Thursday, January 27, 2011

Letter to M: College

We were still in touch between 1988 and 1992, but I don’t think we talked much, or at least not enough for me to remember much about what you were doing. All I remember hearing from you is the word “Wharton.” I am writing under the assumption that you remember one word or fewer about me during those years. So, college.

I have my own students now, most of whom are living at home and paying their own way through college. Looking at their lives, it is easy to see that we were privileged. We got to go away to college with our parents’ money in our pockets, and we - or at least I – got to spend four years partying and earning credit in subjects such as “witchcraft and folklore” and “performance art” and “beginning ballet.”

Academic: St. Lawrence allowed me to fill a transcript with excellent grades in the above subjects while forgiving (somehow) the fact that I earned an F micro-economics and got a C in research methods. Somewhere between the flag in economics (go ahead and have a nice long giggle – I am pretty sure you majored in economics) and the suffering inflicted by statistics and the misery connected with any subject requiring me to be logical or think in logical way – much less apply logic to my behavior – I found my true home in the English department, where I earned excellent grades and was a darling in the department for writing moody, dark fiction that suggested I had something to hide, which I most assuredly did not. I also did really well in any class that had anything to do with the oppression of anyone – especially women, black people, gay people, exotic animal lovers – fill in all the blanks – I was great in sociology and graduated just one class short of a minor in that department. I didn’t bother to get the minor because my schedule was cluttered up with writing classes and I didn’t want to miss a second semester of ballet.

Social: I met some great people, and I pledged a sorority, which is a subject so painfully boring that I will spare you. Summary: girls, giggling, punch that tastes like pineapple and looks like Windex, boys, flirtation, extreme silliness. Sigh. Oh and one semester I spent fall break at Harvard with JB. All I remember about it was that we went to a party, drank too much, made out, and fell asleep. But it was great to see him.

The loss of virginity anecdote is inevitable so… I met him sophomore year, but I believe it was Junior year before I had stress tested him enough to consider him worthy. Basically we had a few beers and it wasn’t a big plan or anything but it happened and then we went to sleep, him thinking, probably ___________, and me thinking “that was the most boring thing ever” –.

What’s more interesting is that he lived in a fraternity and one of the odd things about his place was that he had built a loft for the bed so as to have room for a desk, dresser, and sofa in his room. The next morning, I woke up, remembered the event, and felt scummy. So I ambled out of the loft, gathered up my stuff and prepared to flee while the boyfriend and now and forever holder of my V card* slept. To my horror, I discovered that the corner of the loft was blocking the door. I am not good with engineering, but I am pretty sure the reason was that when he built his loft, it did not block the door, but that said loft shifted this way or that when you put a person into it. So there I was, recently de-virginized at 6am with my nylons falling out of my handbag, crawling, in a dress and high heels, out the window of a fraternity house so I could be back at the sorority house by 7am for what’s known as “bed check”. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and I missed it. All that said, no regrets. Social, otherwise: I met a lot of great people and in addition to the above mentioned boyfriend, had another boyfriend who was also excellent – and one who was not so great but I got rid of him after a date or two. I still have several girlfriends from college and despite my jokes about SLU basically being a silly feel goodery, I got a decent education – as long as you don’t count math or economics.

Sports: I swam. SLU is a division three school, which meant it was more like a club and the main goal was more to swim off beer pong weight and have something to do between 4 and 6 pm than to actually achieve anything terms of wins and losses at meets. That said, I was never much good at it and looking back at the experience now, I wonder why I did that to my hair, all things considered, because I ran a lot and the running was what really kept me sane. All this and the brief stint as a beginning ballerina - and there you have it.

Family: My brother was majoring in Fine Art at Syracuse and my sister was a punk rocker who dyed her hair black and upset my parents a great deal by using fountain pen ink to give herself a tattoo. My junior year they moved to Dallas. I spent a summer there (fell in love with a guy who I sort of wanted to marry until I realized that I still had a whole lot left to learn) and then spring break of my senior year, my dad showed up at school to tell me a) the family was moving to North Carolina and b) my mother’s cancer was back and c) would I mind putting off moving to New York so I could spend time at home with mom? After graduation I moved to North Carolina and began a sort of half life working temp jobs and taking care of mom as much as that was possible to do. Thus ended college. (Until I went to graduate school).

* I talked to him on Facebook last week. Neither of us mentioned any of this.

Your turn.

What did I think would happen?

When I was 14 I made a BFF pact with a guy who went to a neighboring all boy school (I was in the all girl school; this all made so much sense at the time). We were very close - told each other everything, talked all night on the phone, went to each others proms, etc. Or did we? We can't remember, but there are pictures of us together all decked out for something.

Anyway some people have a friend like this one in high school and some don't. I have to say that I was the better for it.

Enter Facebook.

Yes, we are reconnected after 20 years and we are like OMG how fast can you tell me everything? We agreed that instead of trying to wade through it on chat we are going to summarize different bits of our lives and email them back and fourth until we get caught up.

Then I started trying to summarize college, and I realized these snippets would make good blog posts. Good news for us all, I guess. Check back tomorrow for installment one.

(hint: drinking, failing micro-economics, losing my virginity, sucking at sports, and majoring (finally) in English).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Facebook as a form of therapy

Within twenty minutes of joining Facebook, I received a friend request from the man who holds my V card. It just got weirder from there.

My phone didn't stop all night. Bzzz.. Bzzz... Bzzz... all Facebook notifications from or regarding people I haven't seen or talked to in years - in one case, since I was eight years old. It wasn't merely that people were trying to "friend" me. It was that they were wildly encouraging the befriendment of six or seven other people I am connected to in some tenuous way. Or in some major way, like, oh fuck it, the guy after the guy with the V card.

One of the ways I have always defended myself from too much reality is by compartmentalizing things and people. I don't mix my sports friends with my literature friends. I don't mix my work friends with my drinking friends. And I definitely don't cross eras. NO! If you are from high school, you stay in high school. Stay!

You must be wondering what purpose all this organization serves, how it protects me. I'll tell you: all those people from my past have expectations about what I am supposed to be right now. And all those ideas are different. The one from when I was eight years old is still confused and hurt that I didn't marry her older brother, but mostly she is just shocked that I didn't have the imagination to get out of New York City. And if I wasn't going to marry her brother, couldn't I at least married someone?

My literature friends are all aghast that it has been two and a half years since my dad died, and I haven't submitted a draft of the manuscript for them to read. WAIT. They WOULD be aghast if were not so pissed off that I disappeared into the ether for two and a half years without informing anyone that I hadn't died. Because for while there, I bore all the hallmarks of a suicide risk, and I was not polite enough to let the literature friends or anyone else know I wasn't dead.

My online friends are just in shock that I am on Facebook and revealing my actual name because hello, anonymous blog?! Well not for long, apparently. Anyone with an IQ upwards of 80 who reads this blog could find me, and my true identity, on Facebook in less than 10 minutes.

I am really uncomfortable.

How to continue?


Internet, I have decided that compartmentalization is mostly bad. It is not bad in and of itself - but the way I use it is absolutely wrong. I use it to lie to people - passively. To let one group of people think one thing about me and some other group of people think some other thing. I do it to keep people at a distance, and I achieve that by creating a life where no one can ever compare notes. Even as I write this, I am thinking: what's wrong with that? Why isn't it ok to be in-person friends with X person but compartmentalize Z person into the "online" category - and stubbornly refuse to budge?

Answer: Because it's total bullshit. It serves no purpose except to protect myself from some vague idea of disappointing people or not living up to expectations. I don't want my in person friends to know that I have a freaky, post-modern life that I would never share with them. This is the honest truth: the internet is a big part of my life and my in person friends HAVE NO IDEA I HAVE A BLOG.

ALSO: I don't want the online friends to know that, really, seriously? I am 40. I have told you all this, but if you met me you'd all be like, jeez, you really are 40. And you look it.

So I hate Facebook. I hate it. All my compartments are collapsing, and I hate it. However, much as I hate it, I think it'll help me live a more honest life. Who knows: maybe I'll be brave enough to actually meet a blog person in real life this year. Or maybe I'll admit to my sports friends that I have long arguments with other people about how indirect objects work - in Russian. Maybe I'll actually contact all the people I have let believe I have fallen off the face of the earth know I am alive. OH WAIT. Facebook is doing that for me.

Have I mentioned I am uncomfortable? I am. Please comment: does any of this make sense? Or is Facebook really evil and can I please unFacebook myself and get on with my tidy little multi-celled life?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

So I sold out.

I put ads on this blog. Why? Because I am fairly broke and because anything would help and because I trust that 99% of you come here to read my posts, not look at ads for anti0-aging remedies. (That does NOT mean you shouldn't click on those ads if you like what you see).

Let's see... other happenings... I threw away all the angry fat clothes I accumulated when I was several sizes larger due to extreme stress. Please note that this statement does not imply that I m now a size zero. It merely suggests that I am smaller than a baby rhino and am getting healthier. Take what you can get. I certainly have to.

HMMM. In other news, I joined APOCALYPSE! APOCALYPSE! Facebook this week after years of intense pressure. No, you can't find me on facebook because you don't know my real name. Maybe all this therapy will help me get over my internet anonymity issues and we can all be together, names, faces, and all.
To make up for all my perfidy, here is a picture of me naked. Too bad it does you so little good.

Love, love.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

(Hides Face in SHAME)

I can't believe I showed you all three shots of my boobs in a lame attempt to get you to come back to my blog. How... tacky.

Let's see what's happening today. I got my wish. It snowed and the city looks beautiful, but I suspect it looks so lovely because I didn't have to leave the house today and have been curled up with books in my nightgown and slippers. Yes, I am drinking tea. Yes, a did a little needlework. And so yes, I am the most unsexy woman in the entire universe. (Later I am going to take a bath and read a book written in 1606. I rest my case).

Other news: I am going to be entering therapy next week in order to (hopefully) deal with my sleep issues. I am not optimistic, but then again these people did cure me of my fear of heights. The thing is, they cured my fear of heights by making me confront said fears over and over again. I don't see confronting sleep repeatedly as a viable strategy. Perhaps they'll just thump me over the head with blunt objects and yell "STAY DOWN."

Has anyone out there ever successfully gotten off seroquel? If you have, please, I beg you, comment and let me know how you did it. I need to know.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Now this is right

I talked it over with my surviving female relatives and, while noting the opinion of avitable, we agreed that retail lingerie is the right thing for me to do.

Who else but me could appreciate and sympathize with the issues common to those blessed with largesse?

and who can forget this photo??

Jeez I look almost flat chested in that one. Need to find more photos.

Why all the fuss?

OK so I finally got Google Analytics to work. It told me what I already knew, which is no one stops by here anymore, which means I need to start posting every day again - that even though (as discussed) the narrative arc has closed - there is more to say.I'll start with the obvious: what the hell is going on?

In August, after my last day of work, I made the decision to allow myself to be underemployed for a semester in the hopes of getting my mental and physical health back. From September through December, I have been doing just that, and you know what? It has been fucking great.

I feel so much better.

But now it's time to work, and though I am still teaching part time to keep a roof over my head, I need to do more work to make the financial part of my life function. Right now my choices are:

1) get a job in retail. I am thinking Bloomingdales, fitting gals for bras. I would be so good at that.

2) go to a temp agency and indicate that I am good at several office type skills and see if they can give me a job two days a week.

Please note: everyone thinks I should go with option 2 because it is far more professional. But I kind of want to help young ignorant women learn how to pick out a bra.

What say you?

PS another foot of snow to fall tonight. Yippee!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Yes, I care. I care a lot.

I can't get the snippet of code from Google Analytics to stick to the template of my blog. The error message I am getting is something like the XML code is unworthy or some crap like that.


Was it always this hard?

The whole problem is enough to make me drink red wine and stuff my face with basmati rice.

And if you don't understand that, we really can't be friends anymore.

Um but honestly can someone help me make this work? Because I am reported to be smart and I am failing. FAIL, FAIL, FAILING.

I do love you though. I can't help myself, and love is all that matters.

(But I fucking want my stats). (Please).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Educate Me

Would someone please explain to me what is so great about Google Analytics? I tried to sign up for it, but it appeared to be telling me that on every single post, I have to plunk in a mile of code. Am I not reading the instructions correctly? Because if they really want me to plunk their special code into every single post I am not sure I can be their friend.

Also: whether this is true or not (and I'd like to know) is the information provided by Google Analytics worth all the (apparent) trouble???

One of y'all must know. Someone warm and toasty like Jane, or perhaps Adam.

Help. Please.

Friday, January 7, 2011

For Cath

It's snowing in New York City, and my, is it pretty.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Oh My Heck

So much has happened.

And yet nothing has really changed. I am the same underemployed college adjunct as I was and I have gathered no steam on the Phd front. I have only the most filmy vision of the future.

What's interesting is my total conviction that although things are not so great financially right now, they will get better. The getting better might be greatly facilitated by my getting off my ass and finding an additional job - but something (probably irresponsibility) is preventing me from taking that course. Something else seems... pending. I have started writing again suddenly, and it is not just a meandering trickle of over emotionalized clap trap about my hurt feelings or my wounded sense of entitlement. It is ever so much better than that - but I am not ready to share it yet. Soon.

I have missed you all. What happened? Well. What happened is that for a long, long time, this blog was fueled by a narrative. A story. A bad and terrible story, yes, but people want to know how it ended. Now that it has ended, good heavens what is left for us all to say to each other.

I really like to think that there is more to say. There must be more to say, because I think about you all so very much. Sizzle. LizB, KateP, LAS. All of you. But no one more than Adam Avitable. Adam, honey, I am trying to get my shit together and be a good friend. I am narcissistic and complicated and downright fearful that if you really knew me, you'd pass. But these are no excuse for my rudeness, and regardless of all other considerations, I adore you and your blog. And did I mention you?

The end.