Sunday, August 16, 2009

Like a marriage

Sixteen years is like a marriage, my friend said. What makes anything "like a marriage"? Time, intimacy, knowing?  Me and Doug -- 16 years, never really apart.  Ties can stretch thin, but they never break. Friend says it's like separating but not signing the papers -- you're never really apart. He was my man, my heartbeat, my every waking thought.

Sixteen years and never really apart.  I feel such clarity being able to look at the whole of something. Dougie, DEW, Doug-man -- it's like a death. How can this cornerstone of life suddenly not be the cornerstone of this life?  

The physics of separating are what I'm after. The changes in brain chemistry that have to take place to remove a consideration of 16 years.

And love. The alchemy of love -- I think it occurs in our bodies and it's what our bodies endure when the chemistry suddenly changes. Anger is easier to deal with than the slow, physical withdrawal from another person. Anger is the methadone of ending a marriage.

Withdrawal. Emma Thompson said ending her marriage was like having to break the fingers, one at a time, that were holding on. It's not even a choice to hold on -- we have to remind our bodies to let go, to retrain the reflex.

Sixteen years is like a marriage -- for sixteen years, he was my every thought. He is not now my every thought, but many, still, maybe always. Love does not shift the way we'd like it to. Anger is the false confidence, the powdery courage of the relationship bathroom. But there's always a crash -- not even the most unconscious can lie to themselves in those last few seconds before sleep. Truth comes in like the 5:34, dougdougdougdoug. Anger ends and you're left with what you know, that love is not an ever fixed mark.

This is the deal we make: We will always outlive it. 

Sixteen years is like a marriage: The pub in Bath, my hand on your knee, your hand on mine, looking out different windows.

Sixteen years: It was exquisite.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Donde esta los hombres?

People, I could eat me a big bowl of Daniel Craig. With a little tiny spoon.

I don't even really like light men. But I do like real men. Manly men. Not boys, not guys, not fellas.

Same with Don Draper. Or do I mean Jon Hamm? Either way, crazy good-looking. Yes, the social mores of the Mad Men era were such that it was easier for men to don a suit and assume the position  -- I get that. But still.

I love a man in a suit. Always have. Take me to dinner, take off that tie, and take me to bed.

Where are all the men? Why did boys become all the rage? It's one thing to be a boy when you are one, but we've now got these George Clooney boy-men who look so good on screen, but get them walking and talking as themselves and it's all practical jokes, farts, and dufus shenanigans. I do not believe Cary Grant thought farts were funny. But I do believe that George Clooney does.

Can we call a moratorium on the Apatow male? And the androgynous teen idol who is still a teen idol at 35? I can't take Leonardo di Caprio seriously, even when I want to. Even when he wants me to, although I admittedly didn't see that Scorsese film.

It's a quality. A self-posession, an ownership. Even Woody Allen was a man (at least before 1985), albeit not one I would have slept with. But then, what do I know? I wouldn't sleep with Bill Clinton either, but I am told that if you happened to fall under his gaze, you would willingly fall under the man. He owns it, whatever it is.

I was recently in a car with my friend and her two small, kvetchy children. To keep them occupied, she started singing "Where is Thumbkin?"

Where is Thumbkin, where is Pointer, where is Tall Man...

"Aunt Caroline, do you know this song?" "Oh, not very well, sweetheart."

Ring Man, Short Man. "Where are all the men, where are all the men..."

Wait a minute, baby, I believe I do know this one.

Please let's not have Bill Clinton be the poster boy for the It Factor. More men, real men, respectful, stand up guys, with good haircuts, better tailors, and a way with words.

Who's with me?

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sleeping Beauty rolls over

Oh, when the last dream dies, it dies quickly. All other hurts have drained the senses so the fingers uncurl and the palm opens on muscle memory alone. It releases, like newspaper in a fire, up and away. Like a Macy's balloon let loose, up up and away. Like the spirits of loved ones, up up up. And away.

There's an invincibility now, a nothing to lose quality that feels almost good. Good-bye little brick house, good-bye funny french doors and camellias. Good-bye that street in that town on that river.

I will not have children in this life. 

Out loud it stings a little. Inside, I think I've known it all along.

What else do I know?

Monday, April 06, 2009

A quarter to prince

It occurred to me...having recently chatted with an old friend...I've added little to the wheelbarrow of life in the 25 years since we last met.

He now has children and a wife and must take his vacations at places we would never have considered. Like theme parks and other venues for cotton candy and stuffed whales.

I on the other hand can call my time my own. I wake when I want to, go where I want to, see whom I want to, or not. I can choose in day or out day and dinner in or dinner out day. No one is waiting for me to cook something, fix something, read something or say something.

That alone says something. Perhaps I needs to be loadin' them coals.

Perhaps the fact that I have a load of nearly exactly the same size as in college is not the ultimate life experience, particularly when that life does not also include European travel, Ibizan lovers, and the Safari Surf School. Perhaps that sense of persistent disquiet is the result of nothing weighty tying me down.

Yet the words -- tying me down -- still make me queasy. The big life fear that relationship is tossing yourself away in handfuls is a very real one. What if I get stuck with a lemon I say to myself. What if I get the Mazda Protege of men? The kind of guy no one will take off your hands?

Squeak, squeak go the wheels of my barrow.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


I've recently learned that if I keep the verticals closed and a small lamp on, I can delay the day for as long I'd like.

Why?  Why not?  SoCal sunshine is an insistent bastard.  Get up!  Get out of bed!  Run a 10K!  Do do do.  Be be be!  Be seen! Be seen! Be seen!

Some Sundays it's just not worth it.  (Alright, some Mondays it's just not worth it, either.)  But some Sundays I just don't have that much to contribute.  Some Sundays I just want to take in.  Whether it's bacon, coffee, newsprint or late afternoon amour, Sundays do need to be about receiving.

Yinday, really.  

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Transitional objects

I was standing in line at Borders recently and happened to catch the eye of the guy standing behind me.  He was holding a plush toy and a card.  He looked at me sheepishly and held up the toy:  "It's a gift."  I smiled.  He added: "Would you like this as gift?"

I hestitated and then said no.  Adding:  "But then I'm not really that kind of girl."  What kind are you, he asked.  "The grown up kind," I said.

Not meaning to scratch, but I do hold a disdain for girls who, after the age of 10, collect plush toys. And maybe a little for the guys who think we like them.  Seriously, where would a grown woman keep a plush toy?  

Well, I'll tell you:  On her bed, partly under the pillows.  Because this girl in fact does own a plush.  A truth I totally forgot when I zinged the hapless Romeo.  I own a smallish Labradoodle-looking dog, which has a label that reads:  Douglas -- The Cuddle Toy.

It might at first appear obvious, Douglas, dog, etc., why I have this.  And maybe at first it was Douglas, dog, etc.  But now -- I sleep better if I get hold of a leg or the tail.  The dog is comforting. Nee soothing.  I look for it when I shut the light.  

I don't know if I would feel the same about Douglas The Cuddle Toy with a man in the bed.  I sort of think I would sneak him, hide him under my pillow and grab hold when it's time for the business of sleep. 

In another, related story, he is considered the "Situation Rectifying Hound," having to do with wondering what it would be like if I walked around in public with him and let him, in a strange Peter Lorre-type voice, talk to shop people who were not helpful, specifically the Williams Sonoma guy who got a little sassy about a particular knife I was looking for.

What if I went back to that guy and had Douglas do the talking?  What-ho his sassiness then?

Douglas, the Situation Rectifying Hound:  Keeper of sleep, secrets and sadness.  Holder of loss.

Grown up or not.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Back on

Oh the leaves of leave; the leavings of leave; the too, too unsolid ground beneath a financial decision that leaves you, questioning, am I actually of worth in this, or just deep, not broad?

Trust and true, not everyone is looking out for you.  Some people actually understand how to look out for themselves and knowing, maybe, assume you know too and are in on the game.  And so the look of surprise when you squeak.

What happens sometimes I think is that when you are cut it just stays open.  Maybe not bleeding actually, but open in a way that maybe is only felt, not seen, but there, like when you can't see the scratch but the lemon juice knows where it is.  Right where it is, every time.

You're at a level now where you're just paying taxes, so you have to mitigate, you know, find that way to where you're paying something else, good god, not the taxes.

It's the being questioned that I can't stand and the lack of self awareness, the seeming not understanding of her own provincial orbit -- it's not funny or you just don't get it.

If it bends....

When the truth is, I miss my friends, I miss my mother, I miss Doug.  I miss being known in all the ways you can be known.

I miss it.  That's all.