Saturday, February 19, 2011


[i write this with not a small dose of restraint today. if i'm not careful, i'll spray excess words all over the internet, things written in the heat of passion that aren't what i mean to say. so with that caveat in mind, let's proceed.]

he's in country now, i assume. funny how having him so far away, behind the wall of developing-world technology that may as well erase him from existence while he's gone, brings up nothing but all the things that annoy, that chafe, that tighten my chest about us. i hate this. i hate that he's there. i hate all the preparation that had to go into it - vaccinations, prescriptions, neurotoxic insect repellents, ad infinitum, ad astram, ad nauseam. i hate that he chose a career that will undoubtedly lead to this sort of situation time and time again. but i hate this feeling, this vacuum into which neurotoxins of my own have flooded, one thousand times worse.

i grow petulant in his absence. i think of problems, conflicts, bad habits and supposed slights. i gain a desire to maim, to wound, to slash. someday, you will ache like i ache. when wounded, and i am more wounded than i care to contemplate, i bite. i am the girl with the thorn in her side, festering, stabbing, throbbing and blocking out all of my logic with a miasma of insanely-pitched agony. if i don't watch this cocktail of emotions, i'll cause problems. and it's not even like i can tell him about it. like i said, for the next few days, he's essentially a figment of my tortured, twisted imagination. even if i could talk to him, i am reasonably certain that what i would say would violate the i need you to not freak out directive.

so i have dealt with my angered, injured nerves the best way i know how: i have vacated the premises for several days of swirling, louche distraction. i'm doing what all good degenerates do. i will solve my problems by getting righteously, indignantly, starkly drunk, tearing up the bars of my louisiana homeland with the band of sisters i built in law school, while i shredded an old life that didn't fit in preparation for this one. (be careful what you wish for?) i will drink the memory into oblivion, soothing this monster of a feeling through temporary chemically-induced analgesia. i will do what i do best.

i will ignore it.

we'll see how long i can sustain this, replacing a figurative cocktail with a literal cocktail, distracting and deluding myself into pretending i'm fine. i will not freak out. i will be the very model of a modern major depressive, at least one who can cope. and he will be proud of me when he comes back from his parallel universe. my apparent bravery in the face of a situation i could not control will give him faith in me. (unless he deigns to read this blog, i guess; if he does, the cover will totally be blown.) and that, my friends, will be my victory.

here's hoping i make it that long.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

the misanthropy bowl

by now, the whole OMG, the computer beat the smart humans at jeopardy! thing has been beaten into the ground. everyone's got a theory or an opinion. i think the computer's amazing, don't get me wrong. but i noticed a very distinct set of responses to this that triggered a hmm moment with me.

the tech boys (and probably girls - i just didn't see any) out there were all REALLY, REALLY eager to see that computer just WAX the people. i mean, there was a level of frenzy i read and observed out in the tech world to see the humans get beaten down like rented mules. lord knows that the tech boys in my personal life were all about some computer overlord. they were dying for watson to turn around and start in with the ezekiel 25:17 scene from pulp fiction: and you will KNOW! my name is THE LORD! when i LAY my vengeance upon you. [hail of gunfire] well, in watson's case, it'd probably be lasers or something like that, but the point still stands.

and heaven forfend that the reaction you have didn't rise to that level of eagerness. the man and i spent easily 25 minutes going around and around in circles last night because the facet of the experience that i chose to mention was the onslaught of IBM branding that permeated the entire 90 minutes of television. my position was that the company saturated all three shows with corporate branding. his position was that noticing anything other than the majesty of the technology diminished that majesty. well, i'm sorry; i can offer no statement as to that majesty besides, holy hell, that's cool. i don't live the technological life, a life that is as cloistered as they come. i know more about computers than most, but i am a dilettante, and i always will be. the boys tease me about there being a "moat" around their tech-world. it's a joke, but they're more right than they think. i'm a lawyer. i notice details. and the detail i passed comment on was the branding aspect. that triggered a reaction that was so forceful in its vehemence that it left me defensive and confused.

it seems like the man's reaction was the very mild end of a continuum of the tech-boy response that has led me to dub the whole operation "the misanthropy bowl." it's the clearest and most accessible example of technology's supposed supremacy to humanity that we've seen short of science fiction. and though the machine that constituted watson was dismantled shortly after the shows were taped, the way it works could potentially change the way we look at the world. i think this is awesome, and it'll make people's lives easier. some people, i think, look at this and see a way to subordinate people to the clean, logical mastery that technology brings. well, no thank you. i am often frustrated with people, to say the least. we can be stupid, bigoted, beastly, fatuous, illogical, messy, and all that. but that doesn't mean that i don't think we're also, as a rule, funny, warm, brilliant, open and capable of amazing things. y'know, like inventing technologies like watson. without people, there IS no technology. some among us would do well to remember that.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

toy mogul

my mother's nickname for the man, coined when we were kids, was "the toy mogul." she came up with this after one night at my house. his mom drove him over to eat spaghetti and hang out, things that were a lot less fun to do once everyone got cars and driver's licenses. he had some kind of tech toy with him, i can't remember what at this point. 'course, this was the mid-1990s, long before it was commonplace to have a bag in which you carry a computer, an e-book reader, a smartphone and a music player. (or maybe that's just me.) my mother was amused, just tickled to no end, by the man's deep love for all things technological.

the next day, she said to me, you know, i'm glad you got to be friends with that toy mogul.
[eye-roll] mother, whatever do you mean by that?
that kid is brilliant, and he loves those gadgets of his, doesn't he?
why yes, i suppose he does.
i thought so. keep him around. you won't be sorry.

my mother was prescient, it turns out. and nothing has changed. a decade and a half later, the man is still a toy mogul. he was just before his time; nowadays, we all are. i damn near bought an ipad last night, just because of its usefulness. of all people, the man talked me out of it... but only because there's going to be a new one coming out soon. buy it then; it'll be much better. but he was the one who was in touch with this long before. he owned a newton, for god's sake.

i find it the height of amusing that my mom saw all of this coming. she saw his innovation, his love of the new and high-tech. (this has been driven home HARD during the computer-loving glee that has been the misanthropy bowl on jeopardy. more on this tomorrow.) something about that struck her, and she thought enough of it to make a comment to her surly, sarcastic, snappish teenage daughter. and y'know, his technological affinity, which translates into his highly logical frame of mind, is one of my favorite things about him. my toy mogul, then, now and forever.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

different drum

generally, if culture tells me anything, when you're in a new relationship, you're supposed to go ALL OUT for romantic occasions like, say, yesterday. the man's roommate sure did for his girlfriend: there was a whole weekend, complete with gifts and all that. tons of people i know had dates, with everything that entailed.

what did i do? i went to ballet class. after class, the man drove up to the dance school in northwest DC and picked me up. we got takeout and watched TV (including the jeopardy misanthropy bowl - more on this another time), him in jeans and a t-shirt, me in a leotard, tights and cut-off sweatpants. we then went to bed and watched iron chef, arms around each other. i mean, you'd think we'd been married twenty-five years with as "special" and "romantic" as it was.

but see, that's the thing - it worked perfectly for me. the man made me feel like the most beautiful, desirable and precious woman in the world. the words i love you weren't even exchanged between us. they didn't have to be. he just, well, loved me. the feeling between us was palpable all night long, through the way he laid his hand on the back of my neck or patted me on the hip. small, sincere actions speak so much louder than flowery words and expensive gifts. we just basked in each other.

i looked at him last night and said, y'know, the more i learn about other people's relationships, the better i feel about ours. because, let's face it: i picked a man who is completely unmotivated by the "supposed to"s in this world. this is nothing i didn't already know. but the cool part is that, at the end of the day, i'm just the same. i asked him the other night why he finds me so attractive. (god, i know, such a GIRL question.) he said, because you're odd, and it works for you. and that was one of the sweetest things i've ever heard in my life. he relishes my quirks, just as i relish his. we suit each other. it just fits. i know full well that we're different. we're not like the other couples. but who cares? he makes me so damned happy. i make him happy. what the hell else is there?

that's the secret, kids, and it only took me 29 1/2 years to learn it. it's not about the way you look to the outside world. it's about how it feels, just you and him, alone together. and though the beat we follow comes from a distinctly different drum than most people's, it's the perfect beat for us.

Monday, February 14, 2011

love song

it's the number one topic on everyone's mind today, and everyone's got something very specific to say about it: love. l-o-v-e, l-u-v, etc., etc., etc. hearts and flowers, cheesy commercials, all that jazz. it's a hallmark holiday; people love it, people hate it. i'm not going to parse the ethics, the mechanics or the value of valentine's day. i hate crass commercialism, and this is certainly a screeching example of that, but it's also kind of anodyne. we grew up with parties in school with pink-iced cookies and stupid little cards. somehow, that got twisted into hundreds of dollars and all this PRESSURE. i won't go there.

what i will do is this. i take this time to reclaim the idea of a day to spread love around. so i love y'all. i love my family, my friends, all the people who are important to me. that's the kind of love that everyone can celebrate, single or attached. i care like hell about you people, because you take the time to care about me. it's a fabulous thing.

and seeing as i am fortunate enough to be attached this valentine's day, i'm going to spend a little time talking to the man. (indulge me. if you're not into romance, i won't be insulted if you move on.)

dear love: here we are, our first valentine's day as boyfriend-and-girlfriend. i had almost given up hope that we'd ever get here together. but you and i pledged ourselves to each other, heart and soul as well as body. lord knows we're far from traditional, but that's what i love about us. you've always known my heart better than anyone else. always. you give me everything you have, tending to me in every way possible. your strength as a partner is how you combine caring for me exclusively with granting me the space to be who i am. so thank you for everything. i've always loved you so much. however far away, i will always love you. forever and ever, amen.

happy valentine's day, y'all. :)