Disclaimer: The following in about 92% true. This is based upon the inadequacy of my own memory, varying levels of insomnia-induced confusion and personal tendencies towards hyperbole. Please don't take any of it too seriously - the stories, yourself or life in general.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

We've Moved

I love you all dearly but I've decided to pack up my bags and make a change.  Really, it's not you, it's me.  I'm just not ready to make a commitment at this point in my life.  I'm looking for something different.  Let's stay friends, ok?

Come visit me at www.take15blog.com

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Art

It’s the art of living everywhere and living nowhere.

That’s what my mama said today when I told her that I don’t want to renew my license plates in any other state but Colorado because it’s too much trouble.

It’s the art of being numb enough to feel nothing.  And leave everyone so that you feel nothing.

That’s what I told myself when I left Aspen, the first place that I ever did anything for myself, to go out into the Great Unknown, to find God knows what.

It’s the art of taking a deep breath and moving on.

That’s what my best friend told me the first time that my heart got broken.  And we sat together in the park.  And I looked at him.  And I felt a spark.  And I knew that’d we’d never be ok.  But that it’d be ok.  And that, by a simple twist of fate, it’d all be ok. 

It’s the art of knowing when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. 

That’s what I told myself when I decided to turn my back on that little something real that I’d found.  Because I felt like it was a crime to feel too much at any one time.  And I told myself that we’d meet again with a simple twist of fate.  If not here, then on the other side.

It’s the art of telling a lie.

Just tell me a lie.  If it’s true. He woke up and she was gone.  He got up and put his clothes back on.  He got up and saw the note she’d left.  He got up and saw the simple twist of fate.

And I think about it every night when I’m wrapped up in his arms.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cliches on Pedestrian Love

“Hello baby welcome to the world.  I’ll me be your hideaway girl. Come on baby let your light shine down.  You’re the best I ever found.”  ~Jimmy LaFave

Clichés on taking a risk.

If you don’t take a chance, you don’t stand a chance.

The road less travelled has made all the difference.

All you need is love.

Everything happens for a reason.

If it’s meant to be, it will be.

* * *

And all clichés aside.  Here I am.  Alone.  Finishing off a six-pack of Bud and a bottle of red and a tin of Cope.  So fuck that.

And here’s my own cliché on love and life.

Life is fucking hard.  Love is even harder.  You can’t control who enters your life or who you love.  But you can control whether or not you run away.  And all I’ve ever done, or wanted to do, it run.  Run far, and run fast.  And for the first time in my life the tables are turned.  And I decided to stay and fight the proverbial good fight.  And he decided to throw in the proverbial towel.  And I realized that I can throw in the towel and run.  But that it won’t make a damn bit of difference in how I feel.  Or in how I hurt. 

And fear is a fundamental and unavoidable roadblock in life.  We have so much fear as a human race that we forget what living is.  And what love really is.  And what the truth is.  And we succumb to those fears.  And we eat healthy.  And work hard.  And stay busy.  And eat good food.  And drink heavy.  And we forget.  At least for a moment.  Those great fears.  And those great loves.  But fuckin’-a at least we don’t hurt so bad it feels like our heart is being run through a shop vac. 

So yeah, I get it.  I know what it’s like to feel scared.  Scared that you won’t measure up.  To what others want for you.  To what you want for yourself.  Scared that you might have found someone worth the good fight.  And to be scared that you don’t have the good fight in you.  And to be scared you’ll get hurt.  And to be scared that you don’t know where it’s going.  And to be scared you’ll lose a part of yourself if you give into what your heart and soul are telling you.  And the piss-poor judgment of a knee-jerk reaction is to call it quits.  And say it’s been real.  So, in the nicest possible way, fuck off.  Because I’m too scared to deal with the reality of the situation.  And here’s where somehow each and every two-cent cliché makes sense.

But here’s where the unfortunate truth comes knocking on the door to crash the party.  And where those clichés come into play.  And as an expensively-educated, philosophically-minded Kantian-wanna-be I resent my submission to, hell my slavery to, pedestrian clichés.  But here I am.  Stuck.  Drinkin’ cheap beer. And chewin’ cheap tobacco.  By myself.   Wondering if it is more important to love or to live.  And wondering if, by some miracle of the simple-minded and eternally-hopeful, it’s possible to have both.  To love and to simultaneously live the life I’ve always dreamed of.  And I’m fucking, beyond-my-mind, crazy, out-of-control, terrified.  I’m terrified of what it might mean to admit to myself that I have feelings for something, for someone, outside of myself. 

And I choose to ignore it.  Or at least to rationalize it.  To not throw in the towel until I’d decided, by my incredible and expensively-acquired powers of deductive (or inductive) reasoning, that it was rational to pursue.  But the unfortunate part of this situation is that I can’t control what the other variables enter into my calculus of love.  And I suppose that’s where philosophers of the great, dead, white, Western tradition have failed time and time again.  Because there is no rational or reasonable explanation for putting yourself in a situation of certain and eminent peril and heartbreak.  No other animal willingly enters into a situation in which it is certain to fail.  To hurt. Hell, to die and painful and unreasonable death. 

Fuck yeah humans.

So I’ll toast once again to you.  To what might have been. And come on and pick me up because I just came to say goodbye love.  Good luck out there.  Hopefully I’ll see you again.  If not here, then on the other side.

Meditations With A Malbec

What do you do when you find the thing, at least a part of the thing; you’ve been looking for all your life?  If you’re me, you run.  You run far and you run fast.  You come to two proverbial roads diverging in a yellow wood and you take the one more traveled. It’s well worn and safe.  And you’ll never know if the other one, the one tangled with twisted branches and menacing shadows, would have made all the difference.

And me of the golden reputation.  The one who’s never home and never lonely.  The one for whom men supposedly fall so fast and so hard for that I’ve got nothing to worry about.  Ever.  Me of the golden reputation.  Me the breaker of hearts.  Me the taker of numbers.  Me.  The one who is alone.  And lonely.  Again.  With a fancy wine glass and bottle of Argentinean Malbec for company.  I toast to that.  The loneliness.  And drinking alone.  And nobody knowing all of theses emotions are dripping from each and every pore of my body.  It’s a good glass of wine.  Rich and complex.  Or so they say.

But I toast to the loneliness because the loneliness sneaks away, tail between its legs, with the first brush of morning.  The hurt does not.  And so I choose the well-travelled road.  The one most of us choose.  The one void of risk and thus, void of pain.  I could elect that road less travelled.  I could tell him how I feel.  For that matter I could tell my entire world how I feel.  But I digress.  I could tell him what I want and what I think about and what I dream about.  I could have the courage to show him this.  And they tell me that road less travelled would make all the difference.  And I raise my glass to that bullshit and say fuck that.  I’ll take the high road and avoid the hurt and pain that tears a body into so many confetti bits that a fraud artist couldn’t glue them together again to make a cohesive whole.  That kind of hurt means that one is never whole again.  And once again, I say fuck that.

And the one thing I want more than anything in the world is a connection.  To someone.  To something outside myself.  To something bigger than this.  And I have no one to call.  They’ve either told me they won’t speak to me.  They’ve cut me out completely.  Or they’re too busy.  Or they don’t understand.  Or they just don’t care to talk at this hour.  And why.  Because I’ve systematically eliminated everyone from my bubble of personal space in order to replace said bubble with an armored car of nothingness. 

But at least it’s safe. 

I’ll drink to that.

It’s a good bottle of Malbe.  Or so they say.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Welcome To Wonderhell

I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole.

Into a wanna-be-hippie, thoroughly yuppie, always organic, sustainably designed, yogic, suburban Wonderhell.  And I can’t get out.  And like Alice in the rabbit hole, I’m not certain which direction I’m going, or which direction I came from in this suburban strip mall of a yuppie’s wet dream. 

Yesterday I got lost in a parking lot.  While driving.  Today I got lost in a pedestrian mall.  Just another day in the life of Wonderhell.

Everywhere I look there’s wannabe hippie, yuppie scum, trustafarians buying local, eating organic, riding cruiser bikes and cursing corporate America.  All while failing to see that their yippie wonderland was created by The Man himself.  And that trust fund they’re dipping into, and the Range Rover they’re driving drips from the power teat of capitalistic mass consumption. 

And don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for glutonistic mass consumption and corporately manipulated consumer greed.  And these yippies have some great ideas about how to put a feel-good, green spin on the old favorite known as greed.  I relish the fact that within one square mile I can shop at Prana, North Face, Mont Bell, Patagonia, Volcom, Smith, Whole Foods, assorted local/organic coffeehouses and sundry local/organic/sustainable/biodynamic/natural/vegan/vegetarian/ethnic/over-priced establishments of wining and dining.  But unlike the yuppies, posing as local/organic hippies, I fully admit to the fact our world is inherently driven by consumer desire and homogenous mass consumption. 

After all Wonderhell, in all of it’s green-designed, bamboo-floored, solar-paneled, prefabricated housing greatness, is a lesson in the homogeneity of an age-old phenomenon knows as Keepus Jonses, or, alternatively, “keeping up with the Joneses.”  While these ideas, from organic food, to green housing, to trendy locally owned boutiques selling adorable sustainable paper products and BPA free water bottles, seem progressive, unique, interesting and even cutting edge, they are in fact nothing more than a 21st century rendition of the Joneses.   It’s a new spin on the 1950’s post-war society that demanded a college education, a grey flannel suit, a split level ranch in a growing suburb and a glowing Barbie doll called your wife, of every 20-something white male in America.  It was, after all, the American dream. 

And this Leave It To Beaver Stepford is not as far away as we yippies would like to think.  The homogeneity of Stepford went green, started shopping local and buying organic and before they knew what had hit ‘em they were conforming once again.  In an effort to rebel against The Man (their parents) and change the world (Stepford) they simply replaced the old forced conformity with a newer, more politically correct, yogic, organic version.  They put their Wonderhell in a myriad assortment of towns which allowed them to maintain the “healthy and active” lifestyle mandated by the dictator of Wonderhell. 

And while I thoroughly appreciate the convenience and benefits of suburban Wonderhell I’ll take urban Clusterfuck or country Redneckville any day over this homogenized and vacuum-sealed playground for the yuppies, the yippies, the hippies and everyone in between (at least everyone that fits in between the borders of the spectrum of conformity dictated in the Wonderhell Bible, aka, Stuff White People Like, aka Stuff Yuppies Like, aka Stuff People From Boulder Like).  Because, despite their shortcomings, these places have a certain degree of authenticity that is irreplaceable and unable to be prefabricated or designed.

So until I find the little door (or was it the giant door) out of Wonderhell, you must excuse me because I’ve many commitments to keep when in Rome, if you will.  I’m off to Whole Foods before I go to yoga and then I’m due at a dinner engagement at a trendy-chic, local-organic yuppie wining and dining hole.  Namaste.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

More Life Lessons In The Valley of the Sun

1.  A Subaru is not made to ford rivers.

2.  Don’t buy sex toys from people in Shoshone. 

3.  Or from people named Bobby Crystal.

4.  Naked in the woods smells like campfire and Budweiser.

5.  Always mark your spitter.

6.  Life is all about goals and limits.  “What do you want to do tonight?” “Get drunk.” “Goals are important.”  “But not blackout drunk again.”  “Limits are important too.”

7.  You don’t lose your girlfriend, you lose your turn.

8.  Trying to charm a Red Bull girl out of a can of Red Bull is like trying to charm a stripper out of her bra.

9.  Men with airplanes apparently don’t exist.

10.  Friends in Xterras do exist.

Coffee, Hike, Shower, Shoot

"Let's get coffee, then hike, then shower, the go shoot."

We discussed our afternoon plans while our pedicures dried.

And I realized that I'm a little bit of everything all rolled into one.

Everyone here thinks I am a crunchy, granola, hippie who spends my days climbing mountains and drinking out of a Nalgene while driving a Subaru with a carabineer on the keychain.    But everyone from Cleveland thinks that I would never dream of living in a place without granite countertops.  Or wearing anything but trendy, overpriced denim and Stuart Weitzman heels.  And everyone from college thinks that I am an academic snob who spends my night in a book and my days pondering the meaning of life.  They think I’d never be caught dead in a bar past 10 PM.  And everyone from Ketchum laughs when they read that on their iPhone while watching me throw back Jager shots and pound Budweiser.  And get pedicures.  I like to chew Copenhagen.  And drink girly martinis.  I like to get muddy.  And go shopping for overpriced denim.  I like to drink PBR in dive bars.  And get all dressed up and spend too much on wine and dinner at fancy restaurants.  I like the Beastie Boys.  And Brahms.  And country music.  I like to hike (a lot).  And spend all day laying out and getting third-degree sunburns.  I like to drink coffee (a lot).  And wake up too late.  And stay out too late.  And watch movies.  And go to bed early.  And cuddle.  And be NC-17.  I like a good piece of gossip.  And a good conversation about world politics.  I like to read US Weekly.  And Ayn Rand.  I believe in God.  But I haven’t been to church since Christmas.  I hate wasting my days.  And there’s nothing I love more than an afternoon spent drinking beer in the sun just wasting away the afternoon.  I like to travel.  And I’m a complete homebody.  I love nice houses.  And sleeping in my car.  Or on a stranger’s couch.  I like dating.  And I am a serial monogamist.  I’m not sure I believe in marriage.  But I believe in happily ever after.  I am terrified to love people.  And more terrified not to.   I am a crunchy-hippie, redneck, fashionista, academic who likes pricey wine, nice clothes, cheap beer and getting dirty in the woods (take that how you will). Like most people I’m not to be defined by one nice adjective.  Unlike most people, I stand up for this right.  I’m a square peg in a round hole.  And so far this Valley of the Sun is the closest I’ve come to finding a place that lets me just be me.

Life Lessons Learned In The Valley of the Sun

So here I am.  Sitting on my roof.  At midnight.  Watching a full moon set over the mountain.  Drinking a PBR.  And chewing Copenhagen.  Wearing $130 yoga pants.  Tying on a MacBook Pro.  The eternal walking contradiction.

And I’m thinking that I’ve learned a few things in the Valley of the Sun.  And that I’m going to miss this place. 

I’ve learned what I want in a place.  And a person.  And life.  I went on a hike today (go figure) and sitting in a glaciated valley, on the shore of a Forest Service Jeep turquoise alpine lake, with pristine pines and grumpy rock outcroppings surrounding me, I felt home.  Finally.  I never thought I’d be able to get out of small-town Ohio and do this.  I didn’t think I had it in me to say fuck you to the path that had been preordained for me from birth.  But I did.  And here I am.  I have learned, this summer in particular, that I want authenticity, and honesty, and happiness, and love.  And that I no idea what those words mean.  Nor do I put much trust in words.  As one who deals in words, I know how shifty they can be.  But At least I know that I want a clear blue sky, and a cold beer, and someone to hold me at night, and a friend’s shoulder to cry on, and a buddy to laugh with.  And to make a difference to someone. 

I learned that no one can be trusted.  But that everyone should be loved.  My mom raised me to believe in the good within everyone.  And I took that to heart.  I have this pernicious tendency to fall madly in love with everyone I meet.  A lot like Maverick.  Maybe that’s why he and I get along so well.  But I digress.  And through several dead ends.  And a couple of ugly situations.  And one new chance.  I’ve learned that while everyone should be loved, not everyone should be immediately and inextricably fallen in love with.  Jumping head first off a cliff is a lot of fun.  Jumping head first off the cliff of in-love is also a lot of fun.  And really dangerous.  I’ve learned to take it slow.  Give it a chance.  And ride the ride for all its worth.

I learned who the good people are.  They are the one who rescue you in the middle of the street, in the middle of the night, in the middle of a fight.  They are the one who listen to you sob about issues that have nothing to do with them but that you just needed to tell to someone.  And keep it a secret.  They are the ones who don’t judge you through each new “I-swear-this-is-the-One” guy you meet.  They are the ones who teach you to fish while drinking red wine.  They are the ones who drink beer on the roof with you.  They are the ones who cry with you in 101.  They are the ones who jump naked into an alpine lake with you just because.  They are the ones who don’t take bullshit.  And give you lots of bullshit.  And call you out on your bullshit.  And love you anyway.  They are the ones turn out not to be snakes. 

I learned that I can’t settle down.  And there’s always the naysayers who say that you have to.  Or that you will someday.  Or that you’ll grow out of it.  Or that it’s just a phase. Or that back when they were my age (whether that was two years ago or fifty years ago) they did the same thing.  And I’d like to know when this magical time is that I’m expected to settle down with a husband, 2.5 children, a Golden Retriever and a respectable house.  When I settle down it’s going to be on my terms, like everything else I do.  It’ll be with a man who has the wanderlust as much as me.  And wants rippin’ skier, mountain babies.  And with a cabin in the mountains, a house on the beach and an apartment in Johannesburg.  And somehow I’ll get there.  By taking the roundabout, crazy-winding, tangential, long-way-around path that I always take.  Sorry Dad, I know that kills you.  But I promise I’ll be alright.

But as usual in my life, it’s time to get going.  And time to move on.  Because there’s a too vast world out there.  Vaulting us on to the next great venture beneath the skies.  And that’s why my car is always stuffed full of shit in the trunk.  I’ve always got hiking shoes.  And a yoga mat.  A wine key.  And high heels.  A sleeping bag and a backpack.  Sweat pants.  And shorts.  And a map.  And I’m always ready to pick up a leave when things get too heavy, or too boring, or too dull.  Or when the wanderlust bites me and tells me it’s time to go and see what’s over the next rise and around the next bend.  And I’ll miss the old places and the old people like hell.  And they’ll always have a place in my heart.  But what I’ve really learned is that I will find those people and those places everywhere.  Because everyone has a little bit of everything in them.  And everyone is worth knowing.  And worth loving.  And I’ve got lots of places to see.  And beers to drink.  And strange foods to eat.  And people to love.  And leave.  And meet again at the end of this crazy journey we call life.

I love you all.  Good luck out there.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Knights In Shining Xterras

What’s it all about?

We keep trying to answer that question.  And amidst angry screams, and bruises, and mean words I figured it out.  I wasn’t focused on the asshole who wouldn’t leave me alone.  Instead I was focused on the fact that they came.  My friends really came and saved me.

Cue the superhero music and the galloping horses.  I found my own knights in shining armor.  Apparently, they really do exist. 

Or at least knights in shining, silver Xterras do exist.  But in the future, I’d be much happier if they showed up with great fanfare, shining swords, galloping white horses and maybe a tight, Spandex superhero cape or two.  But I guess I’ll settle for a dirty SUV.

And that’s why it’s here in this petit hamlet of mountain-towness, that I learned that they (whoever the ambiguous, ubiquitous “they” might be) are right when they say that you always find out who your friends are.  Friends are not so self-involved that they can’t even pick you up from the hospital.  Friends are not so cruel that they think nothing of sharing personal tidbits with an entire city.  Friends don’t tell you that you’re beautiful and wonderful, while following with the fine print that this is true only insofar as you play their game by their rules.

Real friends play your game even when they don’t want to.  They are civil to the assholes you choose to date.  They roll their eyes patiently at each harebrained scheme you cook up. Even better, they come along with you when you execute it.  They walk, or rather carry, you home when you’ve had too much to drink and are a crying hot mess blubbering about past loves and future lovers.  They tell you when you’re being a bitch, they tell you when your clothes make you look like a five-dollar whore.  They tell you when the most recent love of your life is actually a lying asshole.  And they stand by you when you stubbornly ignore their advice.  And no matter what, they ride in and sweep you off your feet when you least expect it.  When you’re most lost.  And when you desperately need a knight in shining armor.  And that’s what it’s all about.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Red Headed Sluts

I’ve always said, you gotta know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

One of my best friends decided to fold ‘em today.  He gave it his best shot though.  And lesser men would have walked away from the trouble of it all a long time ago.  Speaking of shots, ours used to be the Red Headed Slut.  Red Headed Sluts put the poor guy in the hospital one night.  It was our silent little side joke of a toast to me.  The sweet-at-first, burns-on-the-way-down, makes-you-act-insane, one ounce glass of trouble that I am.  Funny how one little glass of Jaeger, Peach Schnapps and cranberry can embody me so well.  Sweet as a peach when I want to be.  Sour as an unripe cranberry at times.  And crazy as a bottle of Jaeger.

Problem was, he was crazy too.  And if you’ve ever played with the like-charged sides of a magnet you know that the poles never come together.  They just dance around on the table in this crazy dance with no rhyme or reason. 

And so we fell to bits and pieces. 

And then all the king’s horses, and all the king’s men put us back together again.  As friends.  And despite the reigning idea that a person with a penis and a person with a vagina cannot ever, under any circumstances, be just friends, we did it.  We defied the laws of the universe.  And somehow neither of us – and no one is going to believe me on this one – ever wanted to have sex with the other.   Never.  Nada.  Nope.  Nothing.  We truly had found a cure for sexual tension between men and women, and were on our way to creating the best friendship known on Earth.  How great is it to have a member of the opposite sex to consult on relationship issues who really, truly doesn’t want to get you naked?  No ulterior motives. 

But then Life road in on her Wicked Witch of the West broomstick and got in the way again.  Life has a way of being a bitch like that.  Just when the party’s gettin’ good and the bar is hoppin’ life turns on the lights and it’s last call closing time.  Every time you think you’ve got it all figured out, she changes everything.  And that’s why you have to learn to roll with the punches.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Because in twenty-five seconds it could all change.  Like it said, know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. 

And for various and sundried reasons he left.  He folded on the friendship.

So tonight at the bar I’m drinking Red Headed Sluts.  And toasting to us.  Because we defied all logic and stereotype and proved that men and women (hell even ex-lovers, ex-husbands and wives, ex-boyfriends and girlfriends) can, if they get over themselves and their petty issues, actually be friends.  And can do it without wanting to do dirty things to each other.  And more than one person has told me that we gave them hope and that we gave them something to believe in. 

And you didn’t really fold on us.  Real friends are always there.  When you really need it most and when you expect it least.  If you ever need picked up at the hospital, bailed out of jail, swooped from the drunk tank, saved from a bar fight, or scarped off the floor when your whole world comes crashing down around you, a real friend will always be there.  And I’ll always be there.  And he’ll always be there. And he got me through the tough stuff.  And now I’m ok.  And that’s what friends do.  They make it ok again when you think it can’t be.

So I’ll say it again. If, at the end of this long and twisting road of sex, drugs and rock and roll, we meet again, I’ll be there waiting for you with a six-pack of Bud and a bag of stories.  And we’ll toast to the good times, and the bad times, and the tears, and the laughs.  And just remember that I’m never too far away.  And I’m always here if you need a shoulder or a shot to get rid of your tears.  Just remember; always know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.  

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Metaphysical Musings on Love, Loss and Life (In the Valley of the Sun)

On an airplane to Cleveland an old man, a laid-off Ford autoworker started talking to me.  He smelled like Skoal and his voice was itchy, like Velcro.  I didn’t ask for advice, but he felt compelled to give it.  And it has stuck with me ever since.  He said, “Find someone to love.  And live everyday as if it was your last.”

So here’s my half-assed effort at honesty.  If you’re reading this, that means I got the courage up to send it.  So congratulations to me.  I don’t really know how to start.  So I’ll just say it.  I met someone.  I wasn’t looking for it.  I wasn’t expecting it.  It just hit me.  He said one thing and I said another and the next thing I know, I wanted to spend forever in the middle of that conversation.  He’s slightly crazy, and highly neurotic.

And he’s you.  And he’s nothing like you.

And I don’t know what’s going on with us and I don’t know how to be with you.  And I know that you sure as hell don’t know how to be with me.  And that scares the shit out of me.  Because it’s a big, bad world out there, with lots of twists and turns and hurt.  And people have a tendency to blink and miss the moment.  The moment that could have changed everything.  And I guess that’s the leap of faith we all have to take at some time.  Into that great unknown that could make all the difference. 

And that scares the shit out of me too.  Because I can’t be with you but I’m scared that if I’m not we’ll get lost out there. 

So big deal.  I fell in love.  You touched a place deeper than I thought anyone was capable of reaching.  And I thought you were my soul mate.  And you probably were.  But the problem is that people think that your soul mate is your perfect fit, and that it’s forever.  But a true soul mate is nothing more than a mirror.  The person who shows you everything that’s holding you back.  The person who smacks you hard across the face so that you finally realize who the fuck you really are.  They are the person who wakes you up so that you can change your life.  A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. 

But to live with a soul mate forever.  No way.  Too painful.  Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another later of yourself and then they leave.  And thank God for that.  Because your purpose was to shake me up a bit, drive me out of a relationship that wasn’t good for me, tear apart my ego a little bit, show me my obstacles and addictions, break my heart open so new light could get in, make me so desperate and out of control that I had to transform my life. 

And thank God for this wonderful asshole of a soul mate.  He taught me that I’m stronger.  Stronger than shit.  I learned that I have the strength to defy my own expectations.  I have the strength pick my carcass of a self back up after the biggest blow of my life.  I learned that I can go places.  And it’s because I had nothing left to lose.  And that’s freedom.  And since it couldn’t get much worse, I might as well sack up  and jump of that huge old cliff of terrifying into the abyss of unknown.  And holy shit guess what?  I came out on top.  And I learned that everyone hurts.  And everyone has been fucked over.  And everyone has baggage.  And bull shit.  And I’m not alone.

That was your job.  To show me who I really was.  And to force me to stop being this asshole that I wasn’t.  And you rocked the shit out of it.  And now it’s over.  And at times it might seem like a cruel and sinister world.  But really, what might appear to me a series of unfortunate events is really the beginning of something grand and extraordinary. 

So good luck out there.  If I see you at the end of it all, I hope you come bearing a six-pack and a bag of good stories.  If not, I guess it just wasn’t in this deck of cards.   Just remember, always know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Life Lessons I've Learned From Buck Hunter

People here in Ketchum don’t fuck around when they shoot their simulated wildlife.  These are no small-time Buck Hunter virgins.  Nope.  They hold national, if not international records for shooting animated elk, sheep, goats, deer, moose, antelope, caribou and assorted smaller wildlife.

Now I’m no novice to Buck Hunter.  I’ve been shooting video game wildlife since high school, when we used to sneak into the dive-bar cop hangout Cork N’ Bottle and drink cheap beer and shoot mountain goats.  And for years now I’ve wanted to dress up as the Buck Hunter chicks for Halloween. 

One time, while nursing an overpriced martini at a trendy bar where men wear designer jeans and women where, well, pretty much nothing, I complained, “I’d rather be drinking PBR and playing Buck Hunter right now.  In fact, I’d take PBR and Buck Hunter any day over this crap.”  And besides being a kick-ass drinking game, Buck Hunter teaches from valuable life lessons with its hot hunter chicks and plastic guns.

Don’t shoot the cows.  If you shoot the bitches your tour is over.  And to make it worse, the game informs not just you, but the entire gathered bar crowd of your inferiority and mediocrity at shooting simulated wildlife.  It scream, in big, bold letters, “YOU SHOT A COW!”  In other words, you dumb fuck.  Way to suck at this game.  Moral of the story, don’t fuck with women.  If you fuck with a woman, your tour is over.  And then the whole bar knows that you suck at the game.

If It’s Tourist Season Then Why Can’t We Shoot ‘Em?  Anyone who has lived in a resort town for more than one season has asked this question at least once.  There is nothing like the onslaught of white-tennis-shoe-wearing, khaki-short-sporting, camera-clicking, direction-asking, fanny-pack-donning, get-the-fuck-outta my bar/coffee shop/restaurant/ski slope/river section/wave break tourists to make one contemplate this question.  And a tourist in designer jeans with a wallet full of quarters who thinks that he is entitled, even allowed, to engage in this game, our game - don’t even get me started.  Which is why Sarah brought this up the other night.  She decided, “There should be a tourist shooting level.  And it should take place in Sun Valley.  And all the tourists should be wearing fanny packs.”  And we raised our glasses and toasted to that.

Drinking Is Key To Life.  I mean key to Buck Hunter.  Well, anyway.  Now I’m no expert.  And I don’t claim that this holds true for everyone.  But I’ve found that sober Buck Hunter is a lot more difficult than tipsy Buck Hunter.  And that tipsy Buck Hunter is a lot less fun and rowdy than drunk Buck Hunter.  And blackout Buck Hunter.  There are no words.

Don’t Think Just Shoot.  To really kick this game’s ass, you can’t think too hard.  You just have to pull the trigger and shoot some shit.  Oh, yeah, and don’t forget not to shoot the bitches.  Lesson learned here?  Go with your gut and don’t think too hard.  Important life advice.

Anger Is A Good Thing.  In moderation at least.  Think about it.  How are you supposed to blow holes in simulated wildlife if you’re sitting there gingerly clutching the gun and cringing each time a poor, little bucky-wucky goes down?  You’re not.  You have to get pissed.  You have to want to GET IT DONE. Some of my best games have happened when I was really ready to fuck some shit up.  And thankfully, animated wildlife served as a great outlet for this sentiment (Sarah – Bad Billys last summer).  But this is where moderation comes in.  You can’t get so pissed that, upon eliminating a cow and ending the tour, you slam the gun through the screen, pour your beer on that hot blond chick who turned you down and punch a hole through the bathroom door.  That’s no good.  And now the game is steaming and smoking and ruined for everyone.  Moderation is key.  Just like in life.

So there you have it.  The benefits of playing a game of Buck Hunter while drinking cheap beer.  There are life lessons are learned from this pursuit of happiness (and drunkenness).  What life lessons have you ever learned drinking a $300 bottle of champagne and sitting at a too-hip-to-handle, overpriced martini bar engaged in a pointless conversation about some pointless celebrity with a pointless man who has nothing better to do than stare at your tits and talk about himself in between checking his Crackberry for emails (or more likely for Facebook updates about himself)?  None.  But Buck Hunter.  Well Buck Hunter might just be the Socrates of our generation.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Booze and Babes In The Valley of The Sun

I’m in the middle of a three-week bender that would make Hunter S. Thompson proud.

I left Cleveland.  Arrived in Idaho.  Took a shot to welcome myself to town.  And then I took a few more shots.  And that’s how I got here.

Being the new girl in a small town, especially a booze and adrenaline-fueled mountain, is a lot like being the new kid in high school.  Except with more booze and more boys.  The one to ten ratio of bangable girls to truck-driving, tobacco-chewing, gun-shooting mountain further contributes to the new-girl-in-high-school sense of standing out like a sore thumb.  And since they all know each other, and they all know every other girl in town, and they all know which combinations of their friends and their girl friends have slept together, the heralded arrival of a new girl who hasn’t slept with some combination of best friends and roommates is usually trumpeted with glad tidings of great joy, much rejoicing, boisterous fanfare and endless rounds of shots.  Lots and lots of cheap whiskey, tequila and Red Bull. 

You walk into the bar and the music stops, the conversation ceases, the heads turn and one solitary bottle clangs to the floor.  Who’s the new kid in school?  The generally consensus is, “Hey there’s a new girl.  Let’s buy shots.”  And then, once you get to know each other it’s, “Hey there’s our new friend.  Let’s buy shots.”  And after that it’s, “Hey it was sunny today. Let’s buy shots.”  You get the picture. Which is how I’ve managed to work myself into a nasty little pattern of staying up too late drinking more tequila than I care to drink, waking up early, nursing my hangover with huevos rancheros, taking a three-hour nap, working, having “just one” post-work beer, deciding that it would be ok if I went our for “just one” drink at the bar, finding myself taking “just one more” shot at the Cellar, stopping by Whiskeys for “just one minute,” crawling into bed around 3 AM smelling like a booze and barroom and then repeating it all over again the next day.  Tomorrow I’ll take the night off.  Really.  I swear.

If its one thing mountain towns do well, it’s suck you in.  They’re like that crazy friend everyone has who can get you to dance on the stage at the Sapphire strip club in Vegas, jump off cliffs at Lake Cumberland, dance on tables in Cancun, huck the 30-footer, dance on the bar at Coyote Ugly (I’m seeing a pattern here) and take body shots on a lazy Tuesday night.  You always play by their insane rules because they’re so damn convincing, and handsome and fun.

And that’s how people end up on thirty-year mountain town benders.  They wake up one bluebird morning, rub their eyes and wonder how the fuck they got here.  It’s like Rip Van Winkle, mountain bender edition.  Confused, they say, “Last thing I remember, I was here for one summer (or one winter – take your pick).  And then we took a bunch of shots.  And now I’m here.  Whoa.  What a trip.”  And  when you’re a local in a mountain town your life really is others vacation.  Which gets dangerous when you’re constantly surrounded by a bunch of loud Texans, sexy Miamians or snobby new Yorkers all drinking it down.  You forget that they’re on vacation.  And your not.  And can’t help but join them.  Somehow you get sucked in.  And before you know it, everyone’s buying you shots.  And you’re buying everyone else shots.  And before you know it you end up blacked out and passed out in a boat somewhere. 

And it always seems to be worse when you’re they new kid.  One friend, upon arriving back in town, just gave up and just kept a running tab going at the bar for several days.  Rumor has it they were going to set up a cot in the kitchen for her to sleep on so she didn’t have to waste precious drinking time and drinking money going home each night. 

After awhile you forget that in the so-called “real world” outside your mountain town, people don’t drink every night of the week (really?), don’t spend their days skiing mountains tourists pay $98 to ski (suckers) and don’t believe that a daily 3 PM beer is as important as three square meals, eight hours of sleep and eight glasses of water (but isn’t beer the top triangle on the food pyramid?). 

So go ahead and point and laugh.  Call it frivolous.  Call it immature.  Call it not the real world.  Call it a snow globe.  I’m going to keep on doing it while I can.  I work hard, pull strings, hustle, or some combination thereof, to make it all work.  So if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to go now.  I’ve got a cold beer and a shot waiting for me.  I’ve got a lot of work to do to keep this bender rolling.

Author's Note:  Special thanks to Sarah for this title.

Sneaking In A Serious Moment

I have bad news.  I’m not sure if it ever stops hurting.  I think we just learn to live with the pain.  Sometimes that big bad bitch of a world snatches someone from you before you’re done with them.  And it’s a shredding, ripping, tearing.  No different than the severing of ligaments, the ripping on tendons, the snapping of bones or the burning of tissue.  And like these physically visible injuries, a scar is left. A souvenir photo that never fades to sepia.

We like to think it’ll leave us.  Because all past pains have eventually left us.  And when we look back we laugh and chuckle about the insignificance of the instigating issue.  But gut-chewing pain, real pain if you will, refuses to let go.  At first it’s excruciating.  Then it’s sharp.  Then it’s just dull.  And eventually it fades from memory almost completely.  But like my broken collarbone, when you hit it just right, or touch it just so, it hurts like hell all over again. 

And I guess the only good news is that the cliché is true.  Without pain we would not know love.  Plato spent pages upon pages trying to define love.  And if one of the Western world’s greatest philosophers couldn’t do it, then I am not bold enough to assert that I can.  But it makes me feel better to think that it hurts so much because I loved so much.  I found true love.  Not like, or lust, or passion, but love in its purest form.  And out hearts refuse to give up on such a great, rare and precious love.  The pain continues because we hold onto this filament of hope that one day, if not here than perhaps someone up above, we will meet this person again.  And our reason begs us to give up on this lunacy of hope, which slowly corrodes our sanity and builds this scar tissue of pain.  It’s the knowledge, that despite all logical reason and intelligent thought, we would gladly sever our right arm to have a guarantee that this person would return to us.  But this yearning, this obsession, this passion, this pain, does not exist without a great love having predicated it.  And we take comfort in the fact that this pain is the aftermath, the consequence perhaps, of love.

And I can’t promise you that the pain of losing her will go away.  In fact, I can guarantee that it won’t.  And I can guarantee that when it starts to fade, it will scare the shit out of you.  But don’t worry.  It doesn’t mean she is leaving you.  Or that she is any less real.  Or that you loved her any less.  It just means that time is playing it’s nasty little trick and actually healing you.  And I can guarantee that you will ache.  That you will drink yourself to the floor and that it will still hurt even on the floor.  But I can also guarantee that one morning and for once your hangover will hurt more than your heart.  And then eventually it will be a nasty, ugly scar, but it won’t hurt, unless you touch it just so.

Just know that the world is full of beauty and love and that its your right, your duty even, as a human being, to recognize this beauty in the world and keep on living for those who weren’t lucky enough to do that. And I’m always here for you.  And no matter where this winding road takes us, we’ll meet again at the end. And it is a winding road.  Be careful, if you blink you might miss it.    

Monday, June 14, 2010

Single In Sun Valley

I have been single in Sun Valley (See also: Single In Sun Valley) for thirty-six hours and have already had a complete stranger kiss (or rather lick) my face, been wordlessly hit on by a recently single man on the bounce-back who spoke a cumulative total of fifteen words to me and scored a date with a tall, dark and handsome man whose name I don’t know, who will be in town for one whole week and who may or may not have a girlfriend.  The latter being an apt microcosm of mountain town life at it’s debaucherous finest.  Welcome to single life in Sun Valley.  Or any mountain at that. 

Contrary to what Jim Carey might have said, Aspen, and its mountain town brethren, are not places where the women flock like the salmon of Capistrano.  And while the beer does flow like wine, the women are few and far between.  Sausage fest is the name of the game.  And, as I was so aptly informed today, if a woman is looking to “get fucked” (direct quote) she should cruise on into a mountain town where, the reality is, the men flock like the salmon of Capistrano.  Or bucks in rut.  Or like bugs to a light at night.  And this is how I ended up with two guys, who may or may not have girlfriends and only one definitive name that I know.

I guess this is what being single in Sun Valley means (Sun Valley serving as a convenient microcosm for any mountain hamlet populated by rich, upper middle class white kids with too much money, lots of time to kill and an overabundance of whiskey).  I’ve been here for forty-eight hours and I already know who’s sleeping with whom, who was sleeping with whom, who wants to be sleeping with whom, who I can’t sleep with because they were sleeping with whom, who will be pissed at me if I sleep with whom and who I want to sleep with.  This is a recipe for chaos if I’ve ever heard one.  As a Whiskey Jacques bartender so appropriately put it, “This town’s a boiling pot.”

He also pontificated the two rules of Sun Valley, “Don’t get jealous and don’t talk.”  In other words, whomever you are sleeping with has probably slept with your best friend.  Or will. As my best friend's boyfriend delicately informed me upon my arrival, "You don't lose your girlfriend, you lose your turn."   So don’t get your panties in a bunch about it.  And unless you want to become the town whore and simultaneously piss of said best friend whom your current lover was (or will be) sleeping with, keep your fucking mouth shut for God’s sake.  Again we see Exhibit A of mountain town singledome, everyone ultimately sleeps with everyone, and everyone knows everyone’s business.  Because, when you put a bunch of never-say-no adrenaline junkies in a small town and give them a limited amount of time to eat, drink and be merry before entering the real world, chaos is sure to ensue.  Plato himself, bastion of Western masculinity that he is, once noted that no town can live peacefully, no matter what its laws, when its inhabitants do nothing but feast, drink and tire themselves out in the pursuit of love. Or sex.  

And so we return to me at the bar.  With one man attempting seduction sans words because he is too afraid to grow a pair and actually engage in a conversation with me, and another growing too big of a pair and asking me on a date to the burger joint even though I don’t know his name.  And here we learn what it means to be single in Sun Valley.  From a girl’s perspective.  It means that a plethora of men will engage you in semi-meaningless conversation in an attempt to meet you at The Cellar, buy you a shot of Crown and, if all goes according to plan, take you home.  And because I believe in the brevity of human existence, and the subsequent need to take life by the balls, I find this alright.  Why not give it a shot.  Who knows.  Maybe that moment will make all the difference. This is not necessarily the escapist hedonism that it seems.  For many it is a necessary, even lifesaving, escape from their harsh reality.  It is a means of holding onto the only thing that feel real when everything else is flaking into rhetoric or falling down in shambles around you.  So let’s do this – welcome to being single in Sun Valley.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Hiking, Fellatio and My Mom. Oh Yeah...

Have you ever walked in on a guy getting head? 

How about while you were out hiking with your mom? 

How about twice in one day?

Yeah, I know, awkward.

And there we were, ambling, rambling, absolutely jambling, along a very well-traveled path along a very well-traveled stretch of highway leading out of a very well-traveled town.  The Grottos and Devil’s Punchbowl, just several hundred yards from Highway 82 leading up the tourist trap that is Independence Pass outside of Aspen. 

Trying to show dear old mom a pleasant afternoon I opted for this simple trail.  And as we are chatting what do we almost trip over a gray head of hair in the lap of another gray head of hair.  Head number one is bobbing up and down with total enthusiasm and remains entirely oblivious to the peanut gallery that has stumbled upon them.  Heads cocked (pun very much intended) to the side, my mother and I took in the scene, turned awkwardly on our heals and left.  Regressed.  Digressed. 

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen, I just witnessed a full-blown (again, pun intended) fellatio-tastic experience, on a well-travelled trail, with my 57 year-old mother.  So much for trying to convince her that Aspen is nothing more than a quaint, mountain town, rather than the swelling, writhing sauna of sin and depravity that she hoped it wasn’t.  And it’s really not.  I swear.

And it gets better.  Oh yes it does. 

I almost read-ended the Range Rover in front of me as I curled around Aspen’s S-curve.  I was distracted you see.  When we passed the airport the Subaru behind me contained two passengers.  A young woman and a young man.  And then there was one.  Head that is.  And her head did not reappear until we got to the S-curve.  I would know.  I kept checking while trying to maintain a conversation that resembled normal with my mother.  We talked about hiking Highlands bowl.  I checked the rearview mirror.  We talked about working at Pitkin County Dry Goods.  I checked the rearview mirror.  We talked about climbing Pyramid.  I checked the rearview mirror.  We talked about, something, I don’t remember what.  I checked the rearview mirror.  I almost rear-ended the Range Rover.  My mother did a reverse Mom-arm that all mothers seem pre-programmed to do to prevent their progeny from flying through the windshield upon breaking hard at an unexpected red light.  She screamed something along the lines of, “What the hell!  Watch where you are going.”

And then I was forced to explain the second incident of head that was headed our way.  And then I explained to my mom that, well, seven minutes ago there were two heads, and then there was one, and now there are two again.  And I couldn’t stop wondering what was going on in that little red, Subaru behind me.  Welcome to Aspen, Mom.

And that is the story of how I witnessed two incidents of fellatio, with my Mom, in very populated areas.  I feel like there should be a moral to this story.  I can’t think of one.  If you can think of one let me know.  

Friday, June 4, 2010

Be Remarkable. Wear Red.

“I heard Jesus He drank wine.  I bet he’d understand a heart like mine.”

This will be simple and no vulgar language will be used in the making of my point.

When I was in second grade, my friends and I repeated a joke about assholes or some such profanity in art class.  Like the delinquent, future ax-murderers that we were, we got sent to the principal’s office.  And at the tender age of seven, I began both my study of profane language and my career in rocking the boat.  Except the only lesson that I learned at the time, was that if you are going to engage in behavior that rocks the boat, you should go to great lengths to make it appear that you are not rocking the boat.  And so began an eighteen-year sojourn to the pinnacle of perfection by pleasing others before myself.

And it worked.  I was little miss 4.0, Phi Beta Kappa.  I was fun without partying too hard, pretty without trying to hard and athletic without looking like a man.  And then I snapped like a candied carrot. I returned to life before second grade and began, for the first time, living as I pleased.  As a close friend recently said to me, “Kate, as long as you’re living life in a manner that’s acceptable to you, who cares what other people think or say about you.” 

The problem is, people tend to get really freaked out when you don’t conform to their cookie-cutter image of whom you should be.  Despite the fact that I am now happier, stronger and more solid than ever, people seem to think that I am lost and troubled because I have finally chosen to live life on my own terms, even if this means feeding my fancies for spontaneous travel and sucking every ounce of life from this too big, wonderful world.  And because this is not what “they” say is the prescribed path, people raise eyebrows.  Constantly.  I’ve become so used to raised eyebrows in my presence that I’ve begun to wonder if the entire world is now face-lifted and Botoxed.

And despite the fact that I was entirely miserable when I lived for the 4.0 GPA and Co., everyone seemed to think I was a fabulous representation of what every young woman should aspire to. I was conforming, getting goods grades and for God’s sake, at least I didn’t curse.  Never mind the fact that I regularly contemplated what it would be like to swallow an entire bottle of Excedrin PM and never wake up for school again.

And now, even though I am still intelligent, capable and by all measures, on my way to a very successful life, I am lost and troubled.  I have the guts to actually say the things, and do the things, others only think about.  And I don’t fit the mold.  So I must be off track.  Even though I feel more on track than ever before.  So rather than admit that my ideas might have some merit, folks shut them down as crazy and insane so that they don’t have to face their own fears, regrets, desires and truths.  I am not certain if these illogical criticisms come from jealously (either of the life I live, or of the guts I have to say things that others only think) or from true offense.  And if the latter proves correct, then by all means, feel free to cease and desist all reading of my blog at once.  I never aim to offend.  And I would presume that no one would have any interest in the life of someone whom they find offensive. 

Alternatively, if you are jealous of my life or guts, I suggest you try it on for size.  I say the truthful things that people often cringe to hear.  I hold up the mirror and say, “Look, this is you and this is the world we all live in.  Warts and all.  Learn to love it.  Learn to laugh at the absurdity of it.  Stretch it to it’s extreme.  And when you get to that edge jump off.  And learn to fly.”  And some people abhor this.  They are reluctant to see the truth in their own actions.  They cringe to admit that they actually do think many, if not all, of the things that I write.  And they are terrified that it might actually be possible to grab life by the horns and live it on one’s own terms. 

And if you’d like to see troubled and lost I can show you people addicted to heroin, meth and coke (none of which I’ve ever even seen).  I can show you people who have indiscriminate sex with random people in an attempt to fill the hole in their soul (something I’ve never done).  I can show you the abused and the abusers, the dropouts, the users, the rehabbers, the cutters and the suicidal.  These are the troubled and lost.  But they are excellent people with fabulous stories and they don’t deserve the eyebrows-raised title of “troubled and lost.”  Because like all of us, they are just doing the best they can, with what they’ve got and they’re trying to find their way in this wild world.

I conclude by offering fashion advice.  It’s difficult to wear red to a funeral where “they” inform us that we are supposed to wear only black.  It will get you noticed and talked about.  Eyebrows will surely raise and many will look down their long, thin noses at you.  They will ask, aghast, “What will people think?”  But it makes a point.  And it points out the truth of the occasion.  That, like life, death should not be so somber and serious.  Rather it should be celebrated, laughed about and experienced fully because, after all, it’s the ultimate expression of the only life we’ve got.  What’s the point in crying (or being serious) when you might laugh instead?  Perhaps, if we let others live the lives of their choosing, and started living a life of our own choosing, the world would be more fun.

At my funeral, anyone wearing black will be turned away.  Be remarkable.  Wear red.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

An Open Letter To The Male Race

Dear Sir,
Dear Liar,
Dear Peter Pan,
Dear Mama’s Boy,
Dear Popped Collar Frat Boy,

To Whom It May Concern,

I have a bone to pick with everyone who deemed me unimportant enough to warrant a return to my phone call, text message, email, letter, carrier pigeon message or smoke signal.  With everyone who decided that I was unworthy of friendship, dinner companionship, phone callership or beer drinking comradeship because I felt no compulsion to be within a five-foot radius of their penis. With everyone who ever fed me a line of bullshit.  With everyone who brought my feelings into play and then threw them in the trash like a used up copy of Us Weekly.  You’re rude.  Fuck you. 

To the Peter Pan’s, so easily identified by their Ohio State Buckeyes T-shirt, two-day stubble and shot glass of tequila raised in salute to eternal adolescence.   Grow up and learn some manners.  Please realize that not returning a phone call, a text message, an email, a dinner invitation or a request to get together is rude. If I call you, call me back.  It’s very simple.  If you don’t want to see me just say so.  Or lie.  Lying is excusable.  Rudeness is not.  And while you’re at it try a real relationship on for size.  By no means am I encouraging, or even condoning, the social propaganda known fondly as the institution of marriage, but that doesn’t mean that your closet relationship should be with your bottle on Don Julio or that your longest relationship should be fail to weather all four seasons.

To the liar’s and the insensitive ones.  Please realize that when you involve emotions you are fucking with someone’s life.   If I tell you that we can just keep in casual, I mean that.  There is no need to add my soul to your conquest roster.  My ass will do thank you very much.  So don’t tell me you love me, and will be there fore me.  Don’t beg me to let my guard down and don’t wonder, with big, honest, scared eyes, if I will pull the rug out from under you.  If you want to have meaningless sex, at least have the decency to tell me that, and only that.  Don’t promise me the world just to leave me with nothing.

To the rich boys.  Stop with the wine and the jewelry, the exotic vacations and the fancy clothes.  Those who don’t want to be friends first and lovers second (or never) need not apply.  Your black Amex, fancy Porsche and ability to mispronounce the fancy bottle of champagne you are ordering, does not impress me.  It makes me want to vomit.

To God’s gift to all women.  Please realize that just because I show interest, or even kiss you, does not mean that I will fuck you.  Contrary to what you may think of the twenty-something, free spirit, who abhors children, shutters at the thought of marriage, is vehemently independent and is more likely to run away to climb the Andes with an Ecuadorian named Diego than settle in the burbs with a Clevelander named Stan, I have morals.  I even (gasp of horror and disbelief) call myself a Christian and possess a shiny set of good, wholesome as wheat bread, Midwestern, Christian values.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve worked very hard at having a one-night.  Just one.  I’ve tried.  And to this day I’ve never successfully had a one-night stand.   I just can’t do it in good conscience.  And the dozens upon dozens of men who have promptly ceased all contact with me as soon as they learned that I wouldn’t sleep with them is staggering.  And depressing.  And extremely lonely.   It not-so-blatantly, or blatantly perhaps, says that I have no worth as a person outside of my ability serve as a life-sized, talking sex toy.

Will you all stop trying to marry me, fuck me, make me your girlfriend, take my clothes off or some combination thereof?  I just want a friend.  So badly I can almost taste it (what does a friend taste like anyway?).  And I’m a really good friend.  I’m kind of crazy, a little eccentric and highly neurotic.  But rock as a wingwoman.  I get guys laid all the time.  Just not by me.  Give it some thought.  Ad while you’re at it go ahead and grow up.  Stop behaving like a two-year old who is either throwing a tantrum, impulsively (or perhaps compulsively) sticking his finger in the light socket, hitting the girl he likes on the playground or playing with his junk just because it’s hanging between his legs. 

Yours sincerely,


Author's Note:  I didn't want to publish another letter so quickly but after my conversation with Judy, Elyssa and Angela the other night, I had to.  Cheers ladies!

Sex and the City, Plan B and My Mom

Tonight my mom and I went to see Sex and the City and then we went to buy Plan B. Yes, the morning after pill.

I was inundated with a series of panicked text messages and phone calls while I lounged in the land of Manolos and Mr. Big.  I mean really, can’t she see there is nothing more important than two and a half hours of interrupting ankles to ears sex and Cosmo-fueled evenings?

As it turns out, said friend is out of a car and into a baby panic.  Who would have thought that ankles to ears sex and Cosmo-fueled evenings could lead to unplanned buns in the oven?  Funny how the lack of said car makes obtaining the necessary procreation terminating pharmaceuticals more challenging.  Somewhere up there God is laughing.  Hey, he’s got a twisted sense of humor too.  I mean who sense locusts to torment an entire civilization anyway?

And being the loyal friend that I am, I offer to obtain the magic pill and bring it to her in exchange for some cold, hard green to cover the cost of the goods.  A Sex and the City themed drug deal if you will. 

Mom and I steer the green Prius to CVS #1 and I ask pharmacist #1 for Plan B, “For my friend,” I explain, “She just can’t drive here to get it herself.”  And just like that, this decrepit, 80 year-old man shakes his head at my seemingly pathetic story (some where along the lines of, “So Doc, I’ve got this ‘friend’ with this problem…”) and curse the moral degradation of society and bemoan the kids these days.  “We’re out,” he tells me.  “And you need your ID.”

Attempt #1 thwarted.  Must have been a jack-rabit-tastic weekend.  Out of the morning after pill.  What is the world coming to?  I suppose we really are on a downward spiral fueled by Girls Gone Wild, Sex and the City and Spendi (or is it Speidi?).  But enough with the metaphysical ruminations on the moral status of humanity, I have bigger problems.  Like no ID to purchase the goods.  Shit.  Who would have thought I’d get carded for being under eighteen?

Which leaves me with no choice.

“Mom, would you mind going in next time?”

My mom is so hip.   She just laughs, “It’s not like they’re going to think it’s for me.  I can tell them, ‘I assure you, I no longer need this.’  And I’m not getting any anyway.  My sex life is pretty lame.”  Yep that was the line and she just crossed it.  I mean I know my parents don’t really like each other much right now but really mom, I don’t need to know how much you are “getting.”

And so we proceed to CVS #2.  Closed.  Shit.  And so we proceed to Walgreens #3.  Closed.  Shit.  Shit.  And so we proceed to CVS #3. Opened.  Score.

I file my nails in the green Prius with vanity plates that read, “THNK GRN” while my ultra-hip, cool-mom goes to get Plan B for my friend.  I wonder absently what the pharmacist thinks.  I suppose they really wouldn’t think she was out on the town getting rowdy and forgetting her Pill.  And I also suppose post-menopausal women don’t have to worry about forgetting the Pill and getting knocked up, even if they are out on the town getting rowdy.  Must be nice.

She pops out of the store waving the prescription bag triumphantly.  I think she is actually enjoying a day in the life of K Dubbs and the Drama Five.  As she recounts her close encounter with the Plan B kind (this is clearly her first rodeo) she eagerly informs me that, “They even took my CVS card.  That’s $55 worth of points!”  Great Mom.  You got Extra Bucks for your Plan B purchase.  Glad I could help.

I arrive to drop off my No Sperm Left Behind fertilization prevention kit.  They’ve got it down to one little white pill these days.  Handy.  “Thank you SOOOOOOO much,” the recipient snatches the bag and starts counting cash – but not before she pours me my own gin and tonic in a nearby, and questionably clean, coffee mug with a picture of Santa Claus on the side.   Several minutes later (it takes quite some time to count cash while chain smoking in one hand, drinking a gin and tonic in the other and counting cash with the other.  Wait, that’s three hands.  But let’s not split hands.  I mean hairs.  I digress) I have a wrinkled, nicotine-stained wad of ones, fives and tens to pay back dear old Mom.  Then she tears open the wrapper, pops a little white pill in her mouth and washes it down with a swig of gin and a drag on a Virginia Slim.  Keepin’ it classy.

And because it seems appropriate.  Or maybe because it seems morbid.  We toast. 

“To being, and staying, baby free."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Home On The River That Caught Fire

I started foaming at the mouth and chasing my own tail today.  I recognized this as an early warning sign of resuming wanderlust.  Shit, I really thought I’d make it longer.  You see I have a history of poor impulse control and a tendency towards erratic behavior.  But the doctors assure me that I’m not bipolar.  I just possess sundried and assorted forms of craziness and restlessness.

I am from Cleveland.  A place where the checkout lady at CVS calls me ‘honey’ and was there when I had to purchase tampons for the first time, underage beer for the first time and Plan B for the first time.  A place the humidity makes my cleavage sweat even at midnight and is about as welcome as a the middle seat on an airplane between two bulbous, perspiring 300-pounders whose beads of sweat are inching closer and closer to my elbows on the quarter-inch of armrest that is allowed me by their bratwursts of arms.  A place where people invite you in to sit down at their dinner table because, “Don’t you just know, this young lady was so nice to me today at the grocery store.  She helped me with my buggy.” (and yes we say ‘buggy.’ And sweeper, and clicker.  And if you don’t know what those words mean then you’re just not cool enough).

Cleveland.  Land of surprising ethnic diversity left over from Rockefeller’s days.  Not like Aspen, where you see a person who isn’t white walking down the street and find yourself wondering how they got so tan in the middle of winter.  Cleveland’s got the Czechs, the Croatians, the Poles, the Russians, the other assorted eastern Europeans, the Slovenians, the Irish, the Puerto Ricans, the Mexicans, the West Africans and of course the Italians.  Oh, the Italians.  I dated one once.  They make excellent lovers but terrible husbands or boyfriends.  Remember that.  It might serve you well someday.  They are the race of hair gel and tempers, rigatoni and knee-bending sex.  I will never stop missing inappropriate ass grabs from old men with gold crosses or the sort of overstuffed feeling that only copious canollis, everlasting slices of pepperoni and Grandma Marie’s urgings of, “Come on Katie, you’re too skinny, just one more slice of lasagna,” can wage upon one’s stomach.

Cleveland. A place where this hot mess of a world that we live in right now stares you right in the eye.  It’s my family friend’s face when they find out that they have a bun in the oven and no way to support the ones they already have.  It’s my sister’s eyes when she knows that she might lose the restaurant that is their income, their home and their lifeblood.  It’s the brittle little tear that drops down her cheek that’s already seen too many sorrows when she owns up to the fact that cancer is eating her husband alive and leaving her with two babies.  Alone.  It’s my brother-in-laws head in his hands to hide the tears on his lean, 200-pound high school football star frame when he hears that his house might enter foreclosure.  It’s a place where unemployment is 13%.  It’s a place where the pain of the Great Recession and the Economic Crisis are more than a trite buzzwords garnered from CNN.  It’s a place where these phrases spell a nasty reality.  That life’s hard.  Life’s a bitch.

And unfortunately for me fluttering free spirits with tendencies towards eccentricity and penchants for musing philosophically about the meaning of life, don’t get along so well in the school of hard knocks.  No time for that nonsense when the bank man’s coming to take your house. I got tired of this weight.  The weight of the Cleveland humidity sticking to my skin, even at midnight.  The weight of the problems in my loved ones faces wearing me down.   The weight of my memories dragging at the edges of my psyche. 

And so I’m headed West again.  It will be the tenth time my 2005 Subaru has crossed the country.  And I’ll rejoin comrades in our bubble.  Where this sadness is far, far away in a land called Cleveland.  The place where I’m from.  So don’t fuck with me because I’ve got a whole city behind me ready to kick your ass because us Clevelanders stick together.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fucking Cocks

I don’t want to have children.  Collective gasp.  I know, saying that tends to paint a picture of me as a real bitch.  It typecasts me as the narcissistic, selfish offspring of boomer parental-type figures, who has never wanted for anything and seems incapable of relinquishing even the slightest bit of sovereignty and self-determination over life in favor of trying the ultimate form of narcissism on for size – procreation. 

And maybe someday I’ll change my mind.  I’m certainly not dead set on remaining free of the grasp of tiny, crumb-crushing fists, but for now that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.  Only I’ll have to tell you about it some other time.  Right now I’ve got a funny rug rat tale to impart.  It’s these sometimes poignant, always devil-may-care and never concerned with social norms or public decorum moments that kids seem to conjure up, that make me want little-me’s sometimes.  They keep it real.  They rock out.  And they keep us all honest.

My sister owns two kids and has a restaurant (or is that supposed to be the other way around?) and as anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen knows, the two are not easily reconciled.  From the most anal retentive, five-star kitchens to the questionable dive bar across town that’s been shut down three times by the health inspector, kitchens are cesspools of all manner or depraved morality and sexual degradation.  If it doesn’t have to do with the male or female sexual anatomy, things that can be inserted into the male or female sexual anatomy, myriad and assorted terms for the male and female sexual anatomy or the things that happened (or that they wish had happened) between and male and female sexual anatomy the previous night, then it isn’t welcome in a kitchen.

My friend the pastry chef is thrilled to be coaching eight year-old boys soccer.  It teaches her the patience in the kitchen that she needs to deal with the man-children, Peter Pans who act like eight year-old boys trapped in a grown man’s body.  My sister the restaurateur routinely quiets her chefs.  Who am I kidding, she routinely tells her chefs to, “Shut the fuck up and don’t say cock, fuck, dick or pussy until the dining room full of 90 year-old women clears.”  Usually, this is too much to ask of them.

And so we come to our illustrative example.  Exhibit A.

While she gives eight-month old Knox his bath, two-year old Cooper looks on.  Being the precocious one that he is, he decides to practice being a man and offer unsolicited advice about a household task.  “Mommy, pour the water on his penis,” he instructs his mother.  She promptly ignores this and finishes the cleaning of the wee one.

The next day she recounts the story to the delight of her Corona drinking chefs and servers.  But, “Where did he learn what a penis is?” she ponders the linguistic accomplishments of her progeny.  “Steve and I only ever say pee-pee or wee-wee.”  On a side note, this is also why I should never have my own issue.  I am fairly certain that it lies outside of my impulse control capacity to refrain from using foul language in the presence of children.  Maybe that’s why the chefs and I get along so well.

“Maybe he heard it in the kitchen,” someone suggests.

“No.  That can’t be,” she says assuredly, “Because then he would have said, ‘Mommy, pour the water on his fucking cock.’”

Need I say more?  Priceless moment of kitchen ethos enlightenment and childrearing edification.  

Author's Note:  Sorry, I said I wouldn't curse in the titles anymore.  But there was really not other appropriate title.