Thursday, December 30, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
There were undoubtedly more outrageously clever and cutting lyrics but I can't remember them now.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
But the liberated, swaggering, field-hockey scholarship female VP of my department, who never met clogs or ugly shoes she did not like, averted her eyes when she saw me at the coffee station. We chatted for a few minutes, probably about how she had spent the weekend cleaning her house even though she had a stay at home husband and two teenage daughters - but the maid had quit! what was she supposed to do? - and not once did she say, "Wow! That's quite a shiner! How does the other guy look?"
Nope. She looked at the floor, behind me, over my head, everywhere but at my HUGE BLACK EYE while she was talking to me.
Even if she thought that a boyfriend had beat me up, shouldn't she have said, "You know, you can get help. You don't have to stay in an abusive relationship?" [Not quite sure where to put that question mark. The whole sentence is a question but the latter phrase is a statement.]
Now the story:
Friday night, I wake up to use the bathroom. The next thing I know, I am lying on the floor by the window. The first thought that flashes through my mind disgusts me because it is such a cliché, but I think, "Where am I?"
Really. Can't I be more original than that?
I am dizzy and nauseated and my head hurts and my hip hurts. As I pull myself up, I realize that I must have fallen, my left cheekbone striking the windowsill as I fell. I must have landed on my left hip. My neck must have snapped when my head hit, because those muscles hurt. I could have put my eye out!
I make it back into bed and do not sleep well the rest of the night. The next morning, I have a red patch on my cheek and a little swelling, but it doesn't look so bad. My hip hurts, but not badly enough to be an excuse not to run. I run six miles.
When I get home, I notice that my eye is starting to turn lavender. As the day wears on, my eye and my cheek get puffier and more colorful. I hold a bag of frozen cranberries to my cheek in hopes of preventing further discoloration, but to no avail. I keep my sunglasses on when I go to the grocery store and the library. I don't want anyone to think my nonexistent boyfriend beat me up. I would never take physical abuse. Just emotional.
I wonder what happened. I don't remember falling. Did I pass out and then fall? Did I just slip? If I had slipped, wouldn't I have felt myself fall and stopped it?
I must have passed out. But why? Maybe I have a brain tumor. It could be a tumor!
Hmm. If it's a brain tumor, I could have one of those non-disfiguring terminal Hollywood diseases. In the movies, any time anyone gets a terminal disease, she just becomes more beautiful and luminous as she dies, inspiring everyone with her bravery. No one ever looks bad in the movies, no matter what. They obviously don't know what chemo is really like.
Anyhow. What if I have a brain tumor and am going to die? Maybe I could get Ted [not Primo's half-brother Ted but a different Ted, whom I should re-name and maybe I did, but now I can't remember] back. He would hear the news (how? I need to figure this part out) and realize that he did indeed love me and we didn't have much time. He would rush to my side, beg my forgiveness and ask to remain with me until the end.
I would torture him for a little while, of course, but not too long. He deserves some punishment, after all. But then I would relent and take him back and we would live happily ever after.
Until I died six months later.
This is where the fantasy needs some work.
When I go to church on Sunday, my eye is still colorful. I tell everyone I got in a fight. That afternoon, I go to some open houses. After ten minutes with one realtor, who keeps looking at me sideways, she looks at my eye and says, "My ex used to beat me, too."
"I fell!" I tell her.
"It looks like you fell into someone's fist!" she replies.
"I promise, I fell," I say.
"Oh, honey," she sighs. "My ex-husband used to beat me. I know. I know."
"I don't even have a boyfriend!" I protest, but she is unswayed and proceeds to tell me the story of her second marriage and her drug-abusing, wife-beating, philandering surgeon husband. The first husband opened a strip joint nine years into their marriage.
"After that second divorce -- which I got nine months after I got married, which is really embarrassing -- I decided I wanted nothing to do with men for a long, long time," she finishes.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Now all we have to worry about is if she asks Primo if I am on FB. I am telling him to lie. He is all "the end justifies the means" (that's what his political arguments always reduce to), so this should not bother him.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Me: What do you mean, "talked into?"
Primo: They're going to Stephanie's for Christmas.
Me: They didn't want to spend Christmas day with their grandchildren?
Primo: I guess not.
Me: So they think they are doing Stephanie a favor* by going to her house for Christmas?
Primo: Apparently. They think they are doing the kids a favor.
Me: Because the kids really want to be with them?**
Primo: Oh yeah.
* After years of whining about having to host Christmas at their house and not wanting to do it because it's too much trouble, which it can be, as we who have hosted a dinner party at our house know. But they don't want to go to Stephanie's, either, because that is also a huge huge hassle. You know. To drive 15 minutes to someone else's house for a meal. Oh the humanity.
** The kids' dad, Jack, told Sly and Doris that the kids don't like spending time with them because they are so critical. [See: Sly criticizes Maria for saying "exTRACT" instead of "EXtract," even though 1. she did say "EXtract" and 2. everyone would have understood her even if she had said "exTRACT" because who makes pizelles with lemon exTRACT?]
Jack had just had dental surgery and was not in compos mentis when he blurted out the truth. Sly and Doris were livid and sent several emails to Jack telling him he was wrong. They also involved everyone else in the family, because that is their way. They still have not gotten the real answer about the kids. As in, it can't possibly be that the kids don't like being around them. It has to be something else. Has to.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
My answering machine light is blinking. I listen as I put away the dishes in the drying rack. The recording is bad - cheap answering machine - and I have a hard time making out the words. It is the voice I recognize first.
It’s Ted. After nine months.
I press ‘play’ over and over. I can’t believe what I am hearing. What is going on? Why is he calling?
At work, I interrogate my male friends about the meaning of the call. Leigh thinks maybe it is just what it appears to be -- a call about a house.
Don echoes the sentiment. “That’s so lame,” he says. “He wants to see you again. Tell him to go to hell.”
Lenore says to send him an email that I have already bought a house. Jerry disagrees, saying that I need to leave a phone message so Ted can hear the tone of my voice and know that I am receptive.
Three days later, I leave him a message at him. “Thanks for your call about the house, but I bought a house in May. It’s at 1644 Oak. Come by for the grand tour sometime,” I say.
Days go by and I hear nothing. Whatever, I think, to the world, but inside I am disappointed. [Despite all the evidence to his jerkiness - how pathetic is that?]
In the mean time, I run by the house he told me about. It is right across the street from his grandmother’s house, a few blocks from mine.
Six days later -- Saturday -- at 7:00 in the evening, he calls. “Sorry it took me so long to call back,” he says. “I didn’t get your message until late last night when I went by my mom and dad’s. I’ve moved into my grandmother’s house.”
Even though I know full where the house is, I play dumb. “Where is it?” I ask.
“Right across from the house I told you about,” he tells me.
My heart flutters. He wants me to buy the house by where he is living! But I am cool, calm.
We chat, although I am chatting on eggshells. I keep waiting for him to say something about how he was such an idiot and such a jerk and can I forgive him and will I give him a second chance. [Not that I should!]
But he doesn’t. We talk for two hours about random stuff. Thinking of things to talk about has never been an issue for us.
Finally, he says he has to go. “Let me give you the phone number here so you can reach me,” he offers.
I am silent for a few seconds. Finally, I say, “If you want to talk to me, you can call me.”
“I thought that’s what I just did,” he says.
“Last January, you made it pretty clear that you never wanted to speak to me again,” I say.
“I never said I didn’t want to speak to you again,” he answers.
“Whatever,” I say. “I would love to talk to you. I would love to see you. I think it would be really good for us to talk. But I am not going to call you. If you want to talk to me, you will have to call me.”
See how I finally got some sense? Will you lose more respect for me if I tell you that I was still disappointed that he didn't call again?
I called and asked if he wanted to come over to cook dinner the next night. I warned him that this was to be a platonic evening -- he had been pushing his own boundaries and I was tired of being the police. After all, he was the one who wanted this stupid "just friends" thing, not me.
We flirted on the phone. I told him I needed to go, that I was meeting somebody at the wine bar. "Be careful not to get too many irons in the fire," he told me. "You might get burned."
I told him I would be happy just to see a fire.
"There are some fires you can't see," he assured me. [Oh brother. I can't believe I bought this crap.]
The first thing he did when he arrived was kiss me. I was happy -- perhaps he had finally overcome the "friends" thing and was ready to admit there was more between us than platonic feelings. We made ravioli and drank wine and talked and laughed. When we were not rolling out the pasta dough or boiling the ravioli, we kissed.
I was not sure where the boundaries were. He kissed me first. As he was rolling out pasta dough, I kissed the back of his neck. I got no response and complained about it.
OK. I decided to play not so nice. The next time I kissed him, I got the response I wanted. He started it. He gave me permission. That's how I look at it.
I lit candles. He looked at me and said, "You are beautiful by candlelight."
He said some really romantic things that I cannot bring myself to repeat here, but if I ever write a memoir, I will print because then it will be for money.
He didn't call back. I wrote him a great letter telling him I really didn’t think he thought I was dishonest and that the real issue here was the intimacy and that it scared him.
On the back of the envelope, I wrote indignantly "If I were guilty of premeditation, don't you think I would have had on fancier underwear?"
He never responded and I was left reeling.
All I could think was, "If we hadn't slept together, I would still get to talk to him. It is my fault!"
Monday, November 1, 2010
Ted left me a message he had gotten some really good chocolate that he needed to share with me. I left him a message that he should bring it over to my house, if he wasn't too scared to be around me. I told him that the main reason I exercise is so that I can eat chocolate. His message back to me was this: "To me, you are sexy with or without the gym, with or without chocolate. You are the one who mentioned exercising, not me."
But he never brought me the chocolate. And we still were NOT DATING.
I didn't respond. I couldn't figure out why he is talking like this if he was the one who wanted us to be 'just friends' for now. [Now I understand completely. He is a manipulative jerk.]
I mentioned that I was taking off work early and going to a movie. He said that he could meet me there. My heart raced. I hadn't seen him in three weeks. We agreed to meet at the theater.
When I got there, he was on the phone. When he was done, he walked over to me, stopping just inches away from me. He looked into my eyes, smiled and said, "You are indeed captivating." [It's like he got his dialogue from a Harlequin Romance.]
When we were in our seats, he asked if I want a mint. I nodded yes, and he took one, placed it between his lips, leaned over, and kissed me, passing the mint to me. It was a dizzying, swirling kiss, full of promise. We spent the entire movie kissing. He whispered, "You are so beautiful and smart and funny and sexy." [Harlequin.]
When the movie ended, we put our intertwined limbs back in their public places and waited for the theater to empty. As soon as everyone else was gone, we kissed again until the attendant entered to clean. We walked out reluctantly, stopping at every corner and hidden space to embrace. At my car, he hugged and kissed me, but I was too cold to enjoy it, so we moved into the car and kissed some more until the windows steamed up. I finally, reluctantly had to leave as I had made other plans for the rest of the evening.
When I got home, I found a message on my machine telling me what a wonderful time he had and how he was not going to be able to stop thinking about me.
But we were NOT DATING.
"She has good taste," I said.
"I've tried to get across the idea that I'm not interested in her, but she's unconvinced."
"What does this have to do with me?" I asked.
"Maybe if you're there, she'll give up."
I laughed. "Sorry. I have other plans for tonight. You're on your own."
Later, I left him a message. "I've thought about it. Having me there would make her even more determined. Some women are into competition. It's not enough to win the guy -- you have to take him from someone else."
When I got home, I found a message from him. "I disagree. If she could see how very attracted we are to each other -- how hot we make each other -- she would realize that her efforts are futile."
But remember - he told me we could not have a dating relationship.
He had walked me to my car and we were standing there with that wonderful tension you have before you kiss someone for the first time. This tension had been present every time we had seen each other the past few weeks but he had never acted on it. I couldn't stand it anymore and blurted, "Are you going to kiss me or not?"
He said, "I want to kiss you. I've thought about it a lot. But we need to have a conversation first."
"OK, so talk," I said.
"Not here. When we get back home."
Thinking he was going to tell me something like he moved back in with his parents after the divorce and until he completed his residency -- which I already had figured out -- I said "OK" and stepped away from him and toward the car.
And he kissed me. We ended up sitting in the back seat of the car, kissing and talking. I hadn't done that since I was in college. Appropriate that I was back in one of the same parking lots I used to visit with my college boyfriend. We talked until 2:00 a.m. He said, "I've been attracted to you for a long time."
"Oh -- since we first met at that alumni thing last month," I said.
"No. Since we started talking on the phone in August."
"But you hadn't seen me yet," I protested.
He leaned over, caressed my cheek and whispered, "But we had spoken. How could I not be drawn to you?" [Tell me you wouldn't have fallen hard for a line like that.]
He said, "That evening, when we met in the airport, when I saw you walking toward me, you were so beautiful. But you had been so casual in your messages -- 'maybe' you would meet me there!"
"I was playing it cool," I explained.
"Why?" he asked. [Because I didn't trust you and in retrospect, I was right.]
He had already turned my stomach into knots that evening. When I got to the Class of '85 reunion dinner, I saw him standing at the bar. None of my college roommates were going to the dinner and I had no one to sit with. I walked over to him. He looked at me and said -- and this is the first time a man had ever said this to me in my life, "You are gorgeous." Up to then, I had not known what his feelings were about me. We had talked a lot, but had not been out on a date and I didn't know if he was attracted to me. I have lots of men friends who are nothing more than friends; he could easily have been one of those.
He looked into my eyes and said, "You are gorgeous" and I couldn't catch my breath.
"So are you," I whispered, and it was the truth. He was smart, he was articulate, he was passionate. [He was also manipulative and a liar and nothing was ever his fault, but whatever.]
At dinner, we sat together. I didn't know anyone else at the table [except Sam and his wife, but yeah yeah yeah. Primo was there as well but I had not met him yet. Sam probably introduced us but the wedding ring on his finger made him dead to me], but didn't mind talking just to Ted. I took off my glasses and laid them on the table.
"Why don't you wear your glasses?" he asked.
I considered telling him a lie: that they hurt my ears or nose. But I told the truth. "Because I'm vain," I admitted.
He looked at me intently. "You are beautiful with or without your glasses," he said firmly.
"You're probably going to need a new cord put on," he sighed.
I stared to say, "Yeah, but I can do that," but then I caught myself. I have read Men Are from Mars, Women Are From Venus and now know the rule is that men like to rescue women. True, opening recalcitrant attic doors is not exactly slaying dragons, but it's better than nothing. By the time a woman is 37 years old, she had better have learned to take care of herself. But it doesn't hurt to play the game.
"Yes," I said, trying to be coy but probably failing miserably. Down to earth Texas girls don't do coy well. Helpless and clinging are even further away from my lexicon. I stuck with a simple "yes" and hoped that did the trick.
He came over that night and we cooked risotto. When I got out a chunk of parmesan to grate, I realized it wouldn't fit into the rotary grater my mom sent for my birthday. Ted looked at me and said, "You have to cut a chunk of it off."
I turned to him, surprised. "You don't know that's what I was thinking!" I said.
"Yes, I did," he assured me.
Later, I was refilling our water glasses. I didn't remember which is which. He looked at me, then said, "Mine is the one on the right."
"How on earth did you know what I was thinking?" I asked.
"All I have to do is look at your face and I know exactly what's in your mind. You and I think exactly alike," he answered.
While we were cooking, I asked him about his job. How did he avoid being overwhelmed? He told me that he had had to learn to leave the pain with the patient. He washed his hands every time he finished a session. "I imagine myself washing everything away," he said.
"I had lunch with a customer today," I told him. "He is middle aged, divorced, new to the city. I tried to keep the conversation very businesslike, but he kept talking about his life. His loneliness was so strong. I had to fight it. I didn't want to hear it."
"Why not?" Ted asked.
I stirred the risotto and thought. "I don't have room for it," I said.
I just shrugged. "Everyone has pain," I said. I hardly knew this guy. It was not appropriate to say, "Let me tell you about my father's excruciating eight-month battle with and subsequent death of cancer."
After we ate, he went to fix the attic. When he pulled the attic door open, he realized that the cord was not broken but that it was just pulled through to the other side. He drew it back down so I could reach it, then asked, "How do you want me to leave this?"
I answered flirtatiously, "That depends on whether you want to have to come over here every time I need to get into my attic."
He turned around, pulled the cord back through the door, then turned to me and smiled expectantly. I caught my breath and held it. I couldn't figure out what this guy wanted from me. He made me a cake and was flirting openly, yet had told me we couldn't date. I didn't know what was going on. Right then, we were in a perfect kiss moment, but he was not kissing me. I sighed and said, "Better leave it out so I can get to it when I'm alone."
Monday, October 25, 2010
I lost my appetite. "I've never had anyone break up with me even before he started dating me," I joked weakly.
He took my hands in his. "I'm not breaking up with you," he said earnestly. "But I can't do this right now. It wouldn't be fair to you. I've just got so much stuff. I'm going to a counselor to try to work these things out. But once I'm through it..."
I sniffed and a few tears rolled down my cheeks. He leaned over and wiped them away. "I'm sorry that I've been giving you mixed signals. It's not that I'm not attracted to you -- I am. But Big Southern City was a mistake. I let my emotions take over." I thought to myself that this is not such a terrible thing -- that if your emotions tell you to kiss someone, that that's what you should do (well, if you are both single, etc.).
We continued to talk, leaning in closer and closer until our knees were touching. I held his hands in mine as he told me about the divorce. At one point, I brushed my lips against his fingers. He closed his eyes and took a sharp breath. I kissed his finger. "That feels wonderful," he whispered.
On the way out to the car, he put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me close. In the car, he rested his hand on my thigh. When we got back to my house, he gave me a hug, then kissed me once. I leaned into him and he threw up his hands and stepped back. "No," he said. "No. I am not starting this." When he left, I am confused. His words and his deeds didn't match.
The next day he called me twice. I asked him more about this 'just friends' thing. "Define the difference between being 'just friends' and dating," I said.
"With friends, you don't have the emotional or the physical involvement," he told me.
"Does that mean we can't hug?" I asked.
He thought about it. "No, hugging is OK."
I thought this could work. You can't rule your heart. It's not such a bad idea to limit the physical stuff and if he spends time with me as 'friends' or dating, it's the same thing to the heart. If he was going to fall in love with me, it would happen whether he wants it or not.
I was so naive.
A few days later, he called four times, wondering where I was, leaving messages: "Out with some other guy, I suppose." The next night, he called twice. I was planning to meet Leigh and Megan at the Wednesday night wine tasting. Ted said that he might show up. When I got to the restaurant, they told me that the tasting had been canceled that week. While I was waiting for Leigh and Megan, another wine taster showed up. He had his own wine with him and asked if I would like to share. As he was asking, Megan walked in. We decided to sit with this guy and drink his wine while we waited for Leigh.
Ted didn't show up until late. His friend Richard had intercepted him in the parking lot and told him that the tasting was canceled. When I got home later, I found a series of messages from him telling me that the tasting had been canceled, that I could find him at the restaurant, that he had his cell phone with him (he usually left it in the car) and that I should call him.
So Leigh and Megan and I talked to this guy. Ted and Richard joined us for a while, then left together. I stayed -- we are just friends, after all, so I was not going to follow him to the parking lot. I left shortly after he did and the phone rang as soon as I got home. It was Ted. "I'm housesitting for my sister," he said. "She lives a few blocks from you. It's really cold over here. Why don't I come over and sleep with you instead?"
"I'll lend you some blankets," I told him.
"But it's late! Why don't I just stay there?"
"You may sleep in the spare room," I told him.
"But I'd rather sleep with you!" he answered.
"I don't sleep with 'just friends,'" I said.
"Well, if you don't sleep with friends, who do you sleep with?"
"Significant others," I answered.
"And I'm not significant to you?"
"Hey. This whole 'just friends' thing was your stupid idea, not mine. You live by the sword, you die by the sword."
He laughed and said goodnight.
In which Ted calls me every night while I'm out of town at a trade show and then we see each other at our class reunion and neck in my rental car
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
We were engaged. I had a sparkly ring, which is not something I ever thought I wanted but once it was on my finger, I was very happy to have it, for is not a diamond a status symbol of sort for a woman? It says, "Someone values me enough to 1. spend money on me and 2. commit to me." At least, that is what it said to my 22 year old self. When Primo and I decided to get married, he wanted to buy me a ring but I had realized that I do not like wearing rings and would much rather have a nice kitchen trash can, which he finally got me with much reluctance and only after the SimpleHuman trash can I wanted went on sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
We did agree that we would both rather take the $5,000 a nice ring would have cost (I am guessing that is what they cost) and spend it on a grand trip to France.
As it turns out, we spent it getting our driveway re-done this summer, which is almost as glamorous as a voyage to Paris.
Calvin and I were engaged. We had the Meeting of the Parents. Calvin's mom and dad came from Austin to meet my mom and dad at their house in San Antonio. There were hors d' - there were appetizers. There was polite smiling. I am guessing there were thoughts of, "They are too darn young to be getting married." They were correct.
We set a date. July 26. My mom reserved the church. She and I argued over the reception venue. I, who was not investing my own money into this proposition, wanted to have it at a fancy restaurant. She and my dad, who were funding this (and who I now know had almost no money to pay for this), said that the officers' club on base would be fine.
I got a dress. I shopped alone.
Who shops alone for a wedding dress?
Someone who 1. isn't ready to get married and 2. ends up with a dress that looks awful on her.
There may be some women who look good in a pure white puffy muffin dress, but I am not one of them. At the time, I was blonde. White washes blondes out. Now, white is no problem as I am a former blonde who is covering my gray with Clairol #24 Clove, but then, I looked like death warmed over.
And the puffy skirt? I looked like I had walked out of a meringue factory.
When I married Primo, I wore a sleeveless red and white dress with a V neck and a high waist. It looked fabulous and I have worn it several times since. I had a bit more sense when I shopped for that wedding. I still shopped alone, although this time it was because I had just moved to a city where I had no friends, not because I wasn't excited about getting married. Wait. I wasn't that excited about my wedding to Primo because of all The Drama, but I was very excited at the idea of being married to him. I would have happily skipped the wedding and wish I had insisted on eloping, but I guess I'll save that for my next marriage.
My mom asked me what color I wanted for the bridesmaids' dresses. My mom was more excited about the wedding than I was. My parents loved Calvin and rightly so. He's a great guy. He just wasn't the guy for me in the end.
When my mom asked me about the bridesmaids, I shrugged and said, "I don't care."
That should have been a clue.
Maybe it was.
Three weeks after we got engaged, I went to New Jersey for a three-week training program for work. It was there, in the company of the many young, handsome, outgoing men in the class with me that I realized I could not get married yet.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Oh, karma can be nasty. After I broke off our engagement, I was uncoupled for many many years. Calvin married a few years later, but it took me much longer, which gave me ample opportunity to contemplate and regret my smugness.
It was Christmas 1985. I didn't have any vacation, but this was old-time employment where we got the Monday before Christmas Eve, which was Tuesday, off. We also got Veterans' day, Columbus Day, and Washington's birthday. Plus a turkey at Thanksgiving. And the coffee and donuts cart came around at 10. And everyone left work at 4:30. The good old days. Except I don't miss the smoking in the office. At all.
Calvin was in Austin with his family. We drove up to Waco for the state 3A football championship. Our friend Randy was from Daingerfield and his high school team was playing. Daingerfield is a small mill town in northeast Texas. Randy's parents didn't go past 8th grade, I don't think, and his dad worked in the steel mill. Randy, however, got his PhD in chemistry at Harvard, which makes you wonder what his parents could have done with the same opportunity.
If you watch Friday Night Lights, you know a little bit about how important high school football is in Texas, especially in small towns. Dillon might be a 3A school. Who knows? My high school, Converse Judson, was a 5A school, but my senior year was a big fat waste of time. I only went there my that year and it was not, as my friend Leigh coaches me to say, my favorite. I didn't care at all about their stupid football team.
But I did care about Randy's school's team and a statewide championship is a big deal no matter what, which was why we were driving 100 miles to sit in the cold and watch a football game.
But this story is not about football (although Daingerfield won, which is cool). It is about a marriage proposal.
On the drive back from Waco to Austin, Calvin casually asked me to hand him the tin of Snickers in the back seat.
Calvin did not usually carry large supplies of candy bars with him, so I was suspicious.
He had in the past threatened to give me an engagement candy bar rather than a ring because he teased that the chocolate would last longer. Which, in the end, was prophetically correct.
He asked me to give him a candy bar, but I refused. "Get it yourself," I said. I was really suspicious.
He kept insisting - he wanted me to dig around in the tin.
This was not how I wanted to be proposed to. I was not very gracious.
But I did as he asked. And found a box. That contained a ring.
"Stop the car!" I demanded.
"Stop the car!"
He stopped. "What's going on?"
He didn't want to, but I insisted. I got out with him.
"Now get down on one knee and propose properly!" I said.
Are you thinking this is when he should have put the ring in his pocket and said, "Forget it?" Because you would be right. Really. Who gets bitchy about how she is proposed to? I could have been a lot nicer. But I was young and full of visions of moonlight and roses and romance novels and it didn't seem right.
Instead of telling me to take a hike, he did as I asked, kneeling on the graveled shoulder and asking me to marry him, which was more than I deserved.
Monday, October 11, 2010
In which I get a crush on one of Calvin's friends and break up with Calvin in hopes that the friend will ask me out but he doesn't
Friday, October 8, 2010
That was a shock.
I was not used to people not liking me when I was in college. Oh sure I knew I wasn't part of the cool crowd and in tenth grade, Sally D suddenly turned on me after I had been her BFF in ninth grade, but in general, I didn't inspire enmity in people. That I knew of.
The parents of my very short-term high school boyfriend, the one who turned out to be gay, loved me. LOVED ME. In retrospect, there were probably other factors at work, as in, they suspected their son was gay and didn't want it to be true for the sake of his desired career, which was military pilot. Even though he only kissed me once, although we spent several evenings alone at his house, watching the videos of Mork and Mindy that his uncle sent from the States, I never suspected he was gay. I thought he just didn't like kissing or he didn't like kissing me.
Mr and Mrs Calvinpere did not like me.
I would hope it was because they didn't want their only child to marry too young and make a mistake and never have the glorious career for which he was destined and not because of me personally. I usually don't invite that kind of animosity in people.
Except for Primo's parents, of course, and his best friend from high school, George, who has also decided he doesn't like me. Many and varied are the reasons George does not like me: I blogged once that kids should be out of diapers by the time they are four; I am not Catholic enough (even though if I were more Catholic, I would not have married non-Catholic, lukewarm at best Lutheran Primo); and most recently, I pulled a practical joke on him that he did not think was at all funny and I think he is way over-reacting.
The good thing about George is that I can probably reason with him, which I intend to do. We will be in each other's lives for a long time and there is no reason for us to be enemies. Unless he decides that I am absolutely unlikeable, even after begging forgiveness for the joke, which WAS funny and had Primo's blessing. And George's wife, who also thought it was funny and if she didn't, she should have warned me AS SHE WAS HELPING ME TO EXECUTE IT.
So I will call George after he has cooled down and we will Talk About It Like Adults, which is something that could never happen with Sly and Doris, as they are not interested in liking me at all [See: I am a Bad Bacon Eater].
I would write more about George and The Joke but he is Primo's best friend from high school and he would be bothered if he stumbled on this blog. George! I like you! I want us to be friends, OK?
And if I ever write that bestselling memoir, I will not include any of the George incidents in it because of course I would write the book under my real name. Primo, who has his eye on that Key Biscayne condo, has encouraged me to publish now under a pseudonym, but what is the point of having a bestselling book if the people you went to high school with don't know about it? You know Jen Lancaster has to be feeling smug now that she is at the top of the NY Times (a New York City newspaper) list. Take that, suckers who fired me! she is probably chortling as we speak. And more power to her.
Ooops. I have strayed from my topic again.
When I met Calvin's parents, I sensed a certain coolness. I attributed it to his being somewhat of a mama's boy, although not from his end but from his mother's. He is an only child, but I don't think that is the situation his mother had wanted. He had never had a girlfriend and there had never been competition for his attentions before.
Still, they were nice enough to me. His dad built me bookcases when I moved into the loud sex apartment in Other Southern City, which, to my everlasting shame, I broke down and threw away when I moved from Other Southern City to Houston, where I had gotten a job, because I could not fit them in my car. I could at least have called Goodwill.
But I don't think they approved of me. I can't imagine why.
I ate Mrs Calvinpere's salad
We had dinner at his mom and dad's house. The table was round and small enough that the place settings were rather crowded. I, who had worked at the faculty club for two years and had set the table for formal dinners there, looked at the salad on my left and the water glass on my right. And the salad on my right and the water glass on my left. Which salad was mine? Which water? Logic dictated that the salad that was easier to reach was surely mine. Who would have a diner reaching with her right hand across to a salad on her left? Not I! And that was when I ate Calvin's mother's salad.
At the faculty club, we served the salads by placing them in front of the diner. So much for my fine dining table waiting experience.
I flipped a crab leg over my shoulder and spattered butter on Mrs Calvinpere
They took us out to a nice restaurant. I made the huge mistake of ordering crabs' legs. How does one eat a crab leg if one is not going to pick it up with the fingers and suck the flesh out? Open it along the side using a fork, of course.
If you stick a fork in a crab leg and then begin to saw it open, you are mimicking the forces used on a tiddlywink.
So when you press down on that crab leg in just the right place with enough force, the leg flips up and over your shoulder, spinning and casting off butter as it goes. The butter lands on your boyfriend's mother and on the pink silk blouse you borrowed from your roommate.
I used the Company Towels
I was at Calvin's mom and dad's house for supper. Needed to use the bathroom. The half bath was right behind the kitchen. The half bath had nice white starched lacy towels hanging on the rack. Towels that had never been used. Towels that were obviously decorative.
But my hands were wet. From washing, duh. I do not pee on my hands. Who does? Are the hand pee-ers the ones who get so bent out of shape about other people not washing their hands? Because if you don't pee on your hands and use your foot to flush the toilet (in a public restroom, natch - it's too hard to flush a home toilet with your toes), then there shouldn't be much of an issue, right? I got over my squeamishness about this issue after living in South America for two years, where there are not hand washing facilities conveniently located next to each outhouse.
I needed a place to dry my hands, but a battle in my mother's voice raged slow motion inside my head: Dooooon't uuuuuuse the Coooooompany Toooooowels! vs I need to dry my hands!
In retrospect, I should have just wiped my hands on my pants, which is what I end up doing half the time now anyhow, as those stupid air dryers never work fast enough. Doesn't it defeat the purpose of using less energy if you have to run through four cycles of the dryer?
I used the Company Towels.
The roof did not fall in.
But the next time I was at their house, there was a small stack of paper towels next to the sink.
I got the message.