Saturday, October 17, 2009

What's the frequency, Kenneth?

I'm sure the lady unloading her shopping cart next to me was wishing she could have dialed that frequency up last night at the local checkout. From the look on her overly concerned and puckered face she was surely having a William Tagger moment and wishing she could find the frequency to stop the clairvoyant crazy train from circling her mind. At least she didn't jump me...

But let's back this up a bit. Up until approaching the checkout tonight, this had been one of those weeks. A week that military-marched in with steel-toed boots to kick some ass. Mine, to be exact. However, it was also a week that was supposed to end with an amazing and much-anticipated hug. A sweet warm place returning to tangle and untangle promised arms and traveling yarns. A welcomed light at the end of a dark tunnel, which unfortunately turned out to be the lights of a barreling train. Yes, the combat footwear of this week found clandestine means to kick even those highly-needed opportunities quickly to the side gutter of a raw city street. This war zone of a week slowly and methodically kicked my ass. And instead of finding my own bootstraps to pull myself up by, I just clung to the words and shoulders of others who understood. The week was littered with balls of mascara-stained Kleenex and lots of loud, oscillating swear words, and visits and calls from really great friends. I mean it is so damn dark before the dawn, isn't it? I was reminded of this by a friend's gentle, poignant words. And by the week's unruly events.

My "dawn" was proving to be Friday night. This was a chance to get part of the original week's perfect plans right. To see some great friends and hear great tales of Mr. Ray Davies and guitar capos sung by two of my favorite singers accompanied by one of my favorite drummers. So I pulled my riding boots up over my tights, brushed down my skirt and left for Somerville to salvage the week as I've salvaged many others over the last few years. I stop to grab some wine to go with dinner...

So here I am at the checkout line with the women with the aforementioned worried and puckered brow. The one soon to be called bat shit crazy or clairvoyant, depending on who is retelling this story. I'm third back in the express line holding a bottle of Red Zin and another spicy blend of red with clever marketing that pulled at my silly sensibilities, waiting to pay. I hadn't really even noticed her at this point as I was too busy staring at wall of tabloids and wondering when Jennifer Aniston might ever wear something other than the color grey. I did hear her, however. She had a very loud and concerned voice.

Are you alright? It was sharp. Almost urgent. But I half paid attention because damned if I was going to turn around and have to perform CPR on someone who had stumbled on the checkout floor. Hell no. Not this week. I was on a mission to chase a delicious Zing pizza with copious amounts of red wine and then see some Rapid Shave. So didn't even turn around the second time she half-shouted the words again.

The third time I heard the frantic are you OK I had to look. The guilt was getting to me I guess. With a bottle of red in each tightly wound fist I turned to see what the commotion was. And you know what? It appeared that she was looking at me!

Her very serious eyes never left mine as she reached into her basket to continue to unload her piles of groceries. Are you going to be OK, Miss? she asked me. And she was indeed worried.


I gave her a very half-assed DiNiro impression and ask her "are you talking to me?" Because right now, we have an audience of at least eight. Two girls at the checkout, the baggers, the couple in front of me, and the few single others waiting to cash out their stuff. All eyes volleying between this frenzied woman with willowy grey hair down to her waist and my now very-anxious self.

Yes you, she replies rather seriously. You. You are GRIEVING. You are so very sad and filled with grief and darkness. Your aura. I can feel it. See it. Are you going to be OK? She places a roll of Brawny paper towels on the belt and pauses. Me? Oh how I'm wishing I had an opener for the wine. I feel like I could really benefit from an immediate haul off one of these bottles.

The guy in front of me gives me a wink and then an eye roll towards the woman who has not stopped unloading her cart, nor staring right into me. He's giving me the ol' Holy-shit-dude-that-lady-is-fucking-insane look. The guy is clearly amused. And hell. So am I. But obviously for very different reasons.

Am I wrong she inquires? I don't think I'm wrong, but I could be off today. I see these things you know. And right now I see darkness around your tired heart tonight. I don't think she has blinked since we started our conversation....

I begin to wonder what I must look like to her. Because damn. I'm showered. Makeup is where it belongs vs. running down my cheeks all Tammy Faye horror-like as in the several days prior. Had she seen me Thursday afternoon, well OK. I can understand how she might have been concerned about my aura and shit. The horror of the aura. Seeing me in the middle of one of my Oprah-coined "ugly cries" even gets me a little worried because I soooo hate to cry. It's messy and rarely makes me feel any better. But it's been hours since I had teared up. Damn it. I thought I at least could pass for content tonight. Maybe I need some lipgloss...

She apologizes over the whispers and snickers of the people around us. I tell her it's OK. I tell her she's actually right on the money in many ways. She nods and says she knows. And if I wasn't next in line to ring out and so anxious to get the hell out of New Hampshire and get myself in front of the eyes of good friends, I would have asked her a few more questions. After all, I was rather gobsmacked. (Gobsmacked. What a fucking fantastic gift from our former colonial overlords. I just love that word, by-the-way....) So yup. I'm all gobsmacked because here is this perfect stranger reaching out with such sincere and intense concern. As though she saw and tallied up the events of my week. As though she understood that indeed some days are, as Dean reminded me, so fucking dark right before the dawn. I thought about this my whole ride into Cambridge. This woman. This week.

Suddenly I find myself turning onto Auburn Street. And there is a perfect parking spot waiting directly in front of Shari's place. The wine we share is spicy and amazing and the sweet delivery boy brings us this thin-crust pie with spinach, sweet butternut squash and even sweeter caramelized onions covered with blue cheese. The night unfolds gently and I get to see Kevin and Jason and meet their lovely girlfriends. I hear Mike and John sing sweet harmonies and tell stories and I drink winter ale with Shari. We leave to laugh and act like teenagers, playing Rock Band and KILLING our favorite songs into the wee hours of another morning. This stuff....this inspires the good tears that come now. The ones that acknowledge that even in the midst of rather rough and unpredictable weeks, the sun can and will eventually agree to show her beautiful kind face again. She battles as hard as I to show her happy face. And to kick that very last, very cold, dark hour to the curb.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Site for Sore Eyes...

Latest confession? Internet dating.

This is an overdue post, really. I've been mulling penning about the topic of internet dating for some time. Before diving into the .com dating pool, it seemed like such a very odd and highly embarrassing place to dip my toes. But then I thought, hey now! I'm rather friendly with Little Miss Embarrassment. I've met her on several occasions. In fact, she is the one who tapped me my on the shoulder with a big shit-eating grin a few years back, pointing out that I was one of the last people on the seacoast to know what my husband was up to. And I survived that bit of strange horror, right?

So screw that bitch. I can handle Little Miss Embarrassment's assaults. And just to prove my point, I posted a profile.

Plus...let's face it. I'm a divorced parent of two young children. As I recently wrote to a friend...time flies on her broomstick with witchy, bitchy purpose. She is never around in the manner in which I need her. And guys! Please listen up! I've got Lego Y-wing Starfighters to build and tiny toenails to paint. Since I'm not able to parade around town at my leisure, pen and checklist of unconventionalities in hand to see who might match up, it was.

Just to account has been inactive for a few months. I know that's sad for a few of my co-workers who enjoy perusing profiles for sport. Truth told, I just figured out how to get rid of my actual profile tonight. But not before sending out a *wink* tinted with sarcasm. "Cyberwinks". Nothing says "I have nothing original to say or to offer" quite like a lone cyberwink. (I'm thinking he'll get the snarky joke...)

So for three months I became engrossed in the fascinating, engaging culture of internet dating. In all of my poetic clueless-ness I would open my email box each day and enter the busy little profile playground where boys tossed flirty words and favorite song lyrics at me like rocks to get my attention. Siiiiigh, right? And some were indeed boys. A few just turning 21.

And that's fun to think about for a few minutes, isn't it? Some of those e-mails were my favorites. They went something (well exactly) like this:

Tonyy123: "You look amazing. Beautiful. What is a gorgeous woman like yourself doing on a site like this? You prob have guys lined up down the driveway, don't you ;) ???"

Me: "Well aren't you full of silly, unsuccessful flattery, Tony. FYI I am currently on this site because I'm single after a damn long time. Seems like an option for meeting some interesting people to hang out with. In other words, my driveway is currently open..."

Tonyy123: "So when are you going to let me park my car?? ;)"

Me: "I think you should ask your mom, Tony. She might not appreciate that idea. After all, I think it's quite likely I went to high school with her..."

Tonyy123: "Ha. Good one. i still would tho. Get at me... ;)"

Now, how can you not love that (very) young Tony? After a few glasses of Malbec and a long day at the office, young Tony has some fine entertainment value. Especially mid-week during re-run season.

Internet dating. It serves up lots of dating potentials.

The "mature" kind (ie people much much MUCH older than your dad). I'm not sure if there are enough blue pills or life insurance payoffs to ever get me to go that route. Let's see. You've got the "embryos" (ie people who you could have given birth to). But who, btw, have INSANELY rock-hard abs that make you want to do delicious lines of Pixie Stix off that fab six-pack they're sporting. Since, hey, they are just minutes old enough to drink. And candy is the way to any kid's heart. Alright. I'm feeling a little dirty now....

I cannot forget the happily illusioned "fairytaled & fetished"( ie people who send you pictures of their gilded genitalia). And guys....if you had the *literal* balls to send those to me, please know that I have forwarded them to all of my friends who have not had the pleasure of having you stalk their profiles and send them the same photos. You've been warned...

While I hate to, I will push the jokes to the side for a minute to say this. I have also met some very amazing, smart, witty, beautiful people. I have met uncommon, interesting, and honest men. I think you know who you are. There are some who still correspond with me. Some who I count among my friends. Some who I might count as predators and enemies. And a small few who I have yet to actually meet beyond things analog. Who knows? I might eventually get the chance...

All this unpredictable fun and potential for $60.00? And maybe, just maybe, FTW?

Shhhhhhh. Let a girl enjoy the dulcet tones of her silly .com dreams.