Saturday, May 31, 2008

Musically Intertwined

I love music and singing and karaoke, so sometimes I think in song. At the risk of sounding like a junior high school girl, here are some lyric snippets that I've found myself subconsciously singing over and over again in my head -- or out loud. At work. Yeah -- my coworkers love me.

From "Take a Bow," by Rhianna:
"And the award for the best liar goes to you / For making me believe / That you could be / Faithful to me / Let's hear your speech. / How bout a round of applause? / Standing ovation... /But you put on quite a show / You really had me goin' / But now it's time to go / Curtains finally closing / That was quite a show / Very entertaining / But it's over now / Go on and take a bow / But it's over now..."

From "Brainy," by The National:
"I’ve been dragging around from the end of your coat for two weeks, ah ah. / Everywhere you go is swirling, everything you say has water under it, ah ah. / You know I keep your fingerprints in a pink folder in the middle of my table / You’re the tall kingdom I surround / think I better follow you around / You might need me more than you think you will"

From "Fuck and Run," by Liz Phair:
"And whatever happened to a boyfriend / The kind of guy who tries to win you over? / And whatever happened to a boyfriend / The kind of guy who makes love 'cause he's in it? / And I want a boyfriend / I want a boyfriend / I want all that boring old shit like letters and sodas / Letters and sodas / You got up out of bed / You said you had a lot of work to do /But I heard the rest in your head / And almost immediately I felt sorry / 'Cause I didn't think this would happen again / No matter what I could do or say / Just that I didn't think this would happen again / With or without my best intentions"

From "Take Me or Leave Me," by Jonathan Larson:
"Take me for what I am / Who I was meant to be / And if you give a damn / Take me baby, or leave me / Guess I'm leaving; I'm gone!"

From "Hey Jupiter," by Tori Amos:
"Sometimes I breathe you in /And I know you know / And sometimes you take a swim / Found your writing on my wall / If my heart's soaking wet / Boy your boots can leave a mess.... / Guess it's clear he's gone / And this little masochist / Is lifting up her dress"

From "Rush Hour ," by Ani DiFranco:
"I expected he would be there in the morning / I awoke to the alarm / He was still in arm's reach / But his body had wandered off long ago / You could see it in his eyes / Love isn't over when the sheets are stained / In my head there remains / So much left to be said / Make me laugh / Make me cry / Enrage me / Just don't try to disengage me. "

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, May 29, 2008

No More Fakes

I'm sharing this with you guys because you deserve it. You've earned it, coming back here time and again to see what shenanigans I've gotten myself into this time, or to see if I'm happy. You guys care -- at least to some degree. N doesn't. N never did. I sent him this today:


This: I can't. Your behavior and attitude are not acceptable to me. I'm exhausted from spilling so much love onto the pavement. I can't stand the superficial nature of all of this, all of you. I deserve to be treated so much better than this. And I will be.

Enjoy your summer. Enjoy bingeing in L.A. while it lasts. I need my life back.


I am not an "animal person" naturally. I've never had a pet, and I have no fucking clue how to play with a dog for more than 15 seconds. I do imagine, however, that puppies develop a certain kind of Stockholm Syndrome regarding their owners. They get used to poor treatment, to being ignored, to occasional shots of love. But there's only so much a puppy can least I hope so. You can choose to only interact with the puppy occasionally, you can shut the puppy out, you can pet it only when you feel like it, and the puppy will still like you back. But if you make the puppy feel that there are other puppies out there that you own/owned, that the puppy is not special, the puppy will become despondent, and hopefully the puppy will stray. Hopefully.

It's over. I am done. I am done being done.

I walked home partway from the 50s today, and I felt something move deep inside. I wanted to lick the tiles in an interior-design window display. I wanted to rip my clothes off and press my body against plate glass. I could smell the seafood from a specialty grocery store. The Drakkar Noir emanating from a quick young frat boy hit my nose like a concrete block.

I hopped the bus eventually, answering texts all the way, and afterward I walked by an UES restaurant I've always wanted to try. There was a late-30s-looking couple inside -- her in a bad floral dress -- and they were holding hands across the table. I audibly snorted, feeling sorry for them. I can't anymore. Let her parse out what touches are real and which are practiced. Let her deduce which sex sessions are intimate and which are more about talking too much about fantasy girls in Catholic school uniforms, for the sake of both of them getting off. Let her weigh whether she should feel secure or she should feel duped. Let her put a glob of neat plastic in one hand and a glob of messy flesh in the other and let her figure out which she should choose.

Because I can't.

I can't anymore. I miss life too much.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wet Noodles

Whenever I'm hurtling down the FDR Drive in Manhattan in a cab, I hear a quote from a high-school driver's ed video echo in my head (imagine this with a Midwestern accent, please): "People say, 'Oh, instead of wearing a seatbelt, I'll just put my hands up against the dashboard to protect me if I get into an accident.' Well, when you get into a wreck, your arms become like wet noodles. Are those wet noodles going to protect you when you're about to fly through a windshield?"

Strong words, those. So now, I try to always buckle up if I'm flying at high speeds down New York City streets. Because Lord knows my wet noodles won't protect me.

I spent the weekend with N. At his request, at my request, at both of our naked, sweaty, instinctual requests this past Monday night. That was back when he said he felt something he never had before, and I let my guard down, and all of those infant possibilities that we nurtured this past winter seemed to be coming back to some form, anyway.

I'm trying to be honest with N now, even if that means shooting him an e-mail about something completely random (like snacktime cravings) or telling him I love him 50 billion-trillion-million times. Sometimes it seems to work. Sometimes it doesn't. I call this tactic throwing pasta against the wall -- both flat, saturated, linguine-like sentiments that have the best chance of sticking (declarations of love) or spiky, barbed, farfalle-type jabs that might catch him off guard (half-jokingly calling him names). Either way -- any way -- I decide to hurl words at him, at this relationship, it's all just wet noodles in the end. And as I've learned, wet noodles aren't enough to keep me alive.

I came home tonight and ate a piece of pizza and poured myself a glass of Chilean cabernet. I went through the mail, and I put N's and my used water glasses into the sink. I took a shower. I smell like lavender. I am writing now, and I feel connected. I think, "If there were only some way to integrate N into this world -- into my world, where I feel crucial and effective and strong."

But there's not. Because everything that happens is on his terms, in his world, per his preferences. What I have is wet noodles.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Disconnect

In the Carlyle Hotel in New York City, things like embossed cocktail napkins and specialized disposable drink coasters with the hotel's name emblazoned on them exist. In the bathroom, you'll find nice paper towels and real Kleenex should you feel the need to blow your nose in the presence of the marble surfaces and shiny gold fixtures. I always feel grateful when I'm there -- as one should if someone else is buying the drinks.

I looked at myself in the mirror there tonight. I was dressed appropriately, in a pin-tucked black shift from another decade with matching heels. I gave the mirror a Paris Hilton (or maybe, more appropriately, a Julia Allison) -- that half-cocked, cheekbone-in-the-air stare that makes a young woman look like a socialite, if only for a half-second. I stayed there and stared at myself, smoothing down my pencil-skirt silhouette, for a good five minutes straight.

I look good. I am thin. I am pulled together. I am a mess.

Only an idiot doesn't know that an outside can contradict an inside, but I was the living, breathing example of that tonight. I was present and laughing at contrived jokes but really going into mixed-up reveries as the punchline was delivered. I wondered how beauty and possibilities could seem so at odds with each other. I hope that I was at least polite.

I went home and put on one of N's T-shirts, because it was the first item on top of the laundry hamper. I looked at myself in my hallway's full-length mirror: I looked strangely pinup (or at least, strangely 1980s fantasy), hard nipples pushing through the white cotton fabric.

I look good. I am thin. I am pulled together. I am a mess.

Another cell phone check: My past is giving me the full-court press. My present is stagnant. My future is muddled.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I mopped all of the hairballs and food (okay, mostly pizza) particles off of my black-and-white-checkered tile floor yesterday. It needed it. After days (okay, weeks) of neglect, my apartment needed spiffing up. In part because I just read (in Time Out New York, maybe?) that cockroaches love clutter. I have never had bugs at my place, but God forbid....

I concentrated on the soft shhhhh-shhhhh sound of the mop. I was tired but knew I needed to do this, to clean this, to make all of this better and more livable. A few strokes in, I realized that not only was I tired, but my lower back was sore and raw. PMS, no doubt: something I rarely have. Call me lucky.

I listened to the mop, and I listened to my body in the space of my small kitchen and hallway. There was something soothing about hearing from my cells that I was tired, knowing that my body was spent, and accepting those signs of fatigue as a stoplight, that I should slow down.

It's instinct, all of it -- like the way we reach for a lover at night in bed, hands passing each other, accidentally knocking into one another, almost desperately searching for familiar skin, or maybe some answer that isn't coming or presenting itself the way we'd pictured.

There's something real in all of it that's to be embraced and appreciated for what it is (biology? continuity? a furthering of the species?). But it's what we do with that information that gives us personality, gumption, and self-restraint.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Weight of Nothing

I went grocery shopping as a single person today. That...was huge.

It's strange, but as I walked into Gristede's to buy a few basics, I realized I'd never been to that particular grocery store without having N in mind. As I strolled the aisles, I felt weightless -- moreso than I ever had there. I immediately remembered all the times I went food shopping in hopes of making N happy -- running around frantically with a plastic basket, tossing in Bisquick and syrup (if he ever wanted pancakes), eggs (to show him I could, in fact, scramble), coffee (for our many mornings together), Coke (I only drink Diet).

I had never bought food just for me, even though I live alone. So, it was with a sense of strength that I lugged home my girly purchases (nonfat yogurt, Lean Cuisine meals, strawberries, bananas...). I opened my refrigerator and looked inside. More than half of the interior was him: leftover homemade salad dressing from when I cooked him dinner, a can of Red Bull just in case he was ever tired before we went out drinking, a half-empty Pepsi can he mixed with Jack Daniel's last weekend, superchocolatey ice cream I picked because I knew he'd like it.

I threw all the leftovers away and replaced them with today's haul. Afterward, my refrigerator looked remarkably normal. And my apartment felt more "me": a emotional coup I don't take lightly.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hating to Exhale

The one thing that has most surprised me about this breakup is the sense of calm I feel. I'm not saying that once it hit I suddenly became the Dalai Lama, but in between fits of feeling like an emotional kamikaze, I have been surprisingly zen.

"You're doing really well," my friend P said. And my friend P should know, because he's been my close friend throughout every single breakup I've ever had. I reminded him of that today.

"So I have the collectors box set?" he said in an online message.

"Absolutely!" I typed back. "With the DVD extras, including 'crazy statements' and 'drunk dials.'"

In the past, I couldn't handle a breakup without at least attempting to bed a bartender or drink my weight in Bud Light. So if "centered" is the state of mind now, it's possible that I'm simply getting older, or that it's a reaction to how I felt in N's and my relationship. With N, I felt insane. Crazed. Worried. Stressed. I constantly checked my phone. I don't know what I wanted to find on its screen. All of my crazy vibrated just below the surface of fancy dinners and trips and bars and parties.

Now, I'm noticing the little things: I can still order Ketel One in bars. (Vodka still exists in a post-N world.) I can go to a newsstand and browse the magazines, feeling patient for once. I can talk slowly and pontificate if I want to. I don't have to force a smile and a lilt all the time.

Of course, this is between the emotional retchings (which occur at semisteady intervals).

That said, no scene has summed up my disappointment about the breakup and how lonely I sometimes felt when I was with N like this one does:

I stood, in heels, chin trembling, next to a coworker's cubicle yesterday and said, "I would have given back everything he ever bought for me if he would have texted me every day."

One person's love is not enough to sustain a relationship. Onward.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Typing Pool's Guide to Surviving a Breakup

1. Cry. A lot. Enough to scare some of your pantywaist male coworkers.

2. E-mail every friend you've had since 11th grade and wax poetic about your breakup. Try not to feel desperate doing so.

3. Sit on a couch in a superior's office. Listen to her tell you that you are far more attractive than what you had.

4. Call an old high-school friend for drinks.

5. End up at a karaoke bar, because said high-school friend knows that that's the only thing that will prevent you from drinking yourself to death.

6. Text everyone in the New York area that you know to come do karaoke with you.

7. Feel content when everyone gets back to you -- your phone starts vibrating off of the bar -- and a cute former coworker shows up to comfort you.

8. Outdrink said cute former coworker.

9. Believe said cute former coworker when he says you could do far, far, far better.

10. Stop mourning over something you never wanted in the first place.