Sunday, May 29, 2005

Austin gets all the boys with this ride...

Think I'd be gettin' lucky if it were mine? Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Yesterday, Bry wrote about breaking a girly-code. That code being: Never Discuss Bodily Functions. Well, if she broke the code, one of my customers shattered it on the phone today.

"Good afternoon, this is Laurie, can I help you?" I chirped into the receiver, unaware of what was about to come my way.

"Hi Laurie, this is Donna. How are you?"

I searched my memory banks for who, exactly, Donna was, but continued the conversation. "Hi, Donna. I'm well, thank you. How are you?"

"Oh, not so good," she groaned. "I just got out of the hospital."

I had managed to picture her face by the time I asked, "Oh no, why?"

"I was so dehydrated they had no choice but to admit me." She didn't tell me why, and I didn't feel it was my place to ask.

"Oh my God."

"Yeah...I had all this diarrhea..." She trailed off.

Oh, my, I thought. Does she really want to be telling me this? In an effort to not talk about her feces, I asked the standard follow-up to anyone's admission that they were in the hospital: "How long were you in?"

"Well, I had to stay in until the diarrhea calmed down. I'm telling you, it was horrible. The nurses kept saying 'Donna, I just don't know where all this is coming from.'"

"Really?" What else does one say when someone is filling you in on their intestinal issues?

"Yeah. I tell you, Laurie, it was awful. I was going fifteen, sixteen times a day."


"Yeah, it was bad. They tried everything to stop it: They tried Amodium, they tried pills, IVs, everything. When nothing worked, I asked my doctor what they were going to try next. He said 'A cork.'" She exploded in laughter. "A cork! Can you believe it?! So I said, 'Well you better hurry up and find one, because I don't know if you'll be able to get one strong enough to stop all of this diarrhea!'"


"So the nurse says that they should try codeine, and I say 'Codeine? What will that do? I mean, sure I'm in pain from all of this diarrhea, but I don't need codeine for it.' And she says, 'Oh, not for pain, Donna. Codeine backs you up. It turns your bowels into a cement mixer! Usually we have to give patients laxatives with codeine, but I think in your case you won't need the laxative.' And I said to her, 'You're darn right I won't need a laxative! With all this diarrhea, I'll be lucky if it just turns all of it solid!'"

She laughed again, and I squirmed uncomfortably in my seat. Does she have to say "diarrhea" so much?

"Well, I'm glad to hear you're better now..." I offered, hoping to switch the conversation to a more pleasant topic.

"Oh yeah, they finally tried the codeine and - Thank God - it worked. I haven't had diarrhea since 3:00 yesterday. I mean, I couldn't leave the house - I couldn't leave the bathroom, even - with all of the diarrhea. So the fact that I haven't gone since three yesterday is wonderful."

"Yeah," I said, a pained expression on my face. Is this why she called, I thought, to talk about her digestive tract problems?

"Now they're just worried that I'm going to go the other way...You know, constipation. But I told them: 'I'm not worried about that! I've had enough diarrhea to last me a lifetime. If I don't go to the bathroom for a few days, it will be a blessing.'"

"I bet," I said, unsure of what else there was to say.

"Yeah, so I'm just glad that my little encounter with the worst diarrhea in the world is over. Anyway...What are your CD rates up to now?" As though we had just spent the last five minutes talking about the weather.

"Well, we have a six month special right now..." I said, trying to get my mind off of her explosive diarrhea.

Unhappy with the rates I gave her, she informed me that she'd be opening up her CD down the street. "But thanks so much for your help. And keep your fingers crossed that my diarrhea doesn't come back!"

"I will," I said.

And I meant it.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Who I Am

"You don't even know me," I said. "We've been dating three years, and you don't even know me."

There was so much power in those words. They were so accurate and scathing and heartbreaking all at the same time. And when I said them aloud to him, during a fight, I felt that I had finally said something that fit.

And it was true. He didn't know me. But not because he didn't want to or didn't try; I didn't let him. Just like I don't let anyone really know me. I rely on sarcasm and omission to hide the true me. I don't know when it started, but I withhold pieces of myself even from those closest to me. And I don't know why I'm so terrified to let someone in on who I am, inside and out.

In dating Tom, I found myself lost in games. I was in an endless chess tournament, constantly thinking about his next move and how I should play mine. I wouldn't compliment him when he looked nice because I wanted to see if he'd compliment me first. I wouldn't offer to take him out to dinner because he hadn't taken me out in weeks. I would want to mention marriage, but bite my tongue, knowing that bringing it up would only cause a fight. If he did something I didn't like, I tried to let it slide, knowing that he would make me feel tiny and insignificant if I critiqued him. The result was a me that I didn't even know. And yet I still expected him to know me. I was weak and timid where I was normally strong. I was afraid to give for fear of lack of reciprocation. I was terrified of being made a fool. I didn't want to be taken advantage of, so I would deny him the little things that I felt I was being denied of. I lost who I was for almost four years, and I cried and wailed over the notion that he didn't want to marry me. But me didn't exist anymore.

With most of my friends, I am a chameleon. My attitude, sense of humor and my demeanor shifts depending on whose company I happen to be keeping. With most of my friends, I am a walking comedy routine, regurgitating my dating mishaps for their amusement, tearing my lackluster lovelife to shreds before they get the chance to do it for me. I accept their humorous jousts, and refuse to stick up for myself, preferring instead to take it all in, stew in it, and be mad at them for it later. Somehow, even though I joke about me right along with them, I expect them to understand that it hurts, that I have feelings too. I don't tell them when I'm sad or happy or morose or even just blah, because I don't want to give them access to that part of me. Yet I find myself angry with them for never asking me about me. The me that they do not, may not ever, know.

I remember myself years ago: Open and eager to trust, willing to divulge any detail of my life to anyone who cared enough to ask. I always loved my naïveté, cherished it, and hoped that it would never escape me. But it has. I feel a shell building around me. The kind that refuses to let people get too close, the kind that keeps people at arm's length. The kind that keeps you lonely.

So I wonder, if I'm becoming the hardened woman I never wanted to be, how do I stop it from progressing any further? I may know who I am, but how do I get past being afraid to let other people know, too?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

December 26, 1999

The stewardess came to my seat as soon as the plane landed. "Are you Laurie?" She asked, bent over me in her crisp navy blue uniform.

I looked up from my book. "Yes?" It came out as more of a question than an answer.

"I'm going to have to ask you to collect your carry-ons and come with me."

"May I ask why?" I inquired, placing my bookmark between two pages as I slowly closed the book.

"I'll explain," she said sweetly, "just come with me."

So I did as I was told and gathered my things: My purse, my book, the garment bag I brought aboard containing the dress I planned to wear to my boyfriend's All Academy Military Ball. My stomach felt like it was full of bricks. All I could think of was the winter Idaho weather outside, and the possibility that David and his family were victims of it.

As I followed the flight attendant through the plane's clogged aisle, she began to explain, over her shoulder, why I was exiting the plane when the rest of the passengers were being told to please remain seated.

"It seems there was a problem with your luggage," her sharp profile told me, "during your connecting flight in Colorado." I watched her bobby pin-secured bun move through the cabin.

"My luggage?" I was partly relieved, partly terrified. The reason I flew every Christmas from Milford to Boise, ID was to attend my boyfriend David's military ball. I carried my dress with me on the plane because I didn't want it to get lost or ruined, but the rest of my evening paraphernalia was crammed into the one black bag I'd entrusted to United Airlines. My shoes, my makeup, my underthings. I was listing all of the things I'd have to do without on my trip when she stopped.

"This is Mark," she said, gesturing toward a white mustached man in front of us. "He'll fill you in on the rest. Just follow him."

The door of the plane had been opened, and first class passengers gathered behind me, hoping to exit when I did. Mark escorted me through the doorway and into the corridor connecting the aircraft and the airport.

"Did you have a good flight?" Mark asked, attempting to make small talk.

"Not really," I mumbled. I had worked myself up so much that, in my head, I'd have to attend this function naked. I was already on the verge of tears.

"This is the situation," he said. "Two luggage carts in Colorado collided, and the tops of a bunch of bags were shaved off. So we have to match tops and tags to their rightful bags..." He continued to explain the situation, how the carts were loaded, how they collided, but my mind was elsewhere. We had crossed the threshold of the corridor and stepped into the reception area at the gate. Tons of families looked over my head, searching for their loved ones behind me. I looked through the crowd, searching for David and his family, but of all the faces I saw, none of them belonged to David. My pace slowed as I looked for my normally punctual and thoughtful boyfriend, who would surely not forget to pick me up at the airport.

"Miss, I'm going to need you to pay attention to me here," Mark said.

"I'm just looking for my boyfriend..." I said, distracted.

He gently took my arm and led me to the right. "You need to come this way with me," he said, pulling me toward the ticket counter.

Just great, I thought. My first flight of the day is cancelled, then I catch a flight only to miss the connecting flight. Then I get another flight, only to be told that because of severe winter weather conditions I have to stay seated the whole flight, making the hour in the plane both miserable and terrifying. Then we have a rough landing, after which they tell me they've lost my luggage, and NOW David's not even here to meet me. This is just perfect. I could feel the tears pushing at my eyes.

Mark had placed me in front of the ticket counter, and walked behind it. He made his way to his computer while I continued to scan the airport for David's face.

"Miss," Mark beckoned. "I'm serious. You're going to have to pay attention to me."

I whipped my head around and looked at him. "Fine. I'm paying attention."

"I need you to describe your bag for me." He positioned his fingers above his keyboard, ready to type the details of my luggage.

"My bag? It's about this high," I said, putting my hand and waist level, "and it's black. It's one of those pulley bags. You know, with the handle?"

"You're going to have to be more specific than that. Were there any identifying characteristics of the bag? Any colors on it? Any stickers, patches?"

"No," I said, frustrated now. "It's a black pulley bag. It's big and it's black and it has wheels and a collapsible handle. Just like a million other bags that go through here every day. It doesn't have stickers or patches on it. It's just plain black, like I told you already." I could hear the bitchiness in my own voice, and I immediately checked myself. "I'm sorry," I said. "It's been a really long day. I didn't mean to snap at you, it's just that I've been either in an airport or flying since five o'clock this morning, and now my luggage is missing and my boyfriend's not even here and that's so unlike him, because he'd never forget about me, so I'm worried because I know the weather's bad out there..."

A stranger walked by and dropped a rose on the counter next to me, forcing me to stop in the midst of my rambling excuse. I looked at Mark, my face questioning. He just smiled. By the time I turned to look at the rose again, another stranger set one beside the first. Then another, and another. Six people walked by and placed roses next to me, either avoiding eye contact altogether or offering me a barely-hidden smile. My hands on the ticket counter were still exactly where they were when I saw the first rose, my face still confused and uncertain. Then David's best friend walked up, carrying a dozen red roses. He hardly even looked at me, just laid them on the ticket counter with the rest of the blooms and stems. I looked again at Mark, eager for an explanation. His mustache curved above his grin.

I turned my whole body around to see David there, in his sharp gray suit, crisp white shirt, bright red tie. His whole family was splayed out behind him, their winter coats resting over their arms, cameras in hand. David walked toward me, a half smile on his face. I could tell he was fighting to keep a straight face but losing.

We hugged when he reached me, my laughter loud and inappropriate. "I was so worried," I said, oblivious. "I thought you guys were in an accident or something..."

My words halted completely when he dropped down on one knee and pulled a tiny black box out of his jacket's pocket.

He took my shaking hands in his own and looked up at me. His green eyes were so happy beneath his black brows. "Laurie, you've made me so happy, and I love you so much." I looked at David's mom, her eyes filled with tears, her manicured hand covering her mouth. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you." My eyes found David's. "Will you marry me?"

I was barely nineteen years old, dressed in clothing that I hoped gave the impression that I was at least of legal drinking age. I was a teller at a bank. I had been dating David, a junior at West Point Military Academy, for over a year. I was crazy about him. He was crazy about me. We had talked about marriage and both of us knew it was the next step in our relationship. But I was still happily surprised when the words fell from his lips.

The whole terminal had stopped to watch what was happening, and erupted in applause when I said "Yes!"

"Ladies and gentlemen," Mark announced over the airport's intercom. "She. Said. Yes."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Laurie, No Guest: Table 11

I walked, alone, into the Hamlet Willow Creek Country Club for Dominique's wedding and collected the following snapshots of the evening:

A ceremony and reception that was gorgeous, simple and elegant; like the bride herself.

Sitting down for the ceremony in an empty row, somewhat toward the middle to allow others to share the row with me, only to find, as the ceremony began, that no one else sat in my row. I may as well have had a big giant "L" for loser - or leper, for that matter - on my forehead.

Watching Dominique, looking radiant and blissful, walk down the aisle to Andrew, who watched her intently the whole time. Watching them steal little glances and smiles during the officiant's speeches. Noticing that the smile never slipped from Dominique's face.

Being reminded by Dominique and Andrew - the way the looked at each other, the unbridled happiness they emitted - of what I'm looking for, and the fact that it does exist.

Crying as soon as Dominique began to walk down the aisle to the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows (What I'd Do Without You)."

Discovering that, regardless of how much I'd built myself up that I'd have a good time alone, the evening panned out exactly as I thought it would: Me. Alone. With my vodka-n-cranberries.

Ordering Filet Mignon as a main course, fully expecting to be disappointed with a sliver of overcooked meat. But I found myself pleasantly surprised when a huge, perfectly Medium-Rare, juicy and tender hunk of Filet was set before me. The food was delicious. I practically licked my plate clean.

Playing shadow to the bridesmaid I had met a month prior to the wedding through the bride. She did not make me follow her, I chose to, hoping to be introduced to the other attendees. But I was instead treated to her dating woes and given a graphic account of what she hoped to do to one of the groomsmen later that night.

Going home early. Not because I was tired, or so lonely that I just couldn't take it anymore...But to avoid the awkwardness of telling the aforementioned bridesmaid she couldn't crash in my king-size bed with me if her plans to nail the groomsman in HIS king size bed fell through.

Feeling somewhat miserable upon my return to my fancy hotel room for the following reasons:
a) Vodka was involved.
b) I felt that maybe I didn't have a smashing time because I make myself unapproachable.
c) A lot of vodka.
d) To me, the wedding felt not unlike a school dance where I showed up alone and the cool kids looked at me and thought "Oh, poor thing. Nobody asked her to come as their date."
e) I felt like maybe I should've worn a sign reading "Here alone by choice; I could have come with a date if I wanted to."
f) My ex called as I was leaving the wedding. Which was nice because I'd been thinking about him as I was leaving; And horrible for the exact same reason.
g) The vodka.
h) I looked quite lovely and didn't impress anybody but myself.
i) You can hardly taste orange vodka when it's mixed with cranberry juice.
j) I couldn't believe my friend was married. I knew her when she was fifteen, and now she was a Mrs.
k) Dominique and her father danced to the song "Daddy's Little Girl." But only Dominique, her father, and I knew that the voice singing the song through the speakers was her father's. I was touched that Dominique let me in on that moment with her dad.
l) I caught myself thinking "I want to be the one in the white dress" while the bride made her way around the reception.
m) I wore black.
n) The vodka.
o) I might have been proud of myself for going alone...But it still sucked.
p) I chose to go alone because I wanted to prove to myself that I'm not afraid of not being attached to someone. And I realized that it's not that I'm afraid to be single. I just don't particularly care to be single.
q) Absolut Mandarin.
r) Dominique's sister passed away suddenly, unexpectedly and unfortunately a few years ago in a car accident. And so, Dominique wrote a special message to her on her wedding program. It made me cry all night.
s) Suddenly having to go to the bathroom when the lead singer of the band announced "I'd like to invite all you couples to the dance floor..."
t) Weddings always make me cry anyway.
u) Sleeping alone in a king size bed in a strange city wasn't nearly as much fun as I expected.
v) Did I mention that the evening began with champagne punch?
w) I found myself paying a lot of attention to both my food and the people who were actually having fun so that I didn't look miserable and lost in my own thoughts.
x) I was asked, "Where's your boyfriend tonight?" then forced to explain why my boyfriend and I broke up five times...Which was five times too many: It's hard to get into the spirit of a wedding when you're busy telling people that you and your boyfriend broke up because he didn't want to marry you.
y) Vodka.
z) I just don't like being single.

Watching Saturday Night Live and smoking cigarettes in bed just because I could.

Despite everything that was going on in my twisted head, feeling complete and utter happiness for Dominique and Andrew.

Driving home in horrible traffic down the Long Island Expressway, over the Cross-Bronx, over the Throg's Neck Bridge, the George Washington Bridge and into New Jersey and being able to say to myself "It scared the shit out of me. But I did it."

Monday, May 16, 2005

With This Ring

After wandering through the Rockaway Mall for hours, and finally purchasing the "Naughty" clothes we were hoping to find for our evening out, Pollo and I set out in search of earrings. I needed big hoops, and she needed pink studs. We found our way into Claire's Boutique, a claustrophobic cubby-hole of a store, filled to the brim with more fake gold and sliver baubles than one could dream of.

Our cumbersome shopping bags stubbornly knocking into display after display of $5.00 earrings, we scanned the store for the proper accents to our newly purchased halter-tops. Girls, twelve to seventeen, scurried through the store, each on missions of their own. Many were clearly shopping for prom jewelry; carefully chosen prom dresses draped over their adolescent arms, chiffon and satin wrapped in Lord & Taylor's plastic bag. They peeled the bag away from their dresses, holding the gown in front of them before the store's floor-to-ceiling mirror, their mothers resting rhinestone necklaces across their collarbones, suspending chandelier earrings in mid-air in front of their daughters ears, trying to choose the perfect accessory. Some girls were just browsing for bangles, ear cuffs, anything to spend their parents' money on. But Pollo and I, we were adults, seeking out cheap jewels with which to adorn ourselves.

As Pollo surveyed a row of golden hoops, I made my way to the "So close to real!" section of the store, where I was greeted by a dizzying array of "crystal" accoutrements. The wall was stocked with glittery tiaras, bedazzled headbands, sparkling barrettes, diamond-like earrings, jewel-encrusted bracelets...And there, in the midst of all of the shimmering accessories, I saw them. Four rows of wedding bands.

"They look so REAL!" The cardboard placard above the rings read. Each wedding band came complete with the accompanying engagement band. Some of the three-stone variety, some solitaire, some so laden with diamonds that they were blinding. But not one of them was less than a carat. And not one of them was over a ring-size 6.

Made especially for pre-teen hands and nestled into a store targeted to a very specific adolescent audience, these wedding bands were a popular item. Little girls stood around me, each trying on a set of her own.

"Oh my God!" the girl to my left exclaimed. "Look at this one." She held up her chubby hand to show her friend her wedding set. "Can you imagine?" She stared at her own hand, the diamonds looking back up at her, hypnotizing her young eyes. "I can't wait to have one of these."

I can't lie: While she said it, I had been digging through the display, trying to find a six-and-a-half sized set for myself. And I had been thinking the same thing.

And, when I was her age, I owned a number of wedding band sets. Why? I don't know. I still have them, too. They sit in my silver jewelry box, huge mulit-carated rings peeking up at me through a mess of dangly earrings and seldom worn bracelets.

But all Claire's is doing is confusing these almost-women with their giant rocks and luminescent bands. At thirteen years old, us gals are being conditioned to want the huge setting, the diamonds set along the sides, flawless stones. And we begin, as soon as we try on our first fake set, to equate these enormous stones with the amount of love promised by the man who gives it to us.

But one has nothing to do with the other.

When I was engaged, I would stare at my solitaire engagement ring for what probably totaled hours a day. It was beautiful. Perfect. And it wasn't huge or fancy. Just under a carat in size, the diamond sat on a thin and unadorned platinum band, just waiting for the plain platinum wedding band to cozy up next to it. I loved that ring, but it wasn't the ring I was in love with; I was in love with the promise David had made in giving it to me. It didn't have to be huge, and it didn't have to be flawless. It was beautiful.

My father's parents have owned a jewelry store forever. But when it came time to propose to my mother, my dad didn't buy some big ring from his folks' shop. He saved his money and bought the kind of ring he could afford. Five diamonds set to look like one big one, it gave the impression of grandeur without being obnoxious. For their thirtieth wedding anniversary, my dad gave my mother a beautiful Marquis-cut diamond ring. When it was time to replace the old ring with the new, she slipped the thirty year old ring from her finger and placed it gingerly in her jewelry box. "I love this ring," she told me, referring to her shiny new diamond. "But this one, this one,” she held the old ring between her thumb and forefinger, shaking it for emphasis, “is special. Your father saved his money for it. It will always be my favorite.” I doubt my dad could find a diamond big enough to convey his love for her.

I tried on a set of rings that just barely fit over my knuckle. It was a solitaire totaling maybe two and a half carats, resting on a band of smaller, just as shiny diamonds. It looked nice on my hand. I slipped that ring on, and suddenly I was one of the pre-teens in the store. I can't wait to have one of these scrolled through my head.

But it was just Claire's confusing me. I struggled to get the too-tight ring off of my finger.

I may still be charmed by a massive cubic zirconia, but I’ve grown up enough to know that when the right guy comes along, carat size won't matter.

Friday, May 13, 2005

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

Apparently, I've been tagged by my wonderful friend Tumbleweed; which means I am obliged to present you with my ten favorite things.

And here, in no particular order, they are:

1) My friends and family. Walking into my parents' house and feeling the distinct sense of home. Entering a bar or restaurant where my friends are gathered, hearing their excited hellos and collecting hugs and kisses on the cheek. Knowing that there are people, three of whom who happen to bear my last name, who would give me anything I needed; To whom I would give anything as well. The feeling that no matter what I do, I'll have people who love me.

2) Long car rides. Endless interstate, 65 MPH. Cigarettes and Dr. Pepper there for when I need them. Turning on the radio to catch the very beginning of a good song, and getting to listen to it all the way through. Cranking the volume up as high as it will go, drowning out the sound of my tires on the road, the swoosh of the wind through my open windows, my thoughts. Singing as loud as I please, knowing no one else can hear me.

3) Music. Pop, blues, country, rap, hip hop, latin, dance, jazz and even a touch classical. Being carried by it where ever it chooses to take me. Feeling the thump of the bass beneath my legs in the car, in my room, in a club. Knowing all of the words to a good song. Singing along. Feeling like the singer is belting out those lyrics for me. Finding a song that fits exactly how I feel.

4) Summer nights. Crickets and lightning bugs. Going out without a jacket. Warm air, the sexy kind, thick with humidity, licking at my limbs. Beads of sweat resting in the spot just above my lip. Candles on outdoor tables at restaurants. Looking up to see the moon, and seeing a million stars, too.

5) Spring days. The first warm afternoon after winter finally breaks. The impeccably blue sky stretching out behind the foreground of Milford. Lifting my face to the sun to catch its warm rays with my pale cheeks. Taking a deep breath and smelling lilacs and freshly cut grass. Hearing lawnmowers in the distance. Seeing a park full of kids and adolescents on my way home from work. Knowing that summer is just around the corner.

6) Shopping. Finding a fantastic sale. Being able to exclaim "I got these at 50% off!" Trying something on, looking in the mirror and feeling fantastic. Walking into stores whose merchandise I will never be able to afford, just to touch plush fabrics, costly purses, finely made shoes. A pair of stilettos that makes me feel incredibly sexy. Purchasing something without succumbing to Buyer's Remorse.

7) Saturday mornings. Waking up without an alarm, and not having to be anywhere anytime soon. Staying in bed well past a reasonable hour, watching VH1's Top Twenty Countdown and Best Week Ever. Feeling completely and totally relaxed. Getting up and separating my laundry into their respective piles. The sound of laundry tumbling in the next room. Fresh cups of coffee.

8) Reading. Getting lost in someone else's words. Finding inspiration in the aged pages of my favorite novels. Loving a book or a character so much that I don't want the book to end. Wondering, after I've finished reading it, what that character is doing now. Hoping for a sequel. Reading other people's blogs, and feeling like I know them.

9) Writing. Blogging. Recording my thoughts in a journal. Composing emails. It doesn't matter. If the written word is involved, I am happy. Exorcising my demons, ridding myself of agony by just getting my thoughts out of me and onto paper. Feeling lighter, freed, after I feel I've accurately described my thoughts, my state of mind, my actions in a post. The indescribably wonderful feeling of having a stranger write to me and say they liked what I wrote, or that they identified with it, or that I captured their feelings completely. Feeling like I have one thing that I'm actually good at.

10) Love. The idea that it exists. The love I feel for my family. The love I feel for my friends. The love I feel for good music, good books, good pizza. Platonic love. Love given and love received. Romantic love, even if I'm not in it right now. The wonderful, horrible, crazy, insane, irrational, and amazing things one will do in the name of it.

Tumbleweed broke the rules and passed this on to more than three. I'm breaking the rules and passing it onto two: Pollo and Melanie.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Blast from the Past

I pulled an old CD from my organizer before I went into the gym. Sick of the same three CDs on a constant rotation in my Discman, I decided I'd take my chances and grab an unmarked burned CD.

I hopped on the Elliptical machine and began my workout. I hit play and was thrilled when Snoop Dogg and Pharrell started signing "Beautiful." I remembered the CD, and I was glad I had chosen it. I pumped my legs and arms to the various feel-good songs on the CD. "Don't Leave Me this Way" was sandwiched between Ludachris' "Fantasy" and Missy Elliot's "Reverse It." I was sweating and loving it. Then the steady beats of hip hop died down, giving way to the beginning of a song I didn't recognize. It was piano, played slowly and seductively. Hearty.

Then the song slammed into me.

If you cut, I will bleed
Bring me down to my knees
Make me feel that what I am is never good enough.

I remembered the song in its entirety, and exactly why I chose to put it on a CD. My legs suddenly felt weak. The bars of the song, the singer's voice, catapulted me back to years ago, when the song first came out. Suddenly, I regressed to who I was then, over a year ago: Insecure, afraid. Does he love me? Will we ever get married? Maybe I should move out of my parent's house so he can see I can be independent, too. Fresh from a fight and feeling like I'd just been beaten. Doesn't he see that what he says hurts? Will I ever be happy? Will we ever NOT fight about things? What do I have to do to make him want me?

I hated it.

I hated the memory of myself. I hated that I was ever that way. I hated that a song, only a few words into the first verse, could remind me how utterly weak I was.

But I loved it, too. I loved that regardless of the fact that I was in a gym, surrounded by sweaty people and exercise equipment, I could be completely transported by the music oozing out of my headphones. I loved that music has that much power over me. Because just as quickly as I can remember listening to that song feeling feeble and helpless, I can remember finally realizing it was time to let go and get on with my life.

And there's nothing like being reminded of how far you've come.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Better Off

I sat in my designated chair at Table Eleven, watching the festivities of the wedding reception begin. Dominique, with her white dress bustled behind her, bouquet of orchids in her hand, walked through the door with Andrew as they were announced "for the first time" as husband and wife. They strode to the center of the dance floor, where they slowly swayed to the beat of their song, enjoying their first dance as a married couple. When the last note of the song finished, they took their seats at Table One with the rest of the bridal party. A hundred knives tapped on a hundred champagne flutes, beckoning the couple to kiss. The newlyweds laughed and rolled their eyes, but did what was requested of them. When their kiss was complete, the band started to play, and Dominique breathed a very obvious sigh of relief that the attention had been shifted from her.

The band, an eighties cover band called The Legwarmers, was amazing. They played the songs so well, it was like a concert AND a wedding. It was impossible to not dance when their version of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" poured from the speakers in the hall. In no time at all, the dance floor was filled with middle-aged family members, youngish friends of the bride and groom, and little kids eager to expel all of the energy bottled up inside of them from sitting through the ceremony. Women were spun by their partners, their evening gowns unfurling around them like petals. Some men shifted uneasily from side to side, snapping their fingers and trying not to look like idiots, while some men simply didn't care what others thought.

Jason, a groomsman, obviously one of the men who didn't care. Out on the dance floor, his legs moved from one place to another on the parquet floor without regard to the beat of the music. His arms moved independently of his body, flailing above his head as he navigated the packed floor. He closed his eyes and bit his lip, dancing himself into a sweat-covered frenzy and relishing every second of it. In the middle of the band's second song, he removed his tuxedo's vest. With the third song came the removal of his tie. By the fourth song, he was hopping around on the dance floor, shirt open and chest bared, with perspiration cascading down his frame. He sang along with each song, occasionally turning to the band to scream "Rock on!" or "You guys fuckin' rock!"

"Jason's so funny, isn't he?" Amy, a bridesmaid who I'd met a month ago, sat down next to me.

"Yes he is," I laughed.

"He's in love with me," she offered, taking a sip of her Malibu Rum and pineapple juice drink.

"Oh, is he?"

"Yeah. Which kind of works out for me, because when Dominique asked me to be in her wedding, I said 'Well, only if I can find someone to sleep with in the wedding party.' And, as it turns out, Jason's not half bad. Besides, I don't have anyone else, so, you know..."

She laughed, but I couldn't figure out if she was joking. I took another look at Jason, spinning furiously now around the other dancers on the floor, making himself dizzy and laughing out loud. I looked at Amy, perfectly put together in her bridesmaid ensemble. Not a hair was out of place on her head. The makeup she wore on her delicate features was flawless. Her teeth were impossibly white. I looked back at Jason. He was doubled over near the stage, trying to catch his breath and reclaim his ability to see straight.

"Are you kidding me?" I asked.

"No. You know, he's got a lot of money. He lives in California, but he'll be here for the next few days. He's been making passes at me all week, and it's so nice to hear all those compliments. I'm supposed to go back to the City tonight, but I think I just may find myself in a certain somebody's room this evening." She gave me a wink as she made lazy circles in her drink with a straw.

"I thought you had a boyfriend," I said.

"Oh, Robert? He broke up with me last week. He didn't think I was mature enough." She rolled her eyes. "But now he's calling me again, leaving me messages about how much he misses me and what a mistake he's made. So I'm letting him play that role for a while. Speaking of which..." She opened her cream-colored purse and removed her cell phone. "He was supposed to text me tonight," she said, "and I forgot to check earlier." Her words were distracted; she was really only interested in finding his message. "Would you look at that! There it is!" She smiled, triumphant. She turned the phone around to show me the screen. "He wrote to me!" She turned the phone back around, hungry for his words. Her eyes scanned the message, then she flipped the phone shut. "I just wanted to make sure he'd write, you know. Just to make sure he's still interested." She tucked the phone back into her purse, then set her eyes back on Jason.

"Now it's time for you ask that special someone to dance," the lead singer announced. He straightened his hot pink pencil tie, then began to play.

Amy got up immediately. "Excuse me," she said to me. "I think Jason wants to ask me to dance." And she sauntered over to the dance floor, placed herself in his line of sight, and waited to be asked to dance. But he didn't ask her. Instead, she grabbed his hand and pulled him into her as he walked by.

From my vantage point at Table Eleven, they were mismatched. He was tall and awkward, sweat running down his face in runnels, his hair wet hair stuck to his cheeks and forehead. He was spastic. She, on the other hand, was the picture of elegance, in her strapless bridesmaid's dress, her thin gold heels.

And I realized at that moment that, if I were her, I would be spending my time at that wedding avoiding him. Because he was acting like he was high. Because he was covered in sweat. Because he lived all the way across the country. Maybe I am too judgmental, I thought to myself. She's not judging him because he's been out there dancing all night. Maybe there's something to be said for giving a guy a chance.

The song ended, and Jason left Amy standing in the middle of the dance floor. The band had begun to play "Welcome to the Jungle," and Jason had to be by the stage to play air guitar. I saw Amy shimmy her way toward Jason, lifting her skirt higher and kicking her legs, Rockette-style, clamoring for his attention. But his eyes could not be pulled away from The Legwarmers, and she retreated to the rear of the dance floor, where her body moved with the music, but her eyes never left him.

I didn't know which one of us was worse off. I may have high standards, but I'm not willing to lower them just to escape loneliness. She may be more free-spirited and willing to accept, but it may be just because she's lonely.

In the end, I knew I would be going to my hotel room alone that night; and it was possible that she'd have company. But she'd still be going home alone tomorrow.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Enough is Enough

This has gone entirely too far.

I have removed the comments from Mr. Anonymous in an effort to get the mudslinging to stop. Veiled threats and name-calling were never intended to be a part of this blog. This, my humble little corner of the internet, was intended as a space to write about my feelings, my thoughts, my life. I'm not quite sure what else it is that I should write about on a blog about me. Funny that now I'm put a position where I'm supposed to defend myself for that.

Because I have taken the time to write about myself, I have been accused of being self-absorbed. Because I have written stories about people I have come across, I have been deemed judgmental. Because I write here at all, I have been called insecure. I have chosen, up to this point, to refrain from responding to any of these insults because it just didn't seem necessary. This blog is public. Anyone who wishes to do so may read it. And there are bound to be people who come to cultivate distaste for me - All of the comments left for me cannot be good. So for that reason, I chose to not only leave the negative comments about me up for future visitors to view, but to not add fuel to the fire by arguing with every point made. I know exactly who I am. And those who love me know me, too. Those who have said nasty things about me do not.

Did I actually discount a man for having a lisp? No. Did I discount a man just because he allowed his roommate's bed to be defiled by a friend of his? No. Did I discount a man because he brought me a carnation? No. Did I discount a man because he asked me if I was kinky like a pubic hair? Yes. But there were a myriad of other reasons that I chose not to pursue a relationship with these men. Please remember that what you see here is only a minute portion of the events as they actually occurred. I don't think anyone wants to read through hundreds of pages in which I recount, in excruciating detail, each and every second of a date or conversation. If I chose not to spend time with these men, there was a valid reason that stretched far beyond speech impediments, juvenile humor and poor floral selection. That being said, I shouldn't have to make excuses for the fact that I want certain things out of a partner. You may call that judgmental. To each his own.

I am, however, confused as to why anyone who so vehemently despises the me that comes across in my posts would continue to spend his or her time reading it. And then spend more time writing hateful things. It's okay to disagree with me. It's fine if you don't like who you think I am. But why not just move on? There is always an option to click "Next Blog." There are people that I've come to know through this blog, who one day stumbled across it and actually liked what they read. I can understand why they would return. But to stumble across me, hate me, then peruse the archives, just to find more ammunition against me, seems a little cruel.

And even though I would never waste my time reading a blog I despised, I can at least see how someone would feel they are entitled to offer me advice - unwarranted, unqualified and unwanted advice, but advice nonetheless. But to call someone who stuck up for me a "fatty?" To threaten and insinuate violence? And to do it anonymously, besides? This is all just unnecessary.

I have never claimed to be perfect. I have never argued with the fact that I have insecurities. I don't recall trying to be profound. But what you get here is only a small piece of who I am. And I will continue to write about whatever crosses my mind. Believe what you will about me. If you do not like it, I invite you to either start your own blog to write about something you like...Or to simply go elsewhere.

Friday, May 06, 2005


I am thankful for my mother, who is selfless and giving; who loves her children with every ounce of her being; who would brave hell for those she loves.

I am thankful for my father, who embodies honesty and integrity; who would protect his family with his life.

I am thankful for my brother, who is kind and good-hearted; who would do anything for those close to him.

I am thankful for my friends. For Pollo, who is bursting with confidence. For Chuck, who adores his family. For Adriana, who made me laugh myself to sleep last night with her comment about mullets. For Melanie, who reminds me constantly that she loves me. For Laura, who lives her life by her rules alone. For Seana, who epitomizes strength. For Nancy & Alex, who live life to its fullest. For Austin, who is comprised of warmth and humor. For Dominique, who is made of kindness and sincerity. For Joe, who is filled with generosity. For Derek, who dances like no one's watching. For Ed, who laughs with his whole body. For Scott, for being absolutely unafraid of who he is.

I am thankful for my exes. For David, who knows exactly what unconditional love means. For Tom, whose heart is full of the best intentions.

I am thankful for the people I work with. For Bill, who makes decisions with no hesitation. For Betty, who listens without criticizing. For Lisa, who stands up for what she believes in.

I am thankful for everyone who reads my words; for the comments left, the good and the bad.

I am thankful for each and every insecurity I have; I am also thankful for my confidence. I am thankful for all of my contradictions and all of my assertions. I am thankful for my peccadilloes, my beliefs, my uncertainty.

I am thankful for pain, I am thankful for joy. I am thankful for heartache, I am thankful for love.

I am thankful for each breath I take in, each tear I shed.

I am thankful for each moment of my life.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Mr. Anonymous

It's just before midnight, and I am just about to get to the best part of my day: The ten or so minutes between going to bed, and actually falling asleep.

It is within those precious moments that I am afforded the ability to think of everything, or nothing. I can create a scenario in my head in which I look fabulous and run into an ex. I can imagine that I am a real writer, supporting myself through words alone. I can recall a great part of my day...Or recall a horrible part, but tweak it to make it funny or think of things I could've done differently.

But mostly, I fantasize.

I fantasize about being in a good relationship. I fantasize about a man who makes me laugh, who is tall and smart and is crazy about me. I fantasize about having my hand held while walking into a restaurant. I fantasize about being happy.

Lately, though, the best part of my day has become bittersweet. I enjoy the taste I get, albeit a small one, of the future I want, but I'm becoming weary of how far away it feels. I'm tired of the man in my fantasies being anonymous, some faceless creature I've yet to meet. I'm sick of all the fiction; I want a little fact in my fantasy.

It was recently said that "[I] can't meet a guy in general [I'm] not going to criticize in some way, shape, or form." And, for a second, I agreed. But the person who said that has no idea who I am. I don't need an Adonis. I don't expect some picture-perfect man to breeze through my door with six-pack abs and a chiseled jaw. Nor am I looking for flaws, eager to tear apart every man I come across. I just want to meet a man who is smart and kind, who will make me laugh until my face hurts, who will wrap me in his arms and make me feel safe, who will be just as over-the-moon for me as I am for him.

I'm looking for the right person, and I know I haven't found him yet: The person I meet every night, just before I fall asleep.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Sweet Nothings

The clock on my dashboard read 11:45 as I pulled into the parking lot. My windshield wipers smudged the rain and dirt on my windshield as I slid into the closest parking spot I could find. I scanned the parking lot for Pollo's car, then settled in to await her arrival. From my spot inside my car with the window cracked, I could hear the thump of the bass inside the bar. As I took the last drag of my cigarette, I saw the familiar headlights of Pollo's civic turn into the entrance, then slowly creep past me in search of a spot. I checked my makeup in the rearview mirror one last time, then opened my door to greet her.

She was already out of her car by the time I reached her, her long hair damp from both her recent shower and the drizzle of rain falling on us. I tossed my finished cigarette to the side as we smiled at each other and headed for the door.

"Weech one did jou wear?" She asked, nodding toward my chest.

"The light blue one," I smiled, "and the new bra."

"Good," she said, laughing.

"What about you?"

"The black one from Express," she said. "And my feet steel hurt, by de way." She was referencing our day-long excursion at a local mall, where we spent six hours in search of the perfect going-out ensembles.

We pushed open the door only to be greeted by stale smoke and screeching guitars. With our newly purchased clothing concealed by light springtime jackets, we made our way through the bar in search of her husband. As we wandered through the packed club, the lead singer of the band caught my eye. He was tall and handsome, with a nice voice and a nicer body. I was instantly happy I'd dropped too much money on a cleavage-enhancing bra and slinky halter top.

We spotted Pollo's husband tucked at the end of the bar with a friend, chatting over bottles of beer. As soon as his eyes found us, he hurried to greet us. He offered to take our coats, and we obliged.

With the removal of our coats, the evening began. We shed our black jackets to reveal full chests and supple dellecotage. The eyes of all the male patrons found their way to just below our clavicles, and we giggled at the attention. We sauntered to the bar with Chuck in tow, and as we did, one man slapped Chuck on the back. "You sure have a rough life," he said. "Yes. I. Do." Chuck responded.

As I nursed my vodka and cranberry, I kept my eye on the lead singer. He was tall, with muscular arms and a smooth voice. I liked the way his chest looked in the spotlights of the stage. I liked his smile. I liked it all.

He caught me looking at him and smiled at me. Now that contact had been made, we continued it throughout the night. It seemed that his eyes found me no matter where I was. The flirtation was decadent, even if it was only with our eyes.

By the time the band had finished, I was ready to be approached. As he moved his instruments from the bar and into the band's waiting vehicle, I waited patiently for him to come talk to me. He stacked some odds and ends at the corner of the bar then made his way to me. As he drew near, I straightened myself in my seat, checked my cleavage and tousled my hair. I felt beautiful, as well as successful that the one man I wanted had come to seek me out.

He was right in front of me, and I thought This guy is beautiful. And he's talking to me.

And then he spoke.

"Tho, do you guyth come here on the weekendth?"

"Excuse me?"

"Do you guyth come here on the weekendth?" He said, louder this time, competing with the DJ.

"Y-y-y-yes." I responded. I couldn't believe it. Where was that lisp before? Why hadn't I heard it when he was singing? I felt cheated. No fair! I wanted to shout. I cannot meet a guy this cute only to hear he has a lisp!

He delivered a sexy smile. But the attraction was gone. I could only imagine him whispering Thweet Nothingth into my ear.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

That Explains It

Yesterday, I was woken by my roommate's ex pounding on my front door.

"I came to pick up Venus," he said to me, nodding his head at the dog standing next to me as if I needed a reminder of who Venus was. "There's a realtor coming now...In fact, he's a few minutes late."

I stood in the doorway in my morning coat, my sleepy brain trying to process what he was telling me. "They're coming now?" I looked down at my feet, encased in fuzzy slippers, ran my hands through my bed-head hair.

"Yes, now," he laughed. He coaxed Venus to the door. "So put on some clothes and get the hell out of here. Unless you want the realtor to see you without makeup."

We both offered facetious gasps, in mock horror of anyone outside of a very small circle of friends seeing me without my "face" on.

He took Venus and drove down the gravel driveway, as I turned and ran up the stairs, picking up stray pieces of clothing that had found their way onto my floor and straightening up as best I could in the short time allotted. I was brushing my teeth and emptying the trash when my phone rang.

"Laurie," Nancy said, "I have got to tell you about our night."

I ran through my section of the house, tucking things where they would go unnoticed, closing the shower curtain, making my bed as she talked on and on about her Friday evening with her boyfriend, Alex.

"Nancy, listen, I really have to go...But I can come over, would that be okay?"

She told me that would be fine, and we hung up. I furiously dressed and replaced my black fake-fur slippers with real shoes and ran out the door, praying I would not run into the realtor on the way out.

I arrived and Nancy and Alex's house in mere minutes. I was greeted at the door by a Nancy who practically foaming at the mouth to tell me her story.

I made myself comfortable in their living room, while they told me about running into a very wealthy and well-known couple in town, The Joneses. They had drinks together, the four of them, and got to talking about people they all know.

I was one of them.

Nancy and Alex casually mentioned how hard it is for a girl like me to find a date, let alone a boyfriend, in a town like Milford. They were interrupted by Mrs. Jones.

"She's straight?" She asked, the shock apparent on her face.

"Of course she is," Nancy responded. "Why? You didn't think so?"

"No," Mrs. Jones replied. "We thought she was a lesbian."

"Why did you think that?" Alex laughed.

"Because we've never seen her with a man. And if she is with a man, he's gay."

I have no problem with lesbians. I don't even mind that I was mistaken for one. What I do mind, though, is that I was assumed to prefer women just because I was always out without a man. Or is it because I am a supposed-lesbian that I can't get a man to be at my side?

I don't know...But if my dating life continues at its current rate, The Joneses assumption may prove to be prophetic.