him. He seems to know it now, too. I took a picture of them tonight that warmed my heart. My brother waited until he knew, and now? He knows.

Well, fuck, imageshack is down. I'll post it another time. Suffice to say, brother #3 is doing well. And he hugged me tonight as I left -- it was different and awesome. I was MIA for a while and failed him (and the others) as a sibling. Not anymore. We all showed up at my cousin's 30th birthday and that? That is why my family rocks out with our collective cocks out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Original Ex

I had a truly unpleasant sexual experience my first year of college and, for reasons that don't quite fit with this post, had the potential to cause permanent, long-term damage. My perceived self-awareness notwithstanding (and I had not yet arrived at my groundbreaking conclusion), I believed that just living and moving forward meant I would put it behind me. In present day terms, we call this coping mechanism denial or, in practical effect, avoidance, but in any event, it provided a great cover for not getting involved with anyone for a year. If I didn't have to be physically intimate with anyone, I wouldn't have to deal with it and certainly wouldn't have to think about it.

And then I met someone. Someone who was all wrong for me on paper but all right for me at the time. In fairness to him, we weren't that different, notwithstanding our respective "social differences" at the time. He was on a break from college, came from a very poor background and certainly didn't have the safety net that I enjoyed from my upper middle class parents who were footing the bill for college (and my rich bitch dorm). He worked at the 7-Eleven down the road from said dorm and he was just goddamn cute. Twinkling eyes, great grin, sharp, witty and utterly oblivious to whatever perceived class distinctions I may or may not have thought existed between us. In retrospect, I think he saw the situation clearer than I did.

In any event, we ran into each other at a neutral setting (w00t - Stray Cats concert) and the chemistry was off the charts. He drove me home on his motorcycle -- hello, bad boy -- and we immediately started a pretty intense relationship. He (later that summer) was the first guy to ask me to marry him and, at the time, although I had no interest in marrying anyone, it seemed completely possible eventually. He was my kind of guy - no bullshit, straightforward, hardworking, smart, clever, funny and so charming. We had the proverbial first love experience - staying up nights talking, trying to learn every detail about each other, having great sex (first guy I ever gave myself to and I couldn't have asked for a better partner at the time) and just enjoying the hell out of each other.

And then the pigeons came. He wasn't exactly cheating on me, he was cheating on his on-and-off girlfriend of the past eight years with me. I was blown away, as we had spent almost every waking and sleeping hour together, at least when I wasn't in school, and I never sensed a thing. In fairness, they were pretty clearly on an "off" period, but it was nevertheless evident that there was unfinished business where they were concerned. Our breakup was rather unremarkable, as I (as always) thought I was taking the high road. Got the stuff that inevitably ends up at your boyfriend's house and retreated to my cave to lick my wounds and regroup.

I did what any self-respecting 18 year old would have done. I cried a lot. I replayed scenes of a whirlwind relationship over and over in my head and couldn't figure out how I had been so duped. But I don't revel in the crying part and I don't feast on ice cream. I got pissed. Oh holy hell, I was pissed off. I trusted this guy and loved him and spent all this time with him and he had this whole other side to him. Just like that -- depression to anger.

And then anger gave way to revenge. I wanted him to hurt and feel as shattered as I did. The opportunity presented itself when I learned his twin brother was in town. He had told me that the two were not close, owing to the twin brother's now defunct relationship with Original Ex's former girlfriend, and how there were some lines brothers should never cross.

A chance encounter with said twin? Yeah, you know how this ends. I fucked the twin brother. Started dating him, even. Hell, if memory serves, I dated him longer than I dated my Original Ex. I fell for him in an entirely different way, as the term "identical twins" is misleading.

As revenge relationships are wont to do, we fizzled out. Too much baggage, fucked up circumstances, and all of that. We were doomed from the start, of course, although I will say that I learned a lot about baseball from him and he was a great guy in his own right. But it was just still a little sleazy, even though I stopped considering the Original Ex about a month into the relationship with the twin. It was just doomed.

Aside #1: Twin and I had a rerun about a year later, after I ran into him in neutral territory (Living Colour concert). That time around, we had a much better relationship, but the old baggage ultimately proved insurmountable.

Aside #2: After I had left TX, Original Ex came to Seattle and looked me up. I will never, ever forget the feeling of satisfaction and closure when he looked me in the eye and told me that he knew he fucked up the best thing that ever happened to him. I had waited years to hear that, but at the time, I had just started dating B and all I could think about? B is going to walk around that corner, see me talking to you, ask questions, and after I gave him the back story, he would feel as insecure about me and Original Ex as Original Ex made me feel about us. I thanked him for the closure, told him I was in love with someone else, and begged him to please just leave, before B came back. I never wanted to make anyone feel the way he had made me feel -- doubtful in what I believed was real.

I thought of this tonight because I got an email at work from Original Ex - behold the power of Google. It amazes me how this three or four month relationship really affected the both of us. The email was terrific -- great update on his life, what he has accomplished (for the record? Don't dismiss the 7-Eleven clerks. If they meet the right girl, they can become positively inspired and do amazing things) and what he has been up to in the past (egad) nearly 20 years. The subject line of the email was "The One That Got Away" and it concluded with this (cut and paste) excerpt:

"I thought you should know that rarely does a week go by that I don't think about you and the time we were together. You are the kind of woman that haunts a man, if for no other reason than your laugh, and you are the kind of woman that can change a man forever. You changed me and I will always be grateful that I had that one summer with you. Best time of my life."

Until I read that, I was ready to respond to him, apologize again for dating his twin brother and wish him well. But after reading that, I realized that we have said everything we needed to say and we were both better off for having had that failed relationship. I didn't need closure, as I had closed the book on that years ago, but nevertheless, that email and those words validated that I hadn't overvalued the relationship, as I am clearly wont to do. It was a big deal, even if it took almost twenty years to fully figure out.

Right back at you, Original Ex.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tales From the Crapper

My toilet broke last night. Yes, just the stupid floater thingie, but I have some uber toilet (low flush? who knows?) that didn't lend itself well to quick repair. I hated to call a plumber, so I called D, who is (one of several of) B's assistants and someone with whom I have a curious relationship.

By way of background, B "discovered" D in a supermarket checkout line. D is a quality human being. Son of a D-list celebrity who is batshit nuts, D has managed not to turn into a train wreck of a human being. After B discovered him and hired him, B sort of groomed him. Gave him a job and D has a work ethic. But B took advantage of him over the years and treated D as our errand boy. Not my errand boy, to be sure, but looking back, I can remember a few weekend days where he was washing my deck because he felt indebted to B. Sure, we lent him a down payment for his condo, but he paid it back. Sure, we got him back in college and paid his tuition, but he paid that back, too. Just a great guy.

During the separation, B would dispatch D to wash my deck or do household repairs. It always made me uncomfortable, as the relationship was between B and D, not me and D. I felt not unlike a user -- using him for menial tasks -- just distasteful. I always left money for him and he never took it. That made it worse -- me offering money, him rejecting it -- was I wrong to offer it?

In any event, D is just good people and we have developed our own friendship. He was here shortly after I called him, asking him about the toilet situation. Tonight, he came over, assessed the situation, realized it called for better equipment, then gave a temporary solution. As I said, I am helping him with a legal issue, but felt unsettled that this seemed like quid pro quo. I don't operate that way. I give favors without expectation and expect the same in return. No one keeping score or thinking entitlement.

I said as much to him and that just sort of released a floodgate for him. "K, you have gone above and beyond the duty for me so many times and I am so grateful." I responded that I hated every time he did a favor for me at B's direction, as it reeked of quid pro quo (e.g. "we've helped you, now help us"). In any event, the things he said tonight? Wow. Definitely an independent friendship of B. I was stunned. Wow. I had assumed many casualties in the great B&K breakup and he is not one of them.

The part that made me write this post was when he told me that "K, you were B's soul. You really were. He isn't the same man anymore." My instinct was to protect and defend B, as that is what I did for over a decade. But I know he is right. B is not the same guy -- I get glimpses of him, to be sure -- but he isn't the same guy D once knew. Nor the guy I married.

Right before I left work tonight, a family friend sent a couple of old pictures. One, which I am posting because I love it, is of my mom and my bio dad. It is easy to look at the picture and think I resemble my mother, but I really look like my bio dad. It made my smile and miss the bio dad like I suspect amputees miss their limbs. My bio dad was one of my best friends and I have missed him like no other since January 9, 1998. I miss you, sir.

The other picture, which I probably won't post, was of me and B about 6 years ago. That provoked an entirely different reaction.

Unintentional Cryptic Comment

So we're clear, there is no present drama on the horizon. I have a solid history of breast cancer in the family and, since a manufactured scare in college, have been diligent about the annual (or, in my case, more frequent) screenings. I have had irregular biopsies several times in the past few years and this was not even remotely worrisome. What struck me was my doctor's attitude of "you are going to get it eventually, let's bring it on." To this end, the passive end of the treatment scale is a drug to stave it off, or, to be more proactive, radiation to bring it on.

Neither option is working for me at this point. I don't fuck with my body's chemistry unless I absolutely have to and I don't think I'm there yet. Yes, solid history of cancer in the family. Yes, big tits and all that. Yes, other factors that would suggest a likelihood. But right now? I don't have it and I am pretty goddamn proactive about screening for it. They aren't going to find a lump, years after the fact and pronounce me in stage 3. If I am going to develop it, I will catch it early and often.

No cause for drama queen just yet. I simply take issue with the notion that you need to fight a battle where no one has thrown the first punch. After doing some research (and hearing from z), I'm inclined to believe the preventive approach probably creates more problems than it solves, and, in any event, isn't for me, at least right now.

I have a friend who just had a double mastectomy in March and I feel stupid for even worrying about this. I have seen what the battle looks like and right now, I am but a scrappy little kid, wondering if I am going to get into a fight.

But thanks for the concern, folks. It means a lot.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Sack of Hair

Color me....unsurprised.


For your moment of emo:

And when you're finally the fuck over it?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Whoa Nelly

I can't shake the pissed off state of mind. Am now convinced that I have some quirky, odd-ball style of dealing with real and perceived transgressions, such that I don't deal with them in real time. So, in the interest of improving mental health, let's just compose a fuck you list, assembled in no particular order:

1. Fuck you, profession of law. It is rarely about really helping someone navigate the morass of regulations and formalities and more about ways for businesses to gain a competitive edge or people finding ways to fuck with each other with the government's stamp of approval. The rare time that you encounter someone who has a legitimate, bona fide problem that needs redress? The system is stacked so far against them that they might as well blow the clueless, just-collecting-my-paycheck judges who think their black robes act are halos. Judges? Not just fallible. Often - hell, almost always -- lazy government employees who long ago lost their faith in the system.

2. Fuck you, law firm business model. Charging for 1/10th of an hour is just bullshit. Invent a better mousetrap - this one is no good for the client or the attorney. Note to clients: stop suing your attorneys for not getting the result that you wanted. It drives up the cost of malpractice (see, e.g. health care industry) and prevents us from representing you in the best way we know how.

3. Fuck you, irritating fellow associate: Look, I know you are a nice person and that no one has ever pointed out your ridiculously irritating quirks because they know that. But finishing my sentences for me? Okay, mildly endearing when your new paramour does it, but even then, it grows old really fast. I don't care how much we think alike or how you are on the same page intellectually. Cupcake? I am hundreds of steps ahead of you. Also? Your voice gets really crackly when you think you are making a point that everyone else knows. A strong voice is much more assuring and communicates confidence in the message. You sound like the kid in The Shining ("red rum!") and the inexplicable burst into laughter? Very little about the law is funny, unless you are reading a Scalia opinion. You should also take active steps to reduce your tendency to roll your beady eyes. Not a good look. It scares me each and every time.

4. Fuck you, people with very little situational reading comprehension and social skills. There is a reason you look around and find yourself without friends that don't live on your computer screen. Seriously. What is it about the internet that gets people so worked up and so utterly estranged from traditional social skills? Have an issue with someone? Talk to them directly, lay your cards on the table and resolve the issue one way or the other. If you lived next door to each other, would you really pull your curtains shut, barricade the door and randomly toss out messages in a bottle? Who the fuck does that? You might find that your perception of things isn't the end all, be all of reality. Jesus. Some people only exist online.

5. Fuck you, carbohydrates (generally) and unbleached white flour (specifically). There is no good reason I shouldn't be able to enjoy a turkey panini with pesto on ciabatta bread or Phad See Iw without feeling completely bloated. I take care of my body (HA) and should be able to eat whatever the fuck I want if I give you an hour's worth of exercise each day.

6. Fuck you, irregular cells. Things evolve and maybe just because they don't look like everything else in my body doesn't mean the sky is falling, Dr. Chicken Little. I know we have a few dates together and I will be no worse for the wear, but fuck you for giving me another thing to worry about. Double fuck you for the suggestion of Tamoxifen, or, my personal favorite, radiation-induced treatment.

7. Fuck you, aging. I believe that people grow into their features and get better with age. Fuck you for hating suntans and a healthy color in your face.

8. Fuck you, Home Owners Association. You want to assess us to improve the building? Don't fucking piecemeal it. Hit me with your best shot. Fire away. Just do it right the first time and don't ask me to come clean up your mess three years later because you tried to solve the problem on the cheap. Am not cheap. Perfectly willing to solve the entire problem in one fell swoop.

9. Fuck you, I-really-believe-you-are-my-ex-husband: So tired of arguing whether we are divorced. I have the decree, but keep on keeping on with the whole "we're still married" bullshit. Don't know what to make of the notice I got AT HOME about our proceeding, but suffice to say, in the snowball's chance in hell we are still married? I will handle it, as I handled every fucking misstep in our marriage. Related: stop trying to sleep with me. It isn't going to happen. Wasn't good then, no expectations that profound anger will make it better. And no, I don't want to stay married indefinitely. Grow the fuck up. Oh, and no. I don't want to be GC at your company. The idea of working with you every day? Worse than morning sickness, at least as I have heard it described.

10. Fuck you, romantic fate. This is the card you dealt me? Sofa king rude.

Fuck everyone. I am just tired and done. Fuck me, I am just pissed off.

Feeding off Z

Holy fuck, I am just pissy today and have been for days.

Everybody - and I mean damn near everybody - is pissing me off. I could easily jump down the throats of a dozen people today and I feel like I am just seething underneath my skin. Although I am not typically an angry person, I am taking on the role with restrained enthusiasm. If I lived like this all the time? Yeah, I am starting to understand those folks who say horrible things out of anger. It is definitely a struggle to not react, not let that edge in your voice affect someone else and, above all else, not to respond to the fuckwits.

I am going to have to figure out where to channel this very strong energy. I am behind on so many personal things and am going to account for all of them this weekend. Or, at the very least, make a list of people with whom I need to touch base and fulfill certain obligations. I am going to do some spring cleaning, which I think will generate some much needed momentum in other ways. Organized and clean house, organized mind and all that. I need to rid my physical and mental closets, so to speak.

I have wandered into some really interesting places on the internet. Kind of amazing how much time I spent in just one little corner and, incidentally, holy sweet mother of god has that corner up and gone batshit. But I have discovered some amazing sites and writers and rediscovered my complete awe of the internets. Holy hell - what a resource.

Monday, May 14, 2007

That Time of Year

I managed to get a quick Mother's Day note out to the mother unit last night (one of the benefits of your parents living abroad is not having to do the Mother's Day brunch in real time) and got a reply back this morning. She gets here on the 31st.....for four months.

Four months. My mother has taken vacationing and annual vacations to the next level.

My parents have a house about an hour and a half north of Seattle. Brother #4 somehow managed to talk my parents into buying a house on a golf course in the town in which he attends college. Same brother also managed to convince them, after a few shitty roommate experiences, that roommates were a bad idea. To recap, said brother lives in a 5 bedroom house on the golf course, rent free, by himself and the folks pay the bills. Did I mention that said house on the golf course is about an hour from the border (Canada) and about the same from Mt. Baker? And the no-bills thing?

I was pretty proud of my "no curfew" status in high school until Brother #4 utterly schooled me in the fine art of obtaining parental concessions.

Mother unit informed me that they were purchasing some land in another town an hour and half away (different direction) with Seattle views and all that. Looks like the 'rents are going to be neighbors in their retirement years. We haven't all lived in the same country, let alone the same state, since....1986. Although technically, one sibling is still in CA. I don't think she'll be there for the long haul. Once one of us has kids, she'll be here.

UNRELATED: Perk of divorce? You are no longer the matron of honor, you are the MAID of honor. I would rather be a maid and will be next week. One of my closer friends (K -- of K and J fame) is getting married in Mexico and we're flying down on Memorial Day for five days of margaritas and cervezas in el sol. Couldn't come at a better time.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

All in the Family

My brother (the elusive sibling #3) got engaged last weekend to his long-term, very patient girlfriend. He is 29. I got the news right as I was sitting down to dinner on Saturday night and I think I was beaming for the next six hours. His bride is already a part of our family and a great member at that. She just fits and is an ideal sister-in-law. Despite whatever pessimism I may have about marriage, I have no doubt about them. She has the patience of Job and my brother knows just how lucky he is to have her.

I got married at 23, having met B when I was just 21. At the time, I don't know that I even really thought about marriage in any substantive way. We basically moved in together a few months after meeting. I was housesitting (aside: remarkably cool place. Converted maid's quarters at an old Seattle mansion) and he stayed the first night and never left. We got our first apartment together after the housesitting gig ended and bought our first boat six months after that. We became engaged about a year after our first date and married a year later. We lived together in close confines (a 30' boat) and worked together every day. When he asked me to marry him, it was less of a question and more of a given. I didn't really think twice about it - it just seemed like the natural next step. A no-brainer.

I have often said there is a grand canyon between the ages of 23 and 28. I was 28 when I started law school and my classmates were almost all around 23-24. Had nothing in common with them, especially since most had lived pretty different lives than me. I had been married for five years. I had run two businesses, lived on a boat, grown up overseas and been living off the family dole.

One of the things that my brother's engagement has had me pondering is whether I would have made the same choice at 29 as I did at 23 (or, to be accurate, I said yes at 22). Hindsight is 20-20 and I can see all of the red flags that I apparently ignored back then. As close as we were, we had distinctly separate lives, particularly when it came to family. I jumped into his and his mother and I became fast friends. The same was not really true for B, although to his credit, he didn't balk when sibling #3 came to live with us, on the boat, after only a year of marriage. Having just typed that, I have to give him credit, as that was just one of the many unconventional parts of our marriage. We were two young adults who grew up together, and although he was 28 when we got married, he was still just becoming his own man. He had had his own interesting past and was just learning what it meant to be a responsible adult.

We taught each other a few things along the way. There were a host of things I just didn't know about living in the US, let alone about being an adult in the US. B had common sense and "street smarts," which was something I was sorely lacking. I had organizational and academic skills that balanced that out. All in all, we were sort of a complement to each other back then -- two young adults, partners in crime and just figuring it out.

What prompted this dance down memory lane? I realized that we kind of lived in a bubble, B and me. Or, perhaps more accurately, I moved in and out of the bubble. Our life was firmly established in the bubble, but I kept a lot outside of it. My family, for one. I have a great family -- stellar siblings who are the best part of my life. My primary regret in my marriage is that I ignored them (or at least back burnered them) for the sake of the bubble.

I don't know if I would have done that at 28. I know I won't at 36.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Listen to this woman's voice. She's not even legal. I heard this song a few years ago and fell in love with her voice. I dig her style. This is an old tune of hers (relatively speaking), but damn if I don't still hum it from time to time.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Rear View Window

Today (and last night) was interesting on the B front. He had sent me a text message on Sunday (after getting reports of seeing me with another man - SCANDALOUS) that said "let's talk on Monday in Florida" (he was in Florida, apparently). I didn't respond. My head was somewhere else.

Last night, I got home from a friend's birthday dinner and heard the Blackberry chime - text message. It was B, asking "can we talk on Thursday?" I was just relaxed enough to respond and I called him. Got voice mail. Odd, in that he just sent a text message, but okay. I didn't leave a message and just sent a text saying "what is on your mind?" A few seconds later? Another chime, another voice mail. Fucker was awake, but not answering his phone. I called him again. Voice mail again. The hell? Who prefers texting over voice? I replied to his text (wherein he expressed a desire to "see where things were") and said "answer your phone and we can talk." Again with the chime - another text message. This was an alternate universe.

We exchanged seven text messages, each weirder than the previous. In all the time I was with him, I never knew him to choose written words over voice. It was irritating. At one point, he told me he "didn't want any drama. I know it is hard, but try not to have drama."

I was furious. Not once in all of this did I opt for drama where he was concerned. Not once. I have been coasting on the high road, at least where our relationship was concerned. I stopped with the texting and went to bed. Fuck that noise.

I woke up, still pissed off and sent him a text to that effect. "Bullshit on insinuating I have ever created drama in all of this. Quite the opposite. You initiated a conversation that I preferred to have in voice and in real time, not via short text messages. Don't rewrite history to make it seem as though I behaved as a drama queen in this." That got a rambling voice mail in reply that made almost no sense. He retracted the drama comment and instead criticized my failure to communicate. Laughable, but there you go.

I had a meeting that went very well, and afterwards, I called him back. We started off sort of combative (at least on his end) and it looked as though the conversation would end badly. But somehow, we managed to get past the stupid stuff and somehow launched into a really terrific conversation. For an attorney, I really seem to have an aversion to conflict and that goes for B. Although it is way too soon to be friends, we will always have a connection to each other that transcends a lot of things. We grew up together as adults. Right or wrong, we have a history together and a style of communication between us that is brutally honest at times.

At one point - after the combat -- we were just laughing and joking and being B&K. We can do that well after many years of practice. During one exchange, he called me "P" (the name of his current girlfriend). I threw my head back and laughed so hard. He tried to move past it, but I insisted it was worth a quality laugh. I told him that he better not make the same mistake the other way, as she might not find it as amusing. There was a hearty, hearty laugh at that point and, for maybe a few minutes I was talking to the guy I married. Didn't miss being married to him, but I had a few minutes with that man - my friend, my history. We shared some of the details of our life (my brother got engaged, my great aunt died, I had a biopsy today, the status of his parents, his job, his interests).

It was good. I have reasons to hate B, but I can't. I loved him for too long and we have too much history to be enemies. We can't be friends just yet -- he kept saying "we will always be each other's touchstones, Kari" -- but I cut him off and told him we wouldn't. Not now. We agreed to meet on Thursday to settle out a few things that need settling. I am actually looking forward to it. I do miss B, but in ways I can't really explain. It is not unlike missing an old friend, years after you realized that you stopped being friends because of past slights.

I just can't live in a world of ongoing conflict. I confront it, stare at it, deal with it and move onward. I know that B and I will always love each other. I know that. I know that I could say the right words and we could probably make a second go at us. I don't want that. I don't think I am ready to have B as a friend, as I know how tenuous his grasp on the concept really is. But as far as I am concerned? He and I? We're cool like Fonzie.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Grand Gestures

In the years that we were separated, B and I didn't do much in terms of working on reconciliation. That is one hell of an understatement. We were pretty much equally to blame, even though I am not sure I realized it at the time. Back then, I was waiting for the Big Moment. The moment of clarity and realization that THIS WAS US that was on the line and we always managed to save US from disaster. The moment when B would make his GRAND GESTURE and show me that I was and would always be the most important thing in his life and that nothing could ever break us up.

I waited for the grand gesture for over two years. It never came.

Looking back, I don't know what, exactly, I was waiting for or what gesture I had in mind. I sometimes wonder if I watched one too many bad 80's romantic comedies. However, I didn't want the guy to pull up in a Porsche and bake me a birthday cake. I didn't fantasize about giving a guy my diamond earring and having him wear it unironically. I didn't dream about a heartfelt kiss in a parking lot after he finally realized that he screwed up and I had moved on.

Nevertheless, I was waiting for that grand gesture that I would always remember as proof positive that he loved me, would do anything to keep me, and that no matter how far apart we had grown, we would find our way back to each other. I really believed in that, even as I completely backed away from him during our separation. I think I wanted the grand gesture no matter what, even if I realized that I didn't want to stay with him. I just needed the grand gesture. I needed it as validation of the wifetime I had spent with him. I needed it to prove to myself that all of those years together meant something and that even if we didn't ride off into the sunset, I could still know that he loved me beyond reason and was willing to do anything to show it.

Again, said gesture never came. What's worse is that in the two years we were separated, I myself made a few grand gestures. The one that comes to mind the most vividly was leaving a trial (I was third chair, so not the most vital) in the middle of the proceedings because I got a scary text message from B that indicated he might do something stupid (like commit career suicide). Even though this was a full two years after we separated, even though we had made no meaningful strides to reconcile and even though I was pretty sure it was time to file for divorce, still, the idea that he was hurting and pained and scared? I couldn't bear him going through it alone and I flew to be by his side. He was, of course, stunned and grateful and eventually, I talked him down off that ledge. Tellingly, the experience was very difficult on me as well and as soon as he had his sea legs back, he promptly disappeared again and I was left picking up the pieces by myself.

(This all makes me sound like a saint. I wasn't by any stretch of the imagination. This is just an entry about grand gestures.)

Habits die hard. B had abdominal surgery earlier this year and listed me as his emergency contact and next of kin. He instructed the surgeon to discuss everything and anything with me and all that, even though he had moved on and in with someone else. He was always a complete baby about all things medical and I learned that he had downplayed the whole thing and was going to wake up alone after his first major surgery. I drove to the hospital (Eastside! Bridges and tunnels!) to be there when he woke up. The idea of him waking up alone scared and confused and disoriented just unsettled me, even though I know just what kind of a man he is these days. I just thought I was honoring our long term relationship and that is what a good friend does, no matter the pain inflicted. Friendship is forever and all that.

I was thinking about this last night for reasons that make sense only to me. I know I didn't do any of those things out of some martyr complex. I really hope not, at least. I was genuinely concerned for B both times and didn't want him to feel alone. I wanted him to know that when push came to shove and the big things were on the line, I would support him, no matter what. But looking back, there was only one of us doing the grand gestures. There was never a point that B became concerned that I might be feeling alone and scared and all of that. Never. I don't think he did that at all during our marriage. Empathy was not his strong suit.

In any event, I think I realized last night that I am holding out for a man capable of grand gestures. Someone who can give as good as he can get. I can think of another few traits for the list, but at the moment, I am easy to please. Grand gestures require as much confidence as they involve risk, and that combination just sort of works for me. Confidence, risk, humility, even temperment, and a great sense of humor - all are required for a proper grand gesture. At its very essence is the willingness to make a complete ass out of yourself and not be destroyed if you actually do.

I've said it before in this here blog and I'll say it again. I think the making of mistakes is one of the most underrated parts of living, because it is only through making mistakes and trial and error that you finally get it right. I think I am going to win the relationship battle because I believe in grand gestures, whether properly executed or horribly miscalculated. And, as the great waxer May would say, people falling down is always funny. Always, no matter what.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

State of Affairs

Holy shit, it is May. 5 months into 2007 and it feels like it was just New Years. I have either become one of those people who laments how fast time flies or, more optimistically, life is just moving on. A few milestones:

Number of:

+ Exercise-related injuries: 3
+ Months out of the gym: 1.5
+ Weeks back at the gym: 1.5
+ Months to get body back in shape: I'm guessing 3. You get to 36 and you realize that for every month you take off from exercise, you have to double that in terms of rehab time.
+ Pairs of crutches: 1
+ Ulcers: 1 (eye ulcer - seriously, how fucked is that? N.B.: apparently, you can't wear and sleep in your contacts for months while you are kind of slowly losing your mind)
+ Friends met from the internets: 2 (to be updated in the near term)
+ Divorces: 2 (one from B, one from the internets as I once knew them)
+ Friends gained: 4
+ Friends lost: 3
+ Pounds lost: I don't do scales, but the size 8's fit much better right now.
+ Times I have spoken to B since the finalization of the divorce: 0
+ Times I have missed B since the finalization of the divorce: 2 (but not as my husband)
+ Times I have uttered the words "My marriage came to its successful conclusion and I wish B well in all of his new adventures": Too many. It is my go-to phrase when encountering mutual friends. It seems to put everyone at ease, changes the subject, and, for better or worse, allows us to perpetuate the myth that our breakup was amicable and that we remain close friends.
+ Books read: Just 3. Pathetic.
+ Cell phones lost or destroyed: 2. Technically, I got both of them back, but I have an uncanny ability to lose phones.
+ Dates: I think technically 6, but I just wasn't ready. Have some new friends, though. My heart is elsewhere.
+ Trips planned but not taken: At least a dozen.
+ Trips booked: 2. Mexico for K-n-J's wedding and NYC in June. I'm looking at you, Connoisseur.
+ Times I have had scarily dark thoughts and all out pity parties: At least 4.
+ Times that I have felt blessed, loved and lucky: More than 4.
+ Times I have fallen in love: 1. You know, that phrase is eerily accurate. It does feel like you're falling, doesn't it?
+ Lessons learned about love, life and friendships?: Entirely too many. You really can't appreciate a great love or friendship until you have lost one that mattered to you. Today's useless piece of wisdom. No charge.

The passage of time is really the only anecdote for the trials (no pun intended) and stresses in your life. This too shall pass? I fucking hate those words, but they ring true and if you are a smart girl, you will take from each episode something that will make you a better person and a better friend and lover. I'll go to my grave not understanding the black and white, myopic view of life kinds of folk. Shit happens, people fuck up, life changes and everyone moves on. People can and do recover from these episodes and relationships can be reconstituted.

I think that perhaps, one day, B and I will again be friends. You can't love someone for that long and suddenly and completely turn it off, no matter how many sins you committed against each other. I can't wish him any ill will and I hope he once again becomes the man I married. That man was supremely unique, interesting and challenging. I know that parts of me also went sideways, so I cannot begrudge him anymore.

Without being unduly cryptic, I feel as though I am standing on the edge of something and am about to leap into something that I might regret. But here's the great thing about living - unless you fuck up and make mistakes, which necessarily means taking risks (some more stupid than others), you are living in the margins. I like margins. I like healthy lines and boundaries and, above all else, good common sense. But I am also humble enough (now) to know that sometimes? The benefit outweighs the risk. Here's to leaping without abandon with the confidence that (1) you have fucked up royally before and (2) you can recover from another mistake and (3) Sometimes? Your instinct about people is spot on. You've been wrong before and will be again. Most often, you aren't all wrong, but partially. But life -- my life -- is about taking chances and putting my cards on the table and playing my hand.

I love that about myself. I am still an optimist, despite all evidence to the contrary.