Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Losing You. Part Eighteen.

Buoyed up by my resolution to once again get back to the task of focusing on my family, I made it a point to pick up Dan from school - a huge thing for him at the time, since his bus ride home was a good hour and a half - and I started making appearances at family dinners once more. However, the tension between my mom and I hadn’t eased. The combination of her still-fresh anger towards me and the wait for the biopsy results made her words remain sharp when she spoke to me; a terse hello, a non-existent goodnight. When Travis called, asking if I wanted to meet him out for a drink, I accepted with relief.

We met up at a bar called The Wild River, situated on the edge of town. I had a certain fondness for the place, it being the very first bar Katy and I hung out at the first weekend she had come to visit me in Hayward. On Friday and Saturday nights there was almost always a live band, and the back portion where they played was usually packed with a motley crue of Harley riders, middle-aged married women on their "Girls Night Out", and barely-legal kids home from college for the weekend.

During the week, however, patrons congregated around the full-oval bar in the main part of the building. The bartender at Wild River was from the old school of bartending...she wasn’t so much a bartender as a hostess, and thus had a way of bringing people out of their own private conversations and into the group setting. Throughout the evening, Travis and I had remained entertained by the conversations and antics of our fellow companions, especially Drew and Mitch. Drew was kind of a dopey guy still stuck in the whole "Guns & Roses" era; his red bandana practically surgically attached to his head, completing his ensemble of red flannel and light blue jeans. Mitch was a short middle-aged guy famous for wearing his black leather jacket with nothing underneath; even in the dead of winter, his sparse chest hair and nipples could be spotted around town.

Mitch and Drew had a band that regularly played at open-mic nights, and sometimes they even secured a local gig or two. At one point in the evening, buoyed by the jovial and friendly mood of the sparse population at the bar, they had offered to pluck their guitars from their respective vehicles and do an jam session at the bar. We all agreed to this novel plan, and within a few minutes they had propped themselves up on bar stools with their guitars guarding their waists and then proceeded to take requests. It was that night that I fell in love with the song "Honky Tonk Woman". I’m not someone who holds certain bands sacred, so I’m not afraid to declare that every time I hear the Stones’ rendition I find myself wishing that I could hear Drew and Mitch perform it instead.

Travis and I had both agreed it had been a great night when we had stumbled, laughing, back into my guest house. He followed me back to my bedroom, and watched me from the bed as I undressed. I didn’t feel self-conscious...one good thing about my coping mechanism of working out religiously and losing my appetite when depressed was that it had made my body sleeker than I had ever remembered it being before. Wearing a silk camisole and lace knickers, I climbed onto the far end of the bed and sat there, calmly staring back at Travis, letting his eyes travel from my face down to my body then back up again. Silent, he sat up and eased toward me, reaching out to hold my face in his hands. That was how he pulled me closer to him, that is how he kissed me, and that is how he then pulled me down onto the bed beside him...with his smooth palms cupped against my cheeks.

We didn’t have sex that night. We went the farthest we had ever gone, but we didn’t have sex. Travis knew how to do and use other things as a substitution for it, and at the time I thought it was his form of practice... that he wanted to see how I would react, what I would do when it did actually happen. Kind of like soft-porn or erotic novels, if you will...gives just enough to get off, yet doesn’t quite go to the limit it is supposed to...leaves a bit to the imagination. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder; it wasn’t that I had been expecting us to have sex that night, but he hadn’t even approached the action of seeming to want to. He never brought it to that edge of decision.

When I thought more about this, I instantly accused myself of being irrational. "What is wrong with me?" I wondered. "I only lost my virginity two months ago, and now I’m ready to do it with anyone and everyone that comes along." I tried to tell myself that Travis just wanted to take things slow, that he liked me for more than action, that I was trying to read more into it than there was. After all, he made out with me, right? He made out with me a lot. That had to mean that he at least wanted to have sex with me...just not quite yet.

Yet for some reason, that explanation didn’t quite quell my doubts.

***
Night-shifts at Holiday were sometimes a relief. In the middle of the night, it was easy to imagine that you were somewhere far removed from where you really were. I loved the peace of it...the night was so quiet there. Even though the Holiday station was in the middle of town, the traffic lights went through their red-yellow-green rotations with hardly a car to keep them useful. I also loved the way the glaringly bright station lights broke up the pitch-black dark of northern Wisconsin midnights - it always reminded me of long road-trips with my family when I was young. Gas station parking lot lights always meant that the long, weary, and boring hours of riding in the car all night and being forced to listen to country music could now be broken up by ten minutes of wandering inside a Mecca of magazines, candy bars, and pop. Thus, my nights at Holiday were often spent leaning against one side of the counter inside the "employee counter area" where the floor was raised to give the illusion that we had power over you and your purchases, and staring out the huge, wall-to-wall windows that looked out onto the parking lot.

My daydreams always consisted of getting out of Hayward. I would listen to the music playing on the radio and dream my way out there. Top 40 music seemed to help that along...it reinforced my suspicion that somewhere out there, people were living a life that didn’t suck.
People were dancing to these songs in clubs, or making out to these songs in a loft somewhere, or listening to them while driving down the boulevard and thinking about how great their life was. They were doing things, going places, seeing people, living their life the way they wanted to. They weren’t stuck in Hayward, and they weren’t working at some shitty gas station.

There was a guy who came into Holiday every so often during my night-shifts. He never threw a glance my way, but I was mesmerized with him. I loved the ruggedly handsomeness of him -reddish-blonde hair underneath a red bandana, the dark grey North Face fleece, thick cargo pants, hiking boots, and facial hair that was more sexy-adventurer than rest-stop molester. He would stalk in, fill up his large chrome coffee thermos, place the exact change on the counter, and walk out again, never having said a word or even changed the expression on his solemn face. And he always walked - I never saw him drive a vehicle. I have no idea where he walked from or where he walked to. All I knew was that sometimes, I would look out the window to find he had once again appeared out of the dark, walking towards the station from across the street. When I would watch him on his way to disappearing again, I would think to myself, "You don’t belong here. You belong someplace else, someplace where you can build a cabin high up in the mountains and be a hermit, surviving off wood and dirt." I felt a strange kinship with him in that way...people still constantly stated the fact that they could tell I wasn’t "from around here". We were both out of our elements, and it showed from the inside out.

When I needed something to keep me afloat from the suckiness of the reality that I was still here, I thought about Americorps. I had made it to the phone interview process, and was now waiting for the organizations’ final decision. I didn’t know what I was going to do if I didn’t make it. I didn’t even want to think about it because every time I did, my throat felt sore from the panic that would rise up into it. I had to get out of here. Americorps was my only realistic, definable way to get the fuck out of here.

One night I was off in my own little world, thinking about this, when I saw Craig’s truck pull in. "Shit," I said under my breath, feelings my shoulders tense up. People from Craig’s crowd had come into Holiday much like they had before the party, but it hadn’t really mattered that much. Some I had made small-talk with, some I blatantly ignored, but mostly everyone with the exception of Erik and Wes didn’t really matter because I hadn’t considered them part of my inner-circle of friends. They also didn’t hold a major role in the whole Ana debacle; Craig did. Even though I was still pissed and unafraid of a confrontation with him, that didn’t mean I wanted to see him.

He walked in and strolled up to the counter with a sheepish grin on his face.
"Hey," he said. "Pack of Marlboro Lights?"
I quickly looked up and scanned the cigarette holders that hung overhead, plucked a pack out, and plopped it on the counter in front of him. He was still smiling at me. I glared at him, waiting for him to request something else.
"Look, I’m really sorry about that whole Ana thing," He said, pushing his hands into the front pockets of his baggy jeans. "I feel really bad about it. I just wanted to see a bitch fight. I hate Ana, and I was hoping you would totally take her. I know you probably really hate me right now, and I don’t blame you."
I knew this was the part where he wanted me to say "Oh, it’s okay, Craig. I understand, no hard feelings, we’re totally cool." Nope. Instead I rang up the cigarettes, told him the total, and then waited; the fingers of my right hand impatiently tapping the hard grey countertop, my eyes still staring him down.
"I just wanted to tell you that I’m really sorry, Amber," He repeated, digging his wallet out of his back pocket and throwing a few singles on the counter next to the cigarettes. "I hope we can be cool again someday." And with that he grabbed his pack of cigs, pushed them down in his pocket, looked at me and smiled once more, pushed the door open and walked back out to his truck.

I watched him pull out of the parking lot and felt just the smallest twinge of regret. Before the whole Ana thing, I had regarded Craig as the best friend I had in Hayward. There had been a part of me that had loved being friends with him; he had this effortless sense of cool that had elevated him above the rest of the guys. We had just clicked on a level where I could either talk to him all night or just hang out and watch a movie and not have to say anything. I had really liked him. I had had respect for him. I had trusted him. All of that had turned out to be a mistake, but I couldn’t help wishing it hadn’t been.

"But really, why do I why care?" I thought to myself, as I flung one more glance out towards the parking lot and then got back to work. I was leaving soon...nothing that happened here had to really matter.


Part Nineteen >>

Monday, April 24, 2006

Better than you know.

Tonight I tuned into WCCO news on channel 4, because I had some inside info on a segment that was going down on the 10 o'clock news tonight. I don't usually watch the news, though...I usually prefer to take in the mind-numbing goodness of "The Real World" re-runs instead (as my mind is so intellectually stimulating on its' own that it sometimes needs a break).

However, I found myself mysteriously nostalgic while watching WCCO tonight. Having grown up in Red Wing, I regard Don Shelby as a sort of TV uncle...he's always kinda been there my whole life, yet he never really takes the time to find out who I am as a person, ask about what's inside my heart, etc.

And tonight I couldn't help thinking about Munchkin. One of Munchkins' big positives about staying at the Children's Hospital was that he got to see the "Home of The Vikings!" (the Metrodome) outside his hospital window, and he got to watch WCCO news on Channel 4. That was what he would say (and how he would say it - never just "WCCO" or "Channel 4 news"...nope, always "WCCO News on Channel 4) when I would walk in the room in the morning and ask him how he was. "Amber, today I got to watch WCCO News on Channel 4!" I don't know why he loved it so much. All I do know is that, when the visits to the hospital got to be tedious and when he got upset over the thought of them, for some reason reminding him that he would get to watch "WCCO News on Channel 4" made a little kid with leukemia feel a lot better.

I've missed him a lot in the past few weeks. It's complicated. And laying on my bed, watching the news and thinking about him doesn't really make me feel better. What does is knowing that it's the small things that have made him feel better. Like the Vikings. And the Metrodome. And the WCCO News on Channel 4.

Love ya, kid.

I interrupt your important work day with a special announcement straight from my bed.

I have decided that I love my blog. I don't talk about important shit like politics, or social movements, or even new intellectual ideas. I don't go on about how far I ran today, or where I rode my bike, or how high I hiked this afternoon. I don't usually link to other sites unless they pertain specifically to me, and I don't comment on breaking news stories like I know what's going down in the news sector thissecond.

Nope. My blog is completely meaningless. There's no purpose to it. It has absolutely no intellectual or social merit whatsoever. If anything, it preys on anything that tries to earnestly fulfill that order.

Take for instance, the fact that the highlight of my day was not that registration for the Twin Cities' Marathon opened...nope. It was hearing Michael McDonald cover The Four Tops' "Reach Out, I'll Be There" on a "Verizon" commerical while laying in bed at 3 this afternoon, while on a break from watching a "Bridezilla" marathon on WE.

More important people might refrain from telling you this because they wouldn't want to muss their rep as being "serious thinkers". Not me. I tell you this, because it's stupid, which therefore in my world means it's funny.

I love me.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that it's been a while since I last got laid.

I have started to maybe briefly consider resuming my activity as an online dater.

See, the thing is, I work all the time. Like, allthetime. Which would be great, if there were some super hotties at the place I work at. Believe me, the thought of falling into lust and then love while working at a high-stress, fast-paced, serious-because-we're-doing-something-meaningful professional environment with some super hot co-worker has crossed my mind. Twice. Yet there are no super hotties at my workplace.

I have some time to go out with my friends, and I would carve time out of my work schedule for a relationship if the sex was good enough, but see, no one's asking me out. And because I work all the time, I don't go out that often, and thus, I never actually really meet anyone that could ask me out if they wanted to.

There are some men on the horizon, but we're just not going to talk about that right now because I'm just going to get frustrated, so let's just stick to the topic of online dating, mmm-kay?

So. I am asking you, my blogging super-friends, for your opinion on whether or not I should start to online date again. There are definite pros to doing this now that I live in the cities versus Spooner, and we might as well admit that I just keep getting hotter by the day, so the timing is pretty key.

However, then I would also need help re-writing my profile. I no longer like the one I have right now on Match.com, and I really don't feel like putting time into it at the moment. So if you have any good ideas of what I should put on there, lemme know. I have no qualms about letting someone else write my profile for me.

That is, if I decide to online date again.

The choice is up to you, my readers.

You decide my action-packed-or-lacked fate. Only you hold the key.

(Even though I'm probably just going to decide to do the contrary of what you tell me, since that's just the way I am and Katykins can vouch for this.)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

MySpace, you couldn't have asked for better publicity.

All right, Star Tribune - your weekly articles on the dangers of MySpace are bordering on the 1950s' propaganda on the evils of rock 'n roll.

And now, MySpace is on the news tonight, concerning the story about how one college banned it.

I love how MySpace completely freaks some people out. It's similar to whole blogging sensation of last year...the idea of people having a forum where they can say and do whatever they want is so absolutely radical and revolutionary, especially here in America. Honestly, though, I think it's just the fact that the site is free that really tends to get people's knickers in a bunch. After all, free speech shouldn't be free...you should have to pay for it, though foundations, think tanks, newspaper columnists like Katherine Kersten (don't front, KK...you know you're getting paid off to write the drivel you're known for...no one could write that crap and still live with themselves unless they were getting a nice, big, fat gift certificate to Red Lobster for it).

And it's all getting a little tired. People say that they're just concerned because there's not enough personal responsibility concerning the site, but that's also a crock of shite. Does anyone ever really think "Wait...is telling this asshole in the Hum V to fuck off a demonstration of my taking personal responsibility for my words and actions?"

But of course, on MySpace, they totally should.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Did you know that "connection" is also slang for "drug dealer"? I did.

Last night I spent a pleasant evening at home, reclining on my amazing bed (seriously, it's amazing. Too bad no one else knows that except me) and alternately watching TV and writing. It was one of those lazy evenings where you're not in a big rush to do anything, the least of which go to sleep, because you are warm with the knowledge that you don't have to work all day tomorrow.

Then, of course, I wake up today, go for a run, and get the call that one of my co-workers is sick. Which means that I trade in my lazy Friday that I had been looking forward to all week in exchange for copious hours of overtime.

I won't go into how traffic sucked there and back (who was the brainiac who decided it would be a good idea to shut down 35W South? WTF did you need to do to that road to constitute one of the stupidest detours in history? HUH?!), or how I must be doing an amazing job at work according to my co-workers' slogan of "If the kids hate you, that means you're doing your job", or how I had to give up any potential plans of going out tonight. Nope; all that I really cared about this evening was finally coming home again to my bed and laptop.

What I usually do when I get home is what I call "checking my traps". It includes e-mail, regularly-read blogs, news, and various other websites whose content makes my day complete. Missed Connections on Craigslist used to be a part of this, but I have found that I have become increasingly bored and frustrated with it. I don't read it in hopes of seeing a posting about me, but at the same time, reading it is kind of like being in high school all over again and watching all the other kids get candy-grams and flower deliveries on Valentines Day, and you get jack shit. And some of the postings are just dumb - "I saw you on the corner. You looked at me. Hope we can go out sometime." Wow, with that much information about a deeply significant moment, how could the person you're talking about NOT respond?

But, bored, I decided to check it out tonight. It was one of those things that you do, and even while you're doing it you're wondering why you're doing it. But I did it. I did it, I scrolled down, and there, right on my computer screen, was a Missed Connection about me.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

You're stupid.

No woman over the age of 35 should try to do an air-guitar in public.

Ever.

That's all I have to say about that right now.

Exactly.

This pretty much sums up my viewpoint.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Losing You. Part Seventeen.

I rolled over and moaned when I heard the phone ringing. My eyes lazily opened to fixate on the accordion shade of the lamp on my bedside table, and I wished for whoever was calling to hang up so I get back to sleep. Then, with a start, I realized that I had heard the phone ringing earlier that morning but had ignored it due to my exhausted stupor. I also realized just who would be calling me.

I threw the covers back and jumped out of bed in one quick motion and dashed for the phone. It was placed on the floor next to the doorway, and I threw myself onto the carpet and snatched up the receiver.
"Hello?" I said, my voice still groggy.
"Where were you?" My mom’s enraged voice shrilled on the other end.
"Hey mom..." I said, still half-a-beat behind on the conversation, my brain struggling to find something appropriate to say.
"You were supposed to drive me to the hospital this morning, Amber. I waited and waited, then I called, and finally I had to drive myself in."
"I...I’m sorry, mom. I must have forgot." I replied.
"You forgot that I was having a biopsy today?! Amber, you promised me that you would drive me in. I had to drive myself home! After surgery!"
"Mom, I’m really sorry. I forgot it was today. I know I promised you, but -"
"Forget it!" She snapped. "I am really disappointed with you, Amber. In fact, I’m furious. I ask you to do this one thing for me...just one thing, which was to drive me to my surgery appointment, and you forget?! Do you have any idea how sick I felt after surgery, Amber? Do you have any idea how dangerous it was for me to drive after that?!"
"Mom - "
"I’m going to bed. I’ll talk to you later." I could tell her voice was starting to shake. My mom and I are alike that way...whenever we are at the top of our anger scale, we start to cry.
"Do you need anything?" I said, trying desperately to make some sort of concession. "Do you want me to come over-"
"No! Goodbye." She hung up.
After returning the receiver to its cradle, I just sat there fore a few minutes and stared down at the short beige and brown carpet. I wrapped my arms around my bare knees as my mind went into spin-control mode...how could I make this up to her? How could I get her to forgive me? What excuse could I make? I realized there wasn’t one. I had let her down, and more than that, I hadn’t been there for the one big thing that I should have been there for. My mom had had her breast cancer biopsy today...how could I have forgotten that?

I had failed. I knew that in one stupid lapse of memory, everything I had tried to accomplish since moving up here had now vanished. That’s how it just was with my parents; I could spend months trying to get into their good graces, but one slip-up and I was out. And this was a big slip-up. My parents’ biggest complaint, for as long as I could remember, was that I thought the world revolved around me. To be honest, for most of my life I thought it did. Yet the whole point of moving up here was to show them that I had changed, that I wasn’t as selfish anymore, that I wasn’t irresponsible; that I was dependable, mature, and worthy of their trust.

I had been slipping for a while. Even when I had started to party with Mark and Craig and that crowd, I had still kept up appearances at home...stayed patient even when they aggravate me, did the things they asked of me, was there when they asked me to be, kept my frustration and hurt in check when I felt like they were blowing me off. It had been so exhausting, but it had seemed like I was making some progress. Yet after I had met Travis, I had become wrapped up in my own little world again and hadn’t paid attention to the task I had set myself concerning my family. I was gone all the time, either working nights, sleeping during the day, or out with Travis. Sometimes I only saw my family twice a week, even though I only lived steps away from them. My self-absorption had gotten the better of me once again. I was so ashamed of myself.

I picked myself up off the floor and resolved to find some way to make it up to my mom, some way to do better in the future. Then I fell back into bed and went to sleep.

***

Travis was leaving. That thought was always constant in my mind. I told myself that any day now, he could call and tell me that he was taking off - that he had finally found a way to move out west - therefore, I should make an effort to spend as much time with him as possible. That was my rationale, and thus all my old Rules had gone out the window when it came to him. This is why, years later, it still stuns me when I realize we really were only together for about 3 months. Now it seems such a small amount of time, but in our young and mutually transient worlds, it felt like so much longer.

In the beginning, the course of our relationship mainly held court in one of the various townie bars in Hayward or at Holiday. We would either meet up at the bars with their brown varnished wood and dim yellow lights and smoke and drink beer and talk all night, or he would come into Holiday and we would hang out until early morning amid the candy, engine oil, and lottery tickets. It seemed we never ran out of things to say to each other...we talked about everything from the small to the significant; our stories, our favorite books, our hopeful futures, God and music. Later our conversations would become my measuring stick for others...could I talk to them the way I talked to Travis? I loved the way I felt when I talked to him; easy, interesting, and animated when we were in public, quiet and compelling when we were alone.

One night he had come back with me to the guest house after we had spent a day hanging out in the bookstore and coffeeshop in Hayward. It was already dark out, and I was sprawled out on my floor while Travis sat on a chair in front of my stereo. He loved searching through my CD’s - I had hundreds - and playing whichever ones caught his interest. He was shuffling through the tracks of a CD I had just made, and had stopped at a song by Heather Nova...a cover of Springsteens’ "I’m On Fire." He gasped.
"Where did you find this?" He asked, looking at me with wide eyes.
"It was one of my favorite songs when I was little, and Napster had that cover."
"It’s amazing." He said, staring at me.
I leaned back on my hands, feeling my tight green "Make 7 Up Yours" t-shirt tighten around my breasts. I looked down past the hem of my jeans to my bare feet, my silver toe ring twinkling as I wiggled my toes. I realized then that I felt good around him...not anxious, not nervous, not withdrawn or guarded. Just good.. And when I was with him, I felt rad by association. I shook my long hair back and looked at him, smiling. I realized then that he had been staring at me the whole time.
"God," He said, a smirk creeping across his face. "You are so gorgeous."
My smile turned into a wide grin - my silent way of saying "Thank you" - and I watched him as he slid off the chair and onto the floor. He crawled towards me and then on top of me, forcing me to lay back on the floor. He kissed me, long and slow, and I brought my hands up to his neck, his face, his hair. After a while I opened my eyes to peek at him, and realized that he had been doing the same. We both giggled at having been caught by the other, and then he bowed his head down to kiss my neck.
"I adore you, Amber." He said, his voice muffled by the skin between my neck and shoulder.
I didn’t say anything back. I just kept softly playing with his hair, staring at the ceiling as I felt his soft lips and moist tongue tickle my neck.

He literally took my breath away when I considered how dangerous he could be. His brooding intensity, the unexpected gentleness, his brutal beauty...sometimes I used to think that I could really love him. If he had had a heart, that is. If I had still had mine.


Part Eighteen >>

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wow, there really are a lot of parts to this story, huh?!

Previous Installments of "Losing You" -

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Part Nine

Part Ten

Part Eleven

Part Twelve

Part Thirteen

Part Fourteen

Part Fifteen

Part Sixteen

All right, here it is, and only about 5 months late!

"Losing You" has been resumed.

I'm going to post links to all the other installments as requested.

And yes, I'm still going to go with the whole "Losing You, Part 103" thing, simply because I can't think of a better way to title them. I thought about re-breaking up the posts and putting them into chapters, but that would create looooong posts. So I'm not going to do that. Plus, since I'm trying to resume my writing without burning myself out, the new installments are going probably going to be posted a little shorter than usual.

So here we go, kids.

Since everyone else and their mom blogged about taxes today, I guess I will, too.

Today was tax deadline.

I sent mine in at approx. 3:35pm.

I will be getting around 28 bucks back.

I'm super psyched about that.


The End.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Try harder, stupid.

So even though the movie was a little bit too cheesy for my taste (that whole "You're so guarded, let me love the fears right out of you" schtick, etc), the one part about the movie "Hitch" that always stands out in my mind is the scene when Will Smith's character is explaining to the audience about what women really mean when they make dating excuses like "this is a really bad time for me" or "I'm really into my career right now". One of the key classic lines in the movie goes "What she's really saying is "Uh, get away from me" or possibly "try harder, stupid"."

It's the second bit that always sticks in my mind.

I'm not a super demanding girl when it comes to dating. That mostly stems from me just not really caring that much. However, I have done my share of dating. That's not a brag...it's actually more of a frustration right now, because I'm a busy girl even when I'm not dating, and lately I feel like I'm wasting my time on guys who should just know about certain things...but they don't. And there are certain things that just get me. So for once and for all, I'm going to put these things out as a service to all men everywhere, so they can stop doing these things and pissing off me and my friends and every other woman I've ever talked to about such things.

The list is as follows -

1. The calling thing.
I hate the phone. Let me repeat - I. Hate. The. Phone. Hate it. Haaaaaate it. I hate dialing some guys' number, I hate the semi-awkward conversation, I hate the whole "Yeah...so I gotta go" when it's clear that it's taking him a millenium to get the balls up to ask me out. It is my personal belief that the only reason a man and woman should use the phone to call each other is to set up a date (not all women share this belief, but then they actually do like the phone while I do not...that's how you can tell the difference, smarties). Therefore the phone call should last about 10 minutes, tops. Of course, since I'm an infinitely mysterious and complicated woman, there are exceptions to this. If we're "dating dating" and he's calling because he actually cares about how my day was and vice versa, I might actually want to talk to him a little longer. Yet therein lies the paradox...we're established. There's no guesswork. I don't waste two hours on the phone and then have the call end with no date in sight. This irritates me to no end. Even if I really, really enjoy talking to a guy, I would much rather prefer talking to him in person where there's at least a chance we'll also end up talking in tongues. You know how some guys get all pissy because they bought a girl a steak dinner but still didn't laid? I get all pissy if I called you and still didn't get asked out. There are hundreds of lonely children in Africa...I'll call or e-mail them if I want a pen-pal or phone buddy. But I don't, because I don't. The End.

2. The "Let's meet at ___" thing.
What the hell does a girl have to do to get a guy to actually pick her up at her house these days? I've surveyed almost all of my girl friends, and all of them have the same complaint. For some reason, guys who live in the Twin Cities think they have a get-out-of-jail free card when it comes to picking up a girl at her door on a date. They always want us to meet them at some obscure bar across town because it's easy for them. Or worse, they want you to meet them at their house before you go out. WTF?! That's not how it works. Having to deal with periods every month entitles a girl to the fact that she shouldn't have to drive on a date. Plus, how are you going to make all my 6th-grade-Molly-Ringwald-movie-watching dreams come true by kissing me on my front steps at the end of the night if I have drive home separately? Be a gentleman...you'll drive three hours just to go golfing for an hour with your stupid friends. You can drive 15 minutes cross-town to pick us up for a date. Trust me...that little extra driving on your part makes a world of difference...to us, and to the environment (not that I care that much about the environment...I'm just sayin').

The only - and only - reasonable exception to this is if it's the first date. Then it's just smart to drive separately, for two reasons - 1. If the date doesn't go well, you both can dodge out early without that awkward silent ride back to her place. 2. If your date turns out to be a psycho, well...at least they don't know where you live (yet). However, the second date is definitely the time to pull up MapQuest and offer to pick her up at her place.

3. The flippin' hugs.
I'm not a big "kiss on the first date" kind of girl. The second date, maybe, if I'm feelin' ya. The third date...yeah. If you've made it to the third date, I probably have thought about kissing you and have found it to be a thought to my liking.

Yet even though I'm not a usual first-date kisser, that doesn't mean that I want to hug you instead. I don't get the whole first date hug; hugs can actually be more intimate or squeasy than first-date kisses. It just feels weird to be in full-body contact with someone I hardly know. Yet guys seem to think this is the perfect bridge between shaking your hand and kissing you. It's not. If you really want to reach that elusive perfect medium, do something she's never had someone do before. Brush her hair back when you make eye contact and say goodbye. Put your hand on the small of her back and let it linger before you walk away. Kiss her on the forehead or cheek or if you're really smooth, right on the crook of her neck (it takes a very confident guy to pull that off, but if you can, you will be golden...trust me. Golden.). Just don't kiss the back of her hand or hug her at the end of the date. Date rapists kiss the back of hands, and you hug your uncle. Again, The End.

Now, I'm sure the chumps who are reading this are probably wondering "What's in it for me?", esp. concerning No. 1 and No. 2. You're probably thinking "Making her call me and ask me out and having her meet at my place lets me just sit back and let her do all the work. Why should I change?". Well, for starters, because you're a chump and possibly every girl who's ever gone out with you has declared that fact to all her friends and everyone she's ever known. If you're not worried about making a good impression, then you obviously don't really like this girl very much, and you should really just cut her loose and let her find some guy that does actually like her.

Or you might be thinking that it's unfair that you have to do all the work and what happened to women's lib and blah blah blah. Shut up - you still make more money than us in every career sector except for modeling and prostitution, and you still need us to be able to have sex, so therefore, you should have to put a little effort into it. And third, you should just want to do these things. If you really like a girl, you should want to go out of your way to bowl her over with your charm and gentlemanly ways. When you don't care about doing that, we can tell...and possibly use your habits as fodder for a new blog post.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

OH MY GOD!

I HAVE CABLE NOW!

I am so happy. Even though now I can't be all "Yeeeeah, welllll, I don't watch TV" pretentious, having Jon Stewart in my bedroom now is worth it.

Sooo worth it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

North Country. It sounds so much better than "Up North" or "The North Land".

Tonight I watched "North Country". I've had this movie from Netflix for about three weeks now - I kinda put off watching it because of the whole "non-feel good movie" vibe that it had. But tonight I was sent home sick, so I curled up in my bed and watched it (my room has this built-in structure that makes watching tv in my bed the most amazing experience...one more thing I can use to lure men into my bed, besides my stunning looks and sparkling personality). And it was really, really good. It's the kind of movie that fits in that peculiar movie category of movies that you're grateful for having watched and you'll sing its' praises, yet you never, ever want to watch it again because it's just too emotional and harsh (Shindlers' List is also in this category).

You may not know this, but most of the film was filmed in my little part of the world (or I mean, my part of the world before I left it for Minneapolis and/or where I was living when this movie was filmed)...probably because the makers of the movie looked at each other and said "Hey, let's go up to northern Minnesota and Wisconsin...that's where Amber is and she's awesome...therefore, this movie will be awesome, too!"

There is definitely this surreal feeling, watching a movie and recognizing the scenery. I don't mean the "Wow, there's the New York skyline, and I live in New York, too!". No. I mean the Villiage Inn restaurant right off I-35, or the stretch of highway between Ashland and Duluth, or the little-known bar that no one really knows about except those who've been to Washburn and have seen the lit-up ceiling. I'm not going to name names here, because I really don't need you Hollywood whores to come up here and ruin my little paradise with your "Let's make Bayfield the new Sundance!" crap-o-la. No. Instead I'm going to keep these little gems tucked away in my backpocket. But just know that I recognized about 99.5% of the backdrop of this film, except for the mine because I don't like mines and therefore have never been there.

I'm amazing.

P.S. - I saw "Thank You For Smoking" this weekend, and it's one of the best movies I've seen in a long, long time. And after it was over, I wanted nothing more than to light up a cigarette and puff away. Which makes it one of the bestestest movies I've seen in a long, long, long time.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Self-involved. And it's probably gonna stay that way for a while.

So I have definite commitment issues. I figured this out last night after about the 15th "second date" I've gone on within the past month or so that has left me slightly hyperventilative (is that a real word? It is now) and extremely anxious.

And I think I've got it figured out...it all boils down to the tongue wrasseling. I can go on five dates with a guy, and if he doesn't kiss me, I'm fine (kinda). However, if a guy kisses me, all of a sudden I become the female version of the commitmentphobe nightmare every unmarried woman over the age of 30 hates. For some reason, a kiss seems to make me feel locked in...like I have an obligation now. Like I have to commit. Or, more to the point, I'm commiting which really just means that sometime on down the line I'm gonna have to break up with them.

That's the point I'm trying to make. It's the breaking up. It's not so much the kissing...it's the inevitable break-up that I see happening down the line...and the person I see instigating it is usually me. Let's just say that my biggest nightmare is hurting someone, aka, dumping them. So I would rather just avoid it all together and not even start dating anyone.

Yeah. I'm fucked up.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Please. Someone kill James Blunt for me. Please?

No, I'm for real, here. Kill him. Or kill the person who wrote the "You're Beautiful" song. Who likes this shit? Who are the stupid-ass girls who listen to this song on their ride home, hug themselves, smile, and think "I would love for someone to think about me when they hear this song. Because I am beautiful. It's true."

And the rhyming is so trite. And it doesn't make sense. First he sings about some shit about how an angel must have smiled when he thought that "I should be with you", and then it ends with the realization that no, they will never be together. What the fuck, dude? Are ya gonna be together or are you going to be a pussy boy and give up? And the thing that totally kills me is that I know it's become the anthem song for millions of "Missed Connections" fanatics everywhere. I bet that song was even inspired by Craigslist. Which is hurtful, because I really don't want to associate something so awesome with something so suck-ass.

All right. I'm done.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Of books and Potters.

Does anyone else find themselves finishing a new Harry Potter book within the span of two days and then feeling sad because it was over so soon and wishing that the new book was out NOW so you could continue to live in the exciting and delightful world of Harry, Ron, and Herimone, so you check the Barnes and Noble website to see when the new book comes out and then find yourself crying out in shock and dismay that it won't come out for months, years even, and you contemplate reading the old ones in the series but then fling yourself onto your bed when realize that they're just not going to do the trick because you've ALREADY read them five times each after the last time a new Harry Potter book came out and you read that one in two days too and felt the same longing.

No? Maybe it's just me, then...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Katherine Kersten, I love to hate you.

Thank you for giving me a reason to hate again. From your idiotic arguments for "saving" marriage from those horrible, malicious gays, to your newest stance on how college students across America shouldn't ban Coke because it's so "friendly" and, oh yeah, it makes a lot of money.

You know, I had, myself, thought that the arguement for college campuses to ban Coke and for student activists to rally around the cause was a little flimsy. Some union workers get killed in a Coke plant somewhere in Columbia. Well, it is Columbia, it is union workers...not too far-fetched that someone is going to get killed at some point.

Yet, it's the whole absolutely condescending way that Kersten writes these editorials. As if she is the only one who can see the truth, or is the only one in the land who is privy to the principals of logical thought. Do people actually like her? For reals...do people somewhere actually read her columns and think "Wow...that Katherine Kersten got it right again!"

No wait, strike that...I'm sure somewhere, there are people like that.

And I hate them, too.

Movie Reviews, or aka "I'm busy and don't have a lot of time to post, and something is better than nothing."

So my movie reviews for this week, which consist of one rental and one "in-theater" flick -

In-Theater Flick Review, which should come first because I paid more for it -

"Failure To Launch"
Eh. The things that this movie has going for it goes in this order (and you should just know right now that I'm not even going to spell check hard-to-spell last names of people who are in this movie - I'm talking about you, Zoey and Matthew - because, frankly, it irritates me and I'm just not going to do it today.) -

1. Zoey Danchshel - as in all the movies she's in, she's uber endearing yet knows exactly how to be so without also being super annoying. She's pretty much the best thing about this movie (and that's including Matthew McCaugheys' shirtless scenes).

2. Matthew McCaughey's hot friend in the movie who also played Zach in "The Wedding Crashers". I'm sorry, I know this is unexpected, but I think he's almost as hot as Matthew...there. I said it.

3. Sarah Jessica Parkers' hair and outfits.

4. They don't completely give away the "emotional cliff-hanger that changes everything we previously thought we knew about the characters" until it's time.

5. Matthew McConaughey is shirtless. A lot.

The things the movie does not having going for it -

1. It's kind of formula. Nothing really great or revolutionary about it. It would have been more fun if it would have focused more on SJP's character and her job - you know, showing a montage of all the clients she's had before, how she's turned them around, then finally she meets her match in Matthew McCaunghey's character! Or even expanded the whole "this is the reason why they are the way they are" thing - they just kind of mention it and then move on, and we're left thinking "WAIT! I don't quite understand the emotional implications that this must have had on that character and how it affected both their personality and outward actions every moment since, bringing them to this exact moment of serendipity!"

2. It tries to include this whole goof thing with Matthew McCaungheauey's character and animals. Think RomCom trying too hard to be a stupid comedy.

3. It just wasn't that great. You put SJP and Matthew McCanghetzery in a movie together, and I expect greatness. Awesomosity, even. I am disappointed.

So yeah. I give it a "Eh - wait for the DVD".

Moving on -

The Baxter - DVD rental -

Okay, so if you've ever seen "Wet Hot American Summer", you are going to recognize about 75% of the cast in this. They're kind of like the whole "Waiting For Guffman" tribe...a troop of actors who act in the same movies together, blah blah blah. Yet, much like the "Waiting For Guffman" group, this group is also fabulous and brilliant together. "The Baxter" is delightful. There is no other way to say it. It's definitely that kind of movie that you rent on DVD because you're in the mood for a fun little indie movie that's not going to make you cry or question every materialistic purchase you've ever made in your life. This movie is just fun. Not "my new favorite movie in the whole world" fun, but fun. Quirky fun. Fluff fun. Imitating the gestures and nuances because they're funny fun.

I'm also supposed to watch "North Country" today, but that review will have to come later, because, like I said, I'm busy. But I know you'll wait for my review before you rent it. Wanna know how I know that? Because I'm that good.

Seriously, yo.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

APRIL FOOLS

No, I'm not pregnant...not even, um, close. It was an April Fools joke.

The only way I could be pregnant right now is through an immaculate conception...and even though God does love me, I'm pretty sure he doesn't love me that much.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

And little Ambers all in a row.

So I've been feeling a little "under the weather" lately. Nothing too major...a little queasiness here, a little dizziness there. It's been a sporadic thing; not enough to make me stay home from work, but enough to make sure I don't eat too much during the day.

So today I was talking with some of my cousins who came along to our Old Ladies Weekend. We went shopping this afternoon, and over a couple of Starbucks, we had this conversation -

"You guys wanna have lunch?" asked Jen.
"NO," I said. "You guys can, but I'll head back if you do. I can't even be around the smell of food without feeling nauseated."
"Are you sick?" asked Tiffany.
"I don't know. I've just been feeling odd lately - queasy, dizzy, etc. Not really major, but enough to put me off food for at least a few hours every day."
Jen and Tiff exchanged looks.
"You're not pregnant, are you?" They asked, simultanously.
"Um, no."
"Are you sure?" Jen said, her eyebrows raised.
"Um...pretty sure." I replied. I couldn't say that I hadn't thought about the possibility yet - I think every girl thinks about it at least once a month...I know I do, even when I've been experiencing a "drought" of sexual activity (tho' it's more "I'm so glad I couldn't be pregnant, which should almost make up for the fact that I'm not having sex" rather than the "Ohmygod, amIpregnantcouldIbepregnantwhatifI'mpregnant?" usual thought process).

Upon further questioning, it seemed to be not-such-a-far-fetched reason for some of the weird-o things that had been happening lately. Both Jen and Tiff have kids of their own (despite the fact that they both still look like - and have the bodies of - fifteen year-olds), and my "Am I pregnant" musing suddenly became the afternoon mission; they gathered up all of our stuff and promptly marched me to the nearest grocery store, upon which we bought three pregnancy kits. Then they raced me back to our hotel to take them, as the hotel rooms were still mercifully deserted of any and all old ladies (they were still in the midst of their antiquing).

The result was this -

Maybe.

All tests turned out to be positive. However, as they are store-bought kits, they're not exactly medically fool-proof. So I have to go to the doctor on Monday to get tested, so I can know for sure if I am or am not "with child".

I so don't want to be a mom yet.

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