Monday, October 31, 2005

how friends work

Teeming with hormones, my eyes leak to 'California Dreaming' and how it fits the day. All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey.

Young couples in the class put diapers on dolls. Kneeling on the floor in crumpled business casual, skirts and ties, I imagine they are all so capable in their everyday lives. Here they are in red-faced panic, trying to learn things that will soon be like breathing, little do they know. My heart aches.

Compounding my soft heart and hormones, tensions are building steadily at work and tomorrow I have plans to go out with the guy from last week. When it feels like a date is "looming", it is lonelier than having no date at all. That one is hard to explain any other way. I don't feel like I have it in me right now, but at the same time, having it seems like the only way. At one particularly airless moment, when a bridge seemed like a good place to go, I got a voicemail at work from Josh. Let me preface this by telling you he had no idea how my day had been. He generally does random things, which is one reason I love him so much.

"You are my sunshine" he sang into the phone, "my only sunshine, you make me happy , when skies are grey...". He sang the entire song, I am sure. I rolled my eyes, trying not to smile and pressed double 3 then 7. "

"Message deleted."

The next message was Josh again. First he cleared his throat and then, singing in his 'good voice',

"you are so beautiful to me...". And so fake serious.

This from a big burly guy with baseball mitt hands. I laughed despite all of my efforts. It's like he knew, somehow. It was enough to send me on a detour, out of the rut, at least for the night.

I called him later and we talked for a while. I confessed that I ate a whole Halloween bag of Dairy Milk mini chocolate bars.

"Wow! Not bad! You lonely?", he asked.


"Rough day?"


"You horny?"


There was a pause for a moment.

"So you're filling a void."

"Yes Josh, you could call it that. A huge fucking void. A massive gaping hole", I laughed, "and if it takes a bag of chocolates once in a while...."

...or voice mail serenades...

Whatever it takes.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

shout out

It was warm and sunny. I had lunch with Josh on a patio and we did crosswords. He was annoyed with me because my concentration was spread too thin, between the newspaper and the continuous stream of people to watch. I was just happy to be outside. For the end of October, sitting on the patio is pretty rare. Weather here can be touch and go this time of year.

Last night I went for a run at dusk. I dressed for cool and had to keep peeling layers off. I ran through neighborhoods with adorable brick houses, coated in carpets of leaves and glowing orange at the windows. Inside I could see people gathered around kitchen tables, a young boy standing at a porch door, in anticipation for someone to arrive. I passed people and their dogs, couples in Saturday night clothes parking their cars for a pre-movie dinner. Despite the warm air, the smell was autumn through and through. Fallen leaves and chimney smoke.

Tonight I went again, only this time, with the time change it was darker. Warmer though. It was quiet in a Sunday night kind of way. Just before I left I was hit with a fear that if something should happen to me, no one would be home to know. My plan was to leave squash baking in the oven and sauce simmering on the stove. What would happen if something happened? Would my apartment eventually catch fire and burn? At that moment it actually felt irresponsible to think I would return home safely. That is just crazy. I was not going to let myself get away with that. I decided to assume I would be ok. I had to. I took a chance and ran.

PS I would like to give a shout out to AMP along with the following message: Have a good night!

Friday, October 28, 2005

adhesive remover

If I do not say it, it will not exist. That assumption is my silent partner - if I was a betting man, I would say I must be stuck in some early freudian phase, 'anal' or 'oral' - something like that. [thanks Tenor - have fun at the races]

If I think or plan something, my next step is always to tell someone about it. I have always envied those who gracefully and modestly keep everything to themselves until the perfect moment. Everything they do is layered in gloss.

Why am I compelled to tell?

On my way home from work today, I was hit by a revelation of vast proportions. I might have come to a decision; made a plan. I have been paralyzed for four years, my brain a petri dish just waiting for even the most microscopic creative spore.

I have figured it out.

It came to me in a moment, the perfect culmination of much of my varied and seemingly unrelated education, skills, and interests. There are so many times that I think I have stumbled on a lead, only to be met with a million reasons why it would never work. If there are no reasons to be found, some version of my broken neck will inevitably surface like a dead body.

So far this time, this has not happened. At this point, any barrier I have managed to throw at myself has been met by a - if you can believe it - SOLUTION.

Now I am breathless to tell anyone and everyone, to make it official, to trap it between my thumb and index finger. But I am going to resist this temptation because for some reason I have a feeling that this will be good for me. Even if only for a short time. Let's face it, the only gloss that suits me is what I put on my lips [Bobbi Brown].

Perhaps I am growing, learning to trust myself. Whatever it is, for now, it stays here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

on the table

I am at work today and my stomach hurts - I feel like lying down. There is no one around and my door is locked so I contemplate it for a minute, knowing I would feel better if I did. I imagine crawling onto my meeting table in the center of my office, and that unbeknownst to me the table has some rare inherent flaw and it cracks under my weight. I see myself crash to the floor and I break my neck. Unable to move I lay broken on the floor, waiting for someone to find me.

Do you see what I do to myself? All of this in a one second flash. No wonder I am so stuck right now.

It’s the broken neck.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

this guy is the limit

I have been internet dating off and on for a while now. I have met some really interesting people. Some have made it past the first date and others have made it for a month or two. Many are one-date wonders, either because I don't like them or they don't like me (I know - hard to believe). Unlike most of my friends, I have never had a catastrophic date, but neither have I ever been swept off my feet.

I have had a few that made for a story, like when the guy left me in a shady neighborhood at night, in a rainstorm, so he could take the first cab (since I had an umbrella). Once I was safely in a taxi, I giggled the whole way home. AND he called me for a second date. I wasn't upset - just really amused (and not turned on). Another one, that lasted a few months, started out with the worst kiss ever. We actually had to stop, agree that it wasn't working and deliberately decide to try again. Although you can overcome a bad kiss with enough effort, we were never fully in sync. Maybe I could have saved my time on that one.

Most of my friends are in relationships. They think they miss their single days, and beg me to tell them my stories. This is both good and bad. It is often the first question people ask me, which can be agonizing when I have been going through a dry spell or am feeling dissallusioned. Lately I have been a little disallusioned.

Back in introductory psychology I had a little white rat. I named him Ruby-red-eyes. He did all sorts of tricks for pellets. As per the lab instructions, when we started to slow down the pellets, he kept doing the tricks. At some point further into the schedule of reinforcement, the pellets were jsut coming too slowly and unpredictably. Ruby-red-eyes performed tricks no more (or at least wouldn't have, but I felt bad and kept the pellets flowing).

I feel a little like my 'trick' performing days are numbered (which is now starting to sound like a bad analogy given the potential for misinterpretation). Lately I have received emails from men who are my parents age or my younger sister's age. I have received emails in foreign languages and ones that sound like they were written by a toddler.There are emails from people who are much smaller than me. Apparently a 105 pound, 5'2 guy is not an anomoly. How about the guys who email repeatedly. Let me tell you something - there is nothing appealing about that! Even worse, in your 6th email, telling me you think you saw me the other day (and I know I was really where you said you saw me) is not cool or a cute coincidence. It is CREEPY.

I am second guessing myself for putting the photos up and I am starting to loose interest in the process. I pin my hesitation on a variety of excuses. Some are listed above. Others, I admit, might be a little more irrational. For example, I didn't respond to one guy because I thought I could detect a slightly enlarged thyroid in his photo. I shit you not. I never claimed to be rational and I never said I was not a little neurotic, but maybe it is just a case of rat trick extinction. Maybe if Ruby had a voice, he might have told us he had stopped because he never really felt that tricks were his bag. He may have said he was bored and had moved on.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

rainy saturday soundtrack

On the way home from dance class in a cold fall rain:

Ocean size - Jane's Addiction
Headlights - The Arcade Fire
I hate everything about you - Three Day Grace
Slow ride - Beastie Boys
We are all on drugs - Weezer
In the end - Linkin Park
That voice again - Peter Gabriel
Turn me on - Norah Jones

Thursday, October 20, 2005

one grey day in the cemetery

When I look into my future too closely, it gets smaller. I see the handful of heartfelt statements, the milestone moments, counting the number of casualties. They are all a blur before they even happen. What if some of these things never happen and others happen at all? That occupies my mind, forcing me to get so close I can only see it in segments.

I see a commercial on tv and in a moment my life flashes before me: All of my dreams. my mortality, wondering if the people in my life really understand how much I love them.

Bad things could happen and will. It is too painful to imagine. Years go by lightening fast and before I know it my light will go out and I will cease to exist at all.

Will someone someday jog through the cemetery, reading aloud the names on the graves, as I did today?

"Harold Hartford Mackenzie", I read to my friends in a pretend stern voice. "He was a good man." They rolled their eyes, laughing. I continued,

"Do you think old Harold would have thought, 70 years after he died, that someone would speak his name?".

But does it matter? It does, I think, somehow.

It is my tendency. It ribbons through everything, this push-pull, grey-less place.

If I talk about it enough will I find a way to stand back?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Still trying to get used to my new office. This morning a deep low hiss emitted from a vent above my desk. At first I could not pin down where it was coming from. My brain initially registered the sound as an airplane coming too close, leaving my heart pounding - thank you Osama.

Now I am curled up on my couch with my fleece blanket and a great TiVo lineup. What makes it even better is the contrast with weather. It got cold this afternoon. The leaves are turning and thinning and the sky heavy with autumn clouds. But here it is good. All good.

It is amazing to me that I still feel the love for my apartment. The warm, safe feeling has managed to survive in the face of an unsettling break-in, a student-like blend of gifted furniture (which my Mother fondly refers to as resembling a "dog's breakfast" - what the hell does that even mean?"), and the theft of my brand new Lululemon pants from the laundry room. That hurt. When I got home today and turned the lights on, my space glowed a warm yellow. The kind of light that you see from the street when you are walking at night that makes you want to go inside. This place fits me perfectly, like a favourite pair of jeans.

Sure I would love to have a washer and dryer so I would never have to venture out into the wilderness of the building (which is how it feels, minus the beauty), a dishwasher, and some storage for...well anything. I could probably think of a million things to wish for: world peace, Gwyneth Paltrow's body, Howard Stern back on the radio, win in my hockey pool, end poverty, fall in love, health for all...

But right now, right here, it is all good.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I will ride on the float with you

It was the first night I was home. It was a dream that has been haunting me.

There are some things that are too delicate to share, at least until they are more sturdy. Sometimes though they stalk you until you deal with them, even if it means putting them out there in an abstract but manageable form:

She cried, pointing to the picture of a woman. I knew she was telling me that it was all wrong. Everything she had done was a lie, and she had done it all for me. My years as an imposter came crashing to their end. It was all over and I belonged nowhere. No anchor. It was rightlfully pulled out from under me.

I will ride on the float with you, I told her, in spite of it all.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

can't bare the wear

I recognized the long white shirt he was wearing when he returned from Shul as the one he wore for his wedding ceremony. Mildy embarrassed that he had left the house like that, I joked that it looked like he was wearing a nightgown.

"Hey listen, when I die this is the shroud I will be buried in. You wear it at your wedding, at Yom Tov and when you die."

My raised hand preceded my words,

"Ok, enough. I don't want to hear about it!"

He grinned at my horror, my discomfort was his entertainment. Why do men love the reaction?

He asked me if I thought he should dry clean it now, 'just in case'.

Having lost my sense of humour completely, I didn't want to know that this was the very thing he would wear when he was dead. I knew if he died before me, I would remember this conversation verbatim. It was one of those moments that you know will mean something big someday. Almost a deja vu of a deja vu.

"Change the subject", I pleaded. You would think a nurse would be better at the whole 'we are all going to be dead someday' notion.

"Why?", he laughed. "What's the big deal? You might as well get used to it. You'll be buried in one too."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

aisle seat

She called me the day before Yom Kippur and told me she wasn't coming with me. She "didn't feel like it". With all that she has been dealt in the past few years, and knowing her as well as I do, I wasn't really surprised. When I got over the inital knee-jerk response of feeling let down, it took only a slight shift in my view and I was fine with going to Kol Nidre alone.

Such a contrast with the summery Rosh Hashana on the coast. I rushed to shul from work in a cold October mist, drinking a chocolate milk on the way because there was no time to eat. I kicked off fallen leaves, pinned by the sharp heels of my shoes. The air smelled like Halloween.

I arrived with a few minutes to spare and took a seat by the door. I was uneasy. I thought maybe I would feel better if I moved to the back, toward the middle, but there was no room for my coat and my bag and I felt even more awkward. I was embarrased to move again, but convinced myself to do it anyway. This time I chose an aisle seat, like I do when I fly, and I felt better.

Like an orchestra tuning their instruments, the murmer of hundreds of people warmed me. A hush came over the room as the service began and I focused on the familiar words and melody.

No matter where I am in the world, even if I am alone, I am at home with these sounds.Tears welled in my eyes as the last line was sung.

I gathered my things and shuffled at the speed of the crowd, out to the street. Under an umbrella I walked to the subway.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

my streak

Today was a perfect blend of working hard, slacking off, playing tennis, and talking to my friends. My tennis pro and I know someone in common and he asked me if I too thought this girl was really "sweet". She is one of those people who finds saying 'fuck' really awkward. I agreed that she was sweet and then he said,

"You... now you have a bit of a trouble making streak in you, don't you?" I responded with my thumb and forefinger about an inch apart,

"just a streak".

I only met him last week and our conversation has been limited to grips and serves, but he was right. I do, and I was so happy to be me at that moment. I guess I am glad to have a flash of interesting. I am drawn to it in others. It is all in the eyes, and I could feel it in mine today.

The day changed course later and I find myself trying to shake a bad feeling. I spent most of the night glued to the television, uninspired and unproductive. I have screened every single phone call. I feel like smoking, and I haven't felt like that in months. I won't though.

Instead I will eat frozen yogurt with sliced bananas, feel some relief having written something (even if it isn't much), watch a little more tv, set my alarms (plural), and then spend some quality time alone in my bed...

Monday, October 10, 2005


It was fleeting. It was a memory of a feeling, or thoughts that surround a situation rather than the situation itself. It alluded to things the rest of me has always known - a tampering I was sure anyone could see. Even smell.

Monday, October 03, 2005


The grass is always greener. It is.

When I was younger I always wanted to be older. I still have not gotten over the pivotal moment went that wish fell away. It dissapeared and I was left wondering where my youth went and wanting to get it back. Now I am caught between that feeling and the inevitable biological clock. I envy my friends who are getting married, buying houses, having children. I am so far from that at the moment, but when I do get there I will think back fondly of this time in my life for the freedom and the lack of responsibility.

It really is THE time right now. I live in a great young area in a big city. I am not tied down to anything or anyone. I am healthy, my body still young and efficient. I have good hair and legs. Gravity has not had it's way with me. My parents are still thankfully vital and young. My future is full of possibility.

Now is the time to take it all in and enjoy it. Now is not time to worry about how much longer I have until I fall into the 'cougar' category, or imagine never meeting anyone and how I would manage a family solo. Even if that happens, thinking about it now isn't going to change anything except take away some of the joy of the moment.

Aaaah, the ocean air optimism...