Archive | June, 2015

I Brought A Book To A Party

30 Jun

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Two years ago I visited Rob on the Cape for the first time.  I met his college friends, boys I instantly liked and instantly beat at Mario Kart.  I tried my first oyster and sat on my first sailboat and I brought a book to a party.

To be fair, it was the second night of an all-weekend party.

The first night was fairly miserable, as to be expected of parties.  Rob’s friends and I lolled around, pretending to talk to other people before we huddled in a group outside and talked about how much we hated parties.

That bit was actually pretty fun.

I couldn’t believe it when the next night his friends all got dressed and ready for another round.

“Wait, what?” I said.  “All we talked about last night was wanting to be home playing Nintendo and eating cheesecake and now we are purposefully putting ourselves back into that same situation?  What is wrong with you? What is wrong with all of you?”

No one had a good answer.

Soon I was back at the party.

I was prepared this time, though.  I brought a book for the journey.  If I was going to be stuck in some fabulous home in some fabulous town, at least I would have something to entertain me.

“See you, boys,” I said and headed into the empty dining room.  I turned on the lamp and opened my book.

Before I knew it, one of Rob’s friends was standing by me.

“Whatcha reading?” he asked.

“Go party,” I said.

Another friend came up.  “So, what’s up?” he said.

“Is this really happening?” I said.

One by one, all of Rob’s friends joined me in the dining room by the lamp.

“Excellent!” I said.  “Now I will drive us all home where we can continue this conversation.”

No one moved.

In fact, they actively resisted my moving.

“All right then, let’s take this nightmare on the road!” I said.

No one moved again.

They did move when the party continued at a nearby bar.  Sluggishly, well behind the rest of the group, we walked towards town.  “I don’t even want to make it,” they said.

“Why are we going then?” I asked.

“This is so boring,” they said.

“I AM OFFERING YOU A RIDE HOME!” I said.

Hours later we made it back to Rob’s house.

We played Nintendo and ate cheesecake.

“Remember when you brought a book to a party?” they said.

They laughed.

Addicted to Fresh Starts

11 Jun

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I’m feeling restless again.

I almost said I’m feeling restless (period), but that’s surely not true.  Just because I can’t remember a time when I was feeling like this doesn’t mean it didn’t exist.

I’m restless because things are calm.  I don’t know how to do calm things.

I’m learning, slowly, how to do calm relationships.

I find myself trying to create excitement and change in my life, constantly.

There’s a trick, I think, to embracing the calm.

A trick to saying, here’s my circumstances, I’m making the most of them.

I’m addicted to fresh starts.

I realize this about myself.

I’m addicted to the idea of a new beginning–a new job, a new apartment, a new roommate–all of these things are going to kickstart some new change in my life.  These things are going to be the deciding factor, after which all of the things I’ve planned on doing and becoming will begin.

I know this is not true.

And yet I yearn for fresh starts.

I tried to make a list of summer things I want to do in LA this year.

The list was short and boring.  Have I done everything I want to do in LA?  Am I over LA?  Where’s next?

Or is there not a next?  Is this part of life, the calm part?

It’s easy to reach for the next thing.  This work promotion, this weekend, this retreat will change it all.

There will be some Big Break.

I know this is not the case.

There are two options for changing your life, really, when you boil it all down to the basics.

You can make some dramatic change.  Quit your social work career.  Move away from London.

Or you can say, this is my life right now.  I can’t/don’t want to/won’t change something major, so this is what I’m working with.  What do I do next?

I’ve done both.  In some ways the second one is harder than the first.  The first is more tangible.

Put in your notice.

Book a plane ticket.

The second one is the day-to-day stuff.

I get bored.

This is what I’m realizing.

I get bored with day-to-day.  I’m constantly craving stimulation and excitement.

I’ve lived, in the past, for the rollercoaster of a relationship, the breathlessness of the beginning, the peaks and falls of the fighting.  When you’re in a dysfunctional relationship all you get is stimulation.

It changes how you respond to things.

I need overstimulation.

I crave it and seek it.

I am restless and a new job and a new city and a new life is not the answer.

I don’t think.

I am restless and now I must take a deep breath, I must go after the dreams that are still far away, and I must make the best of what my life is.

But I am restless.

The Best Meal I Ever Had

8 Jun

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Inspired by this beautiful piece

 

The best meal I ever had was in Rome

A plate full of buttery pasta

A server named Romeo

Kiss me!  Romeo asked each of my friends

No!  We said, in turn

We walked home on dewy cobblestone streets

We giggled

I should have kissed him

 

The best meal I ever had was a greasy pizza

Pepperoni

Cheese

No frills

Eaten in the front seat of Caitlin’s Barbie car the first week we hung out

A pizza she bought because I was sick from fair rides

A pizza that made us friends

 

The best meal I ever had was a burger

In Rob’s Cape Cod house

Truffle glaze and onions

Brie stuffed patties

Me in a short white dress

The dress he saw me in and couldn’t speak

 

The best meal I ever had was a pan of hot no bake cookies

The good kind with chunky peanut butter

And a bit too much vanilla

A pan with my wild, silly high school friends

A pan with six spoons

 

The best meal I ever had was a lasagna

With creamy sauce

And sausage

A lasagna before a watching of Sound of Music

A lasagna before a moving to London

 

The best meal I ever had was a Greek plate in Carmel

Yogurt and hummus, gyros and rice

An owner who played the mandolin

A boy who I loved

Celebrating our one-year anniversary

Sharing plates

Sharing lives

Last Night I Dreamt Of Joni Mitchell

2 Jun

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Last night I dreamt I met Joni Mitchell again.

We were in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the tiny artist’s colony up north.  The town with the white sand beach and the fairytale cottages and the 100 art galleries.  The town where Robert and I spent our one-year anniversary.

Joni was wearing a jumpsuit when I first saw her.  Teal, navy and seafoam blocks made patterns across her legs.  The material was polyester, the pants flared.  She wore fuzzy socks with her black Birkenstocks.

That was because of me, surely, for I have learned the only way to wear Birkenstocks is with a flamboyant pair of fuzzy socks.

Joni gave a concert by the side of a stream.  In the middle of tall, yellowed grasses and matted, tangled weeds she sat down and pulled out a guitar.  She talked to us, those waiting eagerly to hear her sing.  Her speaking voice was very specific, about as unique as her singing voice–hesitant and warbly, soft and high.

I can’t remember ever dreaming so specifically about a voice.

She sang for us by the banks of that river, the one that reminds me of the river by my home in Utah.

My worlds all melded together for Joni.

When she was done singing, she and I headed back to Carmel.  We didn’t speak about it, but soon we were running as fast as our feet could carry us, running through dense forest and foggy skies and smoky air.

Running through the smells of Carmel, the ones Robert says he found in a tea.  “It tastes like Carmel,” he says, handing me a bag.

Joni was strong and fast.  I tried to ask her about living in Carmel, about what she thought about Big Sur.  Her answers were brief, said to end the conversation.

I marveled at the strength of her legs, the pitch of her voice.  I marveled at the rocky cliffs to our right, jutting into dangerous waters.

When we got to town we headed to a restaurant.  Joni stood separate from me, up on a slight grassy hill.  I sat under a twinkle-lit terrace with the other customers.

Joni told the owner that she wouldn’t pay, she would simply do her own dishes, and that she didn’t want dessert, she simply wanted a little brown sugar on the bottom of her peaches.

We didn’t speak again, Joni and I.  I just watched her on her hill, in her wild outfit and her wild socks, with her abnormally strong legs and her soft, recognizable voice.

She didn’t look at me again.