Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Necessary self-involvement?

Good morning, my sweet corn muffins!

So I was writing a new short story last night (!!!), which i think is not too shabby, and I realized, during the writing (a fictionalized account of actual happenings, as per usual) how completely selfish and self-centered I can be (and am). As I wrote, I was a surprised at one particularly ungracious thing I did last week. A friend of mine did a relatively large favor for me, and I completely forgot to thank him. Because I was too wrapped up in my own world to think about anyone besides myself. I didn't mean to be ungrateful, and I certainly wasn't--on the inside. But it doesn't matter how grateful you are if you don't speak up and say something, does it? Ashamed of myself, I immediately wrote him an e-mail asking him to dinner to thank him for his favor. But it was already too late. I had missed my opportunity to say thank you in person when the moment was right.

I started to think about this. I wondered how I had become so self-involved. The truth is that I care a lot about my friends, and I would do almost anything to help any one of them. But I wonder how often they see that, or if i would recognize an opportunity if it came up? I wondered if this was societal or generational, if it was a problem with everyone I know or just with some of us? I think that, as a generation, people my age are pretty self-involved. We are in our mid-twenties, most of us are single and struggling to find our place in society. We have big concerns: career, finding a partner, trying to make ends meet. There is a certain amount of necessary self-involvement: we are on our own for the first time, and we alone are responsible for our own well-being. No one else is going to take care of us but ourselves, and taking care of ourselves can take quite a bit of time and energy. But somewhere along the way, i think we may have forgotten the benefits of a supportive community. We meet up for drinks or dinner to complain about our busy lives or to blow off steam, but when we're struggling, really struggling with something, we believe that we have to shoulder that on our own. In an age where we are more connected than ever, I have found myself feeling more and more isolated. Facebook, MySpace, and text messaging have replaced the faces and voices and touch of my friends, and I miss their presence. I miss having a shoulder to cry on. And I miss offering mine. We forget to ask for help, or we are afraid to, because we don't want to burden our already stressed out friends. Or we don't think that they will find the space in their hearts to care about our problems. But I feel like I have the space, and that it is vacant most of the time. My own worry-space is constantly full, but the space I have for my friends' worries is collecting dust. Perhaps we would all be able to carry our loads better if we shared them with each other. Perhaps we could take some of our friends' burdens and they could take some of ours, and everyone could find their way a little easier. Perhaps our perpetual loneliness is not only a function of our own selfishness but because no one is asking for our help either. I am the kind of person who tries to do everything on my own, without asking for help. But I am also the kind of person who loves to help others. Except that no one is asking for it, and no one is offering to help me. Which leads me to the next question: How do we ask? And how to do we ask to give if no one is asking us?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What is it with my legs?

Helloooo my darling little pumpkin seeds! Isn't everything just so wonderful that you could kiss the world???

Finally, finally, finally, the soul-squelching cold and dark and gray of winter has lifted to reveal blue skies, budding trees, the smell of FLOWERS intermixing with sewage, and the return of...ME WALKING TO WORK! Yes, friends, I have logged, and it's only Wednesday, mind you, a total of 10.5 miles this week! Without hardly breaking a sweat! Do you know how many calories that is? Neither do I! Do you know how many annoying hipsters I haven't had to see (or smell)? Neither do I! Welcome, glorious springtime, welcome welcome welcome to my world!

And tomorrow is supposed to be 70 degrees! I might go to work naked to celebrate.

Or not. Though it may help the "Lizzie needs a promotion so she can afford to live on her own" cause.

Anywho, two things about my walk to work today. Firstly, that I FINALLY broke, and wore, ugh, yes, my running shoes, with, ugh, yes, a skirt. And do you know what happened, friends? Nothing, that's what. My feet walked to work in blissfully arch-supported comfort, and i was nary a scornful look received (i don't know if that made any sense, but whatev. it's my blog, i can write what i want.). IN FACT, I was surprised, yet again (please see blog of last week pertaining to "legs"), by the number of men who saw me walking past and immediately dropped their eyes to my legs to STARE until they were out of my sightline (i have no idea what happened after that). This was accompanied in one instance by a "Mmm, mmm. Good morning, beautiful. Beautiful!" Which i didn't mind, in the least. Though I have to wonder WHOSE LIBIDO IS THAT AWAKE BEFORE 9 AM?? Seriously, I totally get morning sex. No problem. But to actually catcall a woman who is walking TO work in RUNNING SHOES...that takes some serious horniness. in my opinion.

Where was I? Yes, the complete befuddlement of men looking at my legs. I'm just going to blame it on the newly arrived springtime weather which arrived with it the showing of women's appendages that haven't been seen since last October. I mean, if men wore skirts, and then they stopped wearing them in October and they just started wearing them again, I would probably be staring that their legs, too.

Bye babies! More to come!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Boyfriend

Having a boyfriend is so much easier than dating. It makes problem solving exponentially simpler. For example
Q: What am I going to do this weekend?
A: Hang out with the boyfriend.

Q: Who am I going to have sex with?
A: The boyfriend.

Q: Who is going to take me out to dinner?
A: The boyfriend.

Q: Who is going to tell me that they like me just the way I am even if my fat is rolling over the top of my jeans?
A: The boyfriend.

Q: Who is going to help me haul this huge, heavy piece of furniture that i just happened to find on the street that is so nice that it doesn't even matter that i have zero free sqare feet in my place but i have to have it because it's FREEEEEE?
A: The boyfriend (and if you're lucky, one of his friends, leaving you free to supervise).

Q: Who is going to empty the mouse trap with the dead, mangled mouse in it?
A: They boyfriend.

And on and on like that.

Now, when you happen to find yourself in the extremely liberating position of SINGLENESS, the answers to all of those questions in 98% percent of cases become much less enticing. This, of course, is after that stage where you lie to yourself about all of the great things about being single. For instance

Q: What am I going to do this weekend?
A: Lay around in my sweatpants eating Ben and Jerry's and drinking wine because i was dating someone for so long that i no longer have any friends to hang out with.

Q: Who am I going to have sex with?
A: No one. My vibrator. That guy i used to sleep with along time ago, shit, except i lost his number. In that order.

Q: Who is going to take me out to dinner?
A: No one. Yourself. In that order. Which is really the same thing.

Q: Who is going to tell me that they like me just the way I am even if my fat is rolling over the top of my jeans?
A: Maybe the homeless guy on the corner asking for change. Maybe. But probably only if you give him some change.

Q: Who is going to empty the mouse trap with the dead, mangled mouse in it?
A: Oh, God. Oh god. Maybe the roommate will do it. No, no, she won't, she definitely won't. Oh God, I think I'm going to vomit. I cannot believe there are absolutely no men in my life who will do this for me. Oh god. I don't even want to touch it. Oh God.

And on and on like that.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Some things i thought of today

First, that everyone dies of heart failure. I went to Easter dinner at a friend's mom's house somewhere in "this looks a lot like Western Pennsylvania" Long Island, and she is a pediatric ICU nurse who takes care of babies who most likely will die, and she said to me, over dinner, that everyone dies of heart failure. which is true because it's the last thing to go before you die, regardless of why it's going (and where...). But it didn't hit me until today, when i was editing some slides at work (yup, the glories of my job. i know, i know, you wish you were me, but you can't be. because i am.) for a drug that cannot be named because it would probably land me in jail (facetious, i don't really care, but these drug companies are super super anal about their drug names, anywhooo), and it's a drug for something called ACUTE heart failure, which is when heart failure gets really bad. (side note: i always thought that it was weird to call a disease "heart failure" as it implies a one-time deal, as in, my heart failed, and now i'm dead, but no, it's a disease people live with all the time until the LAST time their heart fails. and THEN they're dead.) And THEN, I remembered what my friend's mom said at Easter dinner: Everyone dies of heart failure. And then i started thinking about the relationship between heart failure and a broken heart, and whether there was one, because a friend i was talking to recently said that he didn't want to get into a relationship with a girl he was interested in because he was, (and he didn't come out and say it, but i inferred, and i assume correctly) afraid of her breaking his heart, or him hers. To which i wisely responded: "But it doesn't kill you. Everyone's heart has been broken. And it hurts, but it doesn't kill you. So why don't you just go for it?" But then you have the stories about people who love each other so much that when one partner dies, the other follows closely behind, like with Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. And people like to say that Johnny Cash died of a broken heart because he loved June Carter Cash so much that he didn't want to live if she wasn't living too, but really, he didn't die of a broken heart. He died of heart failure.

I'm thinking about writing a story that explores those concepts a little more deeply. Though, it looks like i might have just done that. Humph. Oh, well.

The second thing I thought today was: "All I need is a baby golden retriever (what are those called? those have a special name? What is it? Oh yeah! Puppy!). All I need is a golden retriever puppy, and i could be in a J.Crew catalog. Well, that and skinny legs." Because i was wearing my new navy sailor mini chino skirt with a blue and white striped button down and a brown cardigan and those brown knee-high riding boots. i was very proud of myself for putting together such a typical and WASPy outfit. I felt like i thoroughly fit in with myself. Also, that it has been a LONG time since men last saw knees and lower thighs. A LONG TIME, friends. In the last 26 years combined, my legs have not had that much attention. If Tom Robbins were to write a book about me (and I hope he does, starring a not nearly as gross older perverted man as in his other books for me to have sex with), it would be titled "Fat Knees and All." No joke.

AND THEN, me and Toya went to a meeting way up on the 7th floor where the executives have their kegs and dancing girls while we minions toil and sweat in the windowless abyss that is the 5th floor (more like toil and shiver, actually, but that's just semantics) to hear a very cute and very nervous Maria Von Trapp look alike (pixie hair cut, ugly jacket) tell us about how we can volunteer at a camp for families affected by AIDS and that the company will LET US HAVE A FREE WEEK OF WORK OFF THAT DOESN'T COUNT TOWARD OUR VACATION. And I was like, "Hmm, be at work...be playing with kids. Be at work...be playing with kids." I believe I will be playing with kids. And also because I want to volunteer to help people who are affected by AIDS. And also because the most beautiful boy i have ever seen in my entire life up to this point including celebrities was sitting in that room today, and do you know what happened, friends, when he opened his mouth? An accent happened, that's what. An Australian accent. And do you know what I did when the meeting lady said "Yes, Jason?" I wrote down his first name on my meeting information sheet so that i could somehow stalk him later with only his first name to go on. And do you know what I did the entire rest of the meeting? I drooled all over my meeting information sheet while i took in his perfectly sculpted jawline and the muscles that bulged oh so subtly through his fatigue-colored button-up. And i said something to Toya, most likely too loudly (because i was titillated AND nervous) like "Kill me now. Or is it 'take me now?'" I AM GOING TO THAT CAMP AND I AM GOING TO STALK THAT BOY AND I AM GOING TO FORCE HIM TO LOVE ME AND MARRY ME AND HAVE MY CHILDREN. All because I want to help families affected by AIDS.

Monday, April 7, 2008

because i've been scolded for not writing

hello my darling macadamia nuts. i apologize for my absence. i've been woefully under-performing on the writing front during the past month or so. i've been in a wound-licking retreat, but hopefully things are all starting to turn around (Bright Eyes, EVERY NOW AND THEN I FALL APAAART...and i need you now, forever...and i need you more than ever, and if you'll only hold me tiiiiight, we'll be holding on forever, we can make it to the end of the line, your love is like a shadow on me all of the time...). sorry. i get carried away. and i make no promises that those are the actual lyrics. i'm one of those people who don't understand what lyrics are saying half the time and just make up my own. i'd love to give you a witty example, but i've been up since 4 am and nothing is making sense, not even my own fingers at this point.

also, i'm realizing that i don't have much to say on a writing-slash-professional level, except that i haven't been, really, and i don't really want to talk about all of my personal problems (and they are feeling pretty overwhelming right about now), so i'm going to sign off, go watch some mind-numbing television, and then read myself to sleep while trying not to think about lovely, glorious, glowing-tipped cigarettes. which i'm off, at the moment, in case anyone asks.

adios and good night.

i apologize for wasting your time.