Of course when that light turned green, I didn’t exactly race after Ben. But I did drive very, very fast. I’m not sure I knew what I was going to do if I caught up to his car; I was just compelled to get closer. The whole way down the road I started rambling about Ben. I didn’t totally forget Luke was with me, but I didn’t seem to care much. By the time I caught up to Ben, he was already speeding onto the freeway and the store I had to visit was on the opposite direction. The excitement that had flooded my veins started to subside seeing him go the other direction but whatever was left was enough to keep me talking about him. I wonder if he’s coming from his parents’ house? I wonder if he saw me? I wonder why he isn’t in the other car…?
When I parked the car outside the next destiation (the party store), a text came in from Ben letting me know he had seen me. That text alert began a conversation. Our conversation carried on as if there had been no pause in our friendship. Sarcastic comments. Playful teasing. Inside jokes.
Luke continued on beside me as I shopped and talked about Ben. Showing no indication he was bothered, I continued to chatter on and read out loud the text messages I was receiving.
Later that night I showed up to my friend’s birthday party with Luke. I made a bee-line for the drinks and tried to socialize. I could feel Luke’s presence hovering over me like a mosquito that I wanted to swat away. I needed to flee. I eventually lost him in the crowd somehow, and I felt the sticky, humid feeling of smothering start to clear. Luke had been with me nearly every day that summer. Every day. But I thought that’s what I wanted? Ben didn’t hang out with me nearly as much as I wanted him to — and I hated it. I wanted someone to be with me every day, didn’t I?
No. I couldn’t handle it. I was getting so sick of it. Sometimes, I just wanted him to GO AWAY. I felt like I had no privacy anymore, no alone time. Was I gravitating towards Ben simply because I was sick of Luke? The only thing I could formulate was that if I did have feelings towards Ben — I shouldn’t be seeing Luke. And if it was really only about feeling smothered by Luke — then I shouldn’t be with Luke.
The more I drank at the party, the more loose my thoughts and emotions were towards Ben in our text message conversation. I explained my frustration with Luke. I told Ben I missed him. Toward the end of the night, Luke had found me again and sat patiently next to me while I continued to text Ben. Eventually it was time to go. I handed my car keys to Luke and had him drive me back home.
Three days later, after discussing the decision with a few close friends and some time alone, I broke things off with Luke.
A year ago I had just started dating a guy whom I thought was what I had been looking for. I’ll call him Luke.
Looks? Good eyes. Asian. Broad-shouldered. Muscles. Nice smile. My ideal type, physically.
Personality? Seemingly good-humored. Silly. But polite.
Boyfriend potential? Does everything I want to do. Takes me everywhere I want to go. Holds my hand and rubs my back and puts his arm around my shoulders when we sit next to each other. The kind that gives extra long looks and smiles like I’m the best thing that’s ever happened. Will go to a rock concert, the ballet, a chick flick, grandma’s 75th birthday party, a hike, or even sit with me while I study if I wanted him to. Doting and willing.
I thought Luke was what I wanted. Mostly because I had just gone through the second or third round of seeing a guy I started dating a year prior who was not like this. I’ll call him Ben.
Looks? White (not my usual). Not as broad-shouldered. Not fat and not skinny, but not very many big muscles. Hardly ever smiles but it’s amazing when he does. Large drug-induced looking pupils, but doesn’t do drugs. Seriously, why are his pupils always so big?
Personality? Sarcastic sense of humor that matches mine, but a little sensitive. Takes jokes too personally. Homebody. Seemingly lazy. Not as polite.
Boyfriend potential? Takes care of people. Stable job. Owns a house (All the things my mother cares about).
When I first started dating Ben I constantly told myself all the ways he was wrong for me. I love to cook. I love cooking things that Ben wouldn’t eat. I can’t date someone who doesn’t eat tomatoes! I LOVE tomatoes! I can’t date someone who is a homebody! I want to go out and do things and experience stuff! I also can’t date someone who doesn’t instinctively want to cuddle and kiss and hold my hand! (It should be obvious by this point I grew up in a very touchy-feely, hug-happy family. Needless to say, I have high expectations about affection. Ben was not smothered by affection from his parents, and is rarely told he is loved by them — a fact that is almost too sad for me to bare.)
In relationships, Ben moves at a mind-numbingly snail pace. I consider myself particularly careful but Ben takes it to a completely different level. After our first 4.5 months of dating and him still not being ready to meet my friends or make us an official couple, I left in a rage. I wanted to be adored, dammit.
I still kept in contact with Ben. We talked nearly every day. Sometimes we would try to work out an FWB relationship. I told myself that Ben was not the guy I wanted to be with, not the guy I liked and would date at every opportunity as a means to not have to think about him if I didn’t have to. I also, admittedly, wanted to find someone so opposite of him to say — this is who you should have been for me! Still, Ben was there with a ride when I had too much to drink on St. Patty’s Day. When I dated guys (the ones I was using to get over Ben) and things wouldn’t work out, I would run sniffling to Ben’s house. He’d let me cuddle up to him and talk about anything that was getting me down. I knew that if the roles were reversed I would not be there for him. I would be jealous and even more resenting. He had always been there, even when I had written him off 234,784 times.
When I started dating Luke was one of those times I decided to *really* write Ben off. The one big moment I had been waiting for. I told him I was dating Luke, so we would not hook up anymore. Wouldn’t see each other anymore. I wouldn’t hang out and chat with him. I wouldn’t spend the workday googlechatting with him. I wouldn’t call him when I needed a ride. I found Luke, and Luke was everything Ben was not and Luke was what I needed. And I let Ben know as many ways as I could how Luke was so much better for me before making my grand exit from the movie I wanted my life to be. Even while dating Luke I secretly wanted Ben to come sweep me away, showing me all that he has changed about himself for me. To give me exactly what I wanted. Me, me, me. Adore me.
On a warm August afternoon after three months of dating and a long day of shopping with Luke, something unexpected happened. Waiting to turn left at a stoplight, a silver Lexus flew down the road in front of us. It was Ben. In an instant, I had completely forgotten about Luke sitting in the passenger seat who had been following me from store to store all day. In the instant that Ben’s car raced through the spectrum of my vision, it was as if a lightbulb went off. I suddenly grew impatient for the light to turn green. Because once it did, all I wanted to do was turn down that road and speed towards Ben.
It all started when my best friend called me a “cunt”.
First of all, that word has to be the most vulgar word of all. And probably the ugliest behind derogatory terms for different races and gays. I hate it. And when one girl calls another girl one? Disgusting. When your best friend (whom you refer to as your life partner) does it? Jaw-dropping.
According to my friend, I had not been there for her enough, especially given her recent breakup. Despite her living in Brooklyn and me in Seattle. In addition to the 3 hour time difference — I work full time, I’m in school full-time, and when I’m not working or in class I’m trying to not be so much of a fatass and spending time running/working out. I’m not trying to make excuses, but honestly I barely have time to squeeze in my friends here, let alone someone not in the state, on the spot.
She then calls me selfish. At first, I’m offended. I’ve been conditioned my entire life to believe that being selfish is probably the worst thing you could be. Sure, 4-year-old me could call my sister a “dickhead” but crying over my own self-pity was absolutely unacceptable. Who cares if I didn’t make the basketball team — I was being SELFISH. The pinball in my head starts rolling before it starts darting around my brain. I go back and forth in my mind of what I’m doing and if it results in selfishness. I’m frantic because, well, I have to find a way to prove I am NOT being selfish.
Until it hits me. It’s true. I am being selfish. But you know what? I come to the conclusion that I think that’s OK. In this case, anyway. There is nothing that I’m not busy doing most of the time that doesn’t contribute to making a better life for myself in some way or another. I go to work to make money, support myself and get myself through school. I go through school to give myself a shot at a better career. I work out because I need to give my body a shot at a better life. I’m not harming anyone, I’m just trying to make myself the best I can be. How am I supposed to help anyone if I’m not at my best?
When I thought about it some more, I came to this conclusion: We are in our twenties. And it’s probably the most “selfish” time in life. Next to when you were a baby and couldn’t eat, shit, or bathe without the assistance of someone, of course.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the first half, maybe three quarters of your 20s are fun, but also pretty shitty. You’re still figuring out exactly who you are, you’re still trying to settle yourself in your career and try to build yourself up into something somewhat upwardly mobile. You’re most likely not married yet and you have no idea when you will be. You’re still trying to figure out what friends to keep around and which not to because some of them cause just as much drama as they did in high school. Your 20s is your time to figure your stuff out for you. No one else. Might as well before you begin taking care of a husband/wife/kids/19 cats/dogs.
Of course this doesn’t mean you’re supposed to neglect everyone in your life who is there for you when you need it. Just like I need work, school, working out, and sleep — I do need my friends. I would carve out time for her if I knew she really needed it. She is one of my best friends and I want her to stay that way until we’re out of this ugly stage.
I guess this was a case of two twenty-somethings having a battle of much-needed selfishness?
You tell me.
We both apologized, by the way.
A few years ago, I went out with a guy that I referred to all my friends as “old cheap guy” (aka OCG). He really wasn’t that old, but I was low in my twenties and he was in his thirties. Until that point, I hadn’t dated anyone with that large of an age gap.
Here is the story of OCG:
We met at Starbucks, and he asked if I wanted to get dinner sometime. He asked me. He was somewhat attractive, kinda skinny for my taste, but I tell myself I could deal with getting to know him. He seemed like a decent guy.
We meet at a sushi place not far from where I live. The conversation is not amazing, but it’s decent. He tells me that his parents want him to replace his car because he’s never going to find a wife if he doesn’t. My response was the age old, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but now looking back I’m sure his parents are very familiar with his cheapness and how it can hinder finding a girl. They apparently started with the car. At the time I am also living with my parents. When I tell him, his response is “where do you take guys?!” I think it’s inappropriate, but maybe I’m just being a prude? Either way, it gives me a “he’s kind of a creep” feeling.
Then the bill comes. I’m not one of those girls who expects the guy to always pay, but in this day-in-age I think the rule of “you ask them out, you pay”, is fair enough. The bill sits there for a while so I start to feel uncomfortable. I eventually tire of seeing it and grab it. He makes no effort to take it from me, even says thank you as I do. Uhhh…you’re welcome? Before we leave I know I probably won’t see him again. He doesn’t even get a hug. (Which he calls me out on later.)
A few days later he again, asks if I want to get dinner. I decline, and his response over his FREE iPOD texting service is “well, that saves me money “. Cheap-o strike #2. I’m definitely not going out with this guy again.
Despite that, we have a shared interest in tennis and I don’t have many friends who do so I decide to keep him as a “friend” who would be up to play. I’ve told him how I feel about him (which is basically only friends) but he still lingers over hanging out, getting a “hug” he thinks he’s owed, and saying a few skeezy comments (most of which, I’ve forgotten).
Cut to present day:
I’m searching for a new place to live (room to rent…because it’s expensive as hell to be single and trying to live in the Seattle area) and I’m scanning Craigslist. I see a posting that looks promising. The rent is decent, utilities are included, the house looks really nice and clean (which is a rare find) and I’d only have to share my bathroom with one other female who would likely be around my age.
So, I inquire about the room. Lo and Behold, OCG is the owner of the house, and also lives in it.
At first, I think that’s a good thing. I know him, he knows me, there is no mystery about who I’ll be moving in with. I remember him being cheap but so far, nothing about that posting seemed cheap (even utilities were included) so I set up a time to meet him. It’s been a few years, maybe he has changed? Maybe he realized that he has a fairly decent engineering job at a prominent northwest aerospace company and does not need to be so cheap?
Nope. Once a cheap, always a cheap.
The moment the fresh meat hits the cast-iron skillet, a loud sizzle erupts in the kitchen. The aroma of grass-fed beef, salt & pepper, and hints of parsley permeate the air above the stove moments later as the steak gets flipped to the other side.
Next to the stove sits Keiki, who will get to eat this steak after it’s finished. Her brown eyes grow wide and her snout climbs as high as it can, her nostrils inhaling in short and quick bursts. She licks her lips in anticipation without moving her body from its seated position.
Once the steak is done, it is placed on a wooden cutting board and quickly sliced into strips. The strips are then transferred to an aluminum dish resting on the counter that bears her name on the outside rim.
The drippings of the steak creep through the bed of kibble that already covers the bottom of the bowl. “We have to let it cool, first,” I say to Keiki, who is looking up at me expectantly.
Keiki is familiar with human food. My niece and nephews are known to smuggle her bite-sized pieces of chicken, bread, and vegetables under the table; she gets a whole bar of stringed cheese when she visits Grandma’s; She gets the fatty pieces of my steak because she enjoys them much more than I ever could; and In the middle of the day when no one is looking, she sometimes heaves her front paws to the counter top and pirates a bag of bread and a stick of butter for an afternoon snack. Despite all this, Keiki has never been able to procure an entire steak to herself. Until now.
Keiki was diagnosed with cancer in her lungs. In her boxer-framed chest is a tumor the size of a baseball. According to the veterinarian, it has already spread in other places including her heart. To add insult to injury, it is untreatable and fast-moving. Keiki’s days of watching over me, letting kids climb all over without a sneer, and collecting crumbs off faces and the ground, are numbered.
Keiki rushes over to me as I attempt to put the bowl down and dives her snout in before it even touches the floor. She manages to devour the entire steak and drippings in seconds, completely ignoring any bit of kibble that isn’t coated. Her tail is wagging wildly about. Right now, she looks happy and healthy.
In a total of three minutes, she has licked her bowl completely clean and is moseying over to attempt to do the same to my face. She instead stops to cough for a few seconds, that cough that seems to garble through her throat, before ultimately resting her head on my lap. Her tail still sways, even slowly, from left to right.
Keiki will spend her last days finally getting to sleep under the covers. She will get to spend her afternoons at her favorite dog park. She will eat things she’s only salivated about until now.
Her gaze fixes on me as I scratch behind her ears (her favorite spot, besides her belly) and I realize: no matter how much I attempt to love and spoil her in her last days, it will never amount to how much she has love and spoiled me.
What I’m Listening to Wednesdays are a lot like the retired “Tunesdays”, except…on a Wednesday!
“Get Gone” – White Arrows
I mentioned yesterday in my show review of White Arrows/The Neighbourhood (but more like just White Arrows) that I really loved…White Arrows. “Really love” in my world means obsessed. Their newest album Dry Land is Not a Myth is playing when I get in my car, it’s loaded on my work computer, my phone, and laptop. Needless to say, I haven’t been without it for the past few days (and when I’m in class, you can bet I’ve got a song of theirs stuck in my head). So of course, when it came to WILT Wednesday there was no doubt who to post. This is one of my favorite songs on the album because it just puts me in such a good mood. You want to move with the song but you’re also totally ingesting all the lyrics. [My take on] The lyrics themselves are a good indication of what most kids are going through in their early twenties; separating themselves from their parents, finding themselves, searching what they want to do or are meant to do, and what they have to go through to accomplish that. To listen to more from White Arrows, just visit their page. Get gone!
First, I was SO sick. I almost resigned myself to staying in bed in my sweats before I decided I would just suck it up and go. If I didn’t, I knew I would regret it. So I do my best to get half-ready and out the door to pick up my friend.
It’s Seattle — so it’s no surprise it’s fucking cold in February. When we drove by the venue and saw the line outside, we groaned and wondered why everyone hadn’t been in yet when we were late. I drove around the same 4 or 5 blocks countless times (with my friend hyperventilating in the passenger seat at Seattle traffic, pedestrians, my driving, the buildings, the sky; Anything she laid eyes on, really.) before finally settling on parking in a pay lot. We decided to wait a few minutes before the creeper lurking around my car trying to pawn off parking stubs went away. We went back and forth about whether we should just say forget it. The final consensus in my head was — I bought the tickets, I got out of bed, I got ready, I drove all the way down here, dealt with dinner drama and Belltown creepers — I was going to this show. Even if this parking space was costing me $20.
When we finally got in the door, we bee-lined it for the bar and each got doubles. I’m not sure if it was the alcohol or it was destined to happen, but my fever started to break right before the show started. Not cool (pun intended).
But honestly, that was where my misery story ended.
White Arrows were the opening act for The Neighbourhood and I have to say it was one of the very rare times that the openers impressed me more than the headliners. Usually I’m barely tolerating the opening bands while I grow more and more impatient for the last band, but I was actually disappointed to see White Arrows go off stage; and no, it wasn’t just because I developed a mega-infatuation with their bassist, Steven Vernet, in less than 2 minutes. White Arrows produces some interesting tunes that can go from electric cacophony into rolling and soft vocals that makes you sway listlessly before the hooks pick you back up to get your toe tapping before you lose it and start dancing. There’s even some element of beach, here (besides the flower shirts). Think: maracas, lummi sticks and tambourines among other things you haven’t seen since elementary school music class. The best part about all of this being seemingly chaotic is that it’s organized so well together somehow. It just feels good, and there’s no better way to describe it. Sometimes Mickey Schiff, the main vocalist, seems to channel a little Dylan in his voice which I can always dig.
Maybe it was the entirely-too-long break in between sets, or maybe it was how much White Arrows rocked, or maybe I was still dreaming about my boyfriend-who-doesn’t-know-it-yet but comparatively, The Neighbourhood was just OK. And I only walked away with two songs that I really liked. As for the White Arrows, I’ve downloaded their still-growing collection (legally, of course) and I’ve got them on repeat.
It wasn’t what I expected, but I’m definitely glad I made it.