Friday, February 27, 2009

I hope I feel like I did

A friend I met at the singles summit called recently. Told me the event had been mentioned in a NY Times article. THE NEW YORK FUCKING TIMES, the real news. Gist of the piece was how even in - especially in - troubled economic times, singles are flocking to paid events in groves, signing up for internet dating sites in record numbers. I get it, because isolation is a soul killer whether single, married or in between.

At lunch today, a cute girl friend (one who can wear frosty pink lip gloss and look amazing in it) asked how the firemen auction went. She was somewhat surprised to hear of my affinity for smoky men in yellow puffy pants; she works for the fire department, has a front-row center seat, the sieve to weed out potential assholes and the married. Sometimes us girls need a wingman, a side arm, a fully competent and wholly confident woman to allow us to preen all the while knowing a safety net awaits.

“Hook a sister up,” I said, then said again. I can find trouble all on my own, and have. Your pre-screening is priceless and, should he prove a dud, I pinky swear it won’t be held against you. I wouldn’t blame you if I end up biting down hard on a faux pearl.

My Friday night tonight, a lovely dinner at home for one. I’d have gladly made more for good company, the kind with the deep voice and big hands.

Just company.

I don’t want to get married. There’s no clock, biological or other, ticking like a tell tale heart. But somehow, even though I never really had it and never really pursued it, I have a fever for the flavor of the comfort, that invisible thread between people, being special without dancing like a clown for attention, any attention.

And yes, crazy good, emotional sex that lasts for hours, from seduction to sweat, the act and the chemicals. The staying over. The feeling of warm next to you under the afghan, leg on exposed leg. Even I can't express how wonderful it would be to climb the stairs right now and find that waiting. It's not.

There’s no better grace than a hand reaching for yours on the walk from the car.

"I’m not afraid to die, I’m not afraid to live, and when I’m flat on my back I hope to feel like I did."

Monday, February 23, 2009

I’m Looking Through You

Friday night an unlikely girlfriend offered a tincture for the blues I’ve been running from that aught me by the heel. She knew nothing could raise my spirits like a night out and live music.

Years ago, she and her husband played with a friend who's now the keyboardist for a (surprisingly popular) 80’s new wave/pop cover band. I usually despise such things; cover bands are the musical equivalent of odorless Wite-Out® or fat-free cookies, a dilution of what was once great. But out I needed so out we went. Said I’d drive, pick up another girlfriend on the way, not realizing the forecast called for snow. The flakes began to madly swirl and explode against the warm windshield as soon as we hit the highway, the snow globe variety and plenty of it. Did I mention my irrational and fully-formed fear of driving in snow, specifically on the highway in the dark?

I tell myself to look at fear and stare it down, fixating instead on how good it will feel once conquered. The company on the drive helped. Car talk turned to people facets, the surface cuts that reflect back in quick definitions and instant perceptions, especially in new-to-us faces. “When I first saw you,” I confessed five years on, “I knew I wanted to know you.” She had an “it” quality and I so wanted her to like me. Over time I sliced through her frosting into cake and discovered massive musical talent (chest pulsing, evocative piano concertos and the harp, so beautiful and soulful it’s like being in the waiting room to heaven). Married 32 years with family that all speak, and lovingly, to each other. Shops mostly at Express. Mormon, and devote. Children and grandchildren and a GILF (think younger Terri Garr and Goldie Hawn, the full blond package and enviable perfect apple bottom). And she took me in emotionally when I needed it, without the pity head-tilt and fluffy kid-gloves. She merely included me, no special treatment, but loads of special care. She shared her family.

None of us are one sound bite or flavor. Not just cat people or dog people, husbands or wives, cheaters or martyrs, sweet or salty, brave or damaged. We’re all those things and none of them.

I breathed oxygen back into myself and out into every room this weekend. Spoke to strangers, made myself available to friends and unearthed, perhaps reclaimed, facets of my own. I smiled at strangers, struck up conversations, sidled up and asked if this chair was free, sat down and became part of the conversation. Saturday night I sang out loud in a raucous downtown piano bar, drinking cherry cokes instead of vodka and letting my dress hitch up a little. Comfortable in my body and head. I was loud and goofy and inquisitive. I was more of the parts of me.

At the bands first set break Friday night, I walked up to the drummer and introduced myself. I’d been unaware until the time came to gather coats and head home that I’d been looking him straight in the eye and smiling for some time. It wasn’t a come on, I wasn’t preening. I’d just look up from my black-and-tan and find an open, engaged face. So I smiled back. He said in the bloom of conversation, moments after we met and with another set moments ahead of him, “Are you staying around for a while? “ I would have, but couldn’t, my girls had to go, the snow had just let up. And one should always leave them wanting more. I asked my friend to ask her friend about his bandmates situation…single? straight? interested? age-appropriate? If the situation is right, I’d like to find out what and who he may be, besides a drummer.

After all, that’s only one facet.

Dear Mr. Vernon,

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you're crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...and an athlete...and a basket case... a princess...and a criminal...

Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours,

The Breakfast Club

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Always never quite right

Left the house a little later than planned (last minute phone call) and didn’t make it to the Fireman Auction until 6:30.

The digital clock in the car on the drive home read 7:32.

Guess I chose the wrong week to give up martinis, but found a frosty bottle of Patron in the back of the fridge just now. That and too many handfuls of black pepper raw peanuts is dinner. Hadn’t eaten since the organic roasted chicken at lunch in an attempt to fight the blight and button the skinny jeans tonight. With the help of a blousy new INC top – same cornflower blue color as my eyes - I looked great sitting down. Standing I felt mostly fleshy stomach bubbling over soufflé-like.

Clothing crisis aside, on tap tonight was the tapping of a local “Fire Chief Ale” at Rock Bottom brewery, a suburban-unhip-chain-restaurant-bar like any other in your neighborhood with big metal beer silos encased behind glass. They brew their own. A charity event, the night included both a silent and bachelor fireman auction. Of course I went. For one self-conscious-how-can-such-a-big-bright-girl-be-so-invisible-tortured hour.

The dress code for the ladies in the ‘burb bars, just so you know, is pointy Famous Footwear heels under flared light-wash denim jeans. LIGHT WASH? Oh no, no, no, no the fuck, no.

Entering a social situation alone is nerve racking and embarrassing, something akin to sporting erect and unyielding nipples a) at the inopportune time and b) in an inopportune outfit. The bar was packed by 6:30 but I went in balls first and played it cool, strolling the circumference, soaking it in. The firemen were boys really, and gorgeous - perpetually dark haired and Italian looking.

Women Over 40 Appalachian Dating Rule #1:
Never date a male the age of one you could have biologically given birth to

I did the “Hey, looking around, looking for my friend” move. At one point even took a fake cell call. I squeezed and shimmied and maneuvered and suddenly felt like the biggest asshole on the planet. I stroll solo and often…movies, theaters, jazz clubs. This felt different, forced and unlike me. I’d tried to gather some girl friends to come with. Like a guy’s wing man, we’re better backed up. Braver and have somewhere to put our hands. But no luck, the girlfriends are women now, busy with homework and late soccer games or dreading driving cross-town at rush hour. I can’t say I didn’t fit in, I didn’t try. I didn’t bring the magic, the oxygen to the room. That’s been stripped away lately, too much disappointment, too much negative self talk.

I couldn’t get the attention of a fireman (or any man) if I was, well, on fire.

In the call that had made me late, I said reassuringly to the sweet voice on the other end, “It’s like that line from Pretty Woman, ’The bad stuff is easier to believe', even when we know better." I'm stuck on bad stuff. What’s inside doesn’t matter when the arms first must go around what’s on the out. If we judged by spirit and heart and emotion and wit, I’d be booked all week. I’m more angry than sad. Angry that I let myself buy into that shit again, for a moment or a month.

I think I’ll eat and imbibe until I see how large I can get and not fit into jeans anymore.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cry baby cry, when you got to get it out

Sometimes you have to let a little steam heat escape.

Everything just caught up and punched me down hard and work, like most, is laying people off and it NEVER makes the news and I hate that's how they do it, all the while going to Washington asking for some of the stimulus, yet I really embrace the new initiatives and cash will help the "smarter planet" agenda if they keep the fucker in the U.S. and not offshore it, and have a feeling I may not make the year and actually had a GOD DAMN panic attack and couldn't breath and HATE that I feel like a sitting duck and that for A MINUTE it makes me doubt my talent and I should love myself enough to be bigger than the situation, especially when WORK makes you physically sick but FUCK there are so many good writers out there and I even asked for advice about freelancing, giving up the corp gig and, of course, the family, being shut out and DAMMIT would you call me with plans, PICK a movie, invite me OUT and could a nice guy maybe have a little crush on ME?

It's all universal, you know. Spewing my worry in a blog, scary as it is, feels natural. I feel less alone (even if five people read it). And the point is, we all have massive garbage to pick through each day and, geez, doesn't that make us all feel a little bit better, more human in our situation? And I feel more powerful up against it because I said it out loud...and yes, hope for kinds words back. I put up my hand to be looked at sometimes too.

Thanks for asking.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Under Pressure

Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. More to the point, each deep, inward gulp seemed to energize the accelerating beats, feeding it. Inhaling became a sharp stab in what I knew had to be a ventricle.

Housecleaning helps. So does ironing. The structure of order calms me, especially when all around things swirl out of control like the astronauts doing somersaults and eating bananas sans-hands in a space documentary.

It’s become a struggle to blog, a struggle to write. A struggle to put on pants that zip and go outside with the three dimensional people. I think this is what’s called depression. Filled the Ativan prescription for the third time (my doctor, a Boulder granola hippie, knows I know myself and that I only ask for 20 pills of slumber when absolutely needed). In true Veruca Salt fashion, however, I chase one of the tiny sugary pills with vodka or red wine and sleep for ungodly hours like a hibernating bear barely rolling over to scratch his balls. Problem is, growly slumber remains into late morning and past. I’m not functional again until dinner time, the day spent lounging braless in pajamas.

“I’m having a 'Jodie' day,” I convince myself. It’s a lie. I'm not regrouping, re-energizing. I'm hiding.

Made it half way through a Boulder Independent Film before the stomach betrayed me again, forcing an early exit. Bowed out of a get together with one of the lovely blondes I met at the singles event last week. Awoke at 11:17 Saturday morning for the cardio class that started at 10:30.

Maybe I need a handler, someone to watch over. I’m in trouble, or close to getting there. At one time, I had brothers and sister-in-laws and parents, the plural now singular (if that). “I miss my family,” I squeaked into the phone a few days ago.

I told a therapist once (on my second and last visit...really, stuff I already knew about myself) that I’d been feeling like the flame from a gas stove turned to low. That I wanted the heat back on high, a wildly dancing flame. Guess we all feel it sometimes, whether published author or wannabe writer, married or single, employed or laid off, sick or healthy, fatter or skinnier. Talk about the great equalizer. We want the swirl of life.

I bet you have it, you think I do.

We’re both wrong sometimes.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dear's not me, it's you

I'm breaking up with MySpace.

Micro-blogging is the next social media. Didn’t initially grasp the concept of Facebook, thought it simply a “I want it now, few words as possible” approach to networking (which it absolutely is), condensing heartfelt tales into simple “Jodie has cramps that would make a nun cry” status updates. Happily, I’ve found a connection to old friends, from the 26-years-ago high school pals (in truth, there’s a handful you want back circling your circle, the rest, well you just want to see how things have panned out, yes?) There's the girl too pretty to be my friend; I loved her in spite of it, and she me. A decade+ later she moved not just 35 mere minutes down the highway to the cleanest part of suburbia, but to a galaxy of happily-ever-after and breeding and PTA’s. We're women friends now, and again. The college boy I shared a bond of music with, now the man who attempts to stump me at trivia as recently as online last night. Hope and plan to spend more time in 3D life with the locals, the newer friends and old with a zip code also beginning in “80.”

MySpace, meanwhile, has become saturated with gangstas and adults who can’t spell, moist with hookers and call girls. Want to jump into the nudie pool, advertise your ass free on MySpace. There a “Colorado Call Girl” who diaries in dirty detail and appears to be setting up a Tracy Lords or “Superhead” Steffans move; living, working and making bank in the industry, then selling out her sleaze, exposing the awful underbelly, pointing fingers for the fucking and getting published. Even fake sex sells.

I’ll miss the new MySpace music and keeping up with the bands I catch out often; knowing when and where they’ll play has kept my social life social. I still check in for new tracks from the guitar player, read and rejoice in his blog as he chronicles the recording of his first studio album. That he added me as a friend, yet never comments or replies to mine, simply means I’m still the girl clutching hankie to bosom off stage, asking to wipe the brow sweat between sets (reference to Denny Dillon and Saturday Night Fever for you pop culture vultures). Funny how many of my MySpace friends aren’t.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Tom.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's you when I look in the mirror, redux

Jodie. Kash. The first a nickname, the last an abbreviated version of Lithuanian heritage and posthumous ode to my Dad. The first incarnation of the alter ego, captured in a picture, the thumbnail on a blog page. She was born during a time of extreme change, a reaction to sudden death, realization of truths long hidden and need to love me more; I knew I could disappear completely if I didn't. She’s ballsy and brave, raw and real, exposing cleavage and soul. Because of her I changed the story I told. Funny, most create alter egos to hide behind, escape reality or represent themselves in a more favorable fashion. Mine emerged to tell more truth, to be ugly and beautiful.

Guess I was never really good at following the fold. It just took four decades and a digital self-portrait to see it.

Because of her I walked into a gym and began to transform muscles and organs and cells, probably extending her life and mine. Because of her I embraced my body, all of my body. The image, tits nearly out, isn’t meant to entice; she’ll get you hard or moist from words and imagination. Her sexuality and eroticism comes from words. I realize now when I captured her bearing skin and chest, it was to see her heart, really for the first time. How often had I joked about “a heart as black as night”; for too long a time it was sadly true. I just tied it in a pink tulle bow, sprinkled silver glitter over it so no one would stop and notice, so I didn’t have to explain the quiet unhappiness and self-hatred.

Because of her I finally let go enough to have sex so amazing it made me cry.

When she started to speak here, I was concerned, especially when family and old friends began to read her words. Found out the little of both who claim us understands and accepts. Expelling truth is a bit like finally taking a really deep breath.

And it's contagious.

Admittedly, I need to kinder to my other half. I love her, but haven’t cared for her lately like I should. Although I can still button the skinny jeans, the fat ones feel more accommodating right now. I need to help her shed the six extra pounds she’s still carrying from December. Stop some of the late-night comfort and stress binges. Remind her more often that alone is not lonely, and independence is not alienation. And that once you expose your heart, don’t be afraid of those who want to see it. Even if they drop it, or it slips from their hands.

Because sometimes you can’t make it on your own.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

She must be somebody’s baby?

In high school, there was a girl we thought embodied the song “Somebody’s Baby.” A cute blonde with big blue eyes and moderately clear skin all the guys on the corner stood back to let walk on by, but never thought of romantically, thinking her spoken for. A compliment, we teenage squealed; she felt it differently, as the soundtrack playing in Fast Times at Ridgemont High every time Jennifer Jason Leigh got screwed by a random guy.

She was a pregnant by junior year.

Last night I went to my first ever singles event, an annual gathering of hundreds of Denver non-marrieds. After a Friday night spent eating cheese quesadillas in bed, watching Square Pegs on Hula, I was on board and ready to mingle.

Funny thing happened in the 12 minutes from shower to towel dry – I got nervous. Should I go at all, I thought, or simply dive back under the covers with a dirty? Walking into a social event alone takes polished brass balls; it’s akin to a wide-awake naked in public dream. “Just start the process,” I told my jittery self, figuring once I began the lotion-perfume-makeup-flat iron launch sequence I’d be to invested to turn back. The invitation defined dress as “business casual.” Admittedly, as a work at home writer, my “business” attire consists of gym clothes replant with warm-sugar-cookie-scented-après-work-out-scent or sans bra and contact lenses, sleepwear and glasses on for entirely too large a portion of the day.

I mulled the black Studio M tunic dress, black tights and black flats Robert Smith ensemble, and the wide-leg black sailor front trousers with white peplum jacket interviewing for a copy writer position choice before settling on the infamous and (I discovered low cut) red Macy’s dress. Red is a grounding color, powerful and a color men are drawn to. Paired with black footless tights and updated Mary Jane heels, I felt hip and sexy and like me and thoroughly uncomfortable all in one tightly Spanxed package. I’d fake it until I could make it and hope my tits stayed mostly in.

The shot of Patron heading out the door helped.

The “summit” was big and loud and poorly organized and filthy with folks of all ages, most in the 35-50 range. The room buzzed with noise and activity and smelled of Italian catering. I met Nannette and her friend Ingrid, two gorgeous, bubbly blondes full of life and cleavage, at the chocolate fountain and they quickly asked me to join their table. Nanette, a petite, gorgeous woman, overflowing with bosomy heart barely contained in a leopard-flowery print wrap dress. She “loves the Lord” and is scorecard efficient in flirting. Ingrid, a kewpie doll behind blonde ringlets and perfectly ski-sloped tiny nose; her picture could illustrate “Nordic” in the dictionary. She was born in Wisconsin but perfectly affects a Swedish accent at first introduction (and when drunk). My new girl tag team led me across the huge ballroom where we sat and chatted. Also seated there was a gray-haired gentleman who’d already befriended the duo, an old-school magician who wore a fedora with a yellow feather in it and went by the stage name “Kracko the Clown.” He was 75 if he was a day. It wasn’t lost on me how 15 minutes into my pursuit of the muskier sex I found myself holding court with the oldest man in the room, watching him perform sleight of hand and dusty “nothing up my sleeve” tricks.

I discovered what’s best about a singles group event is the thing I’d feared most; everyone there came alone, at best in a duo. Conversations sparked freely and you could easily “work in” to a group or a table. People. Actually. Talked. To. Each Other.

Mid-point in the evening and the “Lock and Key” party, a Freudian approach to the mix and mingle. Each woman was given a lock, each man a key. The goal, make contact with as many men as necessary, allowing each to plunge their rigid key into your chaste awaiting lock, swivel and jiggle just right and find sweet release.

It was fitting analogy for dating life. Since prizes awaited those who successfully connected, 30 minutes became a frenzy of brief encounters, groans of disappointment and quickly moving on in hopes of finding a better fit. Many didn’t even make eye contact. Nannette and I tired of the footrace chaos, and sat and sipped cocktails as the men frantically flocked to us. Kudos to the gentleman who instead of the assigned tiny master lock variety pulled out a car key and said, “Gosh, I’m just too big” as he probed.

I never did get my lock popped.

Near the end of the evening, Kracko, also known as John, turned and asked, “Have you ever been married, young lady?” “Nope! “ I replied with usual reverence. “I have never been married.” He took my hand, leaned in and said, “You know what you are dear? You’re just in the middle of your story.” He kissed my hand and I thanked him, a sweet old gesture from a sweet old man.

Thing is, this is all of my story. Perhaps mine is seeing into lovely, goofy people, telling tales through my eyes. On the outside looking in and around.

Something became clear in the last 24 hours. I don’t attract men in a romantic sense. I have no scrapbooks of Valentines or old corsages, prom photos or love letters. Blame karma or the cosmos or an old gypsy woman curse, I’m one who’s meant to be alone. I never wanted to be married, or maybe I’ve wished it away to the cornfield. I'm in the seats to witness real-life connections happening all around me, see Facebook status change from “Single” to “In a relationship." So today I put my hand down. It’s not going to happen that way for me. All day, a burn at the back of the throat, emotion coming up. I physically felt something in my chest crust over like a protective scab as it sunk in to reality and acceptance.

I’m jumping the companionship ship. I'm out. I bet I can swim, float when my arms get tired.

And watch Square Pegs on Hula Friday nights.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

You made me promises, promises

Have you seen the “I promise” commercials? A current ad for this online dating service eavesdrops on a handsome, hetero couple sitting close at a sushi bar, gazing, talking and ready for the commitment step:

“I promise to take out the recycling…even though you’re better at it,” she coos.

He replies sheepishly, “I promise not to take myself too seriously.”

Sweet, silly words at the bud of loves bloom. What about affirmations geared to the real-world, the daily grind, those to encourage the happily co-existent ever after.

I promise not to force you to watch any movie starring Diane Lane in which she does not appear topless.

I promise to keep skid marks to a minimum.

I promise to work your knob like a Hoover.

I promise not to insert any exterior part of me into any interior part of another.

I promise to trust and not constantly hound you about your attractive, saucy, funny, outgoing women friends who have no desire whatsoever to steal you away, but are merely friendly, perhaps flirty, yes, but it takes two to Tango.

I promise, no Dutch Ovens.

Now that’s true love.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Digging in the Dirt

I have a photographic memory. Digital even, master of quick and long-term recall. I was an ace working in retail, stunning return customers with Rain Man-knowledge of exactly what they’d purchased prior. I've stored countless obscure childhood details and always have an, “Oh my God! I’d forgotten about that!” tale to share at family gatherings or with old friends.

I’m constantly writing in my head, mostly blog posts. While spooning Grape-Nuts into vanilla yogurt and strawberries this morning (yesterday was coffee, banana and cinnamon raisin bagel with the inside scooped out), I was spinning and crafting words.

Oddly they’re gone, vamoosed, and despite best efforts I can't retrieve the words from cranial filing. I remember enough to know what they weren't about – sex or firemen or layoffs or belly fat. Worse yet, I'm aware it was the kind of writing that filters in magically, light beam flowing in through the head and out through the hands. The kind of prose that transforms and transfixes, so good you can smell it. But now. The words. They do not come. So instead, I resort to the obvious, the easy and the expected.

Grab the Purell®.

Haven’t had sex (in any dual and participatory form or fashion) in six weeks. Soon I may be able to define it in months. There is, however, a new friend, one of unique and special circumstance, creating a conundrum of immediate need versus long-term want.

Recently joined the free online dating service and damn if the site isn’t filthy with firemen. Good call, choosing a thumbnail image hinting at that particular profession – the yellow Stay Puft Marshmallow Man puffy pants, standing in front of a fire truck. Goodness they’re young, most looking for (and will no doubt hook and ladder) “petite blondes”; I assume that’s the preferred word since “athletic” can mean small breasted. I’m often stalled when prompted to select an age range. Most say I don’t look my 43, and I agree hands down I don’t feel or act it (whatever that entails). So I tend to lean younger, less "cougar", more "minx." However, given past forays into online matching brought a plethora of grand-daddios to my e-mail inbox, singling out singles by age is a necessary evil.

Alas, the literary beauty that could have been.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Killing the Blues

I hate when the blues hit. Usually happens in those times of thinking you're the only one without a key to the lock. Or those times you prematurely grieve what you think may never happen. Or those times envy whispers in your ear. Or those times you were marginalized. Or those times you realize you're not entirely sure where home is. Or those times you're tempted to crumble into immediate false comfort. In those times I find trouble.

And trouble’s a brewin’.

It passes, in time, with little notice or fanfare. You dig out, find the pocket of air.

Just had to say it out loud, 'cause I’m a little scared.

Just a little.

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