Thursday, September 29, 2011

Something's gotta give

I consider myself to be a fairly peaceful person, a fairly tolerant person, and even when I hear that a Taurus personality can only be pushed so far before they will charge, that happens rarely with me.

But I've had a really tough year. I'd say, the toughest yet of my life. And while I am managing to barely hang on to "positive thoughts", "one door opens", "better days ahead", and all the other self-medicating talk that we give ourselves, I can't honestly say that I haven't been a bit tinged with a little more bitterness, suspicion, scepticism, and doubt. An overall more Grinch like part of my personality is making an appearance. Like a really obnoxious and under dressed party guest, a bit amusing for the first minute or two, but you really want them to leave before all the other guests arrive.

If things hadn't been bad enough, I had to meet with my ex-boyfriend on Tuesday so that he could pick up the remainder of things he had left stored at my house. After 5 very long years of living together and many empty promises and empty vodka bottles later, I had told him to leave. Go home, go back to Maine, be with your family get the help you need, and IF you ever get sober, along with a long list of other "ifs", maybe we can get back together. I couldn't quite shut the door all the way. This was five months ago. Guess that was to big of an "if" list for him to work on so he decided to take an easier route. Last week he had the heartlessness to move in with a new woman, my next door neighbor. The one and the same neighbor who just before he left in April, gave me some "co-dependent no more" books to read. "You have to get him out of your life, you will never get better until he is gone." And she was right about that. I was trying to get better with him gone, while she apparently, and successfully, was trying to get him in her bed. A 3000 mile distance was helping. But he is not gone. Not now. Now he is everywhere. And the worst part, is that I spoke with him just two weeks ago and when asked if he was planning to come out here, he replied "Hell no", and when asked if he was involved with the neighbor, his reply was "Hell no". So as much as I hate to admit it, it did sting a bit (a lot) when I first saw him materialize in the front yard, next door. Like an episode of The Haunting. Now, this could be a novel in itself, but I just wanted to give you a tasting, an appetizer so to speak. Point being, this was just one major thing I was dealing with, affecting my nervous system, making me ready to snap.

Then the next evening, talking on the phone to my sister around 6:00 pm (I'll say that again, 6 pm) and all of a sudden I hear my young neighbors upstairs having sex, again, along with the exaggerated moaning, and I must say, I think she is faking. Nobody is that good. Nobody hits it that far out of the ballpark every time! "Pam, I can't believe it, my neighbors are having sex again!" She couldn't believe it either. I mean 6:00 pm, isn't that dinner time (as in food containing calories)? Oh well, whatever.

I was jumpy all night, my mind not letting me rest, I tried to drown myself in the new fall line up on TV. I got in bed at 10 pm and watched "Revenge" - gotta say, I really like the show and am hopeful that I might learn a thing or two as the season progresses. But in the beginning of the very first episode they showed a quote by Confucius, that went something like this; "Before embarking on a journey of revenge, be sure to dig two graves." Ah, yes, so wise. Okay, I get it. Not a good thing - the Gods will pay all those evil people back in due time. So, note to self; don't be building car bombs or breaking neighbors windows anytime soon. But right as I am getting ready to turn the TV off, retire for the night, I hear the moaning, the squeaking, the ridiculousness of it all coming from directly above me, and this time it is starting to piss me off. I'm moving. That's all I can think. There are a number of reasons that might make you want to leave your apartment, an ex-boyfriend literally just feet away and noisy sex-obsessed neighbors. These two reasons top my list.

I drift off to sleep, finally. It is hot. Covers on, covers off. Constant turning of the pillow, turning on different sides, like a rotisserie chicken. I woke at 5:30 am to my upstairs neighbors alarm clock, which took him awhile to shut off, but then his bodily alarm went off, and they were at it again. Like friggin rabbits. Well, this time I wasn't going to take it lying down. I grabbed the closest thing to me that had a little weight to it and wouldn't break. That happened to be one of my cowboy boots. I stood up on the bed and pounded on the ceiling a few times. I wanted to cry. What a pathetic sight this must be. An overwrought, overtired, getting less and less overweight as the weeks go by, over-sensitive middle aged woman looking absolutely ridiculous. They got quiet for a few minutes, and I got new dents in the ceiling. Fair trade off. I could hear the giggling. I really really hate them right now.

Yes, there are things that you can put up with, but at what cost? I realize there are earplugs, white noise machines, restraining orders, closed blinds, closed hearts, and a large assortment of other "avoidance' type remedies I could try. But why do I have to? Geez, I hope I am not addicted to the drama, to all the good writing "material" that comes my way. I really do believe I want some peace, some quiet nights, some great insulation, a good ex-boyfriendless view outside my window, and a brand new place to call home. I mean, I will always have Starbucks, bad drivers, stupid people, politicians, and many other interesting topics to write about, I just don't want them living on all sides of me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

300 Pins

I should be boarding a plane with Stella, going to get her (and my) groove back, but instead I feel like I am wedged between Thelma and Louise, driving to God only knows where, out of control in a 66 Thunderbird.

I'm headed to Portland today and I've only been driving for about 60 miles. Yet in that short period of time, my mind has traveled round trip through the last 6 years of my life, back and forth, right and left turns, one-way streets, u-turns and dead ends. With over 9 hours of driving left to do, and my back already a little achy, I knew my body could handle it, but what about this mind of mine? Could I actually let it accompany me in the passenger seat? It was already driving me crazy. 10 hours is a long drive when you are dragging along a nagging passenger that you really don't click with, and right now me and my mental state are at odds.

A couple of months ago when I was driving up I-5 heading to Portland, my mind started thinking about my latest and most heart crushing of relationships. I thought about how it had been such a game, a mind game, and one that until now, I didn't realize I was guilty of playing also. I saw an image of myself as bowling pins, my partner of course, the ball. It seemed as if I just kept resetting, letting him have another chance to knock down more pins, eventually get a strike, a perfect game. But I had to accept some responsibility, didn't I? I was the one who kept providing the pins, giving him the opportunity. Just minutes after those thoughts had entered my mind, and I am not embellishing here, I passed a roadside grave marker, it was the typical white cross, but at the base of it someone had set up a small grouping of bowling pins, a ball, flowers and a teddy bear. It blew me away. What a sign if I have ever received a sign. I knew it meant one of two things. Either the relationship would kill me, or the second thought, the relationship itself had to die. I of course preferred the second option.

So as I was driving today, somewhere about two or three hours south of Portland, I was talking on the cell phone to my daughter when I could see the bowling pin grave marker up ahead. I swerved off the interstate to take a photo. Olivia was on the other end of the phone saying "get out of there Mom, that's creepy" - and she was right, it was kind of creepy.

Along with many of my great thoughts, insights and signs that I receive, at first they are revelations, things to be reckoned with, I become empowered with an inner strength and determination that could rival that of a great Olympian athlete. But my weak and shattered heart sometimes just can't make the finish line. It gives up, gives in, disappoints the team, but works like hell just to keep beating. I need to give it a rest. Today, I need to give myself a rest. Let my mind (aka Thelma) go to sleep in the back seat, put my heart (aka Louise) on snooze and I'll wake them both when I reach my destination.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I broke down and finally upgraded my basic LG phone. I kept getting notices that it was time for an upgrade from my carrier, Verizon. I knew I didn't want an IPhone, Blackberry or any other device that would connect me any more than I am already connected. Can't I just make calls and send an occasional text message? I don't need to be alerted when there is a new Facebook post or I've received an email. If anything is that important or anyone really needs to get a hold of me, they can call. Yes, I know, I'm apparently living in the land of the lost, I am almost as extinct as the dinosaur or the Atari game system.

But the pressure is on, I have to get with it, get current. Everyone is texting me. And they are sick of my excuse, "I'm not good at texting, I don't have a keyboard." So I gave in. I got a phone that has a keyboard. It was getting much too difficult with the old phone. This texting is a new phenomenon for me. I have avoided it like a fly should avoid a sticky yellow fly strip. Resistance has always been my modus operandi - my consistent black. And I have been wearing the black arm band of resistance for so long that it has actually faded into more of a shade of dark gray, a slate color. It is hard not to resist change, but Father Change will only let you get by with that kind of attitude for so long and then he forces himself on you. With the strength of a hurricane, now you will see who is boss. And you can bet it isn't you. Change has a way of demanding you show your hand.

Now that I have begun the art of text messaging, I see it is like a good chess game. There is a lot of strategy involved. You don't need to respond or react quickly. In fact, it makes better sense, to stall, rub your chin, squint your eyes and plan your next move with great thought and intelligence. Text messaging, especially when it comes to dealing with relationships, or maybe I should say, troubled or new relationships, seems to be a game, a competition. Carefully analysing the next move. You finely craft your well thought out text and hit the send button, hoping you are conveying the message to the receiver that you actually want to convey.

Then there is the wait. Waiting for the reply. It could come in seconds, maybe hours, the next day or never. But it is a waiting game. You stare at the phone, waiting for the incoming text. And when you hear your sound (mine is like a door bell), you feel a sense of excitement, like years gone by, before caller ID and the phone rang. You were filled with great anticipation as you never knew who was on the other end. Bill collector or boyfriend, oh the suspense!

I hate to admit it, but I am loving my new keyboard. I can actually text real messages, not just a simple TTYL or yes/no response - it is already getting a bit addicting. I had to upgrade my text messaging plan so that I would not go over my measly little 250 message limit this month. Earlier in the week I went to the carwash and while I was seated outside in the waiting area I looked around to see 5 of the 7 people who were also waiting completely involved with their phones. Texting, gaming, checking emails, surfing the web, I'm not sure. My phone was in my hand but I slid it in the side pocket of my purse, not wanting to be one of the masses. The only two people not on their phones were two elderly women. Who, unbelievably, were engrossed in a conversation with each other! A lost art, something sweet and sadly, almost nostalgic about it.

But I've taken the plunge, I am now a texter, and there is no turning back. Another chapter has closed, become history, and who knows what will be next. I think I will try to quit bashing it, especially since I still have bad drivers, Starbucks, and many other subjects to keep me busy. I guess whether we are talking, texting, blogging, tweeting, writing, smiling, smirking, sticking out our tongues, crossing our arms or crossing our legs, that is a good thing. We are communicating, we are sending a message. I just hope that nine times out of ten, I am sending the right one.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Noise Wars

My neighbor is having sex again. It is 2:03 a.m. I first woke at 1:23 am when I thought we were having a small earthquake, seriously.

There are some beautiful things about a 1940's four-plex and there are some beautiful things about men in their late 20's and the women who love them. Insulation and getting to bed early and sleeping quietly through the night are not those things.

When my old neighbor, we will call her "Sally", moved out, I was relieved. She was always complaining about the noise. She commented about how my coffee pot woke her every morning when it beeped once the coffee had finished brewing. I knew it was early, around 5:30, but I couldn't believe that she could hear it, especially because she lived above me. She would occasionally mention that she could hear me walking (even though I always remove my shoes indoors and have area rugs throughout. I basically thought that she was just a whiny bitch who needed something to be unhappy about. So when I spotted the U-haul out in front of the building last May, I can't say I was sad to see her go.

The new neighbor started out like a breath of fresh air. A young man, hardly ever home, and when he was, I would let it slide when it sounded like a herd of elephants upstairs. Oh well, he is young, he is a man, he is loud, and he has a foosball table in his living room. He is in his own home for goodness sake. Give him a break, let him live a little. Then the worst thing happened. He got a girlfriend. A girlfriend who apparently likes a good pair of stiletto heels, or something extra clompy. She, unlike me, loves to keep her shoes on. Day and night.

When the visits first started happening, I thought, hey, everyone has a life. I can deal with a night or heaven forbid, two, a week, being woke to the sound of a squeaking bed, loud Hollywood style (or more like deep throat porn style) moaning. I must say, I have never been one to watch porn or enjoy seeing other's have sex, so when I have to share their experience, it makes me somewhat uncomfortable and frankly, it sounds so animalistic and dare I say, disgusting? Please just let it end.

Now it seems that Linda Lovelace or her sister has moved in. At least on a part-time basis. She has been there at least 4 of the past 6 nights and their lovemaking seems to be getting more frequent. I mean really, their sessions can go on for hours - who has that kind of stamina? I am way too old for this. Sleep has long since trumped sex, especially someone else's sex.

So it is now 2:37 and I thought I would share with you that they are now upstairs having sweet low talk, or I am hoping that is what it is. Please, just cuddle up you two and drift off into dream land. Luckily, I have the day off tomorrow, so I don't mind being up blogging at this hour. But you can be sure that my coffee pot will go off around 5:30 a.m. and if it had a volume control it would most definitely be set on the highest of highs. I am tempted to brew several small pots in a row. And I think just for good measure, instead of slipping on my Ugg boots when I get up very early tomorrow, I will put on my very loud cowboy boots.

Sleep well my little lovebirds.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

My writing has been on the back burner, with all my personal drama and self-inflicted day mares, and when that happens it always causes me to panic. Maybe I'm out of words, out of thoughts to put down on paper, maybe I have nothing left to say, but the most unsettling thing of all, is that after 4 months of my unemployed freedom, I now have a job. Nothing scarier to me. It is that commitment phobia that I have. I always have to remind myself that "nothing is forever", sadly, as I have learned, not even the best things in life. It makes it easier to get through a work week, knowing that life's picture isn't completely painted, it is a work in progress. I can still add a few brush strokes here and there to the canvas. (Yes, I work in an art gallery if you couldn't guess)

I'm not sure where this fear of commitment comes from, but I've always had it. I can commit to a relationship (okay, so they haven't all lasted, but there was a commitment involved), but something as simple as commit to a mattress? I bought a tempurpedic a while back, and when I realized it had a lifetime warranty and that this could possibly be the last mattress of my life, I had to return it. It was just to final. It felt like I had just purchased a cemetery plot, much too end of the line for me. When I hear people say things like, "this is the last house we will ever live in" or "this is the last car I will ever buy", it just sends shivers up then down my spine.

Funny thing, this human nature. We want something, we get something, we want something else, we get something else, but it is never enough, or the "newness" high never lasts long enough to keep us out of our mental shopping mall for long. The contentment we feel is oh so fleeting. When I was unemployed, I was so consumed and worried about when and where I would earn my next dollar that I had a hard time enjoying the freedom that I was temporarily granted. Now with my job, all I can think about is how to finagle some time off, and I've only been there two weeks!

Borrowing from The Smiths, "I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour, but heaven knows I'm miserable now. I was looking for a job and then I found a job, and heaven knows I'm miserable now." Looks like it might be time for a new mindset. I will happily go to work each day and I will drink in (even if that drink is laced with vodka) the possibilities that each new morning can bring. You never know where a day will take you. I just know that I need those days that take me away, somewhere unexpected, somewhere new, somewhere where I can see a road up ahead, one that has a fork in it.

**My sweet Katharina - this blog is for you xo