Teaching Again

Tonight I have to teach again for the first time this semester. I'm always scared at the beginning of the term. I have to hide my shaking hands on the first day of class. This time the anxiety is greater than it has been in the past. I dread it. My students will be better because I only have night classes, which means the majority of the students are adults. The night students are so much better. More of them do the reading. They even seem appreciative of the teacher at times. They tend to take more responsibility for themselves. Some of them even seem to respect the teacher as a source of knowledge instead of an object of ridicule.

I don't have my syllabus done yet. I was just going to rearrange the one I used last year but I realized this afternoon I don't even have the book at home so I can't do that. I'll have to go into the office. Nice one with the procrastination. Once again, I'll be printing and xeroxing the syllabus right before class. So I should leave home now to give myself an hour and a half to get the crap done. yep. leaving now. I don't want to go.

One of my colleagues called me yesterday after getting high. He told me how excited he was for classes to start. How much he just loves teaching. This dude is a source of envy for me, not in a hateful way. I like him. I just wish I could be more like him. He's already published some articles, he finished all his coursework, he never gets incompletes. He has no fears about his abilities or talking to professors or getting into discussions, he seems to have limitless confidence. More confidence than anyone else I know at the department. A lot of guys don't like him for that very reason. They resent his confidence and bravado and berate him in displays of obvious envy. The women, however, seem to get along well with him. Interesting. He's also disgustingly young, 24 or 25.

Time feels frozen. Time feels external to me. The world feels external. Can I expel myself from reality? In many ways I already live in a space external to reality and this is why I have problems. But I exit life to escape my problems so it's all a vicious circle really. I watched a show about John Nash this weekend. He's the mathematician who did some genius work in the development of game theory then went mad. After 20 years he willed himself sane again. The producers interviewed him for the show. He said madness is an escape, that sometimes it's easier to let oneself go, to give in to the voices rather than deal with reality.

Sometimes I've yearned to leave everything and run forever. Every single day of life is this arduous fight with myself, my nature, my various levels of desire and rationality and the demands of the physical world. Just making sure to remember to complete my daily hygiene routine is a struggle. One of the psychiatrists they interviewed for the show mentioned that for the mentally ill things like brushing their teeth in the morning are difficult or monumental tasks. That made me laugh because lately I've been writing out a to do list for my morning hygiene routine in an attempt to make the whole thing habitual and thus no longer a 'task'.

Imagine a person who must make it a goal to shower every morning and has to write herself lists to remind her to shower in the morning. Imagine what it must be like for her to navigate adult life and responsibilities in addition to the monumental task of her own self-care. My forays into the world wear me out, causing me to spend days alone to recover. And now the semester cycle begins again, the cycle that became a nightmare from which I was released only 5 weeks ago. I willingly walk back into it, pretending I'm ok. Pretending I'm not terrified. So terrified I must shut down all feeling and thought. Turn auto-pilot teacher adult act on now.

Will I survive it this time? I still don't know if I survived the last one, this may be the last attempt. Or it could all turn around and be great. I walk the plank towards the chilly ocean waters. I love swimming, so maybe it won't be so bad this time. The numbers on my computer that mark the time keep going up and up....with each passing second I increase the danger of not having enough time. I have to remind myself to care about that, that things like being on time are important in the world.

Here's an idea: Ask the Celibate

My blog hits were ominously low this weekend....due to my big announcement perhaps? Or perhaps due to the cold weather instead? hmmm. Well, here's an idea. More than one person has suggested I do a dating advice column on the blog. I've gotten a number of emails from people asking my opinion on their specific problems. And several of my friends come to me frequently for dating advice. Somehow, I've become this source of dating advice. So, maybe while I get over the boredom of my own dating stories, I can entertain my readers with YOUR dating problems.

This is an experiment: If you have a question email it in and I'll see what I can do. If you do have a question for the celibate that you'd like posted then write 'Ask the Celibate' or something akin to that in the subject line or somewhere in the email. Anonymity will be respected.

This new feature entirely depends on reader response. And I make no guarantees on the quality of the advice.
I'm still single myself, keep that in mind. Also, I'm still a virgin so don't ask me questions about how to execute various sexual positions because I can't help you. That's what the Kama Sutra is for, it even has diagrams. (I know because I've seen them myself!)

What are my qualifications for this? I write a blog which makes me an automatic expert in everything as you all know. I've been dating for almost 13 years, only one year of which did I not have a date. I'm a woman. I have enough close man friends to know a thing or two about them. I'm celibate so maybe that's given me a more objective viewpoint on things. I've avoided long term relationships so I know all about the beginnings of relationships and the game of the chase. More than I ever wanted to know. My overly analytical nature may have afforded me some insights, whether errant or true I can't say. But they are there nonetheless.

The Celibate is not liable for anything you may do as a result of her advice. Nor is the Celibate liable for any of the following side effects which may occur as a result of reading her advice.
Advice may cause headaches, diarhea, heart attacks, leprosy, and permanent insanity. Also known to cause other psychical ailments such as loneliness, bitterhood, maladjustment, delusions, disturbances in sexual identity and Morrissey obsessions (these are sometimes co-morbid conditions).
Ask at your own risk

This does not mean I have abandoned my new plans to expand the scope of CitC beyond my dating life. This is merely one aspect of that attempted expansion.


The Big Announcement

My dating stories bore me. Yup. I'm done. I still have at least a dozen to write, I never got around to some of the best ones. But I find the prospect of returning to those memories and revisiting the details repugnant. Here's a summary: I dated one loser after another, the quality men eluded my grasp, hence I'm single. Men and dates and subtexts and rejection and all of that mess just feels yucky to me now. No more. What does this mean to you dear readers? The end of CitC? NO. Absolutely not. The focus is going to shift more to the "City" aspect of my life. I find those things much more interesting, perhaps you will too.

Story of a blog about dating:
At the time I started this blog I felt totally desolate and without hope for any future conjugal bliss. I wanted to give up. My battered heart couldn't take one more hit. So I turned to writing and mined the past for these stories and found value in the ridiculousness of my love life. Rather than letting them pile up to embitter me, I could share them with people who could laugh or cry or have something to read at work. For a few months last year, blogging was the one pleasure I had. Thanks to all my readers for contributing to the pleasure! Your comments and the rise of the hit counter validated my existence as something more than a waste of space. Hooray!

Then I got over the pathetic desolation when I went to Ireland in the summer. Where I met someone who showed me I was desirable and still capable of feeling love-type emotions. I think that was a miracle, a gift for me just when I needed it most: a quite fantastic affair with a sweet and hot Irish Mormon while romping among ancient ruins and stormy weather gods.

Redolent with the glow of it all, I came home to New York with renewed hope and a rejuvenated heart. But I faced real life problems as soon as I got back, such as finding myself homeless. I got the living situation resolved before classes started but I still wasn't strong enough. Just when my workload got heavy, the blog got discovered and offended my Irish friend, causing me to lose the possibility of him. I knew it wasn't very likely to begin with but losing that still crushed me. It hurt so much because it was the best thing that happened to me in two years, perhaps the only good thing: a nice, normal, fun guy liked me even after we spent days together! And having something to hope for makes a big difference in one's quality of living.

The mountain of PhD:
While feeling the brunt of that devastation, my work became too much. I had a severe crisis and nearly quit school. I dropped as much of my responsibilities as I could, stopped going to my classes and became an incompetent teacher. I should have been fired and I should have been kicked out of my program. But I wasn't and I didn't quit. I started asking for help, for the first time in my life. Some kind people responded for which I am grateful. One fellow student, the first person I reached out to, became a good friend and now he is deliciously more. My parents were sympathetic which is rare. I even had a helpful correspondence with another blogger who had a similiar situation.

Now I stand at the base of this mountain. I slid down it last year. The descent bruised and almost broke me, which I probably deserved. My pride has taken a severe dismantling.
For the first time in my life I have failed at school. The one thing I knew I could do well has proven beyond the reach of my abilities. I hope it was temporary. I hope my self-imposed collapse saved me from a worse fate. I couldn't go on any longer with that amount of stress. This might mean I am not good enough, which I am now willing to accept.

This mountain, I have to climb back up or it's over. If I can't get it together this year then I will stop. Maybe go back to journalism. Or do temping again while working on a dive instructor license. If I do that then I can move somewhere exotic and find a job diving with tourists!

The new semester started today. I still have some humbling groveling to do so I can get out of the pit of failure. I have to ask one of the most arrogant professors for a favor that I don't deserve. I never asked for special treatment before last year. I never wanted to use depression as an excuse. I thought that would be wrong and weak. I hate this but I don't have a choice unless I want to fail out.

I don't know what to say to the man. I tried to approach him in December and he bit my head off. I have to talk to him today/tonight/tomorrow morning at the latest. How do you ask for special treatment for failing? I've had some students do it and found them quite disgusting. That's probably why I've procrastinated for two months. I did give one girl a chance to replace her F with a passing grade if she did some work. This guy could very likely say No. If I were him I might say no. Though I'd more likely say yes with Hipocritical disdain. Argghhh. Enough.

**We'll see how long this lasts. I give it two weeks max.


Plug Away! Vote for me

This blog has been nominated for a Bloggernacle Blogscar(it's an award) by the fine brothers of Intellexhibitionist. Since they asked us to plug the awards by urging our readers to vote for us, I'll comply. You can vote for CitC as "Best Individual Blog" here. Oo, oo, oo! I just saw that I am also listed on the polls for "Best Blog. Period." You can vote for that here.

Thank you for the nomination and your votes.


"Sister, I'm a Poet"

A man wrote a poem for me. But that isn't as cheesy as it sounds. He's a real poet, already published and getting his doctorate at one of this city's fine universities.

He is a friend of a friend whom some of you may know as HT, but now he's FHT. FHT wanted us to meet because he said we have a lot in common, especially our emotional health disorders and grad student life. Sounded like a set-up to me. He claimed it wasn't that afterwards, but...He drove me to this man's apartment in Cobble Hill. I mostly went for the ride in his jeep, on a beautiful summer day a drive over the Brooklyn Bridge provided relief from the oppressive uptown concrete heat. When the poet guy answered the door his face lit up in obvious surprise at seeing me. FHT and the Poet caught up with each other. I tried to be polite but didn't say much. Being angry at FHT for setting me up with this guy whom I found totally unappealing put me in a stinky mood.

The Poet asked me a lot of questions drawing me into a conversation. I was not friendly, not encouraging and not loquacious. I presented myself in Ice Queen Witch mode. In response to my reticence he brought out his guitar to play and sing some songs he'd written--very cheesy. FHT watched all of this in bemused silence. Then we went to lunch. The poet recommended this middle eastern place down the street. While waiting on our food, the men talked and I played with my fork dragging the tines on my napkin. Poet noticed my fork fiddling and said that was an aggressive behavior suggesting anger. I shrugged.

FHT had wanted us to meet because we had so much in common, like the guy is bi-polar and lonely. I'm not bi-polar but FHT didn't know the difference and he seemed to have taken us both on as service projects. Anyway, the Poet brought up the subject of medication and doctors. He asked me for specific details about my problems and boldly shared some of his horror stories. What I learned that day: Don't ever mix large amounts of alcohol with large amounts of Xanax while manic or you could wake up a week later several states away and not know how you got there.

One of my biggest problems in life right now is my lack of insurance and dependence on mental health care. The State of New York pays for this dude's medical care. I had looked into that but my income surpasses the limit. Poet said there were ways around that, I was skeptical but he offered to talk to his doctor to see what I could do. Which meant he needed my phone number. I'm a sucker for discount medical care so I gave him the digits.

A few days later the poet called and asked me out in a stealth-date manner. (That's fodder for another post.) I couldn't say no when he asked me because I'm very bad at it and he had manipulated the conversation such that he made it even more awkward and difficult. I should have found a way to decline anyway. We went out that weekend. During the beginning of our date he gave me an envelope. Told me not to open it, inside was a poem he wrote for me. He said that on the day we met he just sat down and wrote it quickly. He hadn't written anything that way in a long time. He thought it was a good poem, publishable, but I couldn't read it until I got home.

I was impressed and a little freaked out. It sounds like a typical cheesy date ploy, like something you'd see on the 'Blind Date' show. It makes a difference to the value of the gesture that he has already published other poems. The way he described his fevered composition of the poem sounded sincere. I read it as soon as I got home. Stunning. With each reading I fell deeper into the layers of metaphor, savoring the images he created. It had a solemn tone. About the sadness he saw in 'me' and how he wanted to comfort 'me'. He didn't know me at all so it wasn't really about me. That poem and the elaborate lengths he took to impress me on our first date got him a second date. (I will tell that story in full someday.) We only went out twice because the next date was one of the worst dates in my whole life.

This happened in August of 2003.
Two weeks ago, I got a phone call from an unknown number. Curious, I picked it up. It was the poet calling to tell me the poem has been published in a very prestigious journal. He told me where I might find a copy. We exchanged niceties but he clearly wanted to get off the phone. So I let him go with the words, "Your poem was lovely, thank you." He said, "Well, you're a lovely woman, thank you."

Somewhere out there is a published poem written for me. Sort of. I can't believe this is my life. Any day now I expect the real person to knock on my door and ask for her life back. So much is happening right now. I can't even write about all of it. Maybe soon.



The second real snow of the season. The last two winters in New York, it only snowed a few times but it seems like we had a lot more snow those years. They say 1-3 inches by the morning. I don't think I'll ever tire of the snow. (But that's because I don't live in snow drifts 8 months of the year.) It's magic. I love watching the swirls of flakes floating under the street lights. Tonight the swirls remind me of gnat swarms we used to get in the summer evenings in Florida, the snow moves the same way in this storm. But the flakes aren't black and nasty and won't stick in your teeth and get caught in your throat. They glitter under the orange bulb outside my window, magic that makes everything clean and sparkly.

I love this city after it snows. The snow covers the grimy yuck on the ground turning trash heaps into jeweled blankets. When all the lights turn on and shine it looks like the city sank a few feet under water turning streets into reflecting pools. This of course is why I fly away tomorrow. I eagerly waited for the snow to fall all year, knowing then my crap street will look nice, only to whisk away to the tropics when it finally does. At least I get to see it before I go.

I don't want to go to sleep tonight, I'd rather sit here and watch the snow fall. That would be irresponsible of me. I have too much to do tomorrow to get ready for the trip. Since I sat in bed all last week none of these necessities got done. I'll be lucky to get things half completed.

While I lay sick and incapacitated, my paycheck sat in the bursar's office uncashed and I have bills due, my prescription sits in the doc's office needing to be picked up and filled before I go...Those two things alone will take at least 3 hours of the day. More likely 4. Packing I can do in 30 minutes if I rush. The damnable laundry! I'll pick out what I want to wear on the trip, put it in a plastic bag and pack it up to wash at mom's house--just like I do every year. Dirty dishes have piled up in my bedroom, my trash overflows, the bathroom floor needs mopping, we're out of toilet paper, my floor needs vacuuming....I imagine much of the tedium of living would be easier if shared with another person. I know having someone complicates life exponentially in ways I can't conceive. But for now I feel tired and wish I had someone here.

The cold disease has mostly gone away. I haven't wanted to tempt the evil germs so I stayed home and rested. My gentleman friend has left the country for two weeks, plunging me back into lonely boredom when I return from Mom's house. It won't be too bad because I need a week to unwind after spending time with the family. But I might miss him all the same--only if he misses me too and doesn't go falling in love with some Israeli.

The weirdness of flying into another world never ceases to amaze me. This time tomorrow I'll be sleeping in a bunk bed in South Florida, in a house with a green lawn, hibiscus blooming, starry sky and frogs croaking. Where the only street sounds come from neighbors' cars and kids playing. Even now in Brooklyn, the raggae from the club up the block beats incessantly at 3 am. I don't mind the music but the DJ's screaming gets on my nerves. And car alarms. Why do people continue to use them, they don't work.
Still the snow falls.

I should sleep so I can feel less guilty tomorrow when I don't get anything done. A black cat just slunk across the white snowy lot, it's almost like a Rockwell painting but with barbedwire and graffiti.
Still snowing.


Campbell's myth of the hero made real

One devout reader of the blog mentioned in his comment to the final Tainted Love post that it sounded like I had gone through a re-birth a la Joseph Campbell and his Power of Myth. I have not read any of his works but I've seen the Bill Moyers 6 hour interview on PBS several times. We also studied his theory of 'The Myth' in my High School English class so I have learned the pattern of the universal myth he discovered.

If you're not a PBS junkie like myself, you may not have heard of Joseph Campbell. He studied myths and legends from around the world to discover their meaning. He found that every culture had at least one story about the Hero going on a journey, and these myths all followed the same pattern. He decided that means this is the universal human myth, a story that we all need to hear no matter our culture, time, nor history. George Lucas reportedly worked with Campbell when writing the script for Star Wars--this may be an urban legend but he definitely used Campbell as an influence. [So what's up with the Mormon myth that Yoda's face was made from Spencer W. Kimball's? He does look an awful lot like him.]

Below I have tried to summarize the necessary elements of the hero's myth:
A youth or innocent hero is forced to begin a journey caused by some tragic event beyond her control. There is some necessary task required of her.
During the journey the hero must die metaphorically and enter 'the belly of the whale', some place that is a metaphor for the womb and subconscious.
Once in the womb, the hero wrestles with the tragic events and his personal attitudes towards them, while undergoing one or more tests of strength/courage/wisdom.
Then the hero emerges from womb by victoriously winning the test, to be re-born as a new person.
Upon completion of the necessary task, the hero returns home bruised, wiser, and having changed and grown significantly.

*I learned this many moons ago so I doubt it's an accurate or complete description of Campbell. But it's close enough to suit the purposes here.

Inspired by my reader, I tried to see if I could line up the events of the finale with Campbell's pattern of the Hero's Myth. I've posted my results below:

My innocence/youthful foolishness:
I can't let go of my feelings and hopes for man who married someone else. I wallow in that comfort zone never straying to find someone new.(not counting long distance because that is safe and unreal)

The tragic event beyond my control:
He marries her

The catalyst for my journey:
Against the odds, We're in the same place in a line for a concert in a city I don't live in. I have to see him and his unhappy marriage for the first time.

The metaphorical womb into which I must go:
The dark warm interior of an old church now used for concerts--to the floor where there is standing room only

The strength/courage test:
To face the reality of my loss unabated for 4 hours. To struggle with my own selfish pity versus my love/sympathy for him. To let go of my fool's desire which I've used as a shield and accept that it's over.

The final battle in the womb:
I see his angry face fighting for the sweaty shirt and I respond with repulsion and sympathy, seeing what he has become and knowing I don't want him.

The victorious rebirth:
I leave the concert venue soaked in sweat having shed the last of my Eros-love for him, replaced with agape-love overwhelming me with sorrow for him.

The hero returns:
I go back to New York feeling old and worn, but free from the burden of his memory. With the knowledge that I am better off without him and having lost him as my paradigm for manhood since he now repulses me.

The necessary task completed:
My heart is reborn and rescued from the dark pit in which he left it, the wounds long since gangrened have been cleansed and scarred over. Thus, I am free to love anew, to love someone else wholly and without regret for another. My eyes are made clean from his shadow so I can truly see other men and new possibilities. The new JL has new hope that she will not die a crusty bitter virgin.


My life as an Insecure Freakshow

I have been home by myself all week. I had dinner with people in the house on Monday, went to my office for a couple hours Tuesday, went to the grocery store yesterday. And dealt with the Germans-cooking-meat-kitchen drama last night. Other than that I've been wandering the dark places of my mind. It's like a fun house back there, if I go in deep enough or spend enough time, all crazy mirrors and distortions. Little things seem huge, normal things turn ugly. I had a very anxious day spent knotted up with my insecurities. Then I wrote the post and took it down 3 hours later. Right before I went out for some of my wild single girl city fun.

A typical Friday night out in the city:
We didn't even get to see the comedy show because they changed the times and we got there too late. We had over-priced burritos next door to the club, then couldn't decide what to do next, go to the late show or meet Lacy at the bar. I told Barb and Kevo to decide because I didn't care. That decision discussion took some time. They almost flipped a coin for it. But Kevo really wanted to go to the bar to see Lacy because she is so *hot and adorable* and he thought he could get her to take him home. Even though Barbara told him that Lacy only went to that bar to flirt with Mary the bartender who already turned her down because she has a girlfriend. Kevo would not be discouraged.

Barbara didn't want to go to the bar because she knew she would have to smoke if she drank and she wants to quit and didn't want to spend 6 bucks on a pack for just one night's worth of smokes. She also wanted to laugh. Eventually they worked it out. We went to the bar near West 4th and she asked me if she could give me the pack of ciggys at the end of the night for me to give away or something. The rest of the night was pretty chill. We talked and caught up with each other's lives. After hearing about my troubles from the past semester, Kev suggested that "Maybe you just need a good lay." I laughed and agreed. He doesn't know about my celibacy-virginity thing and he's not someone who could respect it. He'd mock me until the end of time.

Around 2 a.m. the bar started clearing out. Freezing rain was falling outside. It didn't look like Kevo succeeded in hooking up with his target. Barb and I rescued her from his exclusive attentions about half an hour earlier. He tried until the bitter end, he wouldn't go to the subway with me because he wanted to wait to see her home. Silly boy. Lacy definitely did not succeed with her flirtations but the bartender worked her with lots of attention for the tips. Good times.

At 2:30ish I left by myself, I almost never have to walk to the subway alone when out with friends. On the way, a homeless man in the village asked me for change and when I said 'no' he said, "You're a very pretty lady. I'd like to get to know you. But I know that is impossible." This caused me to take the long way around to the subway. Despite the detour, he came down and saw me waiting in the station. He said, "Hi again pretty lady. That's ok. I still love you." I told him 'thank you.' While waiting 30 minutes for the train I ruminated on the class divisions in America and how I would have preferred to talk to the man, I don't like ignoring people that way. But I learned that I can't do that or they'll keep pushing trying to take more liberties with me. Sometimes they ask you out or might start touching you or talking for 30 minutes or the worst is when they follow you...yes, I am stupid enough to have learned that the hard way.

Please ignore the man behind the curtain, I mean, my irrational outbursts. Or not, that's ok too.


Tainted Love: Take my Tears...

It's a grey day in New York City. From my 4th floor window I can see the Leggo-shaped rooftops with their jagged perpindicularity of chimneys, fences, and everything else that sits atop these tired Brooklyn brownstones. A multi-drabbed horizon of uneven brick, some sagging, some painted with advertisements for the Laundry King, stretches away from me and the leafless tree in the lot across the street. Children's shrill voices calling each other bounce off the buildings signalling that school is out. And I know that today is the day. I will finish what I began so long ago, way back in October. The story starts here and moves in a backwards narrative. Some readers have anxiously waited. Some have demanded that I finish the story so they can sleep again. And today I say to them, "Ok."

That city down south beckoned, ok, not really. My best friend asked me to fly down there to join her for a concert, the Moz show. At this point I had already seen the concert 4 times this year. Some of you may remember from such posts as "That joke isn't funny" and "I lost my new Moz boyfriend" not to be confused with "A love letter to Morrissey". Four times this year. So I had no good reason to drop some cash on a plane ticket to see him again. Except. Except he was playing the Tabernacle and the cheaper tickets were open admission, standing room on the floor. We could get up close this time. So close. Those groupies wouldn't know what hit em by the time me and my friend made our way through to the front. We were punks once. We knew our way around a pit. These sappy little Mozzers didn't stand a chance. Ha! So I went.

She met me at the airport then drove us downtown. She was so excited. I wasn't so excited anymore because the depression had too great a hold on me. I knew I didn't have the capacity to enjoy anything. But she wanted to see the show with me so I mustered all the will I could just to get myself to JFK. I had nothing left over for excitement. In fact, I missed my flight because I slept too late, she had to talk me into catching another one. So I barely made it at all.

The dusky polluted light came from the western sky. I hadn't seen that much sky in awhile. Maybe it was 6:30 when we arrived. We had a good place in line, just half-way up the block. Stragglers were slow in coming which surprised us. Steff watched the people around us, commenting on the good looking men. I didn't care about them but I looked when she directed my attention. She found a new one. "ohhheewww. He's cute! You've got to look at this one. Yum!"

I glanced over my shoulder at the tall lanky guy with the dark buzzed hair and glasses walking to the line. Something in me cringed. He was cute, but. "He looks too much like George. I can't look at him." Steff sounded impressed, "Really? Wow. Well, I get it. That really sucks for you. I'm sorry." I looked back over my shoulder again, "Yep. Looks a lot like him." I shivered. She asked, "Is it him?" What? "Oh. No. George has red hair and he's not that skinny. And he doesn't wear glasses like that." It couldn't be him. She nodded. "Ok. Did you see the nasty girl he is with? How did she get that?"

I had seen her. I said, "It looks like she might be his little sister. He's not acting like he's with her." She disagreed, "No, can't be. She's been hanging onto his arm. Sisters don't do that." True. The tall boy had moved to the edge of the sidewalk and sat on the wall. The girl was still standing, keeping their place in line. She was one of those girls we hate. All little and mousy, with no style and greasy hair. Bland. Lightish straightish brownish shoulder-length hair. Khaki colored pants and a thrift-store orange sweater over a clashing t-shirt. Not clashing in a cool way. She wore round wire-rim glasses and no make-up. She probably wore patchouli oil.

Steff asked again, "She is so ugly. How did she get that?" This time I answered. "The same way they all do. She played the helpless feeble fragile little girl routine. The 'oh please save me, I'm just a drowning kitten in the rain, you big strong fine man you.' And when that fails they play dirty." Directly proportional to their level of attractiveness comes the cunning. The girls who 'forgot' to take the pill, or tell any lying story or manipulative ploy because they don't want to be alone. We both got angry. I thought about George. And how some girl convinced him to live with her as a roommate and a few months later got him to marry her. Some wench like that one over there. These weren't kind thoughts, definitely not Christian thoughts. I was unhappy and here was this sniveling mouse standing behind me with a man who looked like the one I had lost.

My friend said she needed to go to the facilities and left me for a few minutes. I sat down on the wall and continued to wait. The boy was still sitting on the wall a few feet from me. Now that I faced the street, I could clearly see the girl. She looked at me. So I looked at her. She stared. I turned away and felt ashamed for my mean thoughts. She must have seen us looking at them. But I had only glanced a couple times. It was Steff who had stared unabashedly. And now Steff was gone. I looked at her again. She glared at me and scowled. What? What was up with that? It was totally uncalled for. Yet she continued. I couldn't figure out what her problem was unless . . . Was that her? If that is George then he would've recognized me and told her who I was. Being the last girlfriend before her and the one she had to take him away from meant she could only hate me. This girl here, on this sidewalk, hated me. And she wanted me to know it. She lifted her left hand up to touch her hair and I saw a small wedding ring. Gulp. They're married? --

It started getting darker. The girl shivered and said something to the boy. He stood up reluctantly and went to her. He said, "You're cold?" and put his arms around her and kissed the back of her head. On his outstretched arms I saw big black fresh tattoos. That wasn't him, George had no tattoos, but these were new. I hadn't seen him in a year and a half though. But this guy was too pale and pasty. He could dye his hair and get tattoos but he couldn't make his freckles go away. Unless he stayed out of the sun. No. That was not George. His face was different. Ok, that was settled.

My friend returned and I told her what happened, with the staring and the ring. She said the girl must have seen us looking at her. Sure. I could tell she didn't believe it either. Shortly after this the doors opened and we walked forward to wait for the security frisk. Duly handled, we went inside and then through to the floor. We rushed to get as close as we could. We were 2 people away from the stage barrier. Steff started chatting with the women in front of us and the drinking man next to us. I quietly processed the information at hand. The ring, the hateful stare, what if it is George? Why didn't I recognize him? And since when does he like Morrissey --Mr. Old skool punk ska boy with the steel toed boots? Unless he came for her.

I watched the doors. I wanted to see him when he came in. And there they were. They went towards the center. We were stage left. This guy was tall, so his head stood above everyone. He stood about 15-20 feet away from me. Then I saw his profile. My stomach dropped. That was his chin. That was him. I had a photo of him that was a profile shot of him lying on the beach, I took it while lying next to him on the blanket. I had kept that photo on my dresser for a year after I moved to New York. What the hell? How come I hadn't recognized him outside? What's happened to him? I got sick. He looked so unhappy.

Steff noticed. I told her. She said, "Are you sure?--Ok, I'll go kick his a**. If you want me to I will, you know." She hugged me. The drunk guy next to us patted me on the head. He said, "Hey, you look too serious. Knock it off." I said, "Excuse me but the love of my life is standing over there with his ugly wife that he left me for." He withdrew his hand and said nothing. Then Steff said, "I wish we could know for sure. I'm going to call his name. Look and see if he turns." So I got him in view and she belted out "HEY GEORGE!" He whipped his head around and saw us. I ducked down trying to hide. Steff didn't, but they had never met. Confirmation. George. I had to hold onto my friend because it felt like I was falling down. My eyes welled up. She told me I was shaking.

"I thought I was over this. I thought I was over him." The room swam and water slowly broke from my eyes and rolled down my face. I didn't recognize him because he's so unhappy. He had lost so much weight. He looked awful! He didn't smile once. That's what was wrong with his face. When I knew him he never stopped smiling. Unless he was thinking. Steff said, "He knows he f*d up." What a stupid waste! We could have been happy. He threw it all away for nothing. She seduced him, they screwed, he felt guilty, she got him to marry her. She doesn't love him the right way. He told me he would never elope because it would break his mother's heart and it did. She must not have cared.

When the show started I tried to sober up. The opening act began, some hot Irish guy on an acoustic guitar. Usually I don't like that kind of thing but he was good. The irony of an Irish man singing about Ireland this night was not lost on me. He reminded me, vividly, of my summer romance. My pain became a multi-dimensional longing and regret for what I had lost. On two continents. This man's sexy mocked my misery. When he spoke with his Dublin accent I heard someone else. When he wailed about sadness I saw the western hills with their crumbling fences and another man's face with his tide-pool eyes. It made me laugh out loud-- I laughed for a long time in the middle of his set. Proof that God has a sense of humor. Here in this room I faced my last two heartbreaks. And added a new one.

~I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does~

Reading this, I realize how pathetic I sound. In an attempt to rescue my imaginary dignity, I make the following excuses for myself: at the time I was a woman in the depths of depression, who didn't even care that Morrissey was 3 feet in front of her, I was on the rag and hormonal, single, lonely, failing at work, failing at life and a 28 year old virgin. And there stood the one man whom I had loved. There stood what could be my last chance for marriage. And he was miserable too.

The show went on. I tried to enjoy it and concentrate on the performance. But I kept glancing at George. He kept looking towards us too. Lucky for me the music was appropriate to my mood so I could lose myself for moments in the drenching sounds; in the honeyed voice dripping words of my sorrow. The show wasn't as good as the others I'd seen this year. Moz didn't like the audience. He was kind of disgusting about it. When he took off his shirt he rubbed it all over his chest to wipe off the sweat, as usual. But then he stuck the shirt down his pants and wiped the sweat off his crotch, front and back. Then he threw the shirt to the crowd. Ew.

Oddly, when the shirt landed on the people, George lunged for it. Wha? I watched as he grabbed it and fought off the maddened fans. He was violent. The look on his face was frightening, pure fierce anger. I'd never seen him like that before. Some guy behind me said, "Did you see that guy's face?" My sadness for him deepened. What's happened to him? I remembered that summer night before I moved, after the Weezer concert when we couldn't get out of the parking lot--how he climbed on the roof of his car and started dancing. His car stereo was broken so we had to listen to his sorry boombox. I sat on the door to hold the boombox up for him to hear, while he danced. In all his glory he danced, for the whole world to see. That it did, some people cursed at us but most cheered. We laughed so much I thought my face would break. I never wanted to leave that parking lot. Now this. He was fighting with wimpy guys for possession of a ball-sweat soaked shirt belonging to a dirty middle-aged pop star. Oh, Icharus! How you've fallen!

Near the end of the show, we made eye contact. Up to that point he had avoided my gaze. I don't know how it happened but but our eyes met and locked onto each other's. All I could see were his big blues and I forgot everything else. Unaware of myself, I automatically smiled at him and mouthed the word, "Hi." He frowned and turned away. That was all. We had an accidental and inappropriate moment.

The show ended. Steff and I went outside. We waited on the front steps watching people exit. She was looking for another friend and I hoped to see George so I could at least say hello properly. We didn't see them. In the car back to her place we talked over what happened. I cried, but not for myself. It broke my heart to see him like that. He wasn't in love with her. He didn't look at her the right way. Steff suggested he got into that shirt fight as a way to let off the frustration of seeing me again. He had to face his mistake that night too. And he was the one worse off for it. If their marriage lasted it wouldn't be pretty. He wasn't in love and she loved him selfishly. It was so sad.

I guess I needed closure. I got it. All I had in the way of closure before that night was the rumor of his marriage and 6 months later a phone call from him telling me 'they' were going to see a band that made him think of me because he knew I liked them. After that I never heard from him again. I had thought I was over him. Obviously, I still had some feelings, but now I am really over it. My desire for him turned to pity and disgust. This was his choice after all. And a very stupid one at that. I'll do better. I prayed for his and their happiness and really meant it this time.

Read Campbell's myth made real


One of those quizzes

Varant of The Art of Falling Apart named me one of the three people who must take this quiz next. I was so flattered, I felt obliged to take the quiz. So here it is. Woo-Hoo!

3 names you go by:

1. JL
2. The Celibate
3. City spinster

3 screen names you have:

1. JL
2. none of your business
3. See above

3 things you like about yourself:

1. I don't fear change
2. People laugh at me
3. Not boring

3 things you hate/dislike about yourself:

1. Severely punctually challenged
2. Lack of self-discipline
3. Can't handle the details of life

3 parts of your heritage:

1. Danish
2. Welsh
3. Mormon

3 things that scare you:

1. Talking to People
2. Failure
3. madness

3 of your everyday essentials:

1. Diet Coke
2. music
3. cell phone

3 things you're wearing right now:

1. vertical stripey orange/red/green/yellow/blue/white Gap pajama pants
2. red and dark red horizontal stripey knit henley shirt (I was changing for the night but got distracted by the tv and computer before I finished)
3. underwear

3 of your favorite bands/artists (today):

(Currently on rotation in my dischanger:)
1. The Smiths
2. Cocteua Twins

3 of your favorite songs at present:

1. Don't Change (INXS)
2. Asleep (The Smiths)
3. Bring on the Dancing Horses (Echo and the Bunnymen)

3 new things you want to try in the next 12 months:

1. Punctuality
2. get to know the housemates
3. Finish all my coursework and incompletes

3 things you want in a relationship (love is a given):

1. love is never a given
2. laughter
3. security

2 truths and a lie:

1. I have no tattoos
2. I hate bananas, the smell, taste and texture all make me puke (NO, I don't have a Freudian problem with the phallic shape.)
3. I was a cheerleader

3 physical things about a love interest that appeal:

1. dark hair
2. big lips
3. intense eyes

3 things you just can't do:

1. sing
2. be peppy and bubbly
3. let go

3 of your favorite hobbies:

1. the blog
2. swimming
3. music

3 things you want to do really badly right now:

1. get in a car and drive nowhere for hours
2. disappear into a really good book
3. make the fears go away

3 careers you're considering:

1. professor
2. scuba dive instructor
3. sex therapist

3 places you want to go on vacation:

1. Alaska
2. Eastern Europe
3. China

3 kids names (either boy or girl):

1. Torvald
2. Wednesday
3. Apple

3 things you want to do before you die:

1. Relinquish my celibate state
2. See the world
3. Be a rock star

3 people who have to take this quiz now:

1. Sarah Marinara
2. dJake
3. Sleepless in Portland

Wow, this was really freaking hard. I thought I could bang it out in 15 minutes while watching tv but it took me forever, while watching tv. Did you know Judy Garland thought she was ugly? That's so messed up.