Sunday, April 23, 2006

Letters to Liz: October 5, 1995: Part II

Dear Liz,

Will this day never end?? I think I might go stark raving mad. And it’s only noon. I have five more hours, and already sanity is held by the thinnest of threads. Let’s see… I’m tempted at the moment to call Debbie and cancel tonight, but I shouldn’t do that. The remnants of Hurricane Opal are hitting us tonight, though (all the way up here can you believe it??) and we’re going to have winds of 30-40 mph with even stronger gusts accompanied by torrential downpours, and you know how good my night vision is when driving. Plus, it’s almost a two-hour drive. Whine, whine, whine. And Seinfeld is on tonight. And I have my own T.V. on which to watch it.

Let’s see, what would I be babbling about if I were on the phone with you? Probably Matt stuff at the moment. I went over to his apartment last night and read while he and Richard watched baseball. Sounds exciting, eh?? Actually, it was kinda fun. Richard and I continue to get along as far as I can tell. We’ll see… I have a lot of fun with him and Matt. Though Matt is such a psychotic boy. I just can’t figure him out. Last night, before he and Richard went out to get subs, I was teasing him about some silly woven slipper/socks he was wearing. All in jest, he knows I like them. But in the context of our play banter, he says (in a half nasty/half challenging tone of voice) “besides which, do you know who gave them to me? Helen’s parents.” Okay, fine, not a big deal, she broke up with him because he kept yelling out my name in inappropriate moments & Richard and his mother kept going on for years about how much they missed me. But, yeah, I was annoyed. Determined, though, to pretend this is only playful banter, with only a slight ulterior motive, I reply “well, my parents have you more socks on Christmas than you’ve ever received on one occasion.” He laughed a nasty little laugh and said, “I don’t remember that.” I gave him a condensed reminded (one Christmas he spent with us, my parents felt bad that he wouldn’t have as many presents under the tree as everyone else, so they bought him a ton of socks and wrapped them all separately). He gave me a horrid look and said, his voice dripping with condescension. Well you have to understand that I don’t remember anything that happened before 1990; you’re the one who remembers everything. Besides which, do you suppose I still own any of those socks.” Huh?!

So, I’m standing there like a bewildered deer in the headlights wondering how the hell we got this point. Fuming, I went to the bathroom (sometimes my tiny bladder is convenient), took a few deep breaths and went back to say (in a fairly pissy tone, if I must be honest), “Listen I only remember about the socks because you were reminiscing about them last month. I’d forgotten. And I have no idea why you’re so upset. I like your fucking socks.” Matt flashed me that dopey, boyish grin of his and says, “you take me entirely too seriously, besides which, I’m an asshole.” He then proceeds to shower me with a bunch of silly kissed & then leave to get the food.

I don’t know. Anything. I don’t even know why I bore you with these excruciatingly detailed accounts of my life. You are a saint.

You know what my problem is (or one of them, anyway)?? Not that this is a new revelation or anything, but I take everything too seriously. What I just bothered to relate in minute detail wasn’t even a fight, just a tense exchange that happens between people, especially if they’re dating. But I can’t get that through my thick skull. Everything is so damn emblematic & portentous for me. Not to mention thematic. I freaked out over that because of my English degree and superstitious nature. I’m so weird, and consequently doomed to never have a decent relationship. Or even if I ever have a decent relationship, I won’t realize it, I’ll be so busy turning it into a bad novel in my head. I annoy myself.

I probably also annoy you. Sorry about this letter. It’s a rainy day, I wish I was in bed, and I’m in a pissy mood because I didn’t get enough sleep last night (up too late having sex, actually… that’s still great at least.) Is today over yet?


Letters to Liz: October 5, 1995: Part I

Dear Liz,

Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored, bored. Such a charming way to open a letter, don’t you think? It grabs the reader’s attention in an inviting manner, so they are eager to continue reading. You do feel eager, don’t you? This job is driving me crazy, and as you well know, I need no help at all with insanity; I generate it perfectly well without any outside assistance. All I do is sit here and panic. I’ve got to figure out a way to study for the GRE while at work, but sitting and reading a book is frowned upon. If ever in my life I am in a position to hire a temp, or even a full time employee for an excruciatingly boring job, I will encourage them to read or entertain themselves in whatever manner they choose as long as it doesn’t violate any laws or interfere with their responsibilities. I would be such an enlightened employer, though my lack of business acumen would inevitably result in bankruptcy and layoffs, so my employees would end up hating me anyway. You just can’t win.

Well, guess what I’m doing this weekend? I’m going to see Rich get married. But wait! I think I did mention that to you already. Well, you must have been able to guess pretty easily then. I’m really excited about seeing him. It’s kinda scary, though, he’s my first friend to get married. Pretty soon, you’ll all start getting married until I’m the only one left, doomed to be the perennial spinster. Excuse me, the perennial spinster-temp, who never got a PhD because she was a loser and failed the GRE. Egads. Egads. Egads. What’s a poor idiot to do?

Well, Debbie came into town. Last Saturday. Was supposed to call me Saturday or Sunday. Called last night (Wednesday). I was so pissed. Can you imagine if I’d pulled a stunt like that? I was vacillating all week between being worried and angry, and now I’m just angry. I did yell at her, though. She was babbling on as if everything was fine, and I interrupted her and told her if she ever pulled anything like that again, I’d kill her. I think she might have shit a brick, she was so shocked. I mean we all know what a milquetoast I am. My friends completely control me and walk all over me and it take strong people like Debbie to get me out of messes. Can you see how I’m rolling my eyes?

Don’t get me wrong. I definitely appreciate her wisdom and advice. Well, not always the advice - you know she seriously thinks I’ll be married to Matt within a year, and doesn’t at all understand how ludicrous that is. I’ve tried to explain otherwise, but she won’t listen and I’m getting sick of her assumptions about Matt and how I feel about him. Example: last night on the phone I was telling her that I got a T.V. and said something casually about wanting my own so as not to have to rely on Matt to see shows I liked, or assume that I’d always be welcome to show up at his place if something was on that I wanted to see. She says to me, in all seriousness, “that’s ridiculous. You’ll be married to him soon, of course you can go over there anytime you want and watch T.V.” It matters not if I talk til I’m blue in the face trying to convince her otherwise. I’ve noticed she simply does not register things she doesn’t agree with. I love and value her in so many ways, but Liz, she’s driving me fucking batty. I hope this doesn’t sound too whiny or pathetic, but I just want friends who accept me as I am and don’t try to mold me in their own image, or their image of how I should be.

You know, I am just dying to hear from you. I keep trying to imagine where you are. Let’s see, you’re probably still a day away, unless you have been keeping a truly grueling pace, in which case, you’re already there. What’s it like? How was the drive? You’d better call me soon. I’m still being pretty good in regards to Matt, but it’s all in vain, because I will be single again soon enough (which really puts a crimp in the wedding plans, eh?) Let me start a new paragraph.

Welcome to the new paragraph. Anyway, he’s having a bit of a nervous breakdown. Actually, that’s something of an understatement. He submitted his two-week notice on Monday and thinks if he quits his job he will jumpstart his life and get out of the lethargic rut he finds himself in (sound familiar yet???) Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing; he’s really miserable with his job and what he’s doing with his life and I think it’s a good decision. But he wants to do something radically new with himself, find a new self, who knows. And, one way or the other, I think I’ll be out of the picture. He’s been so moody and withdrawn, and kind of cold the last few days. He’s only confiding a bare minimum to me, even though he’s obviously upset, and spends the majority of time talking all this over with Richard. I guess I’m kinda hurt he’s not turning to me. I feel shut-out and rejected (read the last sentence in an overly exaggerated operatic wail as I begin to make fun of myself and my penchant for dating guys with serious problems whether it be criminal psychosis, chronic asshole-ishness & immaturity, or a perpetual state of identity crisis.) It must be me. As I’m sure you remember, this was one of the primary reasons we broke up last time -- Matt was in the grips of another identity crisis that has too many creepy parallels to the current one. It’s just all too familiar, and what kills me is he’s been perfectly normal, satisfied with his lot in life for the last 4 or 5 years, basically since about the time we broke up. Re-enter moi into his life and suddenly he’s in a soul-searching crisis. Do the pheromones I exude cause men to go insane? Or is it some magical power over which I have no control? A karmic curse resulting from past lives filled with evil behavior towards men?

After this one reaches its inevitable messy and painful conclusion, I AM entering a convent. Really. I’m serious this time.

Overall, though, I’m still deliriously happy with my lot in life. (Well, maybe not deliriously happy, but at least generally content.) I wish you could see my apartment, it’s looking wonderful. Did I tell you about the bookcases I made? They’re the old standard: cinderblocks and pine boards, but I sanded and stained them, then painted the blocks a nice antique white. They really look good if I may be so immodest. I also have a bunch of plants and a cool new lamp and other stuff I won’t bore you with. I think I will be happy here, and hopefully I’ll be able to save up enough money to come see you. Get a job at an airline, will you?? I occasionally get awfully morose over how far away you are. How will I cope, now that you’re not a roadtrip away??? I need to win the lottery.

So, what was the drive like? God, it must have been so exciting, driving all the way west. And how did it go with Mark meeting your folks? Was he on his best behavior? How did Bob take the meeting? How are your nerves? Have you recovered yet? And I still haven’t heard about Mark’s family. This is driving me crazy! (Cue Patsy Cline… I’ve been listening to her a lot. I’m become a country music fan, aren’t I? I should probably kill myself on principle.)

Well, I’ll go for now, but perhaps I will write you more later today. It’s going to be a long, slow day.


Letters to Liz: An Introduction

Clearly, I am a sorry excuse for a blogger. I just went to log in and couldn’t remember my correct user name. I had to look it up. Pathetic.

And while there may well be more frequent posts from me, the pathetic theme well continues: my current plan is to post things I wrote years ago. Once upon a time, I was a frequent journaler. As I left school and ventured into the “real” world, I left it behind. I’m not sure if this was a casual event or coincidence. Maybe I’ll explore that one day. With a creepy, regression hypnotist!

Anyway, what I wrote instead were terribly long letters to my childhood best friend. Cleverly, I typed these on the computer so that I would look industrious - I was working as a legal secretary and generally bored out of my mind. One day it occurred to me that these letters had become my substitute for journaling, and I started printing these out. I’d completely forgotten about them until I discovered them during my recent move.

Reading them was surreal. I was bored enough to be ridiculously detailed about my life, so these letters provide a shiny, clean window into my past, far more than my failing memory can provide. I got the idea to type them up as a nostalgic archival task; I’m lucky to still have these since not losing things is hardly a strength of mine. Then I got the idea to “archive” them in my blog. I then dismissed it as entirely too self indulgent. But a wise friend of mine pointed out that blogging is, by definition completely self-indulgent. So, I figured what the hell.

For some reference, I’d just moved to Pittsburgh - for love. It wasn’t such a good decision, though it was a wonderful time in many ways. I was there for almost a year, immediately before I went to grad school. This was the second time, of three, that I broke up with Matt. The karmic burden I bear for breaking his heart three times over the course of a decade ensures it will be a couple more lifetimes before I find love. Heh. Liz had just moved to Portland, OR (she was always, and still is, much cooler than I am) with her boyfriend Mark.

Also? I'm so young and immature and just overly obsessed by inconsequential things. There's not a small amount of self-involvement, too. It was a happy relief to see that (while still very flawed and myriad & inventive ways), I'm have progressed somewhat in my life. If nothing else, I have much more perspective and am not as easily bothered by silly minutiae or that which I cannot control.

Liz remains my soulmate and best friend. In fact, she’s visiting and sitting across the room from me as I force her to watch Firefly. Given my dictatorial ways around books, movies and TV, and the excruciatingly long letters I once subjected her to, it’s a wonder we are still friends.

But, without further ado, Letters to Liz.